Ad image

PPA Today: February 2014 Archives

February 2014 Archives

3/17/14 UPDATE

Maria Matthews was a last-minute replacement for David Trust and spoke on Capitol Hill Monday and Tuesday. She's back with a report on what went down! And boy, it sounds like organizations on every side of the debate are as passionate as ever! Get caught up and read her latest update at the bottom!

By: Maria Matthews, manager of PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs department

On March 10-11, the debate over "orphan works" will remerge during the ongoing copyright review process. PPA's CEO David Trust is heading to Capitol Hill to make sure photographers have a seat at the table.

"Orphan works" are loosely defined as copyright-protected material where the copyright owner is unknown or cannot be located. The vast majority of these "orphans" are photographs and other works of visual arts. How the public can make use of these "orphans" has been debated on Capitol Hill for almost a decade.

The purpose of the two-day roundtable, hosted by the U.S. Copyright Office, is to gather insight on potential legislative solutions and discuss orphan works in the context of new technology and mass digitization efforts.

PPA has been involved in the orphan works debate since the Copyright Office began its initial study of the issue in 2005. Over the years we have testified before Congress, worked closely with Copyright Office officials, key Congressional Leaders and their staff to ensure that photographers concerns were incorporated into any future law. 

The closest an orphan works bill came to being enacted was in 2009 when the "Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act" was passed by the Senate. The bill did not make it out of the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over copyright matters, as it greatly differed from the legislative language they proposed. Since then there was little activity on this front until the issue was incorporated into the Register of Copyright's "Priorities and Special Projects" outline.

Stay tuned for an update on "orphan works" and related legislative activity following our return from Capitol Hill!

3/5/2014 UPDATE: 

We've got more details for you!

David Trust will sit on two panels at next week's Orphan Works Roundtable:

1. "The types of works subject to any orphan works legislation, including issues related specifically to photographs."

2. "Remedies and procedures regarding orphan works".

Trust will speak on behalf of professional photographers during a session on the treatment of "orphaned" photographs in any legislative language to be drafted. He will also address remedies and procedures relating to orphan works. 

Major stakeholders in the copyright review efforts who represent interests on both side of the orphan works debate will be present at the meeting. Fellow visual arts organizations and pro-copyright scholars from copyright-friendly organizations like the PLUS Coalition and university research centers will speak on behalf of creators. On the opposite side of the table are organizations that represent the interests of potential "orphan works" users, including museums, libraries and internet freedoms groups.

Due to the high demand from prospective participants, panelists were limited to two of nine possible sessions. PPA signed up for nearly all of them, but luckily wound up in two of our highest listed priorities. The Copyright Office will hold an open comment period at the conclusion of the second day to ensure all voices are heard.  

That's the latest! We'll provide a recap once we return. As always, PPA's got your back!

3/12/14 UPDATE:

There's plenty to talk about from a busy couple days on Capitol Hill! Here are some highlights:

In reframing the orphan works debate, the Copyright Office is considering giving photographs and other works of visual arts special treatment as they make their recommendations to Congress. This "special treatment" could exclude photographs from the types of works that can be considered "orphaned." This will help raise the bar for determining when a photograph is an "orphan."  

This has the potential to be great news for photographers. We appreciate the Copyright Office's recognition of the unique nature of photographs and photographers and agree that exempting photographs from orphan works legislation makes sense. This could facilitate progress toward meaningful legislation.

This new way of thinking stems from the fact that the very technologies that have helped advance the profession often separate photographers from their images. This refers specifically to when metadata and watermarks get stripped away (either intentionally or accidentally) as files are transferred, posted online or cropped for publication. 

If photographs are included in orphan works legislation, the language must be thorough and it cannot make compensation inaccessible, as we outlined in our written comments.

There has also been some progress to ensure that copyright owners whose works were designated "orphan works" are properly compensated when they come forward following its use. Early versions of orphan works bills included a great deal of protection for the would-be infringer, preventing the copyright owner from collecting any form of compensation. But there is now some movement in favor of language to protect copyright owners as well.

Many representatives from the user community have expressed interest in incorporating language that would allow copyright owners to receive reasonable compensation, set according to market value. Any legislation that does not protect the legitimate interests of the right holder by ensuring reasonable compensation for the use of their creative works denies them equal treatment as provided by law.

In fact, any quest for compensation has to be applied in conjunction with a small claims process that makes it feasible for copyright owners to assert and defend their rights.  Being able to pursue an infringement outside the federal court system will take into account the burden and expense of waging a federal lawsuit. This would ultimately prevent a photographer from collecting even the most modest amount of money.

The mass digitization of copyrighted works (like photographs) was also a major topic of discussion. Two arguments that were repeated throughout both days centered on a benefit to the "public good" and the need to "satisfy their mission." But if all creations are inherently free to use there's no incentive for creators to continue to create!

The Copyright Office concluded the sessions by inviting participants to submit parting thoughts during an open comment period. We will digest the ideas shared and provide additional feedback to ensure photographer's needs are well represented in the recommendations the Copyright Office offers to Congress.

The ultimate goal of this roundtable and any future "fact finding" sessions, roundtables, comment periods, etc. will be to issue an updated report on the state of orphaned works, including what aspects should be legislated and what aspects should be left to administrative rules making.

Of course, as the situation develops, we will keep you all posted!


Here at PPA, we're devoted to always helping you be more as a professional photographer. With that in mind, here are 10 photography blogs from the week of Feb. 23-28, 2014, that we hope will inspire you.

