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Results tagged “photographers association” from PPA Today

By: Lauren Walters 

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This week, take a stand as a photographer. Sign a petition or commend those who give back. Check out the top ten blog posts from this week.

PUBLISHING: Do you walk through book stores scrutinizing book cover photography? Maybe you could do it better? Join a stock agency to get your work out in the world! Read more to find out what it takes to sign with a stock agency.

CONVENTIONS: Learn how to prep for conventions like Imaging USA. Which preconvention events pique your interest? Read this "must see" list of events for Imaging USA. Get ready, the fun starts next week! 

GRIEF PHOTOGRAPHY: After diagnosed with a severe heart condition before birth, the parents of this child turned to a non-profit organization "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep".  The experience for both the parents and photographer was an emotional one. However, the portraits helped the parents cope and aided the healing process. 

TUTORIAL: Shooting on a sunny day? Perfect your photos by capturing all the tones in your shot. This blog explains how to punch up your photography using dramatic range.

PHOTOGRAPHY FEES: In Fairfax County Park, authorities enforced a $100 fee for commercial photography back in 2011. Why? The park was overrun with publicity due to weddings and other commercial photography. Will they finally reconsider?

PETITION: Are you using a left-handed camera made for a right-handed photographer? Well, you just might be in luck! Sign the petition on Change.org petition to request that Canon designs a left-handed camera.

COMPOSITION: If you're off to a coast anytime soon, these quick tips from Digital Photography School will help you make the most of any seascape photographs. Learn the rules, and learn when to break them here!

DECISION TIME: In business (and in life) we all get caught up in the process of making decisions. Imaging USA speaker Jeffrey Shaw is back on his podcast with Brian Whetten and they are here to guide you through the process of finding big wins in your decision process. Your weekend can always use a little more inspiration!

EDUCATION: What should we be learning as photographers? The question is: are we learning it? Read about the parallels drawn from music to photography education. 

PROFESSIONAL vs. AMATEUR: Educate your potential clients with PPA's #PhotoFails video. Showcase simple mistakes that can ruin their experience with an inexperienced photographer.  

Tune in for next week's Round Up! If you have a blog you want us to check out, let us know on theLoop!

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By Chris Homer

A third generation photographer, Luke Edmonson has the craft in his blood! He's been a
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 professional photographer for nearly 20 years, starting out in commercial photography and then teaming up with his father in 2003 to create Edmonson Weddings. We chatted with Luke about defining style, his career as a photographer, what inspires him and more. Here's the recap of the interview:

1. What would you say is the biggest difficulty people usually face in defining their style?
The biggest difficulty in finding a style is finding your own voice and doing the work to discover who you are and what you want to say. It's not simply a matter of the type of photography you like or admire. It's not simply your ability to execute what you want when creating your imagery. You have to know the "Why" behind what you are communicating.

It's about understanding and knowingly pursue what is behind your vision when you are capturing a moment, your subjects, how you light, direct or pose them. So, an artistic style, at its very core, requires introspection. Something that as individuals many of us do not want to do. It requires you to become still...to be quiet...to reflect with intent.

I like this quote from Katherine Anne Porter, Pulitzer Prize winning author, who says succinctly "You do not create a style. You work, and develop yourself, and your style is an examination from your own being."

Let's examine that for a minute...

a. You don't create a style? Then what is all this talk about "finding your style" or "creating your style" that you hear bantered about? Perhaps it's just marketing speak to make it more palpable to the audience who is listening. Who wants to hear about work when the world sells us on the premise of "easy, fast and simple"? But don't for a second betray yourself to think that discovering something is easy. Especially when it involves learning about yourself. What is it that you bring to each photo shoot that shapes the direction of the imagery you capture?

b. You work and develop yourself? Yep, it's a never-ending process of growth periods, plateaus, and sometimes darker times. When things get stagnant, it's up to you to make the changes necessary to break through. When you are on top of the world it's about fighting complacency. None of us ever have it all truly figured out. However, with growth and development, some challenges as a photographer that may have taken hours to solve visually can be solved in mere minutes, once you've had that proverbial light-bulb moment.

c. Your style is an examination from your own being? Like most of us, you probably became a photographer when you fell in love with it. Perhaps, it was because of its immediacy. Perhaps it was because of how it made your feel when people complimented your early eye. But now that you have been in it for longer, what keeps you in the field? What drives you to create? When you look back on your work, what patterns and tendencies do you see? How have you transitioned from WHAT you see when you shoot but HOW you see, think and feel when you shoot? Have you had to persevere and overcome challenges in your photography? Your fingerprint is firmly implanted on every image you create. I encourage you to study it and understand it!

