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PPA Today

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!
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! 

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