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Results tagged “Photography association” from PPA Today

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By Sarah Ackerman

With more and more advanced technology, the art of skin retouching has become extremely refined. As we all know, out with the old, in with the new! Gaussian blur and high pass retouching are now passé. 

To help you out in March, PPAedu is offering for free to all photographers "Skin Retouching" with Joel Grimes, Cr.Photog. In this class, you'll learn frequency separation in Photoshop, foundation, high texture later and the lasso tool! Grab the video now, it's free on www.PPA.com/edu through the end of March!

PPAedu is the online education platform for PPA photographers. There you'll find more than 300 videos on both photography technique and business practices to help you grow your studio, be more profitable and  inspired!

You will also find nifty tool that allows you to build your very own custom-fit learning program based on your level of proficiency in your photography technique and your business skills. And the best part of all is that as you watch more and more PPAedu classes, you'll be able adjust that program so that it evolves with you as you continue to grow in photography!
 
Give it a try! Use it as a refresher course or learn something new. PPAedu is included with the PPA membership, so watch Joel Grimes's program for free today or become a PPA member to access the entire video library. Try it now for free! Go ahead and dive in! It's your time to be more inspired.


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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 Sarah Ackerman

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Can you believe March is almost here? Where did February go?! In case you haven't been keeping up on your blog reading, here are our top 10 posts on photography from around the internet!

REPUTATION PROTECTION: Scammers have started attacking photographers, threatening us with bad reviews, then offering pricey online reputation management solutions to clear it all up. Read up on what you can do to protect or clean your business reputation here! 

SEE THE DIFFERENCE: Turns out it can happen to anyone - and that's including Jeb Bush. In a photo he posted to commemorate his 41st wedding anniversary, it became clear he had forgone hiring a pro. We're not going to spoil the story here, but just know that his mom's point-and-shoot was his saving glory (kind of). You might want to show the difference hiring a pro makes with this great post from PetaPixel next time you face a client that's unsure about making the investment in hiring a pro!

PRINTS PAY: Peter Lik is back in the news with a New York Time's article on how he makes his millions - by selling prints. We understand the million-dollar-print market isn't in everyone's reach, but it does drive home an important point: regardless of your personal preference for one's style, prints can be an extremely viable revenue stream versus just digital work for professional photographers. 

INSPIRATION: Former Imaging USA speaker Benjamin Von Wong took to the skies with some of our favorite superheroes! Get some super-sized inspiration from these shots, and see how they were captured!  

SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY: We swear spring is right around the corner, and with that comes all of the outdoor sports you can dream about! Check out this great article by Digital Photography School to see how you can improve your action photos from start to finish. 

BOOST YOUR BOTTOM LINE: Former Imaging USA Speaker Jeffrey Shaw is back on the roundup with Jeanna Gabellini. Listen to the podcast and learn how you can turn your everyday business into a full force business machine and as with all of Jeffrey's posts - you'll leave inspired, invigorated and ready to work!

OLD VS. NEW: After a multitude of photographs were disqualified in the World Press Photo competition for aggressive post processing, it sparked a debate on what really constitutes a photograph in this day and age. Check out all sides of the argument and weigh in on where you stand here!

FOR THE LADIES: Jessie Tarbox Beals was in no way America's first female photographer, but she was the first to leave the safety of a studio for the streets of photojournalism. Catch a glimpse of her with her cameras and some of her photographs, plus check out the awesome article from the Library of Congress about her life and work! 

POST PRODUCTION: Ever wonder how to automatically remove objects from Photoshop? It's easier than you might think! Check out this quick tutorial from Fstoppers to speed up your post process workflow!

TURNING PRO: Although this awesome article from Fast Company isn't just for photographers - it's for all creatives - it's a great read to put in perspective how lucky we are to do what we love for a living. It's a worthwhile reminder on how to create a better work - life balance and how to have it all without losing your mind. 

Have some favorite blogs we're missing? Let us know on theLoop

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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

Have you ever had someone steal your work or discredit you? Don't fret! PPA is here to help! If you hire a lawyer, you'll be spending A LOT OF MONEY in legal fees, but if you are with PPA, most likely we'll be able to protect your work for FREE or, if damages have already been done, for a fraction of that insane legal cost.

PPA photographer, Ross Oscar Knight, specializes in weddings, fine art and corporate events. Ross had a project that received a lot of exposure when it went viral in 2007, thanks in part to the feature on the Oprah Winfrey show. Soon after, people started pulling and using images from his website without his permission. Some were even discrediting his work and cropping out his logo, committing the ultimate copyright infringement. Ross remembered that PPA helps photographers resolve copyright disputes and went for that help. Check out his story and hear more about how PPA helped him resolve this copyright infringement rip-off.


