Ad image

PPA Today

By Mariah Ashley

Author's Note: Required Reading! The Go-Giver, by Bob Burg and John David Mann. A little story about a powerful business idea.

Thumbnail image for louboutins.jpgI was alone in the upstairs bedroom. Amanda (the bride) was late getting back from the salon so I spent my time photographing her dress and invitation. Her mother kept popping in with other things she thought I might find interesting, among them a pair of fabulous Louboutin sequined heels.

"Oh, fancy! Shoes are like porn for women," I joked cradling the shoe near my face.

"So true," said Amanda's mom, with a chuckle. "Everything about this wedding is a little over the top. (nods toward shoes).

"But Amanda is such a good girl, so smart and hardworking. She's such a humble and sweet girl. I just want this to be an amazing day for her."

Amanda's mom left me alone with the shoes and my thoughts. A few days earlier I listened to a podcast by former Imaging USA speaker Jeffery Shaw. He interviewed author Bob Burg on his national best-seller, The Go-Giver, which describes "giving as the most fulfilling and effective path to success."

Burg and co-author John David Mann map out the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success all focused on giving instead of getting. Intriguing! Trish ordered me the book and I devoured the parable in one sitting, highlighting passages like a mad woman. Since then I haven't been able to think about much else besides adding value to my clients lives, with the exception of thinking about how much I was dreading photographing Amanda's wedding.

When Amanda first contacted me, she had just experienced what she described as a "bad engagement session experience" with another photographer she had originally booked to photograph her wedding. She wanted to talk to me about that experience, get my opinion on whether or not her expectations had been unrealistic, and discuss the possibility of having us photograph her wedding instead.

From October 6 to 20, fall Super 1 Day classes will take place all over the globe on every photography skill and strategy you can imagine.

PPA will offer members and non-members alike the opportunity to attend a litany of daily workshops ranging from a class on working with strobe & speed lighting units in California to newborn photography in Daegu-city Korea.

All of the classes are taught by professional photographers and are tailored just for you. There are dozens of different courses offered at a variety of different times and dates, so finding one that fits your busy schedule is a piece of cake.

These events offer both up-and-coming photographers and seasoned veterans the chance to learn from one another and also the chance to network and grow their local market. At just $99 if you book online ($120 in person), the day-long classes are an awesome value. And if you're thinking of joining PPA, this is a perfect opportunity to see what we're all about. If you're already a member you'll receive one service merit for attending each class-- a crucial step towards attaining certifications/degrees.

And also another step forward to BE MORE!

Head to PPA.com/super1day to find a class near you.

 

booray_ask_me.jpgImaging USA 2015 speaker, Booray Perry, CPP has signed up for a dangerous assignment--he's going to be our very first subject in theLoop's Ask Me Anything on August 20 & 21! There are two really obvious questions you might have right off the bat: 

First, what's a Booray? (It's ok - he gets this all the time.) Booray is a Cajun name. This particular Booray is an accomplished wedding and portrait photographer based in Tampa, Florida. He started his journey in photography in 8th grade and started with football games and pep rallies for the yearbook. Now he's a Certified Professional Photographer that recently went Bronze at the International Photographic Competition. We'd like to think that's a bit of an improvement from Chess Club Vice-President. He's a fun-loving, ukulele-playing photography machine. Read up on his bio here.

On Monday at Imaging USA 2015, he'll deliver his "Wedding Photography: Prepare to Succeed" program (here's the link to the full course description)! 

Second, what's an Ask Me Anything (AMA)? An AMA is a simple conversation where you can ask the "me" anything. In this case, try to keep it  photography related, but really anything goes! We're excited to make a place for you to get to know your Imaging USA speakers before February. There will be a discussion in the ImagingUSA community on theLoop, and Booray will take all of your questions Wednesday, August 20 and Thursday, August 21st! 

Start getting your questions ready - we can't wait to see what sort of great things you'll have to ask one of the most fun-loving photographers at Imaging USA!

Happy Friday! We're back with our favorite photography blog posts of the week. From
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for blog_roundup_graphic.jpg
 timelapse to lighting, you'll find a little bit of everything in this roundup. 

