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Results tagged “photographers association” from PPA Today

By Chris Homer

This new video is part of a series that shows off beautiful/talented/awesome PPA members. PPA photographers like you are speaking out more and more about their way of coping with the changes in the industry, what they are doing about it and how they are using PPA along the way. The Faces of PPA series is there to market and show you off (take advantage of it!). This new Behind the Camera series is PPA showing YOU off... but this time, with video! 

Our first episode featured PPA member, portrait photographer, Jessica Williams. If you missed it, take a look to see how mentoring helped her take her business to the next level, feeds her passion for photography, and how she's using PPA to be more.

PPA is a nonprofit that's here to help its photographers/members be more. In the video below, PPA member and senior portrait photographer Sharma Ferrugia talks about her beginnings in photography, why she loves making a difference with high school seniors and how Imaging USA has opened her horizons! As a photographer, what are YOU doing to be more?





ch_headshot_100x100.jpgAbout 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 Chris Homer

We're back at it again with our favorite photography posts of the week. Take a look and seeblogroundup_1212.jpg what you can use to improve your photography business. And forget the naysayers, photography is anything but dead. Check these out:

1. The Portrait Era is Over!
INSPIRATION: How many times have you heard another photographer complain that people no longer want wall portraits, just digital files? Well, this post from the Million Dollar Photographer points out how that simply isn't true! If you've had this feeling before, check it out and see why you shouldn't give up on these timeless products.

2. Peter Lik Sets World Record

PHOTOGRAPHY GOOD NEWS: Imaging USA keynote speaker Peter Lik has set a world-record for selling the most-expensive photograph ever. His image "Phantom" sold for an astounding $6.5 million! Be sure to head over to Peter's blog to see the image. You can also see him speak in person in Nashville! Peter will host a special program at Imaging USA 2015 where he'll share stories from his remarkable career. Plus, you'll be able to browse an exhibit of his work during the Imaging Expo.

3. How I Shot a Time-Lapse of a Large Thunderstorm Rolling Through Sydney
KNOW-HOW: If you shoot storm photography, you won't want to miss this post on PetaPixel. Photographer Matthew Vandeputte explains how he created a time-lapse of a super storm moving through Sydney, Australia. He details everything from camera set-up to post-production. Check it out!

4. Dramatic Lighting | Tips from Hollywood
LIGHTING: Do you want to create more dramatic lighting in your images? PhotoFocus recently spoke with a Hollywood photographer on creating dramatic light and recorded the conversation. You'll find some amazing lighting tips here!

5. Funny Business: 25 Portraits of the Funniest People On the Planet
INSPIRATION: Fstoppers has a collection of creative photos from Seth Olenick of various comedians-- from Zach Galifianakis to Jane Lynch and more. Take a look and get inspired for future portrait sessions.

6. 6 Tips for Photographing Dogs in Action
PET PHOTOGRAPHY: If you're thinking of getting into the pet photography market, or if you want to create better shots of dogs running and playing, check out this post from Digital Photography School. Fast track your pet photography skills with some quick tips for how to get those great (and furry) action shots!

7. From Above - Astronaut Photography with Don Petit
FOR FUN: As a professional photographer, you've probably photographed in tons of crazy places. Something tells us that you've never shot in outer space though! This video interview from SmugMug Films, featuring astronaut/photographer Don Petit, talks about the challenges of photographing in outer space. It's a fascinating watch.

8. Lightroom Retouching Tip: Fixing Hotspots
RETOUCHING: If you've struggled with 'hotspots' - shiny areas on your portrait subject's face - this post might have a solution for you. Lightroom Killer Tips has provided a video tutorial on how you can remove these troublesome spots.

9. 20 Creative Photography Tumblr Blogs You Should Follow
CREATIVITY: As a photographer, you're probably always looking for new sources of inspiration. That's why we loved this post on Digital Photo Buzz. You'll find a list of great photography blogs to follow (in addition to this one of course) to keep your creativity flowing!

10. Infographic: 36 Ways to Make Money as a Photographer
MONEY-MAKING TIPS: Feeling stuck in a rut? Take a look at this infographic from Photography Concentrate to remind you of all the ways you can make money as a photographer. The post also looks at some of the emerging photography markets you might want to dive into!

There you have it, our favorite posts of the week! What photography blogs do you enjoy? Let us know on theLoop.


  ch_headshot_100x100.jpgAbout 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. 


The first full week in December is in the books - how are you holding up? If you need a little "you time" settle in with these 10 great blog posts from around the web!

COMPETE: We get it; photographic competitions can be tough and intimidating. But they are also extremely rewarding, educational and you'll make more friends than you'll know what to do with. Christine Walsh-Newton shares where you can get your start and why it's so important. 

REALITY TV: In our favorite photography series of all time, Caleb Shane and Jacob Slaton went head to head in Little Rock with some interesting REFOCUS restrictions. See who took home the title this round and subscribe so you always are current with your episodes! 

BETTER BLOGGING: If improving your blog is on your list of resolutions for 2015, this is a must-read from Lightstalking. Do the exact opposite of everything in this post and you'll be making substantial improvements - hey, you might even end up in this round up!

