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PPA Today: May 2012 Archives

May 2012 Archives

To help you prepare for Imaging USA 2013 at Atlanta's Georgia World Congress Center on January 20 - 22, 2013, we've been delivering you information on Atlanta attractions, neighborhoods and dining. Now let's take a look at some of the recent openings, expansions and re-developments that have happened in Atlanta, as reported by the Atlanta Convention and Visitor's Bureau:

One of the World's Most Accessible Airports Expands
On May 16, 2012, the Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal opened at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, cementing Atlanta as the global gateway to the U.S. The project, a $1.4 billion development, adds 12 international gates, creating a 40-gate international air-travel complex. The new terminal services nearly 80 destinations in more than 50 countries, and inbound travelers are connected to more than 150 U.S. cities. The Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal eliminates the luggage rechecking process thanks to upgraded customs and border patrol facilities.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Opens at Phipps Plaza
A $12 million LEGOLAND Discovery Center opened March 17, 2012, at Phipps Plaza, one of the Southeast's premier shopping destinations. This highly interactive and educational indoor experience features a range of play areas, a laser ride, a 4D cinema and an exhibit designed of LEGOs to reflect the iconic Atlanta skyline.

Fernbank Museum Opens NatureQuest Exhibit
Fernbank NatureQuest opened on March 19, 2011. The nearly 7,000 square-foot exhibition is one of the most significant additions to the Fernbank Museum since the world's largest dinosaurs moved into Fernbank's Great Hall in 2011. This all-new $8 million exhibition will offer Fernbank's youngest visitors a difference kind of museum experience, with engaging interactive encounters through an immersive, nature-inspired environment with live animals and hands-on learning.

Piedmont Park Gets a 53-Acre Expansion
Piedmont Park has gained new parkland with landscaped pathways through woodlands, open meadows, open play areas, basketball courts and an interactive fountain similar to the rings of Centennial Olympic Park. Visitors can already enjoy new developments like an expanded dog park, a state of the art pool, reclaimed green space with bocce courts and a restored bathhouse.

Georgia Aquarium Expands with New Dolphin Exhibit
The Georgia Aquarium, in partnership with AT&T, opened a multi-million dollar dolphin exhibit on April 2, 2011. Dolphin Tales is the largest expansion to date for the world's largest aquarium and includes a viewing gallery, a 25-foot-long underwater viewing window, interactive displays and a live theatrical show incorporating dolphins and live actors.

Coca-Cola Secret Formula Finds New Home at World of Coca-Cola
On Dec. 8, 2011, the Vault of the Secret Formula exhibit opened at the World of Coca-Cola, featuring the vault that now contains the 125-year-old secret formula for Coca-Cola. The Coca-Cola Company moved the formula from SunTrust Bank to the World of Coca-Cola prior to the opening of the exhibit, where for the first time in history, the vault containing the recipe is now visible to the public.

These are just some of the great new attractions and activities you'll find during your convention downtime at Imaging USA 2013 in Atlanta!

Read more about Imaging USA.

Read more about Atlanta.
Neil Enterprises, Inc. has added five new styles of photo mounts to its Pro-Line series geared towards professional photographers.

The new line of photo mounts was created due to a need from photographers looking to order high quality photo mounts quickly and efficiently. All of the new photo mounts are in stock and ship within 24 hours from when the order is received. Styles range from a marble design called the "Traditional Photo Mount" to the basic black called the "Timeless Photo Mount". Two additional styles feature a pop-out easel back that can be used horizontally or vertically.

All of the photo mounts are sold in cases of 100. Sizes range from 4" x 6" to 8" x 10". Pro-Line Photo Mounts are very economical with prices as low as $0.27 each. Neil Enterprises will soon be offering foil stamping on the entire new Pro-Line Photo Mount collection with turnaround times as short as two business days.

The Pro-Line Photo Mounts can be see at


martin_gregg_2011_4034-2.jpgThe sports photography field is full of great opportunities for pro photographers, from team images of youth sports to action shots that capture the moment. If you are looking to break into this specialty--or improve your results in it--tune in for PPA's June webinars, featuring tips and advice from masters of the field:

June 12 - 2:00pm
More Business & Profit with Youth Sports Photography
Dave Stock

June 19 - 2:00pm
Fundamentals of Sports Action Photography
Gregg Martin, M.Photog.Cr., CPP

June 28 - 2:00pm
Sport Composites That Sell
Richard Sturdevant, M.Photog.M.Artist.Cr.

(Image "Not Today Boys", ©Gregg Martin, 2011 PPA Loan Collection)

564866_10150949582488234_360056649_n.jpgEach year, the Magazine Association of the Southeast (MAGS) presents its GAMMA Awards, which recognize and celebrate editorial and design excellence in more than a dozen categories. But why does that matter to you? Professional Photographer--the magazine PPA members get for free--brought home 17 of the awards earlier this May! (See a list of the awards.)

Those awards are just the tip of the iceberg. For over 100 years, Professional Photographer has been helping readers grow their businesses with practical, cutting-edge lessons on photo techniques, business management, sales and marketing. The magazine also showcases noteworthy photographers, trends in the industry and the latest products.

Yet the award-winning content of the magazine may not be the only benefit you receive from this PPA benefit. PPA member Tina Key of Key Essentials Photography in Texas recalls a time when the magazine itself proved to be a great resource. "I have struck gold just by carrying it around with me," she explains. "For instance, I was eating lunch and flipping through the magazine when I was approached by a lovely woman in need of a photographer. I gave her my card and took some of the most beautiful images of her daughter that weekend. I don't view it just as a magazine anymore; I see it as an asset."

Key finds Professional Photographer to be exceptionally well-designed and arranged, and she appreciates being able to pick it up at any time and find inspiration. As another PPA member, Wayne Eggleston of Wayne's View Photography in South Carolina, adds: "No matter what level of experience you have as a photographer, you can still learn more, still get inspiration."

