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Results tagged “professional photography blog” from PPA Today

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The Benchmark Survey is an amazing tool to help you PPA photographers be more profitable. To sweeten the pot, we've been giving away some sweet prizes to some lucky winners to go along with the joy of easily figuring out the numbers you need to reach to live the life you want. 

And we have two winners this month! We've previously heard from June's winner Heather Sams, CPP, July's winner A. Michael Fletcher and August winner David H. Smith about why they find the Benchmark Survey to be so helpful. This month, we have two winners in Robin Swanson, M.Photo.Cr., CPP and Mia Stevens! 

Robin is an award-winning photographer who specializes in weddings. "This is the first time I participated in the Benchmark Survey," she said. "My business has changed significantly in the past year and I felt that it is important to share this information to help others in the industry." 

For submitting his information in the survey, Robin was able to win a brand new Spyder4PRO!

Mia Stevens is another award-winning wedding and portrait photographer. "I participated in the Benchmark Survey because it shows hard percentages that if implemented correctly can make you more money," she said. "Who doesn't want more money?" 

Mia walked away with a $300 gift certificate to TetherTools--not a bad way to start the fall!

PPA's Benchmark Survey is the industry's only complete financial overview depicting what profitable studios look like (unlike other industry averages). As such, it has been helping photography businesses form a better idea of where they stand and how they can improve their bottom line. Participating studio-owners get a free side-by-side comparison of the Benchmark to their own financial data. Not only is this an in-depth source of information to help them grow their business, it is a $750 value (or more!), as PPA develops a customized comparison that is the first step in determining what to change for greater success. As a bonus, participants are automatically entered each month in some giveaway drawings for great prizes. 

Ready to better your business and get a chance at winning October's prize? There is a $500 Showcase Photo & Video gift card to be won! Go to PPA.com/Benchmark to participate!

But wait, there's more: All participants are also entered into a drawing for an all-expense-paid trip for two photographers to Imaging USA 2015 in Nashville. That includes airfare for two, hotel for 4 nights and two all-access pass Imaging USA registrations. Submit your info today! 

Welcome to the end of your week! Hooray! You did it! Since you were probably out running around, being extremely productive and profitable, we wanted to round up our favorite photography-related posts from around the internet for you! 

COMPETITION: Photo Throwdown is an online series that pitches two pros against each other with photo challenges. It's education, entertaining and you get to see some of the industry's best in some weird situations. Check out this week's episode with Jen Rozenbaum versus Chris Fain (and cast your vote for who you think did the best job)!

INSPIRATION: If you love nature photography, you will enjoy the top 10 photographs from the Zoological Society of London's annual competition. The winning images will be on display in a special exhibit in the London Zoo! It might even inspire you to go explore this weekend and see what you can find!

BAD BUSINESS: File this one under "bad business practices" - see how this California Attorney made it seem like she was hob-knobbing with the likes of Morgan Freeman, Donald Trump, Ellen DeGeneres and so many more with the help of Photoshop! There hasn't been any news of copyright infringement on this case yet, but we wouldn't be surprised if that was coming down the line. Lesson learned: Photoshop can be used for both good & evil.

JUST FOR FUN: American photographer Sandro Miller partnered with John Malkovich to recreate some of the most famous portraits captured throughout history. The project is aptly titled, "Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to photographic masters." Check out some of the highlights here. 

COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT: Get a first-hand take on how copyright infringement impacts photographers on a day to day basis. Alex Wild walks you through the battle between copyright and the internet and why the thinks the internet won. (Don't let this article get you down - review your copyright resources here!)

SAY WHAT?: The US Forest Service wants you to pay to play when taking photographs or videos on their 36 million acres - up to $1,000 (no, that's not a typo). Read up on both sides of the story here, and we'll keep you updated on what comes of this. 

PRO TIP: The folks over at PhotoFocus have some hot tips on using Lightroom collections to organize your photos. Organization? Streamlining your workflow? You can't miss it. 

SAVVY GEAR SHOPPING: Leave it to the folks at Photography Concentrate and their top 10 ways to save big on photography gear. We'd like to add an eleventh tip: Join us at the Imaging USA Expo[LINK]. There are deals on deals for new gear and you get to try before you buy. 

TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE: Many photographers get their start in nature or landscape photography, in many cases because it's easy to experiment and the subject doesn't talk back about how their hair looks. Here are 21 tips to get experimental with your flower power photography!

GEAR HEADS: Strobist is here to save the day with some things to consider when investing in a new tripod. This piece of equipment holds your most valuable pieces of equipment, so it should go without saying that you shouldn't skimp on the funding. See what else they have to say here. 