If you want to become a better photographer, it starts with becoming a better person. How can you pour out your life into others if there are areas in your own life that are holding you back from doing just that?
By Sarah Ackerman

Get to know hometown favorite, Russ Harrington before you hit the road to Imaging USA! Russ is an accomplished photographer, specializing in celebrity and musician clientele (we hear Nashville is a pretty awesome spot for that sort of thing). 

What made you want to get into photography? 
Our family always took pictures, so when I got my first 110 Kodak for Christmas, it was on!

What should people expect to take away from your class?
I'm going to show tons of photos! People will get to see different lighting ideas, how to work a location and what all goes into a celebrity shoot. Things they may not have thought of like renting RV's for the glam teams, working with assistants and what not. 

What is your favorite part of a photo shoot?
When the [music] artist gets on set and you do that first test. It all comes together at that point. You finally see how the light looks on your artist and not your assistants, you see the wardrobe you've picked for the setup. If it's a big shoot, we've built sets, pre-lit them and have wondered how the artist will fit in the vibe or world you've created. Sometimes, we might have 10 setups that we're doing that day. No matter what, I still get that cool feeling when I see the first shot pop up on the Mac.

 What do you enjoy about shooting with musicians?
I am, in general, a music fan. So getting to know them, photographing them and then being able to see your images represent them is a very special thing. Musicians just have a cool vibe, you want to capture that. You want to capture images that they love and that their fans love. Granted, some would rather be far away from a photo shoot, but they know it's one of those things they have to do. In the music industry, fresh images are a must. The bonus is they are generally more creative than the average client. Artists and celebrities are pros, they move like models and I just love shooting them.

 How did you get into the celebrity/musician market?
I photographed models for years so it was a natural progression. Fashion is all about the angles, the lighting, the location and wardrobe, and that's basically celebrity photography. I started showing my model portfolio to Christian Music Labels at first and started to shoot a ton of those. My big break was an editorial shoot with Trisha Yearwood, which I'll go into during my presentation. 

 What has been your favorite photo shoot of all time?
There's not a "favorite" necessarily, but I've had a lot of cool memories and images that I love every time I see them. I do have to say when Loretta Lynn calls you her photographer, that's pretty dang special. Brian Setzer is one of my favorites for sure, rockabilly singer and master guitar player from the Stray Cats. I could photograph him every day - he's just cool! I also got to do a big gig in LA for Dr. Pepper and Chelsea Handler. It was awesome, but I had butterflies for sure. 

What's the biggest mistake you made when you were just starting out?
You have to remember, I started shooting professionally in 1983. I've done some dumb things, but every year I tried to get better and make more money than the previous year. At one point I made a joke about an artist's hair that was pretty amazing and said "If I could afford a toupee like that, I'd be all over it!" Well, what do you know - it was a toupee. Whoops!

What's the best part about being a Nashville photographer?
This is my town! I grew up here, I met my wife here, we raised our boys here, and now to see what's happening with how popular Nashville is getting is crazy. We've put our loft on Airbnb.com and its awesome meeting folks from around the world that want to visit.

Country? Or... country?
I love the twang, I love a steel guitar, I love bluegrass, I love Jack White, I love Keb' Mo'. I just love music.

Join Russ for his class "Music & Celebrity Portraits" on Monday, February 2nd from 10 - 11:30 AM and discover how to manage the workflow when dealing with people in the spotlight. 

If you haven't registered for Imaging USA yet, there's still time! Head to ImagingUSA.org/Register today - we can't wait to see you in Nashville!

