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By Chris Homer

With Halloween coming up tomorrow, the PPA staff and I want to encourage you to get in the spirit! With that in mind, we've started a thread on theLoop where we'd love to hear some of your spookiest moments as a photographer. To get you started, here are two photography horror stories posted to the thread already that are truly Goosebumps-worthy material: 

"I had an appointment to take a family portrait at an out of town church. Nothing new there, I figured it would be the typical family reunion, anniversary, whatever. But, when I got there the whole family gathered around Grandpa Jim who was lying in his casket at his own funeral. They even propped him up so he could be seen better. WEIRD FAMILY." - David Nelson, King Photography Studio, Jamestown, ND

"While working for a local newspaper I had to cover a Native American prayer event. Just as they began to pray I raised my camera to take just one image and one of the tribe's elders looked right at me and shook his head in disagreement to me taking any images during the prayer. I took that one shot anyway (it was my job) and by the time I walked back to my car and checked the images on the camera monitor they were gone! I couldn't see them on the rearview monitor of the camera and when I got back to the newsroom I couldn't open the files. Was I spooked? You bet I was." - Paul Robinson, Paul S. Robinson Photography, Uxbridge, MA

Can you add to or maybe even top these stories? Head on over to this thread on theLoop and share your spooky photographer story! Your experience may even appear in a future PPA Today newsletter.
 
Don't forget - theLoop is the online community just for PPA photographers! Here you can share ideas and worries, and discuss sensitive topics like customer service, demanding clients and more, all without the fear of a client looking over your shoulder. Want to be part of theLoop? Join PPA today! 


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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. 
By Chris Homer

We're back at it again with our favorite photography blog posts from around the web! Check
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 them out:

PHOTO COMPETITION MENTORING: PPA member Christine Walsh-Newton, M.Photog.Cr.,CPP, is back in the roundup this week with an article in Southern Exposure. This time, Christine recounts her experience mentoring new photographers at the 2014 International Photographic Competition. Christine talks about how being a mentor is not nearly as difficult as you might think, and how even doing something small to help another photographer can make a big difference. With District Photographic Competitions coming up, take a look and see if it inspires you to become a mentor!

PLAIN FUN: Our new favorite reality show is back with their next episode! Photo Throwdown pits 2 photographers against each other in a series of challenges. We find it quite entertaining! In this episode, photographer Dan Hughes and Levy Moroshon go head to head in San Diego. And check out the first episode, featuring PPA photographer (and PPAedu instructor!) Jennifer Rozenbaum, too.
 
GEAR N' STUFF: If you're in need of an IR remote for your DSLR, you'll want to read this post from PetaPixel before you go out and buy one. ShutterBOT is a free app for Android phones that turns your phone into a universal IR DSLR Remote that works with most of the DSLR cameras out there. 

INSPIRATION: Photographer and past Imaging USA instructor Benjamin Von Wong recently did a photo shoot for SmugMug where he turned the company's employees into pro athletes for inspiring photos hung around the company's gym. The results are impressive, even more so when you consider Benjamin did it all with a $20 budget and just a few lights. It just goes to show how far creativity can take you. Check out the video and get inspired! 

PORTRAIT TIPS: In this post for PhotoFocus, Scott Bourne shares his tips for creating great headshots. If you do portrait photography, you may find some best practices to utilize here! It might even inspire you to write your own tips... share them with us!

INSPIRATION: Each year, Nikon hosts the Small World Micrography Competition, where photographers submit images of things only visible under a microscope. In Focus has a collection of photos from this year's competition. If you do this type of photography, you won't want to miss these photos!
 
SHOT LIST TIPS: If you're thinking of getting into the corporate event market, check out this post from Digital Photography School. You'll find some good tips for building a shot list, as well as some advice on the types of photographs to avoid. 

PSD TUTORIAL: With the holidays rapidly approaching, chances are you're starting to get requests for family photos for Christmas cards. If you'd like to give your clients a winter backdrop, but don't have any snow, this tutorial from the Photography and Video blog can give you some advice on how to create a winter scene using Photoshop.
 
TIPS & INSPIRATION: Renowned photographer David Ziser shares five of his favorite photography techniques in this post on his Digital Pro Talk blog, complete with examples from a recent trip to Valencia, Spain. You may be inspired to grab your camera and try out these techniques yourself!

NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY: If you photograph babies, you know how stressful these sessions can be. Virtual Photography Studio provides some advice for keeping both babies and moms relaxed for the best photo session possible.

There it is! Your top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!

