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By: Lauren Walters
Pet photography is a very particular niche... the pets run the show, but a great pet photographer knows how to capture those candid, playful poses to bring the picture to life in front of your eyes. So, Spike and Fluffy, when your parents schedule your next photo session, ask them to follow these tips to make everybody smile!
1. Hire someone who specializes in pet photography. He or she should have experience working with animals and be able to engage them to bring out their unique personality.
2. Patience and Flexibility! Pets run the show so a session can take over 2 hours if your pet is not cooperative. Let the photographer get comfortable with your pet and do whatever he or she needs to capture your pet's essence. Pet photographers should be willing to drive to your home or the location your pet is most comfortable in.
3. The puppy or kitten stage is very short. Those playful, cuddly puppies and kittens will change as if before your eyes - blink, and you could miss it! This is the sweetest and most innocent phase of your pet's life, so the sooner you immortalize it in photography, the better.
4. It's only a short amount of time that we receive unconditional love from these wonderful creatures. So, why not take photos of your furry pal every couple of years when he or she is still strong and healthy, so that when they do pass, you'll have something to illustrate their whole life?
5. Pet photography can become a piece of art. Pet photographers shoot at many different angles to capture your pet's unique personality. Imagine the action shots, the cute poses and expressions framed perfectly on your wall, at larger than life proportions.
6. Scheduling. If you have a wild puppy or kitten, schedule your session when you know your pet will be tired out. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if your pet is lazy, this could be great for capturing up-close shots.
7. Natural Light. Make sure your pet photographer can show you examples of photos taken outdoors. Natural light eliminates red eye, pets frightened by the flash and dark overcast shadows.
8. The eyes are the windows to the soul. A great professional photographer will always capture photographs of your pet's eyes full of expression. Look for plenty of photos showing pets eyes when viewing photographers' portfolios.
Your pet is part of your family. We all take professional pictures with our spouses or families. So, why not honor your beloved pet and hire a PPA (Professional Photographers of America) photographer ? PPA pet photographers will give you images you never thought possible, plus they will fine tune your images: removing eye bugs, the leash, people in the background, and enhancing fur details and colors. To find a PPA pet photographer near you, go to PPA.com/SeeTheDifference/Pets.
If you had any hesitation there, today's free webinar is for you:
Webinar: Are Your Images
Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 3-4 pm ET
Lindsey Forson, coordinator, PPA Copyright & Government Affairs Department
Protecting your images isn't something you want to leave to chance. Become more confident about understanding your copyrights and you'll be able to better defend yourself as well as raise awareness with clients and retailers. This is good for the industry and the livelihood of your business!
Consider signing up for the webinar, coinciding with World Copyright Day. Again, it's free and it will help you understand what further steps you can take to protect your business from copyright infringements AND what to do in the annoying case that infringements occur. Sign up to participate! It's a brief but educational webinar and it WILL help you determine if you are doing everything you can to protect your images.
You might feel comfortable with what you are already doing, but the law keeps evolving and you never know what you're missing! Be More Prepared, Be More Protected, Be More Aware... all photographers need (more) copyright protection!
Want to be more involved?
Inform/Train photo retailers in your area. This means those who print photos for consumers,
especially those high volume/low quality retailers. Focus on larger retail chains, where your clients
are most likely to have access to self-printing and scanning services.
It's easy to sign up and participate in the program. As soon as you sign up, we'll send you the "Helpful Tips For Handling Professional Photographs" brochure that you can use as an icebreaker and excuse to visit the photo retailers in your area. It's good to leave some behind for them too.
NOTE: Before you embark on this Copyright Awareness mission, please educate yourself first so you can help retailers understand their responsibilities. It's important to maintain strong relationships with photo retailers, so make sure your conversations are positive and productive!
Q: What is the most important point to get across to printing retailers?
A: When in doubt, never print or reproduce a professionally-created photograph without written consent from the photographer!
This is a great way you can help protect your images, especially since such a critical part of your revenues come from printed work.