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




As a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP), you know the long road you have to travel down to earn those three powerful letters behind your name. That CPP means the world to you, and it should also mean the world to your clients. Educating them on why they should always choose a CPP can be tough sometimes. 

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To help, we've created a nifty tab (and its corresponding content, of course) that you'll be able to install on your company's Facebook page. It's meant to help you convey why hiring a CPP (specifically: you!) makes all of the difference in the world! 

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

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

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

Sounds redundant, right? Use Facebook to put something out on Facebook? We list it last because it's crazy complicated, but... FREE! First you'll have to sign up for an App Developers Account (pretty simple - just click here and you'll be all set). 

The next part is where it gets complicated - the best way is to watch some great YouTube videos. Make sure the videos are recent as Facebook has being giving the apps some facelifts as of late. Here's one that might work for you!

It might take a few minutes, but once you've installed the tab, share it on your timeline to show clients why it's important for them to stay with a Certified Professional Photographer. If you run into any issues, contact the app hosting service directly, they are the experts in this case.

You can download the tab graphics and html code here!

(If you want to make edits to the tab graphic itself, always remember the image needs to be 111 x 74 pixels and you'll have to pack a punch in that little space.)

These are just three ways to install the tab - if you simply Google "Facebook App Installation" you'll discover a world of options, these are just the ones we are pretty familiar with. If you find another option you enjoy, please let us know! Email Sarah at sackerman (at) ppa (dot) com.

Every year, hundreds of photographers submit their best work in the International Photographic Competition (IPC) to see how they stack up on the world's stage. It's an opportunity to showcase your creativity, skills and work, while learning and shining some light on areas you can improve (because we all get better when we know what we need to work on). 

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The best way to learn is by ordering a critique of your image(s). An IPC judge will record a video of your image, reviewing every detail. They will explain your score, what you did well, and of course, what you need to work on for next year. There is no better place to get some one-on-one feedback on how to improve your work!

And this year, PPA's working on a solution to help the IPC judges going a step further. For the first time ever, judging will be streamed live from the comfort of your own home. Closer to the date, we'll release the access information and you'll just have to hop online during judging (August 4-7). You'll be able to see what images make it and which fall short. 

You'll even hear the judges' rebuttals and see how they challenge each other's evaluations of some images! Remember, the best way to improve your skills is to hear the judges' comments on your work, so you'll want to listen closely as they discuss your entry! And for those who entered images in IPC this year, you will even get an update via text message, as to when your image will be presented and judged so you'll know immediately if you merited! 

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If you're still hesitant to enter a professional photographic competition, checking out the live judging from your computer will be  great way to see what it's really like. In the meantime, below you will find some great PPAedu videos that will also help give you some perspective:


Or if you'd like a refresher on the 12 Elements of a Merit Image, you can get them here with some excellent videos from Michael Timmons, M.Photog.M.Artist.Cr., CPP, F-ASP, an IPC Judge. 

Entries for the IPC opened on May 26 and will remain open until next Thursday, June 26. But don't worry, if your images aren't quite there yet, late submissions will be accepted until July 10 with an additional fee. 

If you're still asking yourself why enter - here are the 10 reasons photographic competition will help your business.


And we should mention - if you're in the Atlanta area and want to see the judging live and in person, IPC Judging at Gwinnett Technical College

(Top Image © Professional Photographers of Iowa, Lower Image © Jim Sanders, Harrisonburg, VA)


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As a professional photographer, you deal with people's insecurities in front of the camera on a daily basis. We asked OurPPA Facebook followers to share the craziest things clients have asked for, and the photography community came forward with some pretty ridiculous situations. Here are our favorite responses:

• "A bride asked my husband to stretch her limo to make it appear more expensive." Martha C.

• "An architect asked if I could open the front door in Photoshop. On another shot he needed me to turn on all the lights. I told him that was level 7 magic and I was only in my 3rd year at Hogwarts School of witchcraft and wizardry." Erica B.

• "A bride who was taller than the groom asking me to stretch him after the pictures were all taken to make him look taller than her by a foot or so." Jillian C.

• "A middle-aged housewife once asked me to shoot 'romantic, soft, tasteful photos' of her for her husband, for their anniversary. She then produced an 18" stack of Hustler magazines, all opened to the centerfold as examples." Anjani M.

• "While shooting a maternity shoot, the mom-to-be who was barefoot turns to her husband and says, 'Honey, you need to take your socks off.' Then looks at me and asks, 'Or can you Photoshop them?'" Tyson P.

