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PPA Today: February 2017 Archives

February 2017 Archives

The results are in for the Southeast District Photographic Competition! Congratulations to all who merited!

View the results here

Want to improve as a photographer and gain feedback on your work? There's still time to register for the other districts...learn more now!

Happy Friday! It's time to enjoy our weekly roundup of photography blogs from around the
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 web. Take a look - you never know what you might find that could help your photography and business!

FILM TUTORIAL: Are you interested in shooting and developing photos using black and white film? This post from PetaPixel has some great tips for how to get the best results!

GEAR: Many photographers use a ball head mount on their tripod, but have you ever considered using a fluid head? This video from photographer Hudson Henry explains the advantages a fluid head can have for your photography. 

TUTORIAL: Educator Jimmy McIntyre demonstrates a nifty trick for photographers looking to get a greater dynamic range in a photo: blend 3 bracketed exposures of the same scene using Photoshop. 

RETOUCHING: Whether you've been in the photography game for a while, or are just starting out, this post from Fstoppers shares some good topics you should have a firm grasp of to improve your retouching of photos. 

INSPIRATION: If you're looking for some inspiration, this post from Fstoppers is a great read. You'll see how photographer Nicky Hamilton built his own sets, by hand, for a cinematic photography project. 
The 2017 World Photographic Cup winners were announced on February 23rd at the WPC 2017 PHOTO SHOW at the Grand Intercontinental Hotel in Yokohama, Japan. 

The winner of the 2017 World Photographic Cup, with a total of 34 points and for the second year in a Team Portugal! Portugal is now beginning a "streak" unless someone else takes the cup in 2018!

The second place went to the United States of America.

Russia took third.
Individual gold medals went to Russia, Finland, Mexico, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and Singapore.

The World Photographic Cup (WPC) was organized in cooperation with the Professional Photographers of Japan Association (PPJ) and is sponsored by the Federation of European Professional Photographers (FEP), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), the United Asian Professional Photography (UAPP) and the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP).

26 national photographic teams entered the fourth edition of the Olympics-styled competition, from Europe, the Middle East, Asia, North America and Oceania.

The Golden medals in the six categories went to:
  • Dušan Holovej, Slovakia, for Commercial category.
  • Antti Karppinen, Finland, for Illustrative category.
  • Pepe Soho, Mexico, for Nature (Landscape and wildlife).
  • Eelena Malysheva, Russia, for Portrait category
  • Goh Wee Seng, Singapore, for Reportage/Photo Journalism.
  • Lee Howell, United Kingdom, for Wedding.

Also awarded medals: 
  • Amber Griffin (New Zealand), Silver Medal and Michelle Trull (Team USA) Bronze Medal for commercial. 
  • Uli Staiger (Team Germany), Silver medal and José Almeida (Portugal) Bronze Medal in Illustrative; 
  • Andreas Kalvig Anderson (Norway), Silver Medal, and Ann Coppens (Belgium), Bronze Medal for Nature; 
  • Christopher Ian (Australia), Silver Medal and Nikki Harrison (Canada), Bronze Medal for Portrait; 
  • Vincenzo Tessarin (Italy), Silver Medal and Oldich Bubák (Czech Republic) Bronze Medal in Reportage/Photojournalism; 
  • Andreas Zopf (Austria), Silver Medal and Terese Samuelsen (Norway), Bronze Medal in Wedding.

"Congratulations to Team Portugal for winning the WPC two times in a row, and all the winners. An incredibly close competition, with a huge variety of winners, from four continents, is exactly what the WPC committee could hope for," commented the Chairman of  WPC Judging Committee Jorgen Brandt. "It has been amazing to see so many beautiful images coming from around the globe, and really difficult to judge them!"

"It's a unique feeling coming out from a unique competition," added Giuseppe Scozzi, WPC Chief Executive. "Representing their homeland at any level is an amazing opportunity and there has never been a program that involves photography like this. Now we have it in the World Photographic Cup. We really experienced the groundswell of enthusiasm from photographers to create the finest they can in the hope of representing their country!"

The WPC CEO also thanked the Professional Photographers of Japan Association for having organized such a beautiful event, and announced that the next hosting country will be Australia in 2018.

theLoop, an exclusive photographer-only forum, has been abuzz lately with PPA members posting pertinent questions. 

If you're ever looking for advice from other professional photographers, post your questions on theLoop and wait for the answers to flood in. You can also provide guidance for other members, receive feedback on your images, and even enter to win awesome prizes. 

Here are some of the top posts from theLoop for the month of February.