In this article, Shutterbug gathers insights from several pro photographers on the state of the family portrait business. If you create family portraits, you'll find some interesting points in the piece. >>

We all could use a laugh now and then, and this blog certainly made us giggle. It's exactly what it sounds like - flowers from the bouquet toss photos have been edited out and replaced with cats. Get ready to laugh! >>

Crusade for Art is an organization that aims to educate, inspire, and support artists to create unique, approachable programs that bring new audiences to art and allow them to engage with art in a meaningful way (along the same lines as PPA's See The Difference Campaign). As part of their mission, Crusade for Art is offering a $10,000 grant for the photographer who can come up with the most innovative idea to connect people to your photography. Applications are due April 1, so if you've got a great idea enter today! >>

PetaPixel pointed out a fascinating research project based on Instagram photos. Phototrails uses Instagram photos to map out current cultural trends and presents them in cool infographics. It's a neat way that photography is being used in a way you may never have considered. Oh, and did you know that even the Dalai Lama is now on Instagram? >>

Here's an inspiring post from Demilked for wedding photographers. These photos have tons of emotional impact as we rarely picture the groom trying to control his emotions! >>

Wondering how to correct Chromatic Aberration (that colored halo in your images, usually surrounding a dark object placed against a bright background, like a mountain against the sky)? Photofocus has a great tutorial to help you overcome this issue. >>

If you shoot for iStock, you'll want to read up on this issue! Fstoppers explains how iStock ended up overpaying photographers, and how they are trying to collect the extra payments back from you. Needless to say, it's caused quite a debate. >>

Whether you're trying to get into the pet photography market or already do this type of work, these tips from Digital Photography School are worth a look. >>

Is anyone NOT using a tablet quite yet? This video from Photography Concentrate might be for you. It shows how using one can help speed up your workflow! Once you try, you probably won't go back, at least not for photo-editing! >>

Do you shoot basketball, gymnastics or other indoor sports in your photography business? You'll find some useful tips in this guide from Strobist. >>

There you have it, our favorite blog posts of the week! Don't forget that you can share your own blog posts, or others that you have enjoyed, on theLoop.
If you're looking for a great live, in-person learning experience, consider a Super 1 Day photography workshop in your area! PPAedu helps photographers be more through live programming and classes, as well as a comprehensive (and ever-growing) video library on techniques for photographers and business practices.

During Super 1 Day (formerly known as Super Monday), photography studios from coast to coast and a few internationally (we're looking at you Turkey, Korea and Mexico), will open their doors to host classes on a variety of photography techniques and business practices. Whatever you need help with, there's sure to be a workshop to help you be more. Super 1 Day programs will span portrait and wedding photography, posing and lighting, digital retouching and workflow, and sales and marketing strategies.

In the past, these workshops were all held on one day. But we're changing  things up this year. There are going to be more than 110 classes, all to be held on multiple days between May 5 - 19, 2014 to give you an opportunity to find a workshop that fits best with your schedule. 

Beginning March 5th, PPA members and non-members alike will be able to browse the list of workshops and register for the one of their choice for $99. Be sure to register by April 30th to get the lowest price. Starting May 1, registration goes up to $120 and will only be processed on-location and space permitting. So sign up by or before the end of April to be able to register online while keeping money in your pocket!

After signing up, you will get the Bonus Pack (electronic gift goodie bag) with deals and discounts from several photographic companies. PPA members will also receive one service merit for each class. Great learning opportunity, merits towards a PPA degree AND a bunch of discount coupons? Sounds like a deal to us! 

Super 1 Day participants vary in their specialties and locations, but they all seem to agree on one thing: Super 1 Day is one of the best and easiest ways to mingle with your photography friends while experiencing excellent learning! 

Find out for yourself! Visit the Super 1 Day page on PPA's website, starting March 5th, locate the workshops taking place in your area and register for the class of your choice. 
It should be no surprise that February flew by. Fast. Didn't have a chance to check in on theLoop this month? We'll we've got the top five discussions right here! Check them out, chime in and see where you fall in these popular topics:

Are you contemplating switching lighting systems? It can be a challenging and mind -boggling task! Weigh in to see what the best fit is for you and your fellow photogs. 

Do business cards make a difference? What designs work well and what designs might drive potential clients away? See if your cards are helping or hurting your business here

Sometimes Google doesn't even have the right answer. Talk turkey with F-stops and DOF while using an 85mm. 

Do you work with large groups in the out of doors? Discuss how to use fill light to correct those spots where the natural light falls short here!

This is always a hot topic. What do you do when a client asks for digital files? What are some good alternatives? What's some key language to use to drive your point home? Get in on this topic that impacts almost every photographer here. 

Don't forget, theLoop is PPA's safe and secure online community where members can discuss various photography topics! Not a PPA member? It's easy: join today!

Last week, Maria Matthews, PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs manager gave us an update from Capitol Hill.

Now, PPA received a shout out on the matter in The New York Times!

In "Photographers Band Together to Protect Work in Fair Use Cases," author Patricia Cohen outlines the Capitol Hill effort in detail and names a few of the major players, including PPA. Ms. Cohen gives great insight to photographer's battle against Fair Use, using  individual cases as examples.

She writes:

"Technological advances, shifting artistic values and dizzying spikes in art prices have turned the world of visual arts into a boxing ring for intellectual-property rights disputes. Photographers, in particular, are complaining not only that their work is being stolen by other artists, but also that their ability to create new work related to their originals is also being compromised."

The problem lies in the broadness of "Fair Use" itself.

"Fair use started out as an exception to copyright law," Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers, said. "Now it seems that copyright is the exception to fair use."

A more fine line must be drawn in the sand to determine what stands as work "inspired by" an original image and what counts as a violation of the photographer's copyrights. PPA remains a major voice to be heard on the matter, with exciting movement toward "the next great copyright law" underway. Look for another update on PPA's contributions to the copyright effort on Capitol Hill in mid-March!


Article originally appeared online at the New York Times, Feb. 21. Read the full article here.


It may have been a short week for some with President's Day, but there was still plenty of action in the photography community. Here at PPA, we're devoted to always helping you be more as a professional photographer. With that in mind, here are 10 photography blogs from the week of Feb. 17-21, 2014, that we hope will inspire you.

1). Not Your Typical Time Lapse
Rick Mereki and his team have been creating inspiring videos for some time now. Their award-winning shorts from two years ago, Eat, Learn and Move are still making the rounds on social media. But last month's Mirrorlapse is definitely the trippiest thus far, literally flipping images on top of themselves and moving them through time. It's exhausting! Follow the guys on Facebook and see what they come up with next!

2). Canon vs. Nikon: So What's the Conclusion?
Ah yes, the ultimate argument! The folks over at were brave enough to take it on. You might be surprised by their findings! Read the results.