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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. 
Ana Brandt, newborn and maternity photographer extraordinaire, stopped by theLoop this weekbrandt_ana_ama.jpg for an AMA! Quickly becoming a fan favorite, PPA's AMA series allows photographers the chance to engage with Imaging USA speakers in conversation and literally ask them anything. Some of the topics covered in this AMA include Ana's origins in the industry, what inspires her, and how she manages to work with newborns so effectively. If you missed out on the full conversation, you can check out her full AMA on theLoop

If you missed out on the live AMA it's all good! Here are a few of our favorite highlights:

1. "Once I pass the two hour mark, newborns start another cycle of feeding, pooping and peeing, which goes on to 3 hours, etc. etc." 
2. "Growing up, my Mom used to come home with bags of things to make wreaths or other items. Time after time I would see her empty a craft bag of random things and whip out a handmade wreath or flower arrangement. Now I find myself doing the same thing." 
3. "I love to create things I can't see. All too often we get wrapped up in our own expectations. The best inspiration is to release your own expectation and let the creativity flow."

Don't forget to register for Imaging USA and stop by for Ana's class--The Art and Business of Pregnancy and Newborn Photography! Registration information for Imaging USA is available at imagingusa.org/register.

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Check out 10 of our favorite photography articles from across the web in this week's edition of the Round Up. (Star Wars is mentioned twice, it's a special week).

INSPIRATION:  Sometimes it is what we can't see that separates us from the rest. In this article about famous French photographer Marc Riboud, we gain access to a sliver of insight into the amazing career of one of history's greatest cataloguers.

GEAR: It's okay to occasionally bust out that old SLR film camera! There is something very romantic and satisfying about shooting film. In this video the folks over at DigitalRevTV count down their picks for the five best film cameras money can buy for under $1000.

FOR FUN: Soooo this is one of the coolest things we've seen in a while. What happens when you stick a bunch of Star Wars geeks in the woods with some drones and cameras? Pod racing of course!

TUTORIAL: In this article, photographer Joe McNally talks about how he chooses what light to use on different faces. From aggressive, weather torn looks, to younger, softer faces-- this is a great one for all the portrait photographers out there.

VACATION ADVICE: Getting away from the office is often times crucial to both the success of your company and to your sanity. This article breaks down a great plan for how you can vacation without feeling guilty and without letting your business deteriorate while you're gone. 

WORKFLOW: If you're like us you use social media a lot. Like a lot, a lot. As a photographer it's become a necessity to maintain your business' presence online. So if you're as big of nerds as we are, (and we know you are) you're going to love this--you can now schedule Instagram posts with Latergramme! Check it out at the jump.

FOR FUN: Two Star Wars posts in one day! They must have put something in the coffee over here at PPA headquarters. Remember when I said that the Star Wars pod racing drones were the coolest things I'd seen in a long time? Yeah I changed my mind. THIS IS AMAZING! Thomas Dagg makes creative use of Photoshop, everyday locations, and Star Wars to amazing effect. 

WORKSHOP: Still on the fence about PPA's Super 1 Day? PPA photographer Susan Gertz wrote a brief synopsis on how awesome her experience with Christine Walsh-Newton was. Be sure to check it out!

INSPIRATION: Jenna Garrett captured her mother, who suffers from mental illness, in stark (and often brutal) detail throughout this five year photo-shoot. It's an honest and beautiful look at a relationship filled with as much love as there is volatility. 

BUSINESS: The LawTog makes another appearance this week as Rachel breaks down some of the big mistakes a lot of photographers make that are easily avoidable. Check the jump to find out how you can improve your business in just a few simple steps!

There it is! Your top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!

If you haven't had a chance to browse your favorite photography blogs this week, fear not,
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 we're back with our 10 favorite posts of the week!

REAL-LIFE STORY: Every now and then, we like to brag about how awesome PPA is, but it means a ton more when word-of-mouth does its thing and when a photographer tells others why they belong to PPA. This piece is unprompted (promise!) and is Jessica Williams' experience and views. She'll also take you behind the scenes of a recent video shoot she was a part of and FYI, that video will be available soon on PPA's Facebook and YouTube pages. Check out her blog, because something tells us more than a few of you will be able to relate!

JUST FOR FUN: If you're a wildlife photographer, you'll get a laugh at this video from photographer Tony Northrup. It's a humorous look at the things that disrupt wildlife photographers while they're trying to capture that perfect shot. How many of these things have happened to you?

INSPIRATION: This week, PetaPixel features photographer Wolfgang Hildebrand and his unique composite photography of city streets. Check out a collection of his photos and learn more about his process in this post. You may be inspired to try it yourself! 