POST CAPTURE: It's true, sometimes cover models can be a little heavy on the post-process work. What happens when you take four ladies off the street and give them the same treatment? Their reactions are interesting and might hit home. 

POSING: If you're sick and tired of static looking portraits, this post from Digital Photography School is for you! Get more creative shots with a few simple tricks - you'll be thrilled with what you can accomplish.

CAREER ADVANCEMENT: Want to get up to pro status? You might be asking the wrong questions! Here are some great examples from photographer Jenna Martin of how changing up how you talk to other photographers could get you the answers you really need.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS: How do you capture the holidays? Just having a Christmas tree in your photos won't cut it anymore. Check out these three great tips from Love That Shot to beef up your holiday repertoire. 

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Have you taken the time to look at how far you've come as a photographer? Even two years can be the difference between "Meh" and "Wow!". Join Sasha Juliard on a journey looking back and the dramatic changes that can happen. 

INSPIRATION: Peter Lik is coming to Imaging USA (and you should be too)! He'll be presenting a key note address, along with receiving PPA's Lifetime Achievement Award and let's just say this high energy Aussie is a little excited. Check out this great video from when he recently sat down with PPA President Susan Michal.

SOCIAL PURPOSE: Past Imaging USA instructor, Jeffrey Shaw, sat down with Ted Coiné to discuss the human side of social media. This podcast will help you reframe how you look at social, and all of the good it can do! Give it a listen!

There you have it, our favorite posts of the week! What photography blogs do you enjoy? 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 with Witless Protection around the Atlanta area and at Dad's Garage Theatre Company. When she's not tweeting/instagramming/facebooking all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.


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We've featured well over 200 beautiful, bright Faces of PPA over the past year and we're looking to show off even more! Take a look at some of the members we've featured in the Faces of PPA video below. You can read all about these photographers and why they've joined PPA on the Faces of PPA Gallery.

In addition to the gallery on PPA.com, PPA photographers are highlighted on PPA's Facebook  and Google+ pages. And each month, one of the lucky entries even gets a full page feature in Professional Photographer Magazine!

Want to be part of this ongoing campaign? Be More and submit your information now! 

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

To encourage you to get a critique and hopefully dissuade some of the fears you may have about the process, here's an example of what you can expect! This image is entitled "Twilight Ride" by Mark Bowers, critiqued by Jeff Dachowski. Video here:
Taking great photographs is just one part of running a successful photography business. You
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 also need to be able to sell those images! That process starts with the consultation with your client before a single photo is taken.

In December, PPAedu is offering "The Portrait Consultation" with Allison Rodgers, CPP for free to all photographers. Allison will help you understand why the consultation is important and how it helps you and your client. So, if you're looking for tips to make your pre-shoot consultations as strong as possible, grab the video today!

Through PPAedu, the online education platform for PPA photographers, you'll find more than 250 videos on both photography technique and business practices to help you grow your studio, be more profitable and be more inspired!

You will also find a quick and easy to use self-assessment tool that will allow you to build a custom-fit learning program. And the best part of all is that as you take more and more classes, you'll be able adjust your program so that you can continue to grow in photography! 

Give it a try! This is a way for photographers to find videos on areas of photography where you could use a refresher course or learn something new. PPAedu is included as part of your PPA membership, so join today to access all the videos. Or, subscribe to PPAedu without becoming a member... you won't get all the membership benefits, but you'll get access to the complete customizable PPAedu library! Go ahead and dive in! It's your time to shine. 
Can you believe it's already December? We're winding down the clock as the year comes to a close here at PPA, and that means it's your last chance to take advantage of the Benchmark Survey! Help your business be more by maximizing your profit potential in just a few simple steps with this photography business guide. And don't forget that it's also your last chance to win the grand prize of an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Imaging USA 2015 in Nashville! That means airfare for two, a hotel for four nights, and two all-access passes to the big show. Not a bad way to start the New Year, is it? Just be sure to submit your information for the Benchmark Survey by December 15th to be eligible! 

We're happy to announce that for the month of November we have two Benchmark prize winners--Kimball Nelson and Sheila Rutledge!

Kimball is an experienced landscape photographer and has had the privilege of photographing the Rocky Mountains for much of her life. She also never stops learning as a photographer, routinely attending the Rocky Mountain School of Photography. This yearning to better herself as a photographer led her to PPA and ultimately the Benchmark.
The holidays are almost upon us, and they're definitely a hot topic on theLoop! Check out the top discussions you might want to check out when you need a post-turkey break!

Do you love your studio management software? Chime in! See what people are shopping for or hot tips on what to avoid in this thread. 

The man in the red suit is back in this thread, too! How do you price for an event of 1,000 photos over three days? Chime in!

Get to know Steve Kozak, Imaging USA 2015 speaker! Read through his Ask Me Anything and see if it spurs you to register for his pre-convention class in Nashville!

Do you often ship final products to clients? Who do you use? Where do you shop? Weigh in or pick up some quick tips on saving money when shipping.

Uh-oh, hopefully you don't find yourself in this situation! What happens when you did the work, and the client won't pay? See what your fellow photographers have to say or weigh in with your own experience. 

