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Results tagged “techniques for photographers” from PPA Today

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Are you looking to take in some live demonstrations at Imaging USA? The Demo Class Track is guaranteed to give you a jolt of inspiration as you witness live demonstrations by top instructors. 

As you prepare for the world's largest pro-photography convention, keep these Demo Track classes in mind to catapult your business!


Take a behind-the-scenes look at the creation process from legend Tim Kelly. Experience a live demo as you discuss compositional dynamics and explore the challenges of posing techniques. Tim teaches you how to flatter a face, light your subject and create the right composition for amazing images. Composition, posing, lighting - it's all in here! Learn from the best!

Lighting With Conviction
Scott Detweiler
January 8
5:00 PM - 6:15 PM

Known as the only lighting course you will ever need, this class teaches how to create the look you envision and see in your mind. Stop worrying about what modifier you need and how many lights are required. Don't stress about how far away the subject is from the light and what you need to adjust. The answers to these and many more questions are at your fingertips. Learn how to think with light and capture the results you want. Scott Detweiler delivers an info-packed yet easily understood workshop that makes this one of his most popular subjects. This is a crowd you'll definitely want to join!

The Fine Art Composite Portrait
Mark Bryant, M.Photog., M.Artist.Cr.
January 8
6:45 PM - 8:00 PM

This class is about more than just taking good pictures. It's about the art, science and skill behind composite portraiture. You'll study the elements of lighting and discover how to use, manipulate and apply principles to achieve expert lighting. Discuss perspective and learn how to use your talent and your equipment for great shots. Then, delve into details like posing and props so that you bring detail and emotion into your portraits. Lastly, Instructor Mark Bryant walks you through the all-important postproduction processes. Explore color harmony, masking, sharpening and more as you learn how to bring all your hard work together for a fine art masterpiece!

Seniors... Think Differently...
Dan Rowe
January 8
6:45 PM - 8:00 PM

It seems every studio in town does senior portraits. This is your opportunity to learn how to do them better! Learn these simple, but effective ways to change it up as you explore lighting and posing techniques that are NOT what everyone else is doing. You'll even delve into some marketing techniques that will attract and keep new customers. Dan and Adrienne Rowe know senior photography and have built a career on not only doing it differently but doing it better. Learn how they do it and how you can too!


Boudoir photography isn't just about pictures. It's about finding your own confidence and courage and instilling the same in your clients. In this class, you'll delve into the power of this genre and how you can help change the lives of your clients as they discover their own power and beauty. Jen Rozenbaum finds inspiration from other powerful women, and uses this to help you grow your skills and your courage. As a photographer, you have the power to not only create an image of your client but to help define how they see themselves!

Lightapalooza!
John Hartman, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, A-ASP,EA-ASP
January 9
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Discover what these cutting edge lighting techniques can do for your creativity, your talent and your business! John Hartman teaches you how to not only enhance your style but also how to separate yourself from your competitors. Cover topics like multiple-flash burst imagery for fast moving subjects, overpowering ambient light to create subject separation, and how to use light painting to create stunning images - and that's not all! Not only will you learn the concepts but explore how to add and incorporate them into your own distinctive style. Techniques, toolsets and implementation - it's all here, delivered in Hartman's unique, expert and engaging style.

Maternity Inspiration and Beyond
Dani Miller
January 9
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

This class isn't just about taking maternity photos; it's about creating timeless classics that mothers will treasure for years to come. Dani Miller shares her innovative, creative ideas for setups that will make memories, not just photos. You'll explore both natural light and studio lighting in action and learn posing techniques that inspire awesome images. Delve into how to build that bond between you and your client and how to cultivate that relationship for future sessions. It's not just about one client session, it's not just about a photograph - it's a complete artistic experience that Dani creates and delivers for her clients! Listen, learn and then do it yourself!

Beyond The Speed Light...New Sources, New Look, New Light
Russ Harrington
January 9
5:00 PM - 6:15 PM

For over 25 years, Russ Harrington has been THE Photographer for Country Music's biggest stars. In an everyday session, he has a very narrow timeframe to photograph a world-famous personality, including sets, makeup, wardrobe and location. Yet every shot is unique, dramatic and powerful. Spend some time with Russ and discover how he does what he does - and how you can too! Learn how your choice and use of lighting sources can define your distinct style. Delve into and really understand the nuances of strobes, ambient light, softboxes and more. During this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Russ shares his secrets, lighting techniques and tips. You'll witness the impact that various sources can have and best of all, how to do it yourself. Enjoy Russ' expertise, his lighthearted style and his experience as he teaches you to do what he does - in your own way.

Simple Techniques for Posing People in Groups of 2 to 100...
Michele Celentano , Cr.Photog., CPP
January 9
5:00 PM - 6:15 PM

Whether you're working with a group of 2 or 100, posing is a key to any portrait's success. And while posing a group of people puts fear in most photographers, Michele is here to show you how it's done! If you work with weddings, families, corporate events, teams or schools, this class will give you the insight and the ability to pose all groups of all sizes, easily and efficiently for amazing images! Stop stressing as Michele demonstrates her techniques, live on stage. Learn how to make people look younger, thinner and other characteristics that will wow your clients. You'll discover how to identify various body shapes and sizes and put them together for poses that work. Your best images start with you and what you create in the camera - walk away with new ideas you can use immediately!

Note: If you want to be included in the live demonstration, wear a black shirt.

