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Results tagged “IUSA” from PPA Today

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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.




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By Chris Homer

Imaging USA 2015 is only 75 days away! With that in mind, I'd like to encourage you toapp_icon_web.jpg download today (it's free!) so you can be more prepared for all the good stuff coming your way in Nashville. It's the best way to be connected with all the latest news and updates while you're there!

With the mobile app, you'll be able to:

  • View and favorite all the details on classes, sessions, speakers, special events and even the exhibitors at the Imaging Expo.
  • Build your own schedule by simply adding the sessions or events you want to your agenda.
  • Message and arrange private meetings with other attendees (even if you have all their contact info: the app will connect you!)
  • Earn points and take your chance at daily prizes by playing with the in-app game.
  • See what other attendees are saying on Twitter and Facebook (and add to the conversation!)
  • Give feedback and help make this a better conference by taking the in-app session surveys after each class.
  • Use the maps to find your way around the convention center and throughout the Imaging Expo.
  • And more!

If you're attending Imaging USA, this app will be your best friend during the convention. It's available now for iPhone and iPad, Android devices and there's also a web version for those of you that don't own an Apple or Android phone or tablet.

Find all the information on how to download for your device here. Stay-tuned to PPA's blog and ImagingUSA.org for videos demonstrating how to use the different features of the app.
 
Of course, if you haven't registered for Imaging USA yet, do it today! Find all the different options on the registration page.

See you in Nashville!  
  
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About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages. 





By Sarah Ackerman

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To help you become familiar with the photographers who will be on the Imaging USA stage, we asked them some questions to really dig deep. In this interview, Kareem Black, portrait photographer and philanthropist extraordinaire, talks about inspiration, our changing industry and how to break into the upper echelon of commercial photography. You can check out his program details here but in the meantime, enjoy!

What was the biggest challenge you faced in defining yourself as a photographer?

The biggest challenge I face, just like most artists, is figuring out what exactly I want to say, and how to say it, in a way that is unique to me. This is probably a lifelong exploration. Early on, I was a lot more technical and used a ton of lights, lenses etc., much more so than I use now. I was hiding behind production and lighting rather than letting the image tell the story. I'm not saying that using a ton of lights is bad, but for me, once I simplified my shooting set I started on what to say with/through the image. With that said, I'm happy I did go through that more technical phase because now I'm very confident in my ability to light just about anything.

What do you think the biggest challenge people just starting out in the industry face?

The biggest challenge might be when people are trying to break into the industry and get noticed. There are so many photographers! To be clear, there always have been a lot of photographers, but today there are seemingly less clients because there are more photographers than ever. In commercial photography, the great recession really killed a lot of print media which was the initial stepping stone that lead into bigger advertising and music work. I started out shooting for magazines and then moved onto CD covers. When's the last time anyone bought a CD? What I'm going to say is sort of common knowledge, but I think that it makes a big difference how photographers face there being more competition and less clients. I love competition and I love looking at photography. One of the first things I do every morning is surf Tumblr and Instagram. It inspires me to see what others are doing. I say the more photographers the better, generally speaking. If you love what you do, and thrive off the battle and the battle makes you better at what you do, you'll be fine. Also, show your work to as many people as possible and never ever ever stop making new work!

Define your photography style in four words.

#feelsgoodletsgo

How do you stay ahead of the game in this industry?

I think that constantly creating new work is very important. By new work I mean new bodies of work. Photographers are like sharks--we have to keep moving forward or we die. Evolution is paramount. I start new personal projects, take trips, conduct an experiment, take risks with my photography. That's how I stay ahead. Otherwise, dwelling in my comfort zone for too long will be death.

What are you most excited about at Imaging USA?

I'm excited to meet and talk shop with photographers of all ages and from all over the world. New York and L.A. can become very incestuous. Everyone knows everyone, there are accepted ways of doing things and how things should look. But I want to experience other points of view and share my own insights. 

What inspires you?

I want to be inspired by as much as possible. I'm a photographer, so obviously I am inspired by photography past and present, but also art in general. I want to know what people were thinking when they did certain things, these questions go beyond art. I'm also genuinely interested in the human condition and like to ask myself what I would have done in certain situations, which provides me with great insights. All of that inspires me! As a photographer I am an explorer and I  find inspiration in all of my explorations.

What is one marketing mistake most new photographers make?

Offering a special or a promotion is often a tight-rope walk. You don't want to be bothersome and call/email/mail people too often, but on the other hand, I don't want to do it so rarely that I am forgotten. There must be a happy medium. Sending a promo, maybe twice a year, is appropriate for me, as well as emails with relevant new work samples. Too often photographers bombard editors with work that isn't necessarily their best stuff. I generally prefer quality over quantity.

