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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 John Owens


There's a bajillion reasons to go to Imaging USA, but how about a little bonus inspiration?! Renowned motivational speaker and Paralympian Amy Purdy is coming and will give a keynote presentation Sunday morning at 10am. If you haven't already, make sure you register now because you won't want to miss this life-changing session!

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Who's Amy? Amy Purdy is known for overcoming the loss of her legs at age 19 to become a Paralympic bronze medalist in snowboarding. Purdy's spirit and attitude led her to become a New York Times best-selling author, model, TED Talks speaker, and even landed her on the screen with roles in independent film and as a contestant on TV shows like ABC's Dancing with the Stars and CBS' The Amazing Race. While doing all this, she also found time to co-found Adaptive Action Sports, a nonprofit organization which helps those with permanent disabilities to get involved in action sports; and to top it all, she is getting ready to release a clothing line in spring 2016.

Because Amy's program is truly a game changer, no other programs will conflict with her address. Check out her under 10-minute Ted Talk for a preview on what's to come!

Imaging USA 2016 will be held January 10 to 12 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. More than 10,000 professional photographers will spend over three days of everything photography from education to inspiration as well as some photographers-only shopping opportunities.

Imaging USA has also blocked rooms at several nearby hotels for attendees to take advantage of the reduced pricing. This is a coup in itself, because there is another convention downtown Atlanta at the same time as Imaging USA, which is causing local hotel prices to sky-rocket.

There are many different ways to experience Imaging USA, including but not limited to the full conference, a full conference plus pre-conference courses option, parties only, and tradeshow only.

Visit ImagingUSA.org for complete registration information and pricing options. And keep checking back for updates on speakers, classes and event schedules. Each year, Imaging USA helps photographers Be More Inspired, Be More Motivated, Be More Creative and Be More Connected. Consider joining the experience and kick off 2016 right. We hope to see you there!

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John Owens is PPA's resident wordsmith. Know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? That's where he comes in. The Connecticut transplant and (still) avid Hartford Whalers fan is an aspiring adventurist/novelist/racer on a lifelong quest to find the best trails, brews and burger. 

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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Remember those prizes attached to the Imaging USA survey you took? We've got winners!

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Kristen Schweitzer (Captured Moments Photography, Manhattan, Kansas) and Crystal Lugo (Crystal Lugo Photography LLC, Coral Springs, Florida) each won a $250 Amazon gift card. All they had to do was fill out the Imaging USA survey! Schweitzer and Lugo were chosen at random out of 1,722 respondents to receive the prizes.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to fill it out! The survey gives us feedback to make Imaging USA the most valuable, business-boosting convention and tradeshow it can be for you and your needs. It's your show after all!

Make sure you join us for Imaging USA 2016, January 10-12 in Atlanta for the biggest and best show yet! Registration opens June 2015.

For now, take a look at this year's photo gallery to re-live your favorite moments!

 

 

By John Owens

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Amidst all the classes, tradeshow deals, football, parties and networking at Imaging USA was a healthy dose of charitable giving. PPA Charities, the philanthropic arm of PPA, flexed their veritable muscle as donations rolled in through a series of events and a certain special drawing.

Events included the PPA Charities "Boots and Bling" Celebration, which featured a silent and live auction. On day one, more than 100 attendees braved the Nashville cold for the first ever PPA Charities 5K Fun Run. And things culminated on the last day with PPA Charities' Dream Studio Giveaway, where one lucky winner walked away with a life-changing prize.

Imaging USA attendees were clearly feeling generous. "Boots and Bling" raised over $25,000, with the aid of a massive photo book donated by 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award winner Peter Lik, M.Photog. Valued at $4,500, the limited edition piece auctioned for $7,000 alone. The Sunday morning 5K raised an additional $7,000+ and Tuesday's Dream Studio Giveaway brought in massive ticket sales right up until the drawing, totaling a whopping $50,000. 

By Mariah Ashley

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes: "Such a pleasant thought, if you improve overall conditions everyone can sail happily into the sunset".

It's an idea I try to set my moral compass to and a philosophy I practice in my business. When I recognize this quality in others I want to latch onto them because lately it seems most people practice the "every man for himself" motto and would sooner see you walk the plank than steer your own ship.

...except at Imaging USA. There, everyone is raising the tide. Unfortunately, it's not possible to latch onto 11,000 people, not even if you're a Kraken (mythical sea beast with many arms). Still, I wish I could give every special person I talked to a big old slimy tentacle hug. I guess I'll have to settle for squeezing them with my words instead.

