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PPA Today: November 2010 Archives

November 2010 Archives

Sigma Corporation of America is currently accepting photo and application submissions for its second annual Scholarship Contest. The contest, which will award $6,000 in cash and photography gear, is open to all high school seniors who plan to pursue a photo-related career.
Applications for the contest are now being accepted through Feb. 28, 2011 via the Sigma scholarship website. Students interested in entering the contest must submit between three and five photos that are thematically tied. These photos must also represent outstanding image quality, a concept that is the foundation of Sigma Corporation's commitment to the photographic industry. In addition, students must complete an essay of between 300 and 800 words that describes their creative process in shooting, selecting and editing their photos.
Students pursuing higher education in industries such as photography, photojournalism, graphic arts and design, visual arts and art history are eligible to apply, and each submission will be judged on the creativity of the subject selection, overall technique, and image quality.
"The images submitted in our first scholarship contest exhibited a high level of skill and passion which was a true pleasure to see," said Mark Amir-Hamzeh, general manager of Sigma Corporation of America.  "Our support of these talented young photographers has been confirmed and we very much look forward to seeing what this year's competition will produce."
Sigma's first Scholarship Contest winner, Jamie Russell of Cheektowaga, N.Y., submitted a series of photographs depicting poverty in her hometown. A total of 122 students competed in the contest.
A public, online vote will be held from March 1, 2011 until April 1, 2011, and the top five vote-getters will become finalists. Sigma executives will then choose the Scholarship winner; the winner will be announced on April 18, 2011.
For information about the Sigma Corporation of America Scholarship, eligibility, the application process, material submissions and a formal list of contest rules, visit  For information on Sigma Corporation of America and its lenses , cameras and flashes, visit

Jeff Medford and Ross HockrowHDSLR video is revolutionizing the photographer's landscape. But does the thought of learning video techniques give you heartburn? Not to worry, that's why we have a webinar on the subject tomorrow (Wednesday, December 1, 2:00pm EST)! Fresh off of their 30-city Photo Fusion Revolution Tour, which taught HD Cinema principles, Jeff Medford and Ross Hockrow will lay out a compelling vision of why you should consider adding this technology to your photographic portfolio. You'll also be able to learn how to make such videos even more powerful, thanks to a technical discussion of storytelling and editing using Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.

If you've ever thought about adding a little video to your offerings, don't miss this webinar!

Kubota Image Tools, provider of photographer-empowering creative imaging tools, workflow-saving solutions and educational offerings for photographers of all levels, has announced it has created the new Kubota Creative Tools - The Lensbaby Pak, specially designed to enhance the artistic effects created with  Lensbaby optics. Kevin Kubota, founder of Kubota PhotoDesign and the Idea Guy behind Kubota Image Tools, created the set of Photoshop® image enhancing tools as part of the Lensbaby Kubota Contest.  Winners of the contest, selected by Kubota, were announced previously. The Lensbaby Pak includes 15 brand new Photoshop image enhancement tools Kubota devised to enhance contest-winning images captured with each of the unique six Lensbaby Optics, and includes the Kubota DASHBOARD 3.  

"Lensbaby optics open up a distinctive set of creative options for photographers, and you want to preserve all of that great effect when editing," said Kubota. "These new enhancement tools work with the captured image to add drama and feel without masking the impact of the optics' effects."

Winner of the Lensbaby Kubota Contest, Lisa Schwendemann Smith, received $300 in KubotaBucks, $300 in Lensbaby Bucks and the new Kubota Lensbaby tools for her submission of Atlantic City Pier. A video of her image being edited by Kubota is available on the Kubota Lensbaby tools product page.

"This image has been a favorite of my family and friends for a while now, and it was a thrill to be a finalist. It is a wonderful feeling to have impressed Kevin Kubota enough to be named the winner," said contest winner Lisa Schwendemann Smith. "It was eye-opening to see what Kubota's new Actions could do to enhance the look of this image and I look forward to using the enhancement tools to bring out the best in my other Lensbaby shots. I can't wait to go on a Kubota Image Tools and Lensbaby shopping spree."

The Kubota Lensbaby image enhancement tools are currently available for instant download for $39, here.
coates_bobhead.jpgAlways interested in art, Bob Coates, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, of Bob Coates Photography in Sedona, Ariz., had never before been able to get what he saw in his head on paper. Then, he began taking photographs in 1983 with an SLR camera that he borrowed from a friend.

"Things started to change as I experimented with photography over a number of years," Coates says.

In 1995, Coates took his interest in photography to the professional level. After selling his share in a restaurant he had helped run, he opened up Bob Coates Photography and has been in business ever since.

