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Results tagged “photographers association” from PPA Today

By: Lauren Walters


Family photos are one activity many families dread. What's meant to be a fun, memorable event can quickly become a stressful, panic-inducing nightmare. Here are some tips from PPA family portrait photographers to help your family take beautiful photos.


1. Find the Right Photographer

In addition to reviewing a photographer's online portfolio, pricing and policies, also look at their social media pages and customer reviews on third party websites. If you want a large portion of your session to be in black and white, then find a photographer who loves black and white too. If you want a natural, candid session with minimal posing find a photographer whose existing work reflects that. Don't waste time and energy hoping that the photographer will understand your vision, rather, find someone whose work communicates that.


2. Plan Ahead

All too often people spend the day(s) before their photo session running around to the dry cleaner, hair stylist, and novelty stores for last minute purchases and props. Instead, plan the look you want a few days before. Have everyone try everything on beforehand to ensure they have socks and the desired hair style/length. Your kids and spouse will feel your stress, so prep ahead to reduce it as much as possible. It is often hard for families to recover from a day of being nagged, so setting expectations ahead of time and knowing that the attires will work great is an immense plus. It will help even more if you spend time enjoying yourself and your kids a few hours before your session. Your kids and photographer will thank you and the images will reflect your wonderful family dynamic. 


3. Select Color Themes

Instead of looking for top-to-bottom looks for everyone in your family, look in each closet for color themes. For a soft, elegant look, choose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics. Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family? Choose coordinating colors with bold accent colors to complement each other (but not matchy, matchy which would make you compete with each other). Including fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images.


4. Talk to Your Kids Beforehand

Kids are smart and they love feeling big and informed. Tell them a "professional photographer" is coming over. Show them the clothes they will be wearing, involve them in the discussion of what you will be doing and where you will be doing it. New people and places can be unsettling to kids especially to toddlers melting down in the afternoon hours. So do what you can to turn your photographer into a  new friend familiar to your kids before the session. 


5. Decide on a Reward

Bring your kids' favorite toys or treats and give them to your photographer to use when he or she needs to get their attention. But don't overuse them or they'll lose their magic. Kids need far less prompting and are much better at candid expressions than adults. If you've been needlessly bribing them then, as you know, it loses its magic. If the photographer gets the say if your family goes for frozen yogurt afterwards, your kids will be far more apt to cooperate. 


6. Feed Everyone Beforehand.

Pick a time when your kids are usually well behaved. If they're grumpy in the morning, don't plan a morning photo shoot and expect them to be pumped about it. Bring their favorite snack as long as it's not messy and they can eat it hands-free (no red teeth or chocolate chins needed!). But bring an extra set of clothes and some paper towels just in case! 


7. Trust Your Photographer.

All too often parents get nervous when their child isn't looking at the photographer or smiling "right", causing their child anxiety and robbing the photographer (and themselves!) the chance for candid portraits. Seasoned family portrait photographers know how to make your children feel comfortable so let them work their magic. After all, you're paying them to create just that, right?


Remember: Anyone can take a good picture every now and then. But your kids grow up fast and before you know it they leave for college. Memories fade. So trust a pro; See the difference PPA photographers make and find the right photographer for YOUR family at PPA.com/SeeTheDifference/Family.


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By Sarah Ackerman

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Happy Friday! You survived the week (including Tax Day in the U.S. ), so that is cause for celebration! Take a few to relax, kick up your feet and enjoy our top ten posts from around the interwebs!

BEST PHOTOGRAPHERS IN THE WORLD: The United States took home the World Photographic Cup for the second year in a row. Led by medalists and PPA photographers Ben Shirk and Kenneth Martin, the team took four medals and nine top 10 finishes! Get all the details here.

COPYRIGHT PROTECTION: Happy Copyright Awareness Month! If you've had a run in with copyright infringement, know you're not alone. Check out this write up on PPA photographer Ross Oscar Knight and see what you can learn from his experiences with copyright infringement. PPA is here to help!

HELP TO FIND CLIENTS: Imaging USA speakers Gary Hughes and Booray Perry are back with their PhotoBomb podcast! The two weigh in on reimagining iconic wedding photographs (like the sometimes dreaded "ring shot") and discuss how to attract and keep clients when you're just starting out. Learn from these hilarious pros!