If you ever shoot on location and have to travel there by airplane, you know how challenging it can be to figure out what gear to bring, especially with airline luggage limits. If you're one of those photographers that want to error on the side of caution and bring as much gear as possible, check out this post on PetaPixel. Photographer Benjamin Von Wong (and past Imaging USA instructor) shares how you can take advantage of special luggage allowances for media professionals that will allow you to bring as much gear as you want. 

If you shoot timelapse videos, you know how annoying shaky footage can be. Well, Microsoft may have a solution to this problem! Check out this article from Cnet about Microsoft's work on the "hyper-lapse" tool, which has the goal of turning rough timelapse footage into smooth videos. 

One photographer on Fstoppers discusses how switching back to shooting on film as opposed to his DSLR has improved his creativity. There's a lot of interesting points raised in this post. See if you agree! 

Here's some unique photography for your inspiration. Photographer Thomas Leveritt used an Ultraviolet camera to show people what their skin looks like in only UV light. The project was created as a public service announcement on the importance of wearing sunscreen, and the photos are pretty surprising. Check it out on DIY Photography. 

It doesn't matter how long you've been in the photography business, occasionally you'll miss a shot because something is incorrect in your camera settings. Light Stalking provides 5 quick things to always check before you start shooting to make sure you get the photographs you want! These are useful reminders for all photographers.

This post is worth a look for those new to professional photography as well as those that are more experienced. Digital Photography School has collected 15 of the best cheat sheets and infographics that are full of great reminders for photographers. Print them out and keep them for your reference! 

In Focus has a great collection of images of last Sunday's "Supermoon", the largest full moon of the year. If you missed your chance to photograph it this year, get inspired for the next Supermoon with these photographs. And as always, feel free to share your images on our Facebook page: facebook.com/ourPPA 

If you struggle with lighting, or just need some new ideas, check out these lighting tips and ideas on Photography Talk. 

As a professional photographer, you want to keep your business profitable. In this post from the Creative Live Blog, PPA member Joel Grimes outlines 10 pitfalls to avoid that can mean disaster for your business. These things to be on the watch for all come from a class Joel taught, which was inspired by the idea of what advice Joel would give his two sons who recently entered the photography business. There's a ton of great tips here! 

In today's world of digital photography, all photographers are faced with the challenge of competition. Making yourself stand out is key. In this post from The Phoblographer, the impact great lighting can have on your business and your photography is discussed. 

There you have it! What are your favorite spots to get some photography knowledge and inspiration? Let us know on theLoop!

You might have heard, but the International Photographic Competition (IPC) was last week!

The results are in and they are GOOD! More images, more merit images, and WAY more images going loan. Way to go everyone! Here's an excerpt from our official press release below:


A panel of 45 eminent jurors from across the United States selected the top photographs from nearly 5,000 total entries from August 4-7 at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Judged against a standard of excellence, just over 1,800 images were selected for the General Collection and 918 (roughly 18 percent) were selected for the esteemed Loan Collection--the best of the best. The Loan Collection images will all be published in the much-anticipated "Loan Collection" book and over 200 selected General Collection images will be published in the "Showcase" book by Marathon Press.

Images accepted into the General and Loan Collections will also be on display at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee Feb. 1-3, 2015 during Imaging USA, the annual convention and expo for professional photographers. These images constitute one of the world's largest annual exhibits of professional photography gathered simultaneously under one roof.

Those who didn't earn merits this year didn't have to leave empty-handed. Critiques from the IPC judges were available upon request, and the judges completed roughly 1,800 during the competition. The critiques are offered as a way to help participants find areas of improvement and prepare for future photo competitions.

And for the first time, this year's IPC was streamed live online and 1,570 unique visitors from 13 countries tuned in over the four days. 643 of those weren't involved in this year's competition, showcasing the widespread curiosity in competition, but tentativeness to enter. This is something PPA hopes the live stream will help change.

"This was truly the biggest and best IPC yet," said IPC manager Rich Newell, M.Photog.Cr. "Those critiques must be working; we had about 250 more images go Loan this year. And we're thrilled with how many people viewed the live stream. We hope it showed all the non-participants who watched what truly goes on at competition. Hopefully they won't hesitate to enter next year!"

