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PPA Today: June 2011 Archives

June 2011 Archives

Utah's Zion National Park is currently accepting applications for the 2011-2012 Artist-in-Residence Program. Applications for the program are available at www.nps.gov/zion/supportyourpark and will be accepted through July 22, 2011. The Artist-in-Residence Program provides selected artists, including photographers, with the opportunity to live in Zion Canyon for four weeks and devote their time and energy to developing works of art inspired by the park. As part of the residency, artists will present two public programs and donate, at the park's choosing, an original piece of artwork that represents their experience within the park.

Artists have been an important part of the national park system for over a century. Their work has impacted the establishment, expansion, and direction of our national parks, while creating a permanent record of these treasured places. Zion National Park continues this tradition by providing artists the chance to draw inspiration from the park's sweeping landscapes and significant cultural resources. Selected artists will have the opportunity to translate this beauty into artwork that will bring new insights, enjoyment, and understanding of this unique desert sanctuary.

The Artist-in-Residence Program is supported by Zion National Park, in partnership with the Zion Natural History Association and Southern Utah University's College of Performing and Visual Arts. Artists are selected by a jury of park staff, faculty from Southern Utah University's College of Performing and Visual Arts, and staff from the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery. Selections are made based on the merit of the applicant's work and how well the work reflects the mission of Zion National Park and the National Park Service.

Please visit www.nps.gov/zion/supportyourpark for more information about the Artist-in-Residence Program. Interested artists may also contact the Artist-in-Residence Coordinator at 435-772-0184 or Zion_Artist_in_Residence@nps.gov.
Olympus has announced three new PEN compact system cameras designed to help photographers capture their unique visions and share their stories in still images and high-definition (HD) video. The Olympus PEN family combines the portability of a point-and-shoot with features found on bulkier cameras or camcorders to deliver amazing image quality and lightning fast speed.
 
The powerfully simple PEN E-P3, PEN E-PL3, and PEN E-PM1 offer advanced capabilities without the complexity of a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera: a new 12.3-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor, TruePic VI Image Processor, high ISO of 12,800, a reengineered autofocus system, full 1080i HD video with Dolby Digital sound recording, newly designed user interfaces and a variety of Art Filters and built-in creative features.

In addition to these shared capabilities, each new model offers unique features:
 
PEN E-P3: The flagship Olympus PEN with a classic, all-metal design and the world's fastest autofocus. A body portable enough to travel the world without sacrificing DSLR image quality and control that experienced photographers expect. It features a bright, 614,000 pixel, high-resolution, OLED touchscreen to easily navigate and control the camera at the touch of a finger. Read more here.

PEN E-PL3: This powerful camera is perfect for photographers who want their memories to reflect incredible, professional image quality. Easy-to-use creative technologies are packed in its versatile body - the size of a small, portable point-and-shoot camera, but with the versatility of interchangeable lenses. A clever, tilting three-inch LCD empowers photographers to go head-and-shoulders above the crowd to capture graduations, easily stoop to eye-level as babies take their first steps or even lower to the ground to get an adorable shot of the family pet.

PEN E-PM1:
The smallest and lightest Olympus PEN is available in six stylish colors (purple, pink, brown, white, silver and black) and features a new and simplified user interface as well as a streamlined button structure for superior ease of use.

New Lenses and Accessories

In addition to the new PEN family, Olympus is also introducing two powerful, fast new prime lenses: the M. Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f2.0 lens (24mm equivalent) and M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 lens (90mm equivalent) are Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) and feature high-speed, near-silent autofocus during still shooting and high-definition (HD) video capture. Joining them is the sleek, versatile FL-300R Compact Flash and the MCG-2 interchangeable Camera Grip available exclusively for the PEN E-P3. Read more here

It's official. The year 2011 is half way over. Hard to believe, isn't it? With summer here, we understand that you may be busy with sessions or distracted by the beautiful (or simply hot!) weather, but we don't want you to forget the resources that we've reviewed during this second quarter.

This week's Vital Signs is here to help with a quick recap of some PPA benefits and several articles that could be the resource you were looking for. Whether you want ideas for hands-on education or need advice on how to handle clients with cameras of their own, these articles are great starting points for information or inspiration. So, cool off in the air conditioning and read an article or two!

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

SM_postcard.jpgOne 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 (or around) October 24, 2011. (July 13 is your deadline to volunteer!) Get ready to build networks and rack up speaking experience (and merits towards a PPA degree).

