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What's up faithful readers?! John here, back for another top 10 to let you know what you missed this week while you were busy with Santa portrait sessions or your last wedding of the year. Here's the best blogs from December 15-19!

1). A Good Thing for Our Industry: Peter Lik's World Record

HE DID WHAT?! A wonderful thing for our industry! Imaging USA keynote speaker Peter Lik just added another feather to his cap, this time as a world record holder. He just sold a single print for $6.5 million (or three prints for $10 million!). We promise that's not a typo. This blog theorizes just how Peter did it. 

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 Bridget Jackson, CPA, PPA Business manager

As you look to 2015, it's important to assess where you've been and where you want to go. It's impossible to achieve your goals if you don't have a plan to get there.

Here are 6 things you can do in 2015 to meet your financial goals:
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. 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thumbnail image for photo (2).JPG"There is something seriously wrong with the teenage brain," states my 16-year-old son as we sit in my warm car in the pouring rain waiting for his bus.

"Agreed." I nod, watching his fellow high-schoolers trudge up to the top of the street in flimsy hoodies. Every single one of them is standing in utter misery without a coat, an umbrella, or common sense between them. The rain is beating down on them cold and relentless.

"They look like a bunch of wet lemmings," adds my son.

They do. Pathetic wet little rodents with plastered hair, every last one of them. Pride surges for my son for having the good sense not to join them in their damp collectiveness. (When you have a teenager it's important to celebrate the small things.)

But then again, if you follow my posts you know that my son is a six-foot-one, cowboy-hat-wearing original. Don't forget, we live in a New England suburb, and the cowboy hat is not commonplace in these parts.

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By Sarah Ackerman

It's time to get to know Ana Brandt, Imaging USA 2015 instructor and maternity photographer extraordinaire! Ana has been in the business over 14 years and has never stopped learning. Get to know this pre convention instructor in nine easy questions!

1. When did you start your photography career? What prompted it?

I became a professional photographer in 1999. I had been taking pictures since I was a teen and had no intention of ever becoming a professional. After shooting for well over 10 years as an amateur, I decided once I moved from the East Coast to the West that I would register my business and get to work. I was a web designer by day and a photographer by night. I started shooting child models in California and one day I just quit my Web Job and never looked back.

2. What do you want for people to take away from your class? 

I want them to feel the power of the amazing talent and gift that photographers have. I want them to leave motivated and encouraged and understand that the marketing, selling, posing and all that is entailed should just flow from their pores. I want them to leave and not sleep for days because I have given them so many ideas, tips, techniques and marketing methods that will take them months to incorporate. I am bringing in a pregnant model and a brand new baby and I want to show them easy transitional posing for both session types that can work in any location.

3. What is your favorite aspect of photographing newborns? 

Watching them fall into such a deep sleep that they just smile in bliss. It is amazing to watch them just curl up and be cozy in a basket. Sometimes I just stare in wonder. They are just days old, and here they are in my space, just sleeping away. It's really amazing. 

4. How did you get into the maternity market? 

Honestly, I wish I knew. When I was in my 20's I was so awe inspired by seeing gorgeous pregnant woman. I was immediately drawn to this phase in a woman's life. I have shared this story so many times, but I am an adopted child, and I have never seen a photo of my biological mother. I think I was just drawn to what I never saw in my own life way earlier then I even knew why. Now 15 years later, I just never get tired of it. I think pregnant woman are just gorgeous and it's such a short time in development. I knew from early on I would specialize in maternity and newborn and I knew my being adopted was a driving force - and still is. I wish I could explain it in words, but it's really hard to. I feel that every path I took in my life, led me to here. To doing this, even when I had no idea what my journey would be.

5.    What is one piece of equipment you can't live without on newborn shoots? 

On location - it's my 5-n-1 - I almost always use a diffuser and reflector to block out harsh light on one side, and reflect in soft light on the other. That is a must when I am traveling. 
In studio, I need good lights. I would never use flash inside and I love my soft boxes and Einstein's. I used Alien Bees for years, and those are great too.