• "I had a studio in Hastings, England, and we used to make copy negatives of old photographs on 10x8 film and retouch them. An elderly lady came in with a photo of her dead husband who was wearing a trilby hat. She asked my assistant if we could remove his hat. The answer was yes madam. Assistant asked what color was his hair, her reply was 'Don't be stupid - you will see that when your remove his hat.' On another occasion a lady bought in 2 very dead stuffed monkeys to be photographed and framed. My wife asked the lady if she wanted them mounted. The lady blushed and said 'No thank you, holding hands will be adequate. The joys of being a GP Photographer.' Ian H.

• "At a newborn shoot, most babies are sleeping. One parent wanted me to Photoshop their child's eyes open. Really? Not only that, but during the shoot they started annoying the sleeping baby trying to wake her up. Job well done. Now you have a screaming baby." Michelle C.

• "To make sure her face cheeks were even because her collagen injections were not FDA approved. (And was given a before photo for reference)." Rachel T.

• "Can you turn my head sideways for a profile photo? I like my profile." Marty R. 

• "I once had to 'remove' a rather large penis on a horse. Bad enough, but then the family insists that he 'never' does that (which I took to mean the horse must really like me) *blushing*" Shannon M.

• "'I don't like my daughter's outfit, if I take a picture of a skirt. Can you Photoshop it on her?' Umm no." Heather S.

• "Can you iron my kid's shirt in Photoshop?" Kristen J.

Have a story to share? Post in on the thread! We love hearing the shenanigans that happen in your studios! 


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Here are the 10 photography blogs from May 24 - May 30, 2014 that we hope will inspire you and professional photographers around the web to be more!

Wal-Mart is still making waves on their case against the photographer's widow! Get the Washington Post's take on the situation here. 

Not cool, Jesse Chen, not cool. This software engineer at Facebook posted a tutorial on how to remove those pesky little watermarks from professional photos. The posts have since been taken down, but this read from Fstoppers is worth a look. 

If you find yourself near an active lava flow during your summer adventures, you'll be happy you have these great tips from PetaPixel under your belt! (Plus the example images are pretty awesome.)

How can you spot a newbie? PhotographyTalk has their nine sins of a noob - the last one is our favorite (and even the most seasoned of pros can slip up). 

How to Capture Creative Cold When You're at the End of Your Rope - Literally.
National Geographic photojournalist Jimmy Chin sits down with Chase Jarvis to talk all things photography. Not only is his story inspiring, but the images are fantastic and make you want to hit the road for the nearest mountain to climb or rock to repel. 

To go along with the post about Jimmy Chin, we thought it might be helpful to see how to take a photo from a kayak on your next adventure - and what do you know? Photo Naturalist just happened to write a little blog about it! 

If you're looking to expand your editing repertoire, this is a great article from PDN! We all know and love Photoshop, but what other software can make your images pop? Here are their top 10!

Tis the season for senior portraits! If you're in the market, here are some great ideas, tips and inspiration from Seniors Ignite on how to make the male clients get comfortable in front of the camera. 

New to the world of photographing interior architecture? If you're wanting to expand your product line, the School of Digital Photography has some great need-to-know info that will get you started on the right foot. 

Meteor showers are something else - and capturing them just right can be difficult. Outdoor Photo Gear has their top 10 tips for capturing the perfect image! (When is the next shower in your area? Check them out here!)

There you have it, the favorite blog posts of the week from your PPA team! Don't forget that you can share your own posts, or other stories you have enjoyed, on theLoop

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Remember picture day back in high school? You'd dress up in your "coolest" clothes and the photographer's assistant would sit you on a stool, tell you to smile and sit up straight, and then a blinding flash. Done. Your pasty, zit-dotted face was then frozen in that awkward moment forever, for all to see in the school yearbook as a representation of you. Hey, are your eyes even open?

Cringe no more; you're done with those terrible times! You're a part of a great organization that's helping you and nearly 27,000 other members be better photographers. And we all want to see you.

In our Faces of PPA campaign, you've been getting to know other members through creative self-portraits and quotes on their journey through photography with PPA. The best part is that you can be yourself! It's not a generic yearbook shot on the same backdrop as everyone else--you can really let your creative flag fly. 

A few quick things to note:

1. Think of your marketing, people! This can be a piece to show to your potential clients on your web and social pages. That means put some camera equipment in the picture. Then anyone who sees the photo will say "Hey! That dude/dudette must be a photographer!"
2. No collages of your work. The focus is YOU and only you here. 
3. THERE IS NO DEADLINE. Take your time. Have fun. 

