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PPA Today: March 2010 Archives

March 2010 Archives

In an introduction that expands on the superior performance and low operating cost found with its popular CP-9800DW photographic printer, Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America's Imaging Products Division today released the CP-9810DW. This new printer comes complete with all of the superior qualities of the CP-9800DW -- including long lasting reliability, high-speed USB 2.0 and a jam-free, roll-type mechanism -- and also includes a new setting for high-quality, matte finish picture output.

The CP-9810DW is perfectly suited for any situation where speed, versatility and reliability are essential. It comes with a 300 dpi high-density, highly efficient thermal head that allows it to quickly print large volumes of high-resolution images. It has the option to deliver edge-to-edge printing for a wide variety of picture sizes, including 3.5 in. x 5 in., 4 in. x 6 in., 5 in. x 7 in., 6 in x 8 in or 6 in. x 9 in. photographs, and also has convenient front access for loading media and ink sheets.

"Our new CP-9810DW photographic printer offers one of the photo industry's best printing solutions," said Darla Achey, marketing specialist for Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America. "These printers can deliver 400 prints per hour with standard media, and we've built in new provisions that help ensure longer service life, such as a protective film on the head and a back-layer ink sheet that diminishes wear. We've also improved print heads, and we are offering an unparalleled number of media paper options."

Mitsubishi's CP-9810DW delivers a high level of quality with each and every picture, and produces superb color reproductions comparable to silver halide photos. When used with newly developed, high-grade media with a broad dynamic range, the CP-9810DW achieves sharp, contrast-rich images with subtle tonal gradations.

"For event photographers looking for an affordable alternative to in-store picture development or on-site picture delivery, the CP-9810DW is the answer," said Achey. "With the addition of the new matte finishing option, the CP-9810DW is now one of the most complete photographic printers on the market, with printing options for any type of picture or venue."

Learn more here
We all have slow seasons. But Sharon Reiley of North Attleboro, Mass., has a slow season plan. Reiley created the See Me Sprout Club...helping grow year-round business and winning the 2009 AN-NE Marketing Award for Best Family & Children Campaign.

"I wanted a more stable income, plus something that could help clients stay involved," explains Reiley. "With a monthly payment schedule, the See Me Sprout Club gives me a certain amount that I can count on. But it also encourages clients to try more frequent sessions (and spend more) than they normally would because of the member benefits. Both problems solved!"

Read more about Sharon Reiley and her See Me Sprout Club here.
To Adrian Hitt, it feels like 75-80 percent of the people in Nashville, Tenn., are involved in the music industry. If they're not...they seem to be photographers. Needless to say, it's very important to stand out from the crowd, which she does very well.

In fact, Hitt recently was named the Emerging Pro of the 2009 AN-NE Marketing Awards for the work she did to carve out a top shelf in the dog photography market. Her marketing campaign not only won the judges' hearts, it also helped win the hearts of clients. The jump in her clientele proves it: her income related to dog photography went from five percent to a whopping 75 percent in one year.

Read more about Hitt and her dog photography here.
On March 23, Professional Photographers of America's (PPA) Board of Directors visited with senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Capitol Hill to deliver two messages:

  • Photographers require strong copyright laws to protect their livelihood.
  • As small business owners, photographers need access to quality and affordable health care to protect themselves, their families and employees.

PPA regularly voices photographers' concerns on both of these fronts. This advocacy trip to Capitol Hill was an opportunity to give legislators insight on what it means to be a professional photographer in today's world.

"It was refreshing to see how receptive congressional staff was in listening to us explain the daily challenges we face as both photographers and business owners," said 2010-2011 PPA President Louis Tonsmeire. "I definitely encourage PPA members to personally express comments and concerns with their legislators--about anything from copyright laws to business issues--just as we did. After all, they're on Capitol Hill to work hard for you."

Timing of this visit did coincide with President Obama's signing of H.R. 3590 - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This did not significantly impact our message concerning health care, as the H.R. 4872 - Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 (the bill that merges both the House and Senate versions of health reform) was not passed by the Senate at that time.

"The timing of was coincidental, but it was good to be on the Hill while the health care discussion unfolded. We were delighted to have our board members on Capitol Hill to witness this process," commented PPA Chief Executive Officer David Trust. "It remains to be seen whether the new legislation will help or hurt small business."

The board's trip was also on the eve of the Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator's (OIPEC) final day to submit comments concerning existing IP enforcement mechanisms, the economic impact of copyright infringement, and recommendations for executing their strategic plan. PPA joined its allied organizations in the Alliance of Visual Artists (AVA) and fellow photographic trade association American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) in preparing comments to be received by Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel.

"Having our board members add testimonials about copyright infringement from a real-world perspective adds to the message we normally give on Capitol Hill," said Trust. "It was our firsthand way of showing that copyright infringement is a battle fought across all creative industries."
 

Jack Davis and Jane Conner-ziser will show you how fast, flexible and creative your workflow can be. In just one evening, you'll learn invaluable tips for portrait retouching, passionate painting, and expressive enhancing using all versions of Lightroom and Photoshop--including the new Photoshop CS5. Advanced registration is only $59 ($79 at the door).

PPA members can register for only $49 by using the discount code provided here. Learn more about the tour by visiting www.twoshotsofphotoshop.com.

DSC_0020_sallee.jpgIt was a two-for-one special at the first PPA Tour stop in Atlanta last Wednesday, when his-and-her photographer teams Jeff and Allison Rodgers and JB Sallee, M.Photog.Cr., and DeEtte Sallee, M.Photog.Cr. paired up to bring attendees an action-packed night of instruction.   

With twin focuses on artistic inspiration and profit-building revelation, the show features the Rodgers' walk through their business numbers from the beginning until now. Along with thoughts on creativity, they point out key strategies their studio has employed to increase revenue per session and, to coin an old phrase, work smarter, not harder. "One of our main goals was getting our weekends back for our family," says Allison. 

Their comprehensive workshop gives real-life examples of the steps the couple took to make their business more efficient from the initial consultation all the way through to product delivery. And they're not shy about sharing the ups and downs. "We want PPA Tour attendees to benefit from our successes and mistakes, so that they can reach their profitability goals just like we did." 

atl_attendees.jpgAwesome Ideas from PPA's Hottest Artists
PPA Tour attendees in Atlanta were also able to spend time with photographers from one of the country's sizzling wedding portrait studios, Sallee Photography. In just a few years, JB and DeEtte Sallee have amassed an impressive array of awards and recognition from PPA and other professional photographic organizations. And based on the crowd's reaction, it's no wonder. 

"I loved the Sallees," says Kandice Ledford. "I couldn't wait to leave, so I could start getting these awesome ideas working for me."   

Each PPA Tour city features different guest speakers, including Hanson Fong, M.Photog.Cr., Tony Corbell, Cr.Photog., API, and Jim Garner. (To see a list of guest speakers by city, visit the PPA Tour webpage.)