Is a new computer and monitor on your holiday wish list? What are you looking for? Are you a Mac or a PC? See what your fellow pros are looking for in this thread. 

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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By Chris Homer

Who's excited for some Turkey? Thanksgiving is right around the corner, in the meantime,roundup1121.jpg stuff yourself with our favorite photography blogs of the week:

1. Deleted but Not Gone: How to Keep Your Photos and Files From Falling Into the Wrong Hands

PROTECTING DATA: Having to recover accidentally deleted photos is a nightmare for most photographers, but what about when you've deleted an image on purpose? Don't throw away or donate your memory card until you watch this video on PetaPixel.

2. Custom Photo-Printed Adidas Sneakers
JUST BECAUSE IT'S COOL:
PopPhoto breaks the news about a unique way to use photography! Adidas is now allowing people to create custom shoes printed with photos they choose. What would you put on your shoes?

3. 11 Incredible Photography Tips That Have Nothing to Do with the Camera You Use
PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS: 
Fstoppers has compiled a list of quick tips that all photographers should keep in mind, regardless of what camera you use. There's good advice for beginners, as well as some useful reminders for the seasoned pro.

4. Photography Mysteries: Cycling Lights

LIGHTING:
If you've ever shot indoors with available light, you know how tricky it can be. This post from PhotoFocus provides some great tips for how to deal with lighting that's less than ideal.

5. Advice for Photographers from a Model's Perspective
WORKING WITH MODELS:
PPA member Skip Cohen is back in the round-up this week with a great podcast. If you work with models, you don't want to miss it. You'll hear some great advice on building a relationship with your models for the best results.

6. Photographer's Blocks
ADVICE:
Do you feel like your photography is stuck in a rut? This post on Luminous Landscape offers advice on how you can get your creativity going again!

7. What is Boudoir Photography and How to Approach It?
BOUDOIR:
If you're thinking of getting into the boudoir photography market, this post from Virtual Photography Studio is a good place to start! It offers tips for those just starting out on how to do it right and put your clients at ease.

8. Use Photo Drones for Fun Family Portraits
INSPIRATION:
We've heard a lot about using aerial drones for landscape photography, but have you ever thought of how you can use one in family portraits? Check out these ideas from Photojojo.

9. The Most Useful Filters for Nature Photography
EQUIPMENT:
If you enjoy nature photography, the Photo Naturalist has put together a list of filters you should have for the best images possible. Take a look and see if their advice can improve your nature photography.

10. This Wedding Was Shot in an Abandoned Detroit Warehouse
INSPIRATION:
Here's some wedding photography that (we bet) is unlike any other you've seen before. Check out Hillebrand Photography's images of a wedding session they did in an abandoned warehouse. You may just get some new ideas.

There you have it, our favorite posts of the week! What photography blogs do you enjoy? Let us know on theLoop


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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. 
If you've never entered a photographic competition before, you're probably feeling some fear of having your images judged by another photographer. It can be nerve-wracking, but as we've heard from members that participate, PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) and the District Competitions are some of the best ways to improve your images and your technique as a photographer. To get the most out of the IPC, we recommend getting the images you enter critiqued by a judge who's trained for and dedicated to this photo competition.

To help you get rid of some of your fears, and maybe even encourage you to request a critique at the next District Competition, here's an example of what you can expect! This is "Rustic Cabin" by David Bair, critiqued by Jon Allyn. Take a look!


By Bridget Jackson, CPA, PPA Business manager

Have you ever read something and thought to yourself, I could have written that! Today is that day for me. In fact, the entire article could have been my quotes.

The article was 7 Ways to Help Ensure Your Business Succeeds by Donald Todrin. He points out business fundamentals have not changed, but new strategies are required in light of the changing economic conditions. The information is poignant when applied to photography business owners, so I decided to do just that! Here are his seven ways to succeed in business tweaked for what I believe to be strategies for the photography industry.  

1) Have a written plan that should include the following:
 a. A financial plan detailing how many sessions you plan to conduct at a certain sales average, an estimate of how much it will take to produce your products (cost of sales), and an estimate of what your fixed expenses will be.
 b. A source of initial financing until the business is self-sufficient. On average, per the SBA, it takes some businesses 3-5 years until they are sustainably self-sufficient. Knowing this, if you plan to use your personal resources, go at it fully understanding that it will take time to replenish.
 c. A sales plan to achieve your sales average goal. The plan should include a strategy and a price list set up to achieve the goal.
 d. A marketing plan to attract the amount of sessions you need to satisfy your financial plan. The plan should identify your ideal paying client and the appropriate strategy to attract such defined target clientele. Also develop your marketing calendar, detailing the tools to be used, when to use them, and how you will measure your results. (PPA's Square One tool is a great place to start developing your plan.)
 e. Detailed workflow from the initial phone call to the delivery of the products. Outlining each step of your process doesn't only help identify the time required for each session, but it will also help you define outsourcing/employee opportunities.

2) Don't marry your plan. Even the best laid-out plans can eventually go awry. Think of it this way; it's not necessarily the plan that is important, but what we learn from the planning process and how it shapes and guides our future actions.

