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By Chris Homer

Imaging USA 2016 in Atlanta is rapidly approaching. As you make preparations for the convention, consider signing up for a pre-convention class to increase your photographic education opportunities!
 
While Imaging USA has a whole host of classes included with your full-access registration covering topics that all photographers can learn from during the convention from January 10-12, there are also additional classes occurring from January 7-9. These pre-convention classes require an additional fee, but the class sizes are limited to smaller groups, meaning you'll get more one-on-one attention from the instructor! 

Pre-convention classes range from multiple day workshops, like PPA's Business Workshop or the Certification Preparation Class, to full day classes on topics like using Lightroom, learning Corel Painter, getting your images ready for the International Photographic Competition, and more! 

Plus, there's also Hands-On pre-convention classes, where you'll go out on a photo shoot with the instructor and practice the skills you are taught with your camera! These classes are shorter, so you can attend multiple classes during the day and get all the hands-on practice you want.
 
Find the complete list of pre-convention classes on the Programs By Day page on imagingusa.org. Make the most of your educational opportunities at Imaging USA and sign up for one today!

Visit imagingusa.org for more information on registering, hotels, travel and more. 


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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.


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Can you believe August is half over?! Where has our summer gone? We hope you've spent yours doing good things, building your business and learning new tips and tricks. To add to that list, here's our top ten blog posts of the week for you!

MOTIVATION: Put an end to being green with envy and put into action a plan that will get you there. Whether it's your perfect session, returning clients or just more revenue, you can do it if you take the first step. See how Rachel Brenke of theLawTog makes it happen.

CONTENT IS KING: High school photographers know more than anyone how important it is to keep active on social media. The problem is, all of that activity can take up a lot of your time. See how you can repurpose that great content with this blog by Nancy Nardi from Seniors Ignite. 

LIGHTING: Many photographers preach the joys of soft lighting, but there's a case to be made for hard light. Join Chris Gampat on an exploration of hard light and the benefits your images will see by using it. 

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS: The contract is signed, the deposit is in, and now your client is making extra demands. Everyone can use a refresher on how to say "no" effectively (and politely). Here's a video from Imaging Resource and Ted Forbes from the Art of Photography that provides an excellent guide on how to say no, but keep your clients happy!

PERSPECTIVE: It's always a goal of a landscape photographer to showcase the expansive space they are trying to capture, but how do you do that effectively? Read this great article from Spencer Cox on Photography Life and discover the six ways to showcase the size and scope of your subjects.

MARKETING 101: Being able to reach your target consumer in an easy and effective manner is extremely important. The fine folks at FStoppers are here to give you three ways to better target your marketing materials to your ideal consumer in this must-read blog post.  

PLANNING: If you've got your eyes set on a great trip to Atlanta in January, you might want to book your hotel sooner than later. Atlanta is a busy convention destination, especially in the winter months and room prices outside of the Imaging USA block can get pricey! Find a roommate and grab a room at one of the four official convention hotels today!

PODCAST: Booray Perry, Cr.Photog., CPP & Gary Hughes, M.Photog.Cr., are back for Photobomb! They talk about all things IPC related, and chat it up with PPAedu and Imaging USA speaker Jen HIlenga, M.Photog.Cr.! This podcast is full of shenanigans and photography, so if you need an entertaining podcast for the car, check them out. 

SHIFT PERSPECTIVE: This is a great article that puts this paradox into perspective: it's not because millions of photos are taken each day that professional photography is declining. It's about the younger generation's thirst to create a proof of our presence on this planet. Take a moment and see what you think about the author's perspective from PhotoShelter.

See How the Indemnification Trust Helped This PPA Photographer
MALPRACTICE PROTECTION: The Indemnification Trust is a mouthful, but it can save your business. Learn what the Trust provides in this video to see where Abbie, a PPA photographer, explains how she was affected and how she was able to get out of a sticky situation. 

There you have it, our favorite posts of the week! What photography blogs or podcasts do you follow? Post your favorites on theLoop or email them to us at OnlineContentCommittee (at) PPA (dot) com.

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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 Sarahs in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming 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 Sarah Ackerman

Save yourself the trouble of searching for a good rate - PPA has already done the work and negotiated discounted rates for you during Imaging USA! And there is a variety of options to suit everyone's needs. 