Let's get to know you and your unique brand. Visit ppa.com/faces, answer a few questions and submit an image of yourself that you can be proud of.  We've got over 27,000 members but have only seen a few hundred of your faces. We need to see yours too! 

Step out from behind the camera for once. You better not be behind the bleachers!


Written by guest blogger, Danielle Brooks

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As an incoming freshman at Flagler College you have to attend the annual convocation. When you enter the auditorium, members of the staff and faculty hand you a railroad tie. During the assembly, students are told that today is the first day in the journey to building their legacy.
Flagler College, located in St. Augustine, Florida, was originally the Ponce de Leon Hotel built by Henry Flagler. It became a college in 1968. Henry Flagler is most famous for founding Standard Oil. He was also the mastermind behind building the East Coast Railway. It runs all throughout Florida and up the East Coast. 

Flagler, being a businessman, decided to build a hotel along the railroad, so the elite in society had a place to vacation. He didn't want them to stay for the weekend, because then everyone could do that. His hotel was exclusive. In order to stay at the Ponce de Leon Hotel, you had to stay all season. 

Before he made it big in the oil industry, Flagler originally went into business with his brother-in-law to form the Flagler and York Salt Company. With the American Civil War, the demand for salt drastically decreased and they eventually went out of business. Flagler lost $50,000 he borrowed from his family as well as another $50,000 he saved from years of working. Because Flagler didn't let that failure stop him, he went on leave a legacy that is still standing and impacting thousands of students every year.

I graduated from Flagler College in December of 2009 with a degree in Communication. I got a job straight out of college working as an Associate Producer at Channel 4 in Jacksonville. After a year, I determined journalism wasn't for me. All my life, I wanted to be a journalist and I found I didn't like it. It was crushing. 

Broken and a little lost for direction, a former teacher offered me a job writing press releases part time at Flagler. After a month or two, the Web and New Media Services Department decided to take me on as a contractor for a couple of video projects. Once that work ran out, my boss asked me if I knew how to use a camera. 


Entering into the International Photographic Competition (IPC) can be intimidating, even if you know the 12 elements of a merit image like the back of your hand. It's easy to speculate what the judges are looking for in an image before they consider granting it a merit, so down below you'll find resources to clarify all this. You'll also find some tips on things to really avoid. 

There's a PPAedu series with IPC judge, Michael Timmons, M.Photog.M.Artist.Cr., CPP, F-ASP about all things relating to photo competition! Who better to tell you what the judges are looking for than... an actual judge? 

There's also a 3 easy-to-digest, 20-minute videos that break down the 12 elements. Watch them one at a time or back to back--however you learn best! They are must-watch for those who are newer to photographic competition, and an excellent refresher for those already preparing their entries this year. And because it's all on PPAedu, you can watch them as many times as you'd like. It's just one of the many benefits of your PPA membership

In the first part, Michael walks you through 4 of the 12 elements: Impact, Creativity, Style and Composition

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And to round things out, the 3rd piece focuses the last 4 elements: Color Balance, Technical Excellence, Technique and Storytelling

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Now you're well on your way to submitting a merit-worthy image at this year's International Photographic Competition! Entries are open May 26 - June 26 (or July 10 with a late fee). If you want to get the full experience, be sure to order a critique of your image. A judge like Michael will record a video showing you what you did well and what cause the image to fall short for a merit. It's a very effective way to find out what to work on and there's no better way to improve your craft!

These three videos and over 250 more are available to PPA members and PPAedu subscribers! Not a PPA member? Join now or subscribe to PPAedu to get full access to all the PPAedu on-demand videos.

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Here are the 10 photography blogs from April 27 - May 2, 2014 that we hope will inspire you and professional photographers around the web to be more!

If you want to catch the travel bug, skip this post. Here are PhotoShelter's 24 best places to photograph around the world. From Antarctica to Arizona and everywhere in between, these images will inspire you to update your passport and take to the friendly skies. 

This is a whole new way to take a photograph. Luke Evans and Joshua Lake let their digestive systems do the work and judging by the results on Beautiful Decay, the outcome is stunning. Check out the black and white images here.

Need an end-of-the-week giggle? James Lout (PPA member and self-proclaimed Imaging USA junkie) has a great post on how to take beautiful, jaw dropping images with your lens cap on. Read and laugh

National Geographic photographers take you below the surface to show you top tips and tricks to capturing great underwater imagery. This is a must-read if you have upcoming adventures.