How did you break into the high-end commercial photography market?

The industry is small and in New York it is very small. I am a pretty social guy and I love a good party. Believe it or not most of the first people I met, were through social settings - parties, bars, shows, that sort of thing. You'd be surprised how many deals and how much business is transacted in venues like this. At the end of the day, people make deals with people and there are a lot of great photographers out there. The people really want to have some sort of connection, or at least get along with the photographers they will hire.

Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Jack White?

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See Kareem live and in action at Imaging USA 2015 in Nashville! He will be giving his program "A Portrait Photographer's Survival Guide to a Changing Industry" on Tuesday, February 3rd at Imaging USA. Get all of the details and register today 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 WitPro 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.

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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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Ana Brandt, newborn and maternity photographer extraordinaire, stopped by theLoop this weekbrandt_ana_ama.jpg for an AMA! Quickly becoming a fan favorite, PPA's AMA series allows photographers the chance to engage with Imaging USA speakers in conversation and literally ask them anything. Some of the topics covered in this AMA include Ana's origins in the industry, what inspires her, and how she manages to work with newborns so effectively. If you missed out on the full conversation, you can check out her full AMA on theLoop

If you missed out on the live AMA it's all good! Here are a few of our favorite highlights:

1. "Once I pass the two hour mark, newborns start another cycle of feeding, pooping and peeing, which goes on to 3 hours, etc. etc." 
2. "Growing up, my Mom used to come home with bags of things to make wreaths or other items. Time after time I would see her empty a craft bag of random things and whip out a handmade wreath or flower arrangement. Now I find myself doing the same thing." 
3. "I love to create things I can't see. All too often we get wrapped up in our own expectations. The best inspiration is to release your own expectation and let the creativity flow."

Don't forget to register for Imaging USA and stop by for Ana's class--The Art and Business of Pregnancy and Newborn Photography! Registration information for Imaging USA is available at imagingusa.org/register.

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So you're coming to Imaging USA? Awesome! (What? You haven't registered? Click here!) It's the best decision you'll make for your business, your creative juices, and just yourself all year! We're thrilled to be taking over the Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center in Nashville and wanted to share a few tips with you before we get onsite!



Have any tips for newbies? Head over to the Imaging USA community on theLoop to share! It's also a great place to find a roommate or a study buddy!

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Attention all Imaging USA attendees: In the spirit of the holidays, PPA Charities will support the Dando

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 Amor Charity and hold a shoe drive at Imaging USA this February in Nashville! There's no better cure for those inevitable post-holiday blues than doing something to give back to communities around the world.

Some of the logistics: Drop off bins will be located by the convention floor and at registration. Shoes will be collected at Imaging USA, and re-purposed for orphanages in South America and Africa.

Are you looking for ways to be more charitable? This is an opportunity to truly make a difference in people's lives. It seems small in scope from where we sit--in front of computer monitors, on a staircase changing a flash, in a car wading through rush hour traffic, but Dando Amor has a global reach and will have a positive effect on communities around the world. All it takes is five minutes and a little bit of kindness to rummage through your closet and find old shoes that you'll never use again.

Think of it this way: If everyone brought one pair of shoes, we would have 10,000 pairs of shoes to donate. That's an inspiring number and one that is totally attainable with your help. 

To be more charitable and help make it happen, you have to be there! Make sure you register for Imaging USA and book your room, they're filling up fast.



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Meet Peter Lik, M.Photog. He's the most acclaimed landscape photographer in the world right now, and that's hardly an exaggeration. This high-octane Aussie and star of The Weather Channel's "From the Edge" will go far and wide and brave any elements to get the perfect shot. Peter will deliver a special keynote presentation at Imaging USA 2015 to discuss how and why he does it. He's bringing along some of his most celebrated images like "Ghost" and "One" and will share the stories behind them and more.

Peter will also be presented with PPA's Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been a PPA

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 photographer for nearly 10 years and is a fervent advocate for the association and its membership. Peter's accomplishments in the industry speak for themselves, and you'd think he has nothing to prove, yet he continues to enter the International Photographic Competition (IPC). One of his images made it into this year's Loan Collection.

Peter earned his master of photography (M.Photog.) degree from PPA in 2010. The degree is awarded for superior photographic skills--demonstrated through obtaining merits through the IPC, and by advanced education, speaking engagements and service to the industry.