If you're Super Monday Speaker material, sign up now!

walden_tim_blog.jpgTim Walden, M.Photog.Cr., F-ASP, of Walden's Photography in Louisville, Ky., has earned many awards for his portrait photography. He's received multiple PPA awards, including the Imaging Excellence Award and both Gold-Level and Platinum-Level Photographer of the Year awards. He's also been recognized by Kodak through Gallery Awards, a Gallery Elite Award and publication in their Portrait Book. Of course, Walden's awards would have never come without getting two of the photography essentials correct: lighting and posing.

Lighting & Posing: The Artist's Language
"Lighting is the language we have to use as artists, and it will separate us from the masses when executed properly," Walden says. "It's like a magic formula. With proper lighting, we can set mood, slim subjects, draw specific emotions and flex our muscles as artists."

But Walden knows that you cannot grow your lighting skills without also growing your posing techniques--they are both critical image components.

When it comes to posing, Walden emphasizes the need to remember that as a photographer, you are in the business of flattery (another part of the artist's language, you might say). "Our goal is to flatter those in front of our camera and to capture images that reflect the way loved ones see that person...instead of the camera," he explains about how he selects poses for a shoot.

How Walden Uses the "Artist's Language"
In his own work, Walden takes a "capture, adjust and refine" approach to slowly build an image with perfect lighting, posing and emotion. To get it right, you also have to really know your clients. That will help you make the necessary adjustments.

"We apply lighting to each subject based on what best suits them and what type of lighting will carry our style and the message we want to capture in the image," he explains. "Daily, I appreciate the great importance of connecting with every subject. This allows you, as the artist, to draw out the needed pose and capture the image that carries a natural look for each subject."

If you want to learn more of Walden's tips for growing your lighting and posing skills, don't miss his Kodak-sponsored session at the 2011 PPA Tour stop in Cincinnati, OH (September 19). He promises that you'll walk away from his session with a greater understanding of lighting and how you can use it more effectively and artistically. He'll also share tips on poses that will help you capture the emotion of your subject.

So, if you're ready to grow your fluency with the "artist's language" and learn to use lighting and posing more effectively than ever, register for to see Tim Walden (and others) during the PPA Tour!

In addition to his competition excellence, Walden is a member of the Society of XXV, a qualified National Juror, an accomplished lecturer both in the US and internationally, and has earned his ASP Fellowship Degree. At Imaging USA in 2007, both Tim and his wife, Beverly, were awarded the coveted Gerhard Bakker Award for outstanding photographic education. He is also the Vice President of PPA's board of directors. Read more about Walden here.

The PPA Tour 2011: One to Grow On is an eight-city slate of daylong workshops, starting August 15 in Atlanta. Each event--designed for those just getting into photography or those needing a refresher--is focused on helping photographers make more money, while finding new ways to differentiate their studios in a highly competitive industry. Read more about the PPA Tour 2011 here, and see more of the cities and speakers here.

DxO Labs has announced the launch of the latest version of DxOMark, its online, freely-accessible resource for image quality data and analysis of digital cameras and lenses. In addition to reporting on more than 1,700 lens/camera combinations, the updated DxOMark site includes new features that enable users to select cameras and lenses that meet their performance metrics, price range, and other important criteria.

DxOMark is the only online publication which offers RAW-based image quality test results. DxOMark is also unique in providing comprehensive lens test results for all compatible camera bodies. All measurements are performed at DxO Labs' dedicated testing laboratories, following consistent and repeatable protocols, and using tools that are compliant with international and industry standards.

"With a record 1,700 combination measurements published, DxOMark now offers such a large volume of information that we needed to consider how users could quickly select the entries of greatest interest to them," said Nicolas Touchard, Vice President of Marketing, Image Quality Evaluation at DxO Labs. "This update provides the fastest path through the site without sacrificing any of its usefulness.

Other website improvements include a new and easy-to-use user comments section and a manufacturer specifications section, along with expanded community sharing tools.
Today (June 23, 2011), professional photographers spoke out about their needs and experiences on Capitol Hill--putting a face on photographic copyrights. That's why Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and the Copyright Alliance co-hosted the "Recording Our History: Faces Behind the Camera" briefing for congressmen and their staff.

One of the three PPA members featured in conjunction with this event was renowned wedding photographer Denis Reggie, who represented the association during a panel discussion. Reggie shared not only the craftsmanship and expertise required to be a professional photographer, but also how copyright laws impact his own approach to photography and clients:

"Copyright is the backbone of the creative industries in America--it is our lifeblood. We as a people, as a society, would be far poorer were it not for the copyright protections that encourage creators to do what they do best. As a photographer, I have the opportunity to capture moments in time that will eventually define our world.  Copyright law gives me the ability to invest myself in creating the very best image possible; therefore, it is important to all of us, whether we are creating an image or viewing it."