Omni Hotel at CNN Center

Stay attached to the action! Luxurious comfort embraces pure style at the elegant, four-diamond Omni Hotel at CNN Center with views of the spectacular downtown skyline. Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, this hotel is also connected to the Georgia World Congress Center (Imaging USA's home!) by an enclosed walkway, making it the most convenient and incredibly comfortable option; we should add that it's connected to the CNN Center with its large food court and major Atlanta attractions are within a short walking distance. 

Hyatt Regency Atlanta Hotel

The Hyatt Regency is a landmark destination on Peachtree Street in Atlanta. In 2011, the hotel completed a $65 million transformation that renewed its look and feel, but also its dining experience, technology and functionality. Some of the amenities include complimentary internet in guest rooms! The Hyatt Regency is also located within blocks of many downtown restaurants and attractions and Atlanta's metro, MARTA. 

Bonus: while the Hyatt is an easy walk from Imaging USA, as January isn't the warmest month in Atlanta, there will be a courtesy shuttle bus provided to the Georgia World Congress Center for Imaging USA guests!

Holiday Inn Express Atlanta Downtown

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Atlanta Downtown is a 173 guest room property conveniently located within walking distance to Atlanta's best attractions and just blocks from the Georgia World Congress Center. Holiday Inn offers a complimentary full hot breakfast, wireless internet, local calls, and all rooms are equipped with microwave, mini fridge and coffee maker. There also is a business center and fitness center for your personal use at no charge! 

The Glenn Hotel, a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel

Located in Atlanta's Downtown business district, and extremely walkable to the Georgia World Congress Center, the Glenn is an urban boutique hotel. You'll feel fancy schmancy as you stay in this reasonably priced hotel (thank you Imaging USA discounts!) Rooms include complimentary wireless internet access, ample working space and a warm ambiance, business center usage, fitness center, bottled water and coffee each morning. Plus since it's a part of the Marriott family, you can earn points or use them towards your stay.

As you're preparing for your trip, we also wanted to bring to your attention a few scams we've heard about as of late. It has been brought to our attention that there are multiple third parties claiming to represent Imaging USA and offering Exhibitors and Attendees alike "assistance" with hotel bookings. These third parties are aggressively cold-calling and spamming companies whose names appear on ImagingUSA.org. Please be aware, these third parties are not in any way affiliated with Imaging USA and do not give you the best discount, like Imaging USA gets you. Please book your hotel using the links/phone number provided at ImagingUSA.org/Travel/Hotel. PPA is working through the proper channels to put an end to this poaching and apologizes for their deceptive behavior. Here are some of the scams we've heard about that you should be aware of. ImagingUSA.org/Scams.

Visit ImagingUSA.org to book your hotel and register for the conference. We can't wait to see you in Atlanta!

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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 Sarahs in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming 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

If you're looking to improve as a photographer, one of your best opportunities for learning, networking and shopping is Imaging USA 2016, from January 10-12, 2016, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. Registration is now open!

If you've never attended Imaging USA before, you might be wondering what the big deal is. Hosted by PPA, this is the most established professional photography convention out there. Major components of Imaging USA are the three-day Imaging Expo trade show, several all-inclusive parties and presentations by some of the biggest names in the photographic industry and a keynote speaker who is sure to make an impact. Imaging USA's photography and business classes are geared to improve a photographers skills, photographic repertoire and use of technologies. It's a jam-packed three days full of education and fun with thousands of your fellow photographers! The most passionate bunch can even add pre-convention sessions to take their learning experience to the next level.

Go to ImagingUSA.org/REG to check out the different options and pricing for PPA members, PPA Student Members and Non-Members. (Hint: if you're not with PPA, consider the Join & Go option, as it waives your 2016 Imaging USA registration fee!) Be sure to register by December 8, 2015 for the lowest rates! After that date, prices will increase. 

Go ahead, register today and see how attending Imaging USA can help you Be More Business-Savvy! Find all the details on classes, special events, hotels and more at ImagingUSA.org.


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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.



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By: Lauren Walters

Ready to take the plunge into Imaging USA? First, stay up to date with what's happening in the world of photography. Read our top ten favorite blog posts and use them as conversation starters at the convention!

1.       5 Tips for Successfully Marketing Yourself at an Industry Trade Show

PERSONAL BRAND: Headed to Imaging USA next week? Get a head start! Learn how to market yourself successfully for when you're walking around at the Expo. The first step is to plan, plan, and plan again!