LEGAL MATTERS: You may recall Andrea Polito's case from a few months back - she was sued when she made her clients pay extra for their album cover (catch up on the full backstory here). The parties are back in the news for a defamation suit. Read the article and weigh in with your opinions in this spirited conversation on theLoop

BUSINESS COACHING: As you heard in March two PPA member studios are getting total makeovers! Wes Roberts has been working diligently over the past month with Business Consultant Bridget Jackson, CPA and Marketing Mentor, Ashley Brooke. Check in to see his progress!

DEBUNKING THE SALES TAX: Since Tax Day came and went this week, this article is extremely timely! Rachel Brenke separates the truth from fiction in the world of sales tax when it comes to photography clients in this easy-to-read post. 

BUSINESS BEST PRACTICES: If you've ever wondered what your customers are thinking - Entrepreneurs compiled a list of the top five things you need to know and how it impacts your business! Check the list and see how these tidbits can improve your customer experience, from start to return visit. 

WEB BASICS: Don't judge an article by its headline. This three part series from Go Live HQ offers some great input on not stressing out about those three little letters. Moral of the story: treat SEO like a bad boyfriend, the less you care and the more you focus on yourself, the better it will behave. 

STATE OF MIND: Imaging USA speaker, Jeffrey Shaw is back on the round up with Denise Martin, a master communication specialist. Denise and Jeffrey explore how you can improve communication with your clients by improving communication internally. Think of it this way - does your inner monologue need a pep talk? Tune in. You won't be disappointed. 

INSPIRATION: We frequently talk about getting it right in the camera, and Ray Dennis did just that. Ray ditched the digital editing and created some surreal images that you have to see the behind the scenes photos to believe! 

What's photography blogs or podcasts do you follow? Post your favorites on theLoop! Also, you can email your suggestions directly to OnlineContentCommittee (at) PPA (dot) com.

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Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other 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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By Lindsey Forson

April is Copyright Awareness Month at PPA! Why get involved? Because copyright is arguably the most important legal concern for professional photographers. During the course of your career as a pro, it's inevitable that you will have to deal with copyright infringement at some point. To highlight the importance of copyright protection and give you the opportunity to learn the easy way, some PPA photographers have agreed to share their experiences!

In light of a recent issue with a copyright infringement, we had a conversation with PPA member Ross Oscar Knight.

Ross has been a professional photographer since 2004. He takes great care in protecting his images but still faces around 4-5 copyright infringements per year! He has dealt with infringements from clients, retailers, and other photography businesses, along with those frustrating unknown infringers.

Ross stands with PPA in encouraging photographers to protect their images and sees copyright protection as one of the most important aspects of a photography business. For him, there are reasons to protect images beyond the obvious business-related concerns because his images will live on long after his life and the life of his business. "It's no different than a musician writing a song," said Ross. "I'm a photographer, and for me, images are my legacy."

That's right! PPA has elections and you get to vote! Starting today, April 15, PPA Council nominations will be accepted online at PPA.com/CouncilElections.

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But first...

What's PPA Council, you ask?

It's a delegate body that oversees PPA's bylaws. Volunteer PPA members are elected to represent their states for a 3-year period.

What does PPA Council do for YOU?

  • Assists PPA members and fellow photographers. As a group, they make decisions that guide the association.
  • Elects members to serve on the Nominating Committee and PPA's Board of Directors.
  • Approves PPA degree recipients and maintains PPA's merit system.

PPA Council Nominations will be held for each state. Who do you want to represent you? Give it some thought, and submit your nominee(s). But please, run it by them first...

You've got two weeks to submit your elected nominee(s). All nominations must be submitted by May 1, 11:59pm EST. Take advantage of this chance to give input on your state's PPA representative(s) and help shape your photographic association.

If you're not sure who a good candidate in your area would be, chat about it on theLoop and share what traits/skills you'd like your PPA representative to own.

For more information on the 2015 elections and instructions on how to nominate, please visit PPA.com/CouncilElections.

