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Imaging USA 2018 will be here before you know it...three-to-six days of everything photography, including learning, networking, shopping, and partying! It's all going down in the Music City, Nashville, TN, January 14-16, 2018 (Pre-Con classes January 11-13).

Imaging USA is known far-and-wide as THE place to see some of the best speakers in the photography industry, as they take you on deep-dives into every photographic and business topic you could want to learn more about. In order to get you even more excited (if that's possible!), PPA is highlighting our 2018 Imaging USA speakers.


Let's Meet...

Kay Eskridge, M.Photog.Cr., CPP

 Web: imagesbykay.com

 Combining her passion for photography and her love of people, Kay Eskridge has earned a stellar reputation for her high-quality lifestyle portraiture. Her studio is known not only for the imagery she creates but also the high level of customer service she provides. Kay's clientele has come to rely on her to capture images from all of life's special events, from maternity to newborns, tots to tweens, High School Seniors to summer family vacations, and even intimate images captured through the 'CelebrateSexy' division of her studio.

Kay's expertise in client relationships, creative approach to portraiture, and clear business vision has given Kay much success doing something she loves. Kay is a member and Past President of the Arizona Professional Photography Association and is one of Eastman Kodak's Approved Speakers. She is PPA Certified, a Master-Photographic Craftsman and holds numerous awards, including the National Award, Arizona Photographer of the Year, the Kodak Gallery Elite Award, Phoenix Portrait Photographer of the Year, and Arizona Illustrative Photographer of the Year.

The list of awards and recognitions speak volumes about Kay's talent, but it is the timeless portraits, hanging in her clients' homes, that truly showcase who she really is. 

Speaker Sessions:

Sun, Jan. 14

5:00pm- 6:15pm- Pro-Tweenographer: How To Become 'THE' Photographer Tweens Choose



What was one of the defining moments in your career? When President George Bush (Senior) said to me at an event... "Kay, can you take one more photograph for me? Can you get the kitchen staff and take one of me with them and make sure they all get a copy?" He remembered my name all day and was as gracious a person as you would think he is. LOL like I was going to say 'NO' to the President of the United States!

Why do you love photography? Each image I capture is forming the legacy I will leave behind when I'm gone from this earth. My photographs are my footprint.

What would be your advice for photographers who are just starting their career? Study successful business models. Learn the 'art' of being in business so that you can use the 'art' of photography to fulfill your dreams.

Each photographer has a specialty/genre/ niche; how did you discover yours? Time, trial and error, taking risks and believing in myself. Find a balance between what feeds your bank account as well as your soul.

Kay Eskridge is just one of the many amazing speakers you'll get to meet and learn from at Imaging USA 2018! Register online today !



By James Yates

Imaging USA 2018, the largest annual convention and expo organized by professional photographers for professional photographers, will be held January 14-16, 2018 at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee. In anticipation of this three-day photography event featuring more than 10,000 attendees and 600+ booths from over 150 exhibitors, PPA has compiled a list of the "Top 10 Things to See at Imaging USA 2018."

1. Imaging Expo: Like the "Mall of America" for photographers, attendees can peruse everything from heavy equipment to small gadgets including printers, labs, and service providers. More than 600 exhibitors including well-known photographic companies Canon, Adobe, Miller's, Panasonic, Triple Scoop Music, H&H Color Lab, Kodak Alaris, Marathon, Zenfolio and ChromaLuxe will display their products and services. There will also be a wide variety of educational opportunities, product demos, and prize giveaways.

2. Keynote address from famed motivational speaker Ryan Estis from 10:00-11:15 a.m., Sunday, January 14. Estis will provide a beginning-of-the-year boost of motivation and inspiration to help photographers take their businesses to new heights.

3. Renowned speakers in the photographic industry: 100+ of the best in the business will share their photography secrets including acclaimed photographers Lindsey Adler, Cris Duncan, Jerry Ghionis, Steve Kozak, Pete Rezac, and Carrie Wildes.