3). NYC Ballet Enlists Street Art Photographer
What do you do when you're trying to draw new patrons to your ballet theater? Hit the streets! It helps if an award-winning street photographer is out there when you do! The David H. Koch Theater gave French photographer, JR, they keys to their ballet and the results are pretty amazing. Click through to read more and view a behind-the-scenes video. The project certainly isn't a first for JR. In fact, he's done it all over the world. Check out his TED prize-winning talk from 2011 to see what drives him!

4). 41 Reasons You Shouldn't Date a Photographer

Get ready for a laugh, and, well, perhaps some (see: all) of you will be able to relate to this list.

5). Have Your Online Galleries Been Hacked?

Boudoir photographer, Christine Tremoulet, takes on hackers on this post, which applies to any kind of photographer. Unfortunately, your images might not be as protected as you think! Christine has some tips to help. Read the post

6). The Only Thing More Unbelievable Than These Photos Is How They Were Taken
We're sensing a trend lately of climbing really, really tall buildings (generally illegally) in the quest for the perfect shot. We certainly don't advocate it for our thrill-seeking members, but we can sure admire the results of this young woman's soaring passion! Check out these images and don't miss the video: you'll see this adventure photographer perched hundreds of feet up at the top of the Chrysler Building in New York.

7). John Stanmeyer Shares the Story Behind His World Press Photo of the Year

You've probably already seen his astonishing, World Press Photo of the Year, but now you can hear how it came to be right from the creator himself! View the video.

8). BTS: Photographing Kate Upton in Zero Gravity for Sports Illustrated
Perhaps many of you dreamed of photographing for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition one day. Perhaps some of you dreamed of photographing in zero gravity. WHAT?! They did both?! Check out the video for a good laugh, and the images for an impressive result.

9). The 5 Common Mistakes Made By Professional Photographers

Photography Talk came up with these 5 great and easy-to-follow tips to follow to avoid common mistakes. Gotta avoid those potholes! Read the article.

10). These Brilliant Photos of the Lego Man Will Inspire You
Legos are so hot right now. One photographer took a silly idea and really ran with it here. We are really jealous of you, Andrew Whyte. Like, unbelievably, incredibly jealous. Take a look at these incredible photos, and be inspired to have some fun and go create! Take a look.


There you have it, our favorite blog posts of the week! Don't forget that you can share your own blog posts, or others that you have enjoyed, on theLoop.





PPA is dedicated to helping professional photographers be more. From techniques for photographers to better business practices, PPA and PPA's staff are here to help you take your photography business to that next level. 

Having great images is important, but as any photographer would agree, if you aren't managing your business properly, your path to success will most likely become an arduous one. That's why PPA created the Benchmark Survey. 

Periodically, we survey hundreds of photography studios to compile a comprehensive photography business guide that can help you increase your profitability and help you avoid some all-too-common (but also some not-so-evident) business pitfalls. These are the Benchmark Resources. At first that jargon-sounding name might sound a tad corporate, but those who use the Benchmark will tell you: this tool will make a difference in your business! And PPA members can access these Benchmark Resources at no extra cost. This comes with your membership!

To get started and see how the Benchmark can help make a significant difference for your business, let's look at it from square one. PPA recently added a new tool to the Benchmark Resources to help professional photographers plan for a profitable business by beginning with the end in mind. What do we mean by beginning with end? Just what it sounds like: the tool will start by asking you what you want your annual net income to be. Then from there, it will help you work backwards to help you realize how your cost of sales and overhead percentages affect your profitability (all as determined by the Benchmark Survey). You'll see a very clear picture of how many sessions, at what sales average, you'll need to reach the income goal you've set. 

By Maria Matthews, Manager of PPA's Copyright and Government Affairs department


While you kept your eyes squarely focused through your viewfinder, or honed in on the finer points of the next great image you're retouching, PPA's Government Affairs Team was walking and talking to key staffers on Capitol Hill.


On its February 3-4 visit, PPA's CEO David Trust spoke with some rather influential individuals on the copyright and health insurance fronts, including the Chief Counsel of the House Judiciary Committee's Intellectual Property Subcommittee. The Chief Counsel is the committee's point-person on this particular reform movement. He sets the hearing schedule, who gets to testify at each one, and the honor of receiving feedback from key stakeholders--like us.  


While offering our thoughts on the most recent hearings, we learned that there are many more to come between now and the end of the congressional session (likely late November or early-December). Copyright owners can anticipate many more hearings on just about every aspect of the current statute as the committee dissects the current laws in the hopes of drafting "the next great copyright law". As dates are set and milestones achieved, we'll be there to lend your voice and keep you in the know.


Also on the copyright itinerary this trip was a meeting with the Copyright Alliance. PPA is a founding member and longtime supporter of the Copyright Alliance, an industry coalition made up of associations that represent creators (like PPA!), and corporations that produce copyrighted content. The coalition helps to lend a larger voice to the copyright community. We are eager to work even closer with the Copyright Alliance this year, both as the copyright review unfolds and the alliance itself rolls out a number of programs to benefit all creators. Stay tuned for more on this front!


Our first visit of the year is always a good time to take the temperature of the healthcare climate on Capitol Hill. To help get a sense what might be in the pipeline for the small business photographer, we visited with the Small Business Coalition for Affordable Healthcare. We learned that much of this year's action will be on the regulatory front, this means IRS publications and white (or other colored) papers from key Department of Health and Human Services agencies. We are hopeful that there is still some momentum in both the House and Senate to address business owners' concerns with the Affordable Care Act.


To ensure we're keeping the pulse of the Hill, PPA will again find itself in Washington on March 10-11 for a copyright small claims court themed roundtable organized by the U.S. Copyright Office! 

By Mariah Ashley

You know that feeling when you act really badly and you're ashamed of yourself?

In the words of Grumpy Cat, I had that feeling last week. It was awful.

Allow me to set the scene...

It's the end of a long week, Friday evening and it's past my bed time. My daughter returns from the middle school dance complains that she isn't feeling well. She's prone to low blood sugar, so I insist rather unsympathetically that she eat something. She feebly protests that she can't eat because she's nauseous. I bark, "You're nauseous because you haven't eaten!" and send her whimpering to her room. I begrudgingly prepare a snack of orange juice and a granola bar.