A native of Melbourne, Australia, Peter has photographed the American landscape since he first arrived in the U.S. in 1984. Fifty thousand miles and 1,000 rolls of film later, he has now photographed landscapes in all 50 states. Highlights of this American odyssey can be found in his book, "Spirit of America."

Throughout his career, Peter has sold hundreds of millions of dollars of his artwork (again, not an exaggeration).  Two of his iconic images, "Ghost" and "Inner Peace," were exhibited in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. Peter also has 13 galleries of his own and counts presidents of countries and big celebrities among his many collectors. His aforementioned Weather Channel show has made Peter Lik a household name.

Want a preview? Go behind the scenes with Peter in New York City and the Pacific Northwest. In fact, you might just want to watch everything on his YouTube channel. And be sure to follow Peter Lik on Facebook and Twitter and check out his website.

Lik's keynote presentation at Imaging USA 2015 will be Monday, Feb. 2, 8-9 p.m. The program is open to anyone with an Imaging USA badge, including all-access and expo-only passes. Trust us, a program from a guy with this much talent, passion and energy is one you don't want to miss. It's first-come, first-served so you will probably want to get there early! And don't forget, you have to register for Imaging USA and come out to Nashville to see him.

Want to be more? Be there.

After all, how far are you willing to go for the perfect shot?

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This week on theLoop, PPA played host to Mary Fisk-Taylor, the second photographer in our
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 ongoing Ask Me Anything (AMA) series. Inspired by Reddit, an AMA is a free flowing online conversation that gives you (the photographers) a chance to ask Mary anything you want about photography. It's an awesome way to get inside information from an incredibly thoughtful and talented photographer, and this week was certainly no exception. Check out Mary Fisk-Taylor's AMA here!

If you missed out on the live AMA session it's okay! We've got you covered with our five favorite highlights:

1. "I only share my failure with you because it is okay to fail, as long as you pick yourself up and move forward. "
2. "In order to maintain my work/life balance I am a nut about boundaries and setting them and sticking to them. I don't think that any of us are super humans but for some reason as photographers we expect ourselves to wear one million different hats and do it all well. This will not happen. We have to take care of ourselves first."
3. "My favorite images are the ones that my clients embrace and cherish and I know that every single time they look at that image they are brought back to that very moment in time and feel the pangs of emotion that memories often do."
4. "Movies! Oh how I love excellent movies and over the top cinematography. That can really get me super excited to create."
5. "Regardless of where the inspiration comes from, as long as your eyes are open you will probably find it." 

Check out the full conversation on theLoop if you'd like to learn the pros and cons of starting your own photography business, what it takes to create unique images, and how to come by inspiration with Mary Fisk-Taylor. And join Mary, live and in person at Imaging USA 2015 in Nashville for her presentation on #BeMoreSuccessful!

Registration information available here: ImagingUSA.org/register

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World-renowned studio photographer, Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API, is set to

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 be the second host of theLoop's Ask Me Anything Series on September 22 & 23! We couldn't be more thrilled to have Mary on board to follow up to Booray Perry's inaugural eccentric and informative AMA

Mary Fisk-Taylor has been with PPA since 1998 and has been the recipient of numerous awards including Photographer of the Year in 2007, Best in Show, Kodak Gallery, and Fuji Masterpiece awards.

Mary will deliver her #BeMoreSuccessful program at ImagingUSA 2015, where she'll illuminate us on her effective marketing, sales and public relations practices. Consider this AMA as a chance to get to know an IUSA speaker before you get to the big show.

For the uninitiated, an AMA is a simple online conversation where you will have the opportunity to ask Mary anything you'd like (mostly photography stuff) and she'll be able to respond at her own pace! It's an awesome way to really get a sense of who someone is, and an even better way to ask a true professional anything your heart desires (mostly photography stuff). After the success of Booray's AMA we're extremely excited to see where this one goes!

On September 22, just start asking your questions, and let the conversation begin!

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You can see it now can't you? You're up on stage in the lights. Dozens to hundreds of photographers

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 stare up at you, wide-eyed with their pen to paper. You move one to tears. Another gives you a hug after your program.

Well quit dreaming and make it happen!

If you've got something to share with your fellow photographers, PPA is looking for speakers for Imaging USA 2016 in Atlanta! And why not you?

If you are a professional photographer that likes spreading the wisdom you've accumulated over the years in the trenches, we'd love to hear from you.

Imaging USA is one of the largest photography events of the year. You will speak to a crowd that genuinely wants new ideas and has a desire to learn all about the latest in the photography world. Think of this as a chance to gain exposure for yourself and to contribute your voice to an industry in need of your passion.