This photographer will be photographing an event, and attendees can purchase the photos from her website afterwards.  She seeks recommendations on the best software to sell photos for this one-time event (without locking herself into a long-term commitment with the software). 

What tripod head do you prefer to use for portraiture? 

Scroll through this list of business tips and add a few of your own! From under-promising and over-delivering, to the importance of always having business cards at the ready (even at the gym!), there are some gems here.

A sports photography newbie seeks recommendations on lenses for action shots. Got any tips?

This photographer is ready to invest in an L zoom lens, but is torn between the 25-70 2.4 or the 70-200. She likes being closer to the client in order to interact with them, and she also does lifestyle newborn shoots frequently, so she's leaning towards the wider end. But the long lens portrait look of her 85 is one of her favorites. Can you help her decide?

Remember to check out theLoop frequently, as new discussions are posted daily. It's a great way to catch up with fellow PPA members! Not a PPA member? Join today!  

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by James Yates

Looking for a little inspiration or hoping to calm your nerves about photographic competition? It's time for the District Competitions, and you can stream and watch the judging! 

You can stream the judging of the Southeast District Photographic Competition this week, February 24 & 25, from 9am-6pm EST on

If you've ever wanted to take a peek at what the judges are looking for during the Photographic Open or Artistic competition, or to learn more about PPA's 12 Elements of a Merit Image, we invite you to tune in and get inspired. Who knows? Maybe you'll be entering next year!

Congratulations to the photographers selected to represent Team USA in the 2017 World Photographic Cup! 

The World Photographic Cup, which mimics the Olympic Games in structure, pits teams of photographers from numerous countries against one other in friendly competition.   

Meet Team USA in this article on Professional Photographer magazine.

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By Tristin Vaccaro
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Valentine's Day has come and gone and if you're lucky, you might just have a box of chocolate or candy hearts still left over. If not, no worries! We've gathered up the top blog posts from this week that we heart, just for you. Enjoy!

NEW TERRITORY: Adding boudoir photography to the list of your specialties can be an exciting change, but also a little intimidating. In boudoir photography, communication is key and there are a few things you should know before breaking into the biz. Luckily, photographer Myla González of Cheeky Boudoir is providing you with some of her best tips for getting started.

PHOTO REALISM REVERSED: Photographer David Edmonson looks to master painters of the past for inspiration. From the cinematic style of Caravaggio to the American Realism style of Edward Hopper, Edmonson blends techniques of the past with technology of the present. When you see these photos, you won't believe they're not painted. 

LAUGHS: Instagram models, socialites, and celebrities are known for posting glamorous Instagram photos that show off their lavish lifestyles. But what about the boyfriends and husbands behind the camera that make these snaps look effortless and candid? There's a whole Facebook page full of photos dedicated to these unsung heroes, and you can check out some of the highlights here. 

SALES: You work hard meeting with clients, taking photographs, editing out imperfections, and yet people aren't paying you quite as much as you expected. It's an uncomfortable situation as a freelancer or when working for friends, but it is avoidable. Read this article to find out why you're being underpaid and how to make changes to avoid the problem all together. 

ON THE GO TIPS: We all know that smartphone cameras can't compete with DSLR and sensor cameras, but the technology is improving.  Your phone is always with you, and sometimes you don't have time to waste when capturing life's fleeting moments. In this video, French photographer Serge Ramelli provides you with 7 tips to ensure you're using your smartphone's camera to its fullest potential.  

GALLERY: Creatures of the deep and lost treasures are just some of the images you'll see in this gallery of the top 26 images from the Underwater Photographer of the Year Contest. Submissions for the competition came in from over 65 countries with awards available in eight different categories. Wait till you see winner Gabriel Barathieu's stunning underwater image of an octopus. 

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY: If you frequently photograph weddings, you probably know this shot all too well. It's the close-up, detailed shot of the wedding rings and it's typically shot with a macro lens. These images are great, but often lack creativity and the technique can be hard to perfect. With this video from Magic Lens, you'll learn how to nail the quintessential wedding ring shot. 

VIDEO TUTORIAL: If you want high quality film scans, you probably take your film to a lab. But what if there's no lab nearby? What if you could get lab-quality scans from the comfort of your own home? In this step-by-step video tutorial, you'll learn the process of wet mount scanning. With just a few supplies, you may not ever have to hand your film over to a lab again. 