Meanwhile, my sweet, concerned husband enters the kitchen and asks what's wrong with our daughter and why am I slamming the orange juice around? I have no answer for why I am angry so I just rant about no one listening to me.

"Why are you yelling at me?" he asks.

To which I reply, {in a demon voice} "Because I'm a {blank}!" I knew that was a mistake as soon as it left my evil little lips. "Good night," says my husband with hurt and disgust and then closes the door to our bedroom, and is not seen until the next morning.

Incidentally, my child with "low blood sugar" actually has a hideous stomach virus that keeps her vomiting for four hours straight and me stripping bedding and holding her hair out of the toilet right alongside her. These many hours on the bathroom floor give me plenty of time to think about my bad behavior. Truthfully, I am shocked at what came out of my mouth and I honestly don't know why I feel so mad.

Around four in the morning I have my answer. While my daughter is sleeping, I go downstairs to my office, and with one sleep deprived look at my desk, my mini rage episode makes sense. Piles of notes on ideas and projects I want to start cover the entire surface of my workspace. Grandiose-itis, brought on by my recent trip to Imaging USA has reared its ugly head once more.

Grandiose-itis is a hereditary disease which was passed on to me from my father, a farmer and part-time mad scientist. A person suffering from Grandiose-itis is compelled to take any spark of creativity he or she has and immediately mentally turn that spark into a grand money making or life-changing scheme.

The victim is then compelled to incessantly and obsessively work to make the grandiose idea into a reality, regardless of whether the idea is even a viable one. Generally people who suffer from grandiose-itis juggle dozens of these ideas/schemes at the same time, inadvertently sucking the people around them into their vortex of crazy. Because I had filled two notebooks with ideas and to-do lists while I was at Imaging in Phoenix, my vortex had reached cyclonic proportions.

When you have Grandiose-itis you are incapable of doing anything small. For instance, when I was growing up my dad decided it would be fun to throw and annual Labor Day party. Then he decided it would be fun to make it a fish-fry. My family lives in Cape Cod where Fish & Chips is a big thing. My father built a fish fry shack (think Tiki bar meets sea shanty), bought an industrial restaurant fry-a-later, vats of oil, sacks of batter, 50 pounds of codfish, 75 pounds of French fries, and then invited the entire town to partake.

Of course, the kiddos need something to do so he built them a wooden waterslide lined with plastic. The top of the slide came out of the top of our barn and the bottom of the slide ended in an inflatable boat filled with water. A hose running at the top kept everyone from plastic friction burns. Epic fun, but hitting the bottom of that rubber boat at 10 miles an hour is probably the reason I have a flat butt to this day. Ouch!

And that was just the first year of the fish fry, every year the party got bigger, live entertainment, a fishing contest, a Ferris wheel he purchased from a defunct amusement park (this grand idea ended up rusting behind the barn, probably vetoed by my mother).

The fish fry was a successful example of Grandiose-itis, and there are many other examples of my father's ingenious ideas that solved the constant problems of farm life. Once and a while though, my father had less than successful ideas. For instance, the day my father spread two tons of chicken manure on our property and singlehandedly killed any chance of popularity for me at the bus stop on my first day of middle school. Then there was his all pickle diet.

Pickle Pic.jpg

Pickles (a natural superfood haven't you heard?) were apparently all my dad thought he needed to ingest for survival. For weeks my mother made constant trips to purchase oversized barrels of dill pickles for my father. Then there was the all fruit diet, this idea ended badly... in the hospital. Another slimy idea that thankfully never made it past the drawing board: the "frog-leg" farm.

The last time my own Grandiose-itis was this out of control it nearly resulted in my own death... by cow. I was on a tropical vacation with my husband and children on a remote island in the Grenadines. After an already adventure packed day I insisted my husband drive us up and over a mountain in our rental jeep so we could take the "scenic route."

A harrowing thirty minutes of rutted, washed-out road later we were off-road for real with a flat tire and no spare. Nighttime was approaching and rain threatened and it was all my fault. Determined to make things right, I set off running in flip flops down the jungle road to find civilization. That's when I heard it. Jungle cow stampede.

Running at top speed I glanced over my shoulder to see a hulking brown beast bearing down on me. So naturally I stopped. Surprisingly the beast stopped too. It's no fun to chase a flat butt if it's not running I guess. The beast lumbered off, shaken I limped back to my traumatized family. Later that night as the kids drifted off into recurring cow induced nightmares, my husband asked me, "Why when we were already in OZ did I need to go looking for hyper-OZ?" Grandiose-itis that's why.

So now here I find myself again suffering from a bout of Grandiose-itis. Only this time, much like the deranged jungle cow I am mowing down my own family. This madness must stop! I sat, realizing in the still of my pre-dawn surrounding that I might not be able to stop myself from generating ideas but I need to figure out how to wield them. I don't ever want my big ideas for business to interfere with caring for my family or even for my clients. I don't want to be the kind of mother who is unsympathetic to her sick child or the kind of wife who is cranky to her very patient husband because I am stressed from self imposed lunacy. I don't want to ignore the needs of my clients because I am busy with yet another new business venture.

Just then, a thought hit me like a runaway cow. The thought was a mission statement for my business. A small business with a big heart.

After tending to my child and begging my husband's forgiveness I went to work the next day to rid myself of some of the Grandiosity. Trish and I decided that any project or idea that didn't fit our new statement could be immediately discarded. A book idea, two inventions, a few educational goals, a marketing scheme and a partridge in pear tree left my desk and went into the trash. I felt much lighter and much less cranky. After slicing and dicing the grand idea list we ended up with several ideas for charity, a few ideas for caring for our clients and a big project that will help our fellow photographers. All grand yet doable projects that fit our new mission statement of big heartedness.

Does any of this tale sound uncomfortably familiar? Do you think that you too may suffer from Grandiose-itis? Take a look at your desk. If it looks like the photo of mine, then you might. Do you feel constant pressure and crankiness like I did? Are you ready to explode? Are you drowning in your own ideas? Stop suffering needlessly! All those pickles ideas can drive a person to madness.