The IPC challenges photographers to grow their artistic and technical photography skills by creatively capturing and presenting their best images, and by doing so, improving their businesses.

 

Here are a few photos from the judging:

008.jpg

009.jpg

012.jpg

013.jpg

To view full results of the International Photographic Competition, visit PPA.com/IPC. And go ahead and start practicing for next year! Let's see those numbers soar even higher.

By Penn Hansa, PPA Intern

Jonathan Givens, CPP, isn't just a photographer.

For starters, he was a master carpenter for the Oprah Winfrey show who had never considered picking up a camera until Oprah herself suggested he take pictures of the sets he built for the show. Fast forward 11 years, and Givens is now a Certified Professional Photographer who has made a business out of taking pictures of the thing he loves - entertainment.

Givens grew up as an actor, dancer and singer. He first performed when he was five years old, and was 12 when he had his first paid gig. Theater life was consuming, but Givens didn't want it any other way. "I didn't go to my high school graduation because I was in technical rehearsals for a show," he said. "Theater was always there for me. It was the place where I got to be silly and jump around, and do all the crazy things I wanted to do."

He was doing what he loved - until injuries set him back. He shattered an ankle during a show, and then his voice was "destroyed" by the steroids that were prescribed to help his vocal cords. But Givens couldn't stay away from the stage, and instead, moved his talents behind the scenes to work as a technician in 2001. Taking jobs here and there, Givens worked as a technical director for summer stock in upstate New York, and ran a youth camp for actors in Arizona where even he taught a young Emma Stone.

He made the move to Chicago and the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2003, where he won an Emmy in 2005 for Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design for Oprah's Pop Star Challenge, the host's own version of American Idol. When he built a set for Destiny's Child's appearance on the show, complete with smoke rolling over a moving sidewalk for the singers to walk in time to the beat of "Lose My Breath," he knew he should take pictures of his work. "It was hours of preparation and $80,000 worth of work and materials for only 10 seconds of airtime," Givens said. "I needed some way to document what I was doing, so I wasn't just throwing the set away."

Hanging out in Portugal2.JPG

Other highlights of his career include working with Cirque du Soleil in 2006 as head carpenter of the show Alegria on their European tour. He also did rigging on major motion pictures like Iron Man 3 and Rock of Ages and at Univision Studios. In photographing the sets he was building, he began taking pictures of the entertainers he was working with and found that people were much more fun to take pictures of than set pieces. He started his own studio in Miami, Entertainment Photography Specialists, and joined PPA in 2012.

"I didn't want to be just another guy with a camera, which is why I joined and got certified. There are a thousand photographers out there, and tons of people who try to do the work that I do. PPA membership sets me apart from the rest," he said.

He attributes his success as an entertainment photographer to his background as an entertainer and technician, and notes that it's allowed him to capture some unique pictures. As a certified rigger, he was able to set an aerial dancer under a bridge in Portugal, with the 5:30 a.m. sunrise and a lighthouse in the background. "It's definitely different from being just a portrait photographer because I have to set up all the rigging," he said. "It's a logical challenge setting up the images."

What also helps are the emotions he recognizes in the performers, passions that he can empathize with having once had them himself. "I don't get my subjects posing - they are doing what they enjoy, and I take pictures of that. I can see the passion behind what the performer does, from the performer's point of view. When the dancer loses herself in the dance, I click the shutter.

"I photograph what I know - entertainment. I'm not only thinking about the lighting, the composition or all the other technical aspects of photography, but I'm also considering how the image will promote the subject's career, or gain attention for the production," he said. "And that's what's made all the difference."

 

 

Written by IPC Guest Blogger, Christine Walsh-Newton
Blog was originally posted on August 7, 2014

Whew! Was that a roller-coaster ride, or what? IPC 2014 exploded on the scene with a bang and will not be soon forgotten. The excitement of being able to view the judging live online added a whole new dimension to the competition this year! I'm happy, you're happy, we're all happy!

So... yes, I know there's still one more day to go, but some folks' judging has been completed and they're wondering what the next step is - so here are some things you'll want to know about.