The event was the first of many Capitol Hill briefings focusing on photography and the copyright community at large--an effort by PPA and the Copyright Alliance to educate legislators on the importance of maintaining strong copyright laws.

Read more here.
In today's highly competitive Web environment, the importance of search engines cannot be underestimated. To help you make the most of your online presence, Collages.net has just launched a NEW service called collagesGSO, which will allow photographers to appear on Google's page one--the first page of search results--within 45 days. Collages.net's team of experts will work closely with the photographer to define keywords that will drive the desired traffic to their studio website, and then work daily to maintain the photographer's site on Google's first page.

PPA members receive an exclusive limited-time discount for collagesGSO. PPA members, learn more about this Extreme Deal here.

Dear PPA Member ,

Have you ever had to cancel a doctor's appointment? It's not unusual--schedules change and the unexpected happens. But do you know what your doctor's cancellation policy is? A business usually expects a certain amount of warning if you are going to cancel an appointment. It allows them time to try to fill that empty spot and not be out business (or money) on their end.

The same can be said for your photography business. While you may not have appointments every hour like a doctor, you still work with clients who may, for whatever reason, need to cancel their sessions with you. That is why this week's Vital Signs article reviews preparing for and handling cancellations. Understanding how to work with a client and creating and enforcing a cancellation policy can help make the most of an unexpected situation.

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

DigiLabs Pro has introduced its new Web Galleries Pro, a completely redesigned tool for creating custom online storefronts for professional photographers. Studio owners and independent photographers will benefit from enhanced page layouts and tools meant to increase productivity and make it even easier for their clients to select and purchase images online.

DigiLabs' Web Galleries Pro provides photographers a template to easily create online galleries for customers to proof and order prints and photo products. Photographers are able to build a personalized gallery that reflects their own style and brand that seamlessly integrates into the existing website. In just minutes, they can access any number of color schemes, fonts, image sizes and more using the free software provided by DigiLabs. Other updates to the galleries' functionality translate to an improvement in overall load time and greater ease of use with redesigned categorization. Samples are available at www.digilabspro.com/web-galleries/sample-galleries.shtml.

Web Galleries Pro features include:
 
  • Improved client side experience
  • New page layouts
  • Improved slideshow capabilities, including full-screen zoom
  • New zoom tool
  • Updated favorite tool options
  • New border preview tool
  • Faster uploads
  • Sharing of photobooks and albums within the galleries
  • Maximized image size based on clients screen resolution
Web Galleries Classic, with the traditional design of previous galleries, will continue to be available for a limited time. When uploading, users will have the option to choose which type gallery they would like to use. More information is posted at http://blog.digilabspro.com.

Availability and Pricing
Web Galleries Pro are available immediately. There are several flexible programs and pricing options based on hosting and volume needs of the photographer. A complete list of options is available at www.digilabspro.com/web-galleries/easy-plans.shtml
pete_wright_blog.jpgAre you making the sales you want in your maternity specialty (and beyond)? Pete Wright, M.Photog.Cr., says that successful sales start with having the right structure in your sessions, from creating a comfortable environment to cultivating relationships. It's a "holistic" approach to photography sales, in a sense. And it works wonders with the maternity specialty, as you'll see during his online PPA class, "Setting Yourself Up for Success in Maternity Sales" (June 28, 2:00pm ET).

Wright compares the importance of creating the right environment for successful sales to your experiences with Walmart versus a four-star hotel. "You are setting a certain level of expectation and service by creating a nice, relaxed environment," he explains.

"When you walk into Walmart, you don't get pampered. So, you would not expect to spend much in this environment--you are going to get cheap prices and get in and out quickly," adds Wright. "Adversely, at a four-star hotel someone opens the door for you, greets you, offers you a cold drink as the valet parks your car, and invites you to the front desk for check in. On the way to the front desk, you are greeted by warm lighting, a nice color palette, posh furnishings, and art on the wall with pleasant background music playing. When you check into your room, the amenities are comfortable and better than what you are used to having at home. When you have this experience, you expect to pay more and--if it is pleasant--are happy to do so."

As the owner of PW Photography in Richmond, VA, Wright plays to the psychology of the client in this way. "We give them four-star treatment during their session so that not only will they be prepared to pay more, but they will also brag to their friends about their experiences."

And his sales process definitely works!