"Photography is only the second job I've had that did not bore me after a year or two," adds Coates. Perhaps that is due to his "specialty in not specializing," for he does everything from weddings to product photography. "Cross-pollinating the different types of photography has kept things interesting," he explains. "When I start to feel that something is getting repetitious, I push a little harder into the next genre."

Coates knows from his 15-year experience in running a photography business that thecoates1.jpg photography field is highly competitive. You must have great images as well as great marketing and business practices in order to stay ahead of the curve.

"Nowadays, it's about keeping ahead of all the 'faux-tographers' who haven't learned their craft and are giving the work away!" he says.

Coates will show you how he stays ahead of the competition in his "Get Your Name Out There Without Spending (Much) Money" Imaging USA class on Tuesday, January 18. Proper design and use of business cards, press releases, print displays, website optimization and partnership marketing are just some of the ideas he will share in this fast-paced, information-packed class.

"It takes personality, perseverance and planning to get your name in front of your perspective clients," Coates adds. He has first hand experience with all three, and he's ready to share!

Read more about Coates here.

Read more about Imaging USA here.

coates3.jpgBob Coates is the author of "Photographer's Guide to Wedding Album Design" and "Sales and Strategies and Techniques for Digital Photographers." His work has been featured in many magazines, including National Geographic, Professional Photographer, Rangefinder, Shutterbug and many more.


Professionally constructed with new design features, the Flashpoint PZ series Softboxes have a unique, patented design that uses a zipper to relieve the pressure on the inner rods making it so much easier to assemble and close them up  compared to most other softboxes. They are available in sizes from 12" X 36" to 40" X 60". The Octaboxes are available in 3' and 5' sizes. All Softboxes and Octaboxes come with a baffle, recessed front and a convenient carry bag.

Available exclusively from, Softboxes are priced between $59.95 - $149.95 and Octaboxes are between $99.95 - $164.95

Speed rings (sold separately) are available for most strobe units.

Read more here
Everyone talks about "going green," but this year, members who attend Imaging USA's Imaging EXPO can "get GREEN" with the pre-approval program offered through PPA's Affinity Partner, United Funding.

This year's Imaging EXPO trade show in San Antonio, Texas (January 16-18, 2011) will have some of the latest and greatest equipment on the market. And with the exclusive show specials, it's the best time to buy! Make that buying easier by getting your financing in place prior to Imaging USA.

Why should you participate in United Funding's pre-approval program?

  • PPA members get an additional 2% rebate on all transactions funded through United Funding (up to $1,000).
  • Unlike putting the expense of new equipment on a credit card, bank loan or home equity loan, this debt does NOT appear on your credit report and will not adversely affect your credit scores or ratios.
  • Vendors will know you're serious about purchasing equipment when they see the green "approved" sticker on your Imaging USA registration badge. They will know you're part of United Funding's pre-approval program, which will speed up your transactions and help you get the equipment you want now with no hassle. (Your pre-approval is a great way to let vendors know that you mean business and deserve their attention.)

Managing your cash flow and paying for your income-producing photography equipment (it helps generate your revenue!) are always sound business practices...especially in these challenging economic times. United Funding just makes it easier.

If you apply to "get GREEN" and are approved, you'll receive an approved certificate and green pre-approved sticker in the mail. (You can also pick up a copy of your certificate and sticker from United Funding in the Imaging EXPO at booth 1153.)

Getting the green light for the Imaging EXPO is easy! PPA members can apply today or call Bob Bell at 800-685-7571 for more information.

Dear PPA Member,

It's that time of the year again--the time when we give thanks for what we are grateful for in our lives. Whether it's family, health or something in between, Thanksgiving gives you the opportunity to show your appreciation and gratitude.

Here at PPA, we are truly grateful for our members (it may sound corny, but it's true!). It is because of you--your drive, your enthusiasm, your desire to continually grow as a photographer--that we are able to do what we do. All of the time and effort that we put into PPA is to help you succeed.

To help say "thank you," we have compiled some resources in an effort to pass on the idea of Thanksgiving. Just as we are thankful for you as members, odds are that you are thankful for your clients and their continued business. So make sure that your clients know that. This week's Vital Signs is a round-up of resources on customer service and client interaction that can serve as a great starting point, or they may spark some ideas on how to communicate that thanks to your clients.

Once again, thank you for choosing PPA and for sharing the love of photography with us.


Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

P.S. Have you ever wanted a credit card with your own favorite photograph displayed? Now's your chance! PPA's partnership with UMB CardPartner allows you to customize your card and show off your work. Learn more about this new benefit here.

Drivesavers.jpgExperiencing data loss is never a good feeling. While we hope it never happens to you, remember that you can access data recovery services at a discounted rate through your PPA membership!

And as an added benefit, DriveSavers® Data Recovery is offering PPA members an additional discount on their services through December 31, 2010.

