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PPA Today: March 2011 Archives

March 2011 Archives

MPE.pngTamron USA, Inc., has announced the launch of MyPhotoExhibits (MPE), an innovative way for photographers looking to showcase their favorite images in a unique, free online venue. Unlike traditional static online galleries, Tamron's SoHo-like MyPhotoExhibits interface, available at, allows users to create customizable 3D exhibits with a vibrant interactive experience.

MyPhotoExhibits offers a creative way to transform the way images are viewed and shared: Photographers simply set up a user avatar and bio, upload their favorite high-resolution images, and create a personalized exhibit space. After organizing the exhibit and captioning the photographs, users can put the finishing touches on their exhibit space, choosing from a variety of gallery spaces (wall and floor textures and colors), photo frames, furniture, and lighting options. It's easy to go back into the MPE interface at any time to add more photos, tweak presentation specs, or create an unlimited number of new exhibits that feature travel pictorials, special events, projects, and more.
International Print Competition

Even though I'm not a photographer (I don't even play one on TV), I get butterflies in my stomach when the photographic competition results are announced. I eagerly review the scores of PPA photographers I know and cheer when they score above that "magic number" of 80. In the next few weeks, I'll have a lot of butterflies and will cheer a lot, as many PPA District Competitions are taking place.

But, as Ed Sullivan said, the "really big show" happens in June. That's when the International Photographic Competition (IPC) is judged in Atlanta. It's amazing to witness the judging firsthand and see all the creative, stunning images that PPA members create. I don't know about you, but my emotions run from giggles to tears as the images are displayed and judged. I leave the IPC feeling proud to be a part of this industry and knowing that working photographers like you are bringing beauty to the world. In my mind, any photographer who enters the IPC should be lauded for competing.

This week's Vital Signs explores the "why" of International Photographic Competition. But whatever your reason for participating, I hope to see your images this year. You inspire the world through your images--share them!

Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

mousepen.jpgGenius, a leading manufacturer of computer peripherals, today releases its MousePen M508W in the USA and Canada. A 5" x 8" wireless graphic-design tablet, the MousePen M508W uses 2.4GHz wireless technology and connects to notebooks and computers via a USB receiver, giving you wide-ranging freedom to move around without any interference. With exceptional value for money, this high-performance tablet is perfect for art teachers, students, and graphic-design professionals, and gives them wireless freedom to paint, draw, write, and edit.

The high-performance stylus is tilt sensitive ±60 degrees and has 1024 pressure levels, making brush strokes thicker or thinner depending on how hard the stylus is pressed, mimicking traditional painting. Perfectly suited for graphic-design professionals, MousePen M508W gives you the same experience as if you were using paint and canvas. As a mouse, the left button is a simple push down with a right-click button and scroll button near the tip along the side. The stylus moves across the 4000 LPI high-resolution contact area as if the screen and tablet were the same, making operation smooth and accurate. You can switch between the 5" x 8" contact area to a 4:3 wide screen contact area, if desired.

dougjirsa.jpgDouglas Jirsa, 62, passed away March 22 in Cherry Valley, Calif. A proud father of two, grandfather of two, and a professional photographer for more than 30 years, he and his wife Donna owned Lasting Impressions, a portrait studio in Redlands. Very active in the industry, Doug was a past president of the Inland Empire Professional Photographers and Videographers and a member of PPA, Professional Photographers of Orange County and Professional Photographers of California (where he was awarded the Service Medallion). Doug was also a strong believer in professional education for photographers, and he was generous with his time and knowledge in many forms of outreach to others in this profession. Our hearts go out to his friends, family and the many lives he has touched.

The memorial service will be held March 31, 2011, at Emmerson-Bartlett Memorial Chapel in Redlands. Viewing will be at 12:30pm, and the service will begin at 1:00pm. A "Celebration of Life" gathering will be held at the Elks Lodge in Redlands.

Doug's obituary can be seen at If you have a favorite memory of Doug, please share it with his family through the Guest Book provided at this link.
We've been updating you on congressional efforts to overturn Section 9006 of the new health care law that mandates small-business owners to file a 1099 form for every business-to-business transaction over $600 a year. We expect the Senate will debate and vote on this issue by the end of today!

Write, email or call your senators and tell them to vote "yes" on S.Amdt.161 to S.493, the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011. This amendment is the exact same language you succeeded in getting the U.S. House of Representatives to pass earlier this month.  Passage of this bill by the Senate will finally ensure that it becomes a law. Visit the Contact Congress page to act now.

Remember, this new reporting requirement has nothing to do with improving your access to affordable and quality health care. It simply forces photographers like you to spend more time on tax compliance rather than running a business. Read more about the importance of eliminating this tax provision here.

The Epson Stylus Pro line of printing solutions is expanding once again with a wider selection of Designer Edition bundles that combine award-winning Epson Stylus Pro printers with an industry-leading EFI eXpress for Epson Software RIP. These bundles are engineered to deliver powerful yet easy-to-use solutions for professional graphic designers and photographers, enabling them to print their creative visions as they see them. The Epson Stylus Pro 4900 Designer Edition is now joined by the Epson Stylus Pro 3880, 7890 and 9890 Designer Editions.

The combination of these printers and the EFI eXpress for Epson RIP gives users the unique ability to create color accurate CMYK comps, proofs, and mockups, alongside RGB photographs. The software includes sophisticated yet simple to use spot color support with embedded libraries for DIC, HKS, PANTONE, and Toyo, ensuring accurate color production out of the box. True Adobe interpreters allow for complete compatibility with the latest design suites on a Mac or PC.

In addition, users can work the way that suits them best by printing directly from the application, importing or dragging and dropping on to the RIP interface, or by sending files from a single PC or in a networked group to hot folders. Full support is included for all Epson proofing, packaging, photographic, and fine art media, with the ability for the user to add new CMYK or RGB profiles for additional media types.

Pricing and Availability

All four Epson Stylus Pro Designer Edition bundles are now available through authorized Epson Professional Graphics resellers at the following prices (MSRP) with additional mail-in rebate offers:

Epson Stylus Pro 3880 (17-inch) Designer Edition -- $1,495 ($1,195 after $300 mail-in rebate)
Epson Stylus Pro 4900 (17-inch) Designer Edition -- $2,995 ($2,495 after $500 mail-in rebate)
Epson Stylus Pro 7890 (24-inch) Designer Edition -- $3,495 ($2,745 after $750 mail-in rebate)
Epson Stylus Pro 9890 (44-inch) Designer Edition -- $5,495 ($4,745 after $750 mail-in rebate)
Each Epson Stylus Pro Printer is supported with a standard Epson Preferred Limited Warranty, a one-year program that includes toll-free advanced telephone access Monday through Friday and usually next business-day on-site service in the unlikely event of any hardware failure. Epson Preferred Plus service plans are available that cover both the hardware and software for up to two additional years. For additional information, visit
ds_damagedsdcard.jpgWith the advent of digital photography and flash memory, a new set of potential data loss problems evolved. DriveSavers Data Recovery has assembled the following list of tips, which covers proper methods to handle flash memory cards and help prevent the potential loss of irreplaceable photographs.