2.       Why Sports Illustrated Laid Off All of its Photographers

LAYOFFS: For a magazine so heavily reliant on its high-quality images, we were surprised to learn that Sports Illustrated laid off their entire staff of six photographers. A cut of photographers of this scale hasn't happened since The Chicago Sun-Times cut their 28-staffed photographers in 2013. Is history repeating itself?

3.       Joshua Kane: Running a Destination Wedding Photography Business

DESTINATION PHOTOGRAPHER: PPA photographer Joshua Kane gets paid to travel the world and photograph destination weddings. Although Joshua is living the dream, it's not always a vacation. Read about the challenges and benefits of a destination photography business.

4.       Pixels to Paint: Mixing Photography and Printmaking Yields Beautiful Results

MIXED MEDIA: How would a printmaker involve photography in their process? After mixing digital and print mediums, a hybrid medium was born. Check out a lithographer's approach to digital photography.

5.       India Through a Lens: The Nation Embraces Photography as Art

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY: India has always been rich in imagery, but not so involved in the art of photography. After their first photography festival four years ago in New Deli, India has become more present in the photography scene. Check out breath-taking images showcasing the exotic Indian lifestyle.

6.       Study Finds that Professionally Captured Photos Are More Memorable Than Amateur Ones

DUH! (THANKFULLY): According to the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), people can distinguish a professional from an amateur photographer. The researcher who conducted this study used special equipment to record the subject's eye movements when exposed to photographs. Check out other conclusions they drew from this experiment.

7.       Johnson Publishing to Sell Historic Photo Archive

ARCHIVES: Hoping to raise funds, the publisher of Ebony magazine is selling their entire photo archive. This collection dates back to 1945 including historic and award-winning photography. Find out more about this collection.

8.       Street Photography: It All Comes Down to Editing

EDITING: As a street photographer, you can shoot anytime, anywhere! Where the structured schedule is lacking, the photographer picks up the slack when it comes to editing. Why would one have to heavily edit street photography? Read more to find out!

9.       Photographer Suing Nike Over the Origins of the Famous Jordan "Jumpman" Logo

COPYRIGHT: Learn about Nike's "jumpman" logo legend. Was there a photograph behind this genius design for inspiration? If so, does the photographer deserve to be compensated?

10.   Photographer Captures Enchanting Landscapes Inspired by The Brothers Grimm

INSPIRATION: We all know those beloved fairytales from our childhood. How about capturing the landscapes that inspired the original Grimm's fairy tales?

Check back with us next week for more top blogs. Any interesting blogs you'd like us to check out, let us know on theLoop!

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By: Lauren Walters 

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This week, take a stand as a photographer. Sign a petition or commend those who give back. Check out the top ten blog posts from this week.

PUBLISHING: Do you walk through book stores scrutinizing book cover photography? Maybe you could do it better? Join a stock agency to get your work out in the world! Read more to find out what it takes to sign with a stock agency.

CONVENTIONS: Learn how to prep for conventions like Imaging USA. Which preconvention events pique your interest? Read this "must see" list of events for Imaging USA. Get ready, the fun starts next week! 

GRIEF PHOTOGRAPHY: After diagnosed with a severe heart condition before birth, the parents of this child turned to a non-profit organization "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep".  The experience for both the parents and photographer was an emotional one. However, the portraits helped the parents cope and aided the healing process. 

TUTORIAL: Shooting on a sunny day? Perfect your photos by capturing all the tones in your shot. This blog explains how to punch up your photography using dramatic range.

PHOTOGRAPHY FEES: In Fairfax County Park, authorities enforced a $100 fee for commercial photography back in 2011. Why? The park was overrun with publicity due to weddings and other commercial photography. Will they finally reconsider?

PETITION: Are you using a left-handed camera made for a right-handed photographer? Well, you just might be in luck! Sign the petition on Change.org petition to request that Canon designs a left-handed camera.

COMPOSITION: If you're off to a coast anytime soon, these quick tips from Digital Photography School will help you make the most of any seascape photographs. Learn the rules, and learn when to break them here!