3) Keep your ego in check and listen to others. The photography industry is unique in some ways in that there are plenty of mentors out there to help guide you. Find one whose business is a reflection of what YOU would like your business to be. Look past the "flashy stuff" towards finding a mentor who is dedicated to their craft and their photography business.

4) Keep track of everything, and manage your numbers. In order to be successful, it is imperative as a studio that you know how many sessions you need to hold in order to reach your goals. The results of this analysis can tell you if your sales and marketing plans are working. It's that plain simple. And if they are not working, it may be time to reassess. PPA has made it easy for you to evaluate your numbers. Just go check the online tools, Square One in particular, that will help you establish the basis of managerial accounting.

5) Delegate and avoid micromanaging. This is where your detailed workflow (see 1e) comes into play. It is important for you to remember that you don't have to do everything. In the beginning, it might make sense, but as your business grows, carve out specific outsourcing opportunities using your detailed workflow. The photography business tends to be seasonal so keep that in mind as well when you are creating your plan. If you find yourself needing help year round, then it is time to take the steps needed to hire on an additional employee.

6) Use the internet! Social media is one marketing tool that is inexpensive but vitally important to building your business. It takes time and effort but if you schedule it ahead of time and take advantage of off-season opportunities to pre-post, it will become easier.  More importantly, it is pertinent that you do it consistently in order to be effective. Look outside of our industry to see how profitable companies take advantage of free marketing tools.

7) Reinvent your business. Seriously. If you don't like what your numbers are telling you, make a change. Of course, map out your change, but always remember that it is ok to take calculated risks. It's not about what you gross, but what you keep in our pockets. Assess your business from a different perspective. Ask yourself what your competitive advantage is. What niche could you carve out of your competitive market, and how could you provide better customer service to elevate your value? Discounting brings down your market's perception of your value so instead of playing the pricing war, exceed your clients' expectations by delivering more!

You have made a conscious choice to be a photographer, one that requires time and money. Always give yourself the best chance to succeed in this ever-changing profession. Knowledge is power--and as an entrepreneur, you are on an endless path to discover what you don't know. This is what PPA is here for: to help you be more profitable by continuing to learn about the photography business!

jacksonbridget_blog.jpgAbout the author:
Bridget Jackson is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and PPA Business manager. Over the years, Bridget has helped hundreds of photography studios become more profitable. 
By Chris Homer

Imaging USA 2015 is only 75 days away! With that in mind, I'd like to encourage you toapp_icon_web.jpg download today (it's free!) so you can be more prepared for all the good stuff coming your way in Nashville. It's the best way to be connected with all the latest news and updates while you're there!

With the mobile app, you'll be able to:

  • View and favorite all the details on classes, sessions, speakers, special events and even the exhibitors at the Imaging Expo.
  • Build your own schedule by simply adding the sessions or events you want to your agenda.
  • Message and arrange private meetings with other attendees (even if you have all their contact info: the app will connect you!)
  • Earn points and take your chance at daily prizes by playing with the in-app game.
  • See what other attendees are saying on Twitter and Facebook (and add to the conversation!)
  • Give feedback and help make this a better conference by taking the in-app session surveys after each class.
  • Use the maps to find your way around the convention center and throughout the Imaging Expo.
  • And more!

If you're attending Imaging USA, this app will be your best friend during the convention. It's available now for iPhone and iPad, Android devices and there's also a web version for those of you that don't own an Apple or Android phone or tablet.

Find all the information on how to download for your device here. Stay-tuned to PPA's blog and ImagingUSA.org for videos demonstrating how to use the different features of the app.
 
Of course, if you haven't registered for Imaging USA yet, do it today! Find all the different options on the registration page.

See you in Nashville!  
  
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About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages. 





The cold may be rampaging across the country as we speak, (it is really, really cold--even inThumbnail image for top10blogroundup.jpg Atlanta) but don't let that get you down! It's Friday, which means we're back with the latest and greatest in photography news.

Warren Motts Honors the Troops
FOR HISTORY BUFFS: Past PPA president, Warren Motts, M.Photog.Hon.M.Photog.Cr., A-ASP, F-ASP, is often lovingly referred to by staff as our PPA historian. Turns out he runs a museum of his own to tell the stories of the men and women who have served our country. Check out this news coverage on how he honors our country's veterans by displaying their memorabilia and his quest for funding for a new 9/11 exhibit.

300 Million Miles Away from Earth, there is now a Probe on a Comet
INSPIRATION: On a comet out in space-- far, far away--humanity landed a probe. It's a staggering feat of scientific genius and we're lucky we get to see pictures of it through the magic of photography.

Model & Whale Become One in the Vastness of the Ocean
TIPS: Check out the process behind how this photographer was able to capture some stunning images of his model as she poses with the majestic (and slightly terrifying) whale shark.

Performance vs. Appearance

BUSINESS: The Lawtog is back with some advice on how important it is to always keep appearances up regardless of how your business is fairing. Turns out, at first people care more about what it looks like you do rather than your numbers, how many hours you spend editing, or how much that box costs for your print packaging.

Building a Photo from the Back to the Front
LIGHTING: Joe McNally provides a complete step-by-step breakdown of why it is sometimes critical to think differently about your lighting direction. Step out of your comfort zone and create images that you didn't think we're possible with these simple steps!