  1. BACK UP YOUR IMAGES!- Protect yourself and your images by implementing a regular backup plan to guard against data loss when (not if) your computer's hard drive crashes or your camera's memory card fails.

  2. TRANSFER YOUR PHOTOS. - After a photo session, always copy the image files from the camera's flash memory to a computer's hard drive a soon as you can. We recommend that you do not delete images or reformat the memory card until all the photos are transferred and verified.

  3. AVOID CORRUPTION. - Take care when removing flash memory from a card reader. Avoid corrupting images by using the eject command on the computer before physically removing the card.

  4. MAKE MORE THAN ONE COPY. - Back up your backup. Whenever possible make at least two copies of critical files and keep a duplicate set offsite in a secure location.

  5. PROTECT YOUR CARDS. - Always use the original plastic case that your card came packaged in, when transporting it. Without the case, simple static buildup can zap the card and make it unreadable.

  6. DON'T STORE CARDS IN YOUR POCKET! - Although most flash memory cards are somewhat durable, it's best not to store them in your pocket. Cards can break in your pocket or worse--end up in the wash with your clothing.

  7. REPLACE YOUR FLASH MEMORY CARDS. - The life expectancy of flash media continues to grow, but the likelihood of a card "going bad" during a shoot is still a possibility. Take extra precaution and replace your heavily used camera cards every six months.

  8. AVOID EXTREME TEMPERATURES. - Extreme heat, cold and humidity can wreak havoc with digital equipment, especially flash memory. Whenever possible, protect your equipment from exposure by preparing in advance for expected climate conditions.

  9. DON'T READ A WET CARD. - If your flash memory card gets wet, do not try and read the files using a card reader. If the card is wet inside its plastic housing, you will likely short out the electronics, which can make the photos irretrievable.

DriveSavers, Inc. was the first company to successfully recover data from digital cameras and is recommended by all digital camera manufacturers to perform data recovery on their digital media products. To learn more about DriveSavers Data Recovery services for digital cameras and special programs for digital arts, visit:

PPA Members save on data recovery services with DriveSavers Data Recovery!
db_walton_headshot.jpgLike many who are professional photographers now, D. Brent Walton, CPP, of Photography by DB Walton in Palmyra, N.Y., has been passionate about photography since his childhood. However, he never considered turning pro until 2000 when a friend asked him to photograph his daughter's wedding. (And even then, it wasn't his idea!)

Walton's wife noticed his passion and enthusiasm when he was capturing the wedding, and she suggested that he start his own photography business. "Knowing I had her full support, I jumped at the opportunity!" he recalls.

Since opening that business, Walton has found success as a portrait photographer in part because of his ability to capture fashion and "beauty-style" portraits. That focus on beauty runs throughout all his work. In fact, he's even adopted the tag line of "capturing beauty" because he believes there is "something beautiful in all people."

In addition to his portrait work, Walton recently completed a series of photographs that will bedbwalton4.jpg published in several 2012 issues of The Friend, a children's magazine. The project involved traveling to four different cities and photographing children in those areas. He sees it as one of his biggest accomplishments, largely because he was able to navigate the tricky steps of negotiating a contract.

"The biggest challenge of the job was that contract. The photography was simply the icing on the cake," he says.

Still, like all photographers, Walton says that he is constantly challenged by the over-saturation of photographers in the market. Along with educating himself about the latest technology, he overcomes this hurdle by creating unique sets and props to set his portraits apart even more.

"As photographers, we can fall into the trap of thinking, 'If I only had this, then I could do that,'" says Walton. "But we are in the business of creating. We do not need to wait for the latest software or gadget. If you don't have it and can't afford it, then create it." 

A few days ago, PPA asked if (and why) you registered your images with the U.S. Copyright Office, so we could share your thoughts with those on Capitol Hill. Here is what we found from the 2,830 photographers who responded (March 24-28):

How often do you register your work with the Copyright Office?

  • 2,392 (84%) of respondents said they NEVER register their work.
  • 41 (1%) of respondents said they ALWAYS register.
  • 324 (11%) of respondents said they OCCASIONALLY register.

Of those who always register their images:

  • 210 (38%) want the additional protection offered by copyright registration.
  • 111 (20%) wanted to establish their copyright ownership.
  • 16 (2%) specifically registered to pursue an infringement suit.

Of those who choose not to register their work or register on a regular basis:

  • 651 (25%) of respondents said they never heard about registration.
  • 636 (24%) of respondents said it is too time consuming.
  • 355 (13%) of respondents said it is too expensive.

These results were presented during a discussion about photographic copyright protection with Maria Pallante, Acting Register of the Copyright Office, on March 28. To read more about this meeting, check out "PPA Heads to Capitol Hill March 28-29."

To learn more about copyright registration, download the 2010 PPA Copyright Kit and watch the free Member Essentials Webinar "How to Protect and Register your Images."

PPA is back on Capitol Hill (March 28-29) to build on the momentum of our first visit, and this time we are headed to the Senate side.  We will tell the story of photographers and photographic copyright to new senators, especially those who serve on the Judiciary Committees.  

Meetings of note this trip are with the following:

Majority Counsel - Curtis Legeyt of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  Our focus during this meeting is to determine how the Committee intends to direct its intellectual property agenda.  In particular, we hope to learn more about the possibility of "rogue website" legislation being reintroduced this Congress.  (The Judiciary Committee sent a bill to the floor last year, but it was too late in the session to be passed.)  

Acting Register of the Copyright Office - Maria Pallante.
  Our goal here is to determine the direction the Copyright Office is taking with registration.  We will make our case for eliminating or reducing the mandatory deposit requirement when registering groups of images (making it less burdensome to photographers). We will also push for a better definition of the "published" and "unpublished" image registration categories. This would make it easier for photographers to classify their work and avoid submitting an inaccurate registration application.

Remember: You can follow CEO David Trust on Twitter during this Capitol Hill visit to learn the latest!
morden_headshot.jpgChristine Morden, CPP, of Paradise Photography in the Turks and Caicos Islands, says that her interest in photography began about 20 years ago when an uncle introduced her to black-and-white photography. However, it took a trip to the Caribbean to really get her photographic passion going. That trip actually inspired her to quit her job as a Washington, D.C. lawyer and open her photography business in Turks and Caicos.

Turning to Photography
Upon returning from her Caribbean vacation, Morden spread all the photographs she had taken on her living room floor and was blown away by the results. "The colors were just amazing," she recalls. "Seeing those colors did something to my brain, especially in gray Washington, D.C."

Shortly thereafter, she started a fine art photography business on the side of her attorney career. But when the anthrax scare hit D.C., Morden couldn't get into her office for days...and the photography bug took a more serious hold. She went and photographed the monuments, getting shots that most couldn't due to her credentials and access.

While photographing the city, Morden had an epiphany about what she really wanted to do with her life: Take her little fine art business and turn it into something she could live off of.  To help realize this goal, she attended the Maryland Professional Photographers Association (MDPPA) convention. She was so inspired that she joined MDPPA shortly after leaving her high-powered law job in Washington, D.C..