Stylized Family and Children Photography
Kia Bondurant, M.Photog.Cr.
January 10
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Come and experience the style and skills that Kia Bondurant brings to her family and children portraiture. From providing creative sets and concepts, wardrobe ideas and innovative products, Kia does it like no other, and her clients love her for it! Take a glimpse into what you can really do for your business as Kia shares her style, her concepts, her innovation and yes, her competitive advantage.

Photographing Architecture - Taking Your Images to the Next Level!
Randy Van Duinen, M.Photog., M.Artist.Cr., CPP
January 10
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Architectural photography isn't like everything else. It takes a different perspective and vision to capture stunning images and breath-taking buildings. In this class, Randy Duinen shows you how to bring your architectural skills to a completely new level. Explore the differences in lighting residential and commercial buildings, and discuss the equipment you need to do both. Discuss how to shoot both interiors and exteriors, and the aspects that make the shot. Take advantage of Randy's insight and expertise as you discuss working with and marketing to this client base and discover how to earn more and more assignments. From the basics of lighting to Lightroom and Photoshop post-processing, it's all in here. Learn from one of the world's best!

Simple and Creative Ways to Work with Children
Alicia Adamopoulos
January 10
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM

Little humans, aka children, can often present more challenges than any other subject! They say big things come in small packages and children's portraiture is no different! In this course, learn from photographer Alicia Adamopoulos, who not only knows photography but she knows kids! Throughout her career, she's learned many easy methods for engaging her younger clients - as well as their parents - to present award-winning, creative images. She'll share how she prepares for a session, the tools she uses and the little tweaks and tips that can be the difference between a delight and a disaster!

Headshots 360
Jim Ferrara, M.Photog., CPP
January 10
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM

For this class at Imaging USA, Jim developed a whole new platform for shooting headshots from the ground up! Shooting within a rather small space, Jim will demonstrate how you can get multiple looks with a three-light set up moving just one light- keeping the model within his or her footprint. The 360 is derived from the camera revolving 360 degrees around the person, while your main lights remain static. With adjusting the output power on each light, and other slight variations, the differences between each look can be as dramatic as you like. This class will be all demonstrated via live demo, and it will be Jim's debut with Headshots 360!

On-The-Go Lighting
Daniel Doke, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
January 10
5:15 PM - 6:30 PM

Learn the lighting technique that Wedding Photographer Extraordinaire, Dan Doke, uses in his portraits and events. Dan's expertise lies not just in his photography but in his desire to take his work to the next level. He's always thinking five steps ahead and in this class, he shares that process and his techniques with you! He'll demonstrate his lighting techniques for on-the-go weddings and portraits; he'll share his tool kit of lighting sources as you discover how he creates the dramatic, one-of-a-kind images his clients crave. In a live demonstration, see how he quickly poses and lights a couple under any time constraint. Discover how to be three dimensional and incorporate texture, drama and contrast. Learn how to make your images come alive - and all this can happen through easy light setups, both in the studio and on location. Create images that make you stand out from your competition!

Getting, Creating and Selling Families
Gary Box, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Pam Box, M.Photog.Cr.
January 10
5:15 PM - 6:30 PM

Family photography can be one of your most sustainable and profitable segments - easier and more profitable than even senior portraits! Discover what Gary and Pamela Box do to create amazing shoots - everything from their lighting and shooting techniques to how to convert it all into incredible sales. Learn how to capitalize on senior shoots and turn them into family orders. Discuss marketing techniques that get more families through your door. You'll even explore techniques for selling wall portraits that your clients will love. Capture the image, wow the customer, increase your sales - this is the way!

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By Bethany Clark

Each month, one PPAedu video is unlocked for everyone to enjoy, because we believe in spreading the wealth of education that PPA members have at their fingertips! The PPAedu library is full of tools to help you sharpen your photography techniques, marketing strategies, sales techniques, and business operations. These tutorials and educational videos are available 24/7 at no cost, as a benefit to PPA members. Between PPAedu and PhotoVision, you can tap into close to a thousand programs to help you Be More! If you haven't checked out PhotoVision, take a look. There's a new website with a slew of new episodes!

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For the month of July, the full video "Inspiration: Emphasizing the Creative Process" with PPA Instructor Joel Grimes Cr.Photog. has been unlocked. In this video, Joel first takes you down an interesting path, discussing how art and artists are often defined. Rather than focusing on terms like "genius" and "brilliant," Joel emphasizes the hard work, motivation and passion that go into creating something worthwhile. Examine and explore the many ways an artist can express ideas, so that your work truly is a manifestation of you. You'll also discuss the concept of the final product - how what you produce is ultimately subject to someone else's opinion and expectation, and how beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder. After all, perception really is reality.

If you already belong to PPA, just log in anytime to watch the video. This video is unlocked for non-members, this month only, at PPA.com/TryEdu. For full access to PPAedu and PhotoVision programs, join PPA today!


Bethany Clark manages all things social media for PPA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves writing, sewing, travel, yoga, and of course photography.

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How and Why the Business Challenge started.
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In 2015, PPA had an idea for a case study. A group of five photography mentors and I took on the challenge of working with two studio owners to help them transform their businesses. We not only wanted to help these two entrepreneurs, we also wanted to learn from them by documenting the challenges they faced, the changes they underwent and how both they and their businesses thrived. The "Studio Makeover" was initiated and our goal was to take all the information we were using to help our makeover participants and bring it to PPA members to learn from as well. 