Don't forget - voting opens May 15!

By Chris Homer

PPA's Super 1 Day Photography Workshops are returning May 4 - 18, 2015. During this time, dozens of studios across the country will invite attendees to join daily workshops featuring portrait and wedding photography, posing and lighting, digital retouching and workflow, and sales and marketing strategies. It's a chance you won't want to miss--a full day of photography education brought to you by fellow professional photographers.

This year, there's more than 100 workshops being offered on various techniques for photographers and business practices, so there's bound to be something that interests you... and hopefully not far from you! Online registration is open until April 28, 2015 for $99 per class. Make sure to register by that date, because after the 28th registration will be on-site only (at the class and space permitting) for $120 per class. So register early, allow the instructors to organize their groups properly with an advance headcount and save some good money! 

If you need more incentives besides the great photography education, keep in mind that PPA members that attend Super 1 Day classes will receive one service merit towards their degree for each class they attend. Plus, you also get the Bonus Pack, with offers and discounts from top photographic companies that will help you save more! 

Be More Inspired. Find a class near you today, and remember to register by April 28, 2015 for the lowest price! 


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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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PPA-led Team USA Brings Home Second Consecutive Title

The World Photographic Cup is on its way back to the States as Team USA, made up of PPA members, narrowly defeated the competition for a second consecutive year. The cup was awarded April 12 in Montpellier, France.

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Gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded to the individual creators in each of six categories, and teams were awarded points for top ten finishes. Team USA won the cup with four medals and nine top 10 finishes. Team Portugal finished second with four medals and seven top 10 finishes, and Australia rounded out the podium with two medal wins and eight top tens.

"We're very proud of the stunning images created by PPA photographers for Team USA this year," said David Trust, PPA CEO. "This competition is really all about the fellowship of photographers from all over the world. It's an honor to be the association that represents this winning team of incredibly talented photographers."

The team's efforts were led by medalists Ben Shirk, Iowa, and Kenneth Martin, Wisconsin. Shirk, an Imaging USA and PhotoVision speaker, took two gold medals, in the portrait and wedding categories, as well as silver in the illustrative category. Martin won silver in the landscape/wildlife category. The other gold medals went to Portugal, Belgium, New Zealand and Spain.

By Chris Homer

As a photographer, you're probably always looking for ways to improve your photography skills. One of the best ways to do this is by entering photographic competitions that provide you some very useful feedback. PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) allows you to get just that! The IPC entry submissions open May 26, 2015. Participating is already a great way to push your skills to the next level, but if you choose to get your images critiqued by one of the competition's jurors, you're simply bound to learn more as an artist.

If you've never entered an image into a PPA competition, we understand the process can seem a little daunting at first - but it really is a great way to become a better photographer and it is the structured process that raises the quality of the results. To get rid of some of your apprehensions about entering, check out Andrew Jenkins, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, critiquing an image by Gary Hughes, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, called "Just Do It". It  was accepted into PPA's general collection! 




Ready to enter your work? Be More Daring and learn tons! Entries for the International Photographic Competition open May 26.


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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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In the previous post 2 Studios Are Getting a Full Business Makeover This Year! you met PPA Studio Makeover recipients, Wes Roberts and Krista Newbill and read the overview of the makeover process.

Now that the makeovers are underway, you can follow along with their progress! First up is Wes as he and the PPA mentor team dove into the financials of his business.

Wes's Story

The Financials

Wes was super excited to get started. He's been working with PPA's Business Consultant and CPA, Bridget Jackson, to get a handle on where he is currently and the best way to move forward.

First, we always did a complete financial analysis of the studio. It's important to know what's working and what's not. We did this by comparing Wes' studio's numbers to PPA's Benchmark Survey. By comparing his cost of sales, overhead and net profit we started to get a good picture of the pitfalls that are causing monetary loss. We also uncovered potential opportunities for savings.

Wes' numbers looked better than the average benchmark studios in 2013 and 2014. However, his 20% cost of sales percentage doubled between 2013 and 2014. While, in general, 20% is a great number to achieve (below the recommended 25%), we had to figure out what has changed to cause such a drastic uptick and put everything in place to ensure that trend would not continue in 2015.