Break the awful chains of Granidose-it is! Save yourself and the ones you love. It's great to have grand ideas, it means you are a visionary! Remember though, you are only one person. You can't do it all. Stop and ask yourself about your vision for your business. Don't let your ideas carry you away like a bovine on the loose.

Do you have a mission statement? A simple guideline that you can weigh all those big ideas against? That's step one. Once you have your statement, start making room on that desk. If the big idea doesn't support the mission it doesn't deserve to take up real-estate on your desk or in your head. Good luck!

P.S. Love you dad. I'm a chip off the old pickle.


About the author:

Thumbnail image for winter.jpg
Mariah Ashley is co-owner of Snap! Photography in Rhode Island. She is blonde, loves to bake fruit pies, wears flip flops way past the summer season, should have been born in the 50s, paints and writes when the mood strikes her, is mother to Jacques and Vianne, vacations on Block Island, is vegan, never has proper or stylish outerwear, fears frogs and toads but loves turtles, has really skinny legs, personal Style- Bohemian Chic, wants to own a VW van,  grew up on a cranberry farm and is happiest when snorkeling is happiest when sipping a rum punch under a palm tree.


Thumbnail image for DANIELLE BROOKS.jpg
Written by guest blogger, Danielle Brooks

It has only been 34 days since Imaging USA and already my business looks completely different. 

I knew going to Phoenix would radically change my business, I just didn't know how. I hate change, but I know it represents progress. My last article addressed the fact that Imaging gave me whiplash. Now that the pain has subsided, what would my next steps be? I decided to focus on what my business needed most: print products. 

While at Imaging, my main goal was to find a print lab to offer products to my clients. When you start out as a photographer, no one gives you a road map. No one sits down with you and says, "Here's a great print lab. You should start offering these products to clients at this percentage of markup in order to make a profit." And truth be told, even if they did, it would only be a jumping-off point. Only I can know what my market will bear in terms of pricing. So the thought of finding a lab, selecting my products and figuring out markup was a little stressful. 

I visited every single lab that had a booth at Imaging. White House Custom Color met my needs completely. I know everyone has a lab that they advocate for and WHCC is mine. Their representatives in the booth were so helpful and friendly. I appreciated that when I asked a seemingly basic question, they didn't look at me like I was stupid. They answered them in the best way possible. Making sure I had a grasp on their products and how to offer them to clients. This was such a huge help to me as a beginner. 

Next on the list was finding a way to showcase my products to clients and whether or not I wanted to do an in-person ordering session. Since I do not have a studio, I have decided to offer online purchasing. I know many of you will say I'm leaving money on the table, but for me, right now, it works. I would love to do in-person ordering, but you have to start somewhere. 

So at Imaging, I stopped by the Shoot Proof booth. They offer a great option for online ordering. I can select from their partner labs, or add my own and self-fulfill. Their interface is super easy to navigate. I can literally select products I offer, and then add the price I offer them for. 

Another big change to my business is partnering with other businesses. At Imaging I was challenged to look for ways to make connections that would help word of mouth. About a week after the conference, I visited my husband at work and as I was leaving, I noticed a gymnastics place across the way. I went home and thought about ways I might be able to partner with them. Here was a business that caters to children, and their parents are waiting in the lobby for an hour or more a week. What better way to get my name out there as a family photographer than to put my materials in their lobby?

I quickly found their website and Facebook and noticed that they had a crazy amount of photos, but none of them were particularly good. The next week I was able to schedule a meeting with the owner. I explained to her that I was a new photographer to the area and wanted to get my name out there. I told her I would be willing to photograph an event for free in exchange for letting me leave some information in their lobby. Some might frown on the idea of giving away photos, but let me tell you it has come back to me tenfold. 

After the event, she posted some of the photos, and she immediately told me she had parents wanting to buy proofs. She also wanted to know if I could do team photos and sports photos of all the kids. What a HUGE opportunity! It will be so easy for me to talk to the parents about a family session while I'm photographing their kids. If there is ever a way to invest in your community, do it. The results might surprise you.

As things stand now, I am not generating enough consistent business to leave my "day job" but I'm hoping that by planting the seeds now, I will reap a harvest in the future. This year holds so many possibilities and I'm glad I started 2014 off right by attending Imaging USA. I cannot wait to see where my business will be this time next year. 

Happy Valentine's Day!  Here at PPA, we love (Get it? Valentine's Day? Love?) helping you be more as a professional photographer. With that in mind, here are 10 photography blogs from this week, that we think will help make you fall a little bit more in love with the industry.

For the do-it-yourselfers, pyro and light painting fans out there - this is a great how-to for steel wool photography (along with some pretty nifty examples).  Just remember, PPA doesn't condone lighting yourself or your neighborhood on fire.  

Afraid of heights? You might want to skip this one. Two Russian climbers summited the second tallest building in the world (Shanghai Tower) without safety equipment or ropes and caught it all on film. (Please don't try this at home!)

Jim Richardson, accomplished National Geographic photographer, gives you the basics on panning motion photography. Take these simple tricks to the next level.

Ok, we don't love this at all. Facebook made a video saying "Remembering the big day is easier with friends" (you can check the video out on the link). But one creative photographer did come up with a beautiful parody video. 

The article above brought us back to thinking about an infographic from Buzzfeed. If you missed it earlier this week, it's worth the chuckles. (If you have some of your own, post them on our Facebook page!)

Adventure photographer Lucas Gilman talks social shop with the team at Photoshelter. See how 14,000 Instagram followers (and 9,000 on Twitter) has helped his career, creativity and business strategy. 

SLR Lounge has the tip of tips to help you drastically improve your black and white images from bland and boring to (dare we say) majestic. Get the details here, you're sure to find a couple of nuggets for your own business. 

Sochi has caused quite the hubbub leading up to the Winter Olympics- so what's it like now that the competitions are underway? Sports photographer Robert Hanashiro checks in with an up close and personal look at the games. 

Max Jackson, a Florida Atlantic University student, allowed the Color Run to use one of his images on their Facebook page. When he found that image in their print and marketing materials, he asked for some compensation. What happens next will blow your mind. Read on! 