Attention All Freelancers
FREELANCE PHOTOGRAPHY: In this video, Brad Smith, Director of Photography for Sports Illustrated, talks about the different practices successful freelance photographers employ to set themselves apart. If you have any interest in being self-employed this one is definitely worth watching!

Building Your Brand through Your Website

BRANDING: Sometimes the most important actions you can take to improve your business aren't photography related at all. Things such as your brand and your website can be just as influential to your success. The guys over at Fstoppers show you how crafting an impressive website can be just the kick your business (and brand) needs.

The World's Finest Astrophotography
INSPIRATION: You may not have heard of Mark Gee, but he was the 2013 Astronomy Photographer of the Year. This video covers his rise to stardom and what inspires him to be the photographer he is today.

Ah yes, Photoshop. What can't you do?

FOR FUN: We'll end our roundup this week with a dash of wacky absurdity. We won't spoil it for you but prepare to be overcome with emotions of fear and delight at the same time.

That's, that y'all! The top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!
By Chris Homer

It's time to get to know another Imaging USA instructor taking the stage at Nashville in 2015.kozak_headshot.jpg In this interview, Steve Kozak, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, talks about why you should sign up for his "The Secrets to Success When Turning Pro" pre-convention class (which he'll be co-hosting with Britney Fullgraf). He also shares why he become a photographer, what he believes his style is, why he enjoys serving on PPA's Board of Directors... and why he prefers Johnny Cash to Elvis.

When did you know you wanted to be a photographer?


I was a professional musician in a band when I got my first camera. I loved music, but there are demands that go with being in a band that make things hard to keep up with that lifestyle. The more I learned about photography, the more I realized the similarities between taking photos and making music. When I figured out I could use my camera to tell stories, make people feel and use it as an outlet for my creativity, I left the band, sold my guitar and bought my first 2.8 lens. There was no looking back!

What are the top 5 things people will learn from your class?


The first thing we discover is that quality photography begins with the fundamentals--the techniques all photographers should know. Participants will learn how to elevate the quality of their images to a professional level through proper exposure, lighting and posing.

Next, we'll look at gaining control over the portable flash by using it in manual mode and the value of using supplemental lighting with off-camera flash. This is a huge game-changer for photographers trying to improve the quality of their images!

Then, we examine the value that studio lighting brings to the financial success of photographers--and I'll show you how you can use this type of lighting even if you don't have a studio space. I plan to really demystify studio lighting and make it an approachable technique for photographers.

We then look at how to market professional photography and the importance of the message that you place in front of the target market.

Finally, we examine sales strategies and techniques to maximize the sale without feeling like you are pushing too hard. After all, the easier sales become for you, the more money you'll make and the more time you can actually spend behind the camera!

Who should take your class?


All photographers who are considering stepping out into professional photography as their full time job, as much as those who "leapt before they looked". It's not too late to learn how to run a photography business properly! It's never too late! I've built this class to answer so many of the questions photographers starting in the business have, and I truly believe it can help you be successful.

Which do you enjoy more: teaching or photographing?

OK, this question is not fair! It's sort of like choosing your favorite child or your favorite Beatles song. The truth is, I love teaching to those who will dare to take information and run with it. Helping others grow and seeing them succeed brings me greater pleasure than just about anything I do.

What makes you and your co-speaker Britney Fullgraf such a great team?

Britney is simply brilliant. She has a sharp mind for business and knows how to make money. We really take two different approaches to what we do, but when it comes to teaching photographers how to find success, our styles complement each other so well that students can take the best of what each of us has to offer.

Describe your photographic style.

I think of my work as "crafted". I do not leave the details of my work to chance and I am very selective about my lighting, posing and technique. I almost always go into a session knowing what I seek to create for the client. I strive to create images that are unique for every client.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Life. Music. The heart of the person in front of my camera. Landscapes. Fashion. Movies. Art. The human emotion. The mountains. The beach. Contrasts. The dark side. Beauty. Love. Lost love. Hope. Just to name a few!

Why was it important for you to serve on PPA's Board of Directors?

It is important that all of us answer the call to serve whenever or wherever we are called. Serving on the PPA Board of Directors means that I really am serving the 27,000+ photographers of this association who have dreams, passions, struggles, needs, successes and desires. By giving my time and service to this group, I become a small yet active part of a larger community that provides photographers a light along a path that helps them be more and get where they want to go. The tools and the opportunities that PPA provides for photographers are limited only by the willingness of each photographer to reach out and take hold of them. Who wouldn't want to be a part of something as special as that?

Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Jack White?

What about the Beatles?! OK, focus...Jack has had a hand in the success of a number of projects, but is not as recognized as Elvis or Johnny Cash. Johnny was, and still is, "The Man in Black". How cool is that? But Elvis... he is so cool he only needs one name.  
This question has me "all shook up", so I think I will "walk the line". I think Elvis had so many people he had to please and so many people trying to own him, so I chose Johnny Cash because I think he did what he wanted to do the way he wanted to do it. Sounds like a true artist to me!

