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PPA Today: August 2015 Archives

August 2015 Archives

By Sarah Ackerman

Fall is right around the corner! You can just feel it! We hope you had a productive, profitable summer. To gear up for next month, check out these top conversations on theLoop! You never know what you might learn, or who your advice could help!

What are the technical caveats between the two final formats? Help this PPA photographer discover which is the best for their needs and possibly pick up some pointers for yourself! 

We've definitely heard of this struggle before! You offer a wide variety of photography products and services, so is one website going to serve all of your clients? Weigh in on the pros and cons of multiple sites in this awesome discussion!

This is a great question for all photographers: how do you sell mounted prints to your clients? How do you edit your photographs accordingly? This is a great thread that everyone can learn from!

As a sports photographer, vinyl banners can very easily come with the territory. Do you have a favorite vendor to work with? How have you handled banners in the past? Weigh in here!

Lighting a classic car can be a tricky situation. One PPA member has been asked to tackle such a project! How would you accomplish the look the client has requested? 

We love gear discussions! Do you have a favorite on-camera flash modifier or are you in the market for one? This is a great conversation to get some peer to peer advice!

Looking for a lab with competitive pricing can be a daunting process. Help this sports photographer find a lab to work with her little league client and offer advice on how to run stations same day. 

We always love it when photographers give back! How would you run mini sessions with proceeds going to a cause? If you have experience with this or want to do something similar, this is a great thread to review and contribute to! 

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

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Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarahs in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.

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By Aleighia Rouse 

Good golly Mr. and Ms. Molly's! August has approached its end! Where did all of the time go? We are hopeful that you spent your time doing exciting things for your amazing businesses and learning a little bit more in the process.  Here is a little something to add to that list, our top ten blog posts of the week, just for you! 

BOOKING: As school revs up in full motion, it can be hard to get your senior student clients booked on the calendar. It's not very easy to bring summer beach weather to Oklahoma autumn weather. See PPAedu instructor Jen Basford's, Cr.Photog., tips to get those students photos done well.  

CREATIVITY:  Feeling uninspired? Maybe it is the creative energy you have surrounding you! Read FStoppers as they explain why it is important to have a creative collective around you when you are an artist. 

REFERENCES: This is for all our landscape photographers out there. We know your job isn't just taking pictures of random objects and infrastructures; it is much bigger than that. It's nice to have some people that understand that struggle.  Read Robert Rodriguez Jr.'s talk about who his influencers are in the field of landscape photography. 

INFORMATION: Imaging USA is right around the corner and I know you are excited, holding your tickets in hand.  Another important feature to this convention is the awesome pre-convention classes we offer. Though an extra fee, they are worth the intimate learning experience. 

PETS:  Pet photography can be an intense experience, especially when Spot decides to be more concerned with using the backdrop as a chew toy then sitting in front of the camera.  Check out these tips from PPA photographers to helping get the best images out of man and woman's best friend. 

CONSIDER: As a professional photographer you have to be able to make anything possible and being that every subject is different, this can be a very hard job. This post from PetaPixel highlights this difficulty. Read about photographer Rick Guidotti work photographing people with genetic conditions. 

WILDLIFE:  Thrills, chills, and beauty can all be found in wildlife photography. There are some things that must be known ahead of time before you end up in the middle of the woods with your camera.  See these tips from Digital Photography School! 

SOCIAL: Have you considered expanding your company into the realm of blogs? If you don't believe us check out this post from Digital Camera World for reasons why you should! 

BE DIFFERENT:  Photography can sometimes become difficult especially when you don't want to look just like the next professional in the field. See these easy tips on how to stand out in the wonderful world of professional photography. 

EQUIPMENT. It can be difficult and expensive to keep up with the latest in new features and camera gear.  Here are some tips on how to save money and make the best out of what you already have. 
 


Aleighia Rouse is known by her happy personality and bubbly voice. With over 6 years of the film and photography experience, Aleighia can relate to most of the issues that come along with being a photographer. A graduating senior at Spelman College and our Marketing and Communications intern, Aleighia aspires to hold a position just like the amazing people she works around.  

By Chris Homer

Imaging USA 2016 in Atlanta is rapidly approaching. As you make preparations for the convention, consider signing up for a pre-convention class to increase your photographic education opportunities!
 
While Imaging USA has a whole host of classes included with your full-access registration covering topics that all photographers can learn from during the convention from January 10-12, there are also additional classes occurring from January 7-9. These pre-convention classes require an additional fee, but the class sizes are limited to smaller groups, meaning you'll get more one-on-one attention from the instructor! 

