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PPA Today: May 2010 Archives

May 2010 Archives

Tamron, acclaimed for optical innovation and excellence, has just announced a full-day seminar series led by award-winning nature and landscape photographer Sandra Nykerk (www.sandranykerk.com). The events will take place in four key U.S. cities:

  • Seattle - Tuesday, July 13
  • Los Angeles - Thursday, July 15
  • Chicago - Tuesday, August 10
  • New York - Thursday, August 12

All events are scheduled for 9:00-4:30, with check-in from 8:30-9:00. There will be a 1-hour break for lunch on your own at one of the restaurants or delis conveniently located nearby.
Tamron USA, Inc. has just announced the second series of its free learning program that's specifically targeted at first-time Digital SLR owners, but also likely to appeal to a broad spectrum of shooters including experienced enthusiasts, and those who simply want to continue learning techniques to take better photos. Starting on June 7, 2010, and every Monday for 12 weeks, Tamron will release an entertaining and informative one-minute episode of "DSLR Know-How with Tamron: Series 201" on YouTube that's designed to bring picture-takers to a higher level of photographic expression.

"In just one minute per week you can learn important tips to making excellent pictures at no cost," notes John VanSteenberg, Tamron's Senior Education Manager. "Each of these one-minute video demonstrations is designed to take the viewers of the first series and newcomers to a higher comfort level with their equipment and photographic techniques."

Dear PPA Member,

Please allow me to be bitter for just a minute.

Back when I had my senior photos taken (and I say "photos," not "portraits"), I had a choice of two backgrounds: a standard canvas background or a fake bookcase canvas background. (I found it funny that those who chose the bookcase background in my yearbook were often the ones who never picked up a book...but I digress.)

It was a "Click. Turn your head. Click. Smile. Click. No smile. Thank you. Next," kind of experience. I envy the youth of today who have the opportunity to work with their photographers to create images that are as unique as the students.

This week's Vital Signs talks about those students, how to connect with them and what you can do as a photographer to keep the experience fresh. Students today are lucky--as are the photographers who capture them.

Cheers,
Christel

P.S. Interested in free marketing? Accuphoto--the unique service that provides certified professional images to members of the online dating community--launches on May 31, 2010! Only PPA members can become Accuphoto Photographers. Take advantage of the opportunity and find out more information here.

Lensbaby announces today the availability of its third Creative Effects SLR camera lens, the Control Freak. The Control Freak joins the Composer and the Muse in the Lensbaby lens line-up. The Control Freak is the new evolution of the Lensbaby 3G, and is optimized for macro photography with extensive focus control. The Control Freak is compatible with the Lensbaby Optic Swap system.

The Control Freak is an ideal Lensbaby lens for tabletop and macro photography. With the Control Freak, photographers can compress and bend the lens to find their desired focus, and then lock it in place with the push of a button. Once locked, users can fine tune their focus using the fine focus ring and fine tune the tilt by rotating the knobs on the end of the Control Freak's three metal rods. This gives photographers an exceptional degree of focus control, which is very useful for macro photography. Photographers can also push out on the focusing collar to focus as close as 9 inches away from their subject. Using the Control Freak in conjunction with the Lensbaby Macro Kit allows for even closer focus (6-9 inches with the +4 macro filter, 3-5 inches with the +10 macro filter, 2-3 inches when the +4 and +10 are stacked together, and about 1.75-2 inches when pushing out on the focusing collar with the +4 and +10 stacked).
onOne Software, Inc., a leading developer of innovative, timesaving solutions for professional and advanced amateur photographers, today announced that its Genuine Fractals Professional and Standard Edition plug-ins for Photoshop are now compatible with the new Adobe® Photoshop® CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended Software. Owners of Genuine Fractals 6 can download the free update from onOne Software's website at http://www.ononesoftware.com/.

"We are extremely pleased to deliver Genuine Fractals support for Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended and 64-bit so quickly after the launch," said Craig Keudell, president of onOne Software. "As the industry standard in image resizing, we know it is imperative to provide timely updates that make the transition to Photoshop CS5 as easy as possible and so that our customers can experience speed improvements that are up to twice as fast."

"My experience with Genuine Fractals running on Photoshop CS5 is that it is considerably faster due to the fact that it now includes 64-bit support," says Douglas Dubler, a leading fashion, beauty & fine art photographer. "I make big prints, starting at 30x40 and 360 DPI, and so the time savings when I work with these large files is substantial using this newest release. It's a big advantage."

Lough_Jr_Rodney_1161-3.jpgThe weather's warmer and your outdoor sessions are probably increasing. But are you as prepared as you think? When it comes to shooting on location at different public places, you might be fined if you don't have a permit. That's why PPA's Member Value and Experience department is sharing the webinar "Do You Have a Permit for That?: Photographing on Public Lands" (May 26th at 4pm Eastern), which offers information on when and how to get one.

Maria Matthews, PPA's Copyright and Government Affairs Manager, often hears about the problems photographers have with permits. "Most of what we hear from members relates to federal park land," she explains. "In these cases, it's a photographer and their clients being caught by a park ranger or other park official while in the middle of the shoot. Rangers will typically ask the photographer to produce a permit. If you aren't able to do so, they may fine you. And in the case of national park land, you're talking about a federal fine."