Members, learn more about this Extreme Deal here.

caylorhead.jpgCarl Caylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, F-WPPA, of Photo Images by Carl in Iron Mountain, Mich., has been working professionally in the photography industry for 23 years. His motivations for becoming a photographer are simple: He enjoys photography and he gets to do what he loves for a living.

"Plus, I thought photography would help me avoid working with computers...what happened?" Caylor jokes.

When he first started in the photography business, Caylor worked in photojournalism and sports photography and performed darkroom technician duties. He loved the darkroom and was very comfortable dealing with custom work in color and black and white. This experience provided him with a solid background that has come in handy ever since he opened his own photography business 15 years ago.

Now, Caylor specializes in senior photography. Why the shift? He enjoys the challengescaylor1.jpg seniors present.

"Seniors are exciting to work with because many want to out-do their classmates," he explains. "It is a fun journey to have them push me and still produce something that is timeless and artistically powerful."

Caylor also admits that he enjoys working with seniors because it is a great way to hang on to his youth. "I don't feel the years slipping by me like I see happening to many of my friends in other careers," he adds.

If you want to learn how Caylor has achieved success in senior photography, don't miss "The Senior Experience" Imaging USA class on January 17, 2011, at 3:30pm.

caylor2.jpgThrough the use of video and live workflow demonstrations, Caylor will share what a high school senior experiences in his studio. You'll learn about lighting, posing and searching for the best backgrounds and locations. You'll also see custom print enhancements and finished images from the actual "senior experience."

"My class will help photographers have better interactions with subjects and guests," Caylor says. "You need to remember to always sell, always promote, always deliver the best you can and always educate."

Read more about Carl Caylor here.

Read more about Imaging USA here.

Carl Caylor has earned 18 PPA Loan Collection images and several Kodak Gallery and Fujicaylor3.jpg Masterpiece Awards. He has also earned numerous Wisconsin state awards, including Photographer of the Year two years in a row. His work has been seen in Professional Photographer, Rangefinder, In-Foto, American Photo, Kodak ads, WHCC ads and several photographic education books.


cardpartner.jpgOdds are that you have a credit card in your wallet, right? But do you have a credit card in your wallet that has one of your own images on it? Now you can through PPA's partnership with UMB CardPartner! When you apply for your PPA Visa® Platinum Rewards card, you have the opportunity to showcase your work every time you use your credit card.

"We are proud to have partnered with Professional Photographers of America to offer this new, custom-tailored Visa card program," says Douglas Davis, Vice President at UMB Bank, n.a. "Working with a creative organization like PPA is a natural evolution of the card personalization technology we offer. We believe this is a perfect match."

As a cardholder, you have powerful benefits. The Visa Platinum Rewards card offers zero liability protection, emergency assistance services, online banking, auto rental and travel accident insurance, and more! Plus, you can earn points at hundreds of participating online retailers...redeemable for name-brand merchandise, event tickets, gift cards and travel rewards options.

PPA members, find out how to take advantage of this new member benefit here.

Dear PPA Member,

You know very well that professional photographers run into scheduling emergencies. It's the parents who "forgot," but must get those images of their six kids done today. It's the high school senior who shows up on time, but without a change of clothes (and you have a sneaking suspicion that his parents aren't going to be happy with that Bloodhound Gang t-shirt he's sporting). It's the baby who is just adorable when she's quiet, but who decided to audition for the part of a tornado siren...and is practicing admirably (and loudly) in your studio.

No one ever plans for these schedule mishaps, but they happen. Still, it helps to be as prepared as possible. This week's Vital Signs offers some ideas for preparing and scheduling sessions as well as some tips on how to handle those inevitable scheduling emergencies. (My personal tip for the "tornado siren" baby? Earplugs.)

Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

WEtv and ish Entertainment are currently searching for professional wedding photographers in the Los Angeles area who have "crazy" stories of weddings they've photographed. Did a mishap happen during the wedding itself? Do you have that mishap caught on camera?

This new series will give deserving couples a new wedding with a celebrity event planner. Right now, they are looking for those couples, and you might have a client--or know someone--who fits the bill. The mishap could be small, like an objection at their wedding ceremony, or a disaster like a fire.  Only requirements are, the couple needs to be Los Angeles based (though the wedding could have been anywhere), and there needs to be some sort of documentation (photographs or video) of the mishap.

WEtv is offering a finders fee and special thanks to photographers who refer a chosen couple!

If you're interested, contact Rachel at ish Entertainment at 212-377-3850 for more information. is pleased to announce its ten year anniversary. With continued growth, the company has gained a very important place in the market of photography services. From classic restoration and coloring services to the newest retouching and photo to art techniques, has been pleasing many consumers by recovering their lovely memories.