Second, PPA mentors helped Wes develop a photography business plan for 2015 that included three goals:

  1. the number of sessions he wants to photograph (broken down by month)
  2. the sales average of each session
  3. his net profit

By: Lauren Walters

As April rolls along, check out this week's top blogs about ethics. Join in the fun with other posts and learn about the PPA perk - Photovision. Remember to exercise good ethics and inspire your creative self.   

Be More Inspired with PhotoVision

PPA MEMBERSHIP PERK: Now that PhotoVision is part of PPA, you have no excuse! The sources of inspiration to be more inspired and more creative are endless! Pick a topic, pick a genre or pick an instructor, there is something for everyone to motivate and inspire you in photography. With over 800 cinematic HD streaming videos, PhotoVision is now included with your PPA membership! Visit PPA.com/PhotoVision and proactively continue to learn today!

Could the U.K.'s Copyright Hub Provide a Template for Simple Rights Use?

COPYRIGHT: We all know the troubles copyright comes with. The U.K. created a hub to identify all copyright information pertaining to a single piece simply by searching the image, video or audio file. How useful is this? Read this article to find out what the U.S. thinks of this hub.

In the Smartphone Era, Can Street Photography Be Illegal?

ETHICS: Let's find out! In Germany, a Berlin-based street photographer started a project funded by 528 supporters totaling $19,850 for his possible legal fees. Since 1907, the law stated if a photographer didn't have the subject's permission to photograph them, they weren't allowed to publish the image. This interesting article shows how this project turned out.

Photoshop and Photojournalism

ETHICS AGAIN: In a way, photography is manipulation, but photojournalism is about revealing the truth to the public. A photojournalist cannot recreate a moment by asking a subject to pose a certain way - they must be an honest and credible source. Check out this video and celebrate 25 years of Photoshop as it relates to modern photojournalism.

This Camera Survived Three Months at the Bottom of the Ocean

JUST FOR FUN: An underwater photographer, Scuba Monster team member, found a camera among the coral reef near the bottom of the ocean. Guess what? The camera sill worked! What all did this camera go through before being rediscovered? Read more to get the full scoop!

Showing Girls that 'Strong is the New Pretty'

EMPOWER: Instead of photographing little girls in pink dresses and flowery hats, PPA Photographer Kate Parker helps her daughters find their confidence. Through photography, Parker's daughters show their tough side - redefining the term "pretty".

Three Little Letters... Big Meaning.

TREAT YOUR PSYCHE: "Why become certified?" PPA photographer Suan Goralski tells all! Read about her journey on the CPP path and find out what it takes to become a certified professional photographer. It might involve a side effect that helps with you beyond the client perception's rationale... just read on!

When More Is More: Photography and Doing Away With Subtlety

INSPIRATION: Is less more? "If less is more, just think how more that will be!" Where do you draw the line? When intensifying and balancing the right elements, your work will stand out among the crowd. Check out this work and get inspired by this photographer's brave lunge into the bold.

100 Ideas That Changed Photography

REINVENTION: From camera obscura to the iPhone, Fine Art Professor Mary Marien explains the evolution of photography through her book "100 Ideas That Changed Photography". Through this article, catch the highlights of significant historical artifacts that pushed photography toward the art it is today.

5 Steps To Realizing Successful Passion Projects

PHOTOGRAPHY PASSION: In the mini-documentary, "Updating Philosophies", film makers Jared Levy and Justin Hamilton share their secrets about how to get booked for the work you WANT to do. Watch the short video and follow their 5 simple steps to start living your dream.

What's photography blogs do you follow? Post your favorites on theLoop! Also, you can email your suggestions directly to OnlineContentCommittee@PPA.com.

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By Chris Homer

PPA photographers have photography and business learning opportunities, educational programs and best practices through PPAedu and PhotoVision at their fingertips. But there are also a bunch of live webinars coming up in April and May, and these are OPEN TO ALL photographers, no PPA membership required! Check them out below:

April 16, 2015 - 2 pm EST
With Ashley Brooke
Skill Level(s): ALL

The first webinar in the Studio Makeover series is here! This year PPA is working with two lucky studios in all areas of their business, to give them a total "makeover". Follow their progress, challenges and changes. Updates will be posted right here on the blog and you will be able to watch monthly webinar updates to track this year-long process. It's a series worth paying attention to, as there will be strategies and business tactics you can apply to your business too.