WORKFLOW: When editing your images in Photoshop, it can be easy to get set in your own processes and miss some areas that need to be touched up. That's why we liked this post on PhotoFocus. It covers five Photoshop tools that you should use when editing. It's a good reminder for yourself before you start your next round of editing. 

TUTORIAL:  If you use Capture One Pro software to retouch your portraits, you don't want to miss this video from Fstoppers. Photographer Michael Woloszynowicz walks you through the steps he uses to get the most out retouching with Capture One Pro. 

ADVICE: If you do landscape photography, check out this recent Podcast from Improve Photography. Tips covering everything from dealing with weather to equipment to shooting are covered. You may find some good advice here that you didn't think of before!
 
INSPIRATION: This post from Strobist will remind you that there are great background opportunities for photos everywhere! Photographer Ben Lurye shows how he uses a bridge abutment as a background for portraits with great success.

BUSINESS: You've probably been in a situation where a client asked you for your RAW files. This post on the Phoblographer dives into why photographers don't feel comfortable giving those files out as well as some (handy) ways to explain to clients why they can't have them! 

ADVICE: If you've ever entered PPA's International Photographic Competition, you know that story telling is one of the 12 elements on which your photograph is judged. If you want to learn how to add more of a story telling style to your images, the advice on this post from Digital Photography School is a great place to start! 

HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Some of you might have caught the new LEICA commercial that features reenactments of some very iconic images through the years. LEICA hasn't been around nearly as long as PPA (they're celebrating their 100th anniversary while we're on our 145th!) yet this commercial is a clever way to go over 100 years of photography and image making. How many were you able to recognize? It's amazing to see how these images still managed to go viral way before the internet era. 

There it is! Your top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!
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Oh hi there, October! When did you get here?! If you've been running around like crazy, here's our top 10 favorite blog posts from this week you might enjoy. 

NEW BENEFIT FOR PPA MEMBERS: Very, very Low Credit Card Processing Fees
Exciting news! PPA has partnered with Bank of America to help you keep more money in your pocket by offering crazy low credit card processing fees, only for PPA photographers. These new rates are locked in and are so low, they could literally save you thousands (hundreds for sure, thousands most likely!). Read up on this one! This can be an easy way to help you be more profitable right away!


WOW-WORTHY PHOTOS: The folks at Photography Talk get you in a wintery mood with these 20 beautiful images from the Antarctica! You might want to grab a cup of tea first-- it's about to get chilly.


NEW PHOTOGRAPHY LAUGHS: This blog from Missy Mwac was too much fun not to share. We understand we all have to start somewhere, but these 10 stereotypes are pretty darn accurate. Which one did you fall into when you first started? 


MENTAL HEALTH: How do you handle it when you're overwhelmed? It's a feeling that ironically enough can halt all productivity and cause even the most efficient and creative photographers to spin in circles. Jeffrey Shaw, Cr.Photog. has some interesting ways to combat this phenomenon. Check them out here on Huffington Post! 


PUSHING BOUNDRIES: Some people always have to push it to the limits, and for that, we thank them. DJI's Eric Cheng recently went to Iceland to capture the eruption of a volcano. As he arrived, he captured a variety of beautiful wide angle shots, but he wanted more. Despite not being able to get within a mile of the mountain, he still managed to melt the face off his drone mounted GoPro! You have to see these amazing images and videos:


LEGAL TOOLS: Photographers can always use a little help in the legal department, and that's where the Law Tog, Rachel Brenke steps in. She's compiled a list of free resources to help you through every step of the sales process! Check them out here and be more protected!


LEARNING CURVE: Want to learn how to master some easy curve adjustments in Photoshop? The Digital Photography School has just the answers for you! Check out their fantastic tutorial here.

COMMON SENSE: It should be common sense, but it's nice to have a refresher every once in a while. To quote Moose Peterson, wildlife photographer extraordinaire, "No image is worth sacrificing the welfare of the subject!" It's easy to forget sometimes, in the effort to capture the perfect shot, but check out this article from PetaPixel for a sobering reminder. 


BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE: The fine folks over at Digital Photography School understand most people like cute, fluffy creatures. You can even love taking images of those cute, fluffy animals, but does that mean you should open up a business doing it? Here are their five things to consider before you open up shop.


MUSIC TO MOVE YOU: How do you rock out in your studio while you're editing? Photo Jojo has their top songs that will definitely inspire sweet dance moves and hopefully some creative work too!


There it is! Your top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!

