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by James Yates

Here comes summer! Before you head out to the beach, have you made sure you're still on track with your business and creative goals for the year? Take a moment to check in on theLoop for some education and inspiration from your fellow photographers! Here's a roundup of the top theLoop discussions from the month of May. 

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Advice on Nikon F/4 zoom lens vs F/2.8

A new member wants advice on which lens to use. Are the heavier, more expensive options the way to go? Lots of advice given on this thread!

More Lens Advice: Sigma or Nikon?

A wedding and portrait photographer needs advice on lens options. Let's see what the Loopers had to say in this thread. 

Fast Recycle Flash/Strobe for Portable Use

A mountain biking-event photographer wants Loopers thoughts on options for something small and quick enough to pack into the woods. Lots of good advice here! 

Thumbtack? 

There's another long thread discussing the merits (or lack thereof) of Thumbtack. See what your fellow Loopers have to say about the consumer service website. 

Windows 10 Upgrade

Did anyone experience compatibility issues when upgrading to Windows 10? Long discussion on the subject found here! 

Need Recommendations for Anti-Theft Camera Straps

theLoop is a much better place to get product advice than those random Amazon reviews! This photographer is traveling to Italy and needs to know which camera strap will keep her protected. 

Variable ND Filter

One Looper asks: "Here's the conundrum: is there a well built, good quality and pretty accurate ND filter (preferably variable) that doesn't sacrifice image quality?" Read the feedback on this thread. 

Remember to check out theLoop, a safe and protected online community where PPA members can discuss a range of photography topics. Not a PPA member? Join here!


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James Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL.

by James Yates
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It's time to alert your non-PPA member friends. Each month, one PPAedu video is unlocked for everyone to enjoy, because we believe in spreading the wealth of education that PPA members have at their fingertips! The PPAedu library has a lot to help you sharpen your photography techniques, marketing strategies, sales techniques and business operations. These tutorials and educational videos are available 24/7 at no cost as a benefit to PPA members. Between PPAedu and PhotoVision, you can tap into over a thousand programs to help you Be More! If you haven't checked out PhotoVision, take a look. There's a new website with a slew of new episodes!

For the month of June, the video Photoshop: Retouching for Beauty with PPA Instructor Jen Hillenga, M.Photog.Cr. has been unlocked. In this video, Jen teaches you how to enhance your subject's beauty, using some quick and easy Photoshop tricks. You'll first go through the options you have with Photoshop, like controlling exposure, color, crop and vignette. Then Jen will take you through the steps to use so that you don't go overboard or lose the integrity of your images. Drilling down into specific tools, you will explore vignette creation and blemish removal, using the history brush, adding shadows to naturally enhance, and applying selective blurring techniques for extra effects. In her easy and effective way, Jen breaks this down so that you can take your images from beautiful to breathtaking!

If you're already a member of PPA, just log in anytime to watch the video. This video is unlocked for non-members, this month only, at PPA.com/TryEdu. For full access to PPAedu and PhotoVision programs, join PPA today!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for James.JPGJames Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL.


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Thumbnail image for iStock_money bag.jpgJust a friendly reminder! PPA members get amazing discounts and special offers from a slew of companies. It's all meant to save you money on the products and services you use most.

Hurry! There are offers from DriveSavers, Manfrotto, Profoto, H&H Color Labs and Pounds Labs that are expiring soon! Be sure to use them while you can and keep the Special Offers page bookmarked so you don't forget the deals.

Member Perks & Savings are just more of the ways PPA helps you Be More Savvy. 


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By Sarah Ackerman

As you expand your photography business, you don't know what you don't know. Asking questions on theLoop to expand your knowledge is a great place to start to learn about any area of photography! With 29,000+ PPA members behind you, there's bound to be someone who has been in your shoes and can offer a word of support or advice.

This month, we're highlighting the thread concerning fast recycle flash or strobes for portable use. Check out what your fellow Loopers had to say:

James Corbett: I shoot mountain biking events and use my Canon Speedlite 580EX II off camera in high speed sync mode with an external battery pack. Perhaps because of the overly dreary day this past Saturday and my position in a stream valley, the typically speedy flash cycle time was impaired. I think because of the need for maximum output every shot. This caused me to miss more than the typical trailing racers.  Any thoughts on options for something small and quick enough to pack into the woods?