We're not kidding. Make sure to clear the room of children, or adults with sensitive ears because you might be spewing four letter words (and we don't mean l-o-v-e) after reading this post from PetaPixel. Oh! and the comments will be worth your while too!

There you have it, our favorite blog posts of the week! Don't forget that you can share your own blog posts, or others that you have enjoyed, on theLoop


Wow, what a year to earn a PPA degree! A record 172 photographers did just that this year at Imaging USA in Phoenix. PPA salutes the photographers who earned their degrees in 2013, proof that our members are putting in the work to BE MORE! The degrees were conferred by PPA Council on January 13, 2014, and the degree recipients were honored at the PPA Award & Degree ceremony in Phoenix, AZ on January 14, 2014.

Here's a list of this year's recipients. Congrats to you all!

(Image ©Alex the Photoguy. See more images at

Master of Photography

Kristin Adams
Jae Cheol An
Lisa Asp, CPP
Sun Bok Bae
Teresa L. Bernard, CPP
Ronald L. Bookwalter
Mary M. Braunsdorf
Chontelle S. Brown, CPP
Elizabeth Burgess
Michael Busada, CPP
Scott Butler, CPP
Lisa L. Butler, CPP
James P. Butler, CPP
Elizabeth A. Callahan-Stekli
Dennis L. Chamberlain, Cr.Photog., CPP
Rose Mary S. Cheek, Cr.Photog., CPP
Sandi Coates, CPP
Dr. Glenn M. Cope, Cr.Photog., CPP, API
Eileen Kay Cote
Amy Dawnelle
James Delaney
Michael W. Dill, CPP
Kelly M. Dobson, CPP
Ivan Domazet, Cr.Photog., CPP
Catherine Dybala
Luke H. Edmonson, CPP
John J. Ellis, CPP
Paul L. Ernest
Thomas Fallon
Andrew K. Faulds, CPP
Amy L. Feick, CPP
Mark Fitzgerald
Dan J. Francis, CPP
Dan Frievalt
Suzy A. Fulton, CPP
Jessica M. Galaska, CPP
Olis Garber
Tela B. Gough
Shane Greene, CPP
Jose Luis Guardia Vazquez
Jeff C. Gulle, Cr.Photog., CPP
Gail S. Haile, CPP
Patty R. Hallman, CPP
Jennifer L. Hatton, CPP
Jason M. Higdon
Yang Jong Il
Kevin Jairaj
Dr. Eric D. Jones
Gina M. Kieffer
Christina M. Kjar, CPP
Charles Laumann, CPP
Peg Lavoie, Cr.Photog.
Tamar R. London, Cr.Photog.
Linda Huddle Martin
Dan McClanahan
Michael D. McNamara, CPP
Paulette Mertes
Christine M. Miller, Cr.Photog.
Alison Miniter, Cr.Photog., CPP
Melissa Miroslavich, CPP
Karen Nakamura
Carol I. Nichols
Kathleen A. Odiorne
Ginny B. Otto
Jim Pierce, CPP
Marta Elise Pilling
Peter Polizzi
Michael Potthast, CPP
Jessica Robertson
Cindy T. Romaguera, Cr.Photog.
Ralph J. Romaguera Jr., Cr.Photog.
Dr. Steven M. Roosa
Sharleen Scholz
Kent L. Shelton, CPP
Heather L. Smith, Cr.Photog., CPP
Merle L. Somerville
Pierre R. Stephenson, Cr.Photog., CPP
Michelle Stevens
Anna C. Venhaus, Cr.Photog.
Vincent Yeo, CPP
Peter K. Yu, Cr.Photog., CPP

Master Artist

Jeff D. Bowman, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Renee D. Dubins, M.Photog.
Joseph C. Glyda, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Sam Gray, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, F-ASP
Dwaine Horton, M.Photog.Cr.
Ann Naugher, M.Photog., CPP
Lois Stanfield, CPP
Michael E. Timmons, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, F-ASP
Karen Walker, M.Photog.Cr., CPP

Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman

Mark Bryant

Master of Photography and Master Artist

Michelle Parsley, CPP

Photographic Craftsman and Master Artist

Ben R. Shirk, M.Photog.

Photographic Craftsman

Mary Lynne Ashley, M.Photog., CPP
Francie Baltazar Stonestreet, CPP
Jen Basford
Jeffrey J. Bauman, M.Photog.
Rob Behm, M.Photog., CPP
Lee Bernhard
Jeffrey A. Bokhoven
Randy C. Brogen, CPP
Mac Brown
Laura B. Bruschke, M.Photog.
Mary L. Buck, CPP
Heather M. Chinn, M.Artist.
Salvatore Cincotta
Ruth A.B. Clegg, M.Photog., CPP
Stephanie Cunningham, CPP
Bruce Danuser, CPP
Julie Diebolt Price
Robert M. Dlugos
Kari J. Douma, M.Photog., CPP
Deanna Duncan
Damon Fecitt, CPP
Kevin D. Floyd, CPP
Steven R. Folino, CPP
Dan R. Glassett
Joel Grimes
Dominique Harmon
Bruce R. Haskell, CPP
Chuck Hill, M.Photog.
Jaron Horrocks
Kevin J. Hurley, M.Photog.
Anne Hutton, M.Photog.
Gordon F. Kreplin, M.Photog.
Ellen S. LeRoy, M.Photog.
Christopher J. Lommel, M.Photog., CPP
Linda M. Long, CPP
Olyn Long, CPP
Allen Mortensen, M.Photog.
Linda M. Motzko, M.Photog.
Prem Mukherjee
Marceliano Munoz
Barry Nelson, CPP
John J. Pacetti, CPP
Jim Paliungas, M.Photog., CPP
Angela Lynn Pencsak, M.Photog.
Parker J. Pfister
Laura A. Pollard, CPP
Christine E. Reynolds, M.Photog., CPP
Pete A. Rezac, CPP
Mona K. Sadler, M.Photog.M.Artist., CPP
Byron Sands, CPP
Sam A. Sarkis, M.Photog.
Wendy S. Schicktanz, M.Photog., CPP
Stephen Sedman, CPP
Jeffrey Shaw
Trisha Simmons, CPP
Charles L. Smith, M.Photog., CPP
Emily Smith, CPP
Rafael Sotomayor, CPP
Dennis R. Spaziano, M.Photog., CPP
David J. Stana, CPP
Randy Van Duinen, CPP
Joy Vertz, CPP
Lloyd S. Wainscott, M.Photog.
Laurie A. Warta, CPP
Rebecca Zoumberos, CPP

Imaging Excellence Award

David Sixt, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Robert A. Howard, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Dominic Iodice, M.Photog.MEI.Hon.M.Photog.Cr.
Stan Jones, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Kenneth J. Martin, M.Photog.Cr.
Sandra A. Pearce, M.Photog.MEI.Cr.
Adrian S. Henson, M.Photog.MEI.Cr., CPP
Mario Munoz Jr, M.Photog.Cr.
Ben R. Shirk, M.Photog.

