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From the IUSA Mentor Booth to the Loan Collection: The Journey of an Image
By Christine Walsh-Newton, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Last year was PPA member Christine Walsh-Newton's first trip to Imaging USA. While there, she not only picked up her master of photography degree, but also took full-advantage of the 15-minute mentoring sessions with an affiliated judge.
She learned more about her competition images--and even her overall shooting style--than she could have imagined. She flew home inspired to take her images to the next level.
Christine shared her story on her personal blog, read it and see the results!
And make sure you check out our blog from a couple weeks ago on mentoring opportunities at this year's Imaging USA in Phoenix!
My enthusiasm is ramping-up for Imaging USA 2014. Trish and I got our official badges in the mail today. Eeeek!
It's hard to believe that this time last year I was dreaming of ways to fake-illness myself out of the trip to Atlanta for Imaging 2013. In my very first post for this blog, I confessed my panic and nausea induced by a stalled cash flow and floundering business. Thankfully, my business partner Trish dragged me kicking and screaming out from under the covers of my fake sick bed to IUSA 2013 and it profoundly changed...everything.
I once heard Trish say, "A problem shared is a problem halved." That's been true for us so far. Sharing our problems, exposing our soft underbellies and swallowing our pride opened us up a support system of expertise, good will, and creative inspiration from PPA.
Writing about our woes started out as an experiment. I've been chronicling our trials and tribulations here for nearly a year and it's helped me foster a new way of looking at my business and my life. The experiment would either end in total failure with me at my new job as a sectional saleswoman at the local furniture store (love me a sectional) or it would end in success with "Bright being the new Bleak" when it comes to the future of Snap!. Sharing mistakes has also taught me to see inspiration for success in the most ridiculous, outrageous and mundane places.
Take for instance, when Queen Latifah called us recently. Queen Latifah is only (according to Google and um, the rest of the world) the very coolest singer-songwriter, rapper, actress, drop dead gorgeous model, television producer, record producer and talk show hostess. Not to mention she's considered one of hip-hop's pioneer feminists.
So, the phone rings the other day and it's Queen Latifah (in the interest of full-disclosure it was actually a lovely woman named Chelsea who works for the Queen Latifah show, but close enough).Chelsea was looking to get permission to use a photo from our Pinterest page pinned by one of their upcoming guests. You may have heard about this couple in the news, Ryan Leak and Amanda Roman. Ryan planned an entire wedding from Amanda's "My Dream Wedding" Pinterest page. A photo we had taken of earrings was pinned by Amanda and used by Ryan in creating their wedding. Ryan proposed to Amanda, she said yes, and then they had the wedding all on the same day.
We had a nice chat with Chelsea and were about to hang up when she said something really momentous. She said, "Congratulations on your life." Chelsea wanted us to know she had spent a lot of time on our website and was really impressed by the photography but was even more impressed by the passion and zest we have for what we do. Gosh, Chelsea (a.k.a. Almost Queen Latifah) that was awfully nice of you to say. Lightning bolt moment: It's important to remember that a bad day for us doing this is better than a lot of people's best days at work.
Other times the inspiration for success comes from humbling places. One of the goals we set for ourselves at Imaging 2013 was to get involved with PPA Charities' Operation Smile. We were moved to action and tears after attending a PPA Charities party at Imaging and listening to all the wonderful people involved with Operation Smile speak. We had no idea then that we would get so inspired... really inspired... to donate all we could to Operation Smile.
The more we read about Operation Smile, the more we watched the videos of the children whose lives had been changed by Operation Smile, the more we wanted to do. One day we had an idea to donate the amount of one surgery ($240) for every wedding we booked. When given here and there, the $240 was hardly missed and before we knew it, we had booked 28 weddings and donated $7,487 (and counting), making us the Top Studio Donor in the country for the year.
I hardly know how that happened; after all, we don't have a fancy studio. We are just two ladies plugging away here at my house in my spare room. Sometimes it's a struggle to make ends meet, but I've never missed a dime of the money we've given to help children in need.