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

By Sarah Ackerman

One of the most important things you have to do as a professional photographer is educate your clients on the difference between a pro and an amateur photographer. PPA has a wealth of resources to help you do just that! 

This video, #PhotoFail, is the latest addition to our video collection and helps convey that message. Professional photographers do make a difference. Watch these recently engaged couples as they read letters of some serious mishaps (all real stories!) that have happened and that they'll want to avoid in their own wedding. Not only is it entertaining, but valuable information for your clients to understand!


While you're at it, check out the rest of the See the Difference resources and videos. There are even instructions on how to embed the videos on your personal site! That's right, PPA photographers can simply grab these videos and use them to help with their marketing!

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

By: Lauren Walters

Do nerves get the best of you when thinking about photographic competitions (entries are open now for the Northeast District Competition) and the International Photographic Competition (IPC)? Never fear, PPA is here to let you review a critique and become familiar with the process. Once you enter, your nerves will substantially subside. Not only will you get helpful advice to improve your work, but your confidence will shoot through the roof the further you advance in the competition. Grow as an artist and offer your work up for IPC judges to critique! Become a stronger photographer  and learn from experiences such as these image competitions.

Watch the critique of PPA photographer Kevin Floyd's piece "The Strong Armed, School Marm...Zombie" by IPC judge Jeff Dachowski.

Take the next step and stand up for your work!

By: Lauren Walters

Itching for news in the world of photography? Here are our top ten blog posts for this week. From tips and tutorials to adventure and high art, this week's top ten is a creative cluster.

 

1.       Imaging USA: The Next Stage of Your Photography Career Begins Here!

EVENT: Become more knowledgeable, connected, and confident by attending Imaging USA. This convention hosted by PPA takes place on Sunday, Feb. 1 - Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, in Nashville, Tennessee. Read this article to find out about all the benefits it has to offer. Come join the fun at Imaging USA!

 

2.       The Consequences of Working for Free

BUSINESS: Relating the life of a photographer to a life of a circus performer, this blog shares a few concepts of working the circus life that seem all too familiar to us photographers. There is no publicity value in working for free. North America has a silly belief system that work should not be enjoyable, therefore we should only be paid if there isn't enjoyment. But, don't sell your skills for free just yet! Value your work and yourself as a professional. 

3.       How to Make Artistic Multiple Exposures In-camera and in Photoshop

TUTORIAL: Interested in expanding your portfolio with creative pieces? Try a multiple exposure piece! From abstract to artistic portraits, regardless of the medium, this tutorial covers it all when it comes to multiple exposures. Have fun experimenting!

4.       How I Learned to Stop Taking Photographs and Start Making Photographs

PARADIGM SHIFT: Going from taking photos to making art can be a huge step. A common struggle among learning photographers can be focusing on a shallow depth of field. As soon as you start to learn that photography is a story telling device is when you start "making" photos instead of "taking" them.

5.       Why Photographers Aren't Artists

ARTISTS vs. PROFESSIONALS: As a photographer, do you consider yourself an artist? This blog distinguishes creative individuals as craftsmen, artists, professionals and finally entrepreneurs. Furthermore, this blog explains that true artistic geniuses such as Beethoven no longer exist. Instead of artists, we've become professionals.

 

6.       Help Unravel a Gordon Parks Southern Mystery

HISTORY: They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The featured photograph dates back to 1956 in an Atlanta airport. Relations of race and gender are assumed through this intimate photograph. Although, the details of this photo still remain a mystery today.

7.       Help, I Am Being Sued for Nearly $500,000 by a Model I Photographed

COPYRIGHT PROTECTION: After signing a release, participating in the shoot and getting paid, a model decides to sue the photographer for the photos getting stolen. The model signed a release allowing her photos to be used as stock, but they got stolen off her personal Facebook page after posting them herself. You won't believe where the images wound up!

8.       Gotham 7.5K A Rare High Altitude Night Flight Above NYC

AERIAL, BY NIGHT: "Gotham From Above" was shot from a helicopter 7,500 feet above the ground of New York. Capturing aerial photographs can be quite a challenge; helicopters vibrate, so the photographer had to use a relatively high shutter speed. This project showcases the scale of New York City.