"For a year, I attended all the meetings, participated in photographic competition and talked tomorden1.jpg the mentors," she says of her beginnings. "That year of learning was so valuable to me. It got me to a level of photographing people...not just things. Photographers even let me come with them to weddings, so I could learn on the job!"

Taking Photography to the Islands
After that year, Morden opened Paradise Photography on the Turks and Caicos Islands. And she credits those islands with leading her to do a little bit of every type of photography.

"On an island, you are called to photograph families, weddings, commercial work (food, resorts, real estate), etc." she explains. "Lots of people who go to the islands for events and photo shoots would rather hire a local than fly another photographer in."

chicks2011.jpgPPA Charities has announced the speaker line-up for their Chicks Who Click conference, June 23-26, at the Firesky Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. This year will feature the opening reception in the Boutique Show, an early morning Photographic Shoot-Out for attendees, extended Break-Out sessions for hands on learning and as usual plenty of quality time where speakers and attendees can hang out together.

Earlybird registration, only $279, (PPA members, until 3/31/11) includes receptions, Saturday dinner, three breakfasts and Girls Night Out.

PPA is also offering an SMS 2-Day Business Basics Workshop immediately prior to Chicks Who Click at the same location. (extra fee)

Speakers and topics include:

  • Sandy Puc', M.Photog.Cr.
    How to Make Pigs Fly...and other marketing magic!
  • Ann Monteith, M.Photog.Cr., Hon.M.Photog., A-ASP
    Charitable Marketing and Pet Photography
  • Jen Hillenga, M.Photog.Cr.
    Seniors and PhotoShop & Other Stuff
  • Jenn Hudson, M.Photog.Cr.
    Flying Lessons: An Honest, Unpretentious and Revealing Program About True Living in Photography, Balancing with Prospect, and Leaving Room for You.
  • Carol Andrews, M.Photog.Cr.
    Citra-Solv Altered Inks Experience
  • Susan Michal, M.Photog.Cr.
  • Kay Eskridge, M.Photog.Cr.
    Celebrate Sexy Boudoir Portraits
  • Cindy Behnke, M.Photog.Cr.
    The Fine Art of Maternity Portraits
  • Susan Michal, M.Photog.Cr.
    Wedding Photography
  • Vicki Taufer, M.Photog.Cr.
    Finding Joy in Your Journey
Dear PPA Member,

I love the saying: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result."

Are you insane? Well, what are you doing in your business to push yourself to try new things and achieve different results?

PPA's International Photographic Competition is your solution to the insanity of your daily life. By entering your images, you can earn recognition, merits and a sense of accomplishment...not to mention the bragging rights, awards and ways to promote yourself to clients.

This week's Vital Signs gives you ways to prepare (your images and mind) to get involved with PPA's International Photographic Competition. While you may still be a little insane (we all are, you know...and it's not a bad thing!), at least you could have award-winning images to show for it!

Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

P.S. Midwest Transaction Group (PPA's Affinity Partner for credit card processing services) is offering an Extreme Deal that couldn't be any more extreme--a telephone-based credit card processing application with no setup or monthly fees. If you've considered accepting credit cards payments in the past, but thought it was too expensive for the number of payments you would accept, find out more about this Extreme Deal here.

Please take a moment to answer three questions in our Copyright Registration Quick Poll. Your responses will help us in our copyright efforts on Capitol Hill.

Your timely response is appreciated. This poll will close on Monday, March 28 at 12pm ET.
Gary Fong, Inc. ( will launch an addition to its popular lineup of Puffer Pop-Up Flash Diffusers with the introduction of the Micro Four Thirds Puffer on March 28th. Designed for the growing segment of popular micro four thirds, mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (ILC), including the Olympus® PEN Series and the Lumix® GF Series, the Micro Four Thirds Puffer is specifically designed to eliminate shadows and deliver professional-style diffused lighting even from these over-powered pop-up flashes. The Micro Four Thirds Puffer's compact size makes it ideal for travel and its universal capability make it ideal for portraits, group shots, or any scene that requires fill flash.

With the Micro Four Thirds Puffer Pop-Up Flash Diffuser in place, photographers can combat the limitations of micro four thirds-style camera flashes that make up for their compact size with immense power but can leave unflattering shadows and blown out detail in highlight areas.  Affixing directly to the camera's hot-shoe, the variable-position Puffer is adjustable for center positioning on camera models with off center flash placement found in the popular micro four thirds cameras. The offset Puffer does not interfere with in-camera systems to ensure the full capabilities of the camera are preserved. When not in use, the sturdy, travel-friendly Puffer stores flat and stows easily in a camera bag or even a photographer's pocket.   

"For users of the wildly popular micro four thirds mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, the convenience and capabilities of these devices are often hamstrung by the compact nature of their flash.  Despite the rapid growth of this segment, finding a solution for these over-powered flashes is a requirement for any shooter looking to control the light like a pro," said Gary Fong, photographer and CEO of Gary Fong, Inc. "By adding the Micro Four Thirds Puffer to our line of innovative Puffer Pop-Up Flash Diffusers, we've developed yet another solution for creating professional-style lighting effects in a truly transportable and travel-friendly package."

The Micro Four Thirds Puffer Pop-Up Flash Diffuser will be available for $21.95.  For more information on this new Puffer, the existing Puffer line, or to purchase any Gary Fong products, visit
During our March 14-15 visit to Capitol Hill--the first visit since the new Congress convened in January--PPA met with seven congressional offices and gathered up copyright news to share with you.

Building Relationships
One of PPA's reasons for visiting the Hill was to start building relationships with freshman (first-term) members of the U.S. House of Representatives, especially those involved in intellectual property (IP) and copyright issues. That's why we met with  current members of the Committee on the Judiciary, with the bulk of them being members of the Committee's Intellectual Property Subcommittee.  

In fact, we may have found a new "friend to photographers" in Rep. Tom Marino (R-10th-PA)! Marino showed an interest in hearing about small-business photographers and learning more about photographic copyrights.  As he also co-sponsored and helped pass the 1099 repeal, it appears we have laid the groundwork for an excellent relationship with someone sympathetic to the needs of small-business owners.

More Copyright News

While we were on the Hill, the IP Subcommittee also had a March 14 hearing (titled "Promoting Investment and Protecting Commerce Online:  Legitimate Sites vs. Parasites, Part I") on rogue website legislation that was seemingly well-received by the copyright community.  The witnesses stressed the importance of protecting creators and consumers from the effects of online piracy and counterfeit.  

All of the news reports that have come out of the hearing give the impression that the Subcommittee is serious about taking on this issue with some sort of legislative fix. After all, the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) recently asked Congress to consider legislation that will do the following, based on the administration's position on counterfeit and piracy penalties:

  • Increase existing criminal penalties (i.e., longer sentencing, greater fines).
  • Make online infringement (specifically "infringement by streaming or by means of other similar new technology") a felony.
  • Give law enforcement greater tools to combat such infringement (specifically cites wiretap).

