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PPA Today: March 2012 Archives

March 2012 Archives

trull_headshot.JPGThe Big Apple is a pretty big city. And big cities often have lots of photographers in them! So how does Brandon W. Trull, M.Photog.Cr., of Harlowe Studios in New York City stand out? What is it that keeps his clients coming in?

Trull has been a professional photographer focusing on weddings, fashion and fine art photography for the past 12 years. He'll use this experience to show you some new and innovative ways of posing and lighting in his "Couture Portraiture" Super Monday class on May 14 in New York City.

Starting Out
Trull's love of photography began as a child. He distinctly remembers going to a baseball game when he was eight years old and using his father's camera to capture people in the audience.

"I was fascinated by how they interacted," Trull remembers of the experience. "When I foundtrull1.JPG out that I could actually do it as a profession, I knew what I was meant to do." And do it he did. By the time he was 18, Trull was photographing weddings for friends and family, and his business only grew from there.

Overcoming Challenges
Today, Trull still loves to photograph weddings, in addition to his work as a fashion and fine art photographer. "I think it's amazing that I am able to capture the best day of a bride and groom's life...and that they can look at those images years from now and be taken back to that day."

Like many photographers, though, Trull says his biggest challenge is differentiating himself from the competition: "When there are so many other photographers in your field, it is essential to make your images unique so that you can stand out." That's why he says it's so important to constantly better yourself and continue to evolve in your style.

Teaching You
If you want to see how Trull has developed his own unique style and succeeded in the large market of New York City, don't miss his "Couture Portraiture" Super Monday class on May 14.

trull2.JPG"We will be using different shooting techniques and posing styles to try and open the students up to a new way of thinking," says Trull about his class. "It's too easy in this industry to get comfortable in the day-to-day and use the same poses, same lighting and same locations...and lose the love for photography in the process!"

If you're ready to improve your creativity, this may be just the class for you.

Learn more about Trull's class and browse more Super Monday classes in more locations at Read more about Brandon Trull here.

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.



Apple is offering a free online seminar on using the iPad in business on April 10th and 12th.

You'll learn how you can deploy iPad throughout your business easily and discover how quickly your employees can install configuration profiles to get corporate services up and running. You'll also find out how to use Mobile Device Management to manage and monitor compliance with corporate policies, distribute iPad apps over-the-air, and even remotely wipe or lock managed devices.

There will also be a Q&A segment where viewer-solicited questions will be answered by experienced Apple Business Experts.

Click here to register for the seminar

Don't forget, PPA members qualify for preferred pricing on the latest Apple products. Learn more about this benefit here.

Custom SLR has announced the immediate availability of the M-Plate universal camera tripod plate. The M-Plate is the world's first universal tripod plate to offer built-in Manfrotto RC2 and Arca-Swiss connections as well as attachment points for accessories. The M-Plate enables quick release from any tripod head and can attach multiple camera accessories into a single plate.

Crafted in the USA from aerospace grade aluminum, the M-Plate is sturdy, steady and lightweight, and works with any camera strap system including the Custom SLR C-Loop strap mount, BlackRapid,  Spider Holster, Sun Sniper, Cotton Carrier and virtually any system that would typically occupy the camera tripod socket. The ergonomic design of M-Plate relocates the tripod socket making it easier to shoot portrait shots. Designed as a part of a modular system, the built-in M-Link Portâ„¢ will connect with future photo and video attachments, including flash brackets and video rigs that are currently in development.

The M-Plate comes in a black anodized finish for durability and a sleek, seamless profile when attached to the camera's tripod socket. An impact absorbent and textured layer between the aluminum and camera ensures a snug fit and eliminates scratching. Additionally, the M-Plate features an optional hand strap attachment accessory. 
supermonday_slider_spring2012.jpgSuper Monday is peer-to-peer education at its very best--all-day photo workshops created by photographers, for photographers--and we're proud to help bring it to you. Not only are there chances to learn in your backyard, but the learning itself can go beyond what you might expect:

  • Ever wanted to try underwater photography? Experience it in Vermont.
  • Curious about night photography? See what you can capture in Illinois.
  • Want new, creative backgrounds with little investment? Learn how to create your own in Arizona.
And that doesn't even count the different lighting and posing techniques shared, how to get the best shots for pet, senior, wedding and child portrait clients, or how to better use your editing software. Point is, if you want to learn it, there's probably a Super Monday class on it!