LIGHTING: Photographers are always chasing the golden hour, those few short minutes during sunrise and sunset where there are no harsh shadows and amazing colors. Many in the industry call this "great light", but what about the rest of the 22 hours of the day? Maybe it's time to redefine "great light" and realize that perfect lighting can be found at any time of day, if you know what you're doing. Change your perspective with this fun read. 

GEAR: If you're buying quality cameras, lenses, and other accessories, you'll want to keep these investments safe. That's where your camera bag comes in, protecting all your gear from falls, spills, and whatever else may come your way. Aside from being durable, what other qualities do you look for when purchasing a camera bag? Check out this article for some practical camera bag elements you may not have considered!  

That's all for our post-holiday roundup! Do you know of any photography blogs or websites with amazing articles like the ones you've seen above? Post them on theLoop or email them to us at

By Sidra Safri

Section 107 Drones regulations have been out less than a year, and drone usage has skyrocketed. Currently, according to the FAA, there are approximately 7,200 registered drones. With such a large increase in drone usage, the number of close calls between drones and airplanes has also dramatically increased. The FAA reported over 1,700 close calls in 2016. A close call incident is when a drone is within 100 feet of an airplane. Being this close to an airplane can cause more damage than a bird, especially if it hits one of the engines. These close calls put not only the pilot's life in danger but also the lives of the passengers on board. 

Currently, Section 107 regulations state that if you are flying in B, C, D, or E airspace you need a waiver. The larger concern is when drones fly in class G airspace. To fly in class G airspace you do not need to a get a waiver, but you need permission from the air traffic control tower. Granted, other than the "Right to Yield" requirement there is nothing that states how far a drone must stay from other aircraft, but just that it is illegal. However, for the safety of the passengers, and pilots it's necessary for drone pilots to be hyper aware of their aerial surroundings. 

It is of the utmost importance for all drone operators, whether they are certified or uncertified to gain proper experience in operating, handling, and flying a drone. This practice ensures that everyone is safe, and everyone can enjoy the airspace. For more education and information about the Section 107 regulations, please visit the FAA Website. Also, do not forget to report any accidents here, and always check the B4U fly app before liftoff! 

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By Tristin Vaccaro

PPA's See The Difference® campaign is a two-pronged online, print, and social media initiative launched as a way to help clients "see the difference" when it comes to evaluating photographers. The knowledge and experience a professional photographer brings to the table is unmatched, and we believe all consumers should realize the true value of hiring a pro. Through the See The Difference® campaign, PPA photographers are provided with FREE sales and marketing tools to assist with justifying their costs, expertise, and quality. 

In addition to these free resources, PPA periodically writes feature articles awakening consumers to see the See The Difference®. Most of the time, these articles are picked up by thousands of print and online news publications. The See The Difference-themed stories are written with the intent of educating consumers on the relevance and value of hiring a professional for their photography needs.

This past fall, See The Difference offered up 4 Tips for Getting Your Best High School Senior Photos. This article makes the consumer dive deep into four tips for capturing the perfect senior portrait and how to snag the perfect photographer for the job. This particular story was picked up by 1,128 online publications and garnered a whopping 74,339,983 online views. Talk about creating more awareness on why a professional photographer makes a difference! Check out some of the many sites that are hosting the whole article: The Daily Times, News USA, Montgomery Herald, and Sea Coast Online

This is just one of the many articles PPA publishes monthly in an ongoing effort to show consumers that professional photographers are worth the investment. Be sure to read up on the See The Difference® campaign and make use of all the sales resources available to PPA members. Not a PPA member? Join today!

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By Tristin Vaccaro
Photographer Darren Roberts went from photographing 20 city weddings a year to more than 50 mountain weddings in 2016. The transition took two years, but his determination allowed him to build a career creating what he loves. He shares tips on brand consistency, search-based marketing, and establishing a niche in "Weddings With a Rocky View," only on

Image © Darren Roberts

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PPA is dedicated to delivering photographers the best education available through hundreds of photography course videos available on PPAedu, as well as the 500+ videos on PhotoVision. In addition to these recorded courses, PPA hosts LIVE courses that you can attend from your computer as they happen. Be your own valentine and give yourself the gift of attending!

PPA Webinar: The $3000 Headshot
February 14, 2017 - 2pm ET
With Megan DiPiero, CPP
Skill Level(s): ALL
Free for all; PPA Members can access archived recordings

In this memorable and inspiring talk, Megan will share the life lessons that have shaped her into the business success she is today. From her modest home studio, Megan comfortably charges 10x the market rate for her sought after headshot style, bringing in sales ranging from $1700-$6500. She'll convince you that pricing thresholds are limited only by your imagination. Whether you're a portrait or wedding photographer, new to the industry or seasoned veteran, this talk will be just the kick in the butt you need to vault your brand (and your prices) to new heights. Passion and profit ahead!