Some of the biggest names in photography speak each year at Imaging USA and yours could be among them. The Über-successful Allison Tyler Jones, CPP, of Allison Tyler Jones Photography in Mesa, Arizona, will return to Imaging USA to share her business knowledge. What's her motivation to give back?

"I wanted to cut through the typical hype of the one-size-fits-all promises of 'quick and easy tips to instant success,'" she said. "I want everyone who attends my lecture to leave with their heads bursting with ideas on how they can make their business better in their own, unique way."

So... think you have something to offer your fellow photographer? Do you have a passion to give back?

As an organization that's constantly working to raise the bar in the photographic industry, PPA wants to work with speakers who also embrace and project this image. If you are interested in speaking, please submit your application to ImagingUSA.org/Speaker-Application by Friday, October 3, 2014, 6 p.m. ET. Submissions will be reviewed by the speaker selection committee, with selections made in December.

Imaging USA 2016 will be held Jan. 10-12, 2016, in Atlanta, Georgia.

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As a professional photographer, you understand that continuing your education is imperative to stay competitive in today's changing landscape. Unfortunately, sometimes that education comes at a pretty high price--workshops can add up!

Fortunately PPA is offering scholarships for four lucky members to take in all of the ideas of Imaging USA pre-con workshops! These are the classes that happen Thursday, Friday and Saturday leading up to the show in Nashville. No matter where you are in your career, there's a class for you. Dive into some business basics, or get new ideas with posing, lighting, and business gurus from across the industry!

Many of these classes are hands-on, so instead of just watching from the audience, you'll be able to capture images of your own and learn firsthand what to do while shooting newborns, boudoir, and everything in between. In these smaller, more personal classes, your instructors are there to help you bridge the gap between passion and profession while having tons of fun. And, with the PPA Kickstart Scholarship, it's on the house!

Check out the wide range of pre-con classes here and see which one will help you kickstart your Imaging USA experience here!

To apply for the scholarship, you must be a PPA member and you can't have received a previous Kickstart Scholarship. Applications are due by November 21, 2014. We'll select the winners by December 5, 2014 and will announce them publicly on December 10. So hop to it!

To apply for the 2015 Kickstart Scholarship, visit http://www.ppa.com/scholarship2015

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We're headed to Nashville, y'all! Join us for Imaging USA 2015 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort February 1 - 3. Now, we'd like to think the Gaylord Orpyland is pretty awesome, but instead of telling you about all of it's amazing features, we'd rather just show you! 

Meet John, he'll be your guide on this whirlwind tour of our 2015 home! 

Once you're done checking out the video, visit imagingusa.org/register to get signed up with an All Access pass! We can't wait to see you there!



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Acclaimed wedding photographer and Imaging USA speaker Booray Perry stopped by PPA's member-only online community, theLoop, last week for an AMA and it was awesome. He waxes poetic about any and everything--from his "desire" to be a doctor to mastering bounce flash in order to shoot weddings more effectively. It's an awesome and illuminating conversation which you members should absolutely check out. (Sorry, members only!)

We've selected 5 of our favorite quotes from the conversation if you missed out: 

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"I did not fake the moon landing. Not officially."

"I remember feeling pretty good when a fellow photographer asked me to shoot his wedding. I had a successful business already and happy clients but when a fellow pro trusts you with their wedding, that's a pretty good validation that you might know what you're doing."

"The first time I booked a Bar Mitzvah I told the client, "I've never shot a Bar Mitzvah." She said, "That's okay, I've seen your wedding work." I felt pretty good that she felt my expertise was such that I could be trusted with a job that was totally new to me."

"You have to sell yourself. It's hard to be a wedding photographer if you are the shy type. People want someone who they think will be good, but also fun to have around for 7 hours. I've talked to photographers who complain that they just aren't getting booked and I think, "Dude, I can't talk to you on the phone for 10 minutes without starting to pray for the sweet release of death to spare me from your uncanny Deputy Dog-like demeanor."

"This may sound hokey, but I like that I get paid to work at weddings and Bar Mitzvahs where there is fun and celebration and love. It's not a bad place to spend your time. " :)

If you want to learn from someone who is passionate about what he does and is willing to speak freely about his tips on being a successful photographer, check out the full conversation here. (theLoop is an exclusive, online community for photographers to discuss privately their problems and solutions. Join PPA to get in theLoop!)

And make sure you stop by Booray's program at Imaging USA!

