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PPA Today

By Aleighia Rouse


September is here! You can feel the crisp bite of cold weather in the air. As the weather changes so should the new things you learn for your photography and photography businesses. This will help with the research process. Check out our top ten blog posts of the week! 

COMPARISON: Are you still not convinced that a PPA photographer can't make the difference? This article will change your opinion completely. Check out this article to find out why See The Difference actually makes a difference. 

THE PHOTOGRAPHER: Finally, we have a notification that the selfie is not going to take over the world, but you will. Well, at least in the area of vacations and travels abroad. Check this article out as it explains the need for professional photographers in the El Camino Travel Instagram page. 

PORTRAITS: Portrait photography is a stepping stone for a lot of photographers starting their new businesses. It is important to remember that things can happen and to always be prepared for the unexpected. Read this Phoblographer article to explore some cool tips so that you are fully prepared for your next session. 

FINANCIAL: Are you a new photography business with a lot of financial questions that need answers as far as tax season goes? PPA photographer Rachel Brenke has some suggestions that may ease your anxiety in this upcoming season.

NETWORKING: It is very important when running a photography business to come from behind the lens and make connections with the people you are working with and the people you want to work with. Take a look at this article to learn how to not only build those relationships but build your business in the process. 

LIGHTS: Sometimes it can be difficult lugging all those light cases around. PPA photographer Jeff Rojas has the solution for you, he suggests experimenting with a speedlight case in different ways. Check this article out to find more and also check him out at the 2016 Imaging USA conference. 

ECONOMICS: It is always awkward talking about money with your customers, but when it comes to your business don't be afraid. This article gives a good perspective on the economics of the photography industry and staying afloat in your photography business. 

IMPACTFUL: Anne Geddes, the most well-known child and new born photographers in the land of photography, sits down and tells of her experience with PPA. A must read article and informal into the benefits of PPA in shaping a new photographer's career.   

EVENTS: Sometimes in your photography business there will be gaps, where you have very little or no clients coming in, especially if your business is just starting out. What do you do? Try event photography. Learn more from this article about this great opportunity to get some different clients and expand your brand name. 

RIGHTS: Being a photographer you want to have as much creative space to work as you want, and don't want to be penalized for not knowing that some places are illegal. Be informed and know your rights as a professional photographer. Read this article to find out more! 


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


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. 


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by Christine Walsh-Newton, M.Photog., Cr., CPP

*MWAC = Mom with a camera, M. Photog. = Master Photographer

I am impressed by befores and afters. If someone is trying to convince me of the results and effectiveness of their methods or system, I want proof.

Just like the diet and exercise infomercials, it's all just blah blah blah until I see the before and after photos. I want to see proof.

And now for the proof.
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This photograph was taken in 2007, a year before I joined the PPA. The subject is my youngest son, Dave, shortly after he received his first official police officer job. He came to the studio in his new uniform to create an image to celebrate the occasion.

I was a part-time newspaper and wedding photographer who only knew enough about photography to properly expose for ambient light.

Although I thought of myself as a professional photographer back then, in hindsight, I realize that was very far from the truth. (Seriously, I didn't even own a reflector at that point - trust me, 2015 Christine is not very pleased with 2007 Christine).

I did that thing that most new photographers do; I bought a bunch of equipment without knowing how to work it and implored upon my family members to sit for me while I tried to wrangle my equipment into submission.

I had gradually learned how to use a light meter and a calibration target so that my exposure and color balance was correct, but the intricacies of lighting, posing and other studio techniques were beyond my comprehension. With no knowledge to draw upon, I arranged my lights like floor lamps in a living room and called it good.

Unfortunately, it wasn't.

And so I learned my first lesson in photography; Buying a camera makes you a camera owner, not a photographer.
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I knew I needed help. Enter PPA, stage left.

To make a long story short, I joined the PPA and became actively involved in PPA-based education, joined my state affiliate and pretty much never looked back. In 2009 I became a Certified Professional Photographer, in 2012, a Photographic Craftsman and in 2013, a Master Photographer. I began competing in image competition in 2009 and entered my first IPC in 2010.

Now, that little list of titles may not sound like much, but to those of us that have earned those various certificates and degrees, it represents a heck of a lot of work. Months of study, many classes, speaking engagements and flat out hours of minion labor all tallied up over time to complete all the requirements.

At the end of each of these individual journeys, I was a better photographer, a better member, a better person. As I continued to compete in image competition, my level of knowledge grew, which helped me refine my skills behind the camera.

And then it was 2015.

As I packed for IUSA 2015, my son's community was hit with tragedy. Two elderly residents, a married couple, were robbed, abducted and murdered. A double homicide. And as I headed for Nashville, a nationwide manhunt was underway for the people that had committed the crimes.

I was scattered at IUSA 2015. I constantly checked my messages and the national news in between classes and events. The murderers were fleeing from Ohio, robbing gas stations as they traveled south, leaving a trail of fear where they went.

I constantly checked in with my son to see how he was doing. I knew that this investigation was very different from anything he'd ever had to do before. My mind constantly replayed the news channel video of the crime scene and grisly thoughts kept me from sleep. I was worried. Very worried.

I knew he was seeing things that no mother ever wants her son to see.

And for the first time, I was having difficulty with my son's chosen profession.

When I returned from IUSA, with a couple of new lighting concepts I wanted to explore (thank you, Tim Kelly), I began to plan out an image of therapy for me and my "mama angst."