4. Educational opportunities for photographers of all levels. There will be live demos, pre-convention classes including hands-on workshops, show-floor classes with product tips and benefits, as well as a Coaches' Corner for sports and event photographers that includes a portfolio review and 30 minutes of mentoring.

5. International Photographic Competition (IPC) Exhibit: The largest winter photographic exhibit in the Southeast, the IPC exhibit allows visitors to view some of the winning images from across the globe.

6. Grand Imaging Awards: Honoring the best of the best from 2017, the Grand Imaging Awards celebrate 2017's Medalists, Diamond Photographers of the Year and all the elite Loan Collection artists from the 2017 IPC. This event takes place on Monday, January 15 at 6:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

7. Awards and Degree Ceremony: Think of it as an official graduation for photographers earning degrees and awards from 2017. Degrees include Photographic Craftsman, Master of Photography and Master Artist. Awards will be presented for Lifetime Achievement, Imaging Excellence, Distinguished Service, and Humanitarian Service. This is a free event open to the public, so attendees can bring guests to enjoy in the celebration.

8. Imaging USA Closing Party: PPA will be taking over the Delta Atrium at the Gaylord Opryland on Tuesday, January 16 from 7-10 p.m. Guests will eat delicious food, take advantage of unique photo opps, and dance the night away. This event, while free to Imaging USA all-access pass holders, will require a ticket otherwise, which can be purchased at registration.

9. PPA Charities: Learn about the philanthropic efforts being sponsored by fellow professional photographers. Get in motion at the 5K Super Hero Fun Run on Sunday, January 14 from 7-9 a.m. The Roaring 20's: PPA Charities' 20th Birthday Celebration will take place January 13 from 8-10pm and will feature a speakeasy-style setup including poker. Also, on Tuesday, January 16 at 2:30 p.m. the winner of the Dream Studio Giveaway will be announced. One lucky winner will receive more than $20,000 worth of photographic equipment and a studio makeover. Products, software, lab credits and more will be given away. Raffle tickets can be purchased at the Expo.

10. World Photographic Cup: Imaging USA is the best place to meet and mingle with the best photographers from the U.S. and around the world. View the amazing images from Team U.S.A. in the World Photographic Cup, the Olympics of photography.

ImagingUSA is just a few weeks away! So head over to ImagingUSA.org to register NOW and reserve your room at the Gaylord Opryland Resort! See you in January!

By Sarah Ackerman

It's time to get to know Ana Brandt, Imaging USA 2015 instructor and maternity photographer extraordinaire! Ana has been in the business over 14 years and has never stopped learning. Get to know this pre convention instructor in nine easy questions!

1. When did you start your photography career? What prompted it?

I became a professional photographer in 1999. I had been taking pictures since I was a teen and had no intention of ever becoming a professional. After shooting for well over 10 years as an amateur, I decided once I moved from the East Coast to the West that I would register my business and get to work. I was a web designer by day and a photographer by night. I started shooting child models in California and one day I just quit my Web Job and never looked back.

2. What do you want for people to take away from your class? 

I want them to feel the power of the amazing talent and gift that photographers have. I want them to leave motivated and encouraged and understand that the marketing, selling, posing and all that is entailed should just flow from their pores. I want them to leave and not sleep for days because I have given them so many ideas, tips, techniques and marketing methods that will take them months to incorporate. I am bringing in a pregnant model and a brand new baby and I want to show them easy transitional posing for both session types that can work in any location.

3. What is your favorite aspect of photographing newborns? 

Watching them fall into such a deep sleep that they just smile in bliss. It is amazing to watch them just curl up and be cozy in a basket. Sometimes I just stare in wonder. They are just days old, and here they are in my space, just sleeping away. It's really amazing. 

4. How did you get into the maternity market? 

Honestly, I wish I knew. When I was in my 20's I was so awe inspired by seeing gorgeous pregnant woman. I was immediately drawn to this phase in a woman's life. I have shared this story so many times, but I am an adopted child, and I have never seen a photo of my biological mother. I think I was just drawn to what I never saw in my own life way earlier then I even knew why. Now 15 years later, I just never get tired of it. I think pregnant woman are just gorgeous and it's such a short time in development. I knew from early on I would specialize in maternity and newborn and I knew my being adopted was a driving force - and still is. I wish I could explain it in words, but it's really hard to. I feel that every path I took in my life, led me to here. To doing this, even when I had no idea what my journey would be.