We did this through the entire year of 2015 with live webinars, blog posts and even personal video updates. Then, at Imaging USA 2016, all eight of us took the stage and revealed each studio's final numbers, shared their biggest "a-ha" moments and discussed their transformation from both a business and personal perspective.  

Leading up to Imaging USA, as I was putting together the program for the rest of the team, I had my own "a-ha" moment. We were about to share some extraordinary moments and information as both studios made amazing leaps forward...but we didn't have anything in place for the attendees who might want to do their own "studio makeover." 

Well, I shouldn't say we didn't have anything because PPA has a plethora of educational tools available to members: the Benchmark Study, PPAedu's online education platform with more than 350 video classes, PhotoVision with over 800 episodes, Square One, downloads, Professional Photographer magazine, specialty courses for CPP and IPC, etc. As you can see, we have quite a lot of knowledge to offer and perhaps that works against us a bit. It can be a little overwhelming. Which brings me to my point...we didn't have anything/anyone tying it all together, giving it to photographers in an order that could easily be digested, and helping you as you needed it. 

So the idea for the Business Challenge was born.

Literally, right before Imaging USA, at our busiest time of the year, I was asking other departments to help me implement a brand new concept. And everyone here jumped in to help make it a reality, so that by Imaging USA itself we were able to let people know they could sign up for their very own studio makeover through PPA's Business Challenge. (Huge thank you's to our Marketing, Membership and I.T. teams for all of their hard work.)

I had an idea. I had the recently completed PPA Business Guide to use as an outline. I had the Square One tool to share. I had amazing friends and mentors who were willing to be part of this project. I had (and have) a strong desire to help photographers as entrepreneurs learn how to build profitable and sustainable businesses so they can live their dream. That was it. 

I didn't have a long syllabus. I didn't have a very exact plan for how to execute all of it. I was still learning how best to use theLoop platform as our means of communication. But I knew that if I waited to put it all together first, things would be missing anyway. You would be missing. All that I've learned from you, each and every group, would not have happened. And your questions and ideas and support are the actions that propel the Business Challenge forward.

PPA's Business Challenge is, by design, a living thing. 

No two groups are alike. The February 2016 group is very different from the June 2016 group. The curriculum, while similar, is not identical because conversations sway the topics and move them in a variety of directions. Questions are asked and answered. Friendships are born. Mentors are invited who generously share their experience and knowledge. While the foundation of knowledge of the Business Challenge is all the same, and it is scalable to a large group, the unique experience of each group is shaped by those who are involved.

I've written in a few different places that it's important to show up and be present in the conversations that take place in this 12-month program. It was not intended to simply be a place where information and assignments are posted. It can be, if that's what you want, but I want to give you so much more. I want you to feel part of something bigger; I want to give you accountability; I want you to meet and be inspired by some of the smartest people out there; I want to give you the opportunity to share your knowledge; I want you to remember why YOU are doing all this hard work in the first place; and I want you to build a body of knowledge that will propel you so much further.


I'm so glad you're here,
Angela


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Angela Kurkian is PPA's Director of Education







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by James Yates
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It's now been six months since the inaugural class of PPA's Business Challenge started on theLoop. Since then a new group has started each month and those participating are making changes that will affect their businesses and their lives as they continue their entrepreneurial journey.  

One of the first things Challenge participants are tasked to do is define their personal idea of success and then create a sales and session projection using the online tool, Square One. It helps point every small business owner in the right direction and kicks off your Challenge-year with a firm understanding of what you need to accomplish in the upcoming months. Here are just a few comments pulled from the Discussion Threads on how things are going for our current participants:

"I did the square one projections for my business.  Wow.  I had to go thru it a few times and it was eye opening.  Not charging enough!!!  This was so helpful... "
Kim B. 


"Just realized I misunderstood net income.  This changes things...  YIKES.  Now I'm getting that crazy scared feeling in the pit of my stomach... This is such a huge kick in the rear.  I did a few breakdowns - with and without (a physical) studio.  (End goal is to have a studio space of my very own, so I wanted to see what needed to be done.)"
Later...
"Happy to report that I finished my projections yesterday.  I did one for a home based studio and one for a retail space.  I figured that my goal would be to aim for the retail space numbers since I want to end up with a studio.  If I fall short and hit my home based numbers, that's ok - just means I landed among the stars, right?  I'd be happy with either number right now, as long as eventually I get to the retail numbers!  :)...And now that I've done my a la carte pricing, I'm seeing clearly how that will help me reach the projection numbers.  It's all starting to come together in my brain." 
Karen C.

"I just used the square one tool, and it really gives me a starting goal for what I need to do.  So far I am working well towards my goals and getting the sales per session mark.  I just need to do more sessions. More sessions will come from more marketing and better time management." 
Jennifer J.

by James Yates

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We're stuck right smack-dab in the middle of June and it's getting hot out there! Grab a Popsicle, crank up the a/c and take a look at our top blog posts from around the web for the week of June 13. 

PPA Advocacy Team D.C. Updates Parts 1 &
BE MORE ENGAGED: PPA was back on Capitol Hill fighting for a Small Claims Copyright option. Progress has accelerated! Check out the latest details here. 

SPEAK OUT: Have you joined our Action Team? If not, there's no time to waste. Watch this informative video and lend your voice to this historic movement. 

JOIN UP: PPA Member Randy Van Duinen, M.Photog.M.Artist.Cr., CPP, with a plea for all to join the Grassroots Team. 