"A recent client scheduled her maternity session with us and--due to only her phone experience--she referred two other friends to us before setting foot in our studio!" recalls Wright. "Not only did she end up making a very nice purchase, but she also made an appointment for her baby's first session and referred a third friend. This is a common story with us."

Want to make that kind of referral and sales success a common story at your own studio? One of your first steps is watching Pete Wright's online PPA class (June 28, 2:00pm ET), so sign up now! He'll share the secrets behind the success of his studio in the maternity and infant market--from creating the right environment to using all the time during the session as a springboard. Join in and get on the road to building your client base!
There are all kinds of success, but let's face it...the type of success that will keep you in business involves numbers. Financial security is the goal for a healthy studio. So, how do you measure that?

PPA's Financial Benchmark Survey, the most reliable financial evaluation tool for pro photographers, is the answer. Through the survey, our accountants analyze photographers' finances to set financial and business targets (benchmarks) to work toward for more profitability.

The end result? A tool that helps you understand your own financial picture--and how you compare to successful studios of similar size--so you can make smart business decisions and improve your bottom line. In fact, a new survey is underway right now to give you the most updated success measurements yet. And you even get a free financial analysis

Take the first step toward knowing where your business stands and where you can improve--participate in the 2011 Benchmark Survey!

The last Benchmark Survey helped hundreds of photographers measure and improve their businesses. (You've probably read some of their success stories in Professional Photographer magazine!) Help us repeat this success, and experience it yourself.

Participate by August 31 & Get Even More

  • Drawing for TWO all-inclusive trips for two to Imaging USA 2012 in New Orleans
  • Entry into the monthly iPad giveaway
  • $20 Amazon gift card
  • Free, personalized financial analysis of your studio compared to the 2011 Benchmark results
  • Free, exclusive benchmark webinar
  • Advance copy of the Benchmark Survey report

Prize and participation details online: www.ppa.com/benchmark 
vasquez_anthony_blog.jpgAnthony Vazquez, the founder of Anthony Vazquez Inc., has traveled the world creating edgy, hip wedding images for his clients. His out-of-the-box wedding imagery helps him create timeless photos for his clients, and his work has been in many photography magazines. But he knows that his success would not be possible if clients could not find him (and vice versa). Vazquez credits social media, including Facebook and blogging, for helping him find and market to potential clients.

Social Media Marketing
"Facebook is a great, free tool to showcase your work and share it with a client's family and friends...who then share it with their family and friends!" notes Vazquez about the marketing power of Facebook.

Yet another great way to attract new clients is through blogging. "Posting images of a client shoot to your blog makes every client feel like a celebrity," explains Vazquez. Just like with Facebook, clients are likely to share those blog posts with their friends and family, exposing you to a new market. "Plus, blogging helps you show clients who YOU are," he adds. And doing that can help your clients become more and more at ease with you.

The overwhelming point here is "out of sight, out of mind," as Vazquez reminds us. That's why he also recommends using newsletters on a monthly basis to keep in touch with event planners, past clients and friends.

Making the Final Sale
Along with these keep-in-touch strategies, Vazquez touts the importance of being yourself...and making sure that clients feel comfortable with you (which social media and marketing can encourage). These are essential factors when making the final sale.

To help clients feel comfortable during the sales process, Vazquez remembers what he calls the "Three C's": "You should always appear confident, capable and credible. For example, don't promise what you can't deliver. And don't forget to listen to your clients--you need to hear them in order to fulfill their needs and visions."

Learn It at the PPA Tour 2011: September 12 at Philadelphia
Vazquez will share more of his marketing and sales techniques with you during his GraphiStudio-sponsored session of the 2011 PPA Tour (September 12 in Philadelphia, PA).  

"You'll walk away knowing how to close more sales and how to use a system that will book more clients," Vazquez promises. Sound good? Then, don't miss seeing him on September 12!

Read more about Vazquez here.

The PPA Tour 2011: One to Grow On is an eight-city slate of daylong workshops, starting August 15 in Atlanta. Each event--designed for those just getting into photography or those needing a refresher--is focused on helping photographers make more money, while finding new ways to differentiate their studios in a highly competitive industry. Read more about the PPA Tour 2011 here, and see more of the cities and speakers here
X-Rite Incorporated has announced the immediate availability of i1Display Pro and ColorMunki Display, two all-new technologically advanced hardware and software solutions for color calibration and profiling of displays, laptops and projectors.

The i1Display Pro is the ultimate choice for discerning photographers, designers or any imaging professionals looking for the highest on screen color accuracy. i1Display Pro offers power users 'Advanced' user-defined settings and in-depth quality assurance tools for precise color control, as well as predefined 'Basic' settings to provide them with the perfect balance of speed and options to suit their individual workflow and changing needs.