Like a lot of internet services companies, started as a small group of people with not much infrastructure but a lot of great ideas and a strong business plan. Since the beginning and during these 10 years has been focusing its efforts on being the best photo restoration company it can be.

Some of the company's best achievements in the past 10 years:

More than 95.5 percent of the customers rated their experience with and the image quality as either "very good" or "excellent."

FAST TURNARROUND TIME: Though the "official" turn-around time is six business days, returns 80 percent of its restoration work within 24 hours of receiving the file.  

SATISFACTION GUARANTEE: Only 1 re-work request every 25 orders! If the customer is not 100 percent satisfied, neither is  

AFFORDABLE PRICES: With simple restorations costing just $9.95 and complex restorations costing up to $34.95, there is a good opportunity for retailers to create a highly profitable revenue stream.

Read more about here.

charities_2010.jpgPPA Charities has raised the bar high--encouraging photographers to join together and raise $120,000 for Operation Smile by December 15, the amount needed to fun 500 basic surgeries for children with facial deformities.

To help participating photographers (those who participate in the 2010 Family Portrait Month campaign and/or the PPA Charities/Operation Smile Studio campaign), PPA Charities and key volunteers have offered marketing ideas and templates for download. In addition, Marathon is supporting PPA Charities with a PPACH PressPrints ordering portal, available to PPA members who are participating. Photographers can access the portal by clicking here

Marathon has placed ready-to-use templates, designed by photographers Sandy Puc' and Angela Weedon, on that ordering site. Simply select a promotion, client note card, or a client thank-you card; drop in your image(s) and logo; then order economical press-printed marketing products to support your campaign!

If you haven't joined either PPA Charities program, do so now. Then, you can log into the PPACH PressPrints portal by using the e-mail address you registered with for either campaign, and use "welcome" as the temporary password. It's one more way to help save those smiles.

GIA.jpgYou like photography, right? Do you like to grab drinks with your friends? Do you like getting cash? (Silly questions, huh?) Well, you'll have a chance to combine all of that at Imaging USA's Grand Imaging Awards!

This new, one-hour celebration gives you the chance to cheer on the recently crowned Photographers of the Year (from the International Photographic Competition), have fun with your friends and still have plenty of time for dinner Monday night. You'll be able to view award-winning images and learn who earned the brand-new Grand Imaging Awards, which honor the overall winner of each category. And even if you're not a Photographer of the Year, you could win a chance in the "money box" to grab some cash!

So mark it on your Imaging USA calendar and join us for drinks, award-winning images, and a chance to win cash--in other words, a very happy hour!

Grand Imaging Awards
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Ballroom A, Street Level
Monday, January 17
6:00pm - 7:00pm (doors and cash bar open at 5:30pm)
Sponsored by Canon, GraphiStudio & White House Custom Colour

Who wants to run a more profitable photography business? (Better question might be who doesn't!) Well, if profitability is one of your goals, there's no better place to get on the right track--and learn the needed skills--than with PPA's renowned Studio Management Services workshops. These classes often fill up fast, but here's some good news: There is still room to sign up for the 3-Day Studio Management Services Business Workshop at Imaging USA.

It's the perfect chance to get in-depth instruction and hands-on help moving up to the next level in business success. Plus, you can sign up for a one-on-one consultation at Imaging USA--only a limited number are available, so sign up now! (You can add-on a consultation after Imaging USA if you wish, but don't wait too long.) 

Photographers who've been through this SMS workshop can't say enough good things about how it has changed their business and lives for the better. Want to be counted among their numbers? It's easy!

hartman_john.jpgJohn Hartman, M.Photog.Cr., EA-ASP, admits that he became a photographer more out of luck than out of planning.

"Many people spend a great deal of time planning their careers, but I took a photography class in high school to fill an extra study hall," Hartman says of his beginnings. "A lucky shot from the second roll of film I ever took ended up winning a Scholastic Student photo contest, and from then on I was hooked."

His first paying job as a photographer was in June 1974, and he's been shooting professionally ever since. Today, Hartman's success as a photographer (and businessman) has made him one of the leading marketing and business experts in photography.

"My business philosophy has always been to find out what everyone else is doing and thenHartman1.jpg do something different," he explains. "The ability to innovate and try things most people aren't willing to try is what I believe has set me apart from others--and has allowed my studio to continue to flourish, even in the current economy."

Hartman keeps his work innovative by experimenting with photography techniques that catch his interest, including high dynamic range imaging, panoramic photography, digital infrared photography, high-speed sync-flash outdoor portraiture, selective focus work in the studio, and HD video. "My interest in these areas, which are not usually associated with portraiture, allows me to figure out ways to implement these techniques into my everyday portrait photography," he adds.