John Lee, CPP: What's your budget?  If you want to use multiple speed lights, then you can bring each one to a lower power that'll increase your flash duration.  You can also use the HSS that'll kill the power output and battery life, but you're freezing with your shutter instead of the flash duration.  You're not freezing with your flash duration if there's too much ambient light, by the way.

To eliminate all of this,, I would suggest the elinchrom ELB 400 unit with the Hi-sync flash heads (you'll have to buy a remote for this that'll enable you to use Hi-sync technology though).

You can also use the profoto b2 for its HSS tech (also need a remote).  By spec, it's less power than the Elinchrom though.

The profoto B1 also has the HSS feature and it's 500 w/s.  With the right modifier (profoto magnum) you generally will not have a problem with the ambient light.  Or you can just use the HSS feature along with its remote.  Only drawback with the B1 iss you'll need a "beefy". nightstand for it, especially if you're placing it high and outside.  Definitely need sandbags also. The other 2 options, although a "beefy" nightstand is great, but the flash heads weigh nothing so it's not absolutely required, just sandbags.

by James Yates
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Your PPA membership comes loaded with several educational opportunities to keep you competitive and on the forefront of modern professional photography. One of the greatest ways to set yourself apart from the competition, if you haven't already, is to GET CERTIFIED!
Becoming a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) through PPA gives you more than just the CPP behind your name, it makes an impact on your career.

One of PPA's favorite podcasts, The PhotoTellers, recently sat and talked with your very own Director of Certification, Julia Boyd for a conversation all about the program. In this episode, Julia and co-hosts Bill Ramsey and Cris Duncan discuss:

•    What does it mean to be "Certified Professional Photographer?" Why does it matter?
•    "Photography is the subjective use of an objective craft." -Cris Duncan
•    What are the steps to become Certified?
•    What are the objective metrics that distinguish between a Certified & non-certified photographer? How is this used in marketing? How will PPA help you leverage this distinction?
•    To the Photographer who says, "I don't need Certification! I'm doing great work without it." What will you gain through the process?

Give it a listen here. And, while you're at it, check out the other fantastic podcasts from the PhotoTellers team and the Fireside Network. If you'd like to learn more about the Certification process, head on over to PPA.com/CPP.

Certification is one very important way that PPA helps you Be More Successful!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for James.JPGJames Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL.

By James YatesThumbnail image for 12493842_10153526507464051_5550446508218490223_o.jpg

Are you ready?! We thought so. Registration for Imaging USA, PPA's annual photography convention and expo, is now open at ImagingUSA.org/Register!

Imaging USA 2016 was a huge success, with more than 10,000 industry professionals taking over downtown Atlanta last January. Check out the photos, videos and blogs detailing what was an amazing three days of photography business education and inspiration as well as exclusive tradeshow shopping. Now, by popular demand, your friends at PPA have worked to enable registration earlier than ever before for Imaging USA 2017, held January 8 to 10 in San Antonio, Texas at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

You'll be 'Livin' La Vida Lone Star' next year when you attend the largest concentration of photographic talent gathered under one roof. Since everything's bigger in Texas, the Imaging Expo will feature more than 600 booths, live presentations and hands-on demonstrations of new photo-related products by some of the most respected companies in the industry. Imaging USA's renowned educational classes are geared to improve a photographer's business skills, photographic repertoire and use of technologies. There will also be a special keynote address from a special to-be-announced speaker, an extensive photographic display of the International Photographic Competition collection, mentoring opportunities, portfolio reviews, several all-inclusive parties and much more.

This early-bird registration is only $199. Yep, that's for all three days of photography awesomeness. Tell your friends if they're not a member, because attendance to one's first Imaging USA is FREE as a perk for new members! There are many different ways to experience Imaging USA, including but not limited to the full conference, a full conference plus pre-conference courses option and Expo only. Visit ImagingUSA.org for complete registration information and pricing options. And keep checking back for updates to the event schedule.
 
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for James.JPGJames Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL.
By James Yates
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As a member of PPA, you've got a virtual suit-of-armor surrounding you. It's the PPA Shield, and it has you covered on all sides.