With the nature of business changing as rapidly as it is, it's no wonder we consider Social Media our Business BFF. Having grown up in the photography industry, Ashley Brooke knows first-hand what works best and what doesn't! During this webinar, Ashley Brooke will share her tips and tricks for social media and branding, discovered in large part thanks to building a business from the ground up.

April 23, 2015 - 3 pm EST
With Lindsey Forson, PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Coordinator
Skill Level(s): ALL

Copyright infringement is an important and often complicated issue for professional photographers. This webinar will help you understand what your intellectual property rights are as a photographer, how to protect your images from copyright infringements, and what to do when infringements occur. Join us on World Copyright Day for this webinar, free and open to ALL photographers to help you be more in control of your copyright and be more protected!

April 28, 2015 - 2 pm EST
With Clay Eads
Skill Level(s): ALL

This is a two-part series on outsourcing. In part I, Clay Eads will provide an in-depth look at the process and benefits of outsourcing your post-production workflow. You'll learn when it makes sense to outsource so that you're maximizing your time and finances! Clay will also cover what to expect when working with an editor during the outsourcing process. If you feel overwhelmed with all the tasks you need to accomplish, outsourcing may be a solution for you, so learn the basics during this webinar.

By John Owens

It's Friday! And you know what that means--photography geeks blog round up time! Flip your way through this top 10 to see what's going on in the photography world this week. There's sure to be some good stuff that applies to you!

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Copyright Awareness Month
AWARENESS: April is Copyright Awareness Month! Do your part and raise awareness with your local photo retailers. They might be helping people infringe on your images without you even knowing it! You can help them know what they don't know during this month's campaign. Read the details and sign up! Be sure to check out the free-to-all copyright webinar later this month to educate yourself on your rights.

PhotoVision is Now a PPA Member Benefit
DID YOU KNOW? PhotoVision is now a part of PPA! That means the best photography education videos out there, for PPA photographers. 24/7 access to PhotoVision's entire catalogue of 800 videos through online streaming at no cost. Read more for details.

Attention to Detail: Get the Photo Your Client Will Cherish
INSPIRATION: In this heartwarming essay, Jenna Martin shares her wedding story and the image she wishes she had from the day. She gets introspective toward the end and it's something any photographer, especially wedding photographers, can practice. What's the one image you wish you had from your big day? How can you make sure you capture those moments for your clients?

Tips for a Long, Healthy Career
ADVICE: Learning from mistakes is a tried and true method, but chances are someone has already made those errors before you. Use this 40-year professional photography veteran's hindsight to your advantage and check out this post on the five biggest mistakes he's made during his career. Read through and make sure you don't fall victim to any of these shortcomings.

PPA Helps Potentially Harmful Arkansas Bill Get Vetoed
PHOTOGRAPHY LAW: Early this week, PPA was notified of a bill in Arkansas that would be incredibly harmful to the livelihoods of photographers not just in the state, but nationwide. The bill contained unintended and potentially dangerous implications to photographers, but was thankfully vetoed just in the nick of time. Read the full blog to see what this could have meant for photographers and what PPA did to make sure it didn't happen!

Goal Setting with Dr. Julie Connor
MOTIVATION: Past Imaging USA speaker Jeff Shaw has Dr. Julie Connor on this week's podcast to share her tips for dreaming big and achieving them. Dr. Connor travels the world spreading her mission helping people reach their goals. In this podcast she and Jeff discuss aligning tasks and goals with vision and mission, how to get unstuck and making your lifetime goals your habits. 
 

Portrait Retouching Workflow
POST-PROCESSING: Here are some handy tips from Fstoppers to help you spend even less time in front of that dreaded computer screen editing your images! Photographer Jeff Rojas uses a male portrait session to demonstrate his 6-step workflow process that could apply to any portrait session. If you're spending too much time retouching, give these a try!