The ColorMunki Display is the ideal color solution for both passionate and professional photographers and designers looking for professional color results in an easy-to-use format that doesn't require in-depth knowledge of color science. ColorMunki Display features an 'Easy' mode with a selection of one-click presets and an 'Advanced' mode, with easy to navigate wizard-driven options for more control. ColorMunki Display provides users everything they need in an easy to use solution that delivers high quality calibration and profile results in no time.

These two new solutions feature the industry's most advanced colorimeter bundled with new display and projector profiling software to ensure unrivaled color accuracy and consistency now and in the future. Both i1Display Pro and ColorMunki Display devices feature an advanced, high-end, optical system with custom-designed filters that offer superior color measurement results on all modern display technologies and is fully updatable for future display technologies.

Availability
The new i1Display Pro and ColorMunki Display are now available from X-Rite (North America) and Pantone online stores and also from the company's worldwide network of resellers.

For more information on these solutions, visit www.xrite.com, www.xritephoto.com or www.pantone.com
The list of accepted prints from the 2011 International Photographic Competition is now available. Visit www.ppa.com/competitions/international/results.php to download the list.

Congratulations to everyone who merited at this year's competition. We are looking forward to seeing your images on display at Imaging USA this January.

Note: Merit allocation for PPA Members will be made by the end of July 2011.

Dear PPA Member,

Have you ever had a military client? With military bases located throughout the country (and around the world!), it's not as uncommon as you may think.  Whether it's a family portrait, a newborn session, a wedding or another special event, military personnel and their families need professional photographers as much as anyone else (and sometimes even more).

But how do you make them aware of your services if their lifestyle means they are constantly relocating? Can you fit these special clients--and their unique needs--into your business? To do it right, it takes an understanding of military life and their special photography needs, and this week's Vital Signs article addresses just that. It's a whole other way of supporting our troops.

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

onOne Software, Inc. has announced that Perfect Layers 1.0 is now available. Perfect Layers gives photographers the ability to easily create and work with layered files in their workflow application of choice. Perfect Layers supports the creation of layered files that can be opened and edited by Adobe® Photoshop® software and can be used directly from within Adobe Photoshop Lightroom® software, Adobe Bridge and Apple Aperture.

Top Features in Perfect Layers:

Create layered files from within Lightroom and Aperture: The ability to have multiple layers in a single file is a great benefit and provides unlimited creative options when enhancing an image. With Perfect Layers 1.0 photographers can create or open layered files from directly within Lightroom and Aperture. This means photographers can combine multiple images managed by Lightroom or Aperture into a single image. They can also open existing layered Photoshop (PSD) documents from within Lightroom and Aperture. Some examples of how Perfect Layers can be used include:

  • Merging two or more exposures of the same scene into a single image and masking in the desired portion of each exposure.
  • Compositing multiple images, such as action shots, becomes a simple task with Perfect Layers.
  • Blending images together with blending modes. Blending layers together is a great way to stylize and enhance a photo as well as to retouch a portrait.

Files that have been created with Perfect Layers can be opened with Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements for additional editing, if desired.

MaskingBrush: Control how much of each layer is visible by using the MaskingBrush created originally for PhotoTools 2.6 and FocalPoint 2. Similar to using a layer mask, the MaskingBrush can be used to reveal or hide selected areas of a layer. The layer masks created by the MaskingBrush are non-destructive and can even be re-edited with Photoshop.

MaskingBug: Create gradient masks for making vignettes and graduated filter effects with the MaskingBug from PhotoTools 2.6. As with the MaskingBrush, the MaskingBug is non-destructive and can even be re-edited with Photoshop or Photoshop Elements later if desired. If you use a Wacom pressure sensitive tablet, you can even control the brush size or opacity by how hard you press while painting the mask.

Blending Modes: Perfect Layers not only brings the power and creativity of blending modes to Lightroom and Aperture, but also provides real-time previews of each blending mode before applying it to the selected layer. Blending modes determine how two layers interact with each other. For example, you can blend a black and white version of an image with a color version to get a very dramatic and stylized look or you can duplicate a single image and change the blend mode to make the colors pop. Perfect Layers includes the following blending modes: Normal; Lighten; Darken; Screen; Multiply; Overlay; Soft Light; Hard Light and Color.

Color Fill Layer: Create new layers filled with a solid color. Perfect Layers includes presets that simulate common color correction and black and white conversion filters. The built-in masking tools can be used to selectively place and control the strength of these color fill effects. Additionally, the Color blend mode is especially useful with Color Fill Layers to give images a special effect.