September was a busy month on theLoop! Check out some of our favorite discussions below:

When you finish a photo shoot, how do you know which photos to keep, and which ones to delete? Members share various tactics they use to tackle this tricky situation. 

If you're thinking of offering metal prints to your clients, be sure to check out this thread first! Members share their favorite companies for metal print production. 

Being out on a photo shoot can take a toll on your body! Check out these tips on keeping healthy and injury-free while you're on the job. 

If you're looking for a good print lab, or thinking of switching to a new one, you'll find lots of useful advice and points you should consider when choosing a print lab in this discussion!

Do you define your photography by a certain style? Members share their thoughts on developing style and what they think their own personal style is. Don't miss this interesting thread! 

If you photograph handicapped children, or have been offered this type of work, you'll find some fantastic advice for how to handle posing. You'll get lots of great ideas and advice in this post. 

This discussion deals with a common problem photographers face: getting prints back from the lab that look dramatically different than they did on your computer screen. Your monitor calibration could be the problem. If you have this problem, take a look. Your fellow photographers have great tips for calibrating different monitors, and if you can't find yours being discussed, there's a good chance you can post the make and model and find an answer! 

If you've ever dealt with someone wanting rights to an image that wasn't initially included in your agreement with them, this is the discussion for you! Find out how to draft an agreement that meets both of your needs through this post, and don't forget that you always have access to PPA's Copyright Resources for more advice. 

If you shoot on location, you know that transporting your gear can be a pain. Learn different methods that have worked for other PPA members in this discussion. 

Don't forget, theLoop is PPA's safe and secure online community where members can discuss various photography topics! Not a PPA member? It's easy: join today!
Welcome to the end of your week! Hooray! You did it! Since you were probably out running around, being extremely productive and profitable, we wanted to round up our favorite photography-related posts from around the internet for you! 

COMPETITION: Photo Throwdown is an online series that pitches two pros against each other with photo challenges. It's education, entertaining and you get to see some of the industry's best in some weird situations. Check out this week's episode with Jen Rozenbaum versus Chris Fain (and cast your vote for who you think did the best job)!

INSPIRATION: If you love nature photography, you will enjoy the top 10 photographs from the Zoological Society of London's annual competition. The winning images will be on display in a special exhibit in the London Zoo! It might even inspire you to go explore this weekend and see what you can find!

BAD BUSINESS: File this one under "bad business practices" - see how this California Attorney made it seem like she was hob-knobbing with the likes of Morgan Freeman, Donald Trump, Ellen DeGeneres and so many more with the help of Photoshop! There hasn't been any news of copyright infringement on this case yet, but we wouldn't be surprised if that was coming down the line. Lesson learned: Photoshop can be used for both good & evil.

JUST FOR FUN: American photographer Sandro Miller partnered with John Malkovich to recreate some of the most famous portraits captured throughout history. The project is aptly titled, "Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to photographic masters." Check out some of the highlights here. 

COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT: Get a first-hand take on how copyright infringement impacts photographers on a day to day basis. Alex Wild walks you through the battle between copyright and the internet and why the thinks the internet won. (Don't let this article get you down - review your copyright resources here!)

SAY WHAT?: The US Forest Service wants you to pay to play when taking photographs or videos on their 36 million acres - up to $1,000 (no, that's not a typo). Read up on both sides of the story here, and we'll keep you updated on what comes of this. 

PRO TIP: The folks over at PhotoFocus have some hot tips on using Lightroom collections to organize your photos. Organization? Streamlining your workflow? You can't miss it. 

SAVVY GEAR SHOPPING: Leave it to the folks at Photography Concentrate and their top 10 ways to save big on photography gear. We'd like to add an eleventh tip: Join us at the Imaging USA Expo[LINK]. There are deals on deals for new gear and you get to try before you buy. 

TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE: Many photographers get their start in nature or landscape photography, in many cases because it's easy to experiment and the subject doesn't talk back about how their hair looks. Here are 21 tips to get experimental with your flower power photography!

GEAR HEADS: Strobist is here to save the day with some things to consider when investing in a new tripod. This piece of equipment holds your most valuable pieces of equipment, so it should go without saying that you shouldn't skimp on the funding. See what else they have to say here. 

There it is! Your top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!




Another Friday, another roundup! We're back with our weekly collection of our favorite
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photography blog posts around the web. Here's the top 10:

SAFE & LEGAL: We've said it before, and we'll say it again, please don't hold photo shoots on train tracks! This article from MetroNews Canada details the close call one photographer and a newlywed couple had while shooting on train tracks. If you think it's not dangerous or that nothing will happen to you, take a look at this post. It'll make you think again! And if that's not enough, just know that every 3 hours, a person or a vehicle is actually hit by a train! For more information, check out OLI.org

GEAR: Phase One has released a new version of their popular Capture One Pro software. If you use this software, you'll want to check-out this post on PetaPixel, where the new features are detailed. 