Give and Receive Critiques with Grace!
CRITIQUING YOUR WORK: Here's a great post full of advice on how to give and receive photography critiques. The author gives tips for both sides and it's a pretty solid way to think of them. Don't forget, critiques are one of the most valuable pieces of photographic competition so make sure you get yours when you enter!

Make Your Subject Pop Off the Background
TECHNIQUE: Does the subject of your image ever get washed out by the background? Don't let it happen again with these helpful tips from The Phoblographer.

The Best Photography-Related April Fools' Day Spoofs
JUST FOR LAUGHS: A round up in a round up?! So meta, John. April Fools' Day came and went Wednesday, hopefully without incident for you all. PetaPixel did us all the favor of gathering the best photography hoaxes. I'm pretty partial to the SteadiKid Baby Carrier. What's your favorite?

 

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


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


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By Chris Homer

At PPA, one of our goals is to constantly provide benefits that help photographers Be More
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 as business owners and as artists. With that in mind, we're excited to introduce the newest benefit of being with the largest and strongest photography association - PhotoVision! 

PhotoVision is a premier online library of cinematic HD videos where photographers can learn, be inspired and find solutions from some of the biggest names in the industry. Now that PhotoVision is a part of PPA, members can stream more than 800 videos for FREE! Or if you're more of the DVD type (some of us really like to hold onto DVDs), if you're with PPA you'll also receive 50% off the PhotoVision DVDs. When adding PhotoVision to the existing PPAedu videos, you now have more than 1,100 educational videos at your fingertips to help you work on photography technique and develop your business and business skills... all INCLUDED with your PPA membership! 

Below you'll find previews for the 2015 PhotoVision releases. There's certain to be something for every photographer! Learn all about this new benefit at PPA.com/PhotoVision. Remember, you've got to be with PPA to get the free streaming, but you can also get a PhotoVision-only subscription. It's your choice... Join 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. 

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Early this week, an Arkansas PPA affiliate (APPA) notified us of Arkansas Senate Bill 79: the Personal Rights Protection Act. After researching SB-79, PPA's copyright & government affairs department developed serious concerns about what this bill could mean for professional photographers, not just in Arkansas but nationwide.

The proposed bill was full of troublesome ambiguities and vague definitions making it very difficult to comprehend. Based on our understanding, the proposed bill, which was meant to protect privacy, contained unintended, dangerous implications which could be very harmful to photographers, to the point that it would threaten the livelihood of their businesses. SB-79 included clauses that would make it so photographers need a model release for any "person" in the image. This includes anyone in the background. Furthermore, under the law, "persons" even pertains to more than just people. According to the bill, "Person" is defined as an individual or entity including a corporation, company, association, partnership, or any other business entity.

The greater problem with the bill is that a difficult burden of proof would lie upon the infringer, which according to this bill, is, you guessed it, the photographer. For instance, if someone sees himself in the background of an image that was published without his permission, he could sue a photographer and say his privacy was invaded. The photographer would be responsible for defending themselves against the claim by proving the image falls within a very confusing list of "fair uses" or that they had explicit permission from the person to use it (a model release). This could mean expensive legal fees for the photographer--fees these small business owners simply cannot afford. 

By: Lauren Walters

Are you interested in elevating your photographic style? Take a stab and enter your work into a PPA competition where your selected piece will be critiqued by a panel of judges. The judges are well-versed in all things photography. This may seem scary at first, but you'll notice how beneficial the experience is once you witness it for yourself! Competitions are a great way to grow as an artist and take a step closer to earning your PPA degree.

Watch the critique below to shake out some of your nerves. International juror Donna Goodhale critiques William Grace's work titled "A Rose is Rose is a Rose".


Enter the Southeast District Competition today - they're accepting submission right now! Don't wait too long, the competition takes place on April 30th - May 5th. Images that receive an 80+ score at any of the PPA District Competitions also earn an exhibition merit when you submit the same work to the 2015 International Photographic Competition. If you've already participated in your District Competition and are interested in more of a challenge, the International Photographic Competition is accepting submissions beginning May 26th. Challenge yourself to become a better photographer!