Add in the website, digital edition, contests and Web Exclusives newsletter, and you'll be hard-pressed to find another magazine that offers a more complete resource for photographers. It's more than a magazine...even if it's been called the best business-to-business/association magazine in the Southeast!

Let's put it this way: Thousands of pro photographers pay to receive this magazine, but PPA members get it free with their membership. So, look for it in your mailboxes, access the digital version online ( and enjoy!
guardiansofheadrickchapel.jpgPPA member Kathryn Rutherford, M.Artist.Cr., of Heirloom Art Studio in Sevierville, Tenn., received one of the East Tennessee Historical Society's 2012 Awards of Excellence on May 8. Judged by committee, these awards recognize outstanding accomplishments in programming, publications, preservation and other achievements in history.

In Rutherford's case, she was honored with an Award of Distinction in recognition of her research and creation of original "Spirit Paintings," which capture the cultural history of the Great Smoky Mountain area. Most notable to the award are a series of four unique oil paintings that were created to record the ancestral residents associated with the Headrick Chapel in Wears Valley, Tenn. She also donated a portion of each reproduction print sale to the Friends of Headrick Chapel Restoration Fund to support the chapel's preservation.

"I am incredibly surprised and deeply honored to be recognized for my fine art and efforts to raise funds to preserve East Tennessee history," commented Rutherford. "As a portrait and restoration artist at the Heirloom Art Studio, it is always my hope that my work will bring joy and fulfillment to my clients and create heirlooms for the future. The Headrick Chapel Spirit Paintings have not only allowed me to capture a moment in time, but often put the faces of Wears Valley ancestors into the hands of descendants throughout the United States who, only through the purchase of my paintings, were able to view their ancestors for the first time."

These Spirit Paintings are just one of Rutherford's many specialties, combining the stories and histories of ordinary lives into one-of-kind, original fine art. Family members, historical figures, and people long gone are depicted as transparent ghosts forever captured as unique heirlooms that "bring back memories of another time," as Rutherford's website says.

Rutherford has been a PPA member since about 1986 and has earned her Master Artist and Photographic Craftsman degrees. She specializes in providing high-end photographic and fine art restoration, original portraits and paintings in oil and watercolor, photographic retouching, and original digital fine art to other pro photographers and specialty clients in 17 countries throughout the world. Rutherford holds a long list of prestigious awards from PPA and others, including Eastman Kodak Co. She was also awarded the Fuji Masterpiece Award for the invention of a process that captures and restores the images on blackened tintypes.  

More of Rutherford's work can be viewed at
About 15 years ago, Beth Forester, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, created a part-time home studio in Madison, W.V., to explore her interest in the art of photography. Today, she juggles Forester Photography--which has cornered the senior portrait market in her area and moved into a modern downtown facility--and photoDUDs, a drag-and-drop design software company for photographers. She's happy, profitable and doing what she loves.

But how did she navigate those difficult early years and keep growing? "I think the key to my success is that I'm always looking ahead," says Beth.

Growth of a Business
Like most, Beth's photography business grew in stages. Rarely does anyone decide to become a photographer and--bam!--start up a smoothly running full-time studio the next day. There are hard decisions to be made and, more often than not, the business you start out with will change significantly.

For example, Beth's photographic passion increased with her daughter's birth. But photography (especially film, which she started in) is not cheap, and she needed to support her hobby somehow! That led her to take on small jobs and charge for them. She even taught tennis lessons for an entire summer, just to buy the medium-format camera she wanted!

Later, at a crossroads in her life, Beth needed a job, needed to support herself. She looked at her history degree and wondered if she should teach. Then she looked at her photography again. More and more people wanted to hire her...could she do this full time? Beth decided on the photography path, but within a year and a half, she realized she had to change a lot of things if she was going to do more than pay her bills.

Read the full profile of Beth Forester.
Seasonality is a fact of life for most portrait and wedding photographers. Sure, you can drum up business during your off season with special promotions, but sometimes the slow times are just, well, slow. However, if you're flexible and motivated, you can often fill up some blank spaces on your calendar with special event work. Below are a few ideas from PPA members to get you started:

School Plays    
School plays can present lucrative opportunities if you approach them with the right mindset. Think of them almost like a wedding; there's a featured group of participants (the cast), a rehearsal (dress rehearsal) and a large group of friends, family and other potential buyers (the audience). Photographers who have covered plays effectively often photograph the entire cast together, then a series of subgroups, and then each actor individually. The dress rehearsal presents an ideal opportunity to get some action shots. Opening and closing nights offer great sales opportunities, whether you choose to print in advance and sell on-site, or take custom orders for later shipping. Print packages and specialty products work well, and online sales may be a good option for action shots.


High school proms offer a good opportunity for photographers who can work quickly on-site, or who can stage fast-moving events in their studios. Beth Forester, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, does the events both on-site at the prom venue and in her studio (Forester Photography). For the on-site shoots, she sets up a mobile studio and photographs couples as they enter the prom. These shoots are higher volume, and she might photograph 100 couples during the course of the evening. Packages are basic, usually one or two poses with images chosen by Forester and rates ranging from $25 to $75, with an average around $45.

For the in-studio prom sessions, Forester blocks off a chunk of time the evening of the prom and promotes the sessions to all of her senior portrait clients. Scheduling the sessions is critical, she says. "If it's just an open time frame, the kids will show up in a huge group, and everyone will be in a hurry. That's very difficult." The in-studio shoots are lower volume than the on-site jobs, maybe 25 or 30 couples, but the package averages tend to be higher, up around $100.