But before things get awkward, let's consider ships.

The Grand Imaging Awards were presented to a packed room Monday night at Imaging USA in Nashville. Many medalists and finalists were honored, but the crown jewel of the evening--The Grand Imaging Award--went  to Roberto Falck, M.Photog., for his album Monks in the non-event category.

 

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"It's such a pleasure to be part of this community," said Falck, who received his master of photography degree the next night. "I'm honored and proud, this is so unexpected. We all work hard for this competition and it feels amazing to be honored by my peers."

 

Roberto Falck was selected as the overall Grand Imaging Award winner out of a pool of six category winners. The other winners were Alex McClanahan in the event album category, Nicholas Jones in the artist category, Jim Doyle in the illustrative category, Ben Shirk in the wedding category and Louise Simone in the portrait category. These winners raise the bar as true artists in the photography industry and inspire other photographers to do and be more. Each category winner received a crystal award and a $500 cash prize. Falck received a second trophy and additional $500 check.

 

The Grand Imaging Award winners have been judged to be the very best of the 2014 PPA International Photographic Competition (IPC). The Grand Imaging Award winner is selected from thousands of entries. Falck's image was judged by a panel of over 40 jurors to be the very best of all of the loan collection images - which makes it the best of the best of the best.

 

In addition to the Grand Imaging Award, PPA awarded medalists from the IPC. Bronze medalists had all four of their submitted images earn merits. Silver medalists had one of their images entered into the Loan collection and on up to a four for four perfect case for Diamond medalists. At this year's ceremony, PPA awarded 49 bronze, 103 silver, 86 gold, 49 platinum and 26 diamond medalists.

 

The International Photographic Competition is held each August. District competitions run January through March. The judging of all PPA photographic competitions are open to the public and will be streamed live online. For more information, visit PPA.com/Competitions.

 

 

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John Owens is PPA's resident wordsmith. Know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? That's where he comes in. The Connecticut transplant and (still) avid Hartford Whalers fan is an aspiring adventurist/novelist/racer on a lifelong quest to find the best trails, brews and burgers.

That's a wrap folks! What a party to end what was officially the biggest Imaging USA ever with more than 11,000 photography enthusiasts here at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville. We hope you all danced and had a blast with your photography friends--new and old. Now you understand why Imaging USA is like a reunion!


And we couldn't be happier to have you all be part of the PPA family. It's the third recap in a row, but we have to say it again--without you, there is no Imaging USA. THANK YOU!!! 


"It's been an amazing Imaging USA here in Nashville," said David Trust, PPA CEO. "Seeing so many photographers here learning and improving yourselves and your businesses is what it's all about for us at PPA. Imaging USA is for you, and you made 2015 the best year yet."

Another day equaled more laughs, learning, networking and shopping for the thousands of you here at Opryland.


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You filled the room for Nashville's own Russ Harrington and for many other programs great programs throughout the day. We heard Allison Tyler Jones's program was so good it got even extended and received a standing ovation! The Imaging USA Expo floor was steady packed and plenty of you checked out those amazing photographic exhibits. 


Best of all? The room was FULL for this year's Grand Imaging Awards, which shows your and/or your fellow attendees' growing interest in photographic competition! Congratulations to Roberto Falck for taking home the Grand Imaging Award for his  image/album "Monks". 


"It's such a pleasure to be part of this community," said Falck, of Brooklyn, New York. "I'm honored and proud, this is so unexpected. We all work hard for this competition and it feels amazing to be honored by my peers." 

Aaaaaand Imaging USA is off!


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Record numbers of photography pros are piling into the Gaylord Opryland. We're already nearing 11,000 with 2 more days to go! We've got photographers from China, Sri Lanka, Italy, France Korea, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Germany, Belgium, and more plus the good ol' US of A. New Orleans, Mississauga, Vancouver, Albuquerque, Chicago, Hollywood and a solid turnout from the locals here in Nashville. 


Wherever you came from you brought your energy. It's contagious! There's a great vibe going on in here, and we can't thank you all enough for coming and creating it. Have you mastered getting around?








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 John Owens

Back in the fall, PPA launched the second annual PPA Kickstart Scholarship. Our four lucky PPA members are already in Nashville for their pre-convention classes--completely on the house! The winners were given the opportunity to choose between a full-day of hands on classes or a two-day Studio Management Services workshop.

We chatted with each of our winners last month, and their excitement was evident. Each will be attending their first Imaging USA. Here are some highlights from the conversations:


By Mariah Ashley

I'm sitting here in Massachusetts with a blizzard bearing down on my house and all I can think is, This better not mess up my plans to go to Imaging USA in Nashville on Friday!

