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Have a gloriously productive Friday! Here are some interesting photography related articles
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 from the around the internet to help you make it to the weekend. 

Learn all about Instagram's revolutionary new app which allows you to take tracking shots and quick, time lapse videos that would make PT Anderson jealous.  

Listen as two photography masters harp on photography clichés and how they make even the most mundane shots unique in their own way.

Understand the difference between "pushy" marketing and marketing that can illuminate and help your customers in this post from Psychology for Photographers. Everyone hates getting spam emails or an annoying commercial jingle you can't get out of your head, but when done well your marketing can be your key to success.  

Use these tips to successfully build your portfolio through creative thinking and practical planning from The Law Tog. And check out some of their past works - it's an awesome resource for the legally minded photographer!

For your inspiration, here are some of Nat Geo's favorite photographs of the cosmos--from aerial thunderstorms to long-exposure images of stars in Greece. 

Yeah, that Socrates. Learn the Socratic Method for photography sales from Elizabeth Halford and find how it can lead to an increase in your bottom line.

What software should you be using for your photo editing needs? Jeff Guyer of DIY Photography covers the basics of both Photoshop and Lightroom and lets you know what you can do to maximize your workflow.  

Learn from Joe McNally how ambient, natural light should be the first element of photography you think about on location--and how it can drive the narrative of your pictures.

Chase Jarvis gives his personal recipe for cultivating creativity and how you can break out of even the worst creative ruts. Read this and see where it might take you on this holiday weekend!

Even the photography greats get nervous before shoots. Learn how National Geographic's Jim Richardson deals with his anxiety and captures some of the most beautiful environmental photographs around. 

And there you have it! The top posts from around the interwebs. What sorts of photography blogs trip your shutter? Let us know on theLoop!
Summer is ending, but these conversations are just starting up! Check out these topics heading up on theLoop:

Do you have a marketing strategy that works? Have a story of one that went horribly wrong? Share it in this thread and learn from everyone's successes and failures!

If you do any street photography, this is a great thread for you! Do you usually get releases? Do you have to? The short answer is yes. Get in on this great conversation for more - it could protect your business down the road!

If you've ever struggled with client gifts--this is a thread for you! Get some creative, cost-effective inspiration for your next client present. 

Have you gone down the path of creating your own studio? Weigh in with advice to a member who is looking to build her own from the ground up! Any tidbits you wish you would have thought of beforehand? 

If you're in need of some full-size reflectors, you can either shop around or make your own! Get the directions to build your own cost effective reflectors here!

Did you know you get a higher weight limit if you're a photographer flying with gear? It's true! No more heavy baggage fees in your future! Get in on this thread and see if there are any other helpful travel tips you can be saving money on!

Before you get to Nashville for Imaging USA 2015, we wanted to provide a platform to get to know your speakers better! In this thread, get to know Booray Perry, his photography and the man behind the camera. We'll have a whole line up of speakers participating in Ask Me Anythings this year - so stay tuned to get in on the next one!

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!


By Danielle Brooks

I seriously think PPA hit the jackpot when they asked me to guest blog for them. I'm not saying I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread, rather so much has happened to me in the past year that I am running the gamut of all things newsworthy. It started with Imaging USA, me losing my job, jumping head first into full-time photography, and literally applying everything I learned at Imaging USA as a business owner. I am so honored to be sharing my ups and downs with you all, and this post is certainly no different. 

This past month I had the most horrific thing that could ever happen to a photographer happen to me. I broke my camera and lens. I still wince even when I type the words. 

I was at Harley Davidson in Daytona Beach when it happened. My husband's company sold them some LED lights for their showroom. I was tasked with taking the before and after photos. My tripod had been acting up lately and I should have taken that as a sign. Sometimes one of the leg joints would give out--the latch wasn't tight enough to keep the leg extended, and because my tripod was cheap there was no way to tighten them. Although at the time, I didn't know that's what was happening. I just thought I was being careless and didn't latch my tripod leg all the way, so sometimes when I was taking a long exposure, it would start to tilt.