PPA Members can read about more special event ideas.
Tamron has announced the launch of "Tamron Lenses & How-To" app available exclusively for download to Androidâ„¢ and iPhoneâ„¢ devices. The app will serve as a handy how-to and Tamron product reference guide all on the convenience of your device. With much focus on the How-To aspect, this app will be especially useful for photographers who are out in the field shooting and would like a quick tip on how to create a better shot through the many articles and videos tailoring to specific situations and photographic environments. App users will also have exclusive access to special features on photographing our National Parks and iconic travel sites in the how-to article section starting mid-June. The app is available free of charge for iPad and iPhone at and for Android devices at


About Tamron Lenses & How-To
Tamron Lenses & How-To will serve as a resource for photographers on the go to review Tamron lens specs and access how-to articles and videos on dozens of photographic topics. Topics include portrait, travel, nature, kids, family, macro and more. Along with having access to Tamron's most useful articles and exclusive content, the app also offers links to how-to videos including Tamron's "DSLR Know-How: 1-Minute How-to Video Series". Other options include, event information at participating Tamron retailers near you, spec information for Tamron lenses, current Tamron contests and promotions, and serves as an easy way to connect with Tamron through Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Flickr, and Tamron's unique photo sharing platform My Photo Exhibits. Lastly, Tamron Lenses & How-To App users are able to register their new lens, find a local dealer, access brochures, and view Tamron CCTV division product as well.

Tamron Lenses & How-To Menu
The app offers easy access to Tamron Lenses & How-To wherever users may be. Throughtamron_howto_app4.pngtamron_howto_app5.png their iPhone and Android devices, users are able to access much of the information available on Tamron USA's website,, by hitting icons that include: Tamron Products, Local Events, How To Videos, How-To Articles, Photo Contest, Get Social, Get E-News, Find a Dealer, Rebates, QR Code Scanner, Register Lens, Brochures, CCTV Products, Service and Warranty, Contact Tamron, Profile, and an additional 4 icons for inquiries about the app specifically.

Our hearts go out to all the family, friends and the many lives these PPA members have touched.

Scott Stahl
Scott, owner of Scott Stahl Photography in Phoenix, Ariz., passed away May 16, 2012. After his stint with the Marine Corps., he married Kay and went through many different occupations until settling as a professional photographer--something he enjoyed doing every single day. He first joined the PPA family in 2006 as he followed his love for landscape, nature, event and wedding photography.

Keith N. Griffin
Keith, 54, of Winston Salem, N.C., passed away unexpectedly on May 8, 2012. An electrician by trade, he was a photographer at heart who had just joined PPA's family last year. Family and friends may leave their memories of Keith in the guestbook at View his obituary.

James "Jim"  Stagner, M.Photog.Cr.
Jim, a PPA member since 1983 and a longtime member of the Virginia Professional Photographers Association (VPPA) and the Manassas-Warrenton camera club, passed away April 23, 2012, in California. He and his wife of 25 years, Mary Ann, made their home in Virginia. Jim served in the Air Force and worked for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), but he became interested in photography through Mary Ann, who owned Lasting Images by Mary Ann. Although he didn't work in the studio, Jim captured beautiful images of flowers, landscapes and other pictorials. In fact, he won Best of Show at VPPA the very first time he entered as a member.

Richard Kinstler, Cr.Photog.
Richard, 92, of Mason, Ohio, passed away February 28, 2012. After serving in the Navy during WWII, he helped form the Photo/graphics department at P&G in 1947, where he was an accomplished photographer, manager and inventor for 35 years. He joined the PPA family in 1954 and became an award-winning Life Member with an artist's eye and the skill to capture the moment, tell a story, and make friends along the way. View his obituary.


gwcc_blog.jpgAs we continue counting down the days to Imaging USA 2013 at Atlanta's Georgia World Congress Center on January 20 - 22, 2013, take some time to learn about the various neighborhoods of Atlanta and what they have to offer to visitors. You're bound to have some down time between Imaging USA programs that will be perfect for exploring the city!

Here's a rundown of the Atlanta neighborhoods - starting downtown where the Georgia World Congress Center is located - from the Atlanta Convention and Visitor's Bureau to help you make the most of your Imaging USA experience

In the middle of it all, Downtown's core pulses energy into the rest of Atlanta. It's a livable center, populated with city dwellers, businesses and world-class attractions such as the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola and a centerpiece urban park with roots in the Olympic Games. Sure, downtown may be Atlanta's tourist hub, but it's the ideal place to start an exploration.

Style and substance take center stage in Midtown along Peachtree Street. The famed boulevard maintains a friendly feel while it cuts a swath of culture that connects the marquee events at the Fox Theatre at one end, to the High Museum of Art, the Woodruff Arts Center and the Grammy-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in the middle, on to the Savannah College of Art and Design at the other end. Locals thrive on the tree-lined lanes just beyond, and they congregate to play at Piedmont Park.

Bold and brazen Buckhead cradles the bedroom communities of the up-and-coming as well as the city's Fortune 500 families. In Buckhead, Peachtree becomes Rodeo Drive with hospitable Southern accent, growing fashionable boutiques on attractive side streets. Boutique shoppers breeze past Sir Elton John's condo to ferret out the latest in fashion trends at out-of-the-way galleries for on-trend clothes. From just about any point in Buckhead, you're within shouting distance of a memorable four-star restaurant where foodies get their kicks.

Westside, a blending of Georgia Tech culture with nearby loft communities, has sprung into a focal point for a new design district in old industrial spaces. It's the go-to-place for interiors mavens looking for lighting and textiles and fabric and furniture. Like other Atlanta neighborhoods, the dining scene keeps improving here. Long-time homesteaders Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison's famous Bacchanalia restaurant begat the city's best kitchen shop, Star Provisions, plus two other restaurants, Quinones and Abattoir. Nearby top-rated Miller Union, Flip Burger Boutique, and Antico Pizza Napoletana join the throngs of eateries catering to the city's sophisticated palate.

Some Atlanta neighborhoods reach back to the city's early days, like the style of American heritage homes that populate Margaret Mitchell's Ansley Park just beyond the walls of the High Museum. Others, like Inman Park, combine small urban green spaces among winding boulevards lined with colorful Queen Anne's and Victorians in the city's first planned suburb. Both offer walking tours where their classic architecture and landscape design jut up against the skyscraper backdrop.