 

9.       Photographer armed with just a SWORD braves threat of wolves and -50C in Siberia to snap awe-inspiring Northern Lights images

-50C AURORA BOREALIS: Into the Siberian wilderness, a Russian photographer ventured to capture images of the Northern Lights. Because of temperatures (as low as -50C), the photographer designed a coat to protect his camera. We applaud this photographer for braving such harsh conditions for the sake of art. Take a look at the results!

 

10.   Stunning Photos of Acrobatic Dancer Leap and Twirl Amid Dynamic Clouds of Powder

COMMERCIAL VS. FINE ART: Check out this high art marketing campaign. An acrobat dances in a cloud of powdered milk to create the most stunning photography designed to sell creamer. Did this approach make you crave creamer?

 

Enjoy this week's blog posts? Check back next week for more excitement! If you have a blog you want us to check out, let us know on theLoop!

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By Chris Homer

At PPA, we understand that entering the International Photographic Competition (IPC) or any of the upcoming District Competitions for the first time can be frightening! But, as we hear from photographers that enter, participating in these competitions really is an amazing way to improve your skills and photography techniques. To get the most out of PPA's photography competitions, consider having your images reviewed and critiqued by an accredited IPC judge. Such constructive critiques will help you understand the elements by which images are judged and help you see what you did well and where you need some work on specific images. It's VERY affordable and will help you grow as an artist more than you can imagine. 

Below you'll find an example of one of these critiques. The image is "Kiss Me Sweetly" by Megan DiPiero and it is critiqued by IPC Judge Larry Lourcey. Check it out and see why this image was accepted into the General Collection! Be more adventurous!



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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: Lauren Walters

           

Thom Rouse began his career in 1994. He now splits his time as a portrait and commercial photographer. With two diverse sides to his career, Thom has mastered the art of photography. In the following interview, he tells us about himself as an artist.

 

What is your definition of "fine art"?

 

I wouldn't dare try to define art! My thought is that if you have a personal experience with literature, music, a painting or a photograph, then it must be art. We don't really need to define it, agree on it, or consult a critic to decide what it means. If we have an experience with it, positive or negative, I think it must be art.

 

Who are some of the artists who inspire you?

 

There are many artists who inspire me and the list changes daily. Among those near the top of my list are Salvador Dali, Gustave Klimt and Tintoretto. Among photographers, I'd include Steichen, Julia Margaret Cameron, Gordon Parks and Irving Penn. As soon as I start a list, I can think of 30 more I should have added.

 

Why do you teach classes for other photographers?

 

        It sounds trite, but I like to teach because I learn so much from it. It pushes me to think and evaluate the things I think I know about my process and my craft. While teaching, I often have some self-revelation about my own image making and I always learn from other photographers, usually from the newest newbie in the room.

 

You've had over 50 images go Loan - what do you enjoy most about photographic competitions?

 

        My reasons for entering competition have changed over time. When I started, I was solely trying to make the judges happy and earn merits towards a degree. Once I earned my degrees, I tried to make and enter images that I liked the most and were unique to me. At that point, I stopped looking for what I thought would achieve the highest scores. If we're not learning from competition, I see no reason to compete. We all need to present our work and receive feedback; it's a part of our ongoing creative process. No matter where we are in our careers, photographic competitions guarantee to make us better image makers. The more we enter competition, the more we have to work at stretching ourselves. It pushes us to take chances and do work that advances our vision; not just entering images that will earn more merits.

 

What makes photography such a versatile medium of expression?

 

        It's great to be a photographer: a time when the medium has become more versatile than ever! I started later in life at 40 years old, but the 20 year span of my career has encompassed the transition from film to digital capture. As much as I loved the traditional darkroom, I came alive with digital post production. During that time it has become an entirely new medium that encompasses painting, compositing and extensive possibilities for post-capture manipulation. The technology has created endless opportunities, yet we have to remind ourselves that we still create images with our eyes, hearts and minds. That's what makes photography truly versatile.

 

Do you pursue any other creative endeavors?