Add all that together--the new relationships, the rogue website hearing, and the infringement penalties that will hopefully be considered--and we may be in for some good news on the copyright front!

As always, PPA will keep you posted. You can even follow CEO David Trust on Twitter during his Capitol Hill visits, including the trip next week: March 28-29!
Forester_Beth.jpgTired of shooting a marathon senior portrait session only to be disappointed by a puny order? Take some advice from Beth Forester, M.Photog.Cr., CPP: Don't sell yourself short!

Forester backs up her advice with 15 years of hard a challenging environment no less! "In West Virginia, we have been in an economic downturn for over 50 years. So, I know all about selling to people in poor economic conditions," explains Forester. "I've had to do it for the entire time I've been in business."

In her upcoming online class, "Don't Sell Yourself Short: Essentials of Senior Sales & Marketing" (March 29, 2:00pm EST), Forester will share some of that experience. She'll help you learn to analyze your sessions and sales to create a pricing structure that ensures a successful senior campaign. From setting minimums to attracting the right kind of client, she is ready to share what "to do" and what "not to do."

For example, she thinks that time is the most commonly overlooked factor in pricing and selling to senior clients. "A lot of photographers know to have different session fees for the sessions that take more time and so on," Forester says. "But the average sales from any of those sessions are usually about the same, whether the photographer spent one hour or five hours shooting. That's why I have different purchase minimums, too. This way, I'm guaranteed a profit on the sessions that include more time on my part."

And that's just one sample of the smart sales structuring that Forester has created in her business. In fact, all of her products come with a good, better, best structure. It's the "art of the upgrade."

"When selling to clients, it is important for progression to occur to the higher ticket items," she explains. "A custom senior album can be hard to choke down when you only have one option (for $995). But if you have various options at progressive prices, it's easier for people to upgrade." That kind of pricing helps the clients focus on the smaller number--the fact that it is only a $150 upgrade as opposed to a $995 item.

Such upgrading possibilities are never-ending in Forester's studio (and it's one of the top 10 tips she'll share in her online class). As she says, "I never want a ceiling to my sales!"

So, tune in on March 29 and raise your own sales ceiling to reach greater profitability with Beth Forester's help.

Oman_Rod.jpgRod Oman, M.Photog., CPP, of The Imagery in Burnsville, Minn., has been involved with photography his whole life. It all began at the age of seven when he asked his parents, "Why do only big people get to use cameras?"

Luckily, Oman's parents decided to encourage his early interest in he is teaching Super Monday this year to encourage other photographers, too!

Growing Up in Photography
This lucky boy had access to a community darkroom as he was growing up in Duluth, Minn. Since his mother was a night nurse, his parents took him to the darkroom to take classes (and to keep him out of the house so his mother could get some sleep!). Those early classes inspired Oman to continue in photography. In fact, his sixth-grade science fair project was on photography, and he served on his high school's yearbook staff as the photo editor.

Rod_oman1.jpgWhile in college at Moorhead State University (studying for his Mathematics and Mass Communications degrees), Oman stayed very involved in photography. He photographed for his college newspaper and a local daily newspaper, worked at a photo lab, sold cameras and did portraits of children in a one-hour studio.

After graduating from college, Oman began working for the Fairmont Sentinel newspaper as a photographer. He also began shooting weddings on the weekends. "I soon realized that I was making more money from the weddings on the weekends than from the 40-hour-per-week newspaper business," he remembers.

Rod_oman2.jpgAnd while Oman eventually left the newspaper business to pursue portrait and wedding photography, he still considers that time to be one of his big accomplishments. "I love it when people I photographed 20 years ago for the paper find me and tell me they still remember the photos I took of them."

Before establishing The Imagery (his studio) in Minnesota, Oman spent some time perfecting his skills as a portrait and wedding photographer working at several studios in Wisconsin. He even earned a Fuji Award for his wedding work at his very first Wisconsin state convention! Now, though, his specialty is capturing portraits of high school seniors, kids and families.

"I am still a kid myself, and I love learning about people," explains Oman. This new family-focused specialty helps him do just that.

Sharing His Skills (& His Portrait Park)

Oman has an interesting ace up his sleeve when it comes to his portraits. It's his studio's unique backyard portrait park. You'll get to see the portrait park and learn the techniques he uses for outdoor and indoor portraiture in his "Backyard Photo Safari" Super Monday class in Burnsville, Minn., on May 16.

There will be plenty of hands-on opportunities to practice, as several models (of different ages) will be on hand. Plus, you will learn "easy time-savers and neat backgrounds that don't cost an arm or a leg or your first-born."

"It's all about the experience," adds Oman, explaining the purpose of his Super Monday class. "Once you are confident in your ability and your equipment, you no longer have to focus on that aspect...and you can learn about the individual, the client, instead."

Learn more about Oman's class and browse more Super Monday classes in more locations at

Super Monday is an educational program sponsored by PPA every spring and fall. These daylong, interactive workshops are conducted in locations around the country, allowing PPA members to earn merits for sharing their craft and enabling all photographers to learn new skills and develop professional networking contacts.

Read more about Oman here
Imagine . . . a credit card processing option that won't cost you anything unless you use it!

Imagine no more! It's now available to PPA members through this Extreme Deal offer from Midwest Transaction Group (MTG). And this deal couldn't be any more extreme--it's a telephone-based credit card processing application with no setup or monthly fees. If you've considered accepting credit cards payments in the past, but thought it was too expensive for the number of payments you would accept, this Extreme Deal is a deal you simply can't pass up!

Take advantage of:

  • No expensive equipment to buy.
  • No setup or monthly fees to pay.
  • Pay only when you process a transaction (at a rate of 2.65% +  $0.50 per transaction).
PPA members can learn more about this Extreme Deal here. And don't wait--this Extreme Deal runs only through April 15, 2011!

I dare you to be selfish.

Perhaps selfish isn't the right sentiment, though you may think it is. What I mean is focusing on your own success. I dare you to give yourself something that you need to succeed. Carving out time from your busy weeks to develop new skills isn't being selfish, but you may think you have so much to do that such education can be postponed. After all, there's always "later."

Your "later" is now. Super Monday makes it easy for you to be "selfish" and help yourself, your business and your life. With classes being offered in almost every state, you don't have to travel far. (This year, there are also classes in the U.K., Italy and Spain, so you also have an excuse to travel if you want. Please send postcards!)

If you don't know about Super Mondays, this week's Vital Signs will give you more reasons why you need to attend--from instructors and PPA members who have attended. It's a win-win for everyone involved.

So, go ahead. Be selfish. You'll be glad you did.

Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

P.S. Cases (and digital entries) are now being accepted for the 2011 International Photographic Competition. Register, review the new rules and watch tutorial videos in the Competitions section of

Black River Imaging has announced a new ordering software called Cascade. By allowing three-dimensional, real-time previews of an album or book, Cascade is the software for photographers tired of using poorly designed, complicated ordering software that eats away time and patience.
At its core, Cascade's virtual interface allows the photographer to build and flip through an album or book in 3-D. The user can visualize the cover colors, textures and inside pages as they would appear when actually printed and bound. Photographers can drag and drop layouts they have created on their own, or have the ability to create on the fly with a large library of select layouts for the perfect fit.
Cascade has a direct and clear ordering experience, elminating all worry and guesswork. And that includes pricing. Cascade tallies the cost along the way, allowing each photographer to make better business decisions about which options to include or not.
The ability to visually access photos, templates and layouts in a single screen means clutter is avoided. Black River Imaging has removed the confusion associated with clicking through tabs and separate windows to find a desired element. Cascade also allows multiple albums and book designs in one order, and the ability to add a sample version of an album or book at checkout, without having to rebuild or restart the order.
Black River Imaging has been serving professional photographers for 40 years, offering photo albums and wall prints, as well as novelty and sports products. Live chat and customer service is available Monday through Friday, 8:00am-10:00pm CST on its website,, or by phone at 1-888-321-4665.

ipc2011.jpgYou can start uploading and registering your images for the 2011 International Photographic Competition right now! Remember, whether you choose to enter with prints or digital files (the newest time- and money-saving option!), all entries must be registered online by April 27.

NOTE TO ALL DISTRICT COMPETITORS: If you are participating in any of the 2011 district competitions, please wait one week after your district competition has completed before registering for the international competition. This is to ensure that any seals you may earn on a entry in district competition is successfully transfered to your international entry.

PPA is working to reduce the tax burden placed on small businesses by last year's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. One of our goals is to at least delay the implementation of a potentially harmful tax penalty that unfairly targets small businesses.

The penalty at issue (enacted by last year's health care reform law) is intended to prevent employers from selecting health care plans that favor "highly compensated individuals" (HCI). HCIs are currently defined as the top 25 percent of wage earners or the five highest paid officers. This definition is sure to have the greatest impact on small businesses. With so few employees, they will be the group most impacted by this penalty.

Members, click here to read more about this issue.

Read more about PPA's advocacy on Capitol Hill here.
brandy_rosenberger.jpgBrandy Rose Rosenberger, 32, of Pennsylvania, passed away unexpectedly on March 10, 2011. She and her loving husband Andrew celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary in December.

A PPA member, Brandy owned and operated All That Glitters Photography in Souderton, Pa. She enjoyed taking wedding and family images, especially baby portraits. "Brandy had been in business a mere five years and had accomplished so much," says friend and fellow PPA member Jeanine Rebeck. "Her many clients will always treasure the wonderful memories she has preserved for them."

In addition to photography, she enjoyed gardening, cooking and, especially, time with her children: three-year-old Evelyn Mary Rosenberger and one-year-old Naomi Claire Rosenberger.

"Brandy was an exceptional photographer who was dedicated to her craft...but even more so to her family," adds Rebeck. "She will live on in her children and in the art she created. She was greatly loved and will be greatly missed."

Memorial services will be held Thursday, March 17, at 3:00pm in the Blooming Glen Mennonite Church. Family will receive friends from 1:00pm to 2:30pm prior to the service. Interment will be private at the convenience of the family. Arrangements are by the Sadler-Suess Funeral Home, Telford, Pa. (

connors_headshot.jpgPhotography has a way of sticking with's a love some just can't shake (and why would you want to?). You could say that Kevin M. Connors, M.Photog.Cr., of Coast Highway Photography near San Diego, Calif., is one of those who didn't get away.

Connors has been making images for more than 25 years. He started as a teenager in his basement, developing images in a traditional darkroom as a hobby. Still, he worked for 15 years in corporate America before deciding to return to his photographic roots seven years ago.

Smart Decisions
"I was looking for a way to make a living doing something I truly loved," says Connors of hisconnors1.jpgmotivation to start Coast Highway Photography. "Plus, I wanted to work for myself in an environment where I wouldn't have to be on a plane every other week."

His decision was a smart one. Since opening his business, Connors has seen strong gains every year. In fact, 2010 was the best year yet measured in revenue and profit!

Perhaps one of the factors in his success is how he handles his family photography focus. Connors says that his specialty is capturing clients in environmental locations that have a special meaning to them. "I love to photograph any moment in personal and family history, which is the best way to build a strong, versatile business," he says. Plus, such settings provide clients with images that are very special to them...and they tend to buy more and larger prints, increasing his profitability!

In addition, Connors learned inkjet printing and began printing his own work on large fine art paper, which has become a successful product line. He displays seven 60-inch prints in his studio and many others that are 40 inches or larger on, as he says, "beautiful paper that literally lasts for hundreds of years."

"I've built a brand around this concept and tell clients that we're in the 'family heirloom' business," adds Connors.

Constant Challenges
Although his business found success quickly, Connors knows that his biggest challenge is new client acquisition.

"We've built client loyalty programs, but at our price points, most clients won't come to us every year," he explains. "That means finding new clients is the single most important marketing outcome we work towards."

connors2.jpgIn order to face that challenge, Connors has built great partnerships with other relevant businesses,  has done a lot of pro bono work, and has donated many sessions to worthy charities. And that's not all he's done to increase client awareness...

"Two years ago we moved to a larger retail location on the perfect street in North County San Diego: Cedros Avenue and the Cedros Design District," adds Connors. "I can track many tens of thousands of dollars to our walk-in business now."

walshnewton_headshot.jpgChristine Walsh-Newton, CPP, of Christine Walsh-Newton Photography in Dover, Ohio, describes photography as a "way of life" for her for over 40 years. In fact, she comes from a photographic family and owes her childhood hobby to the two professional photographers in her family.

In addition to those pros, she describes the many hobbyists in her family as "very good amateurs." Clearly, photography is in her (and her family's) blood! However, despite briefly majoring in photography in college, it would be 20 years before Walsh-Newton pursued it seriously. But when she did, she dove into the industry full tilt.

In 2006, she was laid off from her full-time job due to industry down-sizing, and she began shooting as a freelance photographer for a variety of local newspapers. Impressively, by 2008, Walsh-Newton had earned her Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) designation, which she believes is one of her biggest accomplishments. And by 2009, she had opened her own full-time studio. Since then, she has received a Bronze Photographer of the Year Award from PPA in 2010 and co-authored "The Daily Book of Photography," also published in 2010.

Walsh-Newton found her success as a photographer partly by specializing in theatrical production photography and actor headshots--a specialty she has a solid background in andwalshnewton1.jpg simply loves.

"I chose this area because I have been a member of my community theatre for over 30 years and have shot many productions for them and surrounding theatres. And through word of mouth, I have had many actors as clients," explains Walsh-Newton. "Theatre photography is definitely something I am passionate about!"

But to succeed as a photographer in this tough economy, it is often important to be diverse. That's why Walsh-Newton shoots portrait photography in addition to her theatre work.