That's not all! Are you new to PPA or thinking about joining? There's also a new, membership webinar to attend!

PPA Webinar: Maximizing Your Membership
February 14, 2017 - 2pm ET
Skill Level(s): ALL
Free for all; PPA Members can access archived recordings
Click here to register

If you haven't already, it's time to jump in and take advantage of everything PPA has to offer! Please join us for a Maximizing Your Membership Webinar and we'll give you the low-down on everything PPA.

We know membership offers a lot and it can be hard to navigate all of the PPA benefits. That's why we created this webinar to help you take advantage of your membership. Topics include a step-by-step guide to activating your equipment insurance, how to navigate the PPA website and an introduction to theLoop.

Remember, these courses are open to ALL photographers to attend live, so register today! If you want to access the recordings of these courses and the full PPAedu and PhotoVision library of videos, you'll need to be a PPA member. Join PPA today!

By Autumn Rice

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Love is in the air, and we hope you feel it all around the world. In honor of all of the Valentine's Day fun, we want to share the blog posts we love most about the profession you love!

COPYRIGHT:  The issue of copyright infringement is important. So when a photographer thought his work was infringed on by a German ad agency, he took to social media to vent his frustration. But the question arose of whether his work was actually infringed on. Read this article that sheds light on some U.S. copyright law and the difference between infringement and inspiration.

BUSINESS: Tax season is here, and for many photographers that means figuring out what number goes in what box. It's dreadful! Tax rules are expansive, but knowing about a few important ones could make tax time painless for creative professionals. Read the tips in this article!

MARKETING: Looking for marketing tools? See The Difference is a benefit that offers PPA members marketing resources to help their clients understand the value in professional photography. Check out this blog post about See The Differences quizzes that help develop a profile for clients!

TECHNIQUE: The process for shooting beauty videos and beauty portraits is different, but there are some elements that are present in both. Check out some of the tips on lighting, soft focus vignettes, and creating lens flares featured in this article to help both cinematographers and photographers!

EDUCATION: Classroom experiences aren't always our favorite, but how would it be different if your teacher catered the classroom décor to the lesson? That's exactly what photography professor Mark Zimmerman did. See just how he transformed his classroom into a giant camera obscura.

PHOTOGRAPHY CULTURE: Digital is the prominent form of photography, but analog is on the rise, and four modern photographers are at the forefront. Although Daniel Zvereff, Anastasia Egonyan, Simon Chetrit, and Lester Jones have their own style of photography, it's all analog film. Check out their work and how their projects turned out. 

PRO TOOLS: While some photographers live by their light meters, others don't value their importance as much. But what would photo sessions be like without them? Read this article about how a recent shoot helped one photographer rediscover the necessity for light meters, and why you should have one too!

INSPIRATION: Felling like you need a littler inspiration? We have just the thing! Check out this conversation with PhotoVision instructor, Anne Geddes as she discusses owning your and defining your work, and the importance of professional photographers.
BUSINESS CREATIVITY: Many photographers enjoy the comfort and flexibility of home studios, but building one can get quite expensive. Here's a post that gives a few tips on how to create a home studio that you'll love while on a budget. Check it out!

FLASH BACK: Fashion has evolved over the years, and the photographs that accompany the looks have as well. Watch the evolution of fashion and photography in this exhibit beginning in the 1920s. From Broadway to the most recognizable supermodels, these photos capture every element of the time. Take a look!

There you have 'em, our weekly blog post roundup! What photography blogs or podcasts do YOU follow? Post your favorites on theLoop or email them to us at

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PhotoVision has everything you're looking for and more! This great resource provides an all-access, behind the scenes look at the techniques used by some of the biggest named professionals in the world of photography. These videos cover a wide range of best practices to inspire every element of your business. The best part about PhotoVision is that it's free to PPA members. 

PhotoVision's Year of Inspiration continues with the release of "You as an Artist" with Anne Geddes on Monday, February 13. 

Anne inspires us with her take on being an artist, truly owning your work and giving it a sense of importance.  She disputes the idea that "everyone's a photographer" and encourages you to see past such a simplified concept so that you are inspired to, in her words, "rise above that vacuous imagery and create a timeless piece." 