Well, this time I left my tripod unmanned to remove some stuff from view. Don't judge. You know we ALL do it. The leg gave way. I didn't see it happen fortunately, or else I might have passed out. All I heard was the crash and the slew of profanities that left my mouth. I ran over to my camera and saw that the lens essentially broke off at the mount. The mount for the lens was still attached to the ring. Luckily no glass was broken. I didn't notice it at the time, but the top of my camera body was cracked. It still seemed to function normally, but we needed to get that fixed too. The only thing I can compare the feeling of breaking your camera to would be accidentally slamming a child's finger in the car door. It probably hurts you more than it hurts them. Plus you're left with the residual guilt.

Fortunately, as a PPA photographer, my gear is covered. I called the insurance company and immediately spoke with a representative. No automated service. I was impressed. 
The woman I spoke with was so calm and reassuring. I'm sure she went home that day and had a good laugh with her family about my quivering, nervous voice on the verge of a breakdown. They emailed me the packet of info I would need to start a claim that day. They told me I could take my gear anywhere to get it fixed and get a quote. My husband and I were already headed to Orlando for our anniversary trip. It just so happened that the biggest Canon representative in the state of Florida is in Orlando. So we swung by. 

They quoted me for the work and then pointed me in the direction of the nearest camera rental facility, which just so happened to be right down the street. We went over there and were able to get a rental. They aren't open on weekends and I had a shoot scheduled for Monday. So I HAD to get a camera. All the while I had two clients call back and book sessions. I was beyond relieved that things worked out for me what would have otherwise been a stressful situation. 

Needless to say, I threw away my tripod and bought a legit one. Never use subpar equipment when it comes to cameras. Unfortunately it was a lesson I had to learn the hard way. 

So if there is any takeaway from this, it's GET INSURANCE ON YOUR GEAR! You can't afford not to. Just by being a PPA member, you have up to $15,000 of PhotoCare Equipment Insurance. You'll be thankful you have it when you need it!

Happy Friday! You've made it through another week - and here are some of the crazy things in the world of photography you may have missed. 

That's a mouthful for a headline, but you'll want to read this piece. The US Copyright Office released the Third Edition of Copyright Office Practices this week - what's that mean for you? A more accessible and transparent document on what copyrights are and aren't, and who can claim them. It's the result of more than two and a half years of work, so settle in, grab a cup of coffee and get up to date!

With the aforementioned updating of the Copyright Office Practices, the Monkey Selfie from a few weeks ago resurfaced. We also learn about monkey selfies, images captured by plants, robots, ghosts or "divine beings". Read more from PetaPixel here. 

National Geographic is no doubt a highly coveted job - you get to travel around the globe, experiencing some of the most majestic places and getting paid to do it. Sounds pretty awesome, right? Well it does come with a long list of hazards. Check it out and get a chuckle from The Photo Society! We can't get over the one that hits every photographer that was interviewed... statistically, almost twice!

NPR's All Tech Considered tackled the topic of the longevity of compact discs this week. If you're still using CDs to store and archive images, it's worth a listen to see what other measures you should be taking in the future. 

The Chemin de fer de Petite Ceinture (Frech for "little belt railway") ran during the Industrial Revolution until 1934 and has been completely abandon for 80 years. Photographer Pierre Folk has spent the past three years photographing this historic rail line, and watching nature slowly but surely take over. For some inspiration and some daydreaming imagery, check this piece from This is Colossal here!

Get up close and personal with your subjects with some macro photography! Here's the quick and dirty guide from the Digital Photography School. You will start to see things in a whole new light after this tutorial! 

Is photography an ethical field? Photographer, blogger and author Scott Wyden Kivowitz argues that yes it is, despite getting a bad rep the past few years. Read on here. 

Water is the arch nemesis for any outdoor photographer. What can you do to protect your equipment and still get the shot? Photo Naturalist has some pro tips for surviving damp or wet conditions. 

Saul Leiter has long been recognized as one of the most important street photographers of his time in the arts community. With such great visual subject matter, Filmmaker Tomas Leach produced a work on Leiter's life - In No Great Hurry: 13 Lessons In Life from Saul Leiter. Go behind the scenes of this film and gain insight into this icon's life. It is truly an inspirational piece.

And there you have it! The top posts from around the interwebs. What sorts of photography blogs trip your shutter? Let us know on theLoop!

By Mariah Ashley

Author's Note: Required Reading! The Go-Giver, by Bob Burg and John David Mann. A little story about a powerful business idea.

Thumbnail image for louboutins.jpgI was alone in the upstairs bedroom. Amanda (the bride) was late getting back from the salon so I spent my time photographing her dress and invitation. Her mother kept popping in with other things she thought I might find interesting, among them a pair of fabulous Louboutin sequined heels.

"Oh, fancy! Shoes are like porn for women," I joked cradling the shoe near my face.

"So true," said Amanda's mom, with a chuckle. "Everything about this wedding is a little over the top. (nods toward shoes).

"But Amanda is such a good girl, so smart and hardworking. She's such a humble and sweet girl. I just want this to be an amazing day for her."

Amanda's mom left me alone with the shoes and my thoughts. A few days earlier I listened to a podcast by former Imaging USA speaker Jeffery Shaw. He interviewed author Bob Burg on his national best-seller, The Go-Giver, which describes "giving as the most fulfilling and effective path to success."

Burg and co-author John David Mann map out the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success all focused on giving instead of getting. Intriguing! Trish ordered me the book and I devoured the parable in one sitting, highlighting passages like a mad woman. Since then I haven't been able to think about much else besides adding value to my clients lives, with the exception of thinking about how much I was dreading photographing Amanda's wedding.

When Amanda first contacted me, she had just experienced what she described as a "bad engagement session experience" with another photographer she had originally booked to photograph her wedding. She wanted to talk to me about that experience, get my opinion on whether or not her expectations had been unrealistic, and discuss the possibility of having us photograph her wedding instead.

Super1Day_1200X1200.jpgFrom October 6 to 20, fall Super 1 Day classes will take place all over the globe on every photography skill and strategy you can imagine.

PPA will offer members and non-members alike the opportunity to attend a litany of daily workshops ranging from a class on working with strobe & speed lighting units in California to newborn photography in Daegu-city Korea.

All of the classes are taught by professional photographers and are tailored just for you. There are dozens of different courses offered at a variety of different times and dates, so finding one that fits your busy schedule is a piece of cake.

These events offer both up-and-coming photographers and seasoned veterans the chance to learn from one another and also the chance to network and grow their local market. At just $99 if you book online ($120 in person), the day-long classes are an awesome value. And if you're thinking of joining PPA, this is a perfect opportunity to see what we're all about. If you're already a member you'll receive one service merit for attending each class-- a crucial step towards attaining certifications/degrees.

And also another step forward to BE MORE!

Head to PPA.com/super1day to find a class near you.

 

booray_ask_me.jpgImaging USA 2015 speaker, Booray Perry, CPP has signed up for a dangerous assignment--he's going to be our very first subject in theLoop's Ask Me Anything on August 20 & 21! There are two really obvious questions you might have right off the bat: 

First, what's a Booray? (It's ok - he gets this all the time.) Booray is a Cajun name. This particular Booray is an accomplished wedding and portrait photographer based in Tampa, Florida. He started his journey in photography in 8th grade and started with football games and pep rallies for the yearbook. Now he's a Certified Professional Photographer that recently went Bronze at the International Photographic Competition. We'd like to think that's a bit of an improvement from Chess Club Vice-President. He's a fun-loving, ukulele-playing photography machine. Read up on his bio here.

On Monday at Imaging USA 2015, he'll deliver his "Wedding Photography: Prepare to Succeed" program (here's the link to the full course description)! 

Second, what's an Ask Me Anything (AMA)? An AMA is a simple conversation where you can ask the "me" anything. In this case, try to keep it  photography related, but really anything goes! We're excited to make a place for you to get to know your Imaging USA speakers before February. There will be a discussion in the ImagingUSA community on theLoop, and Booray will take all of your questions Wednesday, August 20 and Thursday, August 21st! 

Start asking your questions - we can't wait to see what sort of great things you'll have to ask one of the most fun-loving photographers at Imaging USA!

Happy Friday! We're back with our favorite photography blog posts of the week. From
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 timelapse to lighting, you'll find a little bit of everything in this roundup. 

If you ever shoot on location and have to travel there by airplane, you know how challenging it can be to figure out what gear to bring, especially with airline luggage limits. If you're one of those photographers that want to error on the side of caution and bring as much gear as possible, check out this post on PetaPixel. Photographer Benjamin Von Wong (and past Imaging USA instructor) shares how you can take advantage of special luggage allowances for media professionals that will allow you to bring as much gear as you want. 

If you shoot timelapse videos, you know how annoying shaky footage can be. Well, Microsoft may have a solution to this problem! Check out this article from Cnet about Microsoft's work on the "hyper-lapse" tool, which has the goal of turning rough timelapse footage into smooth videos. 

One photographer on Fstoppers discusses how switching back to shooting on film as opposed to his DSLR has improved his creativity. There's a lot of interesting points raised in this post. See if you agree! 

Here's some unique photography for your inspiration. Photographer Thomas Leveritt used an Ultraviolet camera to show people what their skin looks like in only UV light. The project was created as a public service announcement on the importance of wearing sunscreen, and the photos are pretty surprising. Check it out on DIY Photography. 

It doesn't matter how long you've been in the photography business, occasionally you'll miss a shot because something is incorrect in your camera settings. Light Stalking provides 5 quick things to always check before you start shooting to make sure you get the photographs you want! These are useful reminders for all photographers.

This post is worth a look for those new to professional photography as well as those that are more experienced. Digital Photography School has collected 15 of the best cheat sheets and infographics that are full of great reminders for photographers. Print them out and keep them for your reference! 

In Focus has a great collection of images of last Sunday's "Supermoon", the largest full moon of the year. If you missed your chance to photograph it this year, get inspired for the next Supermoon with these photographs. And as always, feel free to share your images on our Facebook page: facebook.com/ourPPA 

If you struggle with lighting, or just need some new ideas, check out these lighting tips and ideas on Photography Talk. 

As a professional photographer, you want to keep your business profitable. In this post from the Creative Live Blog, PPA member Joel Grimes outlines 10 pitfalls to avoid that can mean disaster for your business. These things to be on the watch for all come from a class Joel taught, which was inspired by the idea of what advice Joel would give his two sons who recently entered the photography business. There's a ton of great tips here! 

In today's world of digital photography, all photographers are faced with the challenge of competition. Making yourself stand out is key. In this post from The Phoblographer, the impact great lighting can have on your business and your photography is discussed. 

There you have it! What are your favorite spots to get some photography knowledge and inspiration? Let us know on theLoop!

You might have heard, but the International Photographic Competition (IPC) was last week!

The results are in and they are GOOD! More images, more merit images, and WAY more images going loan. Way to go everyone! Here's an excerpt from our official press release below:


A panel of 45 eminent jurors from across the United States selected the top photographs from nearly 5,000 total entries from August 4-7 at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Judged against a standard of excellence, just over 1,800 images were selected for the General Collection and 918 (roughly 18 percent) were selected for the esteemed Loan Collection--the best of the best. The Loan Collection images will all be published in the much-anticipated "Loan Collection" book and over 200 selected General Collection images will be published in the "Showcase" book by Marathon Press.

Images accepted into the General and Loan Collections will also be on display at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee Feb. 1-3, 2015 during Imaging USA, the annual convention and expo for professional photographers. These images constitute one of the world's largest annual exhibits of professional photography gathered simultaneously under one roof.

Those who didn't earn merits this year didn't have to leave empty-handed. Critiques from the IPC judges were available upon request, and the judges completed roughly 1,800 during the competition. The critiques are offered as a way to help participants find areas of improvement and prepare for future photo competitions.

And for the first time, this year's IPC was streamed live online and 1,570 unique visitors from 13 countries tuned in over the four days. 643 of those weren't involved in this year's competition, showcasing the widespread curiosity in competition, but tentativeness to enter. This is something PPA hopes the live stream will help change.

"This was truly the biggest and best IPC yet," said IPC manager Rich Newell, M.Photog.Cr. "Those critiques must be working; we had about 250 more images go Loan this year. And we're thrilled with how many people viewed the live stream. We hope it showed all the non-participants who watched what truly goes on at competition. Hopefully they won't hesitate to enter next year!"

The IPC challenges photographers to grow their artistic and technical photography skills by creatively capturing and presenting their best images, and by doing so, improving their businesses.

 

Here are a few photos from the judging:

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To view full results of the International Photographic Competition, visit PPA.com/IPC. And go ahead and start practicing for next year! Let's see those numbers soar even higher.

By Penn Hansa, PPA Intern

Jonathan Givens, CPP, isn't just a photographer.

For starters, he was a master carpenter for the Oprah Winfrey show who had never considered picking up a camera until Oprah herself suggested he take pictures of the sets he built for the show. Fast forward 11 years, and Givens is now a Certified Professional Photographer who has made a business out of taking pictures of the thing he loves - entertainment.

Givens grew up as an actor, dancer and singer. He first performed when he was five years old, and was 12 when he had his first paid gig. Theater life was consuming, but Givens didn't want it any other way. "I didn't go to my high school graduation because I was in technical rehearsals for a show," he said. "Theater was always there for me. It was the place where I got to be silly and jump around, and do all the crazy things I wanted to do."

He was doing what he loved - until injuries set him back. He shattered an ankle during a show, and then his voice was "destroyed" by the steroids that were prescribed to help his vocal cords. But Givens couldn't stay away from the stage, and instead, moved his talents behind the scenes to work as a technician in 2001. Taking jobs here and there, he eventually worked as a technical director at a youth theater in Phoenix, where he taught a child actor named Emma Stone how to build scenery.

 

He made the move to the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2003, and as the carpenter who built the set, was part of the team who won an Emmy the following year for Best Set Design on Oprah's Pop Star Challenge. the host's own version of American Idol. When he built a set for Destiny's Child's appearance on the show, complete with smoke rolling over a moving sidewalk for the singers to walk in time to the beat of "Lose My Breath," he knew he should take pictures of his work. "It was hours of preparation and $80,000 worth of work and materials for only 10 seconds of airtime," Givens said. "I needed some way to document what I was doing, so I wasn't just throwing the set away."

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Other highlights of his career include working with Cirque du Soleil in 2006 as head carpenter of the show Alegria on their European tour. He also did rigging on major motion pictures like Iron Man 3 and Rock of Ages and at Univision Studios. In photographing the sets he was building, he began taking pictures of the entertainers he was working with and found that people were much more fun to take pictures of than set pieces. He started his own studio in Miami, Entertainment Photography Specialists, and joined PPA in 2012.

"I didn't want to be just another guy with a camera, which is why I joined and got certified. There are a thousand photographers out there, and tons of people who try to do the work that I do. PPA membership sets me apart from the rest," he said.

He attributes his success as an entertainment photographer to his background as an entertainer and technician, and notes that it's allowed him to capture some unique pictures. As a certified rigger, he was able to set an aerial dancer under a bridge in Portugal, with the 5:30 a.m. sunrise and a lighthouse in the background. "It's definitely different from being just a portrait photographer because I have to set up all the rigging," he said. "It's a logical challenge setting up the images."

What also helps are the emotions he recognizes in the performers, passions that he can empathize with having once had them himself. "I don't get my subjects posing - they are doing what they enjoy, and I take pictures of that. I can see the passion behind what the performer does, from the performer's point of view. When the dancer loses herself in the dance, I click the shutter.

"I photograph what I know - entertainment. I'm not only thinking about the lighting, the composition or all the other technical aspects of photography, but I'm also considering how the image will promote the subject's career, or gain attention for the production," he said. "And that's what's made all the difference."

 

 



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