1. Results - you should receive your results as the competition is ongoing. Texts are being sent to alert competitors that their image is in line to be judged as well as the results afterwards. If you didn't get signed up for the texts, you can still check how your images are doing by going to the live stream link (http://stream.theipc.org/) , logging in and checking the area that says "View My Images."

The final, official results will be available within several days of the end of IPC 2014 at the PPA website. In 2013, they were available about 1 day later and were posted at: IPC Results

The official results will list your name, the title of your image and the judging results. Results are noted as G, GB or L. G means that your image was accepted into the general collection and will receive 1 merit. GB means that your image was accepted into the general collection AND although it was judged for loan and did not receive a loan designation, a judge felt it was worthy of special recognition and it will be placed in the Showcase Book. More about that later. An L means that your image was judged as worthy of inclusion into the PPA Loan Collection and will receive an extra merit, for a total of 2 merits and will also be published in the Loan Book. More about that later, as well.

2. Bling - Did your name appear in the results four times? Well, happy, happy, joy, joy, you are pretty special! That means that all four of your entries received at least a merit and you are a medalist. You will receive a 4/4 pin suitable for framing... er... suitable for pinning onto your lapel, ID badge ribbon, or if you are degreed, placed upon your medallion ribbon to forever clank when you walk.

There are 5 different 4/4 pins depending on the number of merits & loans that you received:
Benchmark_August_Prize_250-final.jpg
For photographers with businesses new and old, the Benchmark Survey has been proven to help their businesses. Don't believe us? You heard from June's winner, Heather Sams, CPP, who started her own studio seven years ago. Now, meet A. Michael Fletcher, CPP, of Figge Photography in Newport Beach, California. His family's studio dates back to 1946.

"We're a family of photographers," Fletcher said. "Two master photographers founded our studio, and though we lapsed as members for a spell, we rejoined PPA in 2008 and are so thankful that we did!"

PPA's Benchmark Survey is the industry's only complete financial snapshot and has been helping businesses get a better idea of where they stand and how they can improve their bottom line. Survey participants get a free side-by-side comparison of the results to their financial data. Plus, participants are automatically entered in the monthly giveaway for great prizes. This month, Fletcher won a $500 American Express gift card.

"The Benchmark Survey allows us to measure our success, ferret out our shortcomings and focus on creating solutions, not just for us but everyone who is a PPA member," Fletcher said. "We're proud to be included in this year's survey, and we can't wait for the results!"

Want to better your business and have a chance at winning August's prize - a $500 gift card to B&H? Go to PPA.com/Benchmark and participate!

It's Friday, which means we're back with our favorite photography blog posts of the week.
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for blog_roundup_graphic.jpg
 Check them out!

Here's a unique photographic copyright case! It all started when photographer David Slater had his camera grabbed by a monkey, and then it took a selfie. The photo later found its way to Wikipedia, and Slater demanded it removed on the grounds that it violated his copyright, which Wikipedia has refused to do. At first, Slater claimed that Wikipedia told him he didn't hold the copyright, the monkey did! Now, it appears that Wikipedia is claiming that nobody owns the copyright, because it was created by a "non-human animal". Either way, it's a fascinating look at copyright law!
 
Take a look at some photography history! In this short YouTube video by Bill Hammeck, the story of George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, and how he revolutionized photography is told. All photographers should find this interesting.

If you do aerial drone photography, abide by the national park rules and... please don't let this happen to you! Read the report from the Missoulian on how one photographer managed to create a scene at Yellowstone Park when his drone crashed into a hot spring. 

If you want to feel good about knowing how to properly care for your camera, take a look at this FAKE (really, don't do it!) camera cleaning tutorial PetaPixel found. We'd love to know who can make it all the way through the video without having a panic attack! 

All photographers are looking for ways to market their business, which is why we liked this post from Fstoppers. Check out 4 outside of the box marketing ideas that can cost you nothing. Free is always great! 

If you have trouble enhancing skin, check out these tips from Photofocus for retouching skin using Lightroom. 