You can look forward to her passionate conversation on PRINT. The Movement with PPA's Director of Education, Angela Kurkian. The two discuss the importance of printing in photography and the role it plays in valuing your imagery and yourself as an artist. To learn more about PRINT. The Movement, visit our website.

Anne Geddes, one of the world's most respected photographers, creates images that are iconic, multi-award winning, internationally acclaimed, and beloved. 

A global ambassador for children, Anne, as well as having her own Philanthropic Trust, is proud to be the Global Advocate for the UN Foundation's Shot@Life campaign, an Ambassador Volunteer for the March of Dimes and an Ambassador for the GSK global awareness campaign for meningococcal disease.  

Anne's imagery has been published in over 84 countries, and in 24 languages. Anne has recently released a new series of photographs based on the signs of the Western Zodiac. 2017 will see the release of a comprehensive retrospective of her work, published by Taschen. 

For more information on Anne, please visit  Follow Anne on Facebook to see inside the studio, and stay up to date with her latest work.

By Tristin Vaccaro

Through PPAedu, PPA members have over 350 tutorials and educational videos available to them 24/7.  Each month, however, one PPAedu video is unlocked for everyone to enjoy. Why? Because we believe in the power of education for all!

This month, the video "Lightroom: Getting Started" with Dave Doeppel, Cr.Photog., CPP, has been unlocked! In this video, Dave walks you through the basics of Adobe Lightroom's editing software.  Dave, who is an Adobe Certified Expert, will cover topics such as general settings and system preferences. This is the first video in an 11-part series, so PPA members also have access to the remaining 10 episodes. Non-members will have access to this video the entire month of February, but PPA members can access this video anytime. Between PPAedu and PhotoVision, PPA members can tap into hundreds of programs to help them Be More! For full access to all the PPAedu and PhotoVision videos, join PPA today!

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By Autumn Rice

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Have you visited theLoop lately? 

theLoop is a great way for PPA members to connect, share stories, and give advice about their experiences as professional photographers, as well as stay up-to-date on what's new at PPA. The biggest bonus to interacting on theLoop is that there are no clients! 

Have questions about photography? Post it on theLoop! It's a safe way to answer your most important photography questions from professionals just like you!

If you haven't logged on for a while, here's a recap of some of the discussion tips you've missed. Check it out!

This Looper is a wedding photographer who may have lost the files for 6 weddings, her own personal wedding, and other personal files. She wants to know what advice PPA members have to offer.  One Looper said:
"You say your original computer died and somewhere in the process, you backed up the data to this external drive. Perhaps it still exists on the drive in the original computer? Might depend on how it "died," but I would be pulling that drive out and looking at it.
Just a thought..."

Here's a member who has taken on some new photography projects and needs some advice about expanding the pricing, and how to draft a contract for a vendor. This member advises:
"Okay - I am totally going to go out on a limb here and say you really need set some boundaries on that. I made the mistake of getting in over my head with very little Return on Investment in engaging with a boutique. I did it the wrong way of doing product shots of all their inventory consistently. It can be done well, but you need to set boundaries. I prefer to have 1 day events to do it all. For website managing that can get tricky. I usually just provide web-res ready images for them. But I would suggest maybe seeing if Sticky Apps could be an option and charging a consistent monthly fee for it all. :-) Sorry I am not much help as I am working through setting up my boundaries this year."

The Print Movement is a great way to get involved with printed products and this Looper has some questions about motivations for clients to purchase prints.

"Touch and feel!  That's huge especially for women--which are the majority purchasers of portraits. A physical product that they can touch, feel, hold (albums, books, wall portraits) increases the perceived value of an item over a JPEG on a disc. Plus you are doing your clients a disservice by making them go out and find a lab to print and then buy a frame etc etc. If they can walk out of my studio with an archival piece of art for their walls, that has value."

Imaging USA provided some inspiration for this photographer to venture into glamour and boudoir photography. She has questions about what questions to ask clients and how to price her products. Here's a response:

"Randall is right on track with the type of questions. Many resources for client questionnaires exist (The Boudoir Divas), Boudie Shorts, Molly Marie, Jen Rozenbaum, Christa Meola) just google and you'll find a wide variety of resources. Sue Bryce will tell you she deplores the term boudoir photography, and she isn't doing the common style boudoir most people recognize. She asks her clients a very smart question "How do you envision your photograph" - to paraphrase. What she's asking is what is their dream image - riding on a horse in the park with Victorian apparel or standing in Time Square in a red gown....
Asking the client what they envision and like combined with questions along the lines of what Randall mentioned is a winning combination."