Novak_Laura.jpgMany say that marketing is all about who you know (and how you position yourself). So who do you know...or better yet, who should you know? Laura Novak is here to make a case for getting to know and partnering with interior designers. In fact, she's even giving a webinar on that subject: "How to Build Partnerships with Interior Designers" (April 5, 12pm Eastern).

"I found that as my client base grew, most of them had interior designers," says Novak. "It was the designers who had strong opinions about what went in the homes. If I said I'd like to see a certain frame in their house, the client would say, 'Ok, let me check with my interior designer.'"

It just made sense to Novak to get the designer on board from the beginning.

"They are the experts in home décor," she adds. "They can convince clients that the clothing in a portrait has an important effect on its placement. Plus, the designer's approval is a great reassurance to the client."

Novak has found that her own designer partnerships have helped in two major ways. For one thing, it helped expand her network of clients...and people interested in what she can do. And it also helped the homeowners (her clients) see her photographs as home décor. This is an important distinction, for if people are remodeling or redecorating a room, it's not uncommon to spend $25,000 for a room (at least in her target market).

"If the portrait is seen as part of home décor, then it's not as big a deal to spend 15 percent of that remodeling/redecorating budget on it," Novak explains.

Nik Software announces today its Spring 2010 Webinar schedule. These six hour-long educational webinars, which continue through mid-June, cover a range of photography topics including portrait, scenic and landscape, flora and fauna, architecture, and wildlife, while offering basic information, insights and tips on using Nik Software's entire line of award-winning image enhancing plug-in products. Additionally, the webinars enable attendees to pose questions to the live educators.

"We've been offering these free online webinars for nearly a year and it has revolutionized the way photographers expect to be trained on software," said Tony Corbell, Nik Software's senior manager for product education and planning. "These seasonal webinars, along with our daily webinar series and the Nik Summit planned for May 2010, show how dedicated we are at Nik Software to educating today's busy digital photographer on how our solutions can be used to enhance all types of photography while dramatically reducing editing time and complexity."
 
The Nik Software webinars have been developed to address specific types of photographic styles and are designed to appeal to photographers of all levels of expertise. Both current Nik Software customers and those who have not yet purchased a Nik Software product will learn more about how these tools can simplify their digital photography workflow and how they can be used to create extraordinary images. Participants only need to log in from their computer to access these free educational events. By the end of each webinar, attendees learn quick, easy and powerful ways to enhance their photographs.

To view the webinar offerings and register visit http://www.niksoftware.com/webinar
Tamron, acclaimed for optical innovation and excellence, has just announced a compelling new program of educational weekend events aimed at enhancing the picture-taking abilities and unleashing the creative potential of photo enthusiasts from beginners to advanced shooters. Participants in the fun-filled two-day events will have the opportunity to experience the latest award-winning Tamron lenses firsthand and discuss them one-on-one with the experts. In celebration of this unique and unprecedented program, everybody--whether they attend a seminar or not--will be able to purchase Tamron lenses at very special prices during the event.

The series of two-day Extravaganzas are hosted by local Tamron dealers at 50 plus specified times and locations throughout the U.S. and will be listed on the Tamron website in the events section at www.tamron.com/events. Each event includes Tamron's "Eleven Simple Secrets to Better Pictures" two-hour seminar prepared under the guidance of Tamron's distinguished group of veteran pros including Andre Costantini, Ken Hubbard, and John VanSteenberg. The low-cost seminars will run several times each day over the two-day period, taking participants behind the scenes where they can absorb a multitude of useful photographic tips and insights that will upgrade their photographic skills and enhance their picture-taking experience. Topics include when and how to use different lenses, making the most of available light, the effective use of flash, and much more.

Each Monday during the PPA Tour, we're giving you a chance to win great prizes from our tour sponsors. This week's Prize: $200 Gift Card from Bay Photo Lab. Click here to enter:  www.ppa.com/education/tourgiveaway23923.php

On Tour with Sandy Puc'Sandy (Sam) Puc' is back on the road with her 2010 Family Tour. She'll share "secrets of a master photographer" as she helps you build family campaigns with a wow factor, create repeat business and build unique business opportunities through work with partners and charities. Join her this year to:

  • Understand the finer points in marketing to families.
  • Watch Sam in action, creating poses that show family bonds and more.
  • Learn how you can make family sessions run more smoothly, including timesaving tips.

PPA members receive a special $20 discount by using the code provided here.

Register now to attend in a city near you!

Kansas City, MO March 29, 2010
Omaha, NE March 30, 2010
Des Moines, IA March 31, 2010
St. Louis, MO April 1, 2010
Louisville, KY April 2, 2010
Indianapolis, IN April 3, 2010
Columbus, OH April 5, 2010
Cleveland, OH April 6, 2010
Buffalo, NY April 7, 2010
Boston, MA April 8, 2010
Hartford, CT April 9, 2010
Newark, NJ April 12, 2010
Long Island, NY April 13, 2010
Philadelphia, PA April 14, 2010
Baltimore, MD April 15, 2010
Richmond, VA April 17, 2010
Pittsburgh, PA April 18, 2010
Detroit, MI April 19, 2010
Grand Rapids, MI April 20, 2010
Chicago, IL April 21, 2010
Madison, WI April 23, 2010
Minneapolis, MN April 24, 2010
photovision_dvd80-600px.jpg

Preview 15 minutes of the next issue of PhotoVision 2010.  Issue 80 features infant photography by Julie Klaasmeyer, an urban bridal session using E-TTL with Mike Fulton and Cody Clinton, high school seniors with Gary and Pam Box, a high-energy fashion shoot with Brian DeMint, how to supercharge your workflow with Gary Box and Jeff Dunn captures dancers during a commercial portrait session.

With PhotoVision, you'll observe the industry's leading image makers in their actual working environments, inside their studios and on location, you'll tag along on actual weddings, sit in on insider interviews learning the secrets of successful marketing and sales, and observe the latest retouching and workflow techniques.

As a sponsor, PPA is pleased to offer our members PhotoVision 2010 at the special price of $39 - a $110 savings off the full price of $149.  Receive 12 hours of educational content on 6 DVDs, one mailed every other month for one low price. PPA members can sign in here for their discount code

To preview video from the upcoming issue and to learn more about PhotoVision visit www.photovision2010.com/nextissue.


Epson America has launched a Web site sweepstakes - "Experience the Excellence $50,000 Scavenger Hunt" - designed to infuse fun and familiarity with Epson printers, inks and specialty papers through an interactive experience on the new Designed for Excellence Web site. On the new site, visitors can immediately enter to win prizes and have a chance to win a grand prize of $50,000 in cash.

"Because Epson understands that different customers have different printing needs, Epson offers the largest selection of ink and paper to meet a variety of user requirements," said Gail Bradley, group product manager, Epson America, Inc. "The Designed for Excellence Web site was created to help users select the best combination of printing supplies in order to achieve the superior results they expect like reliable, long-lasting quality prints that are smudge resistant and dry instantly."