On weekends, locals push baby strollers to the farmers market in Morningside, while others stop for a pastry at Alon's in Virginia-Highland, dawdle in Highland Woodworking or try on fashion statements in Bill Hallman. Just a few blocks over, the scene edges into a Bohemian style, where vintage dress matches the creativity of tattoos in Little Five Points. While spots like Junkman's Daughter have become de rigueur for the young, others can't resist the kitschy places like Star Community Bar and Vinyl Lounge, with a shrine to Elvis. He is the King, after all. But all is not grunge here. Performing arts venues such as Seven Stages, Dad's Garage, and Variety Playhouse lend artistic authenticity to Little Five.

Some of the city's hottest neighborhoods show the courage of citizens to keep the best and create the new. Southwest of downtown, Castleberry Hill etches out a space among former warehouses. Today, art galleries mix with wine bars and tapas lounges for lively Friday Art Walks. While on the southeast side, the Sweet Auburn Community continues to flourish. Originally the epicenter of African American commerce in the South, the former richest Black street in America--Auburn Avenue--houses a curb market, bakeries, and clubs near the MLK National Park and Ebenezer Baptist Church. The newest downtown addition, Luckie Marietta District, is booming with excitement with attractions like the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coke. Stretching all the way to the Georgia World Congress center, it boasts a number of eateries and attractions all within walking distance.

Now that you know the neighborhoods of Atlanta, we hope to see you here in January for Imaging USA!

Read more about Imaging USA.

Read more about Atlanta
BusinessBasics_AnnMonteith.jpgIf you're new to the photography business or moving from part- to full-time, PPA's Business Basics Workshop is a great start on the right path. Over two days, you'll learn the fundamentals of running a successful photography business from mentors who run profitable photography businesses themselves.

If you're ready to take the next step in making your business succeed, consider registering for the next Business Basics Workshop with Ann Monteith, M.Photog.Cr. Hon.M.Photog., CPP, ABI, API, A-ASP. It might be the perfect opportunity for you, especially as Ann is an industry leader who has helped hundreds of photographers beat the business blues! The workshop is being held in Atlanta at PPA headquarters on June 9-10, but you'd better hurry - only 2 spaces remain for this workshop!

View other upcoming Business Basics Workshops.

Already have a business established? Consider learning how to improve it with the Business Breakthroughs Workshop.
cover811_facebook.jpgAugust 2011 (left) - Gold GAMMA Award-winner for best cover.

Professional Photographer, official magazine of Professional Photographers of America, is what professional photographers need to read, according to the Magazine Association of the Southeast's 2012 GAMMA Awards. Among the 17 awards Professional Photographer brought home is one for General Excellence, which names it the best business-to-business/association magazine in the Southeast.

Recognizing editorial and design excellence in magazine publishing, the GAMMA Awards validate Professional Photographer's 100-plus years of helping readers excel in the photographic industry with professional advice and inspiration. In fact, winning the top spots for General Excellence and Best Service Journalism applaud the magazine's overall performance and ability to provide informative content in appealing ways.

One judge commented: "Professional Photographer knows how to select case studies that can educate their readership."

Read the full list of Professional Photographer's awards

In terms of monthly visitors, Pinterest, is now the worlds third busiest social network, clocking over 104 million visitors in March (approximately 70% of them female). Pinterest even has a higher engagement rate than Facebook, with visitors to the sight spending 16 minutes on average, compared to Facebook's 12 minute visits.

So even if your current marketing plan does not include Pinterest, chances are that some of your clients are already using it, and possibly sharing your copyrighted images on the site. If the images are watermarked with your studio name or URL and are properly linked back to your site, they could already be driving traffic web your way. But if you are not yet ready to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon, there are a couple of things you can do to control the use of your images on Pinterest.

  1. You can also use this link to see what has been pinned from your website (where is your url):
  2. If you want to prevent images on your website from being pinned, you can plug a little code snippet into your website's meta tags <meta name="pinterest" content="nopin" />
  3. If you find copyrighted images and you want them removed, Pinterest will do so for you. Go to for instructions and a copyright complaint form.

Thanks to for their article:

For an indepth look at getting images removed from Pinterest read Katherine Tyrrell's step-by-step blog posts:

As you continue to get ready for Imaging USA in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center on January 20 - 22, 2013, here are some great dining recommendations around the city from the Atlanta Convention and Visitor's Bureau:

The competitive spirit of Atlanta's professional chefs has helped put the city on the dining map, with eight former Top Chef and two Iron Chef contestants contributing to some of Atlanta's best eateries. Fifteen new restaurants opened in the downtown area alone in 2011, joining more than 3,000 restaurant choices in metro Atlanta for residents and visitors.

But Atlanta's dining story isn't just one of sheer numbers. Eateries opening in Atlanta cater to the neighborhood, providing a warm welcome and inviting ambiance to invoke the feeling of dining at a friend's house, rather than a restaurant. The city's chefs are passionate about the eating local movement, sourcing meats and produce from local farms.

Atlanta's chefs incorporate local ingredients to serve up the best in New South cuisine with creative twists on grandma's traditional Southern meals. Atlanta's number one rated Zagat restaurant, Bacchanalia, boasts contemporary American cuisine with a seasonal menu featuring light dishes with strong flavors cooked by Chefs/Owners Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison. Chef Steven Satterfield puts his own spin on the region's meat-and-three meals, creating a menu based on the week's harvest at Miller Union - named one of the "10 Best New Restaurants in the Country" by Bon Appétit in 2010. Atlanta native Linton Hopkins brings regional southern flavor to Holeman and Finch Public House in Buckhead leveraging his relationships with local farmers when putting together menus for the restaurant.