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Imaging USA 2015 speaker, Booray Perry, CPP has signed up for a dangerous assignment--he's going to be our very first subject in theLoop's Ask Me Anything on August 20 & 21! There
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 are two really obvious questions you might have right off the bat: 

First, what's a Booray? (It's ok - he gets this all the time.) Booray is a Cajun name. This particular Booray is an accomplished wedding and portrait photographer based in Tampa, Florida. He started his journey in photography in 8th grade and started with football games and pep rallies for the yearbook. Now he's a Certified Professional Photographer that recently went Bronze at the International Photographic Competition. We'd like to think that's a bit of an improvement from Chess Club Vice-President. He's a fun-loving, ukulele-playing photography machine. Read up on his bio here.

On Monday at Imaging USA 2015, he'll deliver his "Wedding Photography: Prepare to Succeed" program (here's the link to the full course description)! 

Second, what's an Ask Me Anything (AMA)? An AMA is a simple conversation where you can ask the "me" anything. In this case, try to keep it  photography related, but really anything goes! We're excited to make a place for you to get to know your Imaging USA speakers before February. There will be a discussion in the ImagingUSA community on theLoop, and Booray will take all of your questions Wednesday, August 20 and Thursday, August 21st! 

Start asking your questions - we can't wait to see what sort of great things you'll have to ask one of the most fun-loving photographers at Imaging USA!

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Written by guest blogger, Danielle Brooks 

It's crazy to think that six months ago I was wandering around the expo floor in Phoenix wondering about the future. If you had told me in January that come June I would be working full-time for Danielle Brooks Photography, I would have called you a liar. I honestly cannot believe that in six months' time, I went from a steady 9-5 job to the crazy world of being a business owner. It has been a good ride so far, but it would not have been possible without the lessons I learned at Imaging USA. 

There were 3 big takeaways for me at Imaging USA: 

1). Don't give away the digitals

This was a big one for me to learn. When I first started out doing photography part-time, I just had one price and that included everything. It worked for me and was easy. 

But then I heard a lot of controversy about this at Imaging. Most people frown on giving the digitals because your sale stops there. I didn't really understand it at the time because I had no way of selling prints to people. Over time, I found a printer I loved, and began showcasing photos to clients online so they can make purchases.  

I know most people with studios would say online sales isn't the way to go, but they work for me right now and it's a good way for me to get my feet wet in selling products. Plus I don't have a studio, and I would also argue that it's better than giving away the digitals. 

2). SEO is king

Most people find me via Google. My business is slowly spreading by word of mouth, but I am proud to say that I don't spend money to advertise on Google. I show up on page two thanks to a class I took on SEO at Imaging. The tips and tricks I learned there were key to getting my website to climb the Google ladder. I have done a lot of personal research beyond that class but it was the kick-start I needed. 

About 75% of my business comes from the work I've put into SEO and helping people find me before they find my competition. Researching SEO has also opened my eyes to all the classes PPAedu has for PPA members. I am currently working my way through classes on finance. This is a great resource for photographers. If you haven't looked into it, you're missing out.

3). One size does NOT fit all

Just because you take classes and learn from professionals in the field doesn't mean it's right for you or your business. It's almost like having a child. You can get advice from your parents and friends, but ultimately you know what's best for you and your child. 

I remember calling my husband from Imaging all freaked out because I didn't have studio and couldn't do in-person sales. We researched options for doing in-home sales, but the thought of doing that freaked me out. I wasn't ready, but I didn't say "never". 

Since then, I found a system that really works for me. I educate clients on print products from their first phone call through the last email. I can definitely see doing in-person sales in the future, but it has to be an organic growth and can't be forced or it will not be successful. 

I learned an incredible amount of information at Imaging USA and I cannot wait to go to Nashville next year. Who knows where I'll be in another six months! If you haven't already registered for Imaging USA in Nashville, do yourself a favor and do it now! It is such a great resource for photographers. You will not regret your decision. 

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Every year, PPA strives to bring education on the latest photography and business techniques to Imaging USA. We believe that there's great education for any type of photographer at Imaging USA--from wedding to commercial photography, the class tracks cover it all!

 

If you've got a certain photographic specialty you know you want to learn more in, you can easily sort the Imaging USA schedule by class track to be sure not to miss anything during the convention. It's a great way to plan your education schedule for Imaging USA 2014 in Phoenix. 

 

One such track is the aforementioned Wedding track. True to its name, this track is built specially for wedding photographers and will continue to advance your knowledge in these areas. 