BUSINESS: Many photographers feel anxiety when it comes to making changes to our business. This article on Fstoppers does a great job of discussing the cause of these fears, and how you can overcome them! 

FUN: Photo Throwdown is a brand new photography reality show where two photographers are pitted against each other in a series of challenges. The first episode takes place in New York City, and features PPA photographer and PPAedu instructor Jennifer Rozenbaum taking on Chris Fain. It's a fun show that we think all photographers can enjoy - you can watch the first episode online now... we're ready for the next one already!

NEWS: Many of you are probably familiar with the work of amazing landscape photographer Peter Lik. He had a show on the Weather Channel and once sold a photograph for a million bucks! And yes, he's also a PPA M.Photog. photographer! You'll get a chance to know him better at Imaging USA 2015 in Nashville, where he'll be hosting a keynote program. In the meantime, check out the news of his latest gallery opening in San Diego. 

PRO TIPS: PhotoFocus details four shots every photographer should be doing during a photo session for greater success with your clients, as well as for building your own portfolio. 

WORKFLOW: If you use Lightroom 5, are you familiar with the Smart Previews feature? If you answered 'no', you'll want to check out this tutorial from Photography Concentrate. The post details how you can use this feature to help with your workflow. 

BUSINESS: If you're thinking of getting into stock photography, this post on The Creative's Corner is for you. It provides some useful tips for getting started in this market.

LIGHTING: Are you confused about when to use flash to supplement ambient light? Well, here's a post to help you figure out when to use flash. Neil Van Niekerk provides some quick tips for when he uses flash to supplement ambient light. 

INSPIRATION: Is there anything cooler than space photography? We wrap up this week's roundup with a collection of images on InFocus from the European Space Agency's Rosetta satellite, which has been traveling through space for more than a decade. Enjoy! 

There it is! Your top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!
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With the first full week of September under your belt, it can be easy to get caught up in the back-to-school crazy and miss out on some pretty awesome blogs from around the interwebs! Here are our top 10! 

PHOTOGRAPHER'S LIKE SHINY THINGS: Ever feel a little distracted? Learn how to use it to your advantage with this great article by Jeffrey Shaw (he was one of the speakers at Imaging USA 2014) and the Huffington Post. If you can keep your focus until the end, you'll be sure to learn to leverage your wandering mind! 

INSPIRATION: Here's a little inspiration from the folks at PetaPixel! Photographer Joseph W. Nienstedt talks about the 20+ types of photographer he isn't and the results might strike a nerve! Check out his beautiful images and story here. 

PUPPIES! How could we resist? Photographer Seth Casteel is back with his follow up book to Underwater Dogs with the only thing more adorable, Underwater Puppies. Let this serve as an inspiration to be open to what your client (in this case, Buster, the dog) wants! And as a bonus, check out his video on Facebook!

GOOD BUSINESS: Do you ever use volunteer second shooters? This contract from the Law Tog is perfect for you! Maintain your relationships with your free labor with this easy-to-customize form. 

CLEAN GEAR: Trey Ratcliff from Stuck in Customs gives you his quick tips for suriving Burning Man (and the dust. So. Much. Dust.) How can you capture great images without ruining your best gear? He has the answers here!

POSING TIPS: Digital Photography School has a quick list of their nine favorite posing guides for portrait photographers from around the interwebs (think of it as a round up with in the round up)! If you're just starting off in this line of work, be sure to check them out!

NO WORDS, JUST WATCH: We're getting pretty meta on this one with the guys at PhotoTips. Here's a timelapse of a timelapse with Maciej Tomkow in Zakynthos, Greece. Not only is it beautiful, but educational to see how he makes his photography work! We had a few "Oh! THAT'S how they do that" moments!

TIPS FOR LANDSCAPE: Thinking about trying your hand at landscape photography? Join Christina Harmon from Contrastly as she shares her top 10 favorite tips for composing landscapes! 

DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE: Jump for joy! Capture the moment in mid-air with Tomas Januska and his series entitled "Gravity". According to the article, each subject jumped between 150 and 600 (SIX HUNDRED) times for the camera. The results are stunning! 

There you have it! The top posts from around the interwebs. What sorts of photography blogs light up your idea bulb? Let us know on theLoop!



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