Pre-convention classes range from multiple day workshops, like PPA's Business Workshop or the Certification Preparation Class, to full day classes on topics like using Lightroom, learning Corel Painter, getting your images ready for the International Photographic Competition, and more! 

Plus, there's also Hands-On pre-convention classes, where you'll go out on a photo shoot with the instructor and practice the skills you are taught with your camera! These classes are shorter, so you can attend multiple classes during the day and get all the hands-on practice you want.
 
Find the complete list of pre-convention classes on the Programs By Day page on imagingusa.org. Make the most of your educational opportunities at Imaging USA and sign up for one today!

Visit imagingusa.org for more information on registering, hotels, travel and more. 


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About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.


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If you've ever tried to photograph pets in a portrait session, you understand they can be a little difficult to control. We took the topic of pet photography to theLoop to get some tips to get you started - and this is what we found:

  • Wear comfortable clothes and get down on the ground at pet level. Avoid a bunch of photos of the top of dog heads. Number two - be patient. Patrick Grannan
  • For dogs, it's all about their comfort. They love to perform and interact with their owners. Watch and wait and you will see certain behaviors and expressions. They are easy enough to capture when they happen if you can predict the moment. Eugene Lugo
  • Don't even think about doing pets until you love animals - they will feed off your discomfort and the distrust will be evident in your images. You need to connect. Eugene Lugo
  • The main thing when working with pets is patience! No matter how well behaved, they don't understand photography. By staying with it and working with the pet you'll always come out with some great images. However, their attention span is only so long.(I've had models like that). Keith Ibsen
  • Cats are all about comfort - but the older ones are wary and quite self-aware and are more difficult because the body language is far more subtle. Regardless, if you watch and wait, you'll see what you're looking for. Kittens are easier in some respects, but you need to be fast on your feet. Eugene Lugo
  • Don't let the owner become frustrated or anxious, the animal will know. Also, photograph the dogs with their people. A lot of dog photographers don't do that and it is missed revenue. Margaret Bryant, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
  • Limit the number of people you have trying to get the pet to perk up and pay attention... the fewer distractions, the more apt the cat or dog will key on you/the camera. Let cats sniff you first. You don't want the "airplane ears" look of distrust. Frederick Dunn

It's always good to know that even with the best intentions, sometimes things go awry. Here are two great stories from Margaret and Frederick on interesting pet photo sessions!

"I was having a devil of a time getting a dog to look at me. He wasn't scared, just not interested. Noises didn't get him interested and all of my other tricks didn't work either. However, the dog was crazy about a laser pointer. But a dog chasing a laser pointer is looking at the ground not at me. So I put on a hat and put a piece of 8.5x11 card stock standing up in the brim, kind of like the badge on the front of a fireman's helmet.  I had my animal assistant get the dog's attention with the laser pointer and slowly move the red dot from the floor up to the white card stock above my face. The dog's eyes followed the red dot. It got the dog to look at me and I got the shot. Necessity really is the mother of invention!" Margaret Bryant

"Many years ago, I was asked to photograph a grand national champion Paso Fino, circa 1988. I had an auto film advance on my camera. The stallion was groomed to the hilt and we were shooting in a corral surrounded by six foot high wooden fencing. I was asked by the owner Mr. Diaz if I were at all afraid of horses. I assured him I was not. All of the handlers gathered on the fence while I went out and stood in the middle of the corral with my camera ready. They long reigned "Bueno" to the entry and took off the tack so he could run and show off. We were in the golden hour, so the sunlight would rake across this incredible horse. Bueno ran past me at a trot, I snapped away, at the far end, he turned and showed the whites of his eyes while he sniffed and did a snort. 
The Paso Fino breed has a long wild looking mane and equally dramatic long tail. This all added to the drama of his turns. Then, he dead on charged me. I mean, hammering the dirt, pounding, digging, angry all in charge. I stood perfectly still and continued to shoot, he cut out at the last moment, kicking dirt up, again, adding drama to my photos. This charging occurred three more times and they finally let him out. The grooms all looked at me as if I had a death wish. "Fred, no one gets in the corral with Bueno like that. No one ever!" It was interesting that they hadn't explained that first. Mr. Diaz was very pleased with the results and also commissioned an oil painting for his trophy room. That's my pet story." Frederick Dunn

Have any great pet photography tips or stories? Share them on theLoop! Remember, theLoop is PPA's safe and secure online community where members can discuss various photography topics! Not part of PPA? Be More Connected: join today!

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Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarahs in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.