You may have heard (or watched via the live stream) that the judging for PPA's International Photographic Competition took place this week. If this is your first year entering, or if you need a reminder on what happens now that judging is done, check out this blog post from PPA member Christine Walsh-Newton. She covers what the results mean, what honors you can earn, the loan collection book and more! It's a great overview of the whole post-judging process. 

All photographers should have a website to showcase their work to potential clients. Virtual Photography Studio provides 5 quick tips to keep in mind when building your portfolio website. 

Here's a way of taking photos we bet you've never seen before. Photographer Lia Giraud actually grows his photos using light-sensitive algae, and the results are pretty incredible. Check it out at DIY Photography. 

We end with a little inspiration for you. Check out photographer Kaitlin Kelly's unique infrared photography of famous landmarks. These places have been photographed many times before, but look totally unique using infrared. Along with her photos, PetaPixel also has an interview with Kelly where she discusses her process for creating these images. 

There you have it! What are your favorite spots to get some photography knowledge and inspiration? Let us know on theLoop!

A first-timer's account of the International Photographic Competition

 

By Penn Hansa, PPA Intern

I naïvely thought I had been at PPA long enough to know what to expect when we went to the International Photographic Competition - lots of images, seasoned judges sitting in a dim room deciding whether the image presented should merit and a solemn air of importance surrounding the entire event.

I was only half correct. IPC is much, much more.

It's an invaluable experience, a chance to learn from some of the most talented photographers in the industry and oddly enough, it feels like a family reunion -- if your family were made up of experienced IPC judges, that is.

"Do you want to see my granddaughter?" a judge asks, while waiting for the next round of judging to start. He pulls out his iPhone and flicks through the images before anyone replies.

"Only if I get to show you mine," another judge replies. "And then we can judge the images!" They all laugh.

But when the session starts, it's all business. In the digital room, the judges sit in twos or threes, and as an image comes on the screen in front of them, they'll review and tap in their vote on an iPod Touch. Oftentimes, they'll lean closer to the screen to see the image more closely, viewing it from different angles to make sure they haven't missed a pixel when considering it.

A common misconception about IPC is that the judges will favor images that suit their style. Because they score in a matter of seconds, it seems easy to believe it. But when a judge challenges an image, it's all laid out on the table and it's clear to see that their deliberation is intense. They'll each speak at length about why they favor an image to merit or what fell short, citing the 12 elements of a merit image

"It's not about the treatment of an image, and whether I like it or not," said Allison Watkins, M.Photog.Cr., CPP. "I have to put my preferences aside to see the image impartially."

I wanted to see more of the thought process behind the deliberation, so I headed to the critique rooms, where judges offer their thoughts and constructive criticism about the image. For each image that is being critiqued, the judge will talk about the image as a whole, explaining their stream of thought as they look at it, including both the positive and the negative. It's a real learning experience to see exactly what makes an image merit and truly invaluable.

I settled behind Gregg Wurtzler, M.Photog.Cr., as he critiqued a few images, and then pulled up a new one. Wurtzler has 14 years of judging and critiquing images under his belt.

"What do you think about this one?" he asked me as he made his initial assessment.

I tried to keep in mind what I had learned about the 12 elements from watching earlier judging and critiques, but was drawing a blank. I liked the image, but something about it seemed off, and I couldn't place my finger on the correct term.

He just chuckled at my confusion and started his critique, first complimenting the photographer on his choice of subject and capturing the right moment, then describing how the photographer could have improved his composition, to notice the placing of the subject's hands and the busy background that was detracting from him.

"At first, it's sometimes difficult to look at the image and have to guess why the judges didn't merit it," Wurtzler said after he finished the critique. "But we've all been doing this long enough that we can usually pinpoint what it is."

Later, I sat behind Mark Garber, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, who has helped thousands of photographers with his critiques.

For any photographer who hasn't entered competitions, take this as an incentive: Garber is a huge advocate, and made a point to encourage all the photographers in his critiques to keep entering their images.

"Competition is quickest way to improve photographic skills," he said. "Every photographer has had images that didn't merit, so don't be discouraged when it happens to you."  

Convinced of the fun and invaluable experience IPC is yet? Find out more about entering your images, becoming a PPA-approved juror and other competitions at PPA.com/IPC.

 



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

Live Chat is closed