 

The first available wedding class is the pre-convention Business Basics Workshop for Wedding Photographers. In this intimate, two-day setting, you'll assess the competitive wedding landscape and acquire those necessary, but too often avoided, business skills. Instructors , CPP, and , CPA, will walk you through the financial, tax and legal requirements of running your business, so that you are confident and legally compliant. It's a great way to kick-start the convention as well as your business in 2014.

 

Then, once the convention officially starts on Sunday, you can start your day by learning the art of capturing a moment from acclaimed wedding photographer, Ross Oscar Knight. In Moments Not Poses, Ross will teach you the three key components to document candid moments.

 

The rest of Sunday is open for you to explore other areas or the EXPO floor, but three wedding classes are on tap for Monday. Start your morning with a live demo class with . In Helping Others See, you'll learn the tried and true techniques from one of the world's top wedding photographers.

 

Next, you can learn tactics to establish a consistent workflow in Discovering Your Personal Vision with . Then finish-off your day with award-winning wedding photographer Roberto Valenzuela's Expand Your Vision by Gaining Control of Any Situation or Challenge.

 

On Tuesday, you'll be faced with the difficult decision of starting your day between two 8 a.m. wedding sessions.  will teach you how to Transform Your Studio and Unleash Your Greatest Potential while Carrie Wildes, CPP, offers the wide-spanning Build Relationships, Book Weddings, Get Published. Cap everything off with Photo Video Fusion from Vanessa Joy and Rob Adams.

 

Remember, these are just a few of the great classes you'll find at Imaging USA--there are so many more if you want to broaden your scope! Be sure to check the entire Imaging USA schedule and download the mobile app to customize your schedule. If you haven't registered yet, view all the Imaging USA registration options and pick the one that's right for you.

 

Read more about Imaging USA:

 

IUSA14 Class Track: School, Sports & Events

Your Tracks to Success at Imaging USA

#IUSA14 - 10 Things To Do in Phoenix

Someone Said Attending Imaging USA Is A No Brainer... Why? - Here are Ten Reasons to Attend

#IUSA14 - Hotels, Travel and Registration

Looking Ahead and Becoming Full-on Pro with Steve Kozak at Imaging USA

Be More Educated with #IUSA14 Pre-Con Classes

Pro Tips for Imaging USA

#IUSA14 Phoenix Overview Video

 

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Written by guest blogger, Danielle Brooks of St. Augustine, Florida as posted on theLoop.

The moment I booked my hotel it all set in. I was going to Imaging USA in Phoenix, Arizona. What in the world was I thinking!? How am I supposed to navigate a city I've never been to? I'm going to a conference where I know no one, and I'm pretty certain I will be the most inexperienced person ever to attend Imaging USA. Ok, maybe the last part isn't true, but it is definitely an overwhelming feeling to know I'll be in the company of some of the most experienced professionals in the field. 

You know how there are 5 stages of grief? Well I have officially run the gamut of emotions to know there are 5 stages of attending the Imaging USA conference. Here is my list of stages and what I did to overcome/prepare for them. 

1. Enthusiastically Overjoyed- As I said before, it wasn't until I booked my hotel that it set in that I was really going to the Imaging USA conference. A huge dorky smile spread across my face and I started jumping up and down. AHHHHHH!!!! I'M REALLY GOING! This is just what I need. This is just what my business needs! I cannot believe I'm going to have the chance to learn from the biggest and best names in photography!

2. Self-doubt/Nausea- It has set in. I am going to Imaging USA. Am I really prepared for this? I have never been to a photography conference before. How will I know where to go? What to do? Who to meet? I'm not qualified to go to this big of a conference. I live in the small city of St. Augustine, Florida (and proud of it) what am I doing flying across the country for a conference? My business isn't big enough for something like this. What was I thinking? I can't do this. When I looked at all the speakers and their accomplishments I felt deflated. I've never won any awards for my work. No one knows my name outside of Florida. These thoughts become so oppressive I felt like a little kid being pulverized by bullies. I finally grew a pair and said, "No more." I will not be limited by my doubts and fears. It is scary as hell for a photographer to fly across the country and attend their first conference. Money and time is on the line. They are the most expensive thing you can gamble with. I will not waste this time. I started feeding myself positive thoughts. I can do this. I am just as worthy as any other photographer to attend this conference. And slowly I rose from the ash of self-doubt and the nausea subsided. 