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By Sarah Ackerman

As a professional photographer, it can be difficult explaining the difference between you and that kid down the street with a fancy camera. In this latest addition to your See The Difference resources, you'll see how you can use the tools PPA has put together to help you show your clients the advantage of hiring a pro - all while eloquently showing your clients why they need to go with you, a PPA photographer!




Share a few laughs with this lighthearted video and while you're at it, start exploring and using all of the See The Difference resources, logos and graphics. You can get them at all at PPA.com/SeeTheDifference.


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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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By Sarah Ackerman

We're about to enter the second quarter of the year - how are your creative goals holding up? Might you be in the market for some new gear to help you get there? Get back on track with your 2015 plan and learn something in the process with these great discussions on theLoop!

Do you have input on the newest Nikon camera bodies? Weigh in with your opinions on this member's specific shooting needs and maybe get some shopping tips of your own!

If you have expertise in using a tablet as a monitor for you Canon 5D Mark III, this is an excellent techy thread for you! Share your knowledge with larger monitor options today! 

Are you a fan of albums? Who are your favorite vendors? Help your fellow photographer with your best bets on vendors and any pro tips along the way. 

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!


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for SarahA-2763.jpgSarah 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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By Chris Homer

Happy Friday! As always, we're back to deliver you a selection of the top photography blogs
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 of the week. From portrait photography to business advice, there's a little bit of everything in this week's roundup. Check them out below. 

BUSINESS: Many photographers have started to offer video as part of their services. If you're thinking of getting into this market, read this post from Fstoppers first! It covers some good points you'll want to consider before you start offering video. 

GEAR GEEK: Do you ever find yourself paralyzed when it comes time to capture a shot - running through a mental list of lenses, lights, and other equipment? You may be suffering from 'Gear Acquisition Syndrome.' Find out how you might be able to slim down some of that gear and still get great photographs, and have a healthier bottom line, in this post from The Phoblographer. 

LIGHTING TIPS: With summer approaching, chances are you're starting to get requests for outdoor portraits during 'golden hour' (that time right around sunrise or sunset). There are some tricky lighting situations to consider, but this post from Digital Photography School provides some advice to overcome these challenges. 

INSPIRATION: This video features the Gulf Photo Plus ShootOut, where three photographers (including past Imaging USA instructor Joel Grimes) were given the challenge of capturing intimacy between strangers with only 20 minutes to plan, shoot, edit, retouch and present their results. The photographs are pretty astonishing given the time frame. Plus, you'll get to listen to their thought process behind each photograph, which may give you some useful tips for your own work! 

PPA Competition: Here's something we don't see every day! At a recent PPA District Photographic Competition, photographer Monish Mansharamani witnessed how his image scored a perfect 100. You can watch the judging of Monish's "Brooklyn Twilight" image and see what it is PPA judges are looking for in an image. Hopefully, you'll be inspired to enter a District Photographic Competition or the International Photographic Competition

TIPS FOR POST: If you struggle with lighting darker skin tones, this post from PhotoFocus is for you. Some quick tips are provided for getting the light correct so you can always give your clients flattering results.  

SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY: With March Madness going on, basketball is probably on the top of the mind for the sports photographers out there. H & H Color Lab has compiled a great series of videos that show photographers in action at the NCAA Tournament. You may pick up some tips you can use the next time you're hired to cover a basketball game. 
NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY: If you enjoy nature photography, check out this post from the Photo Naturalist. It discusses how to subtly retouch an image so you get exactly what you had envisioned, without over-doing it to the point that a photograph no longer looks like it was captured in the wild. 

INSPIRATION: A solar eclipse is a rare occasion, which makes this video pretty impressive. Watch the behind the scenes video of photographer Rutger Pauw scout the perfect location to capture the eclipse on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Rutger definitely overcomes some tough challenges to get the shot. Check it out on DIY Photography. 

BUSINESS: Do you find yourself stuck in a rut - taking photography jobs you don't really want? Check out this post from Fstoppers on three really simple ways you can market yourself to get the jobs you actually want! 

There you have it, our top blog posts of the week! What 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. 