If you are at risk for copyright infringement or simply want to take the right proactive steps, just go to the PPA's Copyright Resources , get your Free Copyright Kit or check out the overview of copyright laws. Be More Business Savvy and Be More Protected. 

By: Lauren Walters

PPA CEO David Trust was in DC the past two days advocating for photographers like you! He and PPA's copyright team in D.C., the Nickles Group, had a series of meetings with Representatives of Arizona, California, Georgia, Missouri, Utah and Wyoming and Senators from Los Angeles and Oklahoma who all have a say on the FAA's proposed rules for regulating the use of drones in the United States. The proposed rules are awaiting approval and are now in a 60-day comment period, during which PPA is working diligently to pull together comments for submission.  

The revised proposal indicates good progress for Photographers. The FAA proposes and approves the rules on drones; those rules are not legislation and do not require congressional approval. Currently, the said rules categorize drones into three physical size groups. PPA is mainly concerned with regulation pertaining to small and micro drones. A small drone is classified as 55lbs or lighter, and a micro drone is 4.4lbs or lighter.

The FAA's proposed rules would require professional photographers wanting to use small drones (less than 55 lbs) to take an aeronautical skills test and obtain a permit and renew that license every two years.  There would also be a one-time registration fee of $150. With 560 testing sites, finding a testing center should be easy. PPA believes the proposed rules for small drones to be a major step in the right direction as they eliminate the current requirement that commercial drone users hold an actual pilot's license. 

The proposed rules for micro-drones (4.4 lbs or less) are even more favorable as they require no skills test.  Photographers wanting to use micro-drones in their business would have to register and self-certify that they understand the FAA's aeronautical information manual.

We are still months away before the rules are finalized, yet solid progresses are being made in the direction of photographers. Want to weigh in? Please visit the discussion on theLoop about drones, it's a dynamic one! 

Drones are the hot topic at the moment, but Trust also had discussions on copyright reform and the Next Great Copyright Act, which are still under development. 

By Chris Homer

We often hear that it's tough for professional photographers to differentiate themselves from all the hobbyist or inexperienced photographers out there. Whether it's by undercutting pricing or taking away potential business, newly found competition can be extremely frustrating for pros to deal with. So what can you do? The answer is simple- educate your clients on why and where hiring a pro makes a difference. Remind them that they only get one chance to capture precious memories, so you'll want the best photos possible - which only a pro can provide!

To help shine light on this important difference, PPA has a series of tools; all hosted under the See The Difference campaign. Leverage them! Even non-PPA photographers can benefit from this advertising and education campaign. 

Those who are with PPA can also download and embed videos, brochures, advertising materials and more that will help show your potential clients why you're worth the extra investment. Use the resources on your own website and incorporate them into your marketing. They are there to help your sales pitch and after sharing them with your clients and prospects, hiring and paying for a professional photographer should be a no-brainer for them!

Below is one of the new See The Difference videos - Moments You Can't Get Back. This piece targets (and features) family portrait clients with real moms sharing heart-wrenching stories about their families and discussing how professional photographers made a difference and helped them preserve family memories.  


This video is a powerful reminder of how photography can be the only thing you have left to remember someone by, showing just how important hiring a professional can be. Go ahead, take a look, and share it!

There are more videos on the See The Difference Resources page including some showing the importance of professional wedding and high school senior photography. If you're a PPA photographer, grab the embed codes for your own website today. Plus, take a look at the brochures, Facebook tab and other tools that PPA has developed for you to use. Go ahead, show them the difference hiring a professional photographer makes. Use and share the resources and tools. They are there for you! And remember: the more photographers who are sharing the message, the more successful and more powerful this message will become, benefiting ALL professional photographers, so use See The Difference and start spreading the word! 

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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 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: Lauren Walters

Are you getting back into the swing of things after Imaging USA? Put those ideas to work! ...After you check out our top blogs for the week.

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1.       When Photography Becomes More Than Just Taking Pictures

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: How do you capture original images in places that have been photographed over and over? This photographer wanted to take the best photograph ever taken in Myanmar. Worrying it's all been done, see what he did to tell a unique story.

 

2.       DOCUMENTARY: Finding Vivian Maier - Secret Photographer

OSCAR WORTHY: After dying in a Chicago nursing home, a woman leaves behind her hidden collection of photographs. Celebrating her life, this article delves into the story behind her Oscar nominated photos. The full documentary is available in some movie theaters and on iTunes, Amazon Prime and YouTube.

 

3.       Photos That Made The Photographer Cry

EMOTIONAL COST:  Traveling to a different country for original images is normal, but would you put yourself in danger to obtain that shot? This photojournalist thinks so. Take a look at her photos and judge for yourself.