Hartman2.jpgSince 1983, Hartman has presented hundreds of marketing programs throughout the U.S. and Canada. His sold-out Marketing Boot Camps in Las Vegas are the longest-running and most successful business seminars in the industry. And he's bringing his industry knowledge to Imaging USA in 2011!

If you need help with your marketing, don't miss Hartman's Imaging USA class, "The Greatest Marketing Secret of All," on January 16 at 9:00 am. (Plus, for an additional fee, you can learn from his speaking skills during a pre-convention class, "How to Be a Great Speaker," on January 15.)

During "The Greatest Marketing Secret of All," you'll learn to create images that excite your customers and confound your competition, develop product lines that add to each sale, showcase and market these new styles to attract clients and keep your studio on top, and how to merchandise and package for maximum revenue.

"Photographers will leave my presentation with a strong sense of direction on how to growHartman3.jpg their business in a variety of ways, "states Hartman. "They'll learn to grow by improving their photography, by implementing marketing that works, by introducing new products that people want to own and will pay a premium price for, and by understanding how they can maximize revenue with the least amount of work and expense."

Sound like something you'd like to learn?

Read more about Imaging USA here.

Read more about Hartman here.

A published author, Hartman has also created several software solutions for photographers, including QuickMats, QuickProofs and SeniorMarketing. In 2010, PPA awarded Hartman the prestigious Charles H. (Bud) Haynes Award for his distinguished service to PPA and its members by encouraging business awareness and practices.

Nik Software announces today 64-bit compatibility across the entire Nik Software product line, providing photographers with the highest level of workflow efficiency. Registered customers may download free updates for Dfine® 2.0, Viveza® 2, Color Efex Pro(TM) 3.0, Silver Efex Pro(TM), and Sharpener Pro(TM) 3.0, at

"Photographers using a 64-bit workflow can now take advantage of a much faster and more efficient memory management system with all of our plug-ins," said Michael J. Slater, President and CEO of Nik Software. "I am confident that our customers will not only benefit from this update to our architecture, but also from future products that take advantage of this."

In addition to 64-bit compatibility, all Nik Software plug-ins feature the company's proprietary U Point® technology, enabling precise selective fine-tuning of images without the need for complicated selections or layer masks. To learn more about Nik Software products, watch training videos, download free trials, or join live online trainings visit
Pricing and Availability
Free updates to 64-bit compatible versions are available now to registered owners of Dfine 2.0, Viveza 2, Color Efex Pro 3.0, Silver Efex Pro, and Sharpener Pro 3.0 via the company's website: Customers who purchased the Complete Collection Ultimate Edition or the Complete Collection for Lightroom and Aperture may also receive the updates for free.

All products are now compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit image editing applications such as Adobe® Photoshop®, Photoshop® Elements, Photoshop® Lightroom®, and Apple® Aperture®. To review full system requirements, visit
We've come together with a number of our closest partners to put together a complete Photo Safari Experience and thousands of dollars worth of best-of-breed products and services!  Best of all, entry is free at
Led by famed photographer John Paul Caponigro beginning in September 2011, this private photo safari will take you on a wide-ranging exploration of South Africa. The safari will focus on photographing wildlife in the world-famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve and the many landscapes of the Cape Town region. 

Organized by renowned tour operator Eyes on Africa, you'll experience some of Africa's finest wildlife photography opportunities, great accommodations, and expert guiding. These two locations have been selected to create a private safari geared specifically toward serious wildlife, landscape and scenic photography.

Enter the sweepstakes, and read more about the partners and the photo safari at

Over 2,000 images were entered in PPA's first-ever digital contest--the Summer Shootout--launched in July. Featuring five categories and a grand prize winner, the contest also offered critiques from master photographers for an additional nominal fee.

"The critiques were very popular," says Dennis Craft, M.Photog.Cr.Hon.M.Photog., API, F-ASP, chairman of PPA's Photographic Exhibition Committee. "We are excited to see so many PPA members take advantage of this new opportunity to participate in a contest and learn more about competition elements and techniques from master photographers." Those who purchased critiques should receive them by mid-December.

Images entered in the Summer Shootout cannot have earned merits or a PPA seal of approval in any previous PPA or affiliate photographic competition.

The winners, who receive cash prizes, include the following:

Dear PPA Member,

The topic of PCI compliancy may seem boring and ho-hum to you--unless you've been a victim of credit card fraud like me.

When I got a call a few years ago from confirming my mailing address for a pair of $350 sneakers I had purchased, a few flags went up. One, I'd never been to Two, if you know me, you know I'd never pay $350 for a pair of sneakers (don't ask about my penchant for boots, though). Plus, the mailing address given was not anywhere near Atlanta. Hours of issuing fraud alerts, canceling credit cards and filing police reports left me with questions about how secure my credit card information really was...and what companies were doing to protect it.