"I'm in a depressed economic area," she adds. "The biggest challenge has been how to survive as a business in an economy that forces clients to shop by price. I've had some success in educating my clients as to what 'quality' photography is, and I've had additional success by marketing myself in areas that I may not have considered school photography." 
Ridinger.jpgEver notice that a senior guy never opens up in front of the camera with his mom in the room? That's because he is often wired that way. Mike Ridinger of Ridingers: The Art of Photography in Idaho has learned to work around most of these "problems"...and he's going to share how during his online class, "Senior Posing: How to Get the Poses You (and They) Want" (March 22, 2:00pm ET).

Ridinger takes his job of photographing seniors seriously. In order to better connect with such clients, he listens to their music, watches their TV shows and tries to learn what they like. "XBOX is king with senior guys!" he adds.

Why is knowing that sort of thing important? Well, it's part of Ridinger's number one rule when photographing a senior: direct eye contact and genuine conversation.

(For the actual photography part, he uses a camera stand in the studio and a tripod outside. Yes, he does freehand a bit, but he mostly sticks to the he is "not just a lens sticking in their face.")

At the end of a session, Mike knows he's done his job when a senior boy shakes his hand and thanks him for a great time. Do you want to earn similar reactions from more and more of your senior clients? Join him March 22 at 2:00pm to gather some great ideas.

As Mike says, "Even if you only grab one small piece of information that helps, it is always worth the time to hear that!"
PPA is visiting Capitol Hill on March 14 and 15 to tell new members of Congress about professional photographers and the importance of strong copyright laws.  We will be meeting with members of the House Committee on the Judiciary, specifically those representatives who serve on the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet (IP Subcommittee).

As an added bonus, many of the members we will meet with in the House co-sponsored and/or voted to pass the bill repealing the 1099 tax reporting mandate. Knowing the representatives viewed this bill favorably tells us they are sympathetic to the struggles facing small-business owners and will understand the financial impact of copyright infringement on our members.

PPA will also take the time to attend the first of two IP Subcommittee hearings on rogue websites, sites that host and often distribute infringing content. We'll let you know more in the following days.

Dear PPA Member,

I'm the kid you hated in school. Hand always raised high, asking questions from the teacher about a particular topic.  I didn't mind homework or research. For me, it was just more opportunities to get better acquainted with an area that could be interesting. It wasn't always easy, though. When I struggled with my German classes at university, I got a tutor and then put together a study group for all of my classmates so that we could learn from each other. Not only did I pass the classes, but I also developed lifelong friendships.  As you can see, I love learning and believe you should grasp every opportunity presented. 

At PPA, we also believe in education. We believe that learning never stops and that no matter where you are in your career, you can still have those "AHA!" moments. You never know what workshop, class or seminar could change how you do business and approach your craft. Such quality educational offerings (in all forms) separate PPA from other organizations. We offer the best education throughout the year with some of the best instructors in the industry...because we want you to be the best photographers.

For this week's Vital Signs, we talked with PPA Affiliate instructors about what they believe are today's important topics for learning. Those topics don't involve learning to conjugate the verb "to be" in the German plusquamperfekt konjunktiv  (be thankful!), but with PPA's educational offerings, you have a world of cool ideas and concepts to discover.

Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

PPA's 2011 Coupon Book is now available. Members can access it here.

The 2011 Coupon Book provides PPA members with exclusive discounts and promotions from our top corporate members. These are unique incentives for PPA members only.

You'll find coupons for discounts on products and services from companies including:

  • American Color Imaging
  • APR Props
  • Candid Color
  • Clickbooq
  • Denny Manufacturing
  • DriveSavers
  • ESS Data Recovery
  • Exclusive Albums
  • Full Color
  • iFP3
  • Lowepro
  • Lustre Color
  • My Photo Impression
  • Neil Enterprises
  • Photostock Plus
  • Photo Express Digital Pro Lab
  • Rice Studio Supply
  • Sharedink
  • Showcase Photo & Video
  • Wicker by Design
  • Wildcat Wholesale

The Coupon Book is an exclusive benefit for PPA members. Click here to read about more membership benefits.

PPA has been helping photographers grow for over 140 years, and our resources to help you and the industry have only grown stronger. Take a walk in the past to learn about PPA's beginnings (and photography itself) via the History of PPA video. You'll see why we're proud to be PPA...and you will be, too! (Feel free to share this video on your own blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed or website.)

wayne_miller_headshot.jpgWayne Miller, Cr.Photog., CPP, of Wayne Miller Photography in the San Francisco Bay area has been involved with photography for over 30 years, starting at the young age of six.

"As long as I can recollect, I have been passionate about photography and working with people," Miller says of his early interest in photography. "From the first time I held a camera in my hand, at age six, I knew that capturing images would follow me in life."

As a six-year-old, he might not have thought that in those exact words, but the essence was true: Photography followed him wherever he went. When he reached high school, Miller worked as a photojournalist for his school newspaper. He then used those photojournalistic skills to promote his own construction business for two decades. At one point, Miller even tried to set photography aside. He did so for a decade...until the shift to digital whetted his photographic passion again.

wayne_miller3.jpgFinally, in 2006, Miller began his business as a part-time professional photographer. In the summer of 2007, he started his own home studio. When the economic downturn began in 2008, Miller discovered that his other job had been eliminated. Luckily, he had photography to fall back on and has been operating his business full time ever since.
difference.JPGDo consumers know the difference a professional photographer can make? Professional Photographers of America (PPA) has taken several more steps in spreading that message. We have launched additional online advertising programs in support of the See the Difference consumer awareness campaign, and we're making the video we're using available to members for use on your websites, social media sites and in your studios!

All of the See the Difference materials explain the value of photography and, above all, why to choose a PPA member. Focusing on wedding photography, senior photography and family/children photography respectively, the campaigns encourage prospects to search our online PPA database--Find-a-Photographer--to find their professional photographer.

You also may see our ads on Google, Facebook and other online sites, pushing consumers to those landing pages. Please don't click on the ads (we know it's tempting) because we will incur costs for those clicks and it will make our tracking data inaccurate.

Want the spread the word yourself? Download the See the Difference video now and use it on your blog, Facebook page and anywhere else you'd like. Include it with copy about your professionalism and PPA membership to drive the message home.

Together, we can help the world see the difference a professional photographer makes for those once-in-a-lifetime memories.

We'll be adding more resources and new videos throughout the year, so stay up-to-date by reading PPA Today or joining us on PPA's Facebook page for all the latest news. Learn more about the start of the See the Difference campaign here.

Jenkins.jpgWould you like to make your senior portrait orders more profitable? That's what Andrew Jenkins hopes to help you with during his "Great Senior Ideas That Work" webinar (March 15, 2:00pm ET).

Hearing and learning about such new ideas is always good for business in one way or another. After all, you can't keep doing the same things and expect a different result! Jenkins, for example, is always looking for new products to set his studio apart.

"We work very closely with our lab to help brainstorm new products we can offer," Jenkins says, explaining how he finds his new ideas. "We are also always networking with other photographers."

And in his mind, one of the most important sales ideas/tips that he can pass on actually involves his price list: "We have set up our price list with bonus credits so if clients purchase one item, they are able to receive a credit/bonus on another product. After they receive that product, they receive another credit/bonus. Finally, we give one last bonus if the clients meet a certain dollar amount."