Visitors to the Experience the Excellence Web site can enter to win instant prizes and gain entries to win the $50,000 grand prize by participating in the scavenger hunt. To participate, visitors can click on the Scavenger Hunt game board to see each game piece, then click on the clue to collect one of twelve tokens on the Designed for Excellence Web site. Visitors receive one grand prize drawing entry for each token collected, and an additional twelve Grand Prize drawing entries for collecting all the tokens.  

A wide range of instant win prizes are available for all entrants, including gas cards ($25 value), Starbucks™ gift cards ($25 and $10 value), Apple iTunes™ gift cards ($10 value) and more. An Epson prize pack, which includes the Epson Artisan® 810 premium all-in-one printer with Epson inks and specialty paper (over a $400 value), will be awarded monthly for the duration of the sweepstakes.

While playing the game, visitors learn all the Epson printing advantages including superior true-to-life print quality, reliability and hassle-free, smudge resistant instant-dry prints that last up to 200 years. The Epson Experience the Excellence $50,000 Scavenger Hunt ends May 31, 2010, so visit the new Web site and enter today.  
In celebration of Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day on April 25, 2010, Lensbaby has announced an open call for photographers to submit their best pinhole images, whether created using a Lensbaby Pinhole/Zone plate Optic or any other type of Pinhole camera, into the Lensbaby Pinhole Photo Contest.

Up to 3 winners will be selected as the best of the best. These winners will receive a prize bundle that includes a Lensbaby gift certificate for $150, a Gorillapod tripod and ball head combo (http://joby.com/), and a $50 gift certificate from Red River Paper (http://www.redriverpaper.com/). Popular voting will be used to help decide one of the winners. Acclaimed pinhole photographers Tom Persinger (tompersinger.com) and Craig Barber (craigbarber.com) will pick two additional winning images.

Photographers can submit two images for consideration via http://lensbaby.com/pinholecontest. The contest begins today and electronic submissions will be accepted until 6pm, PST, April 9, 2010. Online voting will begin on April 9th and end on April 16th. The winning images will be announced April 23rd.

Dear PPA Member,

Mondays? Not usually a big fan of the day, I must admit. (I think most people would admit to being partial to Fridays.) While I'm raring to go with things to do, people to call and e-mails to answer, Mondays can be daunting. And I know a lot of photographers see Mondays (or whatever day is the start of your work week) like I do. However...

Two Mondays a year are super...Super with a capital "S." These are fun Mondays, when learning and sharing knowledge with other photographers is on the agenda. Super Monday is an event made up of smaller events around the country, giving you a chance to make a positive impact on the industry, yourself and your fellow photographers. And this week's Vital Signs will introduce you to (or remind you of) this great way to get active in the photographic community. Whether a student or a teacher, you can learn to love Mondays--or at least Super Mondays!

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

Tamron USA, Inc. announced the second in its series of four photo contests for 2010: Backyard Wildlife. This quarter's contest asks entrants to submit photographic portraits of their local wildlife, whether found in their own backyard, local parks, or other urban and rural neighborhood areas. The contest is looking for local wildlife indigenous to the photographer's home town, so photos from zoos, aquariums and the like will not be considered. The contest runs from April 1, 2010 to June 30, 2010. The Grand Prize Winner of Contest Two 2010 will receive his/her choice of one of these Tamron lenses: SP AF60mm F2 Di-II 1:1 Macro; SP AF10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di-II; SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 Di-II VC; or AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di-II VC. Users of any camera equipment may enter the Tamron photo contest.

PPA-Today_RS-ATL.jpgWe've been talking about it since January and now it's time to get this show on the road, starting with the inaugural PPA Tour stop in Atlanta (Hyatt Regency on Peachtree Street) tomorrow at 5:30pm. 

Jeff and Allison Rodgers will be joined by dynamic duo JB and DeEtte Sallee (who both hold Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsmen degrees) to give attendees an evening packed with learning. Join them there to spice up your creative vision, get your business essentials in place and take advantage of all of your PPA benefits. You'll also have time to network with other photographers and sponsors, who will offer an array of discounts...and door prizes galore.

Atlanta is just the beginning. Next week, the tour moves on to Chicago and Minneapolis with master photographer Hanson Fong (see profile below) joining the Rodgers. From there, it's a trek across the country that you won't want to miss. Look for video clips and more information from the Atlanta show next week in PPA Today and later this week on the PPA Tour blog at PPAtour2010.com.

fong_hanson.jpgAfter establishing a great wedding photography client base early in his career, Hanson Fong, M.Photog.Cr., says that he is now able to focus on his specialty of "photographing people and making them look good."

With that as his specialty, is it any wonder that Fong is globally recognized as one of the premier wedding and portrait photographers in the industry today? Everyone wants to look their best...there is a true art form to it. And you could say that Fong's take on photographic artistry sets the standard for photographers around the world.

"My key philosophy with today's photographic technology is two-fold. Yes, everybody has a camera--phone, pocket or iPod/iPhone. But the camera doesn't see for you, doesn't feel for you, doesn't think for you," Fong explains. "I have been trained by some of the greatest photographers in the history of photography. I have the ability to capture and make people look good."

It's true that Fong has received many awards for his images throughout his career, but he is most proud of his work as an instructor.

Discher_blake.jpgProfessional photography and search engine optimization (SEO)...they seem like very diverse skill sets. But there is a connection between them, and if photographers can learn how to strengthen that connection, great results may come.

"I always ask my photography callers how they found me, and I'm amazed at how many say it's from Google or Yahoo! searches," says Blake Discher, a Detroit-based professional photographer and SEO consultant. "Because I am consistently in one of the top three positions for my search phrase, I get about 60 percent of my new clients each year because of good SEO. I think that number will only go up as more people become more comfortable using search engines instead of more traditional business search tools like the Yellow Pages."

As you can see, Discher has firsthand experience with the powerful effects of SEO in the photographic business realm. He's even willing to share that knowledge in the upcoming PPA webinar, "Drive More Clients to Your Website: Tap into the Power of SEO" (March 31, 12pm ET).

Discher was a very early adopter of the Internet as a marketing tool for his photography business. Even though websites for photographers were a "novelty" at that time, he was already doing well when Yahoo! and Google got their starts. He was in the perfect position to stay on top of what the search engines were looking for in a website, constantly tweaking his own site to remain at the top of the listings.

SM_postcard.jpgThe PPA Tour isn't the only opportunity you'll have to take in local programming this spring. PPA's popular Super Monday program is back with over 80 sessions in studios around the country, on and around May 17th. 

Super Monday is a unique program taught by local photographers for local photographers. The day-long sessions feature a variety of topics such as lighting, posing, sales and marketing, as well as all kinds of specialties. But Super Monday is much more than that. It's a chance to roll up your sleeves and get hands-on experience in a studio. It's also an opportunity to meet fellow photographers and develop friendships with colleagues from your area--relationships that can be so valuable throughout your career.