That's (one of the) the advantages of belonging to an organization that's had photographers backs and that helps you be more profitable. PPA's protection benefits include various forms of insurance, advocacy and education:

•    Up to $15,000 of PhotoCare Equipment Insurance

•    Malpractice, Negligence & Data Loss Protection (PPA's Indemnification Trust)

•    Up to $2 million in General Liability Coverage

•    Copyright Kit, Copyright Infringement Tool, & Advocacy Updates 

•    Drone (UAS) News & Updates

When stuff hits the fan, and it always, inevitably does, professional photographers know that they have a strong shield protecting them with their PPA membership. The three forms of photographic insurance combine to keep you fully protected no matter what the situation. If you break your camera or it's stolen from your car? Be sure you've activated your PhotoCare! Have an unsatisfied client or did you lose all the data on your hard drive? PPA's Indemnification Trust is like malpractice protection for professional photographers. Did someone get hurt or something get destroyed on your shoot? General Liability Coverage can handle that.

You also need a way to cut through the clutter surrounding legal issues and PPA has positioned itself as the top authority on all things Drone and Copyright-related. For instance, did you know that it is only currently legal to operate a drone as a hobbyist? If you're using your drone for commercial or civil use, you must have an FAA exemption and a pilot's license. Didn't know that? It's just one more way PPA wants to keep you informed, in order to keep you legally protected. PPA consistently brings you updates from the FAA, and lobbies for the relaxing of commercial-drone-use. This summer should bring the changes we've been waiting for. Head over to PPA.com/Drones for all the latest details.

Stay up-to-date on all the progress PPA is making on Copyright issues and the implementation of new copyright law at PPA.com/Advocacy. Feel like you've been infringed upon or had your works of art stolen? PPA will protect you with our Copyright Kit and new self-assessment tool at PPA.com/Copyright. The new tool is a great way to learn how to proceed if you feel your photos have been lifted. It's easy to use, quick and painless...because having your work stolen is painful enough!

The next time you're feeling vulnerable or overwhelmed by everything life can throw at a small business owner, lean on your PPA membership and feel secure. Let PPA Be Your Shield! Find out how you and your photography business can Be More Protected with PPA! PPA.com/Protection.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for James.JPGJames Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL.


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By Sarah Ackerman

As you expand your photography business, you don't know what you don't know. Asking questions on theLoop to expand your knowledge is a great place to start to learn about any area of photography! With 29,000+ PPA members behind you, there's bound to be someone who has been in your shoes and can offer a word of support or advice. 

This month, we're highlighting the thread concerning skyline images, specifically how to reduce the noise in them. Check out what your fellow Loopers had to say and the beautiful images their advice helped create (complete with before and after shots): 

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Jonathan Andreas: Hello! I currently travel for work and aside from my day job I make it a point to get out and shoot skylines when I am in bigger cities. Most of the time I shoot around dusk and during the night. Typically I am shooting with a ISO of 100 and as slow of a shutter as I can with a f/22 (canon 5d mark III, 24-70 f/2.8) I just started using live view and manually focusing as well- I am just looking for some tips for how to reduce my noise during the low light shots as well as some post production tips. Thanks! -Jon 

Thomas Viceconte: Are you using long exposure noise reduction in-camera? Is there a specific reason you're using f/22 for all the images? How are you processing the files in post?

Jonathan Andreas: Thanks for responding Thomas, I did not know there was an option for noise reduction in camera. I will apply that and check it out the results. I have been shooting f/22 just so I could use a long exposer. Are there negatives to using f/22? 

Eugene Lugo: Shooting at F22 will cost you some sharpness due to diffraction. I would suggest using a neutral density filter and a larger aperture if you can do that and still have enough depth of field.

Jonathan Andreas: Got it, I didn't know that. I'll try the larger aperture and look into the filter. I have been using iPhoto to process my images. Once I get home in May, I will be able to use CS6 to process my images.

Leroy Moore: Jonathan, in-camera noise reduction takes two photos. It takes your photo, then closes the shutter and takes another.  So, if you are shooting a 3 minute shot, you lose another 3 minutes while the camera takes a dark frame.  It then subtracts the noise produced in the dark frame from your original image.  It's slower and sometimes works well, depending...  You set this up in your camera's menu system.

Suggestions:  DXO Viewpoint 2 is not very expensive and can be used to correct the optical distortion you are getting. 

Fair noise reduction software includes Lightroom and some techniques with Photoshop.  Topaz labs makes a great and inexpensive de-noising software called DeNoise.

But if you want to sell large copies of these great photos, your best noise reduction that can be had is by DXO Optics Pro labs.  It also converts raw files and is a stand-alone program.  The Prime de-noising algorithms of this software are currently the best available at removing noise, but leaving detail.  I am not sure, but I think buying the bigger program may come with the Viewpoint software included.

Have fun shooting...