Accuphoto.comIf you are looking to expand your client base and get some free marketing along the way, look no further than Accuphoto. When it launches on May 31, 2010, this unique service will provide verified professional images to members of the online dating community and social networking sites at a fixed price. This is an exclusive PPA member benefit--only PPA members can become Accuphoto Photographers.

Accuphoto was started by Brenda Kirkland, a PPA member who had tried out the online dating scene and was disappointed by the abundance of poor quality (or inaccurate) profile pictures that people were using. First impressions make a huge impact, especially on an online dating site, so Brenda decided to do something about it.

"As a professional photographer and PPA member myself, I thought of what a large network of photographers we have within PPA, and how we can make a difference and help these singles create that 'best first impression,'"explains Kirkland.

Beginning on May 31st, Accuphoto will begin advertising with eHarmony, Facebook and other media outlets around the U.S. Individuals who are interested in having a professional profile picture can contact Accuphoto and be connected with PPA members (who are Accuphoto Photographers) in their area. The individual will select their PPA photographer, have their images taken and choose the images they would like to use on their online profile.

It's completely free for PPA members to join and become Accuphoto Photographers. And since Accuphoto markets to millions of online daters (and your potential future clients!), you get your studio name out there at no cost to you. For each client you book through Accuphoto, you will earn $65. And if you upsell to the client, you get to keep 100 percent of the profits.

 "Accuphoto is based on a dual benefit--helping singles make successful matches and helping photographers," says Kirkland. After all, you are building relationships with people who may be on the verge of a new commitment, possibly even marriage and the start of a family.

Become one of the 1,300 PPA members who have already signed up to become an Accuphoto Photographer. To register or get more information about Accuphoto, visit www.accuphoto.com (and make sure to have your PPA Member ID# -- you'll need that to sign up).

Dear PPA Member,

I adore celebrations, especially weddings. I'm in it for the throwing of the rice, the nervous laughter, the lump in my throat when two people declare their love for each other in front of friends and family, and the craziness that comes with the special day. ("Happy chaos" is what I affectionately call it...)

How do you ensure that the "happy chaos" doesn't turn into "unhappy wedding party"? This week's Vital Signs article looks at managing expectations and last-minute changes so that the high spirits stay, making your client's experience with you the best it can be.

After all, when the rice is thrown and the nervous laughter fades away, what's left? Your images--the visual memories of that day. It's their day--and yours.

Cheers,
Christel

P.S. Interested in free marketing? Accuphoto--the unique service that provides certified professional images to members of the online dating community--launches on May 31, 2010! Only PPA members can become Accuphoto Photographers. Take advantage of the opportunity and find more information here.

Fisheye Connect Inc. is a new service designed to connect knowledge-seekers with professional photography workshops. It's really that simple. If you are a photographer, an aspiring photographer, or just an enthusiast, you will be able to freely search our international directory of professional workshops to find the perfect ones for you in your local area or simply by topic and content. Anyone can now find, compare, and buy a seat to a great photography workshop, all in one place.

The service launches June 1st. Click here for more information.


Winnie and Leeann GreerWhen Winnie Greer discovered a love for image-making by photographing her young daughters in 1980, she had no idea she was embarking on a career that would span 30 years and three generations. But now she watches proudly as her grandson plays around their Lexington, Ky., studio and her daughter Leeann assumes a leadership role in Greer Photography, while her other daughter Kelly has flown the studio nest and landed in her own paradise--a destination photography studio in St. Croix.

"Kelly has a knack for business management and accounting," says Leeann. "While she was involved in Greer Photography, we gravitated to letting her handle the business side of things. Soon after she left, I remember telling her, 'Wow, I had no idea what was involved in the numbers side of this.'"

In fact, it was Kelly who suggested that Leeann and her mother take advantage of the Studio Management Services (SMS) workshops to learn the fundamentals needed to successfully run the studio.

Leeann is glad Kelly insisted on SMS. "It was a huge eye-opener," she says. They learned many valuable things, but the one that has amazed her most so far is the knowledge about business structures. "Just filing a little differently is a huge step toward saving money and being more profitable."

BartonHeadshot.jpgIn 2001, Michael Barton, M.Photog.MEI.Cr., CPP, F-PPANI, A-APPI, was a studio musician trying to make good in an industry that leaves the majority of its practitioners singing the blues at one time or another. Then his father bought him a camera for Christmas.

"I'm an artist at heart, so I had always been fascinated by photography," says Barton. At a low point in his music career, the camera also provided a creative outlet that Barton needed. "I just picked it up and started shooting," he says.

But Barton, being a goal-oriented achiever, wasn't content with just taking pictures. "I started carrying around a notebook and recording everything about the shots I took--the lighting, the f-stops and every detail." And looking back, he says that was the beginning of his passion for the perfect shot.