Adjust Layers:  The streamlined interface in Perfect Layers contains all the controls needed to size, align and reorder layers. A number of useful blending modes offer the ability to dramatically alter images by changing the brightness, altering the color or even creating special effects. All the adjustments can be easily modified. Perhaps the most understated feature is that Perfect Layers does not try to be a full-fledged replacement image editor. The simplicity of Perfect Layers and the tools provided allow photographers to be able to quickly do what they want to without having to wade through dozens of tools they'll never use.

Availability
Perfect Layers 1.0 is available immediately at http://www.ononesoftware.com/perfectlayers/.  Perfect Layers 1.0 is available as a standalone product at the special introductory price of $99.95 until June 30th. From July 1, 2011, Perfect Layers will be available for $129.95 and included as part of the Perfect Photo Suite 5.5. Owners of Plug-In Suite 5 can upgrade to Perfect Photo Suite 5.5, which will include Perfect Layers, at no additional cost.

degrees.JPGWendy Newman, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, recently earned both her Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman degrees from PPA. One of her reasons for pushing herself toward those degrees was her clientele. "My clientele are predominately professionals, such as physicians, lawyers and pro athletes...all of whom are familiar with what it takes to become a 'professional,'" she says. "In all of those fields, it takes a lot of hard work, practice, dedication and continual testing or trials to validate their abilities. My PPA degrees assure my clients that they are dealing with a qualified photographer who is at the top of her game. "

Curious about PPA's degrees and how you can earn them (and use them), too? PPA has created a website that walks you through the what, why and how of those degrees and merits: www.ppa.com/degrees.

adler_blog.jpgWhat makes or breaks an image? Most professional photographers note that it comes down to the basic, essential techniques: your handling of lighting and posing. You need to grow those skills to grow your photography studio's success. Lindsay Adler, of Lindsay Adler Photography in New York, agrees.

Adler has owned and operated a portrait, fashion and wedding studio for the past 10 years, during which time her work has become known for its "fashion flair" approach. Her studio is succeeding, and her images regularly appear in major photo publications like Professional Photographer and Rangefinder Magazine.  And she knows that the start of any good image involves getting the lighting right.

"If the lighting isn't right, it is impossible to make a good image," Adler adds.

The problem is that when it comes to lighting, Adler believes photographers spend too much time worrying about light modifiers and the number of lights they are using. "The direction and quality of light in photography are essential," she says. "Instead of focusing on light modifiers and the number of lights, photographers should just be aware of the axis and angles of their light."

In addition, Adler suggests that photographers play with lighting angles to discover what works best for a certain image. "Any direction you move the light will have an effect on the quality of light," she explains. "For example, if you move the light to the left or right of the center point of the image, the quality of light becomes more dramatic. If you move the light up or down from the center point of the subject, the light becomes more dramatic. And as you move a light closer to a subject, the changes in the other axis of light become more pronounced."

But lighting is only one important part of the image puzzle. Adler also knows that finding the right poses for your portrait subject can mean the difference between great...and merely good.

"When I'm working with a client who isn't a model, I realize that posing can be pretty challenging," Adler admits. To overcome this challenge, she brings "inspiration images" to photo shoots to help guide clients with posing ideas.

"For basic portrait sessions, I have a variety of go-to poses I have developed along the way. Yet for more creative sessions, I bring reference photos from fashion editorials, catalogs, advertisements and anything I find online where the pose helps further the concept and mood of the shoot," says Adler, explaining how she gets the poses she wants. 

Dear PPA Member ,

When something good happens, it's instinctual to want to share that good news. Think about it--there's a reason that people send out graduation, birth and wedding announcements! The same can be said for business and professional achievements. When something positive happens for your studio or you are honored by the industry, you want to share that news with your clients, potential clients and even the community at large. A great way to get that news out is through a press release. (And unlike the grad who secretly hopes that gifts will result from his announcement, your main goal here is awareness!)

As a professional photographer, it's beneficial to let your client know that you are serious about your craft and active in the industry--and a press release can help you do just that. That's why this week's Vital Signs goes over the who, what, when, where and why of a press release. We want to help you share the good news and possibly earn more publicity!

Cheers,
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

spiderholster_modpadblog.jpgSpider Holster has announced the introduction of its modular SpiderPro Pad, which allows photographers a comfortable and convenient method to carry two pro-level DSLR cameras without straps or bags. The design places a Spider Holster and pad on each hip, eliminating the back, shoulder and neck strain of carrying cameras on a tangle of neck straps. The new modular components are designed for cross-platform compatibility, and to fit SpiderPro Belts as well as third-party photography belts and backpack systems for trekking.