 

        Sadly, I do not. I gave up music 30 plus years ago; although, I'm greatly inspired by other media. I fantasize projects in other media, but I've never acted on it.

 

What is your favorite image you've captured?

 

        I have several favorites because they were influenced by very personal experiences that captured, expressed and expanded those experiences. I think the best and most impactful work is done when it's grounded in your personal experience.

 

Who should take your class at Imaging USA?

 

I think that photographers in any genre and at any experience level will find something of value in my program. I'll be making the case for spending time on fine art and how fine art will translate into added success in commercial and portrait work. Creating and displaying fine art expands your reputation as an artist, and will contribute to both your image making skills and to your bottom line.

 

What are the top 3 things people should take away from your class?

 

1. Pursuing personal fine art will keep you fresh, alive and vibrant as an image maker.

2. These days everyone is a photographer - being recognized as an artist elevates your status and recognition in the market.

3. Fine Art translates into skills and styles that let you create work like no one else in your market.

 

Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Jack White?

This is trick question that should be answered with "all of the above". I know that Elvis and Johnny Cash have influenced nearly everyone that's followed, but my first choice for listening right now would be Jack White!

This must be a based on Nashville connections; otherwise I'd be voting "none of the above" and writing in Miles Davis!

Come listen to Thom speak at Imaging USA in Nashville, TN. He will conduct a course called "The Case for Fine Art" on February 1, 2015. Looking forward to seeing you there!

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By: Lauren Walters

Let's get to know one of our speakers who will be at Imaging USA in Nashville, Tennessee. JulieAnne Jonker has her master of photography and photographic craftsman degrees from PPA and is also a certified professional photographer (CPP). In the following interview, she sheds some light on her career as a photographer. 

Who's your class for?

Any photographer, really. It's about inspiration as much as what it takes to get your photography studio to the next level. I'll help you direct your business based on your definition of yourself as an artist

What are the top 3 takeaways from your class?

At the end of my class, you will be able to understand 3 things: 

1. Who you are as an artist

2. What direction you want to take your studio in 2015

3. How you can operate a low-volume, high-end studio in this economy

Define your style as a photographer in 5 words.

My style reflected in my photography is vintage, ethereal, classical, compelling and timeless.

What makes your portrait style so unique?

The influences that I continually derive from the fine art world shine through my work and define my photography style.

What is your favorite medium of expression besides photography?

Outside photography, there are two outlets I use to express myself: painting and sculpting.

What was your proudest photographic moment?

Being invited and voted into the Camera Craftsmen of America has to be my proudest moment as a photographer.

What is one marketing mistake many photographers make when they are first starting out?

Inexperienced photographers tend to compete on price, and price only, to get their foot in the door, but that presents them as cheap studios with too many sales and specials. 

What do you want to be known for?

As an artist I'd like to be known for creating timeless pieces.

Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Jack White?

Definitely, Jimi Hendrix.

JulieAnne has had a long streak of success. Learn from her at Imaging USA in Nashville! You'll have two opportunities to hear her speak: on the business panel "5 Golden Nuggets" and in her solo-class called "The Portrait as an Art Form"

If you haven't registered for Imaging USA, you can do so now at ImagingUSA.org/Register! We can't wait to see you in Nashville! 

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By Chris Homer

February is approaching quickly, which means it's almost time for Imaging USA 2015 in Nashville! To help you make the most of the conference, the Imaging USA mobile app is now available for free download. This app will allow you to create your own schedule, find and network with other attendees, stay up-to-date on conference updates and specials through social media, participate in the game to win daily prizes and much more! 

Make the most of the app when you get to Nashville! Take a minute to watch the quick tutorial videos below. You'll learn how to use the exhibitor, speaker, schedule and mapping features of the app, where you can post to social media and find important information, how to build your own agenda and how the game works (there are prizes for top ranked attendees each day!).