Come learn from Steve live at Imaging USA 2015. His "The Secrets To Success When Turning Pro" pre-convention class will run January 29 - 30 for an additional $199 fee to your registration. Get all the details on Imaging USA and register here! 

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About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages. 

By Sarah Ackerman

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To help you become familiar with the photographers who will be on the Imaging USA stage, we asked them some questions to really dig deep. In this interview, Kareem Black, portrait photographer and philanthropist extraordinaire, talks about inspiration, our changing industry and how to break into the upper echelon of commercial photography. You can check out his program details here but in the meantime, enjoy!

What was the biggest challenge you faced in defining yourself as a photographer?

The biggest challenge I face, just like most artists, is figuring out what exactly I want to say, and how to say it, in a way that is unique to me. This is probably a lifelong exploration. Early on, I was a lot more technical and used a ton of lights, lenses etc., much more so than I use now. I was hiding behind production and lighting rather than letting the image tell the story. I'm not saying that using a ton of lights is bad, but for me, once I simplified my shooting set I started on what to say with/through the image. With that said, I'm happy I did go through that more technical phase because now I'm very confident in my ability to light just about anything.

What do you think the biggest challenge people just starting out in the industry face?

The biggest challenge might be when people are trying to break into the industry and get noticed. There are so many photographers! To be clear, there always have been a lot of photographers, but today there are seemingly less clients because there are more photographers than ever. In commercial photography, the great recession really killed a lot of print media which was the initial stepping stone that lead into bigger advertising and music work. I started out shooting for magazines and then moved onto CD covers. When's the last time anyone bought a CD? What I'm going to say is sort of common knowledge, but I think that it makes a big difference how photographers face there being more competition and less clients. I love competition and I love looking at photography. One of the first things I do every morning is surf Tumblr and Instagram. It inspires me to see what others are doing. I say the more photographers the better, generally speaking. If you love what you do, and thrive off the battle and the battle makes you better at what you do, you'll be fine. Also, show your work to as many people as possible and never ever ever stop making new work!

Define your photography style in four words.

#feelsgoodletsgo

How do you stay ahead of the game in this industry?

I think that constantly creating new work is very important. By new work I mean new bodies of work. Photographers are like sharks--we have to keep moving forward or we die. Evolution is paramount. I start new personal projects, take trips, conduct an experiment, take risks with my photography. That's how I stay ahead. Otherwise, dwelling in my comfort zone for too long will be death.

What are you most excited about at Imaging USA?

I'm excited to meet and talk shop with photographers of all ages and from all over the world. New York and L.A. can become very incestuous. Everyone knows everyone, there are accepted ways of doing things and how things should look. But I want to experience other points of view and share my own insights. 

What inspires you?

I want to be inspired by as much as possible. I'm a photographer, so obviously I am inspired by photography past and present, but also art in general. I want to know what people were thinking when they did certain things, these questions go beyond art. I'm also genuinely interested in the human condition and like to ask myself what I would have done in certain situations, which provides me with great insights. All of that inspires me! As a photographer I am an explorer and I  find inspiration in all of my explorations.

What is one marketing mistake most new photographers make?

Offering a special or a promotion is often a tight-rope walk. You don't want to be bothersome and call/email/mail people too often, but on the other hand, I don't want to do it so rarely that I am forgotten. There must be a happy medium. Sending a promo, maybe twice a year, is appropriate for me, as well as emails with relevant new work samples. Too often photographers bombard editors with work that isn't necessarily their best stuff. I generally prefer quality over quantity.

How did you break into the high-end commercial photography market?

The industry is small and in New York it is very small. I am a pretty social guy and I love a good party. Believe it or not most of the first people I met, were through social settings - parties, bars, shows, that sort of thing. You'd be surprised how many deals and how much business is transacted in venues like this. At the end of the day, people make deals with people and there are a lot of great photographers out there. The people really want to have some sort of connection, or at least get along with the photographers they will hire.

Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Jack White?

Frederic Chopin

See Kareem live and in action at Imaging USA 2015 in Nashville! He will be giving his program "A Portrait Photographer's Survival Guide to a Changing Industry" on Tuesday, February 3rd at Imaging USA. Get all of the details and register today here!

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Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarah's in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs with WitPro around the Atlanta area and at Dad's Garage Theatre Company. When she's not tweeting/instagramming/facebooking all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.

By Sarah Ackerman

Happy Halloween! We'll cut to the chase - there's candy to eat! Check out our top ten favorite blogs from the week! 

LOOKING BACK: Whether you've been in business for decades or you're just starting out, there are some things nobody teaches in photography school and... Ummm, that's what PPA's here for, but that's not the point: check out these great pieces of advice seven professional photographers WISH they would have learned earlier in their career from PetaPixel.

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS: The Law Tog is back with some great advice inspired by her kids - manage your clients with your words. Here are her three tips on how to manage expectations, guide them in the process and keep everyone happy!

BUILDING YOUR DATABASE: How do you build your client base? Here are some great tips from Contrastly that go above and beyond relying on word-of-mouth advertising. 

CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE: No matter how long you've been in this business, you should never-ever stop learning. This blog from PhotolisticLife shows how even the smallest of changes can make a huge impact on your perspective. What have you tried lately to jazz things up and improve your craft?