6.    How do you differentiate yourself from other newborn/maternity photographers? 

I think I would have to ask my clients that! I don't really pay attention to other newborn/maternity photographers. I try and just focus on things I like and ideas that inspire me and things that drive me. I let my clients know I can provide everything for them for their sessions, such as clothing and styling and location scouting, so that they can just relax and trust the process. I think each photographer has their own style, even if they use the same props - the style is easily defined. I believe that people choose the photographer that is similar to their own style and has a personality that is comforting to them. I do not believe I am the perfect photographer for every client. 
One product that sets us apart are our behind the scenes videos. We have been providing video for our clients of behind the scenes in their sessions. Clients have told me they love watching the videos because not only can they see who I am but they can appreciate what is involved in a session. It is a win, win - the client receives a gorgeous video, and we have marketing tools for the next client.

7. Who is your favorite photographer? 

I can't pinpoint one person. In my 20's I studied Ansel Adams and Anne Geddes. I bought their books, screensavers and calendars and just stared at their images over and over. I think Ansel defined black and white photography and Anne Geddes showed the world the wonder and beauty of newborns.

8. What defines your photographic style? 

For pregnancy I think its movement and angles. I like curves and to stretch woman's bodies in ways they never thought possible. I adore fabric and how it flows, and if I love to work with fans and just create beautiful images. For newborns, I try and create images that are classic and simple while being a tad artsy at times.

9.  What do you wish more photographers knew before going into business? 

That it is hard, hard work and that you cannot give up. Photography is a business. Like any business, it takes time to learn and grow.  You have to commit and just do it. You need to be patient and not worry about others. This is your journey - your path and you need to let it grow and nurture it with every ounce of your being.

Come learn from Ana live at Imaging USA 2015. Her "The Art and Business of Pregnancy and Newborn Photography" pre-convention class will run January 31 for an additional $129 fee to your registration. Get all the details on Imaging USA and register here!

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Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarah's in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs with 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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IPC_Rules_SW.jpgHopefully you will get a chance to check out the International Photographic Exhibit (right next to the Expo) at Imaging USA in Nashville. When you do, you might wonder where those beautiful images come from. You might even daydream a bit about seeing your own work up there at Imaging USA 2016 in Atlanta.

You can make it happen. The displayed images make up PPA's Loan Collection and are chosen by a panel of judges at the International Photographic Competition (IPC), held each year in August. Only the top images make it to the prestigious Loan Collection each year, but don't let that intimidate you.

 If you're feeling inspired and want to be more recognized, a good place to start is your local district competition. Take a look at the 2015 dates. Entries for the Southwest District competition open next week!

By Chris Homer

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

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

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

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

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

4. Photography Mysteries: Cycling Lights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages. 
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PPA's CEO, David Trust, is on Capitol Hill today for several meetings with key people in the ongoing talks on issues that affect photographers. Much of today's meetings center upon the commercial use of drone photography. As previously reported here on the blog, PPA has begun discussions for exemptions to be made which would allow PPA photographers to use drones on commercial shoots.

We'll update you as more information trickles down from D.C.!

This morning, David met with Brian Northcutt and Chris Grieco of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

 

Said David, "It's interesting how many different issues and concerns the drone photography discussion crosses. It's becoming more apparent that this is a complex issue that will require a complex fix." 

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

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


By Bridget Jackson, CPA, PPA Business manager

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

Performance vs. Appearance

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

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

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

Building Your Brand through Your Website

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

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

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

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

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

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

When did you know you wanted to be a photographer?


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Who should take your class?


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

Which do you enjoy more: teaching or photographing?

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

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

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

Describe your photographic style.

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

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

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

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

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

Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Jack White?

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

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

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

How one obnoxious hairdresser and a frazzled mother of the bride taught me a valuable lesson about sales


By Mariah Ashley


I love going to the salon to get my hair done. I have a very specific routine. I don't park close on purpose so I can enjoy the walk through Providence. I stop and buy a vanilla soy steamer at Starbucks to sip while I'm pampered. I arrive early so that I can sift through the stack of magazines and find the most current issue of PEOPLE.

I need a mind eraser bad. Trish and I have decided to expand our office. We are moving from a home office to a full blown three room; gallery, sales room, and office space. Because it's my nature to over analyze everything, I second guess the decision we've made and worry incessantly about the jump in our overhead.

Content in the solitude of the stylist's chair, head wrapped in tinfoil, inhaling chemicals with nothing but time to kill, I savor the mindless gossipy articles and my soy steamer. I let my mind drift far, far away from all things business and photography. 



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