Are you ready to start brainstorming to freshen up your senior business? You can start with Jenkins' webinar on March 15--so don't miss it!

Congratulations to all of you for taking the time to get involved and help pass H.R. 4! Making your voices heard in the halls of the U.S. House of Representatives helped ensure the bill reached the outcome we desired: passage.

The vote was 314-112 with only six members not voting on this important measure. To see how your representative voted, go here:

Our work to ensure the repeal becomes law doesn't stop here--it continues in the U.S. Senate. We are delighted to report that this bill has already been placed on their calendar for a vote. Once PPA learns the timing of how the Senate will consider H.R. 4, we will let you know what steps you can take to achieve another victory on this key piece of legislation. If you're ready to contact your senator now, visit the Contact Congress page.

Again, thank you for your hard work...and congratulations on making a difference in the outcome of this vote!

Photodex, makers of the new video slideshow service ProShow Web, have announced a partnership with SmugMug to offer new, integrated solutions for creating and sharing HD video slideshows online. ProShow Web now seamlessly pulls photos and video clips from SmugMug galleries to create fully custom video slideshows online from any Mac or PC. Videos can be easily shared across a number of platforms and sent back to SmugMug to view in full 1080p HD video.

The partnership lets users of both services easily move their content between SmugMug and ProShow Web. Users on SmugMug's site can easily create a video directly from their galleries, while users on ProShow Web can easily import and export to SmugMug. This total integration helps photographers streamline their workflow by letting them upload photos just once - to SmugMug - then use them anytime in ProShow Web. With ProShow Web's unmatched speed and ease of use, combined with a simpler upload process, SmugMug users can now create shows even faster than before.

To create a video slideshow from SmugMug, users simply go to SmugMug's 'Buy' menu and choose 'ProShow Web' from the 'Create a Video' options. Users, along with their photos and videos, are instantly taken to ProShow Web to complete their video in just a few clicks. On ProShow Web, SmugMug users can complete their shows with over 50 stylish themes, royalty-free music, and the ability to drag and drop à la carte effects onto any photo or video, resulting in a truly customized video. Completed slideshows can be sent back to SmugMug in full 1080p HD video.

ProShow Web works by automatically mixing photos, video clips and music together into a polished video slideshow. It combines the ease of automatic slideshows with the power of custom effects. With true 1080p HD creation, ProShow Web can create professional-grade videos for use on SmugMug, or for downloading to a computer. For ultimate control, shows created online can be downloaded and opened in Photodex's award-winning, professional desktop software, ProShow Producer, to fine-tune and edit even further. Free video slideshows can be created by visiting For unlimited video creation, more options and higher quality downloads, users can opt for a Plus ($30/year) or Premium ($150/year) account. SmugMug offers Power ($60/year) and Pro ($150/year) accounts that enable unlimited HD video uploading and storage.

Dear PPA Member,

Did you know that PPA is the only photographic organization that has a full-time Copyright & Government Affairs staff? We are serious about defending the rights of photographers on Capitol Hill, especially when it comes to copyright. Your images, much like an author's words, a songwriter's music or a moviemaker's film, need to be protected because--let's face it--if you give your work away, you're not making money. And it's worse when someone steals it.

That's why PPA works hard to provide members with resources to help when copyright infringement happens. This week's Vital Signs delves a little deeper into what you need to do, what your options are and how to determine what you can do. (Here's a hint: We recommend registering your images and immediately downloading the PPA Copyright Kit, which can answer a lot of your questions.)

You can't be everywhere, but if you understand what you can do--and what you can do to prevent copyright infringement--you may be able to reach a speedy resolution if it does happen to you.

Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

This month, Professional Photographers of America makes its leadership transition, bringing in a new executive committee for the board of directors and three new board members. These individuals will shape the vision for PPA from March 2011 to March 2012.

"The past board names read like a Who's Who of professional photography," commented PPA's chief executive officer, David Trust. "So just being elected says something special about these individuals."  

The new executive committee of PPA's board includes the following:
  • President Don Dickson; Plainview, Texas. Dickson believes that education and volunteerism are strong keys to success for every photographer.
  • Vice President Tim Walden; Lexington, Ky. Walden believes in promoting industry best practices and the need for a foundation in excellence in both art and business for all photographers.
  • Treasurer Ralph Romaguera, Sr.; Metairie, La. Romaguera pushes the need for photographers to continually expand business opportunities and is a strong proponent of PPA's business education programs.
  • Chairman Louis Tonsmeire; Cartersville, Ga.  Tonsmeire continues to build awareness of PPA resources, the importance of business relationships and more.

The newest members of the PPA board are as follows:
  • Rob Behm; Spokane Valley, Wash.
  • Lori Craft; Marshall, Mich.
  • Michael Timmons; Vassar, Mich.

Directors continuing on PPA's board include the following:
  • Doug Box; Caldwell, Texas
  • Michael Gan; Dillon Beach, Calif.
  • Don MacGregor; Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Susan Michal; Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Constance Rawlins; McComb, Miss.
  • Kevin Casey; Industry Advisor; Langhorne, Pa.
Click here to read more about the board of directors.

UPDATE: As you can see, this legislation is moving rapidly! In fact, the U.S. House just voted at 3:00pm to take up debate on H.R. 4 and added some substitute text (H.R. 705), so we wanted to pass it along. They are moments away from a decision, so weigh in and get your voice heard now!

Please use the links below to review the bills and the newly proposed substitute text (H.R. 705):

Write, e-mail or call your member of Congress today, and tell them to vote "yes" on H.R. 4, the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act.

The passage of H.R. 4 will overturn section 9006 of the new health care law that mandates small-business owners to file a 1099 form for every business-to-business transaction over $600 a year. Reversing this reporting requirement will relieve a huge paperwork burden for small-business photographers!

Remember, this new reporting requirement has nothing to do with improving health care. It simply forces photographers, like you, to spend more time on regulatory compliance rather than running a business. (To read more about the importance of eliminating this tax provision click here.)

The U.S. House is voting on Thursday, March 3, so send your message soon! Visit the Contact Congress page to act now.

On (and around) May 16, your colleagues across the country will open their studio doors to share their knowledge with you.

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

Browse our online map to find a course near you, and register by May 2 for only $99.

Is it time for a business breakthrough? The workshops and mentors to get you started are coming to Arizona, California and Michigan this summer (plus more dates in Atlanta, GA) so don't miss out! Register now for PPA's Studio Management Services workshops...and prepare to push your business onwards and upwards:

2-Day Workshops: Business Basics
Fundamentals for running a successful photography business.
Geared toward new and emerging studios.

  • June 20-21, Ann Arbor, MI (at Great Lakes Institute of Photography)
  • June 22-23, Phoenix, AZ (Chicks Who Click conference)
  • November 5-6, Atlanta, GA
3-Day Workshops: Business Breakthroughs
Intensive instruction to take you to the next level in your photography business. (And take the next step by adding a private consultation with a PPA staff accountant and SMS Mentor!)
Geared toward studios with at least $50,000 in gross sales.