Most of us use credit and debit cards on a daily basis without a second thought. This week's Vital Signs gives you information about being PCI compliant as a business, helping to protect you--and your clients--from purchasing a pair of $350 sneakers that aren't even in your size or preferred color.

Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

Extreme Deals with Precision Camera and Emotion MediaPPA members can save even more money by taking advantage of our Extreme Deals with Precision Camera and Emotion Media. But don't wait too long--these deals are ending soon!

The Precision Camera Extreme Deal features discounted prices on digital to infrared conversion services (through November 15), and the Extreme Deal with Emotion Media gets you two free months of slideshow services and free HD video downloads (through November 30). PPA members can learn more about how to start saving here.

kubota_kevin_new.jpgEver get frustrated when it comes to editing your images? We probably all have--it can take a lot of time out of the day! But Kevin Kubota, Cr.Photog., says that editing can be fun. Having an efficient workflow is the key.

"By knowing that you can complete a job in half or a third of the time it normally takes, you can relax more and experiment--have fun with trying new looks and making the images look better overall," he explains.

Kubota's wife, Clare, is a great example of this. She never edited images before, but she had to step in and help with an overload of work.

"I gave her the quick tips--how to use our presets, etc.--and she went to town," recalls Kubota. "Clare got so excited that she can't stop talking about it now. She's wanted to edit all our jobs since then because she's having so much fun! No longer intimidated by the editing process, she is able to put her vision of how the images should look easily into play without any real technical background."

And at the risk of sounding like a plug, Kubota hails his SpeedKeys product as what has made the biggest different in his own speed and enjoyment of workflow. "The whole reason we created this product was to answer my own frustrations with the speed of working on images in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom--even as fast as it is compared to other options."

The SpeedKeys is a wireless keypad, with buttons that correspond to Kubota's most used adjustments and image look presets. Instead of scrolling, clicking or sliding adjustments to get what he needs, he simply presses the button and it's done.

"It's one of those things that after you've used it for a little while, you REALLY miss it when you don't have it," Kubota adds. "It's probably the key reason my wife learned so quickly and began to enjoy editing."

Regardless of what products you use, Kubota says there are three steps to making a difference in your Lightroom workflow:

  • Learn the shortcuts for your most used tools.
  • Understand the nuances of Lightroom, so you use it efficiently.
  • Use a consistent system from start to finish, so you can minimize stress and enjoy the creative side of editing.

So are you ready to have fun with your editing workflow? Join Kubota for more concepts, techniques and tips in his November 17 webinar, "Lightroom Wedding Workflow" (2:00pm EST).

tourine_headshot.jpgTourine Johnstone of Johnstone Studios in Reno/Lake Tahoe, Nev., says that her love of photography began in high school with landscapes. But it wasn't until after marrying her husband, Trevor, that Johnstone pursued photography as a career (a part-time wedding photographer). She quickly realized that she much preferred capturing images of people than of landscapes.

"I have loved photographing people and capturing emotions that you just can't get with landscape photography," Johnstone says of her shift in focus. Ironically, she was inspired to shift to photographing weddings after a bad experience with her own wedding photographer.

"I was inspired and, at the same time, driven to create a niche in our Lake Tahoe/ Renojohnstonestudios1.jpg market that would give others a better experience than we had as a bridal couple," she explains. "We wanted to make a difference and provide our clients an experience they could be proud of. My expertise as a photographer, coupled with Trevor's graphic design background, was just what we needed to jumpstart a successful wedding photography business."

She and Trevor opened their business in 2005. Then, in 2008, she made the move from part-time wedding photographer to full-time studio owner. Johnstone admits that the move was a risky one for them because of the economic downfall. She now considers surviving her first full-time year to be one of her biggest accomplishments as a photographer.

"We creatively designed a variety of portrait promotions and monthly specials that brought in the additional income we needed to sustain our studio," Johnstone says, remembering how they made it that first year. "Going full time quickly taught me that my business success was driven primarily by business management and marketing...and secondly by my talent."

While Johnstone Studios still does a wide variety of portraits, including families and children, Johnstone says that wedding photography is her favorite work. "I enjoy taking the elements of the wedding day--the weather, venue, atmosphere and couple--and creating amazing imagery just for them. Each wedding is a new opportunity to create something unique and fresh."

johnstonestudios2.jpgAs you can see, Johnstone has worked hard to keep her business alive and thriving, while maintaining her love for the art. And she believes that becoming a member of Professional Photographers of America (PPA) was one of the best things she ever did for her business.