PASSION V. PAYCHECK: FStoppers has an intriguing op-ed about doing what you love for a living and the reality that some people may thrive with an unrelated day job, pursuing their dreams in their spare time. Is one better than the other? Several links and opinions offered in this thought-provoking read. 

INSIGHT: The Phoblographer with an article on New York-based photographer Aundre Larrow's tips and tricks that could change how you think about portrait photography.


by James Yates

The International Photographic Competition (IPC) is now open. Have you entered your images? IPC gives photographers the opportunity to improve their work through competition and critiques from some of the most noted photographers in the business. Entering the International Photographic Competition has many benefits, including:

Engage with the passionate and supportive photographic competition community 
Improve your best work (Raise your hand if you want to get better!)
Earn the admiration and recognition of your peers
Ultimately improve your business

Your images will be evaluated based on the 12 Elements of a Merit Image. You'll receive a recording of an IPC Judge giving you dedicated feedback and explaining to you how the elements are present and impact YOUR image. By competing and getting your images critiqued, you'll learn what you do well as a photographer, as well as identify the areas in which you may need improvement. It's an amazing learning experience!

Entering your work in a competition can be scary for first-timers. So, to make it a little easier, here's an actual critique from last year's International Photographic Competition. This image is "DENIA" by Jamie Mezquida and is being judged by International Juror James Wyant, M.Photog.Cr..

Take a look back and see how constructive criticism from the judges and application of their feedback can improve your work as a photographer.



We hope this critique will give you a better understanding of what the judges are looking for when scoring your images. Enter your images into the International Photographic Competition today! Registration is open from now until June 22, 2016. Late registration extends to July 7, with an additional fee. Be sure to enter your images by 5 pm EST on June 22 to avoid paying the extra fee! The IPC judging dates are July 31-August 4, 2016 and you can stream it live at Stream.theIPC.org. Be sure to request a critique so you can receive some personalized feedback on your works of art. Familiarize yourself with the rules for the Photographic Open and Photographic Artist categories today at www.PPA.com/IPC!

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James Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL.


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By James Yates

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New York City-based fashion, portrait, and commercial photographer Jeff Rojas saw an opportunity and went for it. He noticed there were plenty of classes and workshops on how to photograph women, but, men? Not so much. Now, Rojas teaches other photographers how to get the best results from male subjects. His less-is-more philosophy, including attention to styling, dealing with men's insecurities (hello, receding hairlines) and the difference between directing and posing have made him internationally renowned at the age of 27. 

Read about Jeff and how he gets the best from his male subjects in, "Manly Pursuits," on the newly redesigned PPmag.com website.

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James Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL.
by James Yates
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It's time to alert your non-PPA member friends. Each month, one PPAedu video is unlocked for everyone to enjoy, because we believe in spreading the wealth of education that PPA members have at their fingertips! The PPAedu library has a lot to help you sharpen your photography techniques, marketing strategies, sales techniques and business operations. These tutorials and educational videos are available 24/7 at no cost as a benefit to PPA members. Between PPAedu and PhotoVision, you can tap into over a thousand programs to help you Be More! If you haven't checked out PhotoVision, take a look. There's a new website with a slew of new episodes!

For the month of June, the video Photoshop: Retouching for Beauty with PPA Instructor Jen Hillenga, M.Photog.Cr. has been unlocked. In this video, Jen teaches you how to enhance your subject's beauty, using some quick and easy Photoshop tricks. You'll first go through the options you have with Photoshop, like controlling exposure, color, crop and vignette. Then Jen will take you through the steps to use so that you don't go overboard or lose the integrity of your images. Drilling down into specific tools, you will explore vignette creation and blemish removal, using the history brush, adding shadows to naturally enhance, and applying selective blurring techniques for extra effects. In her easy and effective way, Jen breaks this down so that you can take your images from beautiful to breathtaking!

If you're already a member of PPA, just log in anytime to watch the video. This video is unlocked for non-members, this month only, at PPA.com/TryEdu. For full access to PPAedu and PhotoVision programs, join PPA today!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for James.JPGJames Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL.


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By Sarah Ackerman

As you expand your photography business, you don't know what you don't know. Asking questions on theLoop to expand your knowledge is a great place to start to learn about any area of photography! With 29,000+ PPA members behind you, there's bound to be someone who has been in your shoes and can offer a word of support or advice.

This month, we're highlighting the thread concerning fast recycle flash or strobes for portable use. Check out what your fellow Loopers had to say:

James Corbett: I shoot mountain biking events and use my Canon Speedlite 580EX II off camera in high speed sync mode with an external battery pack. Perhaps because of the overly dreary day this past Saturday and my position in a stream valley, the typically speedy flash cycle time was impaired. I think because of the need for maximum output every shot. This caused me to miss more than the typical trailing racers.  Any thoughts on options for something small and quick enough to pack into the woods?

John Lee, CPP: What's your budget?  If you want to use multiple speed lights, then you can bring each one to a lower power that'll increase your flash duration.  You can also use the HSS that'll kill the power output and battery life, but you're freezing with your shutter instead of the flash duration.  You're not freezing with your flash duration if there's too much ambient light, by the way.

To eliminate all of this,, I would suggest the elinchrom ELB 400 unit with the Hi-sync flash heads (you'll have to buy a remote for this that'll enable you to use Hi-sync technology though).

You can also use the profoto b2 for its HSS tech (also need a remote).  By spec, it's less power than the Elinchrom though.