DECISION TIME: In business (and in life) we all get caught up in the process of making decisions. Imaging USA speaker Jeffrey Shaw is back on his podcast with Brian Whetten and they are here to guide you through the process of finding big wins in your decision process. Your weekend can always use a little more inspiration!

EDUCATION: What should we be learning as photographers? The question is: are we learning it? Read about the parallels drawn from music to photography education. 

PROFESSIONAL vs. AMATEUR: Educate your potential clients with PPA's #PhotoFails video. Showcase simple mistakes that can ruin their experience with an inexperienced photographer.  

Tune in for next week's Round Up! If you have a blog you want us to check out, let us know on theLoop!

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By Chris Homer

A third generation photographer, Luke Edmonson has the craft in his blood! He's been a
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 professional photographer for nearly 20 years, starting out in commercial photography and then teaming up with his father in 2003 to create Edmonson Weddings. We chatted with Luke about defining style, his career as a photographer, what inspires him and more. Here's the recap of the interview:

1. What would you say is the biggest difficulty people usually face in defining their style?
The biggest difficulty in finding a style is finding your own voice and doing the work to discover who you are and what you want to say. It's not simply a matter of the type of photography you like or admire. It's not simply your ability to execute what you want when creating your imagery. You have to know the "Why" behind what you are communicating.

It's about understanding and knowingly pursue what is behind your vision when you are capturing a moment, your subjects, how you light, direct or pose them. So, an artistic style, at its very core, requires introspection. Something that as individuals many of us do not want to do. It requires you to become still...to be quiet...to reflect with intent.

I like this quote from Katherine Anne Porter, Pulitzer Prize winning author, who says succinctly "You do not create a style. You work, and develop yourself, and your style is an examination from your own being."

Let's examine that for a minute...

a. You don't create a style? Then what is all this talk about "finding your style" or "creating your style" that you hear bantered about? Perhaps it's just marketing speak to make it more palpable to the audience who is listening. Who wants to hear about work when the world sells us on the premise of "easy, fast and simple"? But don't for a second betray yourself to think that discovering something is easy. Especially when it involves learning about yourself. What is it that you bring to each photo shoot that shapes the direction of the imagery you capture?

b. You work and develop yourself? Yep, it's a never-ending process of growth periods, plateaus, and sometimes darker times. When things get stagnant, it's up to you to make the changes necessary to break through. When you are on top of the world it's about fighting complacency. None of us ever have it all truly figured out. However, with growth and development, some challenges as a photographer that may have taken hours to solve visually can be solved in mere minutes, once you've had that proverbial light-bulb moment.

c. Your style is an examination from your own being? Like most of us, you probably became a photographer when you fell in love with it. Perhaps, it was because of its immediacy. Perhaps it was because of how it made your feel when people complimented your early eye. But now that you have been in it for longer, what keeps you in the field? What drives you to create? When you look back on your work, what patterns and tendencies do you see? How have you transitioned from WHAT you see when you shoot but HOW you see, think and feel when you shoot? Have you had to persevere and overcome challenges in your photography? Your fingerprint is firmly implanted on every image you create. I encourage you to study it and understand it!

If you want to become a better photographer, it starts with becoming a better person. How can you pour out your life into others if there are areas in your own life that are holding you back from doing just that?
By Sarah Ackerman

Get to know hometown favorite, Russ Harrington before you hit the road to Imaging USA! Russ is an accomplished photographer, specializing in celebrity and musician clientele (we hear Nashville is a pretty awesome spot for that sort of thing). 

What made you want to get into photography? 
Our family always took pictures, so when I got my first 110 Kodak for Christmas, it was on!

What should people expect to take away from your class?
I'm going to show tons of photos! People will get to see different lighting ideas, how to work a location and what all goes into a celebrity shoot. Things they may not have thought of like renting RV's for the glam teams, working with assistants and what not. 

What is your favorite part of a photo shoot?
When the [music] artist gets on set and you do that first test. It all comes together at that point. You finally see how the light looks on your artist and not your assistants, you see the wardrobe you've picked for the setup. If it's a big shoot, we've built sets, pre-lit them and have wondered how the artist will fit in the vibe or world you've created. Sometimes, we might have 10 setups that we're doing that day. No matter what, I still get that cool feeling when I see the first shot pop up on the Mac.