"Driven by national resources, PPA offers a perspective outside of our local industry from which we cull ideas to implement in our business," Johnstone adds. "PPA is a universally helpful membership organization, providing business advice, protection for our business practices, networking with amazing colleagues and access to numerous resources. Where else can you get all this from one organization?"

Johnstone Studios won Best Wedding Campaign in the 2009 AN-NE Marketing Awards. Read more here.

Read more about Tourine Johnstone here.


The Imaging EXPO at Imaging USA is the first major industry event of 2011, and hundreds of companies will be offering their latest innovations for sale. Some of these vendors will be offering great trade show specials that you won't want to miss. The following companies already have show specials confirmed:

  • Albums Unlimited
  • Arlington Camera
  • Armadillo Photo Supply
  • Cash Flow Solutions
  • ClearBags
  • Colorado Timberline
  • CPQ Professional Imaging
  • Exclusive Albums
  • Hill & Usher Insurance
  • Hollywood Fotofix
  • ImageQuix
  • Image Wizards/ AluminArte
  • Imaging Spectrum
  • Inspirational Cutouts
  • Jill-e Designs
  • Kimbra Studios
  • Kotori (Photo Jewelry)
  • Larson Enterprises
  • Lenzart Professional Lab
  • The Levin Company
  • LumaPix
  • Lustre Color
  • Neil Enterprises
  • Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
  • NRD, LLC
  • Photobacks
  • Photo Floors
  • Radio Popper
  • Richmond Professional Lab
  • Rotec Photo Cutters
  • Simply Canvas
  • Send Out Cards
  • Snaptotes
  • Tyndell Photographic

Read about these show specials on the interactive Imaging EXPO floor plan by clicking on a vendor and then clicking the Shows Specials tab. Check back frequently because new specials can be added at any time!

Read more about the Imaging EXPO here.

Dear PPA Member,

Reason number 682 of why I love my job: I occasionally get to visit PPA members' studios. Seeing how you work, how you've creatively designed your work and show space, and the atmosphere in which you practice your craft is like taking a peek behind the curtain. It's just plain cool.

I have to say, photographers have some of the most unique "offices" I've ever seen. No one's is the same because they reflect your artistic style, clients and needs. In fact, Jeff Dachowski's studio--which he talks about in this week's Vital Signs--is in a converted factory space in New Hampshire. My ancestors worked in those factories! (But I've been to Jeff's studio, and I bet my ancestors wouldn't recognize it now...)

So if you have a studio, read on to ensure you're getting the most use out of it. And you'll find plenty of things to think about if you don't currently have a studio, but are thinking about designing one--or redesigning one.

Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

You've probably heard that the definition of crazy is doing the same thing again and again...expecting a different result. So don't be crazy. Try something new!

In fact, Imaging USA has added several instructors and classes that will help you discover new ways to grow. From growing your creativity to growing your client base, you'll find fresh ideas here. For example, newly added instructor Anthony Vazquez will teach you "Ten Rocking Ways to Market Yourself" (Jan. 17, 9:00am). You're sure to find something to try here!

This--and other Imaging USA classes and events--allow you to learn tips that work "with no gimmicks," as Vazquez says. It's his goal to share his real-world stories to help you create higher margins and book jobs. That doesn't sound too crazy, now does it?

Discover more new ways to grow by browsing the classes and instructors at
One of the great things in this industry--especially in PPA--is photographers' willingness to share ideas and advice. Have you found an especially effective technique? Know a great marketing or business strategy? Are you a whiz at photo manipulation? Want to share what you've learned? Be a Super Monday Instructor!

The next Super Monday event will be held on May 16, 2011. (December 6 is your deadline to volunteer!) Get ready to build networks and rack up speaking experience (and merits towards a PPA degree).

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

Business tip from James Lersch, M.Photog.Cr., API (Imaging USA 2011 Instructor)

From experience, I know what I'm usually going to get when I ask seniors, "What didn't you like about another studio's senior photos?" They usually explain that the pictures all looked the same...just like everybody else's.

The problem is that many studios just keep doing business as usual. But this is supposed to be about the seniors! It's their senior year, and they should be given an opportunity to express who they are at this momentous time. Each one is unique, and we should treat them that way in the studio (just as they are treated individually in life).

The best way to achieve this is to take the time to talk with our subjects. Get to know who they are on a personal level before you pick up the camera. I know it's hard to believe, but I remember the name of every senior I've photographed because we've made a connection. In fact, they're now friends because I cared and listened.

Anybody can take a photo, but true professionals create images that tell the story.

James Lersch, M.Photog.Cr., API, owns Lersch Photography. He, along with Beth Forester, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, is also teaching the "Seniors My Way!" workshop held during Imaging USA's pre-convention (January 14). During this all-day workshop, you'll learn more about how Lersch gets in the mind of his senior clients.