Passion Turns to Profit
Still, Michael thought of photography as a hobby until 2004 when he found himself out of work and needing a full-time job. "I started applying for a variety of things, including three photography jobs," says Barton. And to be honest, he was surprised when he got a full-time photography gig. "It was a situation where I never planned to walk away from music as my career, but photography had become a passion, too, and all of a sudden, I was working at it 60 hours a week."


PPA recently held its 2010 Affiliate Communications Competition. Designed to improve affiliate publications and websites and recognize those involved in producing these communication tools, the competition awards every eligible entrant one PPA merit per entry. Those who place or earn an honorable mention receive an additional merit for each winning entry...and bragging rights!

Qualified judges came in from the communications field, specializing in different segments--from marketing communication to magazine editing. They scored the newsletters and websites in the following three areas:

  • editorial content
  • overall appearance
  • service to members
Congratulations to the 2010 Affiliate Communications Competition winners!

View all the results here.
Photo Book in Pearl WhiteDigital Foci, Inc. www.digitalfoci.com, a leading provider of digital photography accessories for consumers and professional photographers, announced today that it's shipping the new Pearl White "Wedding" Version of its popular Photo Book, a portable digital photo album with an 8-inch 800x600 color digital LCD screen and 4GB of internal memory. Available May 21st (with pre-orders starting now), Photo Book in Pearl White is the perfect digital wedding album, with a sleek design encased in a soft leather-like case for an elegant photo album that makes an attractive first impression, matching perfectly with wedding themes.

Photo Book is an easy and innovative way for people to enjoy and share their wedding photos with friends and family. With Photo Book, users have easy access to their photos in a portable album that can be brought along to enjoy and share anywhere. Ideal for passing around while sitting on the sofa and at family gatherings, Photo Book can run for over 2.5 hours on its internal battery, giving you the convenience to share your photos in any setting.  Compared to digital photo frames, the internal battery on Photo Book makes it very easy to handle, eliminating the need to deal with messy AC power cables.

On Tuesday we passed along information about a legal ruling last week in New York, the case Muench Photography Inc. v. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company and R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company (09-CV-2669).

We know the decision handed down in this case is of great concern to you. Rest assured that our attorneys are actively monitoring the case, and we'll keep you informed of any updates as the appeals process unfolds. We have also been in touch with Corbis and gathered details about the steps they plan on taking. Below is an update on this case and its effect on bulk copyright registration.

Retrospective 20 Pinestone bagCreated as an homage to classic photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank, Think Tank Photo has created five soft-sided shoulder bags in its new Retrospectiveâ„¢ series.  Designed for the professional photographer that wants to remain inconspicuous in any situation, the three shoulder bags' and two lens changer bags' retro look mixes "Old-School" with "New-School" that is a throwback to the days when bags where visually simple but highly functional.

The Retrospective series is made up of two styles:  three Retrospective Soft-sided Camera Shoulder Bags and two Retrospective Soft-sided Lens Changer Shoulder Bags.  Their soft and supple fabrics conform to the body and feature two color options:  Pinestone Cotton Canvas and Black Poly Spun Canvas.  And, as with all Think Tank Photo gear, they are filled with innovations for today's professional photographer.

The Adobe® Photoshop® Camera Raw 6.1 plug-in release candidate supports ten new camera models; includes new lens correction functionality; addresses a Mac bug that could cause Photoshop CS5 to quit unexpectedly; and improves the control and scrolling responsiveness.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 shipped with Camera Raw 6.0. The Adobe Photoshop Camera Raw 6.1 plug-in release candidate is now available on the Adobe Labs website. Camera Raw provides easy access within Photoshop to the raw image formats produced by many digital cameras. The "release candidate" label means version 6.1RC is well tested but would benefit from additional community testing before it is distributed automatically to Adobe's customers.

For more details, you can visit Lightroom product manager Tom Hogarty's blog. To download the release candidate and get links to the Camera Raw User to User forum, go to http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/Camera_Raw_6.1.

Dear PPA Member,

What about an advertisement usually grabs your attention? Is it the text or small disclaimer at the bottom? I didn't think so. As photographers and creative individuals, we are usually drawn towards images. It is the image of a shiny car racing down the highway that makes you think it may be time for you to get a new car. And it's the image of a pristine beach that makes you want to drop everything and book the next flight to anywhere with a coastline.

For commercial photographers, capturing that perfect image is a part of the job. This week's Vital Signs is about commercial photography and how to cater to those unique commercial clients. Commercial photographers usually have to accommodate a different clientele with a different sales process than portrait and wedding photographers, so it is important to understand that difference and provide what they are looking for (whether it be a little red sports car or the newest gadget).

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

P.S. Looking for more ways to save money? As a PPA member, you now receive an exclusive discount on all onOne Software products! PPA members can log in here to take advantage of the savings.

onOne Software has announced the second in onOne University's live webinar series - Bokeh: The Science of Focus and the Art of Blur with Vincent Versace.  

Vincent will discuss the science of lens blur and why focus is overrated in photography. With new software like FocalPoint 2, it's now possible to realistically replicate the quality of lens blur, or Bokeh, after the fact. He'll take you through when and where photographers deploy blur and how to achieve the desired results.  With your DSLR camera it's now possible to create the look of a Hollywood Glamour shot that previously required an 8 x 10 view camera and Vincent will show you how.