 What do you enjoy about shooting with musicians?
I am, in general, a music fan. So getting to know them, photographing them and then being able to see your images represent them is a very special thing. Musicians just have a cool vibe, you want to capture that. You want to capture images that they love and that their fans love. Granted, some would rather be far away from a photo shoot, but they know it's one of those things they have to do. In the music industry, fresh images are a must. The bonus is they are generally more creative than the average client. Artists and celebrities are pros, they move like models and I just love shooting them.

 How did you get into the celebrity/musician market?
I photographed models for years so it was a natural progression. Fashion is all about the angles, the lighting, the location and wardrobe, and that's basically celebrity photography. I started showing my model portfolio to Christian Music Labels at first and started to shoot a ton of those. My big break was an editorial shoot with Trisha Yearwood, which I'll go into during my presentation. 

 What has been your favorite photo shoot of all time?
There's not a "favorite" necessarily, but I've had a lot of cool memories and images that I love every time I see them. I do have to say when Loretta Lynn calls you her photographer, that's pretty dang special. Brian Setzer is one of my favorites for sure, rockabilly singer and master guitar player from the Stray Cats. I could photograph him every day - he's just cool! I also got to do a big gig in LA for Dr. Pepper and Chelsea Handler. It was awesome, but I had butterflies for sure. 

What's the biggest mistake you made when you were just starting out?
You have to remember, I started shooting professionally in 1983. I've done some dumb things, but every year I tried to get better and make more money than the previous year. At one point I made a joke about an artist's hair that was pretty amazing and said "If I could afford a toupee like that, I'd be all over it!" Well, what do you know - it was a toupee. Whoops!

What's the best part about being a Nashville photographer?
This is my town! I grew up here, I met my wife here, we raised our boys here, and now to see what's happening with how popular Nashville is getting is crazy. We've put our loft on Airbnb.com and its awesome meeting folks from around the world that want to visit.

Country? Or... country?
I love the twang, I love a steel guitar, I love bluegrass, I love Jack White, I love Keb' Mo'. I just love music.

Join Russ for his class "Music & Celebrity Portraits" on Monday, February 2nd from 10 - 11:30 AM and discover how to manage the workflow when dealing with people in the spotlight. 

If you haven't registered for Imaging USA yet, there's still time! Head to ImagingUSA.org/Register today - we can't wait to see you in Nashville!

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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 around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming 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.

By: Lauren Walters

Itching for news in the world of photography? Here are our top ten blog posts for this week. From tips and tutorials to adventure and high art, this week's top ten is a creative cluster.

 

1.       Imaging USA: The Next Stage of Your Photography Career Begins Here!

EVENT: Become more knowledgeable, connected, and confident by attending Imaging USA. This convention hosted by PPA takes place on Sunday, Feb. 1 - Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, in Nashville, Tennessee. Read this article to find out about all the benefits it has to offer. Come join the fun at Imaging USA!

 

2.       The Consequences of Working for Free

BUSINESS: Relating the life of a photographer to a life of a circus performer, this blog shares a few concepts of working the circus life that seem all too familiar to us photographers. There is no publicity value in working for free. North America has a silly belief system that work should not be enjoyable, therefore we should only be paid if there isn't enjoyment. But, don't sell your skills for free just yet! Value your work and yourself as a professional. 

3.       How to Make Artistic Multiple Exposures In-camera and in Photoshop

TUTORIAL: Interested in expanding your portfolio with creative pieces? Try a multiple exposure piece! From abstract to artistic portraits, regardless of the medium, this tutorial covers it all when it comes to multiple exposures. Have fun experimenting!

4.       How I Learned to Stop Taking Photographs and Start Making Photographs

PARADIGM SHIFT: Going from taking photos to making art can be a huge step. A common struggle among learning photographers can be focusing on a shallow depth of field. As soon as you start to learn that photography is a story telling device is when you start "making" photos instead of "taking" them.

5.       Why Photographers Aren't Artists

ARTISTS vs. PROFESSIONALS: As a photographer, do you consider yourself an artist? This blog distinguishes creative individuals as craftsmen, artists, professionals and finally entrepreneurs. Furthermore, this blog explains that true artistic geniuses such as Beethoven no longer exist. Instead of artists, we've become professionals.

 

6.       Help Unravel a Gordon Parks Southern Mystery

HISTORY: They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The featured photograph dates back to 1956 in an Atlanta airport. Relations of race and gender are assumed through this intimate photograph. Although, the details of this photo still remain a mystery today.