Exhibitors, Speakers, Schedule, Mapping


News, Information, Social


My Event


Networking


Game

By Sarah Ackerman

This year at Imaging USA you will find a completely new thing... the Merit Café. There you'll find a series of short seminars, from Sunday to Tuesday, by the International Photographic Exhibit. These sessions are geared to getting you familiar with and better prepared for future photographic competitions ! This These 30-minute short format sessions are restricted to first come, first serve for seating. Get there early and soak up all of the knowledge you can from these amazing International Photographic Competition (IPC) experts! Questions will be more than welcome, so ask away!

Here's what's on tap:

Sunday, February 1
1pm "Using Titles [of your images] to Your Advantage" - Larry Lourcey
1:30pm "The Road to Becoming a [Image Competition]Judge"- Kimberly Smith
2:30pm "The Judging Process: How an Image Becomes a Merit" - Donna Goodhale
3pm "Print Presentation" - Carl Caylor
6:30pm "Becoming a Master Photographer" - Gabriel Alonso
7pm "What the Heck is the Artist Category?" - Doran Wilson

Monday, February 2
1pm "Using Titles to Your Advantage" - Larry Lourcey
1:30pm "The Road to Becoming a Judge" - Kimberly Smith
2:30pm "The Judging Process: How a Print Becomes a Merit" - Donna Goodhale
3pm "Print Presentation" - Carl Caylor
6:30pm "Recognizing Impact in Your Images" - Ryan Brown
7pm "12 Elements of a Merit Image" - Jeff Dachowski

Tuesday, February 3
11:30am "What the Heck is the Artist Category" - Doran Wilson
12:00pm "12 Elements of a Merit Image" - Jeff Dachowski
1:00pm "Becoming a Master Photographer" - Gabriel Alonso
1:30pm "Recognizing Impact in Your Images" - Ryan Brown

Please note: schedule subject to change. Follow @ImagingUSA on Facebook and Twitter for last minute show changes or download the Imaging USA mobile App!

PPA's District Competitions will be underway shortly after Imaging USA, so use this valuable opportunity to ask all of the questions that are causing road blocks to your future with photographic competitions. 

If you haven't registered for Imaging USA, you can do so now at ImagingUSA.org/Register! We can't wait to see you in Nashville! 

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


By: Lauren Walters

Happy New Year! Catch up on the new blog posts of 2015 (thus far!).

1.       Maps Showing the Pro Photography Landscape in the United States

STATISTICS: Take a look at the newly released statistics about employed professional photographers in 2013. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated about 54,830 professional photographers were employed in the US in 2013, excluding self-employed photographers (which from our stand point significantly skews the data, but that's why there's the Benchmark). Also, a few of the top cities for employed photographers are Los Angeles, Orlando, New York, Atlanta, and Chicago. Can you believe that Washington D.C. has the highest average annual pay for professional photographers?!

2.       Live From Yosemite's El Capitan: Photographer Captures Attempt at History-Making Climb

INSPIRATION: Climbing the 3,000-foot El Cap is hard enough, but capturing the action is quite the challenge. National Geographic photographer and filmmaker Corey Rich attempts to capture rock climbers Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell scale El Cap. Read more about the struggle and similarities between the photographers and the climbers.

3.       Renaming your Photos on Import with Adobe Lightroom

ORGANIZATION: Developing a file structure can keep your work easily accessible. In Adobe Lightroom, you can use their built-in template if you like. The author of this blog uses a similar structure. Renaming your photos can be helpful when you've been shooting for multiple days with multiple cameras.

4.       20 Photographer-Specific Things You Can Do Today To Start 2015 Off Right

PERSONAL GROWTH: Consider some of the following tips to feel refreshed for the New Year: Calibrate your monitor, install a new hard drive, re-print some new studio samples, implement email filters, restock office supplies, and check your credit card statements. Continue reading this blog for more ways to relax and start fresh in 2015! Well, of course, all of that is on top of coming to Imaging USA!

5.       Preparing and Packing A Portable Studio Efficiently

HOW TO: Is your studio mobile? Learn how to effectively pack your supplies on the go! Every photographer carries different supplies and in varying quantities. No matter the variance, one will need a rolling storage bin that is padded on the inside such as a Stanley mobile tool box from Home Depot. Bungee cords and a rolling cart are also used for efficient transportation.  