  • July 11-13, San Francisco, CA
  • August 22-24, Cincinnati, OH
  • November 7-9, Atlanta, GA
One of the great new changes in the PPA District Photographic Competitions and the PPA International Photographic Competition is your ability to enter digitally. That's right, you can submit either prints, digital files or a combination for judging. If you're interested in the digital submission (and saving time and postage!), check out the online tutorials. You'll find help for entering single images and digital albums, plus details about color profiles and monitor calibration to help ensure your images appear before the judges the way you desire.
PPA is excited to remind you of all the upcoming PPA District Photographic Competitions coming up. And you know what that's time to get your images ready!

The 2011 PPA Southeast District Photographic Competition began accepting online entries and registration February 25 and will close on March 18, 2011. Remember, this competition also hosts the Commercial and Electronic Imaging Competitions, which all PPA members are eligible to compete in, regardless of home district.

For more information about all the upcoming competitions, visit
High school seniors are probably going to be on your brain in the coming months--many rising seniors tend to have their portraits taken over the summer. Are you ready? PPA's online courses (webinars) can help, as they focus on senior hot topics during the month of March.

And don't forget about the new Online Learning Pass, which will give you six months of full access to these--and many more--online courses for a one-time payment of just $99. (If you already have a pass, don't forget to take advantage of it by registering for the March classes!)

Make your plans now to glean fresh ideas and sanity-saving tips from these senior photographers:

Senior Portrait Workflow: Off Your Camera, On Their Wall

March 8, 2011 @ 2:00pm
with Carl Caylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP

Great Senior Ideas That Work
March 15, 2011 @ 2:00pm
with Andrew Jenkins, M.Photog.Cr., CPP

Senior Posing: How to Get the Poses You (and They) Want
March 22, 2011 @ 2:00pm
with Mike Ridinger

Don't Sell Yourself Short: Essentials of Senior Sales & Marketing
March 29, 2011 @ 2:00pm
with Beth Forester, M.Photog.Cr., CPP

Olympus has announced the release of two new digital cameras; the SZ-30MR and TG-810.

The SZ-30MR is a super-zoom camera with a multi-recording function capable of simultaneously capturing 1080p HD video and 16-megapixel still images without missing a frame. The Olympus SZ-30MR helps you capture it all with its 24x optical wide-zoom lens, and displays your pictures and videos on its crisp 3.0-inch, high-resolution LCD. The Olympus SZ-30MR comes packed with a variety of features that deliver a superior imaging experience far and wide:

  • New Multi-Recording Mode - a world-first, Olympus Dual Engine technology enables users to combine various photo and movie recording modes simultaneously
  • 24x wide-optical zoom - enables exceptional close-ups
  • Full HD Video and HDMI® Control - delivers a broadcast-quality 1080p movie experience when played back on an HDTV
  • New 7fps Continuous Shooting (16MP) - offers a full-resolution burst mode enabling continuous shooting, in rapid succession
  • New 3D Photo Mode - captures two shots of a scene from two different angles to create still photos that can be viewed with the added excitement and realism of 3D
  • New Eye-Fiâ„¢ Card Compatibility - enables automatic wireless uploading of images to the website or PC of your choice
Click here to read more about the SZ-30MR.

Also announced today, the TOUGH TG-810 is a shockproof, waterproof, freezeproof and crushproof compact camera designed to capture all of your extreme adventures, no matter where you go.

This 14-megapixel camera remembers exactly where you took the perfect image, so you don't have to. The Olympus TOUGH TG-810 also boasts Dual Image Stabilization to cut the blur out of your photography, Wi-Fi compatibility for instant image sharing via an optional Eye-Fi Card, 3D still image capture in and out of the water.

Click here to read more about the TOUGH TG-810
ali_headshot.jpgSerendipity is sometimes referred to as a happy mistake, like when you discover something wonderful by accident. And serendipity is how Michael Ali of Michael Ali Photography in New Jersey began his photographic career...completely by accident.

Discovery of the Industry
When he was a child, Ali's school noticed that he had unusually high computer proficiency and invited him to join a program where he would be given an Apple computer for $150 with free upgrades for life. However, his father thought that this would be a waste and instead put the money into starting a new local soccer team. While the team was practicing one day, Ali was given a camera to hold, which spawned his interest in photography.

"At the risk of sounding cliché, the rest was history," Ali remembers of his beginnings. "After soccer games, I was using the camera at 'Bollywood-style' weddings throughout my family."

The young Ali quickly became the go-to family photographer, a chore demanded by his father.ali_1.jpg (And he was only too happy to comply!)

Even without professional equipment, Ali was able to discover lighting techniques through trial and error (and a good eye) while shooting family events. "Without any professional equipment, I had to learn how to bounce light off walls to make brides look beautiful, to capture large family portraits in small spaces and other such homemade lighting tricks," he explains. "As I taught myself light and film--and every way possible to be the family photographer with no resources at all--it started to get under my skin and in my blood."

Diversity in the Industry
Today, Ali's photography focuses mainly on fashion, modeling and product modeling, but he feels able to cover any type of photography (thanks to his childhood experiences).

"I never had a chance to choose a specialty because most of my photography 'assignments' were mandatory at such an early age," Ali adds. "I had no choice but to be diverse and do well at anything that was thrown at me."

ali_2.jpgHere's an example of his diversity--and how photography skills can help in vastly different ways: Ali has served as an expert court witness in California and New Jersey in cases where photographic evidence may have been altered. Ali considers this work to be among some of his top accomplishments as a photographer.

"There are too many cases where people alter photo evidence, and the untrained eye is none the wiser. For example, I can point out how the lighting in an image is too infeasible to be true," explains Ali about his work as a court witness. "I'm proud to say that some falsely accused people regained their freedom partially due to the simple illustration that a natural light source could never do what I saw in certain photos."

Devotion to the Industry

Along with his above accomplishments, Ali says that just knowing he is a real professional photographer is a joy: "It's no longer a childhood chore; it's one of the greatest loves in my life."  In fact, Ali is now applying his previous skills--in website design, optimization and online marketing--to his own photography and helping other photographers. "Every 'click' is another step toward a dream realized," he adds.

Ali has taken a lot of steps toward that dream despite a lack of photographic resources in his beginnings. And when he found PPA, he found even more help for keeping his business successful.

"A rising tide lifts all ships; and by joining PPA, I've been lifted to a level where I can look to the future and see a world of possibility in photography," says Ali. "The resources, the knowledge, the support, the feedback... I could go on and on, just like the advantages of PPA go on and on."

ali_3.jpgIn his words, PPA has been a "wellspring" of knowledge throughout his photographic career, thanks to the forums, online courses and Professional Photographer magazine. "I've also gained a much greater appreciation for the meaning of true photography and the integrity of being a true photographer," he adds. "No matter how far I go, I will always remain one of PPA's most grateful and attentive students."

With help of PPA and the knowledge gleaned from a lifetime in photography, Ali is sure to keep growing his business and creativity. Who knows where he'll go next!


About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2011 is the previous archive.

April 2011 is the next archive.

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