The profoto B1 also has the HSS feature and it's 500 w/s.  With the right modifier (profoto magnum) you generally will not have a problem with the ambient light.  Or you can just use the HSS feature along with its remote.  Only drawback with the B1 iss you'll need a "beefy". nightstand for it, especially if you're placing it high and outside.  Definitely need sandbags also. The other 2 options, although a "beefy" nightstand is great, but the flash heads weigh nothing so it's not absolutely required, just sandbags.

by James Yates

Want to enter into a serious photographic competition? Been thinking about entering again or wanting to take the first-time dive? PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) begins accepting entries May 23. It's time to start preparing your images. It's through competition and critiques of your work by professional photographers that you can truly grow and evolve as an artist.

Entering the IPC is one of the best ways to improve your craft, especially if you choose to have your images critiqued by one of PPA's Jurors! You can have your images evaluated and scored based on the 12 Elements of a Merit Image. You'll receive a recording of an IPC Judge giving you dedicated feedback and explaining to you how the elements are present and impact YOUR image. By competing and getting your images critiqued, you'll learn what you do well as a photographer, as well as identify the areas in which you may need improvement. It's an amazing learning experience!

We know the process can seem intimidating for first-timers, so here's an actual critique from last year's International Photographic Competition. This image called "Colors" was created by Jamie Mezquida and is being critiqued by PPA juror Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API.

Take a look and see how entering a photographic competition can improve your own work as a photographer through constructive feedback like you'll hear in this critique.




We hope this critique can help you get a better understanding of what the IPC judges are looking for when scoring your images. Start preparing your images for the International Photographic Competition! Submissions are open May 23-June 22, 2016. Late registration extends until July 7, with an additional fee. The IPC judging dates are July 31-August 4, 2016 and you can stream it live at Stream.theIPC.org. Be sure to request a critique so you can receive some personalized feedback on your works of art and Be More Prepared.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for James.JPGJames Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL.
by James Yates

Want to enter into a serious photographic competition? Been thinking about entering again or wanting to take the first-time dive? PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) begins accepting entries May 23. It's time to start preparing your images. It's through competition and critiques of your work by professional photographers that you can truly grow and evolve as an artist.

Entering the IPC is one of the best ways to improve your craft, especially if you choose to have your images critiqued by one of PPA's Jurors! You can have your images evaluated and scored based on the 12 Elements of a Merit Image. You'll receive a recording of an IPC Judge giving you dedicated feedback and explaining to you how the elements are present and impact YOUR image. By competing and getting your images critiqued, you'll learn what you do well as a photographer, as well as identify the areas in which you may need improvement. It's an amazing learning experience!

We know the process can seem intimidating for first-timers, so here's an actual critique from last year's International Photographic Competition. This image called "Cloud Surfing" was created by Heather Cook, M.Photog., and is being critiqued by PPA juror Rod Brown, M.Photog.Cr.

Take a look and see how entering a photographic competition can improve your own work as a photographer through constructive feedback like you'll hear in this critique.



We hope this critique can help you get a better understanding of what the IPC judges are looking for when scoring your images. Start preparing your images for the International Photographic Competition! Submissions are open May 23-June 22, 2016. Late registration extends until July 7, with an additional fee. The IPC judging dates are July 31-August 4, 2016 and you can stream it live at Stream.theIPC.org. Be sure to request a critique so you can receive some personalized feedback on your works of art and Be More Prepared.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for James.JPGJames Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL.


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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for BizChallenge_blogpost_650x160.jpg103 PPA photographers quietly kicked off the new PPA Business Challenge in February. Since then, two more groups have gotten underway with well over 300 participants at PPA.com/Challenge.

The Business Challenge helps photographers improve their business by building a stronger foundation with a focus on sustainability and profitability. The April group has already experienced two weeks of business-changing assignments, Q&A webinars, inspiration, check-ins, recaps and mark-your-calendar alerts. It's a great way to confidently build your business and not go it alone!

#1 No nonsense business advice
Led by PPA Director of Education Angela Kurkian, this 12-month Business Challenge is THE place to come for small-business help specifically developed for photographers. It is a sound framework to help PPA photographers steer their studios in the right direction. Don't be afraid to take the Challenge! Kurkian explains, "A lot of the things (the participants) are nervous about are things that being a member of PPA will help with (i.e. pricing, marketing, value through certification and becoming better at the craft of photography through photographic competition)."

#2 Peer-to-peer support group & accountability
The Business Challenge was developed to help hold photographers accountable in their attempts to improve their studios. One of the most popular and rewarding components of the Business Challenge in that regard are the questions and answers in the forums, where Kurkian poses questions to the group for an honest, frank discussion among peers. The questions can be complex, or as simple as "What are you afraid of?"

Here are some examples of the candid answers pulled from the group:

Q: What are you afraid of? What stops you from taking action?

"Will people value me?"

"My biggest fear is that I'm going to fail and look like a complete fool for even trying. I worry that my work isn't worth anything, that my peers view me as just another mom with a camera, and that I won't earn their respect; and I worry that I'll never find a client that values my work."

"I worry that maybe I AM talented but I'll let my fears squander it away or that my lack of business acumen will outweigh that talent."

"People will not pay our prices and will go with cheaper alternatives. People do not value our art or our time. My phone will stop ringing. We won't be able to afford/maintain our lifestyle."