In a city known for southern hospitality, restaurants and breweries provide welcoming settings for neighbors to gather for good food and drink, conversation and fun. At Ormsby's in Westside Provisions, patrons enjoy the craft beer selection, classic cocktails, fresh pub menu and a wide range of traditional games including: backgammon, bocce, darts, pool, and shuffleboard. SweetWater Brewing Company opens its doors and taps to the public three days a week with brewery tours and tastings. Named one of the "Top 50 Breweries in the Country" by the Brewers Association, the brewery offers the perfect setting for mixing and mingling.

The Buford Highway corridor is the best kept locals-only dining secret. Just one mile from downtown yields an assortment of authentic international cuisine and super-fresh seafood. Flavors of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Latin America occupy restaurants and shopping centers along this highway. Chef Liu has patrons salivating for his juicy soup dumplings and thick egg noodles and Sushi House Hayakawa serves up fresh, buttery sea scallops along with platters of fresh sashimi.

Guests to the South often ask where to go for the best traditional down-home Southern cuisine. Established favorites among tourists and locals include institutions like Mary Mac's Tea Room, serving "classic Southern food in the heart of Atlanta" since 1945; and Pitty Pat's Porch, a downtown landmark named after Aunt Pittypat Hamilton from "Gone with the Wind." For upscale Southern fare, venture to Paschal's and try the Paschal brothers' secret fried chicken recipe. The Varsity, the world's largest drive-in, offering "naked dogs walking," will forever remain an Atlanta staple.

These are just some of the ingredients that make Atlanta an exciting dining destination. Explore the city's restaurants during Imaging USA and discover what satisfies you in Atlanta!

Read more about Imaging USA.

Read more about Atlanta.
Operation Lifesaver, the rail safety education nonprofit organization, today urges professional photographers to be aware of the risk to life and limb in the current trend of taking photos of high school seniors and wedding parties on train tracks or trestles. At 2:00pm Eastern today, Operation Lifesaver President Helen M. Sramek participates in a webinar with Professional Photographers of America to educate photographers and others about the importance of safety around tracks and trains. She will be sharing six "must-know" tips professional photographers should consider before holding a photo shoot near the tracks.

  1. Trains can't stop quickly to avoid people or vehicles on the tracks.
  2. An optical illusion makes it hard to determine a train's distance from you...and its speed.
  3. The average train overhangs the track by at least three feet.
  4. Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and rights-of-way are private property.
  5. No tracks should be assumed to be abandoned or inactive.
  6. People in your community mimic your behavior.
"We understand the passion that photographers have for their work; however, they may not realize that using train tracks as a backdrop for portraits of high school seniors, wedding parties, and families is not only dangerous, it is illegal trespassing," says Sramek. "As part of Operation Lifesaver's mission to reduce deaths and injuries around trains, we urge professional and amateur photographers alike to set the right example for others." After all, last year almost 800 people were injured or killed while trespassing on railroad property throughout the United States, according to preliminary Federal Railroad Administration statistics. Sramek also notes that about every three hours in the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train.

The aforementioned webinar is available to PPA members online at:


You never know what one photograph will lead to. Take PPA member Steve Schindler's experience as an example! On New Year's Night 2009, Steve (of Schindler Photography in Lake Charles, LA) noticed kids playing with sparklers--writing their names in the air and so on. He put his camera on a tripod to capture some long exposures of it. Later, he posted one of the pictures on National Geographic's "My Shot" website. In May 2011, he received an email asking to use the picture in the book, "Visions of Earth" and in October 2011 the book was released! Congratulations, Steve! (Image ©Steve Schindler, Schindler Photography)

rouse_blog.jpgDo you sing the praises of Adobe Photoshop software? Thom Rouse does, and he's going to share with you how it's opened up a whole new world of creativity for him via his upcoming webinar: "After the Camera, Before the Print" (May 22, 2:00pm Eastern).

"I consider Photoshop to be a fine art tool rather than just a production tool," Thom says. "But I'm not seeing it taught that way very often. That's why I wanted to share my methods and thoughts with other photographers!"

Photoshop has, in essence, become a new medium for him. He always starts with a photographic image and remains true to his photographic background...but he doesn't stop there. With Photoshop techniques and tool, he can realize inspiration not only from other photographers, but also from painters and illustrators. He doesn't just edit, enhance or correct his photographs; he now has a hands-on palette to manipulate his photographs like on a canvas.

"You have to define yourself as a photographer and embrace the tools that come along if you want to and if they work for you," he adds. "Your focus and concentration should be on the finished result." And it just so happens that using Photoshop helps him reach the artistic result he desires.

Don't forget:

Join him May 22nd for a live demonstration of the techniques he uses and a discussion on other issues you may face as you evolve in your use of such tools. You might discover a new way that Photoshop tools can make your creativity soar!
You're never done learning. Probably every single pro photographer would agree with that statement. Pushing yourself to polish your technical knowledge and artistic skills keeps your art fresh and alive. That's a big benefit of pursuing certification. Heather McKay, CPP and owner of McKay's Photography in Rochester, NY agrees: "Going through the process to become a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) was probably the best thing I've done for myself in years! My work has improved drastically, even though I was already a seasoned pro."

Plus, the CPP program can help assure clients of your competency--certification is a credential the public can easily understand. After all, many industries have certification programs for their professionals.

Add it all together, and you may be wondering, "Why AREN'T I certified?" But we saved the best news for last: It's easy to get started. Just go to to declare your candidacy.

Even better? There's a Certification Prep Class in Atlanta (July 9-11) that will help you study for the exam and then take it! Many past attendees have praised these prep classes with helping them pass the rigorous exam, so it might be a smart action to consider.

So, are you ready to get certified?
With the flood of amateur photographers in the market, it's increasingly important that consumers learn the difference a professional photographer can make. Often, it's on the pro to provide such education--and one of PPA's benefits can help! Our consumer-focused campaign, called "See the Difference," is targeted toward wedding couples, seniors and families to help you reinforce the value of pro photography.

PPA has been spreading this message on a broad front, via online advertising and social media. From the ads, potential clients are directed to specialized landing pages with articles, videos and quotes about the importance of pro photography. There, they are provided links to PPA's Find-a-Photographer database, where they can search for a PPA member in their area.