3. Acceptance- This stage was the shortest and simplest for me. I'm really going. Now what?

4. Prepare/ Nesting- Nesting is usually a term applied to women getting ready to have a child. And I guess going to Imaging USA is like having a kid. You are spending all this time and money to go to a conference, you don't want to waste your time and money. For me this meant research. I quickly found the Imaging USA Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts and followed/liked all of them. Next I started googling for reviews of the conference. What was the best thing that happened last year? What cool off beat things were there to do? What kind of swag did they get? The best way to prepare is to learn from others who have gone before you and to glean their gems of wisdom. I learned I should bring my own water bottle, it saves a ton of money instead of buying your own. I read a great blog that called the reader to analyze what they wanted/needed for their business before they stepped foot in the expo center. The reason for this is that you are walking into the biggest toy box of your life and you need a game plan or else you'll spend way too much money. For me, my plan is to find a printing company and to start offering print packages to clients. I also learned to bring a notebook and write down what I liked/disliked about each company. I will get so many flyers and information that by the time I get to my hotel room I will have a hard time remembering the little details about a company. 

5. Anticipation- I am bouncing back and forth between this stage and Stage 4. I am so looking forward to the conference. I am nervous/excited/expectant/overwhelmed. I am most excited about the adventurous possibilities a new town/conference will bring me. I am also eager to learn more about photography and business and how to apply that to my situation. I am glad this is happening at the beginning of the year. That way I can set new goals for myself and my business and have a whole year to implement them. I am 100% sure this will revolutionize the way my business operates. Most of all I am certain it will give me the confidence I need to follow through on everything I learn. 

Hopefully if you are a first timer to the Imaging USA conference this blog will help you to know you are not alone. It's ok to be scared, but do not allow that fear to paralyze you. Also, I'm sure you, like me are looking for a buddy to hang out with. Feel free to comment or connect with me. I would love to meet new friends. If you have gone to Imaging USA or any other conference for that matter, don't be an elitist. Take us under your wing. Introduce us to your friends. Pass on your knowledge to the next generation. Encourage us newbies. You are who we are really hoping to connect with. We would love to get a drink with you and learn from your experience. After all you were in our shoes at some point.
First things first! Register for Imaging USA 2014! Done? Okay, keep reading.

Gearing up for the desert heat yet? Well no need! We're going in January so it will be pleasantly in the low 70s--comfortable enough for you to explore Phoenix and the surrounding area. We recently sent a few staff out to Phoenix to sniff out some of the best local sights, sounds and snacks and will have a video coming soon with what they found.

But for now, here are a few options for your precious spare time at Imaging USA 2014. Keep reading to find some of the more fun and unique Phoenix-offerings.

1.) Be a Zookeeper for a Day

Zoos are pretty rad, but they're all pretty much the same, right? Well, the Phoenix Zoo is a pretty hip place. They host cool events like Rock 'n' Brew and even got their animals in on their version of the Harlem Shake. Plus, they're a non-profit just like PPA!

Also, we know you've walked around and seen someone feeding a baby penguin and thought, dang, what a cool job! Well apparently, at the Phoenix Zoo, you can do that (not the penguin part, but fingers crossed). No information is currently available on their website, but here's to hoping they bring it back!

2.)  Take a Hike!

Ditch the valley for a bit and climb around the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. The Phoenix Mountain's offer enjoyable day hikes without even having to leave the city limits.

First there's Papago Park. The park features the aforementioned zoo, the Desert Botanical Garden, giant saguaro cacti, ponds, and geological formations like the Hole in the Rock.

There's South Mountain Park, the largest city park in the U.S., which features Mount Suppoa and Dobbins Lookout and houses an impressive chuckwalla population.

If you're looking for more of a challenge, give Camelback Mountain a try. Two trails over a mile long ascend 1,280 feet to the peak of the mountain, the highest in the region. Give yourselves a good 2-3 hours for this one.

Lastly, there's Piestewa Peak, formerly known as Squaw Mountain. The second-highest mountain in the range takes its name from SPC Lori Piestewa, the first woman to be killed during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq and the first-ever Native American woman in history to die while serving in the U.S. military. Take in views of the Phoenix valley and the surrounding mountains from the peak.

3.)  Shoot From Above

As photographers, you've probably all had days where you struggle to find a higher vantage point to shoot from. And if you're trying to shoot something as expansive as the Sonoran Desert, you'll want to get nice and high. But don't try to climb a cactus, we're talking higher. Like hot air balloon high.

Get carried away with Hot Air Balloon Expeditions, America's best and largest hot air balloon tour operation. We recommend taking a sunrise or sunset ride. Make it as romantic as you like, but, you know, bring your camera.