As a photography professional, you know how to get ready for your next assignment. You know how to pack your equipment, check you gear and prepare yourself for a successful event. Well, let FStoppers introduce you to Richard B. Flores. He takes his prep to a new level of syncing, charging, cleaning and more! It's really something to be admired!

PetaPixel brings you the most complex video to showcase the city of Boston we've ever seen. The video includes tilt-shift, HRD, hyperlapse and more in one quick video -you'll definitely find something that inspires you!

Think of this as a creative challenge to grow and stretch your creativity! Try a time stack image, or using a new kind of lens! These 9 challenges from Digital Camera World are sure to make you think!

If you're an avid tweeter, you'll love this from Lightroom Killer Tips. They've come up with a game plan for your presets for the newly released Twitter profiles. Read on to keep your profile looking fresh!

Whether you're on a boat, on the shore or in the skies above the beautiful waves, you'll enjoy these tips on getting the most out of your sea-adventures from the folks at Light Stalking. 

If you're just getting started in this industry, you will love these tips from Digital Photography School on working with models (or if you've been in the industry for a while, it's a nice refresher)! Get tips on picking locations, outfits, remember model releases and more!

There you have it, the favorite blog posts of the week from your PPA team! Don't forget that you can share your own posts, or other stories you have enjoyed, on theLoop.
Participating in photographic competitions can change your business, but only if you enter. How? Let us count the ways using the International Photographic Competition (IPC) as an example:

1. Get inspired! Take a good look at who else enters in the IPC--there are some pretty creative folks out there! See if any of their work trips your creative trigger and helps you produce even more out-of-the-box images. Nothing helps get the creative juices flowing like being exposed to fantastic works of art.

2. Define your style. The more you compete in photographic competitions, the more you'll be able to hone your personal style. As you fine tune your skill set, this signature style can become a great calling card for your business!

3. It will make you a better photographer. Opt to get an image critique and listen to an IPC Judge walk you through what you did right, what could use some improvement and offer suggestions on things you may have never considered. Even award-winning image makers can learn a thing or two from a fresh, professional set of eyes. Apply what you learn to your next client session and see your business grow!

4. Take on a personal challenge. You want to stay current, push yourself outside your comfort zone and stretch your artistic abilities? The IPC gives you an amazing opportunity to do just that! Set goals for yourself and keep entering year after year to continually improve your work. You can also work on projects that aren't in your typical client assignments. Broaden your photographic horizons! It might transpire into a new product line.

5. Prove you're the best. Let's face it, we all like a little (or a lot) of validation now and again. Entering in the IPC lets you put your best work up against photographers from around the world to see who reigns supreme. And you can see how you can improve year over year to improve yourself! Talk about a confidence boost! Your clients will see your swagger.

6. Charge higher prices. Being able to call yourself an "award winning photographer" gives you some serious clout over your local competition. You can now justify higher prices by letting your clients see the difference between yourself, an international award-winning photographer and that mom with a camera down the street. And if you continue to compete and earn your masters of photography, the designation of "M.Photog." behind your name will pack a punch.

7. Make connections. Even the best photographers can't do it alone. Make some life-long friends along the way as you compete. You'll bond over the thrill of victory (and the occasional agony of defeat). Connect on theLoop or the OurPPA Forums to get support from newbies or seasoned vets on anything competition-related. Still making edits hours before the deadline? They'll be right there with you. And there are countless mentoring opportunities--between the portfolio reviews done by PPA Judges at Imaging USA or finding mentors in your community before you enter, there are plenty of folks who are eager to help you!

8. Judges & clients want different things. Your clients probably don't come to you because they know you'll rock the 12 elements of a merit image by name--but they do come to you because of your style and brand. Competitions give you an opportunity to take risks your clients might be afraid to take with you. 

9. Rejuvenate your love of photography! Fall back in love with what you do. Get out of any mental rut you may be in, stretch your creative wings and do what you love! You have time to work on these works of art (early bird entries close June 26th), so you won't be as constrained by crazy turnaround times. You might be amazing what epiphanies you have with a little extra time on your hands.

10. It's the next step. You're an accomplished professional photographer. With earning high scores at the IPC, you'll earn merits that will set you on the path of earning your master of photography degree. You can also become a judge after earning 18 exhibition merits, taking the judges workshop and starting with local or regional competitions. Continuing your education is important to staying relevant and in tune with what your clients are expecting.

Have more reasons entering competitions will change your business? Let us know on theLoop! This year PPA's International Print Competition is open for entries from May 26 through June 26. It's a great way to be more!
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