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By: Lauren Walters

PPA is constantly helping photographers be more successful through the benefits, education, copyright advocacy and more offered with membership! As a nonprofit photography association (and the largest!) that's what we do! PPA photographers use and make the best of their membership in many different ways. What matters is to leverage that pool of resource that PPA pushes forth for photographers. Take a look at these "Behind the Camera" videos. This series shows real photographers and how THEY are putting PPA to work for them. Consider how or how else YOU could be using PPA too.

Atlanta-based photographer Arlene Dicks touches on an issue ANY photographer fears and eventually faces: Data Loss. What happens when your hard drive crashes or your memory card malfunctions? Do you have your clients' work backed up on another device? Are there ways to get the files back?

Data loss, hard drive sudden death, memory card deep water dives and other accidents compromising your photos do directly jeopardize your work and... can be a death sentence for some businesses. Watch the video below to learn how PPA helped Arlene with recovery after such a mishap.


Data loss protection comes with most PPA memberships, head to PPA.com/MyPPA to see if you're covered. If your hard drive crashes, PPA can refer you to specialist to recover damaged or lost files and your deductible should cover you. Oh and if you're clients are threatening to sue because of data loss issues... your PPA membership covers you for that too, but that's in another piece we wrote on malpractice protection. Long story short, if you are not with PPA, consider it and... Be More Protected.  

Join PPA today and Be Proactive!

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PPA's District Competitions are in full swing and the International Photographic Competition (IPC) is on its way! Entries will be accepted in the beginning of May so make sure you have your images ready.

 

If you're still on the fence about entering--hop on over and give it a shot! Getting over your fear and entering competition is an incredibly rewarding experience for a photographer--especially when you have your work critiqued by one of our accomplished judges. It's one of the best ways to improve your skills and gain confidence!

 

If you're wondering what a critique looks like, here's an example! In this video, juror Donna Goodhale, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, explains to Kevin Floyd, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, why his image, Mister Mischief, went into the Loan collection.


 

Another great way to learn about photographic competition is by live streaming the district competition judging. You'll be able to view the images and hear what the judges take into consideration. The Western district judging airs live this weekend, March 26-28, from Vancouver, Washington! It's free to watch, you don't even have to be a PPA member, just head to Stream.theIPC.org and create an account (no worries, it's free and no credit cards are required!).

 

Ready to enter your work in a photographic competition to learn and get recognized? Entries for the International Photographic Competition open May 26.


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

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By: Lauren Walters

 

Prom season is coming up! For a photographer, prom can be a tricky setting to work in - not to mention the formality of the portraits. So how do you survive a prom photo session? Read up on these tips from theLoop! Don't wait; it's just around the corner.

 

1.     Make sure you communicate with the coordinator often to ensure you both are on the same page. You will want to discuss backgrounds, props, times, etc. Prior to the prom, drop off advertisements for the school to distribute to the students including prepayment information, brochures, samples, etc. This will let students know of your services, pre-pay, or ask questions. Also, bring extras to the event.

 

2.     Arrive early to allow plenty of time to set up. Odds are the venue won't have all the supplies you need like a nearby wall outlet. Bring extension cords, pens, paperclips, a stapler, change, and a secure place to store money. If you can, bring along an assistant to help process the paperwork and payments. Make sure to let your assistant know the image number for each couple, so he/she can write it on their paperwork. High school is full of awkward moments, which may make for awkward photos. If possible, bring sample photos of poses.

 

3.     Make sure to clarify for each shot if the participating students are just friends or are a romantic couple. It's not uncommon to see a few same-sex couples come up for photos. Some of the time, they are just friends, but others may be an actual couple. If it is a same sex couple, pose them just as you would a heterosexual couple. This can be a sensitive subject, but if you're open and accepting about it, the students are much more comfortable. Considering you're a professional, it is most appropriate to keep your personal beliefs to yourself when on the job.

 

4.     It is important to have a reasonable turnaround time. It shouldn't take more than a few weeks max to get back to photos returned to the school. Notify the school and students of your estimated turnaround time ensuring your quality work.

Thank you to Crystal Prahl at Forever Me Photography for your contributions on theLoop. Have any further tips or opinion about prom photography? Check out the thread on theLoop.



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