Bebbs.jpg"As professional photographers battle for market share, mastering photo fusion (the blend of stills, video and audio) can give you a leg up in the market," say Steve and Jen Bebb of Bebb Studios in British Columbia. "It will set you apart from others while brokering a connection between your past and future clients."

Yes, you've probably heard about fusion by now, but the Bebbs want to do more than tell you about it. They want to help you make sense out of it all! That's why they're presenting "On the Road to Photo Fusion," a PPA webinar on November 9 (2:00pm ET). And they're starting by diffusing one key myth:

Myth: Fusion is about becoming a videographer or cinematographer.
Fact: Fusion is about using the tools available to you to "supplement your existing storytelling efforts."

For example, the Bebbs use fusion to augment or enhance still images, giving clients a more complete story of their wedding day. "How much, or how little, video you choose to include is up to you," they say. You could even start by simply adding audio to your photo coverage.

"Surprise your clients by recording their vows and speeches and then overlaying those words in their final slide show," explain the Bebbs. "We did this with a few 'test' weddings, and the resulting buzz was fantastic."

So what's the verdict? Are you interested in offering your clients a little something extra? Want to add some more buzz yourself? Learn the what, why and how of photo fusion during this webinar! After all, as the Bebbs say, "Whether a studio chooses to implement fusion or not is up to them. But as the interest grows, understanding fusion is going to be very important."

Want to learn even more about photo fusion? Attend the Bebbs' Imaging USA class on the subject: "Fusion: A Style Collision."
jwilsonheadshot.jpgJoyce Wilson, M.Photog.Cr., API, F-ASP, began her photographic career in 1961, taking pictures of children with Santa Claus for a local shopping mall in Indiana. What started as a holiday job to earn extra money soon took Wilson down the path of professional photography.

When Wilson delivered the film (for the Santa pictures) to the studio, she couldn't help but notice the oil-painted portraits on the walls. "I told the studio photographer that they were garish, and that I could do a better job with my background in art," remembers Wilson. "Within a few months, I was oil coloring and painting photographic portraits for three local studios."

The next year, the mall asked Wilson to handle the Santa portraits. With that experience and more freelance painting for other photographers under her belt, she realized that most children's portraiture at the time was "rather unimaginative." This motivated her to take night school photography classes. Shortly afterwards, she opened her studio to create "Heritage Portraits" of children...and the rest is history.

Wilson operated a successful studio for many years with her husband. Over time, theyjwilson6.jpg expanded the studio to include photography for weddings, advertising, executive portraiture and editorial assignments. But Wilson's husband passed away in 1970, and by 1984 the pressures of running a studio on her own were beginning to burn her out. In response, she changed her pricing structure and established a new working philosophy.

"I realized that I needed to find new directions," says Wilson, as she recalls making these changes. "So I began experimenting with 35mm, high-speed film and figure nudes. I also began photographing from a different perspective: 'One for Thee; One for Me.' I would do the work the client expected, and then experiment for my personal work."

That personal work soon began to reap rewards. For instance, Wilson's images of children and families were picked up and marketed by a stock photography agency. Her figure nudes began winning awards in juried competitions, and in 1987 she was invited to exhibit her first collection of figure nudes. Today, Wilson's photography is found in many permanent collections of major art museums.  

jwilson1.jpgIn addition to operating her studio and creating her personal work, Wilson began instructing in 1971. "A funny thing happened," she says. "I, who had never wanted to be a teacher when growing up, discovered that I was a born teacher!"

Wilson was soon hosting classes all around the world. After moving to California in 1996, she joined the faculty at the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif., and helped revamp the portrait program. And despite her many accomplishments as a photographer, she says that being an instructor has been her most rewarding experience.

In fact, you can enjoy one of Wilson's favorite pastimes (teaching) by attending her Imaging USA class: "A Golden Thread: 50 Years of Impact, Inspiration & Style"! Learn how she grew from Santa photographer to photographic artist, and learn her creative process, from the inspiration to the realization of her personal work. You'll even see the steps she's used with clients over the years to achieve visual impact.

"I hope photographers attending this class learn to experiment and create images for bothjwilson3.bmp client satisfaction and personal projects, which lead to a more creative and rewarding life," Wilson adds. "The many photographers that I have helped reach their own goals and soar in this wonderful profession...they are what I'm most proud of."

Read more about Imaging USA here.

Read more about Joyce Wilson here.

Joyce Wilson has earned The Gerhard Bakker Award, the PPA Lifetime Achievement Award, the International Photographic Council Leadership Award presented at the United Nations, the ASP Honorary Fellowship and an Honorary Master in Arts and Science from Brooks Institute.


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