6.       Useful Photography Tip #127: The Importance of Turning Negative Energies into Creativity

POSITIVE VIBES: Do unfortunate events leave you feeling unproductive? Next time you have a bad day, don't throw in the towel. As creative people, photographers have the gift of capturing emotion. Channel your negative energy into a positive experience!

7.       The 2 Faces of Running a Photography Business

DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE: As a photographer, running a business can be difficult when you're being pulled toward creative endeavors. Try setting a time limit to your sessions, and plan out your creativity. Most importantly, learn to say no to yourself and others by making financially sound choices. Get this advice and more from the Law Tog!

 

8.       9 Tips To Help You Get Sharp Focus At Night

NIGHT OWLS: Love to shoot at night? Learn how to sharpen your focus! Most cameras use contrast detection to focus; aim for an area of high contrast. Instead of focusing on the midpoint of the frame, focus on the edge of the frame to regain focus.

9.       The Ansel Adams Act Goes To Congress; Details Clear Laws Protecting 1st Amendment Rights Of Photographers

COPYRIGHT: Violation of the First Amendment has led to photographers being wrongly accused. Because of this conundrum, a state of Texas representative brought the Ansel Adams Act to light intending to reinstate the First Amendment. On January 2, 2015 Congress was confronted with the Ansel Adams Act outlining the need for clarity for photographer's rights.

 

10.   Creating Compelling B&W Aerial Images in Backlit Situations

TECHNICALLY SOUND: Make the most out of Lightroom for those significant details. The described method entails intentional overexposure of the photos. This overexposure picks up the shadows and details making your blacks blacker.

 

Enjoy the new blog posts of 2015! Have specific blogs or topics in mind that you'd like us to feature? Tell us on theLoop.

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Are you still on the fence on attending Imaging USA? Don't just take our word on why it's so great, listen to why Sharma Ferrugia decided to attend and what she got out of it.
 

In addition to networking with over 10,000 of fellow photographers, exploring 600+ tradeshow booths and learning from some of the industry's best photographers, you also get to know you're starting 2015 off on the best foot possible! With Imaging USA, you're building your education for your business, inspiring your creativity and networking so you'll have the best support system possible when it comes to any challenges you face throughout the year. 

Registration is still open at ImagingUSA.org/Register. Remember, hotels are filling up fast! As a matter of fact, the Gaylord Opryland, the headquarter hotel, is 99% sold out! (This is not a marketing push, this is a fact). So here's a quick list of nearby properties. And as always, head over to theLoop to make new friends before you arrive, find a roommate or just ask any questions that might come up in your planning process!


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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

Prem Mukherjee - Imaging USA 2015 instructor and current PPAedu instructor stopped by theLoop this week for an AMA (Ask Me Anything). 

Prem is a wedding and portrait photographer from the great state of Michigan. After getting his degree in mechanical engineering, he spent the first 10 years of his career in corporate America before transitioning into running his studio full time. 

Prem puts the business into all sides of his photography studio - and that's clear in his AMA. By creating efficient systems and quick turnaround times, he is able to maximize profits!

Here are a few of our favorite moments with Prem: 

On what inspires him before a shoot (as a huge fan of social media, this struck a chord with me):
We primarily use Pinterest for inspiration before a shoot. It's quick and easy to use and seems to consist mostly of high quality professional photos as opposed to doing a Google image search.

On turnaround time:
First, I should put a disclaimer and say that we do not do a super-fast turnaround for all clients. Most clients of ours are local and we do the shoot one day and typically schedule the order session the next day they are available - which is sometimes the day after, sometimes a week after. For the clients that are really busy or for anyone coming from out of town...those are the times we do everything on the same day.
We usually do the shoot from 10am -11am, have them go grab lunch and come back at 1:30pm-2:00pm. By then everything is edited and the ProSelect gallery is made, and I've had time to eat lunch myself. 

On creating efficient systems:
For weddings, I cull things down quickly, do minor Lightroom adjustments for color, contrast, exposure to all the keepers, and then Photoshop the best 30 pics and then it's done.
For portraits we usually cull it down to about 40 shots and do full touchups including everything from skin softening to liquefy if needed.
People typically spend more when they are fully edited and look awesome! For the full portrait retouching, I use some various actions that allow me to do full retouching in 1-1.5 minutes per image so it doesn't take all that much time to get the work done.