But don't get too bogged down in the muck of negativity! Sharing with your peers is a wonderful way to see how alike we all are. Once these obstacles have been identified, it's only a matter of banding together and learning how to stomp it out with knowledge, hard work, and support from
PPA and your peers. We're all in this together!

#3 Safe practice for your own business
PPA is constantly developing new curriculum, offering webinars and advice to inspire and ignite the Business Challenge participants, and pushing them to greater success as artists and business people. You'll even notice Wes Roberts, who completed the Studio Makeover Challenge last year, hanging around the forums and offering great advice as someone who's been through the program.

Check back in a couple weeks, where we see what's going on with April's class one full month in...maybe some of their fears will be alleviated? (Spoiler alert: They will be!) Sign up now for the May class! Over 50 members are already on board! It's your turn to take control over your business and Be More! Sign up for free at PPA.com/Challenge.

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By Chris Homer

PPA is dedicated to delivering photographers the best education available through the over 350 photography course videos available on PPAedu, as well as the 800+ videos on PhotoVision. In addition to these recorded courses, PPA hosts courses that you can attend from your computer LIVE as they happen. Check out what we've got coming up in April below!

April 21, 2016 - 2 ET
Skill Level(s): ALL
FREE for All Photographers

There is a lot of information out there about what is legal and what is not when it comes to drone photography. This webinar will separate fact from fiction concerning current regulations. More exciting is that regulatory changes from the FAA are on the horizon which will make legal business-related use of drones much more achievable. Tune in to find out what you should expect and when you will likely see these changes take effect. At the end of the webinar, there will be a Q&A session with PPA's Manager of Government Affairs who has been in communication with the FAA's UAS Integration Office.

April 26, 2016 - 2 ET
With Andrew "Fundy" Funderburg
Skill Level(s): ALL
FREE for All Photographers

Join the founder of Fundy Software, Andrew "Fundy" Funderburg, as he walks you through how to significantly improve your workflow and maximize your studio profits conducting in-person sales. Design and sell wall art and albums with ease and flexibility, while also ensuring your clients walk away happy.

Remember, these courses are open to ALL photographers to attend live, so register today! If you want to access the recordings of these courses and the full PPAedu library of 350+ videos as well as the 800+ streaming courses on PhotoVision, you'll need to be a PPA member. Join PPA today!


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.


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By Sarah Ackerman

Each month, one PPAedu video is unlocked for everyone to enjoy, because we believe in the power of education for all (it's normally reserved only for PPA members)! The PPAedu library has a lot to help you sharpen your photography techniques, marketing strategies, sales techniques and business operations. These tutorials and educational videos are available 24/7 to PPA members.  Between PPAedu and PhotoVision, as a PPA member, you can tap into over hundreds of programs to help you Be More! If you haven't checked out PhotoVision (PPA's newest member benefit), take a look, there's a new website with a slew of new episodes!

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For the month of April, the video "Soft Selling with Intense Results" with Kristin Privette has been unlocked.  It's available for anyone who wants to learn how use a simplified system of soft selling techniques to generate significant results!  In this video, Kristin works through her 10-step process for wedding sales. Learn the language, the specific steps they take their couples through and the selling techniques that anyone can learn and be comfortable using. 

If you're a member of PPA, just log in to watch the video anytime. Non-members will have access to this video this month only at PPA.com/TryEdu. For full access to all the PPAedu and PhotoVision videos, join PPA today!

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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 



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By James Yates

You already have the art of photography down, but is your business where you'd like it to be? If you find yourself wanting to learn how to boost your bottom line, the new PPA Business Challenge is for you! The Business Challenge provides photography business owners with the information and tools they need to develop the foundation for a more profitable business over the course of one year. Not only do they receive the tools required to make changes to their business, but also step-by-step instruction and support from PPA mentors as they implement these changes.

We all know that photographers are entrepreneurs, small business owners with a passion for their craft. We also know that many photographers open their studios as artists, more often than not, not having gone to business school, nor carrying a finance background. It is part of PPA's mission, as a nonprofit, to help our members understand and implement the basic business principles needed to maintain a sustainable studio. The Business Challenge is meant to be a fun, interactive way for PPA members to integrate as much business acumen as they can in one year's time. There is work involved, as this "challenge" is meant for photographers who are serious about wanting to take their business to the next level. Participants will have tasks to complete and the opportunity to be active members of accountability groups and peer-to-peer mentoring. "PPA's business advice is based on years of experience and successful business mentoring," says Angela Kurkian, Director of Education at PPA. "The new Business Challenge will help our members be more business-confident. It will help them think and strategize as a savvy business person."

Kurkian began brainstorming the concept of the Business Challenge over two years ago and 01-16-ppa-imagingusa-sun-9251__large.jpgan earlier form of the program debuted as the "Studio Makeover Challenge" at this year's Imaging USA in Atlanta. When she started noticing the average photographer needed business help, Kurkian knew it would be a difficult road for many members but she asks everyone keep one question in mind: 'How does change feel?'

"This is going to be a big change for these artists, and change is difficult. But when you decide to create change, change occurs all around you." Two small business owners/photographers (Krista Newbill, Wes Roberts) were chosen to go through a year-long business boot-camp with some of the best studio owners in the industry as their mentors.