Tools You Can Use
Want to spread the message yourself? PPA provides the same marketing tools to members for use on their websites, in their studios and in their sales materials. For example, you can use the provided side-by-side image comparisons to help potential clients see the difference in quality (amateur vs. pro) right off the bat. (You could use them in brochures, online, etc.) The key here is showing some common mistakes that an amateur photographer might opposed to the techniques you've learned and skills you've acquired to overcome lighting and posing challenges.

You also have access to Facebook tabs, sample brochures and online videos about the importance of pro photography. These videos, for instance, strike an emotional chord in potential clients, and they can be easily shared. You could post them on Facebook, your blog or your website as an example of why you do what you do. Some PPA members even play the videos in their studios. It's one more way to express the value of your art in terms a consumer can understand.

How It Can Work
PPA member Marla Austin of Marla Austin Photography, LLC, says that marketing this difference is integral to the success of her business. "I plan to show the See the Difference family portrait video to prospective clients, and I will post it to several social media channels for additional exposure," she adds. Marla also finds the brochures especially useful--great takeaway material to reinforce the importance of selecting a pro photographer like her.  

That kind of awareness is critical to reinforce. As mentioned earlier, many consumers don't fully recognize the importance of selecting a pro photographer for life's most important moments--not until it's too late--but with PPA's help and yours, awareness can multiply.  

Take it from one wedding client who DID see the value of pro work--and shared her thoughts on one of the See the Difference landing pages. Anna Marie Huffman, client of Esquire Photography, says: "You can budget aspects of your wedding and still do phenomenal things, but don't cut the budget on professional photography. No one's going to say they had a bad time because the linens were cotton not silk, but you WILL look back at your photos."

Think of this education as protecting your clients from compromising their memories, and help them to "See the Difference"! For more information and to download materials, PPA members can click here
Packages are a popular and oft-lucrative sales tool at professional portrait studios. To make them really worthwhile, the trick is offering package options your clients want without limiting your sales potential. We talked to several studios to see how they make packages work for them--specifically for their senior portrait clients.

Good-Better-Best Options

bethforsester_senior.JPGBeth Forester, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, owner of Forester Photography in Madison, WV, designs her packages so her clients don't have to make hard decisions. At each price point, the package includes all the items from the lower-priced packages, plus new products. Nothing drops out, so they don't have to balance one package with some desirable items against another with other must-haves. For example, Forester's basic package includes all the client's proof prints. The next level adds a DVD slideshow with an iTunes podcast available as a free download. The next level comes with a storybook album. (Image ©Beth Forester)

"Seniors like collages, books and other image collections that are a representation of their personality," she says. "So we add some of those options to each package level to encourage upgrading. In addition, every package has upgradeable options. We offer frames, designer matting, graphic design elements and other add-ons. Everything has a good-better-best option, so we don't limit ourselves at any package level."

Read the full article here.
It's a question as old as senior portrait photography--maybe as old as parenting teenagers: How do you make both teens and parents happy? For studios specializing in senior portraits, it's a question that must be reconsidered continually as photographers walk the fine line of being edgy enough to attract seniors and respectable enough to appeal to parents.

Get Them Involved
seniorsthroughalens.jpgDavid Mullenix, owner of Through a Lens Photography in Illinois, aims to please parents and seniors by drawing both into the experience of the session. While he photographs the senior, Mullenix asks mom or dad to lend a hand in a variety of ways, including running a video camera, using a leaf blower to blow the teen's hair, or holding a reflector. (Image ©David Mullenix)

"I don't hustle the mom off to the mom room," he says. "I want her to feel like part of the experience. And it works. Later, in the sales room, the moms often tell us they had as much fun as their seniors. They also let us know it was one of the best memories they have of their child's senior year. That's good, because if they like the experience, they will tell others about it."

Members, read the full article here.
Is your small business prepared for a disaster? Many small businesses put off this important preparation because of concerns about lack of resources or expertise. But FedEx is here to help. FedEx has teamed up with the American Red Cross to host a live virtual round table on May 22 to teach you how to keep your business in business when disaster strikes.

On May 22 at 11:30 a.m. CT, log on to and click the virtual roundtable tab towards the top of the page. From there, you will be able to access the FedEx Virtual Roundtable for Small Businesses and interact with experts from FedEx, the American Red Cross and the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce. Ask your questions through the designated Facebook tab or by following #FedExARC on Twitter.

This free 30-minute discussion will be broadcast live from Joplin on the one-year anniversary of the worst tornado in the U.S. in 75 years. In addition to streaming over the FedEx Facebook page, the broadcast will be available on UStream. If you can't attend the live broadcast, catch the rebroadcast at 6 p.m. CT. An expert will be available to answer your questions. At either time, you'll be able to watch, listen, ask questions and learn - and download free resources.
Experts say one dollar invested in disaster preparedness may save seven dollars in recovery. That's a 700% return on investment! What you will learn during this 30-minute roundtable may also save you hours, even days, if you are hit by an ice storm, power outage, fire, tornado, hurricane or other disaster. It may even save your business.

As you prepare for Imaging USA 2013 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta on January 20-22, 2013, consider these great activities around the city for your downtime during the convention. All of these attractions are unique to Atlanta and come highly recommended by the Atlanta Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Plus, there are probably some great photo opportunities at each!

See the largest fish through the largest window in the largest aquarium in the world.
Head to the Georgia Aquarium, where you can see tens of thousands of animals in more than 8 million gallons of water. The world's largest aquarium houses whale sharks, the largest fish in the sea and only whale sharks in an aquarium in North America. Visitors can even get up close and personal with these gentle giants in Georgia Aquarium's swim and dive program. In April 2011, the Aquarium opened AT&T Dolphin Tales, a state-of-the-art dolphin exhibit including dolphin encounters, viewing windows and a dolphin show.