Where will you be on Super Monday? Click here for schedules and more information about registration.

puc_tour.jpgSandy (Sam) Puc' is back on the road with her 2010 Family Tour. Join her this year to:

  • Understand the finer points in marketing to families.
  • Watch Sam in action, creating poses that show family bonds and more.
  • Learn how you can make family sessions run more smoothly, including timesaving tips.

She'll share "secrets of a master photographer" as she helps you build family campaigns with a wow factor, create repeat business and build unique business opportunities through work with partners and charities.

PPA members can register here and receive a special $20 discount by using the code provided

Sigma Corporation, a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider of some of the world's most impressive lines of lenses, cameras and flashes, is pleased to announce that its newly-upgraded APO 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM, which was first announced at the Photo Marketing Association's 2010 Conference and Trade Show last month, is now available.

The Sigma APO 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM lenses are now available for purchase in Canon mounts through authorized Sigma dealers at the MSRP of $2,400. Nikon mounts will be available later this month, and they will be followed by Sigma, Pentax and Sony mounts in April.

This 10x high-zoom ratio, ultra telephoto zoom lens differs from its predecessor with the incorporation of Sigma's original Optical Stabilization (OS) function, which offers the use of shutter speeds approximately four stops slower than would otherwise be possible. Only Sigma has made it possible for Pentax and Sony shooters to utilize an anti-shake system in either the lens or the camera body. The compensation for camera shake is visible in the view finder for all mounts, which makes accurate focusing fast and easy.

This versatile lens is ideal for landscape and wildlife photography, but also boasts a maximum magnification ratio of 1:3.1 at the focal length of 200mm, which allows photographers to focus close on small objects like flowers. The addition of the optional 1.4x EX DG or 2x EX DG APO tele converters produce a 70-700mm F6.3-8 or a 100-1000mm F9-12.6 MF zoom lens, respectively.

"This lens has historically been a favorite with nature and wildlife photographers because the zoom range covers everything from close-up shots of flowers to far off images of animals and landscapes," said Mark Amir-Hamzeh, general manager of Sigma Corporation of America. "That popularity will surely grow with the addition of our unique, Optical Stabilization function."

The 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM incorporates Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM), ensuring quiet and high-speed auto focus, as well as full-time manual focus capability. Its four Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass elements provide excellent correction of color aberration and the Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghost, and ensures high image quality throughout the entire zoom range.

This lens is equipped with a petal-type hood to block out extraneous light and the filter size of this lens is 95mm. A supplied step-down ring enables digital cameras with an APS-C size image sensor to use an 86mm filter.

To locate an authorized Sigma dealer near you, visit http://www.sigmaphoto.com/where-to-buy-sigma. To use Sigma's new Lens Finder Tool to find the best glass to suit your needs, visit http://www.sigmaphoto.com/sigma-lens-finder. For information about Sigma Corporation of America, visit www.sigmaphoto.com.
You can now pre-order your iPad from the Apple MPP Online Store and have it delivered free to your door on April 3rd.

Starting at just $499, iPad lets users browse the web, read and send email, enjoy and share photos, watch videos, listen to music, play games, read ebooks and much more. iPad is just 0.5 inches thick and weighs 1.5 pounds. iPad is thinner and lighter than any laptop or netbook and delivers battery life of up to 10 hours.

PPA members can pre-order their iPad today and get free shipping by logging onto the PPA website and accessing Apple MPP Online Store.

Dear PPA Member,

I've lived in a few concrete jungles and more than my share of sleepy suburbs...and I even lived in one tiny village in Germany where cows outnumbered people. Despite my proclamation that I'm a "bright lights, big city" kind of person, I love the sense of community I feel in small towns.

Life (and what one wants out of it) is very different depending upon where you are and, as a business owner, where your clients are. This week's Vital Signs looks at where your target market lives and how you can reach them using different marketing techniques.

Whether you live in a bustling metropolis or a bustling burg, it's really about how you interact with the people who will help you grow your business. (And if there are more cows than people in your area, I'd suggest "moo-ving." Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

Cheers!

Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

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Just a few years ago, boudoir photography was seen as "incredibly cheesy with sort of with an '80s glamour shot twist," according to Kimberlee West and Marissa Boucher (also known as the Boudoir Divas). But that old image didn't stop them from creating their own wildly successful version of boudoir...and they're ready to show you how you can glam up your business, too.

"Boudoir is still a largely untapped market opportunity," say the Divas. "We hope that more and more photographers will become interested in boudoir photography, and we'd love to give them some of the tools necessary to get started right now." 

Your next chance to learn is with their PPA webinar, "Boudoir is the New Black: Glamorous, Lucrative & Ridiculously Fun" (March 22, 4pm Eastern). Attendees will get an overview of the business, including how they replaced their Saturday wedding shoots with a Friday "Pin-Up Party"â„¢. Not only do these parties provide a wedding-style income, the Divas also get their weekends back.

Now, they credit their success to two main factors: the belief that all women are interested in such a service and their marketing program. In a sense, it comes down to knowing the market plus creating a plan.

"Whenever we tell women about our job--whether it be our accountant, waitress, a teacher, or even a pastor's wife--we hear the same thing over and over: 'I've always wanted to do something like that!'" explain the Divas. "Boudoir photography is all about making a woman feel beautiful and sexy, and that is why we started shooting boudoir."

One of their biggest hurdles, though, was that cheesy image that lingered around the notion of boudoir. To combat it, the Divas launched a "Boudoir is Back" marketing campaign. Their plan was to give boudoir a "facelift" and to create a new association to the word.

"We have definitely worked hard to remove the old image and prove that boudoir is edgy, sexy and still classy," the Divas add. "We have huge dreams for boudoir photography and for The Boudoir Divas Incorporated. And when most people tell us we're crazy, we remind ourselves that no dream is unreachable."

In fact, the Divas thank Walt Disney for a quote that has stayed with them throughout the years: "I dream, I test my dreams against my beliefs, I dare to take risks, and I execute my vision to make those dreams come true."

Is implementing boudoir photography a dream of your own? Well, tune into the Boudoir Divas' PPA webinar, "Boudoir is the New Black: Glamorous, Lucrative & Ridiculously Fun" (March 22, 4pm Eastern).

theboudoirdivas.com
www.thedivasblog.com
twitter.com/BoudoirDivas
www.boudoirshop.com/home.php

Heather SmithHeather Smith, Cr., Photog., owner of Smith Photography and Design in Cumming, GA says she doesn't buy it when fellow photographers tell her what wins in competition doesn't sell with clients.

"I think that what we learn in competition makes our final product - what our clients buy - that much better. For example, I shoot a lot of high-key white, and I use very simple elements in my images. What that means for my prints is that they have to be technically flawless, the lighting must be spot on, the posing is critical to making the story work and the expressions from my subjects absolutely must be engaging. What client doesn't want to see that?" asks Smith.