4.)  Bring Out Your Inner Cowboy

Are you after a true Wild West experience? Look no further than Western Destinations, located north of Phoenix at Canyon Creek Ranch. You can go horseback riding, stroll an authentic old western town, try the tomahawk toss and even duel the Governor for his daughter. No, seriously.

Just read this excerpt from their website:

At Western Destinations we represent a time when people were free, self-reliant and connected to nature. A time when the brave and adventurous left the humdrum of life in settled society behind and set off for the unexplored western frontier. As our guest, you too can experience the thrill of nature and the rugged beauty of the Sonoran Southwest the same way the original cowboys did.


Yep, we're in!

5.)  Take a Desert Tour...Day or Night...in a Hummer


So maybe hiking or horseback riding isn't your thing. All good. You can still ride around the desert like a boss in a military vehicle at Desert Storm Hummer Tours.

Once voted one of the Top 100 Adventure Tours in America by National Georgraphic, DSHT have provided exciting off-road tours through the Sonoran Desert since 1995. There are several different options to explore the desert. Daytime tours can include shooting off some AK-47 rounds or even a stop at Four Peaks Brewery to wash down the dust. Actually, you can even ditch the hummers and go straight for the guns and beer!

But for the REALLY adventurous, there's the Night Storm Tour. That's right, ride out and experience the desert at twilight with night vision goggles. Don't forget, most of desert wildlife is nocturnal! Sorry, no assault rifles or beer after dark.

6.)  Relax in a Pool & Spa...in the Outfield

By the time January rolls around, the Arizona Diamondbacks season will be long over whether they make the playoffs or not. But you can still experience Chase Field in a way no other baseball park can offer--in the pool.

No, you won't get to catch a home run ball, but the pool is available for rent year-round, it's the perfect way to cool-off after a long day at Imaging.

7.) Attend a Phoenix Coyotes Game

Did you watch this year's playoffs?! They were insane! No sport can match the intensity of hockey, a game in which players willingly lay their body in front of 100 mph slap shots, break their leg, and FINISH THE PLAY, have names as cool as Cal Clutterbuck and oh yeah, occasionally drop the gloves and fight.

The Phoenix Coyotes (yes, there's hockey in the desert) narrowly missed the playoffs this year, but boast one of the NHL's most exciting young rosters, led by all-star defenseman Keith Yandle. The Coyotes play at Jobing.com arena in nearby Glendale. The 2013-14 NHL schedule hasn't been released yet, but if the Coyotes are in town during Imaging, try to head on over for a game.

8.)  Find a New Instrument or Two, or 15,000

Museums are cool to see and all, but Phoenix has the most extraordinary museum you'll ever hear™. The Musical Instrument Museum is a bright and open space and home to 15,000+ instruments from around the world. Since photographers and musicians go together like peas and carrots, it's the perfect place to find some added inspiration while on your Imaging journey.

Obviously, music isn't just a visual experience, so you can hear them all too! But before you get a headache thinking about that many instruments playing at once, luckily that's not the case. The museum will provide you with a wireless headset (or you can bring your own) to take in the sounds of the museum. As you approach an instrument, you will enter a wireless hotspot which plays a solo or ensemble loop of music from that instrument accompanied with video.

It creates a unique experience that's personal and shared at the same time. So learn the history of the instruments you already love, educate yourself in the musical culture of other countries and who knows, maybe even find a new instrument that moves you. And yes, you can bang the gong.

9.)  Downtown Starts Here


Shop, eat, laugh, drink, dance, heck even bowl your way through CityScape Phoenix--the central hub of downtown.

There's Copper Blues rock pub & kitchen, heave your best gutter ball at Lucky Strike, work on your abs at Stand Up Live and grab some sushi at Squid Ink. Plus there are about 20 shops and restaurants to pick your way through. Best of all? It's right down the road from the Convention Center! Just use your feet.

10.)  Wherever You Go, Take 007 With You

Listen, we're big fans of everything listed above, but there's always a way to make it a bit better. And what better way than to take 007 himself, James Bond, out on the town with you?

You might recognize Dennis Keogh, and that's because he holds a striking resemblance to actor, Sean Connery. So much so in fact, that Keogh has made a career of impersonating Connery in his most famous role, as James Bond. You can hire him to bring some class to your evening, maybe even play a round of celebrity jeopardy.  

Just make sure the martini is shaken and not stirred.

So there it is, our little preview of some of Phoenix's hidden and not-so-hidden gems. Make sure you make the best of your spare time, and whenever you can, use the Light Rail to get around. It's quick, easy, and cheap!

See you at Imaging USA 2014! 


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