7.       Help, I Am Being Sued for Nearly $500,000 by a Model I Photographed

COPYRIGHT PROTECTION: After signing a release, participating in the shoot and getting paid, a model decides to sue the photographer for the photos getting stolen. The model signed a release allowing her photos to be used as stock, but they got stolen off her personal Facebook page after posting them herself. You won't believe where the images wound up!

8.       Gotham 7.5K A Rare High Altitude Night Flight Above NYC

AERIAL, BY NIGHT: "Gotham From Above" was shot from a helicopter 7,500 feet above the ground of New York. Capturing aerial photographs can be quite a challenge; helicopters vibrate, so the photographer had to use a relatively high shutter speed. This project showcases the scale of New York City.

 

9.       Photographer armed with just a SWORD braves threat of wolves and -50C in Siberia to snap awe-inspiring Northern Lights images

-50C AURORA BOREALIS: Into the Siberian wilderness, a Russian photographer ventured to capture images of the Northern Lights. Because of temperatures (as low as -50C), the photographer designed a coat to protect his camera. We applaud this photographer for braving such harsh conditions for the sake of art. Take a look at the results!

 

10.   Stunning Photos of Acrobatic Dancer Leap and Twirl Amid Dynamic Clouds of Powder

COMMERCIAL VS. FINE ART: Check out this high art marketing campaign. An acrobat dances in a cloud of powdered milk to create the most stunning photography designed to sell creamer. Did this approach make you crave creamer?

 

Enjoy this week's blog posts? Check back next week for more excitement! If you have a blog you want us to check out, let us know on theLoop!

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By: Lauren Walters

           

Thom Rouse began his career in 1994. He now splits his time as a portrait and commercial photographer. With two diverse sides to his career, Thom has mastered the art of photography. In the following interview, he tells us about himself as an artist.

 

What is your definition of "fine art"?

 

I wouldn't dare try to define art! My thought is that if you have a personal experience with literature, music, a painting or a photograph, then it must be art. We don't really need to define it, agree on it, or consult a critic to decide what it means. If we have an experience with it, positive or negative, I think it must be art.

 

Who are some of the artists who inspire you?

 

There are many artists who inspire me and the list changes daily. Among those near the top of my list are Salvador Dali, Gustave Klimt and Tintoretto. Among photographers, I'd include Steichen, Julia Margaret Cameron, Gordon Parks and Irving Penn. As soon as I start a list, I can think of 30 more I should have added.

 

Why do you teach classes for other photographers?

 

        It sounds trite, but I like to teach because I learn so much from it. It pushes me to think and evaluate the things I think I know about my process and my craft. While teaching, I often have some self-revelation about my own image making and I always learn from other photographers, usually from the newest newbie in the room.

 

You've had over 50 images go Loan - what do you enjoy most about photographic competitions?

 

        My reasons for entering competition have changed over time. When I started, I was solely trying to make the judges happy and earn merits towards a degree. Once I earned my degrees, I tried to make and enter images that I liked the most and were unique to me. At that point, I stopped looking for what I thought would achieve the highest scores. If we're not learning from competition, I see no reason to compete. We all need to present our work and receive feedback; it's a part of our ongoing creative process. No matter where we are in our careers, photographic competitions guarantee to make us better image makers. The more we enter competition, the more we have to work at stretching ourselves. It pushes us to take chances and do work that advances our vision; not just entering images that will earn more merits.

 

What makes photography such a versatile medium of expression?

 

        It's great to be a photographer: a time when the medium has become more versatile than ever! I started later in life at 40 years old, but the 20 year span of my career has encompassed the transition from film to digital capture. As much as I loved the traditional darkroom, I came alive with digital post production. During that time it has become an entirely new medium that encompasses painting, compositing and extensive possibilities for post-capture manipulation. The technology has created endless opportunities, yet we have to remind ourselves that we still create images with our eyes, hearts and minds. That's what makes photography truly versatile.

 

Do you pursue any other creative endeavors?

 

        Sadly, I do not. I gave up music 30 plus years ago; although, I'm greatly inspired by other media. I fantasize projects in other media, but I've never acted on it.

 

What is your favorite image you've captured?