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Editor's Note: Renowned Photographer Anne Geddes AnneGeddes_headshot1.jpg

We are very excited to share with you that PPA has teamed up with world-renowned photographer and PPA lifetime member Anne Geddes. Anne is adding her voice to PPA's See The Difference campaigns and will help all of us showcase the value of professional photography to prospects and clients. 
Over this last decade, point-and-shoot high-end technology and other forms of non-professional photography have muddied our industry, lowering the bar and the mass' perception of what is acceptable in terms of quality and professional service.

At PPA we have been working on developing the See The Difference campaign to (1) provide PPA photographers with sales tools and arguments to stand out from the ocean of photographers, and (2) to get consumers to grasp the difference and worth professional photographers make and why the investment should be a no brainer. 

Who's Anne Geddes?

"Only" one of the most famous child and newborn photographers ever! Her career highlights include an Oprah-featured coffee table book "Down in the Garden" that rose to become a New York Times Best Seller, a series of greeting cards sold internationally, a best-selling annual calendar now in the 25th continuous edition, and an extensive, acclaimed photography series and collection of books featuring third-world children facing extreme health problems and needs as part of her various roles as a global ambassador, advocate and volunteer for the United Nations and March of Dimes. 

Anne sent over the short blog post below, reflecting on her career and sharing her excitement to now  being even more involved with PPA.

How PPA (And Others) Helped Shape My Career and Can Help Shape Yours
By Anne Geddes

Many of you might not know this, but I didn't pick up a camera until I was 25 years old. I grew up in the far north of Australia and in the small country schools I attended there were no photography courses. But I've always loved the concept of being able to capture forever, a single moment in time (isn't that why we're all photographers?) and I was particularly drawn to images of people. 

In my teens and early 20s I subscribed to Life magazine when it was in its heyday, and marveled at the way complete stories could be told purely with the use of imagery. I began my career as many others do, photographing families (and in particular, children) on location in their homes and gardens, but it wasn't until I first walked in to a photographic studio that my personal style began to take shape. My 10 years of private portrait commissions were invaluable, as by trial and error, I gradually learned how differently children react at various ages. 
Can you believe August is half over?! Where has our summer gone? We hope you've spent yours doing good things, building your business and learning new tips and tricks. To add to that list, here's our top ten blog posts of the week for you!

MOTIVATION: Put an end to being green with envy and put into action a plan that will get you there. Whether it's your perfect session, returning clients or just more revenue, you can do it if you take the first step. See how Rachel Brenke of theLawTog makes it happen.

CONTENT IS KING: High school photographers know more than anyone how important it is to keep active on social media. The problem is, all of that activity can take up a lot of your time. See how you can repurpose that great content with this blog by Nancy Nardi from Seniors Ignite. 

LIGHTING: Many photographers preach the joys of soft lighting, but there's a case to be made for hard light. Join Chris Gampat on an exploration of hard light and the benefits your images will see by using it. 

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS: The contract is signed, the deposit is in, and now your client is making extra demands. Everyone can use a refresher on how to say "no" effectively (and politely). Here's a video from Imaging Resource and Ted Forbes from the Art of Photography that provides an excellent guide on how to say no, but keep your clients happy!

PERSPECTIVE: It's always a goal of a landscape photographer to showcase the expansive space they are trying to capture, but how do you do that effectively? Read this great article from Spencer Cox on Photography Life and discover the six ways to showcase the size and scope of your subjects.

MARKETING 101: Being able to reach your target consumer in an easy and effective manner is extremely important. The fine folks at FStoppers are here to give you three ways to better target your marketing materials to your ideal consumer in this must-read blog post.  

PLANNING: If you've got your eyes set on a great trip to Atlanta in January, you might want to book your hotel sooner than later. Atlanta is a busy convention destination, especially in the winter months and room prices outside of the Imaging USA block can get pricey! Find a roommate and grab a room at one of the four official convention hotels today!

PODCAST: Booray Perry, Cr.Photog., CPP & Gary Hughes, M.Photog.Cr., are back for Photobomb! They talk about all things IPC related, and chat it up with PPAedu and Imaging USA speaker Jen HIlenga, M.Photog.Cr.! This podcast is full of shenanigans and photography, so if you need an entertaining podcast for the car, check them out. 

SHIFT PERSPECTIVE: This is a great article that puts this paradox into perspective: it's not because millions of photos are taken each day that professional photography is declining. It's about the younger generation's thirst to create a proof of our presence on this planet. Take a moment and see what you think about the author's perspective from PhotoShelter.