Imaging Excellence Bar

Elaine Hughes, M.Photog.MEI., CPP
Robert L. Kunesh, M.Photog.MEI.Cr., CPP
Joe Campanellie, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Helen K. Yancy, M.Photog.M.Artist.MEI.Hon.M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API, A-ASP, F-ASP
Tomas J. Munoz, M.Photog.Cr., CPP

You could earn yours too! Learn how to start heading down the path toward a PPA degree at

Written by guest blogger and Student Photographic Society Member Tessa Smucker
To read more of Tessa's blog, click here

As the snow continues to fall, I figured there was no better time to write about my trip to Phoenix. Last week this time, I was enjoying palm trees and sunny 70 degree weather. What I would give to still be there!

I have been a member of PPA (Professional Photographers of America) for about a year now and have been receiving their monthly magazine for over three years. PPA is a "non-profit international photography association that helps those serious about photography live their dreams profitably." Members enjoy the benefits of equipment insurance, educational resources and the connection to thousands of other professional photographers.

Among the benefits is the opportunity to attend their yearly conference, Imaging USA. Last year, I attended as a student volunteer in Atlanta, GA. It truly shaped my entire 2013. I had the pleasure of attending Imaging USA once again this year in Arizona. Because of the impact it had previously, I was anxious to be back.

Although I am "technically" no longer a student, they let me slide for one more year. The role of a student is to volunteer about 4-6 hours a day. In exchange for our time we receive free lodging, free entry to the event and the chance to attend amazing workshops put on by world renowned photographers. We also have the opportunity to have our work individually critiqued by very established professionals in the field. Pretty much, it is a sweet deal.

It's already February? How did that happen?! Here at PPA, we're devoted to always helping you be more as a professional photographer. With that in mind, here are 10 photography blogs from the week of Feb. 2, 2014 that we think will help inspire and educate you.

1). What Happens When You Pose Two Strangers Together for an Intimate Portrait?
This one has been circulating the web this week. For six years, New York photographer, Richard Renaldi, has been working on an unusual portrait project. It's called Touching Strangers, and the results are pretty surprising! View the video. View the gallery.

2). Have Camera, Will Travel: 50 Awesome Photo Workshops Around the World
Obviously, you don't want to miss any upcoming PPA workshops. But if you really want to be more, take a look at this list from PetaPixel of 50 others happening all over the world! Read the list.

3). Timelapse: Northern Lights So Bright They Overexpose the Photos
A trip to Alaska to see the Aurora Borealis should be on every photographer's bucket list. Take a look at this astonishing timelapse from photographer, Chad Blakely and see why. View the post.

4). Photos from Sochi

You might have heard, but the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are under way! Here's a decent round-up of photos from Sochi, from the weird (tandem toilets?) to the magnificent. For a good giggle and a few awes, view the photos. 

5). Alex Webb Looks Back in Black and White

The New York Times official photo journalism blog, Lens, is taking a look back at the best work of famed photographer, Alex Webb. Naturally, they're looking back in black and white. Read the post

6). Don't Pose, Give Direction
From FStoppers, this post will teach you how to make posed photos look natural. Read the advice.

7). You Have a Big Impact

Here's a little inspiration from Imaging USA speaker, Jeffrey Shaw. See why you are never too small to make a big impact! Read the post.

8). Life of a Crash Test Dummy
This Reuters blog takes a photographic look at the lives of these brave car safety specialists. View the images.

9). A Taste for Music

Fusion restaurants are all the rage these days, but what about blending into other mediums? Take a look at photographer Vincent Kessler's visit to the Vegetable Orchestra in Vienna, Austria. It's real! Read the article.

10). Landscape Photos Exposed onto Handblown Glass  
These are SO COOL. See how artist Emma Howell is breathing new life into the landscape genre. View the post.

There you have it, our favorite blog posts of the week! Don't forget that you can share your own blog posts, or others that you have enjoyed, on theLoop

Take a look at some of the members we've featured in our Faces of PPA campaign in the video below. You can read all about these members and why they've joined PPA on the Faces of PPA Gallery. Want to be part of this campaign? Submit your information now! 

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, meaning six more weeks of winter. To make those six weeks fly by, check out the top discussions on theLoop from January. Hopefully, some of these discussions will bring some inspiration, education and networking!

After three days of education, your brain can be jam packed with information, ideas and changes you want to make to your business. What will you implement first? 

Want to bust into the world of commercial or food photography, but don't know how? This thread is for you! Get advice on where to start, what to read, and what to avoid. 

Do you love wall portraits? Hate them? They have turned into a polarizing topic amongst portrait photographers. Weigh in with your opinion here!

Your hard drive's getting full. What's your process for storing images of days (and clients) gone by?  Dump them? Spend the money for additional storage? Know your options!

Great models are hard to come by. How do you help them get out there, without throwing them to the wolves? 

When you frame your wall portraits - do you do so with our without glass? Without glass cuts down on glare, but leaves your image open to the elements. What are your options? 

Don't forget, theLoop is PPA's safe and secure online community where members PPA photographers can discuss various photography topics! Not a PPA member? Join today .

By Mariah Ashley

I believe after Audi's Super Bowl commercial we can all agree with Sarah McLachlan that cross-breeding Dobermans with Chihuahuas (Doberhuahua) is a really bad idea. Clearly the Doberhuahua is an unholy combination best left to the imagination of Audi's creative marketing team, but it did get me thinking about a cross-marketing situation we had here at Snap a few days ago.