 

        I have several favorites because they were influenced by very personal experiences that captured, expressed and expanded those experiences. I think the best and most impactful work is done when it's grounded in your personal experience.

 

Who should take your class at Imaging USA?

 

I think that photographers in any genre and at any experience level will find something of value in my program. I'll be making the case for spending time on fine art and how fine art will translate into added success in commercial and portrait work. Creating and displaying fine art expands your reputation as an artist, and will contribute to both your image making skills and to your bottom line.

 

What are the top 3 things people should take away from your class?

 

1. Pursuing personal fine art will keep you fresh, alive and vibrant as an image maker.

2. These days everyone is a photographer - being recognized as an artist elevates your status and recognition in the market.

3. Fine Art translates into skills and styles that let you create work like no one else in your market.

 

Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Jack White?

This is trick question that should be answered with "all of the above". I know that Elvis and Johnny Cash have influenced nearly everyone that's followed, but my first choice for listening right now would be Jack White!

This must be a based on Nashville connections; otherwise I'd be voting "none of the above" and writing in Miles Davis!

Come listen to Thom speak at Imaging USA in Nashville, TN. He will conduct a course called "The Case for Fine Art" on February 1, 2015. Looking forward to seeing you there!

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By: Lauren Walters

Let's get to know one of our speakers who will be at Imaging USA in Nashville, Tennessee. JulieAnne Jonker has her master of photography and photographic craftsman degrees from PPA and is also a certified professional photographer (CPP). In the following interview, she sheds some light on her career as a photographer. 

Who's your class for?

Any photographer, really. It's about inspiration as much as what it takes to get your photography studio to the next level. I'll help you direct your business based on your definition of yourself as an artist

What are the top 3 takeaways from your class?

At the end of my class, you will be able to understand 3 things: 

1. Who you are as an artist

2. What direction you want to take your studio in 2015

3. How you can operate a low-volume, high-end studio in this economy

Define your style as a photographer in 5 words.

My style reflected in my photography is vintage, ethereal, classical, compelling and timeless.

What makes your portrait style so unique?

The influences that I continually derive from the fine art world shine through my work and define my photography style.

What is your favorite medium of expression besides photography?

Outside photography, there are two outlets I use to express myself: painting and sculpting.

What was your proudest photographic moment?

Being invited and voted into the Camera Craftsmen of America has to be my proudest moment as a photographer.

What is one marketing mistake many photographers make when they are first starting out?

Inexperienced photographers tend to compete on price, and price only, to get their foot in the door, but that presents them as cheap studios with too many sales and specials. 

What do you want to be known for?

As an artist I'd like to be known for creating timeless pieces.

Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Jack White?

Definitely, Jimi Hendrix.

JulieAnne has had a long streak of success. Learn from her at Imaging USA in Nashville! You'll have two opportunities to hear her speak: on the business panel "5 Golden Nuggets" and in her solo-class called "The Portrait as an Art Form"

If you haven't registered for Imaging USA, you can do so now at ImagingUSA.org/Register! We can't wait to see you in Nashville! 

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By Sarah Ackerman

This year at Imaging USA you will find a completely new thing... the Merit Café. There you'll find a series of short seminars, from Sunday to Tuesday, by the International Photographic Exhibit. These sessions are geared to getting you familiar with and better prepared for future photographic competitions ! This These 30-minute short format sessions are restricted to first come, first serve for seating. Get there early and soak up all of the knowledge you can from these amazing International Photographic Competition (IPC) experts! Questions will be more than welcome, so ask away!

Here's what's on tap:

Sunday, February 1
1pm "Using Titles [of your images] to Your Advantage" - Larry Lourcey
1:30pm "The Road to Becoming a [Image Competition]Judge"- Kimberly Smith
2:30pm "The Judging Process: How an Image Becomes a Merit" - Donna Goodhale
3pm "Print Presentation" - Carl Caylor
6:30pm "Becoming a Master Photographer" - Gabriel Alonso
7pm "What the Heck is the Artist Category?" - Doran Wilson

Monday, February 2
1pm "Using Titles to Your Advantage" - Larry Lourcey
1:30pm "The Road to Becoming a Judge" - Kimberly Smith
2:30pm "The Judging Process: How a Print Becomes a Merit" - Donna Goodhale
3pm "Print Presentation" - Carl Caylor
6:30pm "Recognizing Impact in Your Images" - Ryan Brown
7pm "12 Elements of a Merit Image" - Jeff Dachowski

Tuesday, February 3
11:30am "What the Heck is the Artist Category" - Doran Wilson
12:00pm "12 Elements of a Merit Image" - Jeff Dachowski
1:00pm "Becoming a Master Photographer" - Gabriel Alonso
1:30pm "Recognizing Impact in Your Images" - Ryan Brown

Please note: schedule subject to change. Follow @ImagingUSA on Facebook and Twitter for last minute show changes or download the Imaging USA mobile App!