This will be a live webinar so photographers are invited to come, learn and get inspired and interact with Vincent Versace and the onOne team.  

Webinar Details


onOne University's mission is to provide relevant and educational learning resources to the professional and advanced amateur photography communities.  The onOne University Pro Webinar Series will feature well known photographers showing how they work and how they make the most out of onOne Software.  Currently, onOne University has over 100 free videos to help customers get the most out of onOne Software products and can be found at www.ononesoftware.com/university.

The call for instructors is now open for Super Monday classes to be held on or around October 25, 2010. June 1st is the deadline to volunteer. We hope you will consider spending a day sharing your knowledge and experience teaching a Super Monday class. Besides the experience and new networks you'll gain from speaking, you will earn two speaking merits toward a PPA degree.

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.

About Super Monday
Super Monday is PPA's unique, peer-to-peer educational initiative and proceeds support PPA's non-profit educational programs. Since the 1993, thousands of photographers have gathered in studios around world to share their knowledge and experience.

Do you have images with Corbis?
Did you sign the Corbis Copyright Assignment Affirmation Declaration?
If so, you may have invalid copyright registrations.

The Advertising Photographers of America (APA) passed along the following important information that might just apply to you:

Last week, Judge Loretta A. Preska of the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, issued a summary judgment in the case Muench Photography Inc. v. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company and R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company (09-CV-2669). In the case, Muench Photography Inc. (MPI) claimed that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company (HMH) and R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company (Donnelley) "engaged in the unauthorized and impermissible use" of MPI images. The defendants, HMH and Donnelley, moved to dismiss the complaint arguing that the photographs at issue were not properly registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. The defendant's motion was granted in part and denied in part.

Summary of the Case
MPI licenses photographs for Marc and David Muench. Between March 2001 and December 2006, MPI--through its agent Corbis--sold limited licenses to HMH. MPI claims HMH exceeded the number of licenses granted, causing unauthorized reproductions of the images. This constituted copyright infringement in the eyes of MPI. By printing the textbooks wherein the images were used, MPI claims Donnelley is also guilty of violating MPI's copyright.

At question is the process of copyright registration for the majority of these images. MPI had a copyright registration agreement with Corbis granting legal title in selected images digitized by Corbis and included in the Corbis digital collection "solely for the purpose of copyright registration." After registration, Corbis agreed to "promptly reassign legal title to Marc and David Muench with respect to (their) registered original film images."

The Corbis procedure of acquiring from photographers the signed Copyright Assignment Affirmation Declaration documents that allowed them to make compilation registrations rested upon the questionable and legally unsubstantiated foundation of a single letter from the Copyright Office's Associate Register for Registration & Recordation, Nanette Petruzzelli. The Petruzzelli letter stated that the Copyright Office considers the procedure instituted by Corbis to be valid whereby Corbis is the author of the compilation by an acceptable transfer statement of the photographers and interpreted the claim to extend to the individual photographers. The letter also stated that the Copyright Office preferred, but did not require, the registration application to contain the names of all of the photographers on continuation sheets. The process was compared to the process to register magazines and other serial works, which do not require the listing of individual contributor names.

The unsupported written statements made by Petruzzelli seemed to legitimatize the questionable procedure of Corbis. If fact, it ineffectually "registered" an unknown large number of images that has resulted in a significant increase in vulnerability for photographers that have used this system through Corbis.

Chicks Who Click
June 24-27, Scottsdale, Arizona

By 5/14
After 5/14
PPA Member $249 $299
Non Member $279 $329

Firesky Resort and Spa
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Phone: 480.945.7666
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Room rate: $99

SAVE $50 ON REGISTRATION
The early registration deadline for Chicks Who Click has been extended to Friday, May 14th--register early and save $50! Click here for registration and complete information.

WE'RE ALSO THROWING IN A FREE WEBINAR--A $39 VALUE!
Start the learning early with an informative and inspirational webinar. All Chicks Who Click registrants are invited to join us on June 7 at 12pm ET for the webinar: Things I Learned from My Mother: Guide to a Successful Photography Business in the Digital Age with Mara Blom Schantz, Cr.Photog. We'll e-mail registrants a special invitation link next week, and you'll save $39.

ABOUT THE WEBINAR:
Things I Learned from My Mother: Guide to a Successful Photography Business in the Digital Age
More and more it seems that personal and meaningful contact is missing from this age of digital. But if you slow down and actually connect with your clients--actually meet and spend time with them--it can translate into both bigger sales and a personal gratification that will make your life more fulfilling.

Mara Blom Schantz, Cr.Photog., knows this for a fact. That's why she's sharing this webinar, based upon the life and business lessons she learned from her wonderful mother, Chloe Beeson Blom, M.Photog.Cr., CPP.

From presentation and customer service to the art of the sale, preserving client relations and being an overall better person, this heartfelt, down-to-earth program will inspire and help you reconnect for success in your business and life.