Before I can tell you about that though, I need to tell you a regretful story based on real life events.

Once upon a time (last winter) there were two photographers who got a call about shooting a wedding for a fellow wedding vendor. This vendor, a lovely young woman, happened to be the event coordinator at a very exclusive venue.


The young woman told the photographers that she was planning a small wedding on a tight budget (about half what the photographers would normally charge), but it was her dream to have the photographers shoot her event. The misguided photographers told her "sorry", but she'd have to pay regular price because she was getting married on a prime Saturday during wedding season.


The lovely young woman was disappointed and hired an inexpensive photographer instead. The photographers were disappointed because they never did book that prime day with anyone else. The photographers lost out on the coordinator's wedding and an opportunity to solidify their professional relationship with her. They sat home and twiddled their thumbs on her wedding date.


The lovely woman's photos didn't turn out as lovely as they could of and the photographers felt really bad about that. The photographers vowed that if ever faced with this scenario again they would be generous to their industry friends and everyone would win.



Of all the mistakes we made last year, this was probably the most regrettable. It was so regrettable it actually had three separate heavy layers of regret. Regret number one, we had a long personal relationship with the coordinator and we felt like world-class jerks when we turned her away and worse when we saw her photos and knew we could have done better by her.


Secondly, the universe punished us repeatedly for our greed by book-blocking us every time another inquiry came in for that date. And finally the biggest business regret, we realized all too late what a huge marketing opportunity we had missed out on. Up until Friday, I couldn't even think of this incident without working myself into a dark self-degrading mood.


What changed on Friday you wonder? Well, the universe delivered us a chance at NOT repeating history. Another lovely young woman/coordinator at another fabulous venue had contacted us about shooting her wedding. I hadn't heard from her since sending her our pricing, so on Friday, I sent her another email to check in.


When she wrote back she told me she was looking into less expensive options because although it was her dream to have us there she was planning a very informal event and didn't have the budget. Actually her exact words to describe her budget were "borderline unrealistic." Without pausing to think, I emailed her the story I just told you and told her that if her "borderline unrealistic" budget covered our expenses then that would be good enough for us. The unrealistic budget actually turned out to be a quarter of our average booking. Big mistake you think? No.


This is where the Doberhuahua effect comes into play. I told her that after our expenses were covered, whatever was left over we would donate to Operation Smile through PPA charities. "Oh no you didn't!"


Oh yes I did!


I just cross-marketed; Vendor Relationships with Charity resulting in the kind of Word of Mouth you just can't buy. Not even for $4 million for a 30 second spot. Do-ber-hua-hua! It's a HAT TRICK TOUCHDOWN and everybody wins! (See that I just crossed hockey and football, I'm virtually unstoppable!)


Our borderline budget bride was so happy, so grateful, so overwhelmed that she told me she was borderline crying. Her "unrealistic budget" actually covered our expenses and allowed for a $1,000 donation to Operation Smile. Four children will have life changing surgeries thanks to her borderline budget, and that is nothing to scoff at.


The Moral of our story? Greed does not pay. We screwed up last year, but this year we had an opportunity to do things differently. Yes, we may miss out booking that date with someone who is able to pay full price. Ultimately though, our hearts will be richer for having helped an industry friend and for donating those four surgeries. I can guarantee our pockets will be richer too for all the priceless referrals the lovely coordinator will send our way.



About the author:

Thumbnail image for winter.jpg
Mariah Ashley is co-owner of Snap! Photography in Rhode Island. She is blonde, loves to bake fruit pies, wears flip flops way past the summer season, should have been born in the 50s, paints and writes when the mood strikes her, is mother to Jacques and Vianne, vacations on Block Island, is vegan, never has proper or stylish outerwear, fears frogs and toads but loves turtles, has really skinny legs, personal Style- Bohemian Chic, wants to own a VW van,  grew up on a cranberry farm and is happiest when snorkeling is happiest when sipping a rum punch under a palm tree.




Here at PPA, we're devoted to always helping you be more as a professional photographer. With that in mind, here are 10 photography blogs from the week of January 26, 2014 that we think will help inspire and educate you. 

Skip Cohen University examines the relationship between gear and your work. Just because you have great gear it doesn't necessarily translate to great images, and in this post Skip provides tips for when and why you should consider buying new gear. >>

A great post for anyone who recently turned pro. New pro Rob Hackett shares with Digital Photography School the lessons he learned his first year as a full-time photographer. >>

It looks like the iPhone camera may be soon be getting an upgrade. PetaPixel breaks the news on Apple's patent for removable iPhone camera lenses, complete with proposed designs. It's an interesting bit of news for any photographer! >>

Here's a post sure to generate some discussion! Brandsmash compiles a list of the 30 most influential wedding and portrait photographers, including a few PPA members! What do you think of their choices? >>

Photographer Trevor Daley shares an insightful piece on looking after your health when you are on the road photographing weddings in this post for Fstoppers. >>

DIY Photography discusses the importance of being able to capture an image with the correct exposure in-camera and not always relying on Photoshop fixes in post-processing. They also share some tips for capturing the correct exposure. >>

If you've ever wondered about when to use Black & White for an image, you'll want to check out this quick, easy tip from PhotoFocus. >>

Looking for easy posing ideas for newborn photography? This post from Photography Concentrate provides some quick and easy poses you can set up using a newborn and their parents! >>

If you've ever been curious about the inner-workings of your camera, this is a fun post. LensRentals deconstructs a Sony A7R for PetaPixel and points out the various features. It's certainly a new way to look at a camera! >>

This video from SmugMugFilms covers Jessica Ambats, an air-to-air photographer (meaning she takes photos of planes from planes) and instrument-rated pilot based in Santa Monica. It's a unique, exciting brand of photography as you'll see in the video. >>

There you have it, our favorite blog posts of the week! Don't forget that you can share your own blog posts, or others that you have enjoyed, on theLoop. 

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2014 is the previous archive.

March 2014 is the next archive.

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

Live Chat is closed