So, go on--browse the class lists and register!

PPA members earn one service merit for paid attendance. Be sure to check the date of your preferred class, as some are held before or after the main May 14 date.
rachel_marten_headshot_2012blog.jpg"My clients would never purchase more than they do." Have you ever thought that? Ever turned away from a sales class thinking that those methods just won't work for your business? Rachel Marten, Cr. Photog., said those words once, too. "But I now know it was my own fear speaking--as long as I didn't have control, as long as I was blaming my clients or where I lived, I didn't have to take responsibility for my sales," she explains.

And in her upcoming PPA online class, Rachel will share how she turned that fear around to bring in staggering sales: "Show Me the Sales" (April 3, 2:00pm ET).

For example, an attitude shift and strong motivation helped spur her mission to make money in the industry. "The 'why I had to take responsibility' for our sales became more important than my fear of what my clients would or wouldn't do," says Rachel. "When the 'why' got strong enough, the 'how' became evident and obvious. I stopped saying 'That will never work,' and started saying, 'What can I do to make this work?"

One of the things Rachel did (which she considers vital for higher sales averages) is create a sales system. Over time, she found that when she said certain things, almost all of her clients reacted the same. Repeating and tweaking what worked in previous sessions helped her find the constant outcome she wanted. Now, her system keeps everything on track.

"Looking back, I realize I hated sales because my sales process was scattered. I was fearful and didn't feel like I knew what I was doing," notes Rachel. "My sales system makes me confident in me and my end result."

Her motivation, commitment and sales system have paid off big time. The Martens live in rural Montana, where there are six people per square mile. Yet at least 85 percent of Clark Marten Photography clients drive 45 miles to the spend an average of $3,500.

Good numbers, huh? Tune in April 3 to hear Rachel speak live about how YOU can create a powerful sales system and maximize your numbers, too!

Do you feel pressed for time and always on the move? You're not alone--it's a common occurrence when you're a small business owner (especially a photographer). That's why we at PPA like to share new perspectives in how others handle different business situations, including how to make use of the more mobile tools.

Take, for instance, the Apple iPad® or other types of tablet computers. Such devices can help you become even more efficient in carrying out your daily business practices, whether you download apps or synch to software you already use. 

Use It for Business
"The iPad is perfect for showing prospective clients examples of your work," notes Mark Levesque, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, of Studio Mark Emile. "The portability, screen size and excellent image rendering make you happy to show images that you can easily zoom into and reveal incredible detail. It's much more effective than carrying around a portfolio of prints or showing images on a smartphone."

Now, you probably already know that such a tablet can be great for displaying your images to clients, but are you aware that it can be an effective tool for managing your business (and more)?  Its versatility in your photography business could be extremely high...especially when you consider the multitudes of applications available.  Read more here.

Slideshow tool provider, Photodex has announced the latest version of its Adobe Lightroom plug-in for ProShow. The plug-in helps photographers quickly create video slideshows by removing all the busy work involved with preparing photos and importing them into a show. The free plug-in supports both Mac and PC, and is now compatible with all three versions of Photodex's ProShow line of HD slideshow tools.

The plug-in provides a seamless bridge between ProShow's unique and visually-compelling slideshow output and Adobe Lightroom versions 2, 3 and 4. It can be used to conveniently resize and export photos from Lightroom directly to ProShow Producer, ProShow Gold or the cloud-based ProShow Web.

The updated plug-in allows users to choose between using ProShow's wizard to create an automatic slideshow or creating a simple custom slideshow with numerous built-in style options including borders, effects, timing and captions. The plug-in also provides new and improved show titles and special characters for the ProShow Web application.

Pricing and Availability
The ProShow Plug-in for Lightroom is free and can be downloaded directly from the Adobe Lightroom Exchange website. The plug-in is Mac and PC compatible and works with Lightroom 2, 3 and 4. Export support for ProShow Producer and ProShow Gold is PC only.

#1stdayofspringToday is the first day of Spring and we'd love to see what Spring looks like where you are. So take a photo, post it to our Facebook wall at and tag it with #ourppa #1stdayofspring.