About Mara Blom Schantz, Cr.Photog.
Mara owns and operates the successful studio, Artistic Impressions by Mara, in Phoenix, Ariz, and specializes in photographing children and families in black and white. She strives to create images that are emotionally evocative and connect with the viewer. In addition to speaking at both PPA and Arizona Professional Photographers Association events, she has taught PPA's Super Monday seminars as well as her own private seminars. Besides photographing and teaching, Mara loves to spend time with her family, practice yoga, surf, run and read. To view Mara's work and read more about her, please visit www.artisticimpressionsbymara.com.

As long as you participate during the live class (May 17 - May 31), it's free!

Starting Monday, May 17, 2010, photographer, author, lecturer, teacher and technology enthusiast Scott Bourne will share a special look at photographic workflows in Apple's new Aperture 3.

Aperture 3.0 is the first post-production software that offers multimedia capability. Scott will show you all the new features of Aperture 3.0 and how he uses it in real-world applications.

Course Information and Registration
Dates: Mondays, May 17 - May 31, 2010
Duration: 2 Hours
NOON: Hawaii
2PM: Alaska
3PM: Pacific (Seattle, Los Angeles)
4PM: Mountain (Denver, Salt Lake City)
5PM: Central (Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas)
6PM: Eastern (New York, Boston)

If you can't attend the live presentations--or want to revisit them later on your own schedule--recordings of these classes are available for purchase shortly after the first week's class has been presented. Register here.

Collages.netAs a professional photographer, you can get a complete online posting, print, and product solution from Collages.net. While PPA members already receive discounts on their services, Collages.net is now offering you additional savings for a limited time.
 
Until July 31, 2010, PPA members who sign up with Collages.net will receive a complementary Collages.net account, which also includes four months of online posting for free (a $107 value)! This account gives you access to Collages.net's complete line of professional-grade prints and products - albums, custom album design, books, cards, and gallery wraps.

To take advantage of this extreme deal, login to www.ppa.com/benefits/extreme-deals.php.
 
Already a Collages.net customer? Don't worry...there is a deal for you, too! If you sign up for Collages.net's annual subscription plan, you will save $100 off the annual fee--and that's not all. You will also receive a $250 product credit. You will need to call Collages.net to take advantage of this great deal. Click here to see all of the features you receive with Collages.net's premier online posting service.
 
Want more information? Call 877-638-7468, e-mail customerservice@collages.net or chat with Collages.net at www.collages.net/chat.

Munoz_blog1.jpg"In this business, I'm only as strong as my family," says Tomas Muñoz, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, of  Muñoz Photography in Florida. And as part of a four-generation photography studio, his family is pretty strong indeed. Success is all about relationships with Muñoz --whether it's the relationship between a bride and groom, mentor and student, client and photographer, or his own family members.

A Strong Foundation
The Muñoz family legacy (nearly 100 years in the making) started in 1909 with Tom's great-grandfather in Cuba. And it was a Muñoz who actually photographed, made negatives and hand-delivered one-hour photos in the '30s. That entrepreneurial drive and creative spirit--and the photography business--has continued with each generation.

"We've always stayed on the cutting edge," notes Tom. Whether it was the switch to digital (they went digital 10 years ago) or the fact that they became their own full-service lab (keeping all their printers and other equipment up to date with the newest technology), the Muñozes always push to offer the best to their clients.

Each of the Muñoz children felt that push in the right direction as well. As it says on their website, "Fathers taught sons and grandfathers taught grandsons the standard that it took to be a Muñoz photographer."

"We weren't given a choice," Tom says, referring to his start in photography. Photography was a skill that his father wanted to pass along, so the children learned it early, providing a strong foundation if they later decided to follow it as a career. Tom's first solo wedding was at 12, and at 16 he was shooting one about every weekend. "My brothers and I lifted weights so we looked older to the clients!" he remembers.

Finding a Personal Love
Many stories tell of people feeling stifled or unhappy with their place in a family business--but that's not this story. This is the story of an occupation that found its place in the hearts and minds of Tom and his brothers. They made photography a personal love.

For Tom, that realization really came during his time at the University of Florida. While there,Munoz_blog2.jpg he took his father's suggestion to work with wedding photographers Stewart Powers, M.Photog.Cr., API, and Susan Powers, M.Photog.Cr. "They adopted me and introduced me to PPA, the Photographic Exhibition Committee (PEC) and competitions," Tom says. "They showed me a whole different side of wedding photography, inspiring me to learn even more."

And learn he did. Tom went with Stewart to a competition judging and found even more "open doors." He met more professional photographers who invited him to come and learn from them (like Peter Dyer, M.Photog.Cr., F-ASP, of the United Kingdom).

"I think I've studied with or met with about every major wedding photographer there is!" Tom adds. "The relationships I've created are my favorite part of being a member of PPA."

And it's those relationships--and the resulting experiences--that pushed him to recognize his own love of photography and finish his degree online so he could work full time in the family business.

A "MacGyver" of Photography
While the Muñoz team will photograph what is needed, Tom's favorite specialty is weddings. "With all their challenges, weddings are the toughest to photograph," he explains. "You have to be a great portrait artist, be able to photograph products, be a psychologist and that's just the start. A great wedding photographer is like the MacGyver of photography."