And this is the result:
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Same subject, same studio, same equipment, same photographer.

What isn't the same is the level of competence exhibited - and that is a direct result of the education and guidance I have received through my PPA membership, education and image competition participation.

Creating this image served a personal need for me - it was the first time I created an image from within - when my heart was breaking - and each time I look at it, my heart still floods with emotion.

And pride.

Because it was this image, this experience -  that made me feel that I'd finally become an artist.

If it hadn't been for the classes, the shooting safaris, the webinars, the Super 1 Days, the conventions, the plethora of mentors and instructors that I've been privileged to learn from over these last 7 years, I would have never been able to create this image or excel photographically to the degree I have.

I have seen the difference.

I am the difference.

Thank you, PPA.

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*I Had To was chosen for the IPC 2015 Loan collection and was awarded the 2015 PPA Northeast District Kodak Gallery Award and Ohio's J. Anthony Bill trophy for Outstanding Portrait. It will advance to the 2015 Kodak Gallery Elite competition this fall.

By John Owens

It's inevitable--fall/winter (and flu season) is coming, and when it hits, it hits hard. And having to wait a couple of days to see a doctor or not finding the time during business hours to make your way to see one can take a toll!


So this might not seem like much, but here's a real-life solution to help photographers soften the blow: Call a Doctor Plus. This is the latest membership benefit from PPA!

Call a Doctor Plus can save you both time and money when you're not feeling well or have health questions. This telemedicine solution can get you answers, assistance, and even simple prescriptions just by picking up the phone. Consultations are available via a quick call, online or through Call a Doctor Plus's mobile app. This service is available to anyone, but Teladoc agreed to provide this service to PPA members at a very small monthly fee!





What's Call a Doctor Plus?

By Chris Homer

Congratulations to all the photographers who had images earn a merit or were selected to PPA's Loan Collection in this year's International Photographic Competition (IPC)! If you didn't participate in this year's IPC, it's never too early to start thinking about entering in 2016. 

At PPA, one thing we hear all the time about the IPC is that entering is one of the best ways to improve your photographic technique! Having your images judged against the 12 Elements of a Merit Image is a great way to see where to improve in your photography and become aware of what you do really well already. 

The learning opportunity gets even better when you choose to have your images critiqued. You'll get an actual recording of an IPC judge going over why your image was judged the way it was.

We know that sounds a little intimidating, so to remove some of your fears check out a real past critique below!

The image being reviewed here is from Joan Walker, CPP and her image "Guardian of the Ancients" is being critiqued by IPC judge Jeff Dachowski, M.Photog.Cr., CPP.




Now that you've seen a real critique, we hope that you'll enter the 2016 IPC! Check out our blog for more critiques and more learning and... Don't forget that the Loan Collection images from the 2015 IPC will be on display for 10,000+ people to see at Imaging USA 2016 in Atlanta, January 10-12. 


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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 Aleighia Rouse 

Cheers to us (and you)!

Our See The Difference consumer videos were recently honored as a Silver Winner at the 36th Annual Telly Awards. Silver is the highest honor the Telly's dish out, so this is a big deal! 

The videos, made for PPA by Radiant3, a video production company in Atlanta, earned the Telly's highest honor in the Online Commercial Campaign, Promotional/Branding category. Winners were chosen from nearly 12,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, with big names like Dell, AT&T, Disney, Coke and more alongside PPA. 

These award-winning videos feature real people sharing their stories about why it's so important to hire pro and also feature real PPA photographers capturing clients' unique personalities and beauty. There are 6 videos that showcase wedding, family, senior and pet photography. PPA photographers can add these award-winning videos to their websites to show clients and prospects the difference professional photographers make. 

Watch PPA's See The Difference videos here

Want to know more about the See The Difference marketing tools? Consider joining PPA at PPA.com/Join.


What are the Telly Awards?
The Telly Awards was founded in 1979 and is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, the finest video and film productions, and online commercials, video and films. Winners represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments in the world. 

A prestigious judging panel of over 500 accomplished industry professionals, each a past winner of a Silver Telly and a member of The Silver Telly Council, judged the competition, upholding the historical standard of excellence that Telly represents. The Silver Council evaluated entries to recognize distinction in creative work - entries do not compete against each other - rather entries are judged against a high standard of merit. Less than 10% of entries are chosen as winners of the Silver Telly.  


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.  
Each month, one PPAedu video is unlocked for everyone to enjoy (not just PPA photographers), because PPA believes in the power of education for all! This is just one of the over 300 videos in the PPAedu library on photography techniques and business best practices. These tutorials are available 24/7 for PPA photographers! Plus, as a PPA photographer you have access to the over 800 videos from PhotoVision on demand. That's over 1,100 videos available anytime, anywhere!

In this month's free video, Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API, walks you through how to set up "Simple Posing and Lighting Family Portrait Month." These tips lend themselves to be easily incorporated into any situation where you're trying to host multiple sessions in a single day and eliminate post process time! 

What is Family Portrait Month? This annual event is put on by PPA Charities to benefit their charitable partners, as well as elevate the business images of participating studios! For more information, visit ppacharities.com.

If you're a PPA member, log in to watch the video. Non-members can access the video during June at PPA.com/TryEdu. If you want full access to all the PPAedu courses and PhotoVision streaming videos, join PPA now! 

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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.
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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