Here's a shot of Peachtree Street in front of PPA HQ this morning to get you started.

supermonday_slider_spring2012.jpgConnect and grow with your colleagues on May 14 during PPA's Super Monday Photo Workshops! This is peer-to-peer education at its very best--all-day learning sessions created by photographers, for photographers. Get ready to expand your skills and broaden your professional networks with classes near you like the following:

  • Secrets to better sales, powerful marketing & more.
  • How to photograph outdoors, at night, for model porfolios & in HDR.
  • Lighting tips to wow your clients whether in studio or out.
  • How to better use Adobe® Photoshop®, Lightroom® & more.
  • The business ABCs for portrait and wedding photographers.

Even better? You'll save $20 right now by registering before April 25!

PPA members earn one service merit for paid attendance. Be sure to check the date of your preferred class, as some are held before or after the main May 14 date.
As a photographer, you know the importance of backing up your images and other important files (we hope). But did you know there is a day dedicated to this important task? March 31 is now World Backup Day! To learn more, read tips and join in the backup yourself, visit
There are some changes coming! In a few weeks (April 4), PPA will be combining our two weekly emails (PPA Today and Vital Signs) into one new offering with a focus on more content and useful information. Here are the major changes to look forward to:

  • One email per week (on Wednesdays) called "PPA Today."
  • Alternating between in-depth articles and a streamlined calendar of events every other week.
  • "How They Did It" member profiles
  • Reminders of your PPA benefits (and how to use them)
  • PPA Brag Book--Let us know what (or who) you want to brag on and we could share it with thousands!
jen_spengler_2012_blog.jpgHow often do you pick up the local paper and read a feature story about someone else's business, maybe even another photographer's studio? Wonder what it would take to get YOUR story in print or on the evening news?

"Everyone has a story to tell, and every town has media outlets that will be interested in hearing it," explains Jen Spengler, founder of PR in a Flash. And you're in luck because she will be sharing PR tactics for photographers in PPA's online class next week!

How-To PR Materials
With Jen, you'll learn how an "old school" press release can still help spread your story. "I believe in its value because small, local papers--and even some of the big ones--have drastically cut their staffs and need well-written material they can use without having to hire a writer," she notes.

But sometimes public relations can be as simple as alerting a reporter to a possible story! That's why Jen will also talk about how easy it can be to simply pick up the phone and make a call to an editor or send a brief email asking for coverage. In addition, she'll cover what you might not see as public relations--networking and volunteering in the community, for example. And what about following a local reporter (who writes about arts or small business) on Twitter and starting a conversation? That's a PR tool, too!

The Key to Great PR
To make these tactics work, though, Jen will stress the importance of finding the right angle for your story.

"Sometimes the story is not about the photography, but about how one BECAME a photographer, how you help your community, or how your small business is doing in tough times," Jen explains. In other words, to get your news spread, it needs to be more than just, "I'm an awesome photographer." (That's more of an ad, Jen notes, which is probably what an editor will tell you if you bring them that kind of "story"!)

"Photographers have to look at the audience they want to reach and give them something that is authentic, newsworthy and valuable to their lives, or one that touches them in some way," adds Jen.

THAT is what makes it a story to share.

So, are you ready to share your story? Ready to get to know your audience, find your angle, make it newsworthy...and learn how to ask your local media to help spread the word? Then tune in March 27 for more details and help in getting started:

PR 101 for Photographers: Old School Tactics for Present Day Success
with Jen Spengler
March 27 at 2:00pm ET

In a world of ever-changing technology, merging old and new can be challenging. As photographers, you know this well. Film to digital. Smartphones and tablet computers for business and personal life. All the new social media sites you are trying to use the right way. There's a lot going on!

In the all these changes and updates, though, did you remember to ensure your credit card processing system is running as smoothly as ever?

It may not be in the front of your mind, but this is common place for concern in the credit card processing industry, especially with many businesses having switched to digital or IP (internet-based) phone services. For example, if you have bundled services--phone, cable and internet combined--or subscribe to an internet phone service (Voice over IP), such as Magic Jack or Vonage, it is most likely digital. The thing is, updating phone service like that might have caused compatibility issues with your existing credit card terminal (if you have one). Read more here.

Photodex has announced the latest and greatest updates for ProShow Web. ProShow Web is an online tool that lets people easily mix photos, video clips and music together into polished video slideshows.
New 3D tilt effects and themes are among the impressive list of features now found in ProShow Web. Other highlights include:

  • An automatic energy level which ensures that photos and music end at the same time without the awkward lingering or cutoffs; this is now the default feature for creating new shows.
  • Importing photos into new shows is now easier as well. Along with the integration of popular photo sharing platforms Instragram and Flickr, the redesigned import service is now under the "Imagery" tab with third-party add buttons visibly available.
  • Improved music categorization has been implemented based on feedback from users. Now in the music library, users can simply pick a category from a well organized list or select from a list of frequently used tracks.