An example of the Muñozes' own MacGyver-esque talents is in how they work with wedding clients to get the expression they want. "We will change our approaches depending on the culture and type of group we're working with," Tom explains. "We want to get people excited about their photography, which encourages their own input."

Munoz_blog3.jpgFor example, Tom was shooting a wedding where all the groomsmen were firemen...and not that excited about the pictures. He became a man's man, setting an atmosphere and tone that said, "Let's have fun and get this done." By relating to them in this way, they weren't bored and one of them even suggested what became a great, smile-inducing shot: the long line of groomsmen flexing their muscles.

"What we ask people to do for a photo is all about getting that authentic expression, not about the pose," he adds. "And it's not just about laughing with the client. We will actually change the way we talk. If I want something soft and romantic, my voice will change."

Despite his love of weddings, Tom is always interested in learning more. "If I don't know how to do something, I'll find someone who can and learn from him or her," he says. For example, he learned about photographing watches from Al Audleman, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API. He used what he learned to shoot a whole jewelry line. And when he learned to shoot architecture, he applied that to his wedding décor shots.

That's the key right there, says Munoz--applying everything you learn to the job at hand.

Photograph Like You Compete

Not only do Tom and his family believe in applying what they learn, they also believe in applying competition to their everyday work.

"My old high school wrestling coach once said: 'You wrestle like you practice. If you don't do it every day, you won't be able to do it when it counts,'" Tom recalls. "That's how we feel about competition."

The Muñoz "secret" is to compete every year...and only with client work. "Once you get in the mindset of competing every year, you won't cut corners anywhere because you don't know what will be the stand-out wedding," explains Tom. "Plus, we want a certain level of quality in everything we do."

One of Tom's biggest pet peeves is when someone tells him not to worry about a flaw in an image because the client won't notice. He wants both the client and himself, as the professional, to love the images. And if he sees it, he knows a juror will see it.

That point of view (and his early experiences) helped Tom do very well in competition very quickly. He first competed at 18 and received his PPA Master of Photography degree at 21, one of the youngest ever.

It was his own competition enthusiasm that inspired his brothers to compete, and they don't stop at the official competitions. "I think the biggest advantage of our studio is the competition among the brothers," Tom laughs. "We'll meet up after an eight-wedding weekend, open up a laptop and say: 'Ok, who won this weekend?'"

With the majority of the Muñozes competing--officially and unofficially--they often face critiques, which are never easy. Still, it's something that Tom appreciates. "I'm open to getting critiques from everyone," he says. "You can learn something from anybody, even if it's how NOT to do something."

The End Goal
What you learn and how you can help someone often stems from the relationships you create, and Tom Muñoz is a perfect example. Working on client relationships helps him get the perfect expression for their image. Connecting with photographic mentors helped him improve skills, discover competition and understand the importance of sharing knowledge. Most important of all, his family relationships set his foundation and still give him constant educational opportunities (both as teacher and student). And his eight-month-old son--the next generation of Muñoz photographers--is already coming into the studio every day.

His end goal? "To be the worst photographer in our family's studios."

www.munozphotographyonline.com 

ALL IMAGES © TOMAS MUNOZ
ViohlBlog1.jpg"Style" is hard to sink your teeth into, but it's an essential for pro photographers. If your work looks like everybody else's, your main selling point is price. But if you can find your own style, your clients will want to work with you because of YOU. Which would you prefer?

"You already have a style--everybody does!" says Carrie Viohl of Studio Viohl in Moultrie, Ga. "But most photographers find it hard to bring that vision into reality."

Even though you're busy running your business, you can't forget to focus on your art and style. And that's why Viohl is presenting a PPA webinar called "Create Your Signature Style & Reap the Rewards" (May 18th, 4pm).

One reason this unique look is hard to keep (or realize) is that it's now so easy to "get drowned in the photography of hundreds of other photographers via the Internet," as Viohl notes. "You can start to lose what your vision is!" To rectify this and focus on your own work, Viohl suggests putting blinders on...which she'll discuss during the webinar.

Viohl came into this knowledge with hard work. For her own style, she draws from the pool of her experiences, as well as music, art, film and theater. It's "as deeply rooted in me as my earliest memories," she says. "And as I get older, I get better at actually harnessing what I've learned."

Perhaps that's why she's offering to share her experiences in realizing and retaining her styleThumbnail image for VohlBlog3.jpg via this upcoming webinar. Her goal? To help other photographers explore ways of bringing their vision into their work.

 "We are all too busy. After all, creative people thrive in chaos!" laughs Viohl. "But we also need time and space to work." So come join her on May 18th and learn ways to carve creative time out of your crazy schedule--and make the most of it!