See How the Indemnification Trust Helped This PPA Photographer
MALPRACTICE PROTECTION: The Indemnification Trust is a mouthful, but it can save your business. Learn what the Trust provides in this video to see where Abbie, a PPA photographer, explains how she was affected and how she was able to get out of a sticky situation. 

There you have it, our favorite posts of the week! What photography blogs or podcasts do you follow? Post your favorites on theLoop or email them to us at OnlineContentCommittee (at) PPA (dot) com.

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Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarahs in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.

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By John Owens

What's PPA's Indemnification Trust, you ask? It's a legal safety blanket provided by PPA to help PPA photographers if they are ever accused of malpractice. The "Trust" has your back in instances such as equipment malfunction, an error or unsatisfied clients (like the infamous Bridezilla), and even data loss.

Want proof? Take a few minutes to watch Abbie's true story and learn how the Trust came to her rescue. This is one of these PPA benefits that you never really pay attention to... until you really need it. 

 

Have you ever been in a similar situation or one where you think the Indemnification Trust could have bailed you out of expensive fees? 

Go to PPA.com/Protection to learn the step-by-step process to file a claim . Being aware of this benefit and knowing what to do will help you Be More Prepared and Be More Protected. Not to mention that it will save you a lot of hair pulling if one day Murphy's Law strikes at your door.

What if you are not a PPA photographer? Consider joining PPA, because having this benefit alone could save your entire business. Plus, you'll get many other membership benefits. There is so much value in  being a part of the world's largest photography association. Take a peek

PPA has your back! Be More Protected.

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John Owens is PPA's resident wordsmith. Know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? That's where he comes in. The Connecticut transplant and (still) avid Hartford Whalers fan is an aspiring adventurist/novelist/racer on a lifelong quest to find the best trails, brews and burger. 


By Sarah Ackerman

Although the 2015 International Photographic Competition (IPC) has wrapped, it's never too early to get a jump on next year's images!

If you entered this year's competition and requested a critique, this is a sample of what you'll see! Here is the critique of Erik Vicino's image "Plastic Feelings" by Richard Avalos, M.Photog.Cr., CPP. This image merited, but was not accepted into the General or Loan Collections. In this video you'll find out what held this image back. Check it out to see if any of the changes could be applied to your next entry at District Competitions next year.



Hopefully seeing this critique will help you better understand what the IPC Judges are looking for next year! If you ordered a critique from this year's IPC, log on to see your very own on PPA.com under the My PPA section. Results for all of the International Photographic Competition can be found here. Dates for the 2016 competition schedule will be released shortly!


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Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarahs in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.


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By Sarah Ackerman

If you've heard us say it once, you've heard us say it a thousand times: the Benchmark Survey is a great tool to help your business. Still leery of the results? Take a few minutes and watch fellow pros like you discuss what parts of the Benchmark helped them increase their profit margins up to 40%! 



Motivated to make the change? Explore all of the Benchmark resources available to you as a PPA photographer. Check out Square One to set annual goals for sales per sessions to make your marks. And remember to read the detailed analysis of the Benchmark Business Guide to explore the path you need to take to boost your take home income and grow your business to where you want it to be. All these resources are here to help you Be More Profitable. 

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Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarahs in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.

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By Sarah Ackerman

Save yourself the trouble of searching for a good rate - PPA has already done the work and negotiated discounted rates for you during Imaging USA! And there is a variety of options to suit everyone's needs. 

Omni Hotel at CNN Center

Stay attached to the action! Luxurious comfort embraces pure style at the elegant, four-diamond Omni Hotel at CNN Center with views of the spectacular downtown skyline. Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, this hotel is also connected to the Georgia World Congress Center (Imaging USA's home!) by an enclosed walkway, making it the most convenient and incredibly comfortable option; we should add that it's connected to the CNN Center with its large food court and major Atlanta attractions are within a short walking distance. 

Hyatt Regency Atlanta Hotel

The Hyatt Regency is a landmark destination on Peachtree Street in Atlanta. In 2011, the hotel completed a $65 million transformation that renewed its look and feel, but also its dining experience, technology and functionality. Some of the amenities include complimentary internet in guest rooms! The Hyatt Regency is also located within blocks of many downtown restaurants and attractions and Atlanta's metro, MARTA. 

Bonus: while the Hyatt is an easy walk from Imaging USA, as January isn't the warmest month in Atlanta, there will be a courtesy shuttle bus provided to the Georgia World Congress Center for Imaging USA guests!

