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PPA Today: August 2012 Archives

August 2012 Archives

Photographers in the Southwest district can now begin entering their images in the 2013 Southwest District Photographic Competition. The entry deadline is September 19th, 2012, and the judging will take place September 27-28, 2012.

Entering the competition is a great way to gauge your skills and many photographers find that it helps to improve their work. Plus, you can earn merits towards your PPA degree!

Photographers can choose to enter in either the Photographic Open category or Master Artist (formerly known as Electronic Imaging) category. Find out which category is right for you and read all the rules at

Get your images ready and be sure to enter the competition by September 19th!

Don't know in which district you belong? View the district map

heath_penny_225357_children.jpgCongratulations to the winners of the first annual PPA Charities Portrait Awards! These photographers joined in the effort to raise money for Operation Smile via the Celebration of Smiles Day nationwide fundraiser, and the images that they created were definitely applause-worthy. Check them out!

facebook_beaker_blue_500.jpgMany photographers agree that some form of social media is necessary. But you've got to be smart about it. Two PPA members share what works for them (socially) in the August Professional Photographer magazine issue, and we've snagged a bit of that article for you right here:

Know What Works Best Where
When using more than one social media platform, it's tempting to link all the accounts you can and auto-update. While it may feel like saving time, it might not the most effective use of those spaces. Selective posting may be a better bet, as both John Pyle of Georgia and Jordan Brian of New Jersey have found. Here are a few pointers of what they post where:

  • Blogs--Both Brian and Pyle post longer, educational pieces on their blogs. Brian and his staff create articles for brides in-house (or share what vendors send) on topics like how to time the hair and makeup sessions.
  • Facebook--"It's all about engaging with your clients," says Brian. So instead of giving online images to the clients, he asks them to tag themselves on his Facebook page, even in the behind-the-scenes images and video slideshows. Pyle treats Facebook more as a traffic feed for his blog. He'll post teaser images from a session (linking to the blog), make announcements or even share the accomplishments of his senior clients, such as when one signed with a college baseball team.
  • Instagram--Pyle's favorite social media platform, Instagram, allows him to share behind-the-scenes images on Twitter, Facebook or email without having to log in to a separate site. He likes to show the client just arriving, picking out the wardrobe or trying to get in position for the shot. "With Instagram, it's easy to build excitement around what we're doing now," he explains. "I am able to keep everyone updated on my destination shoots, and I get comments back instantly with seniors saying, 'Can't wait until my session!'"
  • Twitter--Because his senior clients check this site often, Pyle also uses it to keep his name top of mind. He shares music he likes and cool products he sees--anything to put himself in the "cool crowd," as he says.
  • Pinterest--Gathering and sharing visual ideas is where Pinterest shines. Brian shares tips and suggestions for wedding photographs, along with detail ideas from weddings he's covered. Pyle even created a Pinterest Style Guide to ideas of what to wear to sessions.
Keep Your Images Safe
Whatever social media you use, don't forget to keep your images as safe as possible. Any online use of an image means your rights as the creator could be infringed. Help protect your images in these ways:

  • Register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office at
  • Add a visible watermark or a caption.
  • Embed metadata into the file properties of your images.
  • Link images back to your website.
  • Indicate that your images are "all rights reserved" (if the social media platform offers that option like Flickr does).
Read the full "Be Socially Smart" article in the "PPA Today" section of the August Professional Photographer magazine issue. Learn more about PPA member Jordan Brian at Learn more about PPA member John Pyle at

7915e2caec6711e1b1281231381b6846_7.jpgWho here likes copyright infringement? Yeah, that's what we thought. It's not respectful of your business and never a pleasant situation to deal with! So here are some steps you can take to protect your work as much as you can.

summer_shootout_cta2012.JPGSee how your images perform next to the best photographers on the planet--your PPA peers--via the third annual Summer Shootout! And no, that $1,000 was not a trick to get you to read this post. You could actually win a grand prize of $1,000 if your image is judged as the best of the best entries.

So try out your competitive streak with this online photo contest. You can enter in 4 different categories (Portrait, Weddings/Events, Commercial/Advertising and Open), and there are 3 chances to win cash prizes in each category (plus that one whopping grand prize). See last year's top dogs here.

And at only $10 to enter your first image ($5 for each additional image), it's a great contest to test out your skills. You can even request a critique ($10) from our Master Photographer judges to help fine-tune your images even more for future competitions.

September 30 is your last chance to enter this contest...and possibly win that $1,000. So what are you waiting for? Show us what you got!
conner_ziser_jane_head2012blog.jpgWho doesn't want to look their best in a photograph? It's a nearly universal desire--I challenge you to find someone who doesn't! It stands to reason, then, that if you can help your subjects look better than ever in their portraits, you'll likely wind up with better sales and much happier clients. And retouching skin is a very, very important step in that direction.

"No matter what else you might do to someone during the retouching process, the skin is what will make it believable or false," says Jane Conner-Ziser, Cr.Photog., API, one of the world's top retouching artists. That's why she's preparing a PPA webinar to share these skills: "Tips for Retouching Skin in Photoshop" (Aug. 28, 2:00pm Eastern).

Though it's not hard to retouch skin, it requires a variety of retouching tools for different purposes. After all, no two faces are alike. "We used to joke about wanting some kind of solution we could dip our negatives into that would know where to retouch and where not to," Jane laughs. "Today, we have auto-retouching software or brush-on retouching actions that STILL don't know what to remove, what to soften or shorten, and what to leave alone."

For example, Jane says that you need to be able to analyze the expression of each subject and bring out their best during the retouching process. "Some angles of light or character affect the way we see people. Is a person smiling in their eyes, but projecting anxiety in the face?" She'll show you how to handle this during the webinar, too.

In other words, it's up to you, my friend. Sure, there are great tools to use (and Jane will show you some), but you need control over the lighting, expression and visual appearance of your work from start to finish. Nothing replaces a master's touch!

So mark your calendar and register now for help getting those skin-tastic retouching results.
jim_pierce_head.jpgComposite photography is growing in popularity and can be a great product offering for your business, as Jim Pierce, CPP, has experienced. But it does require a certain set of skills. That's exactly the sort of problem that PP''s Super Monday Photo Workshops were created to solve! For example, if you've ever dreamed up an image but couldn't figure out how to create it, maybe Jim's "Photoshop Fantasy" class--part of PPA's Super Monday--can help.

Creating His Dreams
Super Monday instructors like Jim are offering their classes because they've amassed talent in a certain area (and they want to share). After earning a degree in Photo Production Technology from Southern Illinois University in 1987, Jim discovered his love for the darkroom and started custom printing images for high-end studios. Then, with the introduction of Adobe® Photoshop® in the early '90s, Pierce became intrigued by the possibilities and was quickly hooked...on version 1.4.

"I like to tell people I've been using Photoshop since before it was a verb!" Jim laughs.

In fact, his love of Photoshop led to his specialty in creating composite images. "I'm apierce3.jpg frustrated artist who can't draw a stick figure to save his life," explains Jim. "But by using photos I shoot for the purpose, I can create the artwork that I could only see in myself before. Being a digital artist has given me a chance to put what I have in my head onto a medium that others can see."

Jim is also on a mission to earn all the PPA degrees and, as part of this goal, has started entering his composites in the International Photographic Competition. However, for him, the real joy in composite photography comes from revealing the finished piece to a model he's worked with and seeing stunned silence.

"Words cannot describe artwork. That's why it's an image, not a poem," Jim adds. "If I have been able to transcend words for my model, then I feel I've truly captured their essence."

Teaching You How to Do the Same

"Technology gave me the opportunity to create, and I feel you should always share opportunity with others," says Jim. So he decided to teach other photographers the skills that have helped him create his dreams via composite photography! During his "Photoshop Fantasy" Super Monday class (held in Crystal Lake, IL on Oct. 15), he'll help you learn how to shoot elements of a composite with the final design in mind, use blending modes and masking, understand how light needs to be controlled, and use consistency to give the image an added sense of realism.

pierce1.jpg"I'm hoping to get the creative juices going, to challenge people to step outside their comfort zone and let their imagination run free," he explains. "How would an image look with a fog rolling in, or wind-blown hair perfectly outlining a face? Does billowing fabric while standing on a cliff overlooking a sunset on the ocean make for a perfect romantic shot?"

If you're interested in learning how to create unique composite shots that can add to your business and expand your creativity, this class may be your chance. Or, check out other Super Monday classes in other locations to find the one that fits you best!

Read more about Jim Pierce 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.

Whoo-hoo! Held during April and May, the first annual Celebration of Smiles fundraiser raised quite a sum. A total of 129 PPA members donated over $46,500 to benefit PPA Charities' charitable partner, Operation Smile!

"These funds will go a long way toward meeting our 2012 goal of raising $100,000 for this wonderful organization," says PPA Charities President Mary Fisk-Taylor. As of August 1, PPA Charities' 2012 fundraising total stands at $72,180.

Let's put that in perspective. What does this money actually mean? Because Operation Smile's medical professionals and support staff volunteer their services, it costs only $240 to provide a simple cleft lip surgery to a child in desperate need. In other words, the funds raised by PPA members so far in 2012 mean that over 300 smiles will be saved! Now THAT's something to smile about.

Celebrating Smiles Now & Next Year
The 2012 Celebration of Smiles Day promotion offered consumers a mini session and a 5x7 professional portrait in exchange for a donation to Operation Smile of only $24. So for every 10 sessions photographed by a participating studio, another smile could be saved by the volunteer professionals of Operation Smile. The official date for the event was April 21, but studios that had commitments on that date were allowed to conduct the fundraiser on alternate dates in April or May.

Next year's Celebration of Smiles Day is scheduled for April 6, 2013. PPA members who participated this year will automatically receive information about the 2013 fundraiser. Others who would like to participate in 2013 should email PPA Charities Executive Director Bert Behnke.

Now, before you jump to the next news bite, join us in a big round of applause for PPA Charities and all the kindhearted PPA photographers who participated in the 2012 event. Top donors were Ryan & Erica Manthey of Pure 7 Studios in Florida, who contributed a whopping $3,813. In addition, the following Top 20 donors contributed between $1,440 and $600:

  • Ryan & Erica Manthey - Pure 7 Studios, Miramar Beach, FL
  • Laurie Weaver - Treetales Photography, Austin, TX
  • Tara Olsen - Tara Rochelle Photography, Santa Clarita, CA
  • Jeff Ebert - Ebert Studio, Oak Park, IL
  • Susan Hoermann - Evergreen Studios, Austin, TX
  • Vicki Hultsman - Seasons Photography, Rice Lake, WI
  • Krish & Mark Kiefer - VIP Gallery, Waconia, MN
  • Zaida D. Parkes - Parkes Photography, Stratford, CT
  • Meredith Wilcke - Meredith Wilcke Photography, Winter Park, FL
  • Lauren Vicars - Portraits by Lauren, Plano, TX
  • Wendy Waddell - Wendy Waddell Photography, Marina del Rey, CA
  • Tanya Boggs - 255 St. Phillip St., Charleston, SC
  • Damian Battinelli - Damian Battinelli Photography, Plattsburg, NY
  • Charlotte Bowles - CLB Photography, S. Attleboro, MA
  • Larry Lourcey - Lourcey Photography, Plano, TX
  • Clark Sanders - Clark Sanders Photography, Inc., Cherokee Village, AR
  • Courtney Trembler - Soul Focus Photography, Salem, MA
  • Paul & Julie Wood - Paul Wood Photography, Slidell, LA
  • Meggan Harper - Meggan Harper Photography, Ormond Beach, FL
  • Melanie Anderson - Anderson Photographs, Hagerstown, MD
  • Trusa Patel - Luce Photography, Southlake, TX


PPA Chairman of the Board Don Dixon and his wife, Charlcey, show their support for PPA Charities' Celebration of Smiles Day.

StickyAlbums, a platform enabling professional photographers to create branded photo album apps for their clients, is now making it even easier for clients to share albums with family and friends. An upgrade announced introduces new social media sharing features that allow clients to effortlessly share their photographers' branded album app directly to Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. The feature streamlines the sharing of clients' images across social networks, on which professional photographers are able to generate valuable word-of-mouth marketing for their studios.

Designed for photographers by photographers, StickyAlbums allows professional and prosumer shooters to create a unique slide show app for their client. The StickyAlbum, which runs on any iOS and most Android devices, save a custom app icon  to the home screen of the client's phone or tablet. As images are increasingly shared via smartphones, tablets and utilizing social networks,photographers need solutions that allow them to safely monetize their digital images while delivering the shareability that clients demand. StickyAlbums serves both purposes by optimizing image display for mobile devices and tying the infinitely sharable images to the photographer]s brand and website to generate more referrals.

Promoting a shoulder-to-shoulder sharing experience, StickyAlbums makes the images--and the photographer who took them--a point of conversation. Friends can maximize the show-and-tell factor by opening their personalized app and flipping through their professional photos just as they would open any mainstream app on their device. With this latest social media upgrade, clients can also share their personal app via a website link on their Facebook pages, Pinterest boards or Twitter feeds. Users need not install special apps from the App Store, instead one  StickyAlbum link works across all devices.

Offered as a subscription-based service, StickyAlbums provides a free basic demo level to allow new users to test-drive the service first-hand. Users can then upgrade to either the monthly Starter subscription (which offers photographers unlimited access to the service and lifetime album hosting) or the annual Professional subscription for full white labeled branding. To try out the free demo, or for subscription pricing, visit

Enter PPA's Facebook giveaway by August 13 to win 1 year membership to StickyAlbums-Pro.
ChromaLuxe has announced the expansion of its Creative Border offerings with new shape additions to its line of Creative Border Photo Panels and Creative Border Ornaments. Capable of bringing unique style to accent any home, office or public space, Creative Border Photo Panels have added five brand new eye-catching shapes while Creative Border Ornaments have added two uniquely decorative shapes that compliment any holiday decor with personalized images and messages.

New Creative Border Photo Panels
Creative Border Photo Panels can either stand alone as individual pieces or be grouped together with ChromaLuxe's other distinctive HD Metal Photo Panels to create a one-of-a-kind decorative scheme unique to the client's taste and style. Clients will not only be drawn to the stunning image detail of  ChromaLuxe's Creative Border series, but will also appreciate their archival-quality, highly scratch-resistant surface that is waterproof and resistant to UV rays and other damaging elements that would easily destroy standard paper prints.

The latest photo panel shapes added to ChromaLuxe's Creative Border series include the Prague, Pamplona, Belfast, Crete and Berlin designs, and will join the existing lineup which features the Fiji, Milan, Sydney and Benelux shapes. Creative Borders range in size from 7.5"x7.5" to 21.8"x15.6" to fit any desired decorative layout and are available with a gloss white finish.

Added Creative Border Ornaments
Made with the same great quality as the high definition photo panels, the two new shapes from the Creative Border Ornaments lineup were inspired by the new Creative Border Photo Panels. They join an existing lineup of HD Metal Ornaments that come with the highest level of color clarity and depth of image. With their durable scratch-resistance surface, clients can create a fully customizable ornament that will be on display every holiday season for years to come.

The latest ornament shapes added to ChromaLuxe's Creative Border series include the Berlin and Prague, and will join the existing lineup which features London and Benelux. Ornaments are available in a gloss white finish in the following four sizes: 3"x3", 3.99"x2.75", 2.99"x2.99", and 3.95"x2.76".

For more information about the Creative Border Photo Panels and Ornaments, or to learn more about ChromaLuxe's complete product line or to find a full listing of participating professional photo labs, visit  
drenthe_marianne_blog.jpgWhen you photograph children, you get the cute-as-a-button subjects. But you could also get the whining, crying, camera fear, people fear...and it's up to YOU to work around it if possible. So, how do you deal with a super-shy two-year-old who won't let go of mom's hands? How do you get real grins from a toddler vs. an eight-year-old?

Marianne Drenthe knows. And she's going to bare her knowledge via a PPA webinar: "Photographing & Interacting with Children of All Ages" (August 21, 2:00pm Eastern).

"There's a reason kids do what they do. So instead of just getting frustrated, find other ways to interact with them," she advises. "If Susie won't leave her mom, don't force it. Maybe you can treat the parents as props."

Pre-consultations with the parents are a big part of it, and she asks her parent clients to not treat the photo session as a "big deal." Rather, she asks them to talk about the session like it's a play date. Some pictures will be taken, but it's all about the fun. And remember: What's "fun" for one age, may be boring for another.

"This is probably the only PPA webinar where you'll hear the difference between bubbles and farts!" laughs Marianne. "Bubbles can make a one-year-old laugh, but an eight-year-old...not so much. Sometimes that's when I bring out the 'I think your dad just tooted' jokes!"

The point?
Different ages require different interactions. As a former registered nurse and mom herself, Marianne knows the stages of child development AND she knows how to apply them to her clients and photo sessions.

The result? Awesome images and a stellar reputation. Learn how she does it on August 21!
Running a business is expensive--even the cost of buying Post-it notes adds up! So don't forget that PPA members have access to benefits specifically designed to save you money on things you use in your daily operations.

For example, you can save on office supplies via Office Depot. You can save on software like Adobe, Graphic Authority, Nik, onOne and Software Cinema. You can save on a host of other products and services, but let us leave this savings reminder with one of the biggies: the Allied Business Network (ABN).

Did you know that you can become an Allied Business Network member through your PPA membership? Once you do that, you can purchase from any ABN vendor and get discount pricing on office supplies, travel, promotional products, printing and more. (ABN negotiates these discounts with national business supply and service providers.) You won't believe what's available for the taking from participating vendors like...

  • Hertz Rent a Car--Get up to 20% off every rental and a complimentary membership in Hertz #1 Club Gold® (a $60 value). This can be handy for destination photographers...or any photographer on a vacation!
  • 4imprint Promotional Products--Get 10% off every promotional item, including sale items. From pens and mugs to photo albums, 4imprint has over 12,000 products and over 900 of them can be produced with your logo within 24 hours!
  • Wyndham Hotel Group--Get up to 20% off the best available rate in your choice of Wyndham Hotels, including Baymont Inn & Suites, Days Inn, Hawthorn Suites, Howard Johnson, Knights Inn, Microtel Inn & Suites, Ramada Inn, Super 8 Motel, Travelodge, Wyndham, and Wingate Inn. Talk about the perfect discount for a traveling photographer on business or pleasure!
So the next time you have to buy something for your business (or just for fun), we hope you feel a rush of pleasure in knowing you got the best deal. It's the opposite of buyer's's a saver's glee! To find out how to use these discounts, PPA members can visit their special web page on Using Member Benefits. (Your momma would be so proud!)'s a tricky thing. But if you're going to go through the trouble of earning it, then you might as well keep it. By following the PPA benchmarks and setting goals, you can enjoy more of the fruits of your photographic labor. And that's why we're posting this article for PPA members only, with some basic strategies for optimizing your bottom line. Get the scoop here
The child portrait market may be a powerful thing--full of emotion and cute-as-a-button subjects--but as with all things, you have to know how to do it right. How do you handle the nervous mother of a newborn coming in for their first photo session? How do you get a shy three-year-old to open up in front of your camera?

PPA's recent and upcoming online classes may be able to help. After all, we did snag some of the top child and newborn portrait artists (and PPA members) to share their secrets!

johnstone_helpfulhints1.jpgWho here would like to save while still creating cool-looking packaging for your clients? (It's probably unanimous, huh?) Then you won't want to miss this article we put together with the help of PPA members Trevor and Tourine Johnstone of Johnstone Studios, a wedding, portrait and design studio. They've shared the ways they make the most of every bit of material they have, resulting in beautiful packaging and other items branded with their look. You'll soon be searching through your own studio to see what you can repurpose, too!

Read the full article.

summer_shootout_cta2012.JPGMany PPA members say photographic competition is one of the best ways they've found to improve their art and enhance their skills. So no more sitting on the sidelines! Go up against the best photographers on the planet in the Summer Shootout photo contest exclusively for PPA members.

Members have until September 30th to submit images in their choice of three categories: Portrait, Weddings/Events and Commercial Advertising/Open. The entry fee is only $10 for the first image and $5 for each additional submission, up to 20.

There are three chances to win in each category, plus one overall grand prize winner:

  • 3rd Place: $250
  • 2nd Place: $500
  • 1st Place: $750
  • Grand Prize: $1,000
Take this opportunity to improve your skills - and maybe even win some cash at the same time! Visit for complete rules and to enter.
MacMall has announced the launch of its third annual Supreme Studio Makeover contest.  Targeted towards professionals in the creative fields and featuring over $14,000 in total prizes, the contest runs until August 31, 2012. Entry information and complete contest rules can be found at

The Supreme Studio Makeover features a prize for larger studios with 11 or more employees valued over $9,300 and a prize for studios with 1-10 employees valued over $4,700. The highly sought after  products featured in the contest include: the new 15.4" MacBook Pro with Retina display; Wacom Intuos5 Professional Tablets; Adobe CS6 Master Collection; Drobo S 5-Bay Storage Array; HP 24" Designjet 510 Large Format printer; 21" iMac; and more.

Further creative professional resources, including free training webinars, whitepapers, and how-to videos, are available at

About this Archive

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

July 2012 is the previous archive.

September 2012 is the next archive.

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