Stroll through the collections of art from around the world without leaving Atlanta.
The High Museum of Art, the premier art museum in the South, is in the midst of a multi-year partnership with The Museum of Modern Art. Through 2013, the partnership will bring many international exhibitions to Atlanta and past exhibitions have included masterpieces by Claude Monet and Leonardo de Vinci.

Try a "Coke and a smile."
Born and raised in Atlanta, Coca-Cola is synonymous with the city. Visit the World of Coca-Cola to learn the story of the famous soft drink, now celebrating its 125th year. Go back to the early years of Coke's creation in Atlanta and follow the global brand through the decades. After you've refreshed yourself with more than 60 products from around the world, step out of the museum's front door and into the hub of the tourism district.

Find out why the greatest American novel was written in "The Dump."
Atlanta is home to the Margaret Mitchell House, featuring the furnished apartment nicknamed "The Dump" by Mitchell and where she wrote "Gone with the Wind." 2011 marks the 75th anniversary of the book as one of the best-selling novels in the world, second only to the Bible.

Race the gold shoes for a gold medal.
As host of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, Atlanta continues to commemorate the Olympic legacy. Centennial Olympic Park was the world's gathering place during the Games and includes the Fountain of Rings, the world's largest fountain utilizing the Olympic Symbol of five interconnecting rings. In 2006, the Atlanta History Center opened a $10 million wing celebrating the Centennial Olympic Games that includes interactive exhibits allowing visitors to compete against Olympic legends such as Michael Johnson and his gold track shoes.

Be a weatherman and news anchor, all in the same day.
Ride the world's longest freestanding escalator to go behind-the-scenes of the first global news network at the Inside CNN Studio Tour. Learn how to report the weather using a green screen, watch the newsroom floor as stories from around the world unfold and keep your eyes peeled for a Robin Meade or Sanjay Gupta sighting!

Find out what it takes to earn a Nobel Peace Prize, or two.
Atlanta is one of the only two cities in the world to lay claim to two Nobel Peace Prize winners--Martin Luther King, Jr. and former President Jimmy Carter. See the medals on display and learn about their legacies at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site and the Carter Library and Museum. Atlanta's history in the Civil Rights Movement will be punctuated in 2013 when the National Center for Civil and Human Rights opens, giving visitors a place to explore struggles for equality throughout history and engage in conversations about the future.

Order a F.O. and a naked dog walking.
Only the folks at the world's largest drive-in will know that you're really asking for a frosted orange drink and a plain hot dog to go. The Varsity was established in Atlanta in 1928.

Take bird watching to a whole new level.
Atlanta is home to not only the NFL Falcons, NBA Hawks and MLB Braves, but also to the NASL Silverbacks and WNBA Dream. Atlanta's sports teams play year-round so travelers can walk out of a museum or attraction and into a game virtually any day of the year.

Watch a three-course meal go full-circle atop the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere.
Atop the 73-story Westin Peachtree Plaza, the rotating Sun Dial Restaurant Bar and View offers visitors a first-class meal, scenic glass elevator ride, panoramic view of the city and a walking tour.

Hike the world's largest exposed mass of granite.
Stone Mountain Park is Georgia's most-visited attraction. Get your adventure on by making the 1.3-mile hike to the top of the mountain, where you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the entire city.

Follow the footsteps of the country's civil rights leaders.
In 2004, the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame was unveiled at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. Using genuine shoes from each of the honorees to create the footsteps, the Walk of Fame inducted 17 inaugural members, including Jimmy Carter, Jesse L. Jackson Sr., Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks and Andrew Young. Each year, more foot soldiers are added to the Walk of Fame. There are hundreds of additional spaces designated for future placements of worthy footsteps.

See puppets that are much more than socks.
The Center for Puppetry Arts, the nation's largest puppetry center, hosts famous puppets and presents both family and adult shows throughout the year. The Center is planning an expansion that will double the museum's current size and will allow for the museum to bring many of its collectibles out of storage. The expansion will also make room for the Jim Henson Wing, scheduled to open in 2012, which will include 500-700 puppets, props, videos and much more.

Find more Atlanta information here.

Read more about Imaging USA here.

brandt_headshot.JPGAna Brandt, of Anamaria Brandt Photography in Tustin, CA, has photographed hundreds of newborn babies and pregnant women in her area since going pro in 1999. In fact, she has become so recognized in her area for this type of work that her business has been steadily growing regardless of the economy.

"I believe that you can't be great at everything all of the time. To be successful, you need to know how to do something and do it well," Ana explains.

For her, that's pregnancy and newborn photography! If you want to learn how to add these specialties to your own business, be sure to attend her "The Art of Specializing in Pregnancy & Newborn" Super Monday class on May 14 in Tustin, CA.

Inspired by Her Past
Ana was fascinated by photography growing up. "As an adopted child with no photos ofbrandt1.JPG myself as a baby or of my birth family, I was always captivated by relationships caught on film," she says.  And she believes that eventually led her to specialize in pregnancy and newborn photography after attending photography school.

"I was so captivated by this 'stage' because I was never able to experience it with my biological mother--even in image form," Ana adds.  
Imaging USA 2013 will be held January 20 - 22, 2013 in Atlanta, GA at the Georgia World Congress Center.

You can find travel information on the Imaging USA Hotels & Travel page, including airport, public transit and rental car information as well as driving directions. Reserved hotel information will also be available on this page beginning in June.

Online registration will be open in June as well. Pricing options are currently listed on the page, so you can go ahead and find the option that works best for you!

Of course, Imaging USA is famous for the great photographic education that occurs during the conference. You'll get a first look at the schedule of classes and instructors in June. You can find information about the Imaging EXPO tradeshow here.

Be sure to check for all of the latest news and information!
ron_k_blog.JPGRon Kalwajtys, 73, president of GP Albums/General Products LLC, passed away on April 18, 2012.