Holiday Inn Express Atlanta Downtown

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Atlanta Downtown is a 173 guest room property conveniently located within walking distance to Atlanta's best attractions and just blocks from the Georgia World Congress Center. Holiday Inn offers a complimentary full hot breakfast, wireless internet, local calls, and all rooms are equipped with microwave, mini fridge and coffee maker. There also is a business center and fitness center for your personal use at no charge! 

The Glenn Hotel, a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel

Located in Atlanta's Downtown business district, and extremely walkable to the Georgia World Congress Center, the Glenn is an urban boutique hotel. You'll feel fancy schmancy as you stay in this reasonably priced hotel (thank you Imaging USA discounts!) Rooms include complimentary wireless internet access, ample working space and a warm ambiance, business center usage, fitness center, bottled water and coffee each morning. Plus since it's a part of the Marriott family, you can earn points or use them towards your stay.

As you're preparing for your trip, we also wanted to bring to your attention a few scams we've heard about as of late. It has been brought to our attention that there are multiple third parties claiming to represent Imaging USA and offering Exhibitors and Attendees alike "assistance" with hotel bookings. These third parties are aggressively cold-calling and spamming companies whose names appear on ImagingUSA.org. Please be aware, these third parties are not in any way affiliated with Imaging USA and do not give you the best discount, like Imaging USA gets you. Please book your hotel using the links/phone number provided at ImagingUSA.org/Travel/Hotel. PPA is working through the proper channels to put an end to this poaching and apologizes for their deceptive behavior. Here are some of the scams we've heard about that you should be aware of. ImagingUSA.org/Scams.

Visit ImagingUSA.org to book your hotel and register for the conference. We can't wait to see you in Atlanta!

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Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarahs in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.

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By John Owens


There's a bajillion reasons to go to Imaging USA, but how about a little bonus inspiration?! Renowned motivational speaker and Paralympian Amy Purdy is coming and will give a keynote presentation Sunday morning at 10am. If you haven't already, make sure you register now because you won't want to miss this life-changing session!

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Who's Amy? Amy Purdy is known for overcoming the loss of her legs at age 19 to become a Paralympic bronze medalist in snowboarding. Purdy's spirit and attitude led her to become a New York Times best-selling author, model, TED Talks speaker, and even landed her on the screen with roles in independent film and as a contestant on TV shows like ABC's Dancing with the Stars and CBS' The Amazing Race. While doing all this, she also found time to co-found Adaptive Action Sports, a nonprofit organization which helps those with permanent disabilities to get involved in action sports; and to top it all, she is getting ready to release a clothing line in spring 2016.

Because Amy's program is truly a game changer, no other programs will conflict with her address. Check out her under 10-minute Ted Talk for a preview on what's to come!

Imaging USA 2016 will be held January 10 to 12 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. More than 10,000 professional photographers will spend over three days of everything photography from education to inspiration as well as some photographers-only shopping opportunities.

Imaging USA has also blocked rooms at several nearby hotels for attendees to take advantage of the reduced pricing. This is a coup in itself, because there is another convention downtown Atlanta at the same time as Imaging USA, which is causing local hotel prices to sky-rocket.

There are many different ways to experience Imaging USA, including but not limited to the full conference, a full conference plus pre-conference courses option, parties only, and tradeshow only.

Visit ImagingUSA.org for complete registration information and pricing options. And keep checking back for updates on speakers, classes and event schedules. Each year, Imaging USA helps photographers Be More Inspired, Be More Motivated, Be More Creative and Be More Connected. Consider joining the experience and kick off 2016 right. We hope to see you there!

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John Owens is PPA's resident wordsmith. Know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? That's where he comes in. The Connecticut transplant and (still) avid Hartford Whalers fan is an aspiring adventurist/novelist/racer on a lifelong quest to find the best trails, brews and burger. 

By Chris Homer

Another Friday, another roundup! Check out our favorite posts from around the web below.
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IPC: The 2015 International Photographic Competition was held last week and results are available now! Congrats to all the photographers who had images selected to be part of the loan collection or earn merits. If you're one of the photographers whose images didn't merit or go loan, check out this post on PPA photographer Christine Walsh-Newton, M.Photog.Cr., CPP,'s Wootness blog. It deals with not getting discouraged by your results and why you should keep entering!

TAXES: As a photographer, there's a good chance you're an expert at making images, not at tax law. That's where this post from PhotoShelter can help out. It covers seven pitfalls that photographers need to be aware of when it comes to taxes.  

INSPIRATON: This entry from Huffington Post shares some great wedding imagery that may inspire you along with the stories behind the photographs. Besides showing some great images, the post is also a good reminder of the importance of hiring a professional photographer, and that's what PPA's See The Difference campaign is all about. PPA photographer and Imaging USA instructor Ross Oscar Knight has an image featured too!