As a new member to PPA, this Looper has some questions about how to start a successful photography business. Here's what a Looper had to say:

"What Mark said--plus believe there may be some great videos on this in the PPAedu archives so be sure to check those out. PPA also does a Business Challenge but not sure if you have to already be in business a number of years to do that or not. Determine the type of photography you want to do--sounds like weddings and maybe portraits as well. Then you will want to get down and dirty on determining your pricing. As Mark said it's critical to understand your cost of doing business-how much do you need to make just to keep the doors open, lights on etc."

These are just a few of the great posts made on theLoop. Hop on over to theLoop to see other posts and make some of your own! 

By Tristin Vaccaro 

Did you know that as a PPA member, you have access to tons of free sales and marketing resources to help advance your growing business? Through PPA's See The Difference® marketing toolkit, photographers like you are equipped with various tools that help clients see the value of hiring a professional photographer. In order to help your clients value the difference a PPA photographer can make, PPA's developed some fun quizzes for you to share with clients and prospects alike. 

The See The Difference® quizzes are a fun and interactive way for your clients to find out their photo style. There are multiple quizzes available including wedding, family, senior, and pet photography style quizzes. Whether their wedding style is classic or their senior style is athletic, once your clients know their photography style, they get tips on how professional photographers can best capture their unique personality. This video may help you better understand why you should utilize these quizzes on your website or social media pages in order to better connect with your customers and help them understand the inherent value of hiring a pro. 

These unique quizzes are easy to share and can simply be added to your website and link over to the quiz of your choice. Also, there are videos that help inform your clients about the fun quizzes available to them. It's easy to add these quizzes to your website, and here's a quick how-to if you need help getting started. 

Engage with your customers in an entertaining way while also helping them see the value in YOU! These quizzes are just one of the many Sales & Marketing resources available to you as a PPA member. Not with PPA yet? Join today!

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Virtual reality (VR) is computer-generated content that simulates a real-world or fantastical experience. It requires playback in a headset of some type, so visuals must be in 3-D in 360 degrees around the viewer, and the audio also has to be spatial (3-D sound). 

Until recently, computer-generated imagery was the only way to create VR content that was 3-D in 360 degrees. But now, new technology provides opportunities to capture the real world in 360 degrees.

Explore what this may mean for photographers, videographers, and consumers in this article on Professional Photographer magazine.

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It's Super Bowl Weekend! And, around the Atlanta PPA offices, it's also Falcons Friday! #RiseUp Before you head out on Sunday to celebrate the Falcons' historic win, save up your strength this weekend and relax with our top blog posts from January 30-February 3. 

MAKE MORE MONEY: You've learned the basics of marketing and identified your target audience, now PPA's Marketing Campaign Manager walks you through the next steps in creating and enacting a marketing plan that works. A great read with lots of tips. You'll want to take your time with this one!

FUN STORIES: This blog post from PPA Today is like a Russian nesting doll of Imaging USA moments. Uncover blog post after blog post written by Imaging USA attendees when they returned home. You can either relate or find out what you missed and get ready for next year in Nashville! 

CONCENTRATE: FStoppers has a though-provoking piece on the downfalls of year-long photography projects. You don't have to take these on every year but that doesn't mean a year of slacking off. Here's the case for shorter, more concentrated projects that can be just as fulfilling. 

DRONES: So you've gotten your license from the FAA to be a drone pilot, and you're ready to start offering drone photography to your clients. What should you do next? shares some steps all drone photographers should take when starting out. If you're considering offering drone photography, read this article first. You'll pick up advice that can save you some major headaches later!

DRAMATICS: PictureCorrect has 4 steps on how to create those really cools beams of light that shine down in atmospheric photos. Pro tips available on this blog and in the accompanying video. 

CONTROL: FStoppers on how to make a cheap wireless monitor for your photo shoots and on drawing the line at letting clients see images in real time.

GOALS: Hans Rosemond is planning to work on pulling back on stylistic flourishes and reach a simpler aesthetic as an artist. Read his inspiring ideas on ditching your ego and simplifying your images. 

JUST FOR FUN: Looking to relive the awesome party that was Imaging USA 2017 in San Antonio? Couldn't make it this year but want a taste of what you missed? All the videos from the year's best photography convention are up now on PPA Today!

WINNERS: Aerial photography platform SkyPixel received 27,000 entries to its 2016 drone photography competition. Here are the winning shots plus some of The Guardian's favorites. 