Heather only enters client images in competition because she says, that's where the big educational payoff comes. "For me personally, competition has become a way to test myself because I'm only entering prints that I've made for clients. By entering my prints in competition, I've forced myself to make corrections before I'm sitting in front of my computer and to ultimately give my clients the best of my best. Print competition holds us to a higher standard because a client may buy something with minor flaws, but a panel of affiliated judges won't." 

Why should you enter the photographic competition? If someone has never participated, why should they start?

Heather Smith: I believe competition is a way for us to explore as artists. There can often be a big gap between what a client will purchase and what will do well in competition. Because they are not trained in the craft, clients are often unaware of the things that could have been executed differently, but when you place that same image in front of a qualified panel of judges, those 'things that could have been executed differently' become front and center.

Epson has conducted an interview with Albert Marco, President of Marco Fine Arts, about Fine Art Reproduction as part of the company's "Inside Epson" series.

Read the interview here.
Corbell_head1.gif"I tried bullfighting, but I wasn't very good at it," Tony Corbell, Cr.Photog., API, jokes. Luckily, he turned to photography and has stayed with it for more than 30 years, beginning in April 1979. And it started with a phone call.

Corbell was working in radio and television in a "boring" position when his brother-in-law, who had recently bought a photography studio, called and suggested that he come work for him. "For some reason, he thought I might make a pretty decent photographer," Corbell remembers.

Since then, Corbell has photographed three U.S presidents and 185 world leaders. In addition, he is one of PPA's select few Approved Photographic Instructors (API) and speaks and teaches at many photographic seminars worldwide. He's even written "Basic Studio Lighting," a book that has become popular as a basis for numerous photographic college lighting courses.

However, before any of that happened, Corbell got his start as a wedding and portrait photographer, later moving into commercial work. "As I progressed pretty quickly, I got bored easily," he says, explaining his move in specialties. "Consequently, I decided to seek out more commercial advertising work in the mid-late '80s."  

Now, Corbell believes that his best work combines commercial and portrait photography. "I think my strongest work is commercial portraiture--portraits of people on location for commercial or advertising use," he explains. "I did a series of chefs for hotel chains; I've done lots of bank executives for annual reports and so on. I love the challenge of those locations shoots when you have a limited amount of time, and I pride myself on keeping those shoots to a minimum."


corbell2.gifDespite having photographed numerous famous people and celebrities, Corbell insists that these are not his greatest moments as a photographer.

"In all honesty, my greatest achievement was when a bride cried as she looked at the final album I had produced. That is when you know that what you do makes a difference," Corbell says. "I've got great stories from some of the celebrity shoots, but the pictures that really matter are of a four-year-old child or a family of five on the beach. That's the stuff that matters most."

Corbell attributes much of his successful career as a photographer and photographic instructor to his membership in PPA.

"PPA gave me access to my heroes and the ability to walk up to them at a show, talk to them and ask them questions. Not just to learn from them, but to absorb how they are with people and how they treat people," Corbell says, looking back. "If I wasn't a member of PPA, I don't think that would have happened. I wouldn't have been as comfortable with people."
 
Tony Corbell will be on hand to help other photographers learn as he once did during thisThumbnail image for corbell3.gif spring's PPA Tour. He'll be the special guest speaker at the April 12th program in Irvine, Calif., and again on April 14th in Dallas, Texas. Read more about his program, "Realizing Your Creative Vision," here.

In his high-energy career, Tony Corbell has photographed three U.S. presidents, 185 World Leaders, 65 Nigerian Heads of State, about 600 brides and grooms, a couple of NASA astronauts and lots of famous and not-so-famous faces since he began in 1979. He has spoken at over 450 seminars and workshops nationally and internationally. He is the recipient of the highest honor from the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International with their Lifetime Achievement Award and has achieved the Photographic Craftsman degree from Professional Photographers of America (PPA). In 2005, Corbell received the "Photographer of the Year" Award from the International Photographic Council of the United Nations at a ceremony in New York at the U.N. and the PPA National Award from the Professional Photographers of California. Corbell was also invited to join the prestigious Camera Craftsmen of America in 2007, one of only 40 members worldwide. In 2007-08, he spoke to over 8,000 photographers in 36 cities, including London, Glasgow, Dublin, Toronto, Mexico City, Sydney and many more U.S. cities. He continued discussing lighting and image editing in 2009 in cities across the world.


ALL IMAGES © TONY CORBELL
Sadly, David Harris, M.Photog.Cr., passed away on Thursday, March 11. A long-time member of Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and the PPA Council, David owned Harris Studio in Sacramento, Calif., with his wife Sandra. They started their business in 1963, and their love for photography and the people in and of photography only grew.

David was a very strong supporter of PPA and his affiliate associations--he truly believed in the power of connections. In addition, he was a proud recipient of his Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman degrees from PPA.

Our thoughts are with Sandra, his family and the numerous friends he made throughout his life.

If you would like to share some memories or thoughts about Dave, please add them to the comments field of this post.


onOne Software, Inc.,today announced the immediate availability of two fully-functional Photoshop plug-ins: PhotoTools 2.5 Free and the new PhotoFrame 4.5 Free.  The free plug-ins for Photoshop are based on the award winning versions of PhotoTools 2.5 Standard Edition and PhotoFrame 4.5 Standard Edition and are compatible with Photoshop CS2, CS3 and CS4.

PhotoTools 2.5 Free and PhotoFrame 4.5 Free provide photographers with select content from the Standard Editions of each product, while maintaining the full-functionality, unlike the traditional restrictions of 30 day timed trials or watermarked images. The free presets for Lightroom 2, Adobe Camera Raw and the onOne Exchange allow photographers to streamline their workflow and get the most out of the onOne products they already own. The new onOne University underscores onOne's commitment to helping customers get the most out of their software investment by providing over 100 free training videos with even more training content planned.

"We are excited to offer these free versions of PhotoTools 2.5 and PhotoFrame 4.5 as a way for new users to experience onOne's award winning products," said Craig Keudell, president of onOne Software. "These free products, along with the Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw Presets, onOne Exchange and onOne University are a way for onOne to give back to the photographic community and to continue to provide value to our onOne customers."

onOne Software Free Products and Resources include:  

PhotoTools 2.5 Free Edition -
Based on the same feature set as PhotoTools 2.5 Standard Edition, PhotoTools 2.5 Free includes 15 of the most popular effects found in PhotoTools 2.5 Standard Edition. PhotoTools offers powerful action based effects that can improve images dramatically, making it easy to find, experiment, combine, apply and fine tune effects in an easy to use interface.  The 15 effects available in PhotoTools 2.5 Free range from reproducing classic photographic effects like Bleach Bypass and Cross Process, to reproducing film stock such as Kodachrome and Velvia, to modern effects including automatic skin smoothing.

PhotoFrame 4.5 Free Edition -
Based on the same feature set as PhotoFrame 4.5 Standard Edition, PhotoFrame 4.5 Free makes it easy to add the perfect finishing touch to images, with 20 professional grade edges, backgrounds, textures and adornments.  PhotoFrame 4.5 Free offers an extremely easy way to browse, preview and add effects like frames, backgrounds and adornments to images, with the ability to stack multiple elements and control opacity, size and color.