GOOD FOR BUSINESS: We know you're past the point of working as an assistant photographer, but check out this article from Light Stalking and get inspired to possibly take on your own. Bring up a new talent in the business and show them how to do it right, not how to do it cheap.

PACKING CHEAT SHEET: So you're going to a remote atoll? What do you bring? Check out this great timelapse video and blog from National Geographic photographer Corbun Dukehart on his trip working on Aldabra atoll. It's a great lesson on learning your environment regardless of where you are and knowing how to best protect your equipment. 

EXTRACTING STILLS: Learn from PPA photographer Michele Clentano how to take stills from high quality video, and why that might be a great option for capturing once-in-a-lifetime portraits on this great blog from PetaPixel.

WORKFLOW: Want to optimize your workflow? Customize your workspace in Lightroom! It's really simple with these tips from Photofocus and can help streamline all of the tools you need regularly, versus the ones you use once in a blue moon. 

BEHIND BARS: You? Get arrested? Not since that one time on spring break in college*! In any case, as a professional photographer, you should know your rights. Check out this great interview with Mickey Osterreicher from the National Press Photographers Association to make sure you have your facts straight.

*Authors note: I've never been arrested, but have had more than my fair share of speeding tickets. Oops.

REALITY TV: Our favorite photography reality show is back with Part II of its San Diego Challenge! Catch Levy Moroshan and Dan Hughes go head to head (lens to lens?). Voting ends November 2nd, so take 20 minutes, watch the show and vote!



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Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarah's in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs with Witless Protection around the Atlanta area and at Dad's Garage Theatre Company. When she's not tweeting/instagramming/facebooking all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.

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By Sarah Ackerman 

As a member of PPA, you know how important it is to educate your clients on seeing the difference between the value of a professional photographer and Uncle Bob with a camera. To help, we've created a few nifty tabs (and its corresponding content, of course) that you'll be able to install on your company's Facebook page. It's meant to help you convey why hiring a professional photographer (specifically: you!) makes all the difference in the world! 

There are a few options for these "See the Difference" Facebook tabs. There are tabs for wedding photographers, portrait photographers, senior photographers and even a general photography tab (not specialty-specific) if you fit all (or none) of those categories. 

We created this content and will update it periodically, but we can't install it for you. So how do you go about installing this bad boy Facebook tab? There are quite a few ways!

It costs a little bit of money, ($30/month for most everyone, but if you have more than a few thousand fans, prices increase) yet it is the easiest way to go about installation. What's the phrase? "You can have two of the three out of: good, cheap and fast". This is good and fast, it isn't expensive, but isn't super cheap. To make it as easy as possible without actually doing it for you, Shortstack walks you through the installation process screen shot by screen shot (them doing it for you isn't an option: consider it a learning opportunity). 

It is a cheaper version at $15 for up to 1,000 fans (or only a buck for up to 100 fans). It won't walk you through the installation process in as detailed of a way as Shortstack, but it'll be still pretty easy to get it up and running if you indeed do it step by step. If you can handle $15/month, this is a great way to get this information out on your page and in your fans' feeds. 

Sounds redundant, right? Use Facebook to put something on Facebook? We list it third because it's a wee bit complicated, but... FREE! First you'll have to sign up for an App Developers Account (pretty simple - just click here and you'll be all set). The next part is where it gets tricky - the best way is to watch some great YouTube videos. Make sure the videos are recent as Facebook has being giving the apps some facelifts as of late. Here's one that might work for you!

It might take a few minutes, but once you've installed the tab, share it on your timeline to show clients why it's important for them to see the difference hiring a professional photographer makes. If you run into any issues, contact the Facebook App hosting service directly, they are the experts in this case.

You can download the tab graphics and html code here! 
If you want to make edits to the tab graphic itself, always remember the image needs to be 111 x 74 pixels and you'll have to pack a punch in that little space.)

Here you go! These are just three ways to install the tab - if you simply Google "Facebook App Installation" you'll discover a world of options, these are just the ones we are pretty familiar with. If you find another option you enjoy, please let us know! Email Sarah at sackerman (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 Sarah's in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs with Witless Protection around the Atlanta area and at Dad's Garage Theatre Company. When she's not tweeting/instagramming/facebooking all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.




By Chris Homer

With Halloween coming up tomorrow, the PPA staff and I want to encourage you to get in the spirit! With that in mind, we've started a thread on theLoop where we'd love to hear some of your spookiest moments as a photographer. To get you started, here are two photography horror stories posted to the thread already that are truly Goosebumps-worthy material: 

"I had an appointment to take a family portrait at an out of town church. Nothing new there, I figured it would be the typical family reunion, anniversary, whatever. But, when I got there the whole family gathered around Grandpa Jim who was lying in his casket at his own funeral. They even propped him up so he could be seen better. WEIRD FAMILY." - David Nelson, King Photography Studio, Jamestown, ND

"While working for a local newspaper I had to cover a Native American prayer event. Just as they began to pray I raised my camera to take just one image and one of the tribe's elders looked right at me and shook his head in disagreement to me taking any images during the prayer. I took that one shot anyway (it was my job) and by the time I walked back to my car and checked the images on the camera monitor they were gone! I couldn't see them on the rearview monitor of the camera and when I got back to the newsroom I couldn't open the files. Was I spooked? You bet I was." - Paul Robinson, Paul S. Robinson Photography, Uxbridge, MA

Can you add to or maybe even top these stories? Head on over to this thread on theLoop and share your spooky photographer story! Your experience may even appear in a future PPA Today newsletter.
 