Throughout 2015, the two participating studios' strengths and weaknesses were evaluated, their definitions of success were taken into account, and their top five goals for the year were contemplated. From this, five leading photographers including Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr.,CPP, ABI, API, Dave Doeppel, CPP, Ashley Brooke, Greg Daniel, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, F-ASP and Kristin Privette, who all run successful studios, called and consulted with the participants all year, coaching them on implementing new steps for their businesses. These steps included setting new sales goals, creating appropriate pricing strategies and outlining a marketing plan, among others. "Your business doesn't have to look like any one way or one thing," Kurkian says. "That's why we wanted to show different examples of how these businesses can maintain their unique identity while still implementing changes that will increase their profits and make them sustainable. The program was a success and we decided the next phase for this project would be to expand it to all 29,000 of our members."

PPA's Business Challenge is free to PPA members (Not a member? Consider joining today!). The Challenge includes tools to understand and develop the foundations of a profitable business with:

•    A month-by-month, step-by-step support system
•    Answers to the most vital business questions
•    A personalized success and business plans
•    Lists and guidelines to help prioritize
•    Inspiration and help to stay focused
•    A framework to avoid getting overwhelmed
•    Accountability partners with other photographers with the same challenges

Want to join the Challenge? Sign up today at PPA.com/Challenge any time. When you join, you'll be put into a Challenge Group beginning on the first day of the following month. Then, for the next 12 months, you'll work on your personalized success path. Not only will you receive the tools required to make changes to your business, but also step-by-step instructions and support as you implement these changes. These smaller sized groups create a community of peers for you to share and mentor with as you go through the same program together.

Sign up today to begin your Challenge Group on April 1st and Be More Business Savvy!

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by James Yates

PPA's Northcentral District Photographic Competition judging is happening this weekend and the Southwest District judging will take place the first of April. While entries for these competitions are now closed, you can watch the live stream of each and witness the judging online as it happens!

If you missed your District's Photographic Competition, but want to still enter in a serious photographic competition, PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) begins accepting entries May 23. It's never too early to start preparing your images!

Entering a District competition or the IPC is one of the best ways to improve your craft, especially if you choose to have your images critiqued by one of PPA's Jurors! You can have your images evaluated and scored based on the 12 Elements of a Merit Image. You'll receive an actual recording of an IPC Judge giving you dedicated feedback and explaining to you the components of YOUR image. By competing and getting your images critiqued, you'll learn what you do well as a photographer, as well as identify the areas in which you may need improvement. It's an amazing learning experience!

We know the process can seem intimidating for first-timers, so here's an actual critique from last year's International Photographic Competition. This image called "Cappuccino for Three" was created by Debra Klawetter, CPP, and is being critiqued by PPA juror Tina Timmons, M.Photog.Cr., CPP.

Take a look and see how entering a photographic competition can improve your own work as a photographer through constructive feedback like you'll hear in this critique.


We hope this critique can help you get a better understanding of what the IPC judges are looking for when scoring your images. Learn more about when and where the District competitions are held here and then head to Stream.theIPC.org to watch live streams of the District competitions and also start preparing your images for the International Photographic Competition! Be sure to request a critique so you can receive some personalized feedback on your works of art and Be More Prepared.

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By James Yates
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We're all getting ready to "spring" our clocks forward this weekend (unless you're one of the lucky folks who lives in a Daylight Savings Time-less zone!) but don't let that make you miss a single hour of great photography reading. Here are our top blog posts we've found for you from the week of March 5-11.

Thumbtack Study Predicts 2016's Biggest Wedding Trends
BUSINESS TRENDS: Thumbtack, an online service that connects consumers with skilled professionals, released their first annual Thumbtack 2016 Wedding Trends Report. Wedding photographers should definitely check out the stats...turns out the average couple will spend 20% more on weddings this year!

Why Your Professional Business Headshot is Important
PEP TALK: "Your Headshot is Your Face to the World" is just one of the several key points Imaging USA speaker Booray Perry, Cr.Photog., CPP makes in this post. Learn why YOU need a business headshot and share the information with your clients.

Backup-Peace-of-Mind
PRO TIP: Great piece by Tony Corbell, Cr.Photog., API on the importance of image and file backup and a how-to with Time Machine if you use a Mac.

Photography Tip: How To Restore Pictures Deleted From a Memory Card
DON'T PANIC: Ever accidentally deleted or erased files on your camera's memory card? Here's a refresher by Photography Talk on how to restore images deleted from SD cards using both free or purchased software.

5 Legal Mistakes Photographers Make and How To Avoid Them
STAY LEGAL: Digital Camera World wants to make sure you're operating above board and has published this article to help. We see photographers asking questions about these common issues every single day on social media!

5 Ways to Use Cinemagraphs in Digital Marketing Campaigns
TRENDS: Cinemagraphs are becoming a tool for marketing purposes at studios around the country. Here's a cool list of ways to use them effectively.

Six Photography Mistakes You May Not Realize You're Making
HELPFUL REMINDERS: Fstoppers helps out this week with a great article on common mistakes photographers make and how to fix them. Check it out because some of these might not be that obvious to you!

The Darkest Material on Earth is Now Even Darker
SCIENCE OF LIGHT: PetaPixel on the amazing darker dark being developed. It's really exciting stuff on light reflection and how it applies to modern photographic principles.

2016 Underwater Photographer of the Year Winners
UNDER THE SEA: We know you underwater photographers out there are gearing up for the warmer weather to arrive! Here's a recap of award-winning underwater photographs and how they were captured.

The Photography Industry Today
REAL TALK: PPA photographer Christie Kline, M.Photog.Cr., CPP has a Facebook Live video on the importance of live education and challenging yourself with photographic competitions.