Jonathan Andreas: Leroy, I appreciate the feedback, I'll take a look at the programs. For future photographs do you think the neutral density filter is the way to go? Thanks!

Kevin OConnell: I shoot mostly all long exposure and paint with light. I would suggest you try shooting different f-stops as well. See how more brilliant the light is at say f13. You will see a difference in the two scapes. Also find the sweet spot of your lens for optimum detail. Very easy to do with tutorials on youtube. You probably already know to shoot during the Blue hour for the best looking skyline shots, if not try that as well. 

Tim Gray: Another thing to consider is the higher aperture numbers create the nice star-burst flare effects from direct lights (ex: the streetlights on the bridge). The trade-off is that your lens provides sharper focus and less edge distortions at the middle f-stops (f/8 - f/13).

As for the noise reduction, are you shooting RAW or JPEG? If you are shooting in RAW, then noise reduction is not applied in camera. I have not done comparisons shooting RAW with long exposure NR setting but my guess is that would only be applied for JPEG. Has anyone else tested this for RAW images?

Thomas Viceconte: You're welcome, Jonathan. In addition to all the excellent recommendations from others, you can try applying the digital lens optimizer (DLO) in Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software that comes with your camera. You can download the software from the Canon web site. DLO reduces lens aberrations and diffraction. It would be interesting to see what it does with the images that you posted. If I apply DLO to an image in DPP, I set the sharpness/unsharp mask to 0 before using DLO and make no other adjustments in DPP. I then export the file as a 16 bit TIFF and process the file in Lightroom/Photoshop. It's not needed for every image, but if you're using the extremes of a lens, it might help improve the image quality. I used this process on the attached image that I took handheld at ISO 1600. It's not perfect, but if you look in the dark areas of the image I think the noise is minimal.

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Jonathan Andreas: I attached the before and after canon photo professional, just from tweaking it really quick it is a huge difference! 

What would you add to this conversation? Chime in on theLoop or ask your own question! If you're thinking it, chances are so are your peers! Not a PPA  member, join today at ppa.com/join and access the thriving community of theLoop.



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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 



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By Sarah Ackerman

Second quarter is off to a roaring start! Are you still on track with your business and creative goals for the year? Take a moment to check in on theLoop for some education and inspiration from your fellow photographers!

Drones are all the rage, but did you know if you're using it for more than just hobbyist use, it's probably illegal? Take a moment and catch up with the current FAA recommendations and PPA's take on them.

Are you in the market of senior photography? What are your favorite and most profitable products? Whether you have years of experience or you're just looking to expand into this market, this is a great read!

If you're a photographer on the go, portable backdrops give you a great way to take your studio on the move! But with so many options, where should you invest your money? See what your fellow Loopers had to say!

As a new business owner, there are a lot of questions that pop up and getting advice from experts is always great. But do you need to consult a lawyer and pay pricey fees before you get started? Weigh in to help this new business owner out!

First, no need to apologize for asking questions on theLoop! That's what it's there for! In this thread, help your fellow photographer on common questions on flash. 

Location photography means needing to have the majority of your resources at your fingertips. What hardware and software do you consider must-haves in this situation? Weigh in on this thread!

Most photographers are comfortable printing their work to a reasonable size, but billboards? That's a new animal! Help this photographer with what size image she'll need to make it happen!

Calling all search engine optimization (SEO) pros! If you redo your website, does it undo all of your past SEO? Demystify the world of Google and other search engines in this active thread!

When photographing outdoors, you're battling a pretty powerful light source with the sun. What are some great lights to combat the sun? 

Remember to check out theLoop, a safe and protected online community where PPA members can discuss a range of photography topics. Not a PPA member? Join here!

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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 



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By Sarah Ackerman

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Not only is Professional Photographer magazine's new website offering 30 Days of Giveaways (get in on those if you haven't already!), but it also boasts a new gallery of phenomenal work by talented photographers. The article "Flight of Fancy" by Amanda Arnold highlights the innovative and exceptionally creative composites of Matthias Jung's Surreal Houses series, for example. 

In this series, Matthias creates floating houses over beautiful natural landscapes. Can't picture it? Don't fret, the new website has a beautiful gallery highlighting some of Matthias' finest work. Check it out! 

And while you're there, enter the 30 Days of Giveaways! From free licenses from top software companies to great gift cards to some of your favorite labs! Get in before they're gone!

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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the PPA Benefits category.

PPA Affiliates is the previous category.

PPA Charities is the next category.

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