ADVICE:  Photographers know it's important to always keep learning the latest photography techniques. This list from Improve Photography has many tips that may seem basic, but are still important none the less! Take a look and see if there's anything that can help you improve.

TUTORIAL: Do you shoot photographs in black and white? Whether you already do or want to start, this post from Digital Photography School has five quick tips for getting the most expression out of black and white images.

BUSINESS/MARKETING: A great way to market your photography business is by building partnerships with other local businesses. This guide from The Lawtog covers the advantages of forming a partnership with another business, how to propose a partnership, and other points to be aware of if you decide to do it!

7. Pricing and Negotiating: Splitting the Cost of an Architectural Shoot
SALES/CONTRACTS:  
If you shoot commercial architectural photography, this post from A Photo Editor will be worth the read. It covers an actual bid a commercial photographer received to photograph a city park where the photographer's fee would be split among four different parties. You'll learn how to write a contract to cover what can become a tricky situation!

WORKFLOW: Do you use a Wacom Tablet for retouching in Photoshop? If you don't use one, it can seem daunting to try it out, but it does have some advantages for retouching work. This post from Fstoppers explains how to use a Wacom tablet for retouching in Photoshop and why you might want to consider using one.

INSPIRATION: Here's a thought provoking post from The Phoblographer. The most recent winner of National Geographic's Traveler Photo Contest is a professional photographer that captured an impressive underwater image using a Sony point-and-shoot. This post dives into why a professional photographer can create a great image, even while using a less professional camera! It's another good reminder that professional photographers have skills that amateurs don't. PPA's See The Difference campaign is all about educating the public on just that!

PERSONAL GROWTH: Often what separates one photographer from another is the sense of style they bring to a photograph. However, developing a style doesn't happen overnight! This post from Luminous Landscape explains the steps photographers go through when developing a style, as well as what you can do to help define your own style.

There you have it, our favorite posts of the week! What photography blogs or podcasts do you follow? Post your favorites on theLoop or email them to us at OnlineContentCommittee (at) PPA (dot) com.


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About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.


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By Rachel Noto

When I first stepped off the bus onto the Gwinnett Technical College campus for my first look at the International Photographic Competition, I wasn't sure what to expect when I walk through the double doors and into the building itself.

I'd spent the past two months or so writing blog posts and tweets encouraging members to submit their images and tune in to watch the judging and IPC Live, but for all of that I was admittedly a little clueless. I had all of the benefits of entering the competition down, could recite five reasons why photographers should request a critique along with their images in my sleep, but even then, it's hard to compare the things I knew through research to what would actually happen in real life. 

Would I be greeted by a large room of picky, snobby people harshly pulling apart each piece? A bored, overworked group of judges glassy-eyed after watching the thousandth image go by? An excitable crowd watching as each image is presented, screaming uproariously when one goes loan?

The answer is none of the above. We are first shepherded in to the break room to be given a pep talk by the chairman of the Photographic Exhibition Committee, Randy McNeilly, M.Photog.MEI.Cr., CPP, API, F-ASP, the man in charge of it all. It's clear that he takes his duty very seriously; his praise for the competition is unending, and he endeavors to impress upon the whole staff exactly how important the IPC is. "I think the skills our membership learns in this competition are essential for the future of this profession," he remarked, obviously genuinely invested in the competition itself. After over twenty-five years of involvement with the IPC, he has a keen understanding and insight into the effects the competition has on the people who enter and, in a greater sense, the climate of the photographic industry as a whole. With years of involvement judging art competitions, his praise comes with the weight of experience and maturity. 

After the short welcome speech, we're set free to roam the campus, eagerly peeking into every room with an IPC sign on the door. I go first into the print judging room, and instead of a large crowd of people hovering over an image, I find a small setup of six judges huddled together maybe five feet from the canvas, and a seventh to the side, announcing the verdict on each piece. There are maybe an additional ten people either observing the process or setting up the prints to be presented in the correct order. All of the images going by had already merited in the days before, so the judging today is solely for admission into the loan collection.

It's a fairly small, quiet affair, but the air in all of the judging room is tense, almost reverent. It is immediately clear that they all take this very seriously, with a full understanding of the weight their decision on each piece holds. It isn't just a "yes" or a "no"; behind each image is a photographer wringing their hands behind a computer screen, hoping to hear the phrase "accepted into Loan." Any time an image goes loan, the mood in the room lifts a little. Sometimes there are little happy cheers from the judges, clearly pleased for the photographer who would be receiving good news.  