BONUS ARTICLES: There was so much great content this week, we couldn't help but share not one, but two bonus articles for your reading pleasure!

Google Trains an AI to Geotag a Photo Just by Looking at the Pixels
ROBOT OVERLORDS: Overview of Google's use of Artificial Intelligence to Geo-Locate where photos are taken using pixel info. Really interesting since this is what will be integrated into more and more social media sites in the coming years.

Americana Photographer Captures the Laid-Back Cool of California and Its People
INSPIRATION: Sometimes it takes an outsider to really see the beauty in the mundane. Creative Boom has this piece up about a UK photographer, Garrod Kirkwood, who traveled to America recently and took the opportunity to document his experience and the people he met. "The resulting series, aptly named Americana, follows his quintessential style - all soft muted colors, simplicity and laid-back cool - capturing the heart of America's Golden State."


There you have it, our weekly blog post roundup! What photography blogs or podcasts do YOU follow? Post your favorite on theLoop or email them to us at OnlineContentCommittee @PPA.com.

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By James Yates

With so many helpful videos to choose from, why wouldn't anyone want to be a part of PhotoVision? PhotoVision is a photography learning website that provides 24/7 online tutorials, founded by PPA photographer Ed Pierce, M.Photog.Cr., CPP. The PhotoVision series provides a range of educational information from some of the biggest names in the professional photography industry. From helpful tips to processes that photographers can use when considering every element of their business, these videos have it all. They range from helpful information in green screen techniques to constructing a social media and digital marketing plan and so much more. The best news? PhotoVisionVideo is available at no cost to PPA members!
 
Need some convincing on why to join PPA, consider subscribing separately to PhotoVision! Every month, PhotoVision unlocks a FREE video available for everyone to stream. We're so sure you'll love it and gain insight from it that you'll want to come back for many, many more.
 
This month's free video:

Simplified Studio Lighting

Featuring Ed Pierce & Lori Nordstrom




In this video, Ed Pierce and Lori Nordstrom hold a senior photography session in Lori's spacious studio. They discuss the benefits of continuous lighting and clarify how to set a proper white balance in order to cut down on post-production correcting. Ed also shows how to use common studio equipment in unusual and beneficial ways. 


Check out PhotoVIsion today! Just one more way PPA is helping you Be More Informed!


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by James Yates

Registration has opened TODAY for PPA's Super 1 Day Photography Workshops! The workshops are scheduled to take place between May 9 and May 23, 2016. For those two weeks, hundreds of studios across the country will hold day-long workshops covering every topic from portrait and wedding photography, posing and lighting, to digital retouching and workflow and sales and marketing strategies. The workshops comprise a full day of photography education for professional photographers.Super1Day_1200x1200.jpg

In Scottsdale, Arizona, they can learn lighting and posing from Andrew Faulds, M.Photog., CPP and Ryan Higgins, CPP. In Alexandria, Virginia, attendees can experience a complete location senior portrait session with Kelly Schneider, CPP. Do you live closer to Owensboro, Kentucky? Master Photographers Kate and Jason Higdon will be there to go over their "Social Capital" theory on how to network with clients.

Super 1 Day aims to strengthen the photographic and business skills of professional photographers. Classes are taught by photographers who host seminars in their studios (or other locations), with the proceeds going to support PPA educational projects.

Classes are expected to be a full day, so that CEU merits can be awarded to both attendees and instructors. You have three easy ways to register:
•    ONLINE: Register online for only $99 between March 2, 2016 and May 3, 2016.
•    BY PHONE: Call your PPA Customer Service team at 1-800-786-6277 to register by phone until May 3, 2016.
•    ONSITE: All registrations after May 3, 2016 must be completed onsite and in-person for $120. Please contact the instructor prior to attending to ensure there is space available.

PPA will send confirmation letters with class information to all pre-registered attendees. Not a PPA photographer? Don't fret! All photographers are encouraged to attend.
 
To get all the latest info on Super 1 Day, head on over to PPA.com/Super1Day.

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By Sarah Ackerman

Each month, one PPAedu video is unlocked for everyone to enjoy, because we believe in the power of education for all (it's normally reserved only for PPA members)! The PPAedu library has a lot to help you sharpen your photography techniques, marketing strategies, sales techniques and business operations. These tutorials and educational videos are available 24/7 to PPA members.  Between PPAedu and PhotoVision, as  a PPA member, you can tap into over 1,000 online programs to help you Be More! If you haven't checked out PhotoVision (PPA's newest member benefit), take a look, there's a brand new website with a lot of new episodes!

For the month of March, the video "Romantic Posing in an Architectural Setting" with Hanson Fong, M.Photog.Cr., has been unlocked.  It's available for anyone who wants to learn how  to marry the beauty of your surroundings with the beauty of your wedding couple.  Hanson discusses the lighting, lens and camera equipment needed, and then he goes into detailed posing techniques for your bride. You'll learn how to position her, both individually and with her groom for the most flattering shots.

Hanson focuses on the variety of photos you want to create -- changing the lighting, lens, camera angle, position and posing.   Only 10 minutes of your time will add to your skill set, teaching you how to expertly and efficiently capture beautiful memories.  

If you're a member of PPA, just log in to watch the video anytime. Non-members will have access to this video this month only at PPA.com/TryEdu. For full access to all the PPAedu and PhotoVision videos, join PPA today!

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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 



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