Don't forget to stop by for Prem's class at Imaging USA! His class "Easy Techniques to Triple Your Dollars Per Hour" will take place on Monday, February 2. Register now if you haven't already done so! Registration information for Imaging USA is available at ImaginUSA.org/Register.

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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.

Congratulations to PPA's Benchmark Grand Prize winner Emily Engelhardt, CPP! Emily won an all expense paid trip to Imaging USA this year in Nashville - including roundtrip airfare, accommodations and all access passes to the show for her and a guest. Emily has participated in the Benchmark Survey twice over the past few years, so she's not a newbie when it comes to the benefits this photography business guide can offer. Emily has officially been in business for the past 7 years. And after attending PPA's 3-day Business Breakthroughs workshop in Texas, she became inspired to seek financial advice to take her photography business to the next level. 

"I knew if I wanted to make this a career I needed to be smart about how I ran my studio, and knowing how to appropriately price myself and not getting into debt were both big wins for me," said Emily.

PPA's Benchmark also helped Emily see when to cut back on her expenses, hire a new employee, and look into purchasing the current studio she was renting. Emily explained that being able to see where she stood in relation to other studios in the country gave her a much needed confidence boost. 

When Emily utilized the Benchmark, it opened her eyes to possible investment opportunities. "My quarterly meetings with Bridget [Jackson, CPA] and my mentor, Julia [Woods], also helped me see that I could invest a lot more into my advertising budget, so this year I was able to invest in a large display in a mall in my target area and still gross a 42% net profit. Being able to see that I was right in line with some of the top grossing studios in the country, even if my sales totals weren't as high, my percentages were just as good, if not better,  gave me such a confidence boost, and reassurance that I really was doing well, not just hoping I was."

Before, Emily felt she was winging it with her business. After going through this process, not only is she reassured about the wellness of her business, but now she can analyze her financial budget and plan her next steps, using tangible data that make sense for her and her business.

"Even if you're not a 'numbers' person, it's so helpful to have some kind of standard to look to, not just hearsay," Emily stated.

If you participated in the Benchmark Survey, you can follow in Emily's example later this spring when your side-by-side comparison comes out! Let us know how PPA's Benchmark Survey helped you Be More! Oh, and be on the lookout for this year's new data... coming out soon! 

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If you are (still) concerned about entering the International Photographic Competition (IPC), or any District Competitions that are currently going on, we want to show you some of the critiques to take some of the fear out! We hear time and time again from photographers who compete that once you overcome your nerves and enter, your skills and technique will improve--not to mention the confidence boost! And most get hooked! The best way to get the most out of your experience in a photographic competition is to have your images critiqued by an IPC judge. Once you understand the elements being judged and how they are scored, it's up to you to get in the game! 

 Below you will find an example of exactly what we're talking about. This image is "Breeze in the Marsh" by Timothy Eddington and critiqued in this video by Larry Lourcey, IPC Judge. Watch the critique. You will see why this image was accepted into the General Collection and how it could be improved to go Loan.
      

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By Chris Homer

The portrait photographers out there would agree that there's a huge difference between posing
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 and lighting women and men. Try to find a woman who genuinely never cringes before seeing herself in photos, and you understand your challenge as the photographer.

To help you out, in January PPAedu is offering for free to all photographers "Lighting and Posing Women"! In this class by Jen Hillenga, M.Photog.Cr, you'll see posing and lighting techniques that will ensure your female clients fall in love with their photos! Grab the video now, it's free on PPAedu through the end of January!

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

You will also find a quick and easy self-assessment tool that allows you to build your own custom-fit learning program. And the best part of all is that as you take more and more PPAedu classes, you'll be able adjust that program so that it evolves with you as you continue to grow in photography!
 
Give it a try! 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 comes as part of the PPA membership, so join today to access the 300+ video library. Try it now for free! Go ahead and dive in! It's your time to be more inspired.


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

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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