Ron was introduced to the family business at a very young age when his father, Ray, took him to work on weekends to get out of his mother's hair. By the mid-1950s, Ron was an important part of the album business and learned every operation in the plant. In the 1960s, he became part the sales team. He was also an exhibitor at the very first PPA trade show (now called Imaging EXPO) as well as the first WPPI trade show. Throughout the years and these experiences, he saw the photographic industry blossom and change dramatically. And although he had been battling prostate cancer for five years, he continued to work at GP until he was hospitalized with complications from his chemotherapy in early April.  
Michael Ayers, a family friend and longtime GP customer, described Ron perfectly in saying, "He never knew a stranger and will be missed by all those who knew and loved him... right about now he is enjoying a Ketel One on the rocks."
The Kalwajtys family will continue the GP Albums/General Products legacy that Ron and his father Ray created. Our hearts go out to his family, friends and all the lives he touched.
Want to absorb all the business knowledge you can AND earn merits for your PPA degrees while you do so? Well, you can...with an Online Learning Pass. PPA provides you with the right education and the learning tools to aid in your continued success as a professional photographer.

Our webinars--online classes/seminars--form a growing online learning program that offers targeted presentations on essential elements for your business success, including: financial management, marketing, pricing, sales and workflow. You can choose to participate in a single, live webinar or sign up for an Online Learning Pass for $99, which gives you access to any live or on-demand webinar for 6 months! This 6-month subscription pass begins the minute you sign up, and you'll be able to enjoy every program in PPA's on-demand archive AND all of the new, live programs. It's the best deal for the best online education!

"Really, for the price, you can't beat the six-month Online Learning Pass here on," says Amy Hall of Nebraska. "The webinars related to pricing, marketing and more will really get you going in the right direction. Plus, you can just listen to them whenever you have time in the comfort of your own home!"

And those benefits don't even include the merits you can earn. For example, your Online Learning Pass makes you eligible to receive 1.5 service merits at the end of your subscription, which can help you reach the 25 merit total needed to earn a PPA degree ( If you renew your 6-month subscription, you can acquire up to 3 merits in a year just from your Online Learning Pass!

"I've found these online classes to be great learning tools, so I think the main benefit to this PPA benefit is the knowledge you gain," adds Greg Yager, CPP, of Yager Studio. "I just look at the merits as a bonus."

It's easy to experience the unbeatable educational benefits of the Online Learning Pass for yourself--just sign up for one here. After you've purchased it, you can access your pass at any time:

  1. Click on the "My PPA" tab located on the left of the horizontal menu bar.
  2. Click on "My Online Learning Pass," found on the left of the screen.
  3. Enjoy!

The Online Learning Pass is an exclusive benefit for PPA members. If you cancel your membership, you will no longer be able to access it. Please note that there are no refunds for the Online Learning Pass.
Marketing to the senior portrait market is no cake walk. It demands an adaptive plan that stays abreast of the fickle tastes of teenagers while also appealing to the moms and dads who foot the bills. Check out two promo approaches that have been working for some PPA members.

1) Senior Modeling Campaign
For Eric, Cr.Photog., and Shawna Anundi of Eric John Photography, a senior model promotion has breathed new life into their senior portrait business. Suggested to them by the marketing team at Marathon Press, and based on a program that worked well for PPA members Shane and Sunny Dwyer, the campaign worked like this: Shawna posted Facebook status updates on the studio's page, requesting models for some promotional shoots. She posted the updates around 3:00 p.m. (when kids were leaving school) for six days over the course of two weeks. No cost, no obligation to buy anything; the only requirement was that the models bring a parent with them.

"For two hours after each post, the phone would ring like crazy," says Shawna. "After six days, we had signed up more people than we could handle, so we closed the program."

The modeling shoots usually last 15 to 30 minutes. At the end, the kids' parents receive all the relevant studio info, including pricing and booking details. Kids can come back for a viewing session to see the images in a customized slideshow (and about 90% of the participants did so). "I was hoping for 15 kids, but we ended up with 50," adds Eric. "From that group, we've already booked 33 full senior portrait sessions. And we still have another 10 model sessions to photograph!"

Read the full article here.
How many of you know a photographer who got into the business as a career change? Chances are, we all know someone like that (and it might even be yourself!). It doesn't matter where you come from; what matters is where you go with your photography in the end. Does it remain a hobby, does it take over your life, or can you balance it as a career you love?

Jen Basford of 3 girls photography in Edmond, Okla., went through a successful career change herself, and she knows the importance of getting your photography business established the right way (for you).

Making the Change

Jen had no photographic aspirations in school--she wanted to be an astronaut! That lasted about two weeks into her college career, though, which was how long it took to get her major changed. She ended up earning an MBA and working for Accenture. After several moves and her second daughter's birth, Jen's interest in photography was born.

"I didn't have any intentions of making a business out of photography, but I did want to learn how to do things right," she admits. Her MBA experience led her to study photography through courses and workshops...and to join PPA in 2005, way before she went into business as a photographer.

"I knew through business school that belonging to professional organizations was important in whatever profession you chose," Jen explains. "So, I searched out national photography associations and immediately joined PPA as a student."

Read the full article here.
For the last dozen years, Andrew Jenkins, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, has owned and operated Canfield Jenkins House of Photography in St. Johns, Mich. Over those years, Jenkins and his staff have built the studio into a premier provider of high-quality senior portraiture (as well as child/family portraits and wedding photography). And though maintaining high sales averages isn't easy for any studio, Jenkins has consistently done just that through careful marketing, effective sales techniques and a superlative experience for both senior and parent.

Coordinating Marketing Initiatives
These days, Jenkins' best marketing initiatives revolve around his senior model program. Every spring, he launches a model search by posting status updates on Facebook, asking rising seniors to come in for modeling sessions in March or April. Jenkins lets them know that the studio wants to use the images in its marketing materials. In exchange, he offers every participant a free portrait session during the summer months.

"This program does two things," adds Jenkins. "One, it creates a buzz early on for our studio; and two, it's a great way to start booking sessions for the summer."

Members, read the full article here

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