Presets for Lightroom 2 and Adobe Camera Raw -
Users get over 140 time saving Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw presets designed by Photoshop Guru Jack Davis that help quickly correct color and tone and easily add creative effects.

onOne Exchange - The onOne Exchange is a free online resource that offers regularly updated content for PhotoTools and PhotoFrame and encourages users to upload their own actions and content.  There are over 65 presets from onOne Software and customers to date.

onOne University - Features over 100 free video tutorials to help customers quickly learn and get the most out of onOne Software products. New video tutorials covering a wide range of subjects are currently in the works.

Availability
PhotoTools 2.5 Free, PhotoFrame 4.5 Free, Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw Presets are available immediately at no cost as downloads from onOne Software at http://www.ononesoftware.com/free.  The onOne Exchange is available at http://www.ononeexchange.com/ and onOne University is available at http://www.ononesoftware.com/university/.

Dear PPA Member,

We all have probably procrastinated on something at some point in our lives. But as you know, there are certain occasions when preparation is key and can make the difference between a great outcome and a disappointing one.

PPA's International Photographic Competition is one of those occasions. This event only happens once a year and is a platform for you to show off your skill as a photographer. Pulling an "all-nighter" right before the submission deadline is probably not the wisest idea. That's why we've gathered some tips in this week's Vital Signs article to help you prepare and make the most of your competition experience.

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

Financing income-producing equipment is a sound business decision because that equipment generates revenue. United Funding, a PPA Affinity Partner, has created a new online payment calculator to accommodate the financing of equipment under the standard $5,000. This is a great option for all photographers--especially if you are new to the industry or have an equipment budget.

PPA members can use the Special Payment Calculator to determine their potential payment options on the equipment they need for their business. And the Online Credit Application makes the whole process even easier! PPA members can log in here to take advantage of this benefit.

Edwards-Jessica.jpgEver wonder if you're doing what you were meant to do? Follow Jessica Edwards' lead, and ask yourself one question: If you didn't have to work, what would you do?

The answer to that question was how Edwards found her way back to photography. She was told over and over that she needed to get a "real job," so she decided that photography would just be a hobby. But after studying psychology for four years, she realized that her heart just wasn't in it.

"I did some soul searching and asked myself, 'If I didn't have to work, what would I do?'" explains Edwards. "The answer was that I would travel and take pictures of the places I went and people I met. That's when I realized that my heart was still in photography...and I decided to devote the rest of my life to it."

Devotion is a good way to describe professional photographers' attitude toward their craft. After all, it takes effort and continual, consistent education to keep up with the constant changes in the industry. As Edwards notes, "If you don't evolve with [photography], you'll be left behind."

Along with attending conventions and webinars hosted by Professional Photographers of America, Edwards uses photographic competitions as a method for evolving her skills. "I believe that anyone who wants to improve their work and continue to grow as a photographer should enter photographic competition," she says. "It forces you to be more critical of the photographs you enter--and their lighting, posing and post-processing details--which will carry over into your everyday work."

Coupon-Book.pngThe 2010 Coupon Book provides PPA members with exclusive discounts and promotions from our top Corporate Members. These unique incentives are for PPA members only. Simply click on a coupon to link directly to the vendor's website.

Chris HoganStarting to dread opening those credit card bills every month? Don't fear them, conquer them and put debt in its place. Here's a great place to start: join our webinar featuring Chris Hogan, director of the financial coaching division for Dave Ramsey (March 17th at 4:00pm Eastern).

Ramsey's Financial Coaching is responsible for providing practical financial coaching, counseling and guidance to artists and athletes with a top-notch program designed to help them "win with money" through personal budgeting, saving and debt elimination. Sound like it could help you? That's what Hogan believes.

"No matter what the economy is like, it's a smart idea to recession-proof your business. That way, when the hard times come, you'll be standing strong," says Hogan.

You'll learn about:

  • Recession-proofing your business and standing strong in any economy
  • Balancing calculated risk with the right level of operational restraint
  • A plan for debt elimination
  • Developing a budget and sticking to it
  • Creating a cash flow plan
  • The importance of a business plan and how to get started

Hogan will also help you put together an outline on paper that helps you set a vision and define goals for your company. "This is extremely important because it gives you motivation to leave the cave, kill something and drag it home everyday," he explains. "Owning your own business can be a challenging endeavor, but knowing what your dreams and visions are will help you stay focused."

Listen to Hogan's webinar, "Win with Money: Conquer Debt and Dream Big," on March 17th (4:00pm Eastern) to gather more tips for standing strong in any economy.

President and CEO Morio Ono of optical equipment manufacturer Tamron Co., Ltd., announced another advance in Tamron's pursuit of high resolution images in the telephoto lens category with the development of a 70-300mm F/4-5.6 telephoto zoom lens featuring image stabilization--VC (Vibration Compensation) and an ultrasonic auto-focus drive -- USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive). The SP AF70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD (Model A005) high-resolution DSLR telephoto zoom lens has been produced first for the Nikon mount, with the development of compatible mounts for Canon and Sony  to follow.

This new telephoto zoom lens is designed for digital SLR cameras and can be used with both full-frame sensor as well as AF 35mm film cameras with a zoom range of 70-300mm; and with APS-C sensor cameras where the angle of view will change the zoom range equal to 109-465mm.

With superior optical performance, Tamron's own USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) and VC (Vibration Compensation), the SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD (Model A005) provides the performance of a high-end premium telephoto zoom that is appealing to a broad spectrum of photography enthusiasts.

In the pursuit to achieve the most outstanding image resolution in the 70-300mm class, Tamron's 60th Anniversary lens - the SP AF70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD (Model A005) - utilizes an advanced optical design that features an LD (Low Dispersion) and an XLD (Extra Low Dispersion) lens element made from specialized materials that prevent chromatic aberration. As a result, the SP AF70-300mm Di VC USD boasts sharper contrast and greater descriptive performance than all others in its class.

In addition, it is the first Tamron lens sporting a USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive), Tamron's very own ultrasonic auto-focus drive mechanism. This USD mechanism delivers fast focusing, making it a perfect telephoto zoom choice for photographing sports, racing, and other fast-moving subjects. The lens also boasts Tamron's proprietary VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization to assist in hand-held shooting, not only at long focal length ranges where blurring is common, but also under low-lit conditions, dramatically enhancing photographic freedom.

This combination of best in class image resolution, Ultrasonic Silent Drive and Vibration Compensation is a new achievement of Tamron technology, culminating in the production of a premium 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

Click here to read more.
Volunteer to share your knowledge at one of PPA's unique, peer-to-peer educational initiatives. Besides the experience and new networks you'll gain from speaking, you can earn two speaking merits toward a PPA degree. In addition, Photographic Craftsman volunteers will receive $50 per student after the 7th paid attendee.

The deadline to sign up is June 1, 2009. If you would like additional information on being a Super Monday instructor, read our FAQs.