JAW-DROPPING: Would you say that you go out on a limb for a photo shoot? If so, chances are you still aren't doing it quite to the extent that photographer Jay Philbrick is! Read all about his riskiest location to date on 

There you have 'em, our weekly blog post roundup! What photography blogs or podcasts do YOU follow? Post your favorites on theLoop or email them to us at

By Tristin Vaccaro

January has come and gone, and so has Imaging USA 2017. It was a week filled with fun, friendship, and learning and we know you're probably missing it just as much as we are. 

While we were sad to see it end, all of us here at PPA are thrilled by the memories and opportunities created for everyone in San Antonio. In order to help you (and us!) relive the awesomeness that was Imaging USA, we've perused the Internet to gather some of the best stories and testimonials from attendees. Enjoy!

From the Blog of Cristie Reddehase, B.A., M.Photog.M.Artist.Cr.
"As some of you may know, I LOVE to compete in the annual print competition held by PPA. This year was an extraordinary year for me. I was so glad that my friends and family were there to celebrate with me! I received Double Diamond Photographer of the Year. This means that during IPC, all 8 of my images were worthy of a merit and that all 8 of them were accepted into PPA's Loan collection. I'm the first female to ever accomplish this and also 1 of only 5 other photographers to ever receive this distinction."

From the Blog of Ron Vesely
"Not only was Imaging USA a great platform to share my experiences, techniques and general photo related insights from a baseball photographers perspective, but I had the chance to rub shoulders with some of the greatest photographers in the world! In particular, I had the privilege of spending some quality time with photo legends Dave Black and Ami Vitale, along with Nikon Professional Services Manager of Product Marketing, the one and only Mike Corrado. Great times, great stories!  The best part was witnessing a contest of Bear, Ninja and Hunter after the check for dinner arrived. You had to have been there to get the full effect, but think rock, paper, scissors. This spectacle alone was worth the flight to San Antonio!"

From the Blog of Amy Dokken, CPP
"Imaging USA was the first major photography convention that I've ever attended. I wasn't really sure what to expect. I chose to go mainly so that I could take my CPP exam and attend the portfolio reviews that were offered. I came away with so much more than I bargained for. I had downloaded the list of speakers in advance and combed through the schedule outlining the programs that sounded most interesting or relevant to my business. One I was particularly excited about was Jennifer Hudson's "The Handmade Life". It did not disappoint. Seriously, I could say Jennifer may have changed everything for me."

From the Blog of Lauren Nygard
"I was in San Antonio last week to attend the Professional Photographers of America's annual convention, Imaging USA. It was awesome for two reasons: (1) Imaging USA was an incredibly amazing experience, and I learned a lot from the speakers and other attendees, and (2) I got to spend a week with my family, which was kicked off with my dad's 60th birthday party!"

From the Blog of Suzette Allen Cr. Photog., CPP, API  
"I was recently at Imaging USA...The keynote speaker, Mel Robbins, was brilliant and her message was one I will not soon forget. In fact, it is probably one I will use the rest of my life. Its concept, clearly written in her book, "The 5 Second Rule:" (no, not the one about dropped food)???? describes how we make decisions every day, all day long, and many times we agonize or overthink or delay to get more information, etc., choosing to do something else, instead of taking action. We distract ourselves instead of taking positive action that would actually take us toward our goals and success! Each decision is made in about 5 seconds. The truth is, we KNOW what we SHOULD do. If we would just DO it, we would be far more successful.  For example, when the alarm goes off in the morning, we KNOW we need to get up. If we would just say "5-4-3-2-1" and GET UP, instead of laying there agonizing about the day, dreading what we need to face and hitting the snooze, we would be far more successful!...

So, while this concept is super simple, it is incredibly powerful. In fact it applies to almost every area of our lives. It certainly challenged me to start taking action and DOING the things I know I need to do but habitually avoid... Like exercise, blogging, phone calls, etc....and the list goes on...

Thank you, PPA, for the great programming at USA and for giving us tools to BE MORE. Your campaign is for real, and it is relevant."

And there you have it, some of our favorite memories of Imaging USA shared by photographers just like you! Consider sharing your Imaging USA stories, testimonials, or photos. It's super simple: just hop on over to your social media and use the hashtag #ImagingUSA. If you missed Imaging USA 2017, fear not. There will be plenty of memories to be made at Imaging USA 2018 in Nashville, TN!


So far you've learned the basics of Marketing and figured out how to recognize your target audience. Now, what do you do with this information? You can't just willy-nilly start throwing ads out there or hitting social media without a plan! So, the next step is to get organized and create that plan. Just follow these easy steps, and you'll be ready to start marketing your photography business!

