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Interview with Ed Pierce - Creator and Producer of PhotoVision - PPA Today

Interview with Ed Pierce - Creator and Producer of PhotoVision

By John Owens

You might have heard, PhotoVision now comes as part of the PPA membership. The benefit gives photographers full access to PhotoVision's entire library of 800+ videos, 24/7 via web streaming. PPA members even get 50% off the DVDs and DVD sets!

And in fact, anyone can currently sample what the amazing educational program has to offer through PhotoVision Exposed, running now through June 30. 

To learn a little bit more about PhotoVision's origins, its mission and goals for the future, we chatted with founder, producer and longtime PPA photographer, Ed Pierce, M.Photog.Cr., CPP.

How did you come up with the idea for PhotoVision?

I had been a photographer for about 20 years prior to PhotoVision, and was pretty actively involved in education for at least 15 of those years. I was one of the earlier people to hit the road speaking and doing photographic education seminars. All education was platform at the time. A photographer would get on stage and present a slideshow. That was considered hands on teaching.

I came up with a concept of going on the road and filming photographers in their studios or on locations they would actually work in. Really it was just to give a truer, more realistic view of how people were conducting their businesses. It was a fly-on-the-wall experience that they couldn't otherwise get. I wanted it to be somewhat unvarnished. In a platform setting, you can pick your very best images and tell the story a little glossed over.

In the beginning, PhotoVision was a one day satellite uplink event called Portrait 2000. It was essentially a real-time Q&A, broadcast by teleconference to 80 venues across the country. We would deliver 1-hour VHS tapes of the recording every month. But it was very expensive to produce and we barely broke even; the last time we actually lost money.  

As a result, I hung up my hat on that and got back into my photography, but continued to receive great reviews from people on the events and tapes. People loved seeing actual working photographers in their real environments. And that's basically from where PhotoVision originated.

How has the video production changed?

In the beginning, it was just me and my wife Barbara. I ran a Steadicam and people got used to talking to me even though I had a camera on a sled on my shoulder. Now we have a crew of 3-4 on every shoot to consistently produce quality segments.

We used to fly around the country but it got to be uneconomical. Now the crew drives to the filming locations in an RV. We drive and film for about three weeks, depending on the speakers' locations, and produce 20 hours of video content each year.

Interview - Ed with Blush Boudoir1.jpg

What's unique about PhotoVision videos?

It's never been a classroom, platform environment. PhotoVision is always an on-location, real-world experience.

Make it or break it. What's on film is what the speakers did. That's actually what people really like about it. They can see real successes and failures. It's really what goes on, not just a collection of the best images a photographer has ever made. It shows all sides of the business, from truly profitable photographers. And we don't feature unproven technology or ways of conducting business. It's all real, proven business strategies and photography techniques.

I also think that having an interviewer creates a much more comfortable environment both for the viewer and the speaker. It's not just the story the photographer wants to tell. I help give the audience perspective.

PhotoVision is produced in a much more condensed format than live demos (such as Creative Live). There's real time stuff and downtime that live programs can't edit out, but we can leave it on the cutting room floor. We edit out anything that isn't solid value education or inspiration.

Most of our videos are an hour long and there's only so much sand in that glass. We chose to produce an educational format that is very calorie dense and dependable. And that's why we know that professional photographers will always find good, fast-paced content in the PhotoVision video library.

How do you choose the photographers you feature?

It started with a lot of industry friends and acquaintances. Now we listen to input from our subscribers and our partners. People recommend photographers and we always look at the suggestions we receive. Printing lab partners also help us identify photographers who are becoming more and more financially sound. Often times, photographers who become large lab clients are doing something right, otherwise their customers would not generate so many print-job orders. To me, learning from photographers who are earning a good living from their passion is more important than anything.

Why are PhotoVision and PPA a good match?

I couldn't think of a better place for my baby to be than PPA. The great moral compass of PPA and their mission aligns perfectly with PhotoVision. PPA has the interest of the industry at heart. Plus it has a very large net with its membership and influence on the industry to