In the course of a year, it turns out that I shared my problems and halved them too by reaching out to PPA and asking for the help we needed. Ironically, what has really reenergized our business hasn't been what we've taken from PPA but what we've given back. It turns out that Joy shared is Joy doubled. I'm thankful to be doing what I do every day knowing that I'm pleasing my clients by involving them in an uplifting charitable cause. Sharing our passion for photography and the joy of our good fortune makes a bigger impact than I could have thought possible a year ago.
I hope you are considering going to Imaging USA 2014. If you are struggling like we were, don't crawl under those covers, share your problems and halve them! Reach out and get a little help. Things will turn around. Once they do, remember what Almost Queen Latifah said, "Be grateful for the life you have."
You're doing what you love! Once you're feeling good and joyous about how lucky you really are, start spreading the joy and love around. PPA Charities' Operation Smile is a great place to start. Remember, bright is the new bleak.
Hope to see you in Phoenix!
Seeing is believing, especially when it comes to award-winning images. And at Imaging USA, there will be PLENTY!!!
That's because there will be exhibits all convention long--including the International Photographic Exhibit, the ASP new fellows exhibit and a special exhibit from honorary master of photography recipient, Kenny Rogers. Yes, that Kenny Rogers.
If you're interesting in entering photographic competition in the future, the International Photographic Exhibit is the perfect way to see winning images. Many of the image creators will be on-hand in Phoenix and will be more than happy to discuss their photos with you. The adjoining ASP new fellows exhibit will showcase work from master photographers newly inducted into the prestigious American Society of Photographers.
The best opportunity to learn what goes into a winning image is at the Grand Imaging Awards. These photographers and images are the best of the best! Don't miss this opportunity to chat with them and see their work--you'll gain insider access you won't find anywhere else, until you actually enter competition yourself!
The exhibition schedule is as follows:
Inside the Imaging Expo
Sunday, Jan. 12......11:30am - 5pm
Monday, Jan. 13......11:30am - 5pm
Tuesday, Jan. 14......11:30am - 3:30pm
GRAND IMAGING AWARDS
Phoenix Convention Center, West Building, Room 301A, Third Floor
Monday, Jan. 13, 6:30 - (doors open at )
Note: the Kenny Rogers and ASP new fellow exhibits will be on display all convention long.
See the full schedule, including speakers, over at imagingusa.org!
Every year, PPA strives to bring education on the latest photography and business techniques to Imaging USA. We believe that there's great education for any type of photographer at Imaging USA--from wedding to commercial photography, the class tracks cover it all!
If you've got a certain photographic specialty you know you want to learn more in, you can easily sort the Imaging USA schedule by class track to be sure not to miss anything during the convention. It's a great way to plan your education schedule for Imaging USA 2014 in Phoenix.
One such track is the aforementioned Wedding track. True to its name, this track is built specially for wedding photographers and will continue to advance your knowledge in these areas.
The first available wedding class is the pre-convention Business Basics Workshop for Wedding Photographers. In this intimate, two-day setting, you'll assess the competitive wedding landscape and acquire those necessary, but too often avoided, business skills. Instructors , CPP, and , CPA, will walk you through the financial, tax and legal requirements of running your business, so that you are confident and legally compliant. It's a great way to kick-start the convention as well as your business in 2014.
Then, once the convention officially starts on Sunday, you can start your day by learning the art of capturing a moment from acclaimed wedding photographer, Ross Oscar Knight. In Moments Not Poses, Ross will teach you the three key components to document candid moments.
The rest of Sunday is open for you to explore other areas or the EXPO floor, but three wedding classes are on tap for Monday. Start your morning with a live demo class with . In Helping Others See, you'll learn the tried and true techniques from one of the world's top wedding photographers.
Next, you can learn tactics to establish a consistent workflow in Discovering Your Personal Vision with . Then finish-off your day with award-winning wedding photographer Roberto Valenzuela's Expand Your Vision by Gaining Control of Any Situation or Challenge.