Step 1: Situation Analysis


It's as simple as, what is your current situation? Where are you and where do you want to be? Start with a SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Strengths and Weaknesses are qualities that currently exist within your business. Is your photography great, but your bookkeeping could use work? Do you work really hard, but for too many hours? Are you strong with event photography, but need more practice in the portrait discipline? If you take a little time to reflect on your work, you will know where you excel and where you could use a little help. If you have outside mentors, friends, or even members of your business that you trust and respect, you can ask for their help in identifying some of these areas with you.

Opportunities and Threats are forces that are working outside of your business. Is there an opportunity to expand your market, but there's more competition in those markets? Can you include different types of photography, but maybe you aren't fully educated in that area? Think about what you want to accomplish as a business owner.  What conditions in the market are favorable or will help you reach those goals?  Opportunities are everywhere.  They can be relationships you're building with influencers in your area, a new photographic niche that's becoming popular or even technology advancements.    Finally, identify those outside forces that could hinder you.  Threats could be an economic downturn, discontinued product items and again, changes in technology.

Once you've done that, think about what makes your photography unique. How can you set yourself apart from your competition? Maybe you specialize in print photography. Maybe you're the only high school senior photographer in your area. You know what makes your work special, so just pause and identify what sets you apart from the rest.

Step 2: Describe Your Target Market

Lucky for you, you've probably already created an outline for this. If not, take some time to create your buyer persona. Once you've done that, you can write a short paragraph about your target market. Make sure to detail where (geographically) your audience resides, their age, gender, etc. Make sure to identify their wants and the challenges associated with providing solutions for said wants. Make it clear for yourself, and anyone else that might not be fully invested in your business (for example, a freelance marketing assistant).

Step 3: Identify Your Marketing Goals

When thinking about your marketing goals, remember that they need to fit into your overall business goals. Also, don't forget to create S.M.A.R.T. goals.

So, what are your studio's goals? To increase your bottom dollar? To expand the reach of your business? To tell clients about new products or services? Make a list of your goals, from most important to least important, and attack each goal individually. Make sure you are clear about each goal, so you have a clear path on how to effectively reach it.

Step 4: Decide on the Marketing Strategies You'll Use

Your buyer persona will again help you in this area. Many of these strategies will be based solely off of age. Does your audience relate to Facebook, or are they more Snapchat savvy? Would your target audience pick up a magazine, or would they be more likely to see a sign at the local coffee shop? By knowing the likes and recreation habits of your target audience, you can decide the best and most effective outlets for your message.

The most effective strategies will be multilevel. What do you mean MULTILEVEL?! Multilevel refers to engaging your potential client at every moment of their buying journey. You have probably made a decision about a big purchase before. Did you dive in and buy, let's say, the first car you came across? No, you probably did your research, picked your favorite kind, and then shopped your options. That's exactly what your potential clients are doing.

For example, maybe a potential client does a Google search for photographers in their area. There's your first outreach opportunity. Maybe that potential client then checks out your website, but then leaves to run an errand and forgets about their family portrait. Maybe the next thing they do is surf Facebook. Boom! There's your next opportunity to reach out. Maybe later that night your client goes to the local coffee shop to get a late night mochaccino. Did you remember to hang up a flyer there?

Think about all the paths that your buyer persona might take during their buying journey and plan accordingly.

Step 5: Set a Budget

Piggy.jpgIt's time to set some money aside. If you run the finances, make sure that you are putting the appropriate amount aside to achieve your marketing goals. Also, make sure you aren't setting too much aside in order to protect your profits. If you're a little nervous about creating a budget, the PPA Business Challenge and the Square One tool are great resources to get you on the confident budgeting track.

If you're the creative, and you have a partner or a financial advisor, they may be a huge help in this area. Talk over your plan with that person, and let them know your intent and your ideas on how much you might need for running a marketing campaign.

If you're just starting out, this may mean that you'll need to incur some costs up front. In this case, you should monitor your spending and still try to keep to a budget. If you see that some things are proving to be expensive with not much return on your investment (ROI), that's when you start adjusting your plan. Don't worry about keeping a hard line on the original plan; it should always be flexible and serve your business needs. As our marketing director at PPA always says: "Test, Test, Test!"

Once you've followed these steps you should have a clear outline of your next steps. If you're looking for additional marketing tools, check out the See The Difference© campaign and PRINT. The Movement campaign. If these intrigue you, find out more about becoming a PPA member today!

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2017 listed from newest to oldest.

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