The true measure of the judges' commitment to their duty, though, comes whenever a challenge arises. When a judge disagrees with a verdict, everything halts and a series of arguments and rebuttals follows, everyone comparing the elements they like about a piece and the things they find to be missing. It's always passionate, and gives the best insight into what goes on in a judge's mind as the seemingly endless stream of images and silent voting slides by. They obviously see things that I am completely blind to, skillfully pointing out specific lighting techniques that the photographer must have used and spouting complicated jargon that sails right over my head. After everyone has shared their opinion, they re-vote and a decision is reached. 

"The judges are a team working to give the right score," explained Gary Hughes, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, trying to convey the dynamics of the small groups huddled in the dark rooms. "When judges issue challenges on images, it's easy to assume that things can get contentious, but in my experience, the atmosphere of the room tends to be more collaborative than argumentative. Judges defer to the knowledge of their peers when they have less expertise in an area, and I've seen an image that only received three Loan votes change to a unanimous vote after a round of debate." 

Challenges seem to last as long as they need to, as long as the judges have something to say about the piece, which means a lot when there are hundreds of images going by each session.

When the judges finally break for a short reprieve from the constant stream of images, I slip out of the room and into the one I'd heard the most about, the broadcast room for IPC Live, a live stream where Booray Perry discusses the IPC and interviews judges and staff, hoping to provide insight into the mindset of the judges for people watching at home.  

The interviewees at the moment are Linda Long, Cr.Photog., CPP, and Gary Hughes, M.Photog.Cr., CPP. Both Long and Hughes are taking the Judges Workshop so they can become judges for future competitions, and through the levity, there are moments of seriousness that reveal the esteem in which they hold the competition. "I was given so much by the masters that taught me, so I decided to give back," Long replied earnestly when asked why she had decided to take the Judges Workshop in the first place. 

I'm struck in that moment by the depth of dedication and drive exhibited not just by Long, but every person I've met here today. They all wholeheartedly agree with chairman McNeilly when it comes to the importance of this competition, and not just for the people who have entered in it this year, but for generations of photographers to come and the future of the photographic industry itself. This conviction isn't just for the camera, either; every judge I manage to talk to on one of their breaks or during lunchtime is equally passionate about the competition, weary though they are from sitting in dark rooms all day judging photograph after photograph. Their enthusiasm is truly a testament to their faith in the significance of the IPC and its ability to take photographers' work to a higher level and to inspire them to Be More.

Rachel Noto is one of the summer interns wandering around the labyrinthine offices of PPA, enthusiastically taking pictures of her cat, and occasionally getting a little writing and design done. An Atlanta native, she's learned to embrace the feeling of getting lost every now and then, though she now spends most of the year in the gridded city of Savannah, Georgia, where she attends the Savannah College of Art and Design. She has a passion for food, cute animals, and communication in all of its forms.

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The process of getting paid shouldn't pull ridiculous amounts of money out of your pocket.

PPA photographers can take advantage of a member benefit to save on credit card processing fees. PPA has negotiated deeply discounted processing rates through Bank of America Merchant Services. Watch the quick (<one minute) video below and visit ppa.com/BAMS to learn more so you can Be More Business-Savvy.  

By Chris Homer

Last week, PPA's jurors judged 5,190 images during the International Photographic Competition. The results from the judging are available for you to view now

Thanks to everyone who entered, and a big congratulations to those of you that had images earn merits towards your PPA degree or earn a spot in the prestigious loan collection, which will be on display at the International Photographic Exhibit at Imaging USA in Atlanta January 10-12, 2016. Of the 5,190 entries, only 1,085 (21%) became part of the loan collection, so this is a huge accomplishment! 

We also hope you enjoyed the live streaming of the judging and IPC Live. And for you 895 folks that tuned into the live stream and didn't enter the competition, we hope that seeing how the process works has inspired you to enter the 2016 competition. It's never too early to start preparing, so visit the IPC section of PPA.com to find a host of resources to help you succeed in the competition. 

Once again, congratulations to those photographers who earned merits or had images selected to be part of the loan collection. Get the full list of results now.


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About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.


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By John Owens

Welcome to a special International Photographic Competition (IPC) edition of our weekly photography blog round-up! Hopefully many of you tuned in to watch the IPC judging and the brand-new #IPCLive broadcast. Congratulations to those who earned merits or entered the prestigious Loan Collection! The results are online now! A full post dissecting the stats will come Monday.

It was great to see all the conversations and posts on the web from the event. A few of our favorites are below.

My Images Haven Been Judged, Now What?

Certified competition lover Christine Walsh-Newton , M.Photog.Cr., CPP, is here with some advice on what to do now that the competition is over. Mainly, don't post your images to social media (yet)! Read the blog to see what else you should be doing.

12 Elements Podcast: Print Competition 101

Host Mark Oehler drops the print comp 101 in this podcast dedicated to IPC! How cool is that?! If you have more time, the whole series is great for further background info, with interviews with some of the most successful competitors in recent years.

 

And with that let's let "Dancing" Jennifer Fermaint, CPP kick off our social round-up with a hilarious video post!

Need some photography education to tide you over until Imaging USA 2016? Good news - PPA's Super 1 Day workshops are back this October 5-19!

What's Super 1 Day?
It's two weeks of live, hands-on peer-to-peer education held at various studios across North America. The day-long workshops cover a variety of topics, from business strategies to lighting to workflow to posing techniques. Studios nationwide (and beyond!) are opening their doors to photographers of all skill levels. It's a great opportunity to learn and network in intimate, local settings. 

What sorts of classes are offered?
All different kinds! The workshops are made for photographers, by photographers, and 174 classes will be offered in all, so you'll be sure to find a class that fits your needs. The majority of these classes take place across the continental United States, but there are international classes in Canada and Mexico this fall. 

What might I take away from these classes?
Strengthen your business with new pricing and marketing strategies
Master new lighting setups and equipment
Pick up a new niche or improve the one you have - whether you work with seniors, children, boudoir, pets & more
Improve your workflow by discovering new Photoshop and Lightroom techniques
Get prepared for your CPP Exam and Image Submission 

Register online before September 29 to get the early bird price of $99. Beginning September 30 registration will only be available onsite, at a cost of $120 per class.

This is photography education for all - you don't have to be a member, but PPA photographers receive one service merit for each class they attend.
Register today and Be More Business-Savvy!

By Rachel Noto

Tomorrow is the last day of IPC judging, and you can still catch the last days of the judging live stream online and for free at Stream.theIPC.org through 6:00 pm today, and from 8:15 am to 6 pm tomorrow, Eastern Standard Time. Also make sure to tune in to IPC Live, a live webcast featuring interviews and Q & A's with the judges, hosted by Booray Perry, Cr.Photog., CPP.

If you haven't been watching the stream, here's a preview of what the judges will be taking into consideration as they judge images. In this video, IPC judge Larry Lourcey, M.Photog.Cr., CPP critiques the piece "Empowered" by Samuel Tarrel, CPP. This image was merited and accepted into PPA's Loan Collection, so there is plenty to learn from his work! 



Want more on IPC? Look at past critiques and head over to Stream.theIPC.org so you can tune in both today and tomorrow. We hope that both this critique and watching the judging and the IPC Live broadcast will inspire you to learn from the juror's comments and work toward creating competition-level images daily! You'll even be able to send in your questions through Twitter by using the hashtag #IPCLive.

Rachel Noto is one of the summer interns wandering around the labyrinthine offices of PPA, enthusiastically taking pictures of her cat, and occasionally getting a little writing and design done. An Atlanta native, she's learned to embrace the feeling of getting lost every now and then, though she now spends most of the year in the gridded city of Savannah, Georgia, where she attends the Savannah College of Art and Design. She has a passion for food, cute animals, and communication in all of its forms.

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By Chris Homer

Each month, one PPAedu video is unlocked for anyone to watch (not just PPA members!), because PPA believes in the power of education for all. This is one video from PPAedu's library of 300+ tutorials on photography techniques and business best practices available 24/7 with a PPA membership. And with the recent addition of PhotoVision videos, there are even more courses (a total of 1,100!) for PPA photographers to watch on demand at no extra cost. 

This August's unlocked video will be a great help to any photographer looking to improve their posing of high school senior boys. When it comes to a senior photo shoot, it can be a real challenge pleasing both the senior and his parents, as often what they are looking for in their portrait is quite different. This unlocked video is sure to help you figure out poses that will create awesome portraits that will be enjoyed by everyone!

In "Posing Seniors: Getting the Right Look for Boys," Bry Cox, M.Photog.Cr, CPP, shares his posing advice with you through demonstrations with live models. From what poses to use, to how to use props successfully, you'll get a great overview on posing that you can use to create better portraits.
 
If you are already with PPA, log in to watch the video. Non-members can access this video at no cost throughout August at PPA.com/TryEdu. If you want full access to all the PPAedu and PhotoVision on-demand video programming, join PPA now!


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About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.


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