 

4.       DOCUMENTARY: In 'Through A Lens Darkly,' Black Photography Fades up to Joy

MAKING YOUR MARK: This documentary features photography of African-Americans making history. Appreciate the difference these photos made and learn about the filmmaker's intent to showcase the evolution of professional photography!

 

5.       Print Your Photos or Risk Losing Them to The Digital Dark Age, Internet Pioneer Warns

PRINT VS. DIGITAL: To print or not to print? That is the question. This article suggests that you print or else your photos will get lost in cyber space. What do you say? Save or print?

6.       Thinking About Brand, Thinking About Photography

BRANDING: How do multi-talented photographers brand their work? Instead of keeping up with 2 or 3 separate brands for each talent such as a writer, photographer and painter, just keep up with one; your personal brand!

 

7.       The Checklist for Narrowing Down Your Photography Portfolio

PORTFOLIO HELP: When putting together a portfolio, your included pieces need to showcase a diverse range of skills and professionalism. Follow this short checklist to see if your portfolio work best represents you as a professional photographer.     

 

8.       How Much Should Photographers Charge in 2015?

INDUSTRY: Photographers were thrown a curve ball when the digital technology evolved. After this struggle, a few photographers were left in the dust because everyone with a smart phone considers themselves a photographer. With this new found struggle, what's a fair price range for professional photography?

 

9.       Adobe Photoshop Turns 25: How It Created, and Questioned, The World's Most Iconic Images

SOFTWARE: How long have you been using Adobe Photoshop? The software has been helping photographers plunge into the digital age of photography for the past 25 years. What does Adobe hold for the future?

 

10.   Stolen Photos of Newborn's Final Moments Being Returned

ETHICS: Baby Amari's life was lost 30 minutes after birth due to medical complications. Photographer Faith Massey's photos of Amari were stolen a month after they were taken, but returned shortly thereafter?  

 

There you have it ladies and gents, our top blogs selection for the week! If you have any suggestions for our next round, please contact us on the Loop.  

Professional photographers received good news over the weekend as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released new guidelines that would seem to pave the way for widespread legal use of small drones in the U.S. While the details are far from complete, the proposal would seem to open the door for professional photographers to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) as an additional offering for their clients. However, that door is not open just yet.  

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PPA has been working directly with the FAA and key Capitol Hill staff to bring about this very change - urging the FAA to loosen restrictions on some of the more basic uses for UAS, commonly referred to as drones. If approved, the newly released rules would allow legal use of unmanned aircraft by specific businesses including filmmakers, farmers, smokestack inspectors and some photographers. 

"It is going to be a while before our members can start to use drones as a regular part of their work," says PPA's CEO David Trust. "But these new rules clearly reflect that the FAA was listening to our concerns, and we applaud them for taking this step sooner than later."

The FAA's full proposed rules can be read here. The summary of provisions on pages 10-12 highlights the basics of the proposed regulations.

There are many operational limitations in the new regulations; however the four below are important to highlight:

1. Unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs. (25 kg)

2. Visual line-of-sight (VLOS) only; the unmanned aircraft must remain within VLOS of the operator or visual observer

3. Small unmanned aircraft may not operate over any persons not directly involved in the operation. 

4. Daylight-only operations (official sunrise to official 11 sunset, local time).


There are also several operator responsibilities to keep in mind:

1. Pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center. 

2. Be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration. 

3. Obtain an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating (like existing pilot airman certificates, never expires).12

4. Pass a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months


"The proposed test has yet to be created," says Trust. "Once it is, we'll do all we can to help our members access the information and compile their applications." Sources in Washington D.C. indicate that creating the test could take months.  

And there could be even more positive news on the horizon for PPA members as the FAA has agreed to look at more relaxed regulations for micro-drones, a class of unmanned aircraft weighing less than 4.4 lbs. That is significant to photographers since many are already using these smaller drones outside of their business.  

PPA will be back on Capitol Hill next week for more meetings on both unmanned aircraft and copyright issues.  "As pleased as we are about the proposed rules for UAS, we might be even more pleased with the discussion about micro-drones," says Trust.  "I suspect they may even have more day-to-day application for our members. Hopefully we can find out more about those rules next week."   





Judging will be streamed live March 26-29

The Western District competition is now open! It's the perfect excuse to spend a day inside and avoid the cold. Or if it's nice and warm where you are: A.) Jealous! and B). Get your images ready anyway! Image submissions will be accepted until March 18. Your entered works will be judged March 26-28 in Vancouver, Washington.

PPA urges members to enter photographic competition to push yourselves to be more. You'll improve your craft and confidence in the process.

"Once photographers get over the initial fear of competition, most keep entering year after year and become better photographers in the process," said Randy McNeilly, PPA's photographic exhibition committee chairman. "Even if they don't earn a merit right away, there's so much they can learn. Plus, it's a huge confidence boost, not only for the photographer, but also the client who commissions their work--especially once they start to win awards."