It's colder than a frosted frog here so in the spirit of Nashville, I'm passing the time researching country and western idioms. What I've discovered is that we're pretty boring here in New England, at least in terms of color phrases. You know, one of the best things you can do when visiting a new place is to learn some local lingo. I've included a bunch in this post so that you can fit in too. You're welcome.

Anyway... What a difference two years can make! It was just two years ago that I tried to fake a flu to get out of the trip to Atlanta for my first Imaging USA. My business had two speeds at that time: slow and stop. Yep, my crick had run dry. True story. I had $79 in my bank account. Coming up with enough money each week to make payroll was like trying to put socks on a rooster.

I couldn't see mustering the energy, let alone the money to make the trip. Fortunately for me, my business partner Trish is as bright as a new penny and saw right through my lame faux-flu. She insisted I get on the plane. Never in my wildest imagination (and trust me it gets crazy as a bed bug in there) did I imagine how much that trip would change my life. When we arrived in Atlanta we were desperate--desperate for inspiration, desperate for answers. We had nothing to lose so we went with open minds and empty pockets and found everything we were looking for.

PPA has received word that world-renowned landscape photographer Peter Lik will not be able to attend Imaging USA, February 1-3 in Nashville, TN. Lik posted a statement to his Facebook page Friday night:

In October 2014, Professional Photographers of America (PPA) changed my life with a monumental announcement that I had been chosen as the recipient of the organization's highly coveted Lifetime Achievement Award.

I was completely taken aback and honored to become one of only 13 photographers in history to ever receive this award.

Due to personal reasons, it is with an extremely heavy heart I announce I am unable to attend Imaging USA in February to accept this remarkable award or act as keynote speaker.

Thank you again to PPA for this incredible honor. After 30 years of traveling and taking photos, I continue to lose myself in the beauty and power of nature in an effort to finally capture an image I can call my favorite.

 

PPA President Susan Michal offered her support for Lik.

"Peter is a class act, and a proud PPA member and advocate," she said. "I personally know that he is extremely disappointed he will not be able to attend. We wish him the very best and certainly hope all is well."

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While Lik will surely be missed, Imaging USA in Nashville is still on course to be PPA's biggest and best event in its 146-year history. The event has already set attendance records with the biggest registration numbers ever seen to date. "Peter is a lot of fun and a good friend to PPA photographers. We'll regret his absence, of course, but this isn't changing the fact that we are getting ready for our best event ever," commented PPA CEO David Trust.

Organizers say last fall's announcement about Peter Lik's attendance created some buzz. But his absence will change little in terms of events and celebrations showcasing Lik's work or Imaging USA's overall success. While he won't be able to attend, Lik's presence will still be felt at Imaging USA. He will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award during the Award and Degree Ceremony on Tuesday night. And a hand-selected exhibit of his super-sized images will be on display in the print exhibit area throughout the event.

Lik has also made significant donations to Saturday Night's PPA Charities Celebration, including his newly released book featuring 317 large scale images. Only 2,500 hand-signed copies of this collector's item book, which retails for $5,000 per copy, are being issued worldwide.

Among next week's highlights are the Big Game Super Party Imaging USA Kick-off, which may be the biggest Super Bowl party anywhere, the best slate of photographic education ever assembled, the giant Imaging Expo, two large photographic exhibitions, and the closing night party in the Gaylord Opryland's Atrium, which is expected to be one for the record books.

It's not too late to register and join in all the fun! Head to ImagingUSA.org/Register to Be More with us in Nashville.

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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.

Hello everyone!

We are well aware of the situation at Opryland last Thursday and rest assured; everything is under control. First of all, no further cases of Norovirus have been reported. Second, this is not uncommon in the hospitality industry and third, the folks at Opryland are taking care of the situation.

They are working with the Metro Nashville Department of Health which applauded their fast response and disinfecting actions. According to health officials (and reported in The Tennessean), "Opryland is going above and beyond the health department's recommended cleaning and disinfecting measures to stop the spread of germs." All rooms have been aggressively sanitized. All door handles, escalator handrails and elevator controls have been wiped clean. Opryland has been cleared for guests.

We're excited for this year's Imaging USA and your record registration numbers show that you are too! 
And the good news is that with everything the Gaylord has done in the past two weeks,  you now have the added comfort of staying in America's cleanest and most sanitary hotel.

Get ready for the biggest and best Imaging USA yet!


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