PPA's District Competitions will be underway shortly after Imaging USA, so use this valuable opportunity to ask all of the questions that are causing road blocks to your future with photographic competitions. 

If you haven't registered for Imaging USA, you can do so now at ImagingUSA.org/Register! We can't wait to see you in Nashville! 

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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 around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming 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.


Are you still on the fence on attending Imaging USA? Don't just take our word on why it's so great, listen to why Sharma Ferrugia decided to attend and what she got out of it.
 

In addition to networking with over 10,000 of fellow photographers, exploring 600+ tradeshow booths and learning from some of the industry's best photographers, you also get to know you're starting 2015 off on the best foot possible! With Imaging USA, you're building your education for your business, inspiring your creativity and networking so you'll have the best support system possible when it comes to any challenges you face throughout the year. 

Registration is still open at ImagingUSA.org/Register. Remember, hotels are filling up fast! As a matter of fact, the Gaylord Opryland, the headquarter hotel, is 99% sold out! (This is not a marketing push, this is a fact). So here's a quick list of nearby properties. And as always, head over to theLoop to make new friends before you arrive, find a roommate or just ask any questions that might come up in your planning process!


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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 around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming 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 Sarah Ackerman

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

Prem is a wedding and portrait photographer from the great state of Michigan. After getting his degree in mechanical engineering, he spent the first 10 years of his career in corporate America before transitioning into running his studio full time. 

Prem puts the business into all sides of his photography studio - and that's clear in his AMA. By creating efficient systems and quick turnaround times, he is able to maximize profits!

Here are a few of our favorite moments with Prem: 

On what inspires him before a shoot (as a huge fan of social media, this struck a chord with me):
We primarily use Pinterest for inspiration before a shoot. It's quick and easy to use and seems to consist mostly of high quality professional photos as opposed to doing a Google image search.

On turnaround time:
First, I should put a disclaimer and say that we do not do a super-fast turnaround for all clients. Most clients of ours are local and we do the shoot one day and typically schedule the order session the next day they are available - which is sometimes the day after, sometimes a week after. For the clients that are really busy or for anyone coming from out of town...those are the times we do everything on the same day.
We usually do the shoot from 10am -11am, have them go grab lunch and come back at 1:30pm-2:00pm. By then everything is edited and the ProSelect gallery is made, and I've had time to eat lunch myself. 

On creating efficient systems:
For weddings, I cull things down quickly, do minor Lightroom adjustments for color, contrast, exposure to all the keepers, and then Photoshop the best 30 pics and then it's done.
For portraits we usually cull it down to about 40 shots and do full touchups including everything from skin softening to liquefy if needed.
People typically spend more when they are fully edited and look awesome! For the full portrait retouching, I use some various actions that allow me to do full retouching in 1-1.5 minutes per image so it doesn't take all that much time to get the work done.

Don't forget to stop by for Prem's class at Imaging USA! His class "Easy Techniques to Triple Your Dollars Per Hour" will take place on Monday, February 2. Register now if you haven't already done so! Registration information for Imaging USA is available at ImaginUSA.org/Register.

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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 around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming 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.

It's understandable to be a little nervous about entering your photos into competition. It's stressful, it puts you in a vulnerable position, and you never know what the results will be. But as we've heard from PPA members before, the International Photographic Competition (IPC) can be a valuable resource in improving your image quality and technique as a photographer. As a participant in the IPC, we recommend having your images critiqued by an IPC juror, as the feedback you will receive can go a long way in your quest towards being the best photographer you can be.

To encourage you to get a critique and hopefully dissuade some of the fears you may have about the process, here's an example of what you can expect! This image is entitled "Twilight Ride" by Mark Bowers, critiqued by Jeff Dachowski. Video here:
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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?

Frederic Chopin

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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