If you're ready to sign up to be a Super Monday instructor now, click here.


Proceeds from Super Monday support PPA's non-profit educational programs.

Celebrating 100 years of leadership in photography education this year, The New York Institute of Photography (www.nyi100years.com), America's oldest and largest photography school, showcases today the top 100 photos chosen as winners of the NYIP Centennial Photo Challenge.

With hundreds of entries from students, graduates, and photographers from all over the world, the NYIP Centennial Photo Challenge quickly became a popular thread with NYIP forum members at http://forum.nyip.com/. Each entrant was asked to submit to NYIP his or her favorite photo that was taken in the prior year. Entries included a wide variety of subjects including sports, portraits, wildlife, scenic, macro, black-and-white, photojournalism and more.

Winners of the NYIP Centennial Photo Challenge can be viewed in a slideshow on NYIP's Website www.nyi100years.com or here: http://www.youtube.com/newyorkinstitute#p/u/0/48LfXC17_bc and http://vimeo.com/9885123.

Super MondayOn May 17, more than 80 of your colleagues across the country will open their studio doors to share their knowledge with you.

There'll be Super Monday classes dedicated to babies and seniors, posing and lighting, retouching and digital workflow, marketing and sales strategies. It's a chance you won't want to miss--a full day of instruction, inspiration and networking brought to you by fellow professional photographers.

The popular Super Monday bonus pack is back! View the sponsors and the goodies here.

Learn more about Super Monday on www.PPA.com. Browse our online course catalog to find a course near you, and register by May 3 for only $99.

EYE, make mall advertising work for you.PPA has partnered with mall media specialist EYE to give you access to America's malls in all 50 states, enabling you to reach the people in your community at affordable rates. The new Eye Bid website allows you to select a mall, the number of seven-foot-tall, backlit, high-profile displays and the timing for your campaign. Then simply submit a bid at a price you're comfortable with for your campaign. No billing or credit card information is required until a representative contacts you directly to let you know if your offer has been accepted. Don't have ads created? EYE has arranged a special offer from Marathon Press, a longtime trusted print and design partner, to help you create your ad. PPA members log in here for their discount code

Nik Software has announced the addition of professional photographers Douglas Dubler and Vincent Versace to the roster of professional photographers who will be leading educational workshops during the 2010 Nik Summit on May 13-16, 2010, in San Diego, CA. Master Digital Photographer Douglas Dubler (www.douglasdubler3.com), and specialist in natural light photography Vincent Versace (http://versacephotography.com), will bring their unique qualities, skills and teaching methods to this first of its kind multi-day educational event.

"The 2010 Nik Summit will be a unique experience designed to help photographers dramatically improve their photography by shooting with and learning from some of the world's leading photographers and educators," said Tony Corbell, Sr. Manager of Product Education and Planning for Nik Software. "Photographers of all levels can join two half-day photo shoots at some of the most beautiful locations in San Diego, California, listen to industry leaders discuss the future of photography, and see demonstrations on digital workflow and editing solutions featuring the latest technology."

Taking place at the picturesque Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa on Mission Bay, San Diego, CA, attendees will learn to improve their photographic, digital workflow and image-editing skills after photographing some of the most beautiful areas in Southern California. Keynote presentations by Robert Beck and Joe McNally, two of the world's finest working photographers, educational workshops presented by Dubler and Versace, and panel discussions with industry leaders and digital imaging engineers will inspire attendees to not only become better photographers but better editors of their own work. Relaxing "fireside chats" with peers, leading professionals, and imaging product specialists will be the perfect ending to each day. More information and registration details for The Nik Summit are available at www.niksummit.com.
 
Nik Software also announces the addition of five co-sponsors of the Nik Summit made up of industry leaders and educational powerhouses, including Epson, Nikon, Wacom, White House Custom Colour, and X-Rite.

Event Details
  • Attendees can register for the event at www.niksummit.com
  • When: Thursday, May 13 through Saturday, May 15, 2010; optional morning shoot Sunday, May 16
  • Where: Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa on Mission Bay, San Diego, CA

What's Included:
  • All on-location shooting sessions, workflow and hands-on lab seminars presentations/panels, and fireside chats
  • Breakfast and dinner at hotel
  • Transportation for on-location workshops
  • Sponsor gifts and prize drawings
  • Event ambassadors available to ensure personalized attention
  • Cost: $599.95 / $479.95 early bird registration until March 15, 2010.  Discount room rates of $149.00 per night are available when booking through the hotel. Mention "The Nik Summit" when making reservations.

Speaker & VIP List
Speakers and other working professionals scheduled to appear include:

  • Joe McNally - National Geographic, Time, Nikon
  • Robert Beck - Sports Illustrated
  • Tony Sweet - Landscape, Nature Photographer, Team Nik member
  • Tony Corbell - Photographic educator and lighting specialist, Nik Software Sr. Manager of Product Education & Planning
  • Mike Strickland - Senior photographer Disney World, Orlando
  • Rick Sammon - Photographer, book author
  • Vincent Versace - Smithsonian Award Laureate, photographic educator, author, Team Nik member
  • Bill Hurter - Editor, Rangefinder and AfterCapture magazines
  • Chris Robinson - Editor, Outdoor Photographer and Digital Photo Pro magazines
  • Douglas Dubler - Leading Fashion Photographer, digital workflow expert
  • Rob Sheppard - Photographer/author, former editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine
  • Janice Wendt - Renowned image retoucher, trainer, and speaker, Nik Software Education and Training Manager
  • Laurie Shupp - Award-winning nature and landscape photographer, Nik Software Operations Manager
Taking the plunge into the International Photographic Competition this year--or thinking about it? Join us in classes around the country for a step-by-step guide to the big day! The Photographic Competition Education Day will demystify the competition process from beginning to end, thanks to instruction directly from PPA-approved jurors. Come learn how to make the most of your competition experience--register for a class and prepare for competition excellence!

Photographic Competition Education Day

Date: March 28 or 29 (see individual location for date)
Time: All classes will run 9:00am - 5:00pm.
Price: $29

Have you ever heard the expression, "Go big or go home"? It entails giving something your all and not looking back--committing to put in 100 percent and nothing less. It's a phrase meant to inspire and thrust you into action.

Now, I admit that "go big or go home" is not a phrase commonly associated with photography. But when you apply it to PPA's International Photographic Competition, it fits perfectly.

If you've entered the competition before, you know what I'm talking about. But if you've never entered the International Photographic Competition, you have no idea what you are missing out on (and it's a lot!). You have the opportunity to gain so much from the experience alone, not to mention the honors and awards you have the potential to earn. Make this year the year to go big! Read this week's vital signs here.

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

P.S. Name your price to advertise! PPA has a new, members-only mall advertising offer that will allow you to display your work in local malls at a price with which you feel comfortable. This opportunity is only available until June 27, 2010, so hurry and visit www.eyecorp.com/EyeBid. PPA members can login here for the promo code.