Designed to accommodate pro-style DSLR fitted with telephoto lens and flash units, the flagship SpiderPro Holster features durable all-metal construction designed specifically for active shooting situations, indoors or out. The SpiderPro system is fully customizable and those that already own a single-camera SpiderPro Holster don't need to buy a whole new system. They can simply purchase a SpiderPro Pad upgrade kit for $120 that contains a SpiderPro Pad, SpiderPro Holster, SpiderPro Plate, along with one SpiderPro Pin and adapter screws. In addition, SpiderPro Pad adapter kits are available that will accommodate the SpiderPro system on popular third party photography belts.

Newcomers to Spider Holster can purchase a complete SpiderPro DualCam System for an introductory price of $235 direct or through retail outlets worldwide. Additional SpiderPro Pads and adapter packages are also available. To find a local retail outlet or purchase direct visit the Spider Holster website at: http://www.spiderholster.com

Collages.net has announced the release of a new service that is designed to get professional photographer's studio websites listed on Google Page One.

In today's highly competitive web environment, the importance of search engines cannot be underestimated. Search engines drive over 70% of all internet traffic and an absence on being found through Google gives competitors a chance to receive more calls, gain more exposure, book more shoots, and ultimately become more successful. Collages.net's Google Search Optimization program, collagesGSO, is designed exclusively to help prospective customers find professional photography studios.
 
Collages.net's team of experts will work closely with the photographer to define keywords that will drive the type of desired traffic to their studio website, and then work daily to maintain the photographer's site on Google page one. Collages.net guarantees that by utilizing collagesGSO, photography studios will be listed on Google page one within 45 days*.

collagesGSO is accepting a limited number of subscribers in each geographical area. To learn more and started with collagesGSO visit www.collages.net/GSO. Once professional photographers fill out their contact information, they will receive a call from a GSO consultant and receive the "10 Powerful Ways to Boost Your Google Visibility" PDF at no cost.

*Flash sites are inherently more difficult to get onto Google page one and therefore can require upwards of 60 days or longer to accomplish the objective of landing on Google's page one.

ppatour_2011_slider.jpgHow does being more profitable, improving your digital workflow and finding a competitive niche sound? If that interests you, then the PPA Tour 2011 might be for you! The eight-city slate of daylong workshops are each focused on helping photographers make more money, while finding new ways to differentiate their studios in a highly competitive industry.

"The market for educational products targeted to photographers has exploded in the last couple of years with all kinds of inspirational and artistic programming. However, there are few options for learning how to run a sound business from A to Z," explains Dawn Robb, PPA's director of education. "The PPA Tour is set up to walk photographers through a day in the life of a successful photography studio, from finding and targeting the right customers, to taking a great photo and managing the post-capture process for highest profitability. We'll bring it all together at the end of the day with the thing all photographers want most: strategies to sell more products."

eskridge_kay_blog.jpgKay Eskridge, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, of Images by Kay & Co., has built a successful portrait  studio where she and her team of photographers capture images from all the special events of their clients' lives. Her studio covers it all, including maternity and newborns, children, high school seniors and family summer vacations. Her studio's CelebrateSexy division even does intimate boudoir images! Yet Eskridge knows that none of her success would be possible without productive marketing and sales techniques.

How do you make those actions more productive? Well, Eskridge says the first important step is defining your target market. "If you're planning a maternity program, you need to focus on pregnant women. If it's a high school senior program, then you need to think how you can hook the seniors...with the secondary target market being their parents," she explains. "Kids can persuade their parents to do just about anything!"

After you've defined your target market, Eskridge says that your next important step is considering how that market will spend their money. "You also need to think about the spending habits of your market based on your area and how best to reach that market--via email, mail, partnership marketing or something else," she adds.

For example, Eskridge has seen great success using partnership marketing and charitable marketing programs. "These are the two things I could not exist without," she says. And she'll be sharing some of those effective techniques--and much more--during her classes in the PPA Tour 2011!

Eskridge will be helping other photographers get their businesses off the ground during the Orlando and San Francisco PPA Tour 2011 stops. Attendees there will have the chance to learn her marketing techniques in the morning as well as her sales and service strategies in the evening.  She'll also share some methods that have worked well in her specific area, explaining how you can adapt them to your own.

If you're ready to amp up your marketing and sales to get your business growing, you won't be disappointed by the tips this seasoned pro shares.

Read more about the PPA Tour 2011 here, and see more of the cities and speakers here.

Kay Eskridge is a member and past president of the Arizona Professional Photography Association, serves as the SWPPA Representative for Arizona and has been a member of Eastman Kodak's ProTeam. She is a Certified Professional Photographer and holds the Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman degrees from PPA along with numerous other awards, including Arizona Photographer of the Year, the Kodak Gallery Elite Award, the Phoenix Portrait Photographer of the Year, and the Arizona Illustrative Photographer of the Year.

The PPA Tour 2011: One to Grow On is an eight-city slate of daylong workshops, starting August 15 in Atlanta. Each event--designed for those just getting into photography or those needing a refresher--is focused on helping photographers make more money, while finding new ways to differentiate their studios in a highly competitive industry.
PPA recently held its 2011 Affiliate Communications Competition. Designed to improve affiliate publications and websites and recognize those involved in producing these communication tools, the competition awards every eligible entrant one PPA merit per entry. Those who place or earn an honorable mention receive an additional merit for each winning entry...and bragging rights!

Qualified judges from the communications field (specializing in marketing, online content and more) scored the newsletters and websites in the following three areas:
  • editorial content
  • overall appearance
  • service to members

Click here to view all the winners
Nik Software has been recognized with the prestigious Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) Award in the Photo Software category. During this year's global General Assembly, 29 TIPA editors from imaging publications worldwide voted Nik Software's Complete Collection as the Best Photo Software for 2011. The Nik Software Complete Collection is a suite of all Nik Software plug-ins for Adobe® Photoshop®, Lightroom®, and Apple® Aperture®, including the latest versions of Color Efex Pro™, Silver Efex Pro™, HDR Efex Pro™, Viveza®, Sharpener Pro™ and Dfine®. TIPA emphasized the recent development of Nik Software's unique High Dynamic Range imaging software (HDR Efex Pro) and black and white conversion software (Silver Efex Pro 2). Product videos, free trial versions, and live online training for all products can be found at www.niksoftware.com.

"Photoshop plug-ins take away some of the most labour-intensive photo manipulations..." said TIPA of Nik Software's Complete Collection.  "Nik plug-ins go one step further and provide the user with a unique 'U Point' technology, allowing for customisation of individual image parameters. And all presets can be further customised to each photographer's taste."

The Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) was founded in 1991 as an independent, non-profit association of photo and imaging magazines. Today, TIPA includes almost 40 member magazines and 30 websites from 16 countries worldwide. TIPA is the largest and most influential association of its kind in the global photo and imaging industry. The TIPA awards are the most coveted photo and imaging awards worldwide and are globally recognized throughout the industry and the channel.
Slideshow tool provider Photodex has announced a partnership with Zenfolio to offer integrated solutions for creating video slideshows online. Photodex's ProShow Web service now seamlessly pulls photos from Zenfolio galleries to create fully custom, HD video slideshows online from any Mac or PC. Slideshows can be shared online through social media sites like Facebook and YouTube, embedded on a blog or website and downloaded to a computer to burn to DVD and Blu-ray.

The integration seamlessly transfers files from server to server saving photographers valuable uploading time. Zenfolio users can easily export a group of photos directly to a new ProShow Web slideshow from their photo actions menu. From ProShow Web, users can add images straight from their Zenfolio galleries to create slideshows. Users can complete their shows with over 50 stylish themes, royalty-free music, and the ability to drag and drop a la carte effects onto any photo or video, resulting in a fully customized 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. 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.

ProShow Web offers unlimited video creation, custom effects and 1080p HD downloads with a Premium Monthly ($25/month) or Premium Yearly ($150/year) subscription. Zenfolio offers professional photographers and photo enthusiasts annual subscriptions ranging from $25 to $250 per year that allow photographers to organize, protect, print and sell their images online.

Dear PPA Member,

Question #1: Who is your favorite musician or band?
Question #2: Have you ever seen said musician or band live in concert?

If your answer to the second question is "no," then I highly recommend turning it into a "yes." Listening to a band's CD versus seeing them live and in their element are two completely different experiences. Now, I'm not saying that you shouldn't listen to their CD--CDs are convenient and you can listen to them at your leisure. What I mean is that sometimes the in-person experience can make a completely different impact.

The same can be said for education. PPA encourages continual education to help you succeed as a professional photographer, whether that education takes place at home or in-person. This week's Vital Signs reviews learning opportunities that get you out of the studio and face to face with fellow photographers and leaders in the industry. So come on, why not grow your business and meet some new people along the way? Sounds like a win-win to me!

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience



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