ALL IMAGES © CARRIE VIOHL 


PPA members now receive discounts with onOne Software, PPA's neonOne_gif.bmpwest Affinity Partner. onOne Software's Photoshop plug-ins are created to help photographers create high quality, distinctive images in less time and with fewer steps so that they can spend more time shooting. PPA members receive an exclusive discount on all of onOne's software products, including:

•    Plug-In Suite 5
•    Genuine Fractals 6
•    MaskPro4
•    PhotoFrame 4.5
•    FocalPoint 2
•    PhotoTune 3
•    PhotoTools 2.5

PPA members can visit the Using Your Member Benefits section of PPA.com to take advantage of this discount.

Take advantage of PPA's Member Essentials webinar series. These free monthly webinars cover topics that can help you add more value to your business, expand your opportunities, and make the most of your membership. Only available to PPA members, these webinars are also archived after the live event so you can view them anytime.

Visit our PPA Webinars page to view even more Member Essentials Webinars On Demand.

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.

Dates/Locations:
May 10: San Diego
May 11: Los Angeles
May 13: Denver
May 17: Seattle
May 18: Portland
May 19: San Francisco
May 24: Chicago
May 25: Grand Rapids
May 26: Detroit
June 14: Philadelphia
June 15: Newark
June 16: New York
June 28: Atlanta
June 29: Birmingham


Speakers:
Jack Davis Jack Davis is one of the world's leading experts on Photoshop, with over a million award-winning "Wow" and "How to Wow" books in print, in over a dozen languages. Jack was one of the first inductees into the Photoshop Hall of Fame, has an MFA in Digital Imagery and is one of the most passionate shooters and teachers you'll ever enjoy learning from! Jane Conner-ziser Jane Conner-ziser has over 30 years of experience as a professional photographer and retouching artist. The techniques she developed for facial retouching, enhancement and portrait painting are widely emulated by photographers and artists worldwide and her fun and easy style of teaching make her one of the most popular instructors in the industry.

Dear PPA Member,

My brother could sell heaters in the Amazon. My mother could motivate sloths to run marathons. My father...well, he could run the world (if my Aunt Shirley would relinquish control). Everyone has a strength, and when it's embraced and fostered, it can be an asset to any business.

This is especially true when it comes to working with those family members. Last week's Vital Signs gave you advice on how to start off that working relationship. This week's Vital Signs is designed to help you strengthen that relationship. Working with family has the potential to benefit both your business and family--why not make the most of the experience by making sure everyone not only knows his or her role, but enjoys it as well?

Now, if only I could get someone in my family to recognize their cooking skills. I wonder how hard it would be to teach the dog to cook?

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

Epson America, Inc., a leading provider of superior performing desktop printing solutions, introduced the first $99 all-in-one with built-in wireless-n (IEEE 802.11n) that offers superior performance and print quality over competitive models in its price range. The affordable and easy-to-use Epson Stylus® NX420 printer/scanner/copier is designed for busy families and students who want to conveniently share one printer with multiple users for various everyday printing tasks, such as schoolwork, recipes, or vacation photos.

"Not only is the Epson Stylus NX420 extremely easy to use, but it also includes the latest wireless standard, wireless-n, plus print, copy and scan features in one powerful machine," said Stacey Tieu, associate product manager, Consumer Ink Jets, Epson America, Inc. "Consumers definitely get more for their money with the feature-rich NX420 all-in-one."

Offering superior print quality, built-in wireless printing and scanning, and advanced image enhancement tools, the Epson Stylus NX420 is an efficient, high-quality all-in-one. Its individual ink cartridges and exclusive fade-, smudge- and water-resistant DURABrite® Ultra ink make it simple to print everything from family pictures and photo projects to book reports and driving directions. In addition, the Epson Stylus NX420 boasts a 1.5-inch LCD screen and built-in memory card slots to effortlessly print stacks of borderless photos, all without turning on the computer.

Additional Features of the Epson Stylus NX420:

  • High-quality scanning up to 2400 dpi
  • Multiple black and color copies with just one touch
  • Reduces and enlarges copies from 25 to 400 percent
  • ISO Print Speeds of 6.4 ISO ppm in black and 3.3 ISO ppm in color
  • Restores old, faded, discolored photos back to their original brilliance
  • One-click red-eye removal and automatic photo correction to quickly fix digital images
  • One standard ink set for photo and document printing
  • Moderate and standard ink cartridge capacities to fit various print volume needs; costs as low as $8.99 per cartridge
  • Saves up to 50 percent of paper supply with manual, two-sided printing
  • ENERGY STAR® qualified, RoHS compliant, and designed to be recycled
  • Epson MicroPiezo® print head features DX3â„¢ technology with smart nozzles that each produce and precisely place three sizes of ink droplets to create exceptional photos and documents

Pricing and Availability

The Epson Stylus NX420 ($99.99) is currently available through major computer, office and electronic superstores, a variety of retail stores nationwide, mail order, PC manufacturers, the Internet, and Epson's own retail site, www.epsonstore.com. For more information, please see the Epson Stylus NX420 fact sheet.

Running a photography business today is not the same as it was ten or even five years ago. While the fundamentals of photography remain the same as always, the continuing evolution of new technologies has completely changed the way that all photographers take, develop and deliver pictures to their clientele, especially event photographers.

