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PPA Today: June 2012 Archives

June 2012 Archives

Sigma Corporation of America  has announced that the Sigma DP2 Merrill compact digital camera will be available in the United States on July 12 for the street price of $999.
This upgraded, high-resolution, compact digital camera with a fixed lens is named in honor of Richard "Dick" Merrill, the co-creator of the Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor technology that powers Sigma's unique lineup of cameras. It differs from its predecessor, the DP2x, because its resolution has grown by moving from Foveon's 14.6-megapixel APS-C size image sensor to the 46-megapixel APS-C image sensor found in the company's flagship SLR, the Sigma SD1 Merrill. The full-color Foveon X3 direct image sensor ensures outstanding resolution, richly gradated tones and images with a three-dimensional feel. A focus ring and custom Quick Set (QS) mode also improve the user interface.

The Sigma DP2 Merrill boasts a telecentric 30mm F2.8 lens, which is the equivalent to a 45mm lens on a 35mm SLR camera. The camera is compact and lightweight, and features Super Multi Layer Coating to reduce flare and ghosting.
Other features of the  Sigma DP2 Merrill camera include:

  • A dual, three-layer responsive ultimate (TRUE II) engine that now incorporates two TRUE II processors to improve the processing speed and overall quality of the final image
  • RAW and JPEG format recording to retain the full image detail of the utmost quality captured through the direct image sensor, as well as a JPEG recording format for convenience
  • Sigma Photo Pro processing software to convert RAW data quickly and easily
  • Manual focus for use when autofocus or focus-lock is not desired
  • Easy-to-use auto focus with a "nine-point select mode" which can select the desired focusing point from nine different frames, and a "free move mode" that allows shooters to select their desired focusing point
  • An advanced user interface complete with a custom QS menu and the metallic command dial to improve usability
  • Continuous shooting capabilities to capture up to seven RAW images per sequence
  • A large, highly visible, three-inch TFT color LCD monitor for great visibility
  • A hot shoe for the use of the dedicated external flashgun EF-140 DG (optional)
  • Movie mode for movie recording with VGA (640×480) size, with 30 shooting frames per second
For information about Sigma Corporation of America or information about the companies cameras and lenses, visit
Have you found an especially effective photographic technique? Know a great marketing or business strategy? Are you a whiz at photo manipulation? Share what you've learned and be a Super Monday Instructor.

PPA's Super Monday Photo Workshops are peer-led, live and local photography classes. And being an instructor can net you more than just goodwill! When you teach a Super Monday class, you build networks, rack up speaking experience, and you can earn up to four speaking merits toward a PPA degree!

How? Each class you teach (at least 6.5 hours long) is worth two merits...but did you know you can teach up to two classes? You simply teach the classes within the week before or after the official October 15 Super Monday date. (You'll need to submit two separate instructor applications, too.)

Now's your chance to earn those speaking merits more quickly. Get involved with Super Monday!
Sturdevant,Richard_Headshot.jpgSports photography is just as competitive a field as all the rest. So if you want to make your images excel--in creativity and sales--come listen to what award-winning photographer Richard Sturdevant has to say on June 28 at 2:00pm Eastern.

"I have a passion for high school sports. I was an athlete (long ago!) and my son currently plays sports, so I decided to apply my art skills to sports photography, too," explains Richard. "The response was huge!"

Chief among what differentiates his work are his sport composites. "These have become top-sellers at the studio," Richard says. "Everyone wants to be amazed, and composites can deliver that kind of impact. The public is getting used to seeing great sports action images, but composites still stand out. They tell a story of that moment in such an artistic way."

Richard will take you through the creative process of creating such sport composites and how to sell them for a profit. As he says, "Amaze the client, and your studio will be rewarded."

Join him for his PPA webinar, "Sport Composites That Sell" and get ready to amaze YOUR clients!

See a gallery of Richard's sport composite images.
When telling a couple's love story in images, few products provide a better vehicle than a well-crafted album or flush-mount book. Within that album or book, the images must not only be striking, but they also should be assembled in a storytelling fashion that sells the clients on the entire package. Those creative, high-impact images give you the ingredients for a delicious book that your clients just can't put down.

Start with a Wedding Day Timeline & Be Ready
For Zach and Jody Gray of Tennessee, the album creation process begins with telling the story of the wedding day. During the engagement session, pre-wedding consultations and through a detailed questionnaire, the Grays find out as much as possible about their clients before the wedding day. They create a wedding day timeline for the photography, which they punctuate with notes about key people, wedding specifics and important moments to look for.

Members, read the full article.
annapociask_lovestory_2.jpgProfessional wedding photography is more than just a collection of pretty pictures. For years, the distinction between the high-demand photographers and the legions of "also-rans" has been a polished storytelling element. Today's couples want their story depicted in the images. They want something individualized, something that shows their personalities and recounts the tale of their big day.

So how do today's leading wedding photographers accomplish this feat, both during engagement sessions and on the wedding day?

Get to Know Them & Their Story--PPA member Anna Pociask of Alabama starts the process by getting to know her clients and their story. "I don't make it about me; I turn things around and make it about them," she says. "I ask them lots of questions. How did you meet? When did you start dating? What is your proposal story? What do you enjoy doing together? It all begins from discovering their story."

Use Their Natural Emotions--Pociask stresses the importance of an engagement session as a way of deepening her relationship with the clients and extending her coverage of their personal love story. She tries to turn the sessions into a fun date during which the couple can relax, let loose and have fun. "They're engaged, so there is already a lot of chemistry going on," she says. "I try to tap into that chemistry and encourage them to show their passion for each other. I like them to get close. I want them to feel like it's real."

Once she feels like the clients have broken through the initial stiffness that often accompanies a photo session, Pociask offers a little direction to optimize the images. She will place them in certain scenes with good lighting and a good background, and then encourage them to act naturally. "Usually they will start laughing and being cute together," she notes.

Break the Ice If Needed--If they're self-conscious or have trouble embracing the moment,annapociask_lovestory_1.jpg Pociask uses her own outgoing personality to put them at ease. "I'm a people person, and I love to make my clients feel special and beautiful," she says. "If things are a little dry, I keep plunging in, just being my fun-loving self and doing whatever I can to bring out their personalities. And I don't stop until I break the ice."

Pociask has found that these techniques work both for an engagement session and for the portrait segment of a wedding. At a wedding, time is more of an issue and settings may be more limited, but the general principle of tapping into a couple's natural emotion holds true.

"So much of this process is finding ways to bring the love story out of the couple," says Pociask. "That means encouraging them to exhibit the love they already have for each other. If you can do that effectively, then the love story often unfolds in front of you."

Hakamaki_David.JPGLocation, location, location. It's a mantra of real estate agents, but it applies to many other types of businesses. Photographers in very rural areas, for example, can have more difficulties in building a client base than urban/suburban photographers. However, David Hakamaki of Cutting Edge Photography has found a way to turn those rural, small-town challenges into opportunities.

David turned his studio in Iron Mountain, Michigan--with a population of only 7,500 and the closest city 70 miles away--into a hot spot for a variety of clients. It took trial and error and a business mind, but his studio has exploded in growth and profits over the last 10 years.

Read the full article here.

haynes_blog.jpgHaynes McFadden, 69, of Omaruru, Namibia, passed away June 10. Although he moved to Namibia in 1993 with his wife, Naomi, Haynes also lived in Atlanta, Ga., where he began working as a graphic artist in his grandfather's publishing house. In 1960, he turned to professional photography and continued in that trade on and off for the rest of his life. He even documented the relics of the Baha'i faith in Israel. (He was a committed member of the Baha'i faith for the last 44 years.)

Haynes joined PPA in 1992 and was also very active in his own local community of Omaruru. From running a computer training school to being the chairman of the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Omaruru branch, Boy Scout leader and tutor, he lent a helping hand and encouraging word where needed.

Our hearts go out to his family, friends and the many lives he has touched.
What makes LensPen® products such an effective tool for cleaning lenses, screens and DSLR sensors? In a word: carbon. Carbon has the ability to absorb huge amounts of oils and contaminants, including fingerprints, while leaving no residue on glass surfaces.

Cleaning tips and pads on LensPen products are all impregnated with a unique carbon compound similar to the one found in printer's ink - the reason why newspapers have been used to clean windows for generations. High tech meets old tech.

LensPen puts carbon to work in products specially designed to clean lenses of all shapes and sizes, iPad and tablet screens, and DSLR sensors.

All LensPen lens cleaners include a soft, retractable brush for removing loose dust and a carbon-impregnated cleaning tip for removing fingerprints from lenses of all sizes, from DSLRs to cell phone and iPad cameras.
When a lens is touched, it's usually by mistake. When an iPad or tablet is touched, it means it's being used. SideKickâ„¢ is designed to remove fingerprints from iPad and tablet touchscreens. The cleaning pad on a SideKick is thicker and larger than the cleaning tip on any LensPen lens cleaner. SideKick replacement cleaning pads are available.

Sensors aren't touched, but the LensPen carbon compound still plays a key role. Carbon helps remove the electrostatic charges that build up on the sensor surface. SensorKlear II™, with its carbon tip and articulating head, is designed to work with the SensorKlear Loupe® to clean DSLR sensors.

For LensPen product information, go to

Professional Photographers of America (PPA) proudly ushers in the new council for 2012 - 2015. As a non-profit, member-driven association, PPA's membership ultimately governs the association through these PPA Council representatives! 

Councilors are professional photographers who volunteer their time and service to guide and act as the voice for their state's PPA members. Duties include discussing and voting on changes to the Bylaws and Adopted Procedures and the leadership of the association (via the election of the board of directors and the Nominating Committee). They also play a crucial role in sharing the PPA message to existing, new and prospective PPA members.

sigmablog_0612.JPGSigma Corporation of America has announced the availability of its new Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM lens starting in July 2012. Pricing is still pending.
The addition of the 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM speaks to Sigma's versatile product lineup with this multipurpose zoom lens that offers Optical Stabilization (OS) and covers wide angle to telephoto to macro photography. It differs from Sigma's current 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM lens with its even more compact size, its macro capability with a maximum magnification ratio of 1:2.9 and the use of Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) material currently used only by Sigma.
TSC, which is incorporated into the lens barrel and is often compared to polycarbonate, has a high degree of elasticity and exhibits little variation in its structure in extreme temperature conditions. This means that internal barrel expansion and contraction due to extreme temperature variations is less prevalent. TSC also contributes to the lens' size reduction. The non-macro 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 without TSC weighs 22.2 ounces and is 3.1 by 4 inches in diameter, whereas the new macro lens is 16.6 ounces and 2.9 by 3.5 inches in diameter.
Sigma optimized this lens' power arrangement by incorporating double-sided aspherical lenses and reexamining the design to achieve a more compact filter diameter. The lens has an approximate 13x high zoom ratio with a filter size of 2.8 inches in diameter. Sigma's unique OS system, as well as one Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass and three aspherical lens glasses, compensate for camera shake and enable correction of color aberration, respectively.
The new 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM lens is also equipped with Super Multi-Layer Coating to reduce flare and ghosting, a Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) to ensure fast and quiet auto-focusing, and a rounded, seven-blade diaphragm to create an attractive round blur to the out of focus areas. The lens features a brass-made bayonet mount applied on the surface to reinforce strength for long-term use and enable high accuracy and solidity.
This lens will be available in Sigma, Sony, Nikon, Canon and Pentax mounts, starting with Canon mounts coming in July, 2012. Pricing and all availability for other mounts have yet to be announced.
For information about Sigma Corporation of America, visit

PPA recently finished analyzing the 2011 PPA Benchmark Survey, the latest comprehensive financial review of a broad range of PPA member studios. Compiled from 2010 year-end financial data, the 2011 Benchmark Survey follows two previous surveys, one conducted in 2005 and another in 2008. The surveys have led to a series of benchmarks, or recommended financial targets, that PPA's Studio Management Services (SMS) has put in place to help member studios reach a higher level of success. By adhering to the benchmarks, you can lower costs, improve profitability, and make well-informed business decisions based on real financial evidence.

One of the most useful byproducts of the 2011 Benchmark Survey is the evidence of how the benchmarks could guide studios through a difficult economic period. From 2006 to 2010, the combination of a nationwide recession and a massive influx of new photography studios into the marketplace caused a significant drop in sales for most existing studios. However, the studios that followed the benchmarks performed much better than those that missed the targets. Some even managed to increase their bottom-line profits despite an overall decrease in sales. In our ensuing coverage of the Benchmark Survey's latest results, we'll detail how these studios kept profits high even when sales were low.

In the coming weeks, PPA will roll out a series of member-exclusive articles and financial tools to help members take advantage of the 2011 Benchmark Survey:

  • We'll boil down the exhaustive analysis into easy-to-understand summaries and follow up with clear action items for your studio.
  • We're working on some interactive resources and handy guides so that you can keep your critical numbers in mind without losing your mind.
  • We'll explain why SMS opted to adjust several of the key benchmarks.
  • We'll discuss what you can do to enact positive change at your studio.
This all may sound like heady stuff, and you probably didn't get into photography to play around with accounting, but here's the good news: By following the benchmarks, you will improve your profit margins, you will gain a better idea of how much you need to sell to take home a suitable personal income, and you will understand how your expenses affect your bottom line. At the end of the day, you'll be able to manage your business better, make more money and, hopefully, enjoy a less stressful relationship with your studio.

Now those are some results that we can all applaud.

Want to learn more? PPA members can peek at the key findings and new benchmarks here.

Remember that PPA's Benchmark Survey details are only available for PPA members, so see how to join here: 
With the release of PPA's 2011 Benchmark Survey, PPA members now have an updated set of numbers by which to guide their businesses. After months of exhaustive review and analysis, PPA's Studio Management Services has assembled a list of key findings, as well as some adjustments to the key benchmarks. PPA members can access this article for the latest data on pro photo financial health. (As always, if you get stuck on the money talk, see our glossary of financial terms.)
Congratulations to PPA member Anna Kim of Anna Kim Photography in Paia, Hawaii! She landed the May cover of Lemonade and Lenses, a monthly photographer magazine, with this beauty of an image.


martin_gregg_2012.JPGThere's no better job than one that allows you to join two of your passions together. That's why Gregg Martin, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, loves his sports photography time. "This is my element," he adds. "If I didn't have a house payment, I would do this every day for free!" And he's darn good at it too. In fact, he's been shooting on the sidelines for the South Carolina Gamecocks for 23 years!

All that experience means Gregg has figured out a number of ways to get the best shots for his clients...and he's ready to share them with you! Catch his tips via his PPA online class next week: "Fundamentals of Sports Action Photography" (June 19, 2:00pm Eastern).

Why can't you miss it? Gregg will be sharing more than just the equipment and clothes you need. He'll be sharing behind-the-scenes strategies for getting the money shots, like the one-second fist pump of celebration after a play is made.

"Sometimes it takes bending the rules a bit--not putting yourself in a dangerous position, just being open for the opportunities," he explains. "When players warm up pre-game, they often get in a big huddle and pump each other up. I'll run up behind them and hold a camera way up to get a bird's eye view image. I've never been told I couldn't do it, but I've also never been told I could!"

Gregg adds that you have to be ready to take the shots when they come. In the stadiummatin1.jpg where he often photographs, photographers cannot stand in the end zone, but they can walk across it to get to the other side. "If you're walking across the end zone, always have your camera at the ready," he says. "If a play happens as you walk by, you could capture it and have an end zone image no one else has."

Are sports and photography two of your passions? Do you want to break into the sports photography field or make your images better? Then don't miss Gregg's PPA online class next week!

tibbilis_headshot_2012.JPGPhotography can go from passionate pastime to career choice if handled correctly. Michelle Tibbils of Bugs and Butterflies Photography in California knows that well. Always focused on evolving and the best business practices, she learned to juggle art with business structure, time with her clients and time with her family.

"There's not one perfect way to run a photography business, but you can perfect your long as it is right for you," adds Michelle. So what helped her find her way?

Choosing Her Path
"It's not a unique story," Michelle says. "Same as so many mothers, I fell in love with taking portraits once my first child was born." Photographing her son helped her realize how much she liked creating images of children, so she started taking photos of the other children in her extended family. "They'd put the images on their walls, and then their friends started asking if I could photograph their children."

While on maternity leave with her second child, she decided that if she was going to stay in the working world, she wanted to love what she was doing for a living. She returned to her then-current employer (a software company) as expected when her maternity leave was up. However, she began to envision starting a small, part-time photography business. 

Read the full article.

Image © Bugs and Butterflies Photography
The call for instructors is now open for Super Monday Photo Workshops to be held on or around Monday, October 15, 2012. July 6 is the deadline to volunteer. We hope you will consider spending a day sharing your knowledge and experience by teaching a Super Monday class. Besides the experience and new networks you'll gain from speaking, you will earn two speaking merits toward a PPA degree.

If you would like additional information, read our Super Monday instructor FAQs.

If you're ready to sign up to be a Super Monday instructor now, click here.
Slideshow tool provider, Photodex, has announced the release of StylePack 5, the latest volume in its popular ProShow StylePack product line. StylePacks are collections of pre-made effects that instantly transform photos and videos into exciting layouts and animations for use in ProShow slideshows. StylePack Volume 5 includes 25 new slide style combos that add an exciting punch to slideshows. Users can experience 3D visual effects like never before with dozens of new styles now available.

ProShow is an intuitive tool that lets people easily mix photos, video clips and music into a polished video slideshow. With StylePack 5, users can mix and match effects to create unique shows to help them tell great stories.

Some of the key highlights of StylePack Volume 5 include:

  • Dozens of impressive new 3D tilt effects exclusively developed for ProShow 5
  • New broader support for square photos uploaded from sites like Instagram and Hipstamatic
  • A multitude of versatile caption and title options
  • Large selection of multi-photo montages
  • Maximum versatility to ensure new effects work great with any kind of show
A sample video featuring each style in this pack can be seen on the Photodex website at:

Pricing and Availability
StylePack volume 5 is available now for $19.95. You can download the file directly from the site, or order it for physical delivery from or by calling 1-800-37-PHOTO (1-800-377-4686). Requires ProShow Producer 5 or ProShow Web.
PhotoShelter has released its latest free guide, "The Photography Blog Handbook".

The 2012 Photography Blog Handbook offers photographers key insights on how blogging can help market your photo business, grow a following, and bring more potential clients to your site. This handbook includes firsthand interviews with photographers including Lisa Devlin, Lauren Major, Jared Wickerham, and Greg Basco. Each photographer offers tips on how to master a blogging routine that works for your busy schedule and to create engaging content that promotes your brand.

The handbook has key insights including:

  • Tips from photographers having success with blogging, plus strategies on how to target an audience.
  • Steps to manage a successful blog workflow, including setting a focus, establishing major blog topic categories, and integrating social media.
  • A list of engaging blog topics that can attract readers.
  • Analytics tips to understand how your blog is performing vs. your goals.
SharedInk, Inc. has announced the release of Enhanceâ„¢ paper coatings. The coatings, available in rich satin and gloss finishes, add a layer of defense against dirty fingers, small spills, and the general wear that comes with handling photo books. The coatings are formulated not only to protect each page, but to complement a variety of SharedInk's premium papers.

According to Tod Cordill, General Manager of SharedInk: "We tested a variety of coatings and selected gloss and satin coatings that work well with the variety of papers we use. Initial feedback from customers has been very positive. The pages look great and will be protected for decades."

The Gloss UV coating brings out the color of images. Of the Enhance coatings, Mark Lutz of Mark Lutz Photography said, "The new gloss and satin coatings from SharedInk are full of next-level quality goodness. The gloss, especially on the photo lustre or their high quality pearl paper, adds just the right touch of pop!"

The Enhance Satin coatings is an environmentally friendly aqueous coating that reduces glare and provides an artistic appearance. According to Kevin Focht of The Creative Orange: "When applied to SharedInk's matte papers, the aqueous satin finish adds a silky smooth appearance that I'm simply in love with. The Enhance Satin is perfect for my client base."

Enhance coatings are available now as an option when ordering SharedInk's professional quality books. As with all SharedInk books, each page is individually checked to ensure perfection, then hand-crafted into premium quality books. SharedInk uses a 6-color printing process with 210 line per inch resolution standard on all books. 
covercontest2012_slider.JPGHave you ever dreamed of seeing one of your images on the cover of magazine? Your chance to make it happen is here with Professional Photographer's 2012 Cover Contest. The winning image - as picked by the judges - will be featured on a future Professional Photographer magazine cover!

Think you have the winning photo? Submit it by August 31 at Choose your best example of an image that is representative of the work you sell your clients: portraits, weddings, commercial, sports, events, etc. (Only one image per entrant.)

After you've uploaded your own photo, you can browse other entrants' images and rate them.

Along with having an image featured on the cover of a 2012 issue of Professional Photographer, the winner will also be awarded prizes from sponsors Michaels Custom Framing, Photobiz and White House Custom Colour.

So, head over to to read more about the contest and to upload your image by August 31!

Only digital files that are uploaded will be accepted. Mailed print images and emailed electronic images will NOT be accepted.

About this Archive

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

May 2012 is the previous archive.

July 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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