At the district level, images either earn a "merit" or "does not merit" score. Merit images are sealed and move on to the International Photographic Competition (IPC), held each August. Non-merit images may be worked on and re-entered into the IPC that same year. Critiques from a PPA judge can be ordered to give entrants personalized feedback on the reason for the score. Entrants and non-entrants alike can watch the judging live online in January.

"The live stream was hugely successful at the International Photographic Competition in August so we're taking it to all of PPA's district competitions," said McNeilly. "This helps debunk some myths about the judging process and shows photographers how much they can learn by attending or ordering their critiques."

The best of the best images will enter the prestigious Loan Collection and be on display at the International Photographic Exhibit during Imaging USA 2016 in Atlanta. They will also be in a coffee table book published by Marathon Press. For inspiration, PPA produced a video featuring 2014's Loan Collection images to show what the best look like.

PPA's District Competitions and the International Photographic Competition are open to the public. PPA photographers and non-members alike are also encouraged to attend the judging. Photographers who belong to PPA are each assigned to districts based on their studio's geographic location. For full district competition information, visit PPA.com/Competitions. To learn more about PPA's membership benefits or to join, visit PPA.com/Join.

 

 

 

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.

By: Lauren Walters

From time to time, PPA photographers get overlooked in comparison to inexperienced or hobbyist photographers. Some of the reasoning includes pricing, product types, delivery timelines, and other factors. But all professional photographers contribute to educating customers on the difference it makes between hiring a professional versus an amateur. PPA's See The Difference Resources are here to help bridge that gap and facilitate that conversation and conversion. You will find a dozen of videos, online advertising, downloadable brochures, and more, that you can use to show prospective clients why investing in a professional photographer is not only worth it, but should be a no brainer.

Below is one of these new See The Difference tools. It is a video that targets family and portrait clients, explaining  in non-salesy way and in less than 3 minutes, why professional photographers are exponentially better at capturing a family's personality and how and why they make a difference (versus inexperienced or hobbyist photographers that is).

You'll see real clients and real stories, where each family explains how their relationship and connection with their photographer made such a difference. Watch and see if you agree or relate!


There are more videos where this one came from! You are all welcome to share these videos and if you are a PPA photographer, you can even embed them on your website (just log when you get to the See The Difference resources page)! Help yourself out by sharing these videos with (prospective) customers! It's only by having as many of us share this message that this campaign will resonate and become a real tool for all professional photographers. So watch and share on!

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 Sarah Ackerman

You've made it one month into the New Year! How are your business resolutions holding up? To get you back on track, check out these great discussions on theLoop!

How are you finding clients in this ever-changing landscape? Weigh in with your tips or pick up a few from some seasoned vets!

If you have experience (or want to learn more) about commercial photography - this is for you! Pick up some quick tips on how to shoot for a client that wants "the snazzy product reflection fadeout shadow" here. 

Bridal shows can be a beast! How do you attract customers to your table? What information do you collect from them? How? Weigh in here!

SE-Uh oh! This is a great lesson in web maintenance and outside vendors. Do you have great SEO skills and can help this member get his business back on track? 

If you've ever been caught in a situation with a cell phone looming over your shoulder, this is the perfect thread for you. How do you handle folks taking photos or videos during your shoot without coming off as rude? Get some great pointers, or contribute your own, here!

Have a favorite background vendor that might be flying under the radar? Help a fellow pro out with some solid recommendation!

How did you get awesome at sales presentations? Or could yours use some tweaking as well? Get in on this great discussion to see how to better value yourself (and the industry) by staying away from just selling a disc of images. You'll be sure to pick up a tip or two!

Don't forget, theLoop is PPA's safe and secure online community where members can discuss various photography topics! Not a PPA member? It's easy: join today!


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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 Chris Homer 

At PPA, we often hear that one of the biggest challenges facing professional photographers is the amount of competition out there from amateurs. It's important to educate your clients on the difference between a pro and an amateur, and why your likelihood of being happy with the results is so much higher if you hire a PPA photographer! 

PPA has a bunch of resources to help you  educate your clients. This high school seniors video is one of the latest additions to a library of resources PPA photographers can access to help market themselves and help clients and prospects alike to see the difference hiring a PPA photographer makes.  

In this video, real high school seniors explain what they are looking for in senior portraits and how hiring a professional photographer gave them great photographs. The video might help you win over parents that are unwilling to pay your rates!

That's right, when talking to prospective clients who are looking for options that go above what you'd expect from traditional high school year-book portraits, use this video; it will help you out. 


While you're at it, check out other See the Difference resources and videos. There are even instructions on how to embed the videos on your website! If you are a PPA photographer, log in and you can simply grab these videos and use them to help with your marketing!

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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 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.

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.



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