5.    What is one piece of equipment you can't live without on newborn shoots? 

On location - it's my 5-n-1 - I almost always use a diffuser and reflector to block out harsh light on one side, and reflect in soft light on the other. That is a must when I am traveling. 
In studio, I need good lights. I would never use flash inside and I love my soft boxes and Einstein's. I used Alien Bees for years, and those are great too.

6.    How do you differentiate yourself from other newborn/maternity photographers? 

I think I would have to ask my clients that! I don't really pay attention to other newborn/maternity photographers. I try and just focus on things I like and ideas that inspire me and things that drive me. I let my clients know I can provide everything for them for their sessions, such as clothing and styling and location scouting, so that they can just relax and trust the process. I think each photographer has their own style, even if they use the same props - the style is easily defined. I believe that people choose the photographer that is similar to their own style and has a personality that is comforting to them. I do not believe I am the perfect photographer for every client. 
One product that sets us apart are our behind the scenes videos. We have been providing video for our clients of behind the scenes in their sessions. Clients have told me they love watching the videos because not only can they see who I am but they can appreciate what is involved in a session. It is a win, win - the client receives a gorgeous video, and we have marketing tools for the next client.

7. Who is your favorite photographer? 

I can't pinpoint one person. In my 20's I studied Ansel Adams and Anne Geddes. I bought their books, screensavers and calendars and just stared at their images over and over. I think Ansel defined black and white photography and Anne Geddes showed the world the wonder and beauty of newborns.

8. What defines your photographic style? 

For pregnancy I think its movement and angles. I like curves and to stretch woman's bodies in ways they never thought possible. I adore fabric and how it flows, and if I love to work with fans and just create beautiful images. For newborns, I try and create images that are classic and simple while being a tad artsy at times.

9.  What do you wish more photographers knew before going into business? 

That it is hard, hard work and that you cannot give up. Photography is a business. Like any business, it takes time to learn and grow.  You have to commit and just do it. You need to be patient and not worry about others. This is your journey - your path and you need to let it grow and nurture it with every ounce of your being.

Come learn from Ana live at Imaging USA 2015. Her "The Art and Business of Pregnancy and Newborn Photography" pre-convention class will run January 31 for an additional $129 fee to your registration. Get all the details on Imaging USA and register here!

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Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarah's in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs with Witless Protection around the Atlanta area and at Dad's Garage Theatre Company. When she's not tweeting/instagramming/facebooking all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.


Carl Caylor - Imaging USA 2015 instructor and current PPAedu teacher stopped by theLoop this week for an AMA (Ask Me Anything). 

Carl is a seasoned natural light portrait photographer and has owned and operated his personal studio since 1995. If you are not aware of what an "Ask Me Anything" is, have no fear!  These question and answer sessions are the perfect way to ask Imaging USA instructors literally anything you want. It's also your chance to have your voice heard amongst your peers! 

What sets Carl apart and what made his AMA so interesting is his perspective on natural light and how it can take your images from mundane to awesome in a few simple steps. He also touches on pricing techniques and where he draws his inspiration. If you missed the full conversation you can check it out on theLoop.

Check out a few of our favorite moments with Carl:

On his favorite way to modify natural light:
"I like reflectors and try to carry one or two with me at all times.  I do, however, enjoy locations that have great light with no need to make changes.  It is in these locations, we can concentrate on the subject within the light more.  Those are the magical places."

On choosing a location to shoot:
"I do, however, enjoy locations that have great light with no need to make changes. It is in these locations, we can concentrate on the subject within the light more."

On what inspires him:
"Where do I get inspiration? Watching people. Living life. Sharing with other photographers. Movies. Nature."

Don't forget to register for Imaging USA and stop by for Carl's hands-on class, "Hands-on Photography: Natural Light Portraiture"! Registration information for Imaging USA is available at ImagingUSA.org/Register.



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