The biggest change is how effects are handled when re-processing a show. Now, after a show is built for the first time, ProShow Web locks in a user's effects. Unless a user removes them or specifically uses the Try Again button, ProShow Web will keep all effects intact. This lets users edit and tweak their slideshows without losing the effects ProShow Web has applied, but still provides an easy way to remix an entire show.

You are invited to submit artwork for a juried digital art show that will take place May 17, 2012, during the five-year anniversary celebration of the Copyright Alliance. PPA is one of the founding members of the Copyright Alliance (our CEO David Trust is a past board member, too).

Called "Connecting Creators: Showcasing the Artists Among Us," the event itself will take place at Microsoft's D.C. office on May 17, 4:30pm - 8:00pm. Submitting your image means you have a chance to win the Best of Show or Honorable Mention awards and be celebrated at the event! In fact, the Best in Show winner gets a chance to tell their story to members of the copyright community on Capitol Hill during a panel discussion from 4:30pm - 5:30pm.

Interested? Don't forget to submit by April 6 at 5:00pm Eastern! Download the complete details and submission form here.

ppacharities_celebrationsmiles_slider2012.jpgCelebration of Smiles is PPA Charities' newest fundraising event (April 21), where you can help raise money for Operation Smile while increasing your community's awareness of your business. To help you make the most of the event, PPA Charities is supplying predesigned marketing materials, an entire marketing guide, and weekly countdown emails to keep you on track.

And if you don't register now, you'll miss out on the first of those helpful countdown emails!

As soon as you register with a simple $25 donation, your studio name and website link will be placed on the Celebration of Smiles consumer website. Within a week, you will receive that Celebration of Smiles Marketing Guide that takes you step-by-step through how to market, prepare for and execute your promotion, along with predesigned promotional elements and materials you can use to market to your clients and prospects.
What's more, you can participate in the PPA Charities' Portrait Awards to win great prizes and recognition, exclusive to Celebration of Smiles participants. Plus, you might even win the opportunity to document an Operation Smile Mission!
Register and learn all about Celebration of Smiles--and why it's such a worthy event--by visiting

Only PPA members are invited to participate in this charitable, promotional event. Not a PPA member? It's easy to join at this link: 
lightroom4_presets_blog.JPGThree new Lightroom 4 Preset Packs are now available from the onOne Marketplace. These preset packs have been developed with the new Lightroom 4 to take advantage of its new and improved Develop Module tools and to help photographers work more quickly and easily while expanding their creative options.

Now Available

Nicole Young Film Presets for Lightroom 4- Developed by Nicole Young, lifestyle and food photographer, this pack of presets takes images back in time. Hints of film grain with touches of contrast and cross processing add a beautiful retro feel to portraits, landscapes, or any image.

Nicole Young Black and White Presets for Lightroom 4 - Also designed by Nicole Young, this preset pack makes it easy to apply a beautiful black and white treatment to photographs with classic tones, subtle color enhancements, and more.

New York City Stories Presets for Lightroom 4 - Built exclusively in Lightroom 4 by onOne Software's Curriculum and Education Manager, Brian Matiash, these presets were inspired by images taken by Brian in his home city of New York. They are best used with urban and architectural-based images.

More Lightroom 4 Add-On Content Planned

These three Lightroom 4 Preset Packs are just the first pieces of add-on content that onOne Software will offer for Lightroom 4. Over the coming months, more Lightroom 4 Exclusive Preset Packs are planned for release through the onOne Marketplace. Additionally, with the new Book Module in Lightroom 4, development of a series of book templates is planned for release in the near future.


Each of the onOne Lightroom 4 preset packs are available immediately for $9.95 each through the onOne Marketplace. For more information, visit

How can you make a difference in PPA or in the photographic profession? By participating in PPA Council elections! We all know the importance of voting for leaders we believe in to guide our country. The same holds true for PPA. This spring PPA members will elect their representatives to the 2012-2015 PPA Council.