On Tuesday, you'll be faced with the difficult decision of starting your day between two 8 a.m. wedding sessions. will teach you how to Transform Your Studio and Unleash Your Greatest Potential while Carrie Wildes, CPP, offers the wide-spanning Build Relationships, Book Weddings, Get Published. Cap everything off with Photo Video Fusion from Vanessa Joy and Rob Adams.
Remember, these are just a few of the great classes you'll find at Imaging USA--there are so many more if you want to broaden your scope! Be sure to check the entire Imaging USA schedule and download the mobile app to customize your schedule. If you haven't registered yet, view all the Imaging USA registration options and pick the one that's right for you.
Read more about Imaging USA:
Read other #IUSA14 posts:
Your Tracks to Success at Imaging USA
#IUSA14 - 10 Things To Do in Phoenix
Someone Said Attending Imaging USA Is A No Brainer... Why? - Here are Ten Reasons to Attend
#IUSA14 - Hotels, Travel and Registration
Looking Ahead and Becoming Full-on Pro with Steve Kozak at Imaging USA
Be More Educated with #IUSA14 Pre-Con Classes
Pro Tips for Imaging USA
Since you're making the trip to Imaging USA, why not take things a step further? Enhance your photography business and broaden your scope and take some classes outside of your focus to learn new techniques and be more. Each track comes complete with live hands-on and demo sessions to see the skills you'll be learning in action!
People often describe Imaging USA as the Mall of America for photographers. This great mix of attendees, exhibitors and connected (well-respected) speakers from around the country forms the backbone of an expanding and evolving photographic industry and we're proud to be a part of it with you!
Mixing and matching is a great way to find new approaches, uncover some easy solutions and get beyond inspired. Many people tend to stick to what's familiar when operating a business. The conference is your platform to safely learn and explore new opportunities, options, products and solutions to take your photography business (and your craft as a whole) to the next level.
Here are the nine distinct areas to explore while at Imaging USA:
Portrait: Tips to skillfully capture the essence of an individual, young and old, male or female. There are different strategies for everyone! Get tips on workflow, post production, editing, client management, posing, lighting and how small tweaks in your process can relate to a big bump in your bottom line.
Senior Portrait: Get the latest posing, marketing and sales techniques in this ever-changing specialty. Get creative tips on working with your clients (and their parents) to boost your buzz and increase sales.
Family/Children Portrait: If newborns, baby packages, children and family portraits are an area you'd like to discover, these courses are right up your alley! Finding quality maternity clients and working with them through the stages of newborns, baby packages, childhood milestones and then start the process all over again. You'll have clients for life!
Wedding: What are the images, albums and products that today's brides are demanding? Learn how to make your brides feel beautiful, maximize your profits, streamline workflows and create the memories for a perfect day!
Business: Pricing, sales, brand and marketing are all essential to making your business soar. Engage with speakers to see how they took their studios to the next level and see how their successes (and failures) can help you up your studio.
Technique: Refresh your fundamentals and gain new skills that will take your images and business to the next level. Watch live shoots, get in depth knowledge about lighting and get the inside track on creating your most dynamic images yet.
Inspiration: Reinvigorate your passion for photography and find new direction for your art and business. It's always important to take time to fall (back) in love with your work--so take the opportunity to kick start your motivation, feed your creative soul and watch how the rest falls into place.
Schools, Sports & Events: See techniques for posing, lighting and workflow for teams and individuals, sports action, dances or events. These are all great opportunities to expand your business, create additional lines of revenue and make customers for life.
Hash It Out: Share your questions, ideas and solutions during these daily, interactive smart talks via tweet, text or in person. Think of it as a group brainstorming where you can be a part of all of the solutions! Commiserate over problems all studios face, find creative solutions and make new friends in the process!
Become an expert in what you do best, but also treat yourself to the opportunity of exploring new terrains. This is the safest place to experiment; approach new techniques and test drive some new ideas! All of this (plus the networking, parties and awards) is only $129 for current PPA Members. Not a Member yet? You can "Join N' Go"- meaning you join PPA and get to attend Imaging USA your first year for free!
For more information on Imaging USA or to register, visit www.imagingusa.org! Early bird pricing is through December 4, 2013.
Use the links below to read other #IUSA14 posts in this series: