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PPA Today

By Bethany Clark Need inspiration? 

PhotoVision has everything you're looking for and more! This great resource provides an all-access, behind the scenes look at the techniques used by some of the biggest named professionals in the world of photography. These videos cover a wide range of best practices to inspire every element of your business. The best part about PhotoVision is that it's free to PPA members. 

Check out the latest release! 

In this video, Jill Austin takes a young family to a gorgeous park for family and child portraits. As the shoot goes on, Jill explains what her ideal time of the day to shoot is and how she likes to position her clients around the sunlight to achieve beautiful natural lighting. She demonstrates how to blend candid photos with formally posed ones, to create a myriad of wonderful options for her clients.


Want to see more? Hop on over to and begin exploring all the website has to offer. If you're not a PPA member but want access to PhotoVision, subscribe today and save 50%! 

Why wait? Join today!


Your PPA family is getting bigger: the New York Institute of Photography is now offering their students certification through PPA's CPP program! This is a big deal and serves to expand and deepen both organization's missions to elevate the craft of photography and provide support to professionals. Check out the press release, reprinted below.

NYIP Adds Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) Designation to Online Photography Course Offerings    

The New York Institute of Photography (NYIP) has partnered with the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) to offer their students and graduates a widely recognized industry certification. The CPP (Certified Professional Photographer) designation is the official credential for photographers that want to set themselves apart within the highly competitive creative industry.

The New York Institute of Photography (NYIP) has partnered with the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) to offer their students and graduates a widely recognized industry certification. The CPP (Certified Professional Photographer) designation is the official credential for photographers that want to set themselves apart within the highly competitive creative industry.

The Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) program from PPA assures potential clients of a photographer's knowledge, experience and continuance to develop new skills and techniques. It is a declaration of professional competence and ability. Through this exclusive partnership, photographers who study with NYIP can qualify to take the CPP exam and earn their certification.

Photographers who earn their CPP credential do so for three primary reasons. First, it gives them an edge in advertising their services, as certification promotes trust in the minds of clients and consumers. Second, it is a way to justify the price of services offered by the world's top photographers. Finally, the peer validation step that is required to earn the certification signals to the photography world that you truly care about your craft.

"PPA is excited to bring the Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) credential to NYIP students and alumni through this exclusive partnership," says Julia Boyd, CAE, Director of Certification at PPA. "As the world's largest non-profit photography association PPA's mission of creating a vibrant community of successful professional photographers by providing education, resources and industry standards of excellence is in sync with NYIP's values and goals. We are eager to spread the power of Certification as both organizations continue to raise the bar in the photographic industry."

The CPP program can be added to any of NYIP's online photography classes at the time of enrollment for $473. This cost is $50 less than the price typically offered by PPA and includes one year of PPA membership. Students and graduates already enrolled in NYIP courses may purchase CPP directly for the same price.

After purchasing, the path to certification is a simple, 3-step process. First, students will declare their candidacy to PPA. Second, they will study for and pass the CPP exam. Finally, they will submit a set of images for official review. Once said images are approved, the photographer will have earned their CPP designation.

For more information or to get started on your path to photography certification, you may visit

About the New York Institute of Photography
The New York Institute of Photography offers ten great online photography courses. Founded in 1910, NYIP is the largest and longest running photography school in the world, having successfully trained thousands of photographers for more than 100 years. Located in the heart of the art capital of the world, New York City, NYIP brings high quality photography education straight to its students' doors. NYIP currently offers ten online photography courses in areas such as portraits, weddings, travel, nature, photojournalism, video making and Photoshop. NYIP is owned and operated by Distance Education Co., LLC, which also operates the New York Institute of Art and Design, the premier home-study school for creative professionals.

About Professional Photographers of America (PPA)
Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is the world's largest non-profit photography association organized for professional photographers, by professional photographers and with more than 29,000 creative members in more than 50 countries. Our mission is to create a vibrant community of successful professional photographers by providing education, resources and industry standards of excellence.

By Autumn Rice

theLoop is a fun and interactive way for PPA photographers to build their network, get industry advice, and learn some good business practices .
Need to know about lighting and posing? Post it on theLoop! Interested in new technology? Post it on theLoop! Questions about pricing? You guessed it, post it on theLoop! Your peers can give advice about all of your pressing industry questions, and the best part is they're professionals just like you. 

theLoop is also a great way to connect with PPA. There are always competitions, giveaways, prizes, and photography information posted by PPA to get members involved in the network. You can also post questions to PPA on theLoop, and get an official answer from a PPA team member.

Navigating your way around theLoop can be intimidating, but we've got a few tips to help you join theLoop's community. 

1. Introduce Yourself. Introducing yourself and your business is a great way to connect with photographers from around the world, or even a few in your own backyard! 

2. Be interactive. theLoop community is filled with photographers asking questions and giving advice. In order for you to be a part of the community, you must be involved. Post your questions and comments, and respond to others. Before you know it, you've added several photographers to your network!

3. Talk to PPA. There are several member-only competitions, prizes, and giveaways on theLoop. When you get involved, make posts, and respond to PPA messages, you make yourself eligible to win free goodies from PPA!

4. Check theLoop often. There are loads of new posts on theLoop every day, and the more you check the network, the more you'll find posts to respond to or even get ideas about posts that you want to make.

5. Don't be afraid to post. If you have a question, comment, or concern about your photography business or the industry as a whole, theLoop is the perfect place to post it. theLoop is a safe, photographer-only forum for you to express your concerns. The photography community is very welcoming and we want to hear what you have to say, so don't be afraid to post!

These tips are sure to have your notifications off the charts. Check in at to see more tips, discussions, recommendations, and to ask your peers questions you need answered! Remember, theLoop is a safe and protected online community where PPA members can discuss a range of photography topics. Not a PPA member? Join here!


Looking for some inspiration? PPA members know they have the benefit of over 350 tutorials and educational videos through PPAedu, but each month, one video is unlocked for everyone to enjoy, because we believe in sharing the power of education with all of our photography friends.  

The PPAedu library has tutorials to help you sharpen your photography techniques, marketing strategies, sales techniques, and business operations. These educational videos are available 24/7 to PPA members. 

Between PPAedu and PhotoVision, as a PPA member, you can tap into over 800 programs to help you Be More! (If you haven't checked out PhotoVisionVideo, take a look!)

For the month of January, the video "The Value of Emotion in Your Brand" with Tim Walden M.Photog.Hon.M.Photog.Cr., CPP, F-ASP and Beverly Walden M.Photog.Cr. has been unlocked! In this video, Tim and Beverly Walden discuss and demonstrate the value of emotion in your brand. It's not just about products or photographs, but how these make your clients feel. And, if you can make that connection with your work and your customers, you'll have a booming business! The Waldens share their brilliant insight, teaching you how to:

Build client connections that differentiate you from your competitors.
Tie emotion and feeling to your product lines.
Target clients who will love what you do.

The Waldens have built a career on learning and capturing people's stories and providing an emotional connection that clients love. Learn how they do it and how you can too!

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 For full access to all the PPAedu and PhotoVision videos, join PPA today!


By Lisa Sharer


Are you looking for additional tools to help brand your photography business? There's a new exclusive marketing resource for PPA members. Check out the new postcards, which can be found under See The Difference©'s "Custom Brochures."

Many clients can appreciate the quality that comes from hiring a professional, but do they always see or understand it? These postcards can help to get the point across. PPA members submitted their images to give your clients an idea of the before and after when it comes to professional photography. Each specialty contains a unique postcard. Each postcard shows the contrast with professional changes in posing, location, lighting, and/or editing. These are the small changes that you as a professional might see, but it's not as obvious to the untrained eye.

Download these resources to show your current and potential clients just how important it is to hire a professional over an amateur. With these postcards, it's right in front of their eyes!

If you aren't already a PPA member, visit to find out how you can join today!

Lisa Sharer is the Marketing Campaign Manager at Professional Photographers of America. As a Creative Writing graduate, she loves any chance at getting pen to paper. When she's not being creative in the workplace, she can be found skating with the Atlanta Rollergirls or volunteering with the Weloveatl Project. Or really - snuggling with the dogs.
By Chris Homer

As we start 2017, chances are you're looking at ways to improve your photography and your business. Start the year off right by entering your District Photographic Competition!

While the idea of having your images judged at competition can be intimidating, one of the comments we hear from folks who have entered in the past is that participating in competitions is the best way to improve your photography. The feedback and ideas you'll get from the judges is invaluable when it comes to having stronger images - which in turn leads to a better photography business! 

In the coming weeks, the various District Competitions will be open for entries. View the schedule of competitions below. If you're in the Southeast District, entries are open now!

2017 Judging Dates: February 24-25, 2017
Registration Dates (without late fee): January 16, 2017 - February 10, 2017 (by 5pm ET)
Registration Dates (late fee required): February 10, 2017 (after 5pm ET) - February 16, 2017

2017 Judging Dates: March 3-4, 2017
Registration Dates (without late fee): January 23, 2017 - February 17, 2017 (by 5pm ET)
Registration Dates (late fee required): February 17, 2017 (after 5pm ET) - February 23, 2017

2017 Judging Dates: March 24-25, 2017
Registration Dates (without late fee): February 10, 2017 - March 10, 2017 (by 5pm ET)
Registration Dates (late fee required): March 10, 2017 (after 5pm ET) - March 16, 2017

2017 Judging Dates: March 31 - April 2, 2017
Registration Dates (without late fee): February 14, 2017 - March 17, 2017 (by 5pm ET)
Registration Dates (late fee required): March 17, 2017 (after 5pm ET) - March 23, 2017

2017 Judging Dates: April 21-22, 2017
Registration Dates (without late fee): March 7, 2017 - April 7, 2017 (by 5pm ET)
Registration Dates (late fee required): April 7, 2017 (after 5pm ET) - April 13, 2017
by James Yates

The temperature in San Antonio today reached a sunny 80 degrees. As I mentioned on Day One, I'd like to thank Imaging USA and the 10,000 amazing professional photographers who descended on the city for bringing the warmth. It was a remarkable three days, packed with so much networking, friend-making and bonding that, if you're leaving here not making at least one new contact, friend or did it wrong! The education has been so life-changing that, again, if you didn't take away at least one thing for your business in 2017...maybe you should look back through your notes. 

We had the pleasure of interviewing attendees on the Expo floor all day and they were amazed at the camaraderie to be found at Imaging USA. As people exited the International Photographic Competition exhibit they were beaming, having been inspired by the images. Several members said they had received feedback from IPC mentors at the Merit Cafe and it had encouraged and motivated them to enter in 2017. If YOU haven't entered photographic competitions, there is no better way to improve your craft and push yourself forward. 

PPA Charities gave away their annual "Dream Studio", a prize package of gear and equipment worth over $50,000. Throngs of people gathered around to hear the winner's name called and, fittingly, the award went to a brand-new Business Challenge participant, Lindsay Syme. Stay tuned to PPA Today to find out what happens with her new Dream Studio throughout the year.

Imaging USA 2017's program closed with the Award and Degree ceremony, honoring those who have earned a PPA degree, excelling and uplifing PPA and its thousands of members. There were 163 degree recipients this year, more than ever before, demonstrating that more and more people are taking their craft seriously, entering competitions, earning merits and elevating professional photography through their PPA membership. 

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Robert Freson, the legendary photographer who has captured the last half of the 20th century in his photographs. Everything and everyone from President Eisenhower to Charles and Diana's wedding has been viewed through Freson's lens. President Lori Craft presented the award to Freson, who found it "remarkable and quite unexpected". He said he was "truly amazed" by the work of PPA's members and, coming from him, that is quite the honor. 

The closing party rages on. Business cards are being passed out, social media links are being exchanged. New friends for a new year, bonded through a love of professional photography, is what Imaging USA is all about. Do NOT miss Nashville next year. Take it from this year's attendees: Imaging USA is the greatest photography show on earth. 

by James Yates


See, you have to know if you just give things time and put the right energy into it the clouds will give way and the sunshine will break through. This applies to Imaging USA 2017 and how amazing Day Two was, but it also applies to the story of our winner of the 2017 Grand Imaging Award, Barbara Breitsameter M.Photog.Cr., CPP. But more on that later...

The day started with another round of amazing classes. One of the newest and most exciting things at Imaging USA this year is the Drone Zone, a ballroom sectioned off to host classes and demos on all things "drones". Local television news was on hand to get footage and let viewers in San Antonio know they still have another day left to get their Free Expo Pass and come check it out! 


I spent a lot of time on the Expo floor today, interviewing attendees and finding out what was on top of everyone's mind for Day Two. Between the special vendor deals, the networking and the International Photographic Competition Exhibit (look for the IPC signs), the word "overwhelmed" came up a lot. Oh, and there's also the PRINT Theatre, where there are sessions every hour on how to incorporate printed products into your studio's portfolio. The looks of amazement on everyone's faces at the trade show are priceless.


Now, speaking of to put into words the amazing human being that is Barbara Breitsameter, M.Photog.Cr., CPP and winner of the 2017 Grand Imaging Award for her pet photography portrait, "Send in the Clowns"? Barbara took the top TWO prizes in her category and then won the overall award, an honor she was shocked to receive. I got to interview Barbara after her big win and, while seated with six of her closest friends (almost all of whom she mentored!) the joy and camaraderie that comes from a life well-lived and a hard-won and well-deserved honor was contagious. Barbara created this hilarious image during a particularly "dark" period of personal struggle in her life but, the image and its humor not only helped her through but has put her in a whole new direction with her pet photography work. 


"I never even dreamed I could attain this," Barbara says. "It's like looking Parkinson's in the face and saying, 'I've got this.' It's my legacy to my kids to never give up and go for it. I love what I do. I have the best job in the world---I get to work with dogs!" 

Barbara (and all of the Grand Imaging Award winners) are a reminder to push yourself, enter competition, find a mentor and really make sure you're living your life to the fullest...even in the dark and uncomfortable spots. The sunshine will show up. Warmth is coming right around the corner.

Tomorrow is the last day of Imaging USA 2017 and, if it's anything like today, there won't be a dry eye in the house. Now, everyone get out there and make Day Three count! Go see the Drone Zone, PRINT Theatre, speakers, the photo exhibit, the Merit Cafe, the Expo, the Award and Degree whatever you can to fit it all in. You can sleep next week.

by James Yates 

You want to talk about sunshine and warmth on a cold and cloudy day? We've seen it and it's Imaging USA 2017. Terrible weather and travel delays couldn't stop the 10,000 photography professionals who have descended upon San Antonio, Texas for Imaging USA! It may have taken some doing, but now that (mostly) everyone is here, it's on! 

The world's oldest and best photography convention is happening as we speak. If you weren't able to get out of the snow and make it down to the Lone Star state, have no fear. You'll find plenty of info here and on the Imaging USA social media to make you (almost) feel like you're here with us! (we really, really wish you were here with us). 

The final day of Pre-Con on Saturday brought with it the New Member Meet & Greet and...WOW. Hundreds of new PPA members attended the event which saw Board Members and Newbies alike, mingling and having a great time breaking the ice. It may have been freezing outside, but inside the Henry B. Gonzalez convention center, everyone was warm and having fun networking with their new photography friends.

Today was the first "official" day of Imaging USA 2017 and, as the weather improves and flights clear, the cold January doldrums are melting away and the party is really taking off! Everyone got an immense jolt of inspiration this morning at the Keynote Presentation with author, CNN star and motivational speaker Mel Robbins taking stage. Mel comes from four generations of small business owners and has photographer family, so she was uniquely capable of relating and speaking to the packed house. She acknowledged that being a small business retail owner is one thing but it's an entirely different thing when your small business is also your passion. Mel's signature idea is that you're your biggest obstacle. You know exactly what you need to do and you can begin to take control of your life using the "5-second rule". 

Attendees were also welcomed by PPA CEO David Trust and President Lori Craft. David really 
stirred the crowd with his call to FIGHT for your small business! With the Print Movement, the Drone Zone and the grassroots campaign for Small Claims, there are major signposts that point to professional photography's best years being ahead of us. PPA has been an association of professional photographers just like YOU being there for each other "since 1869...and we aren't going anywhere." It was very exciting to see a video message from Rep. Judy Chu (CA) who urged everyone to call or write your congressman to ask for co-sponsorship of the Freedom for American Small Creators Act. 

There's nothing like the Imaging Expo, of course, and President Craft cut the ribbon immediately following Mel Robbins. This writer hasn't had the chance to really take it in yet, but I know I'll find amazing gear there along with the Print Theatre, IPC exhibit and Merit Cafe. Can't wait!

Finally was the Business Challenge class themed "Four Things You Need to Know to Be Successful". It was led by Angela Kurkian, Mary Fisk-Taylor and Gregory Daniel and it was such a bountiful session for small business photographers at any level. The hosts took the audience through the testimonials of four current Business Challenge participants, relating each one to one of the "Four Things You Need". Be sure to sign up for the next Business Challenge, which begins Feb. 1st. 

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Whoa. The Opening Party just started! And guess what? The weather is getting better each day at Imaging USA 2017. By the time we leave San Antonio, it will be a sunny 80 degrees. I'd like to say we (along with Louis and Annabella, pictured) brought the warmth. 

photos by Alex the Photo Guy

By Autumn Rice

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Happy New Year! 2017 is here and there's no better way to wrap up the first week of the new year than to kick back and soak up some inspiration with our top blog posts from the first week of the year!

Products and Packing for Your Images

PRESENTATION: In the art of photography the job doesn't stop after the flash. There are loads of hours that go into editing, printing and packaging, which can be difficult for some photographers. Read this article about why image and product packaging is so important, and how you can improve your methods to help your business.

Going to A Photography Workshop? Read This First

EDUCATION: Photography workshops can be very interesting and exciting, but if you're not adequately focused and prepared for what's to come, you may not maximize your takeaways. Get some of the best advice from a photography workshop expert on how to attentively attend a photography workshop and get the complete experience!

Client-Friendly Digital Licensing Framework

DIGITAL FILES: More and more clients are requesting digital files instead of actual prints, which can prove to be a problem for many photographers if they don't have a strategy for selling them. This guide provides methods for selling digital files that satisfies the client and the photographer. Check it out!

Where Things Are Headed In 2017

STATE OF THE INDUSTRY: As times change, so does business. So what does that mean for the world of photography? In order to stay ahead of the changes you have to look ahead and make a plan to adapt to changes. Read this article about what's to come in the photography industry for 2017 and how you can adapt!

'Break Free' - A Film Student's Tear Jerking Advertisement for an Old Pair of Shoes

INSPIRATION: Many of the commercials for apparel feature larger than life figures doing larger than life activities, but amazing people with extraordinary feats isn't the only way to advertise. German film student Eugen Merher took a more modest and heartfelt approach for advertising a pair of shoes.

Royal Photographic Society Honors Kate Middleton, Upsets Photographers

CRTICISM: With the rapid growth of technology and use of cameras, many people consider themselves photographers. However, for professionals who educate themselves in the art of photography and practice full-time this is quite the insult. Read this article about the roaring outrage stemming from The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, being honored as a photographer by the UK's Royal Photographic Society.

How to Combine Flash and Ambient Light for Better Outdoor Portraits

HOW TO:  Many outdoor photographers stick to natural lighting for their portraits, so the switch to flash photography can be difficult. In this article photographer Francisco Hernandez shows how combining ambient lighting with flash photography can produce better results than using one or the other. Watch how he does it!

How to Create a Dynamic Zoom Burst Photograph

TUTORIAL: Adding effects to photographs can be fun, except for when you don't necessarily know how. Check out this id-depth tutorial by Simon Bond on how to add amazing zoom burst effects to your photographs!

19 New Beginning Images for a Fresh Start to the Year

ORIGINALITY: A new year signifies different meanings for different people. Explore the meaning of the beginning of 2017 for these 19 photographers through their work! From maternity shots to victory laps these photos will inspire you to get started for 2017!

Cinematic Racing Drone Footage Shot While Flying Up a Mountain

DRONES: Drones are the latest and greatest in technological photographic innovation, and more photographers are beginning to take advantage of all of its uses. Check out this amazing cinematic drone footage of the east ridge of Switzerland's Hübschhorn Mountain!

There you have 'em, our weekly blog post roundup! What photography blogs or podcasts do YOU follow? Post your favorites on theLoop or email them to us at

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