As individual Councilors (assisting members and fellow photographers) and as a group (making the decisions that guide the association), these special volunteers help lead PPA. Such member involvement in directing PPA is just one aspect that sets us apart from other national photographic organizations. Read more here.

Did you know that there's a special competition for those images that are more artistic in nature? Whether submitting original artwork or an extensively manipulated digital image, you can enter the Master Artist Competition at the PPA Southeast District Photographic Competition (deadline for entry: March 22).

Is It the Right Choice for Your Entry?
The Master Artist Competition is judged using different criteria than the "regular" photographic competitions (where just the final image result is considered when applying a score). With this special competition, the final result is a factor, but the execution of technique and degree of difficulty are also considered. That's why guide images are encouraged--to help the judges understand the process used and techniques involved in creating the final image. Techniques may be electronic or traditional (actual paint for example) or a combination thereof.

In fact, an image that may be worthy of a merit in regular competition, may not be so in the Master Artist Competition if the final image did not require significant artistic expertise to accomplish the result. So, remember that use of technique plays a major factor in the awarding of Seals of Approval or merits in this category.

Why Did the Competition Name Change?
The Master Artist Competition was formerly known as the Electronic Imaging Competition. The name change came about as a way to better connect this competition to the PPA merits you can earn through it. All exhibition merits awarded in the Master Artist Competition are credited towards the Master Artist degree (the new name for the Master of Electronic Imaging degree) because of the skills it evaluates.

Can You Enter?
Yes! Anyone can enter the Master Artist Competition. You do not have to hold a Master of Photography degree. Just remember that you start by entering at the Southeast District Photographic Competition, regardless of what district you are in. It's the only place you can enter this special competition before the International Photographic Competition.

And here's some more good news: You can enter in both the Master Artist Competition at the Southeast District AND your own district's regular Photographic Open Competition. If you're a PPA member, this puts you on the path toward two PPA degrees and doubles your outlet for creativity!

You have until March 22 to enter in the Southeast District, so get your entries ready now...and good luck!

duncan_cris_headshot2012_blog.jpgA pro photographer needs great lighting skills. It is one of the most easily noticed differences between a professional's image and an amateur's. And Cris Duncan, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, is giving an online class next week that may give you the pointers you need: "The Art & Science of Lighting: Creating a Studio Anywhere" (March 13, 2:00pm ET).

Cris will take you beyond just having an eye for good light. He'll help you gain an understanding about light--why something does what it does. "When we understand what light does and doesn't do, we are more equipped to create the lighting we desire in any situation or environment," he explains. "We will have the confidence and technical skills to produce a great image and, in turn, save time during post-production."

In other words, being able to understand the laws and physics of lighting (and manipulate them) will help you "create a studio anywhere."

That's why Cris will guide you through using different lighting tools and applications:

  • Daylight (including open shade) & ambient indoor light
  • Flash, studio strobes & portable light sources
  • Additive lighting (adding light to a scene) & subtractive lighting (taking light away)
  • Reflective light & transmissive light techniques
"My hope is that everyone will leave the webinar with the ability to light their next image in a way they have not done before...or in a more effective way," adds Cris. If that's your wish, too, tune in March 13 for the online class that can help.

photocare_blog.JPGHeard the good news? PPA is now providing a $15,000 equipment insurance policy for every U.S.-based Professional Active and Life member, and it costs you nothing to enroll. In just three steps, you can have $15,000 of equipment insurance coverage as a part of your PPA membership:

  1. Log in to with your user name and password.
  2. Look under the My PPA tab (top left).
  3. Click on the "Yes, I would like to opt in for PhotoCare Equipment Insurance!" (in the upper left corner of the page).

Learn more about the PhotoCare Equipment Insurance benefit here.

Ever wondered what certification can really do for you as a photographer? As Lew Everling, Cr.Photog., CPP,  of L-Photography & Design says: "The fact that you have worked hard to pass the examination and qualify your images proves you have the ability to work under pressure, handle nearly any situation, and take the initiative!"

But do your clients understand that? Do they even know if you are a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP)? It's one of the most widely recognized credentials (almost every industry has certifications), but it won't promote itself. That's why Lew stresses the need to market certification--showcase those extra steps you took to set yourself apart from the competition.

Whether you're a newly minted CPP, have had the bragging rights for years or are considering the program, browse these tips on boosting awareness in print, in public and beyond.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2012 is the previous archive.

April 2012 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

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