Tonsmeier_240.jpgLouis Tonsmeire
Cr.Photog., API
PPA Member since 1988
Location: Cartersville, Ga.

What's the connection between education and relationships (relationships between you and other photographers, that is)? Louis Tonsmeire, PPA's new president, would tell you that the connection is association.

Tonsmeire knows--from experience--that education and relationships are key in a photographers' survival. "Whether it's one-on-one education with a mentor or learning through an Affiliate School program, we have to stay in touch with what is going on. We don't want our work to become stale or our business practices outdated," he says.

One of the best ways to grab that needed education is through membership in a photographic association like Professional Photographers of America (PPA) or its affiliate associations. Tonsmeire's long-standing association memberships have put him in the right places to learn about these educational opportunities. It's just more accessible (and many come with discounts!).

Associations are also a hotbed for possible mentors, Tonsmeire's preferred method of education. "Friends in the industry are necessary," he comments. "All of us run into stumbling blocks, and who better to help us out than a photographer who has been there before?"

Often, finding your first mentor can be difficult. Have you ever felt that you'd love to talk to and learn from a certain well-known photographer...but that he or she was too much of a "rockstar" to have time for you? Have you been too nervous to even ask? Just remember that everything starts with a connection. All relationships--with mentors, friends and clients--are built out from that initial connection. And here's where associations come into play again.

An association membership just makes it easier to approach someone you'd like to learn from in this mentoring fashion. As part of an association, you may already have a connection with your ideal mentor. After all, you already have several areas of common ground if you are fellow members. Plus, you can generally count on those who've joined an association to be open to such networking.

In fact, this networking / mentoring relationship is important for both student and mentor. Most instructors say they learn from their classes all the time. There are always new ideas and new thoughts to be shared...you just have to connect to hear them.

"We have all the connections of PPA on our side," adds Tonsmeire. "And the most important things we can take back to our own businesses are these relationships and the education that stems from them."

Are you part of this association connection?

A studio that manages to increase and sometimes double their sales each year?

Did we get your attention? Want to learn one way to increase your own sales...from the folks behind that studio? Well, here's one of their "secrets" to higher sales: product design. But it's not just any product design that works...it has to be a design that helps your client decide what to do with his/her images.

Think of the product design skill in these terms: Clients want internal "permission" to buy something. You can give that permission by showing them how and where the photographic products can be used on their own walls and in their own settings. Make it tangible. Make it easy to envision.

Such design skills have helped turned Jeff and Allison Rodgers into the duo behind one of the most profitable studios in the U.S. And you can learn how they leverage product design to sell more products by joining their webinar, "Push Higher Sales with Product Design," tomorrow (March 3) at noon EST.

They'll show you how they listen to their clients' needs and wants in order to present them with product designs that work in their spaces. Multi-image pieces, wall designs, name art, books and press products are all items that clients want--and you'll learn how you can translate "want" into "gotta have."

Whether you're an emerging new business or a studio that's been in the industry for years, let Jeff and Allison guide you through the creative and profitable process of product design.

Push Higher Sales with Product Design
March 3, 12pm ET
with Jeff & Allison Rodgers
$39 for PPA Members

Call for entries

Get ready to submit your images for the 2010 International Photographic Competition! The online registration form and 2010 rules are available in the Competitions section of www.ppa.com. The judging will be held in June this year, and the entry deadline is Friday, April 30.

Get the rules and register online now!

Apple recently introduced Aperture 3, the next major release of its powerful photo editing and management software. Aperture 3 offers more than 200 new features including Faces, Places, and Brushes. PPA members can log in here to see Apple's latest news and purchase Aperture 3 through Association Online Store. Want to give Aperture 3 a try? A downloadable 30-day trial version is available at www.apple.com/aperture/trial.

Joe CampanellieJoe Campanellie, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, F-ASP, was a busy man at Imaging USA this past January, claiming some of the industry's most prestigious honors, including the American Society of Photographers' Gold Medallion Award, a PPA Diamond Photographer of the Year award, a PPA Imaging Excellence award and his ASP Fellowship degree. This highly decorated family and children portrait specialist calls himself the "poster boy" for how photographic competition can make a photographer better and, he says, also helped him to rediscover his passion for nature photography, which motivated him to aspire to the ASP Fellowship degree.

"I got into the art of photography quite by accident when a friend of mine bought a camera and set up a darkroom in a closet. I was hooked from the very beginning by watching my first print develop in a tray," Joe remembers. Still, he had doubts about whether or not he was good enough to enter photographic competitions. "I would sit and watch our state competitions, walk through the General and Loan Collection display, and be blown away."

Campanellie decided to overcome his apprehensions and get involved in competition anyway when one goal became clear. "I just wanted to become a better photographer," he says. "I decided I needed to be a part of the process to reap the benefits--I wasn't going to gain anything by sitting on the sidelines."

And so, Joe set out to compete with the aspirations of improving his skills and seeing his art in all new ways. "When I first started competing, I never dreamed I would be where I am today. PPA photographic competition has helped me find my strengths as an artist."

Leverage Competition to Your Benefit
Campanellie recommends that every photographer start by using the "12 Elements of a Merit Image" to judge the quality of their work. "I can honestly say that the standards changed the way I look at my photography--they changed the way I look through my viewfinder. Learning to apply the 12 elements to your day-to-day studio work will help you learn the basic concepts of design and composition, and these are concepts that great artists have used for centuries."

Then, he says, become a student of how competition works. "Before I entered my first image, I spent time watching the photographic competitions in our state," Joe explains. He also talked to the judges, even though, he admits to being shy about it at first. "To get better, you need their opinions and their experience, and you have to develop a thick skin. Don't take it personally if your favorite image doesn't do well and keep an open mind."

PPA is proud to announce the launch of a whole new way to showcase your work in malls and reach out to your community. PPA has partnered with mall media specialist EYE to give members an exclusive opportunity with a new online bidding system that lets you create your own mall advertising campaign at a price you decide. Eye Bid is a revolutionary system that allows PPA members to select from malls in all 50 states. Here's how it works:

  • Visit www.eyecorp.com/EyeBid and set your campaign dates
  • Look through the mall list and select one or multiple properties. 
  • Tell us how many backlit, seven-foot-tall professional displays you would like to run in each mall.
  • Submit your bid.

Your submissions are nonbinding, so don't worry about any billing or credit card information when bidding. Once we receive your bid, a representative will review it and contact you directly to let you know if you've won. Then simply finalize the order by providing payment information while your rep outlines details.

Don't have an ad created? Don't let that stop you. EYE and PPA have partnered with Marathon Press, a trusted partner, to offer separate design services.

Remember, you can select one display in one mall to test the waters or several displays in several malls to blanket your community. The choice is yours! Mall advertising shows off your best photography to your target audience--people who live and work in your community and who are experiencing life changes like planning a wedding or having a baby (life experiences that send them into malls)! Visit www.eyecorp.com/EyeBid to establish your professional presence in the center of your community today! PPA members can login here to for their discount code.


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