New developments in digital photography, photo-kiosk systems and photographic printers have both improved picture quality and expedited the delivery process; and in doing so, changed the expectations of consumers. In addition to expert techniques, customers now expect event photographers to provide immediate on-site delivery of high-quality photos at a low cost, and failing to do so is simply not an option.

Fortunately, some imaging companies like Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America have continuously pushed the envelope to produce advanced, affordable technologies that allow many event photographers to survive and even thrive in today's competitive landscape. For over 10 years, MDEA has been providing the photo industry with a series of affordable, robust photographic printers that have been used to drive and grow business for a countless number of event photographers.

Building on its heritage of manufacturing industry-leading digital imaging products, Epson® today announced two all-purpose scanners that provide unique and intelligent imaging technologies at affordable prices. The Epson Perfection® V33 and Epson Perfection V330 Photo are the newest scanners to join Epson's award-winning Perfection line, which are engineered to fulfill virtually any household's scanning needs such as digitizing/archiving photos, documents, 3D objects and more.

Priced at $89 and $119 (respectively), both models feature 4800 x 9600 dpi optical resolution and the same wide range of user benefits and technologies, including a 180-degree lid for scanning oversized objects. The V330 however adds a built-in transparency unit that enables it to scan slides, negatives and film. 
WillAnthony_headshot.jpgWilliam Anthony got into the photography business "the old-fashioned way"--by working as an apprentice.

During college, his roommate was working with a local commercial photographer and was able to get Anthony an apprenticeship at a wedding studio in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Before becoming an apprentice, Anthony says he became interested in wedding photography while working at a camera store.

"That's what really got me started," Anthony remembers. "I became friends with a photographer who owned a wedding and portrait studio. He talked me into learning to photograph weddings, and by then I was truly hooked." He has been shooting professionally ever since, going on over twenty-five years.

In 1997, Anthony opened his own wedding photography business, Forever Images, in Michigan City, Ind. After several years of shooting, he felt that he had "hit a wall," which led him to join PPA.

damo head shot.jpgDamon Tucci, Cr.Photog., was shooting weddings before shooting weddings was cool, he says. And it began because he needed a "real job" to supplement the career he was trying to jumpstart in cinematography. "I went to school to be a cinematographer and was working for Walt Disney World as a still photographer in the early '90s when I got relegated to shoot weddings," Tucci says with a laugh at how he felt at the time.

"Destination weddings were just starting to catch on, but we were still doing a lot of the traditional, very formal wedding photography." Tucci recalls being summoned to the boss' office more than once for a chat about propriety. "What's funny is that most of the stuff I was doing--camera tilts and unexpected juxtaposition--are all the things brides actually want today."

Damon says that as the styles started to change, brides began to request more and more of the photojournalistic styles that are so prevalent today. But Tucci isn't naive enough to think it'll stay this way forever. "Styles are constantly evolving--if you want to make a career in photography for the long term, you have to continually strive to take risks and differentiate yourself," he notes.

Visual Pimping at the PPA Tour
Tucci_0053.JPGTucci says one of the best ways to do that is to push yourself to keep learning and take advantage of educational opportunities like the PPA Tour. He'll be featured as a guest speaker during this tour in Newark, N.J., on May 10, and he'll share his presentation, "Visual Pimping."

And before you invest too much brain power in trying to figure that one out, Tucci says it's just a catchy title that summarizes his techniques for time management and gaining efficiencies with wedding shoots. "Weddings are huge events and time is always an issue," he explains. "'Visual Pimping' is a very simple method of pre-visualizing shots and utilizing posing and lighting in the most efficient ways to minimize the need for lots of equipment and complications at the scene."

Websites, especially photography websites, are ephemeral. They are constantly changing, flowing, being added to and deleted from, or at least they should be. When those changes halt, websites run the risk of not reflecting the businesses or people they are supposed to represent. That's what happened to Isabel Gomes and Lawrence Gund of Isabel Lawrence Photographers...until they recreated their website with such smashing success that it won the 2009 AN-NE Marketing Award for Best Website.

Back in the late '90s, Gomes and Gund created their first website, which was very successful at the time. "The problem was that it brought us lots of business," they admit ruefully. "How was that a problem? Well, we neglected to change the site over the years to reflect how we were evolving as artists."

In the words of their friends, their web presence was "too modest and not boastful enough." That revelation helped them look at the site with new eyes and realize it didn't mention anything that made Isabel Lawrence Photographers unique (gift registry, gift donations, alternative cameras, etc.). What made the site's ineffectiveness even more real was that bookings had dropped.

Read the full article here.
Michael Gan, PPA board member and Californian photographer, is within easy reach of photographers in Maine. Or Ireland. Or anywhere with a computer. That's one of the benefits of being involved in online forums like the OurPPA Forum.

This accessibility to thousands of other photographers turns the OurPPA Forum into a great photographic resource. You can get almost immediate feedback on questions from customer issues and photographic techniques to latest PPA events.

"There are so many ways and reasons to participate in the OurPPA Forum, but my favorite part is getting to know the different photographers out there," comments Gan. "It's fascinating to see the depth we have in PPA."

Read the full article here.


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