Don't forget - theLoop is the online community just for PPA photographers! Here you can share ideas and worries, and discuss sensitive topics like customer service, demanding clients and more, all without the fear of a client looking over your shoulder. Want to be part of theLoop? Join PPA today! 


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About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages. 
By Sarah Ackerman

October was spooky busy on theLoop! Here are some of the most popular discussions you might want to check out!

If you're interested in getting into the world of wildlife and landscape prints - this is a great first stop. You'll learn what size prints are popular and what to avoid.

Remember purchasing your first lighting kit? Or maybe you're a new photographer in the market? This is a great thread about what is a necessity and what's just nice to have. 

Have you considered offering mini sessions? Get in on this discussion on the pros and cons of offering short 15 minute theme sessions and see if it might be a good fit for your business. 

This is a great thread - what's the best way to learn how to pose? Books? Online classes? Seminars and workshops? Get the pros and cons of each here!

If you're in the market for a new computer, this is a great thread! See how much RAM you need to run Photoshop and Lightroom, along with a few other factors. 

We know that big weddings can mean big dollars, but what does that mean for small weddings? See how you can still turn a profit without emptying your client's bank account in this thread. 

Credit card processing can be a hassle and take a chunk of your profits. Who do you use? Did you know as a PPA member you have access to a discounted program with Bank of America Merchant Services? Get all of the details here. 

Imaging USA is less than 100 days away (yay!) - so who is coming? Get on this thread to find a roommate, a car pool buddy or a study partner! Connect with your fellow attendees long before we hit Opryland!

Pricing yourself into a new market is always an adventure. If you have experience with headshots, weigh in on what you think is appropriate. Charge by the hour or by the person?

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. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs with Witless Protection around the Atlanta area and at Dad's Garage Theatre Company. When she's not tweeting/instagramming/facebooking all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.

By Chris Homer

We're back at it again with our favorite photography blog posts from around the web! Check
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 them out:

PHOTO COMPETITION MENTORING: PPA member Christine Walsh-Newton, M.Photog.Cr.,CPP, is back in the roundup this week with an article in Southern Exposure. This time, Christine recounts her experience mentoring new photographers at the 2014 International Photographic Competition. Christine talks about how being a mentor is not nearly as difficult as you might think, and how even doing something small to help another photographer can make a big difference. With District Photographic Competitions coming up, take a look and see if it inspires you to become a mentor!

PLAIN FUN: Our new favorite reality show is back with their next episode! Photo Throwdown pits 2 photographers against each other in a series of challenges. We find it quite entertaining! In this episode, photographer Dan Hughes and Levy Moroshon go head to head in San Diego. And check out the first episode, featuring PPA photographer (and PPAedu instructor!) Jennifer Rozenbaum, too.
 
GEAR N' STUFF: If you're in need of an IR remote for your DSLR, you'll want to read this post from PetaPixel before you go out and buy one. ShutterBOT is a free app for Android phones that turns your phone into a universal IR DSLR Remote that works with most of the DSLR cameras out there. 

INSPIRATION: Photographer and past Imaging USA instructor Benjamin Von Wong recently did a photo shoot for SmugMug where he turned the company's employees into pro athletes for inspiring photos hung around the company's gym. The results are impressive, even more so when you consider Benjamin did it all with a $20 budget and just a few lights. It just goes to show how far creativity can take you. Check out the video and get inspired! 

PORTRAIT TIPS: In this post for PhotoFocus, Scott Bourne shares his tips for creating great headshots. If you do portrait photography, you may find some best practices to utilize here! It might even inspire you to write your own tips... share them with us!

INSPIRATION: Each year, Nikon hosts the Small World Micrography Competition, where photographers submit images of things only visible under a microscope. In Focus has a collection of photos from this year's competition. If you do this type of photography, you won't want to miss these photos!
 
SHOT LIST TIPS: If you're thinking of getting into the corporate event market, check out this post from Digital Photography School. You'll find some good tips for building a shot list, as well as some advice on the types of photographs to avoid. 

PSD TUTORIAL: With the holidays rapidly approaching, chances are you're starting to get requests for family photos for Christmas cards. If you'd like to give your clients a winter backdrop, but don't have any snow, this tutorial from the Photography and Video blog can give you some advice on how to create a winter scene using Photoshop.
 
TIPS & INSPIRATION: Renowned photographer David Ziser shares five of his favorite photography techniques in this post on his Digital Pro Talk blog, complete with examples from a recent trip to Valencia, Spain. You may be inspired to grab your camera and try out these techniques yourself!

NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY: If you photograph babies, you know how stressful these sessions can be. Virtual Photography Studio provides some advice for keeping both babies and moms relaxed for the best photo session possible.

There it is! Your top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!

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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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