Copyright matters. And as always, PPA has your back. This is your chance to get involved.
By: Lauren Walters
Family photos are one activity many families dread. What's meant to be a fun, memorable event can quickly become a stressful, panic-inducing nightmare. Here are some tips from PPA family portrait photographers to help your family take beautiful photos.
1. Find the Right Photographer
In addition to reviewing a photographer's online portfolio, pricing and policies, also look at their social media pages and customer reviews on third party websites. If you want a large portion of your session to be in black and white, then find a photographer who loves black and white too. If you want a natural, candid session with minimal posing find a photographer whose existing work reflects that. Don't waste time and energy hoping that the photographer will understand your vision, rather, find someone whose work communicates that.
2. Plan Ahead
All too often people spend the day(s) before their photo session running around to the dry cleaner, hair stylist, and novelty stores for last minute purchases and props. Instead, plan the look you want a few days before. Have everyone try everything on beforehand to ensure they have socks and the desired hair style/length. Your kids and spouse will feel your stress, so prep ahead to reduce it as much as possible. It is often hard for families to recover from a day of being nagged, so setting expectations ahead of time and knowing that the attires will work great is an immense plus. It will help even more if you spend time enjoying yourself and your kids a few hours before your session. Your kids and photographer will thank you and the images will reflect your wonderful family dynamic.
3. Select Color Themes
Instead of looking for top-to-bottom looks for everyone in your family, look in each closet for color themes. For a soft, elegant look, choose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics. Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family? Choose coordinating colors with bold accent colors to complement each other (but not matchy, matchy which would make you compete with each other). Including fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images.
4. Talk to Your Kids Beforehand
Kids are smart and they love feeling big and informed. Tell them a "professional photographer" is coming over. Show them the clothes they will be wearing, involve them in the discussion of what you will be doing and where you will be doing it. New people and places can be unsettling to kids especially to toddlers melting down in the afternoon hours. So do what you can to turn your photographer into a new friend familiar to your kids before the session.
5. Decide on a Reward
Bring your kids' favorite toys or treats and give them to your photographer to use when he or she needs to get their attention. But don't overuse them or they'll lose their magic. Kids need far less prompting and are much better at candid expressions than adults. If you've been needlessly bribing them then, as you know, it loses its magic. If the photographer gets the say if your family goes for frozen yogurt afterwards, your kids will be far more apt to cooperate.
6. Feed Everyone Beforehand.
Pick a time when your kids are usually well behaved. If they're grumpy in the morning, don't plan a morning photo shoot and expect them to be pumped about it. Bring their favorite snack as long as it's not messy and they can eat it hands-free (no red teeth or chocolate chins needed!). But bring an extra set of clothes and some paper towels just in case!
7. Trust Your Photographer.
All too often parents get nervous when their child isn't looking at the photographer or smiling "right", causing their child anxiety and robbing the photographer (and themselves!) the chance for candid portraits. Seasoned family portrait photographers know how to make your children feel comfortable so let them work their magic. After all, you're paying them to create just that, right?
Remember: Anyone can take a good picture every now and then. But your kids grow up fast and before you know it they leave for college. Memories fade. So trust a pro; See the difference PPA photographers make and find the right photographer for YOUR family at PPA.com/SeeTheDifference/Family.
By Lindsey Forson
April is Copyright Awareness Month at PPA! Why get involved? Because copyright is arguably the most important legal concern for professional photographers. During the course of your career as a pro, it's inevitable that you will have to deal with copyright infringement at some point. To highlight the importance of copyright protection and give you the opportunity to learn the easy way, some PPA photographers have agreed to share their experiences!
In light of a recent issue with a copyright infringement, we had a conversation with PPA member Ross Oscar Knight.
Ross has been a professional photographer since 2004. He takes great care in protecting his images but still faces around 4-5 copyright infringements per year! He has dealt with infringements from clients, retailers, and other photography businesses, along with those frustrating unknown infringers.
Ross stands with PPA in encouraging photographers to protect their images and sees copyright protection as one of the most important aspects of a photography business. For him, there are reasons to protect images beyond the obvious business-related concerns because his images will live on long after his life and the life of his business. "It's no different than a musician writing a song," said Ross. "I'm a photographer, and for me, images are my legacy."
That's right! PPA has elections and you get to vote! Starting today, April 15, PPA Council nominations will be accepted online at PPA.com/CouncilElections.
What's PPA Council, you ask?
It's a delegate body that oversees PPA's bylaws. Volunteer PPA members are elected to represent their states for a 3-year period.
What does PPA Council do for YOU?
PPA Council Nominations will be held for each state. Who do you want to represent you? Give it some thought, and submit your nominee(s). But please, run it by them first...
You've got two weeks to submit your elected nominee(s). All nominations must be submitted by May 1, 11:59pm EST. Take advantage of this chance to give input on your state's PPA representative(s) and help shape your photographic association.
If you're not sure who a good candidate in your area would be, chat about it on theLoop and share what traits/skills you'd like your PPA representative to own.
For more information on the 2015 elections and instructions on how to nominate, please visit PPA.com/CouncilElections.
Don't forget - voting opens May 15!
PPA-led Team USA Brings Home Second Consecutive Title
The World Photographic Cup is on its way back to the States as Team USA, made up of PPA members, narrowly defeated the competition for a second consecutive year. The cup was awarded April 12 in Montpellier, France.
Gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded to the individual creators in each of six categories, and teams were awarded points for top ten finishes. Team USA won the cup with four medals and nine top 10 finishes. Team Portugal finished second with four medals and seven top 10 finishes, and Australia rounded out the podium with two medal wins and eight top tens.
"We're very proud of the stunning images created by PPA photographers for Team USA this year," said David Trust, PPA CEO. "This competition is really all about the fellowship of photographers from all over the world. It's an honor to be the association that represents this winning team of incredibly talented photographers."
The team's efforts were led by medalists Ben Shirk, Iowa, and Kenneth Martin, Wisconsin. Shirk, an Imaging USA and PhotoVision speaker, took two gold medals, in the portrait and wedding categories, as well as silver in the illustrative category. Martin won silver in the landscape/wildlife category. The other gold medals went to Portugal, Belgium, New Zealand and Spain.
In the previous post 2 Studios Are Getting a Full Business Makeover This Year! you met PPA Studio Makeover recipients, Wes Roberts and Krista Newbill and read the overview of the makeover process.
Now that the makeovers are underway, you can follow along with their progress! First up is Wes as he and the PPA mentor team dove into the financials of his business.
Wes was super excited to get started. He's been working with PPA's Business Consultant and CPA, Bridget Jackson, to get a handle on where he is currently and the best way to move forward.
First, we always did a complete financial analysis of the studio. It's important to know what's working and what's not. We did this by comparing Wes' studio's numbers to PPA's Benchmark Survey. By comparing his cost of sales, overhead and net profit we started to get a good picture of the pitfalls that are causing monetary loss. We also uncovered potential opportunities for savings.
Wes' numbers looked better than the average benchmark studios in 2013 and 2014. However, his 20% cost of sales percentage doubled between 2013 and 2014. While, in general, 20% is a great number to achieve (below the recommended 25%), we had to figure out what has changed to cause such a drastic uptick and put everything in place to ensure that trend would not continue in 2015.
Second, PPA mentors helped Wes develop a photography business plan for 2015 that included three goals:
By: Lauren Walters
As April rolls along, check out this week's top blogs about ethics. Join in the fun with other posts and learn about the PPA perk - Photovision. Remember to exercise good ethics and inspire your creative self.
PPA MEMBERSHIP PERK:
Now that PhotoVision is part of PPA, you have no excuse! The sources of inspiration
to be more inspired and more creative are endless! Pick a topic, pick a genre
or pick an instructor, there is something for everyone to motivate and inspire
you in photography. With over 800 cinematic HD streaming videos, PhotoVision is
now included with your PPA membership! Visit PPA.com/PhotoVision
and proactively continue to learn today!
COPYRIGHT: We all know the troubles copyright comes with. The U.K. created a hub to identify all copyright information pertaining to a single piece simply by searching the image, video or audio file. How useful is this? Read this article to find out what the U.S. thinks of this hub.
find out! In Germany, a Berlin-based street photographer started a project funded
by 528 supporters totaling $19,850 for his possible legal fees. Since 1907, the
law stated if a photographer didn't have the subject's permission to photograph
them, they weren't allowed to publish the image. This interesting article shows
how this project turned out.
ETHICS AGAIN: In a way, photography is manipulation, but photojournalism is about revealing the truth to the public. A photojournalist cannot recreate a moment by asking a subject to pose a certain way - they must be an honest and credible source. Check out this video and celebrate 25 years of Photoshop as it relates to modern photojournalism.
JUST FOR FUN: An
underwater photographer, Scuba
Monster team member, found a camera among the coral reef near the bottom of
the ocean. Guess what? The camera sill worked! What all did this camera go
through before being rediscovered? Read more to get the full scoop!
of photographing little girls in pink dresses and flowery hats, PPA
Photographer Kate Parker helps her daughters find their confidence. Through
photography, Parker's daughters show their tough side - redefining the term
TREAT YOUR PSYCHE:
"Why become certified?" PPA photographer Suan Goralski tells all! Read about
her journey on the CPP path and find out what it takes to become a certified
professional photographer. It might involve a side effect that helps with you
beyond the client perception's rationale... just read on!
INSPIRATION: Is less more? "If less is more, just think how more that will be!" Where do you draw the line? When intensifying and balancing the right elements, your work will stand out among the crowd. Check out this work and get inspired by this photographer's brave lunge into the bold.
camera obscura to the iPhone, Fine Art Professor Mary Marien explains the
evolution of photography through her book "100 Ideas That Changed Photography".
Through this article, catch the highlights of significant historical artifacts
that pushed photography toward the art it is today.
PHOTOGRAPHY PASSION: In the mini-documentary, "Updating Philosophies", film makers Jared Levy and Justin Hamilton share their secrets about how to get booked for the work you WANT to do. Watch the short video and follow their 5 simple steps to start living your dream.
By John Owens
It's Friday! And you know what that means--photography geeks blog round up time! Flip your way through this top 10 to see what's going on in the photography world this week. There's sure to be some good stuff that applies to you!
AWARENESS: April is Copyright Awareness Month! Do your part and raise awareness with your local photo retailers. They might be helping people infringe on your images without you even knowing it! You can help them know what they don't know during this month's campaign. Read the details and sign up! Be sure to check out the free-to-all copyright webinar later this month to educate yourself on your rights.
PhotoVision is Now a PPA Member BenefitDID YOU KNOW? PhotoVision is now a part of PPA! That means the best photography education videos out there, for PPA photographers. 24/7 access to PhotoVision's entire catalogue of 800 videos through online streaming at no cost. Read more for details.
Detail: Get the Photo Your Client Will Cherish
INSPIRATION: In this heartwarming essay, Jenna Martin shares her wedding story and the image she wishes she had from the day. She gets introspective toward the end and it's something any photographer, especially wedding photographers, can practice. What's the one image you wish you had from your big day? How can you make sure you capture those moments for your clients?
for a Long, Healthy Career
ADVICE: Learning from mistakes is a tried and true method, but chances are someone has already made those errors before you. Use this 40-year professional photography veteran's hindsight to your advantage and check out this post on the five biggest mistakes he's made during his career. Read through and make sure you don't fall victim to any of these shortcomings.
Helps Potentially Harmful Arkansas Bill Get Vetoed
PHOTOGRAPHY LAW: Early this week, PPA was notified of a bill in Arkansas that would be incredibly harmful to the livelihoods of photographers not just in the state, but nationwide. The bill contained unintended and potentially dangerous implications to photographers, but was thankfully vetoed just in the nick of time. Read the full blog to see what this could have meant for photographers and what PPA did to make sure it didn't happen!
with Dr. Julie Connor
MOTIVATION: Past Imaging USA speaker Jeff Shaw has Dr. Julie Connor on this week's podcast to share her tips for dreaming big and achieving them. Dr. Connor travels the world spreading her mission helping people reach their goals. In this podcast she and Jeff discuss aligning tasks and goals with vision and mission, how to get unstuck and making your lifetime goals your habits.
POST-PROCESSING: Here are some handy tips from Fstoppers to help you spend even less time in front of that dreaded computer screen editing your images! Photographer Jeff Rojas uses a male portrait session to demonstrate his 6-step workflow process that could apply to any portrait session. If you're spending too much time retouching, give these a try!
and Receive Critiques with Grace!
CRITIQUING YOUR WORK: Here's a great post full of advice on how to give and receive photography critiques. The author gives tips for both sides and it's a pretty solid way to think of them. Don't forget, critiques are one of the most valuable pieces of photographic competition so make sure you get yours when you enter!
Your Subject Pop Off the Background
TECHNIQUE: Does the subject of your image ever get washed out by the background? Don't let it happen again with these helpful tips from The Phoblographer.
Best Photography-Related April Fools' Day Spoofs
JUST FOR LAUGHS: A round up in a round up?! So meta, John. April Fools' Day came and went Wednesday, hopefully without incident for you all. PetaPixel did us all the favor of gathering the best photography hoaxes. I'm pretty partial to the SteadiKid Baby Carrier. What's your favorite?
There you have it, our top blog posts of the week! What blogs do you enjoy? Let us know on theLoop.
Early this week, an Arkansas PPA affiliate (APPA) notified us of Arkansas Senate Bill 79: the Personal Rights Protection Act. After researching SB-79, PPA's copyright & government affairs department developed serious concerns about what this bill could mean for professional photographers, not just in Arkansas but nationwide.
The proposed bill was full of troublesome ambiguities and vague definitions making it very difficult to comprehend. Based on our understanding, the proposed bill, which was meant to protect privacy, contained unintended, dangerous implications which could be very harmful to photographers, to the point that it would threaten the livelihood of their businesses. SB-79 included clauses that would make it so photographers need a model release for any "person" in the image. This includes anyone in the background. Furthermore, under the law, "persons" even pertains to more than just people. According to the bill, "Person" is defined as an individual or entity including a corporation, company, association, partnership, or any other business entity.
The greater problem with the bill is that a difficult burden of proof would lie upon the infringer, which according to this bill, is, you guessed it, the photographer. For instance, if someone sees himself in the background of an image that was published without his permission, he could sue a photographer and say his privacy was invaded. The photographer would be responsible for defending themselves against the claim by proving the image falls within a very confusing list of "fair uses" or that they had explicit permission from the person to use it (a model release). This could mean expensive legal fees for the photographer--fees these small business owners simply cannot afford.
By: Lauren Walters
Are you interested in elevating your photographic style? Take a stab and enter your work into a PPA competition where your selected piece will be critiqued by a panel of judges. The judges are well-versed in all things photography. This may seem scary at first, but you'll notice how beneficial the experience is once you witness it for yourself! Competitions are a great way to grow as an artist and take a step closer to earning your PPA degree.
Watch the critique below to shake out some of your nerves. International juror Donna Goodhale critiques William Grace's work titled "A Rose is Rose is a Rose".
Enter the Southeast District Competition today - they're accepting submission right now! Don't wait too long, the competition takes place on April 30th - May 5th. Images that receive an 80+ score at any of the PPA District Competitions also earn an exhibition merit when you submit the same work to the 2015 International Photographic Competition. If you've already participated in your District Competition and are interested in more of a challenge, the International Photographic Competition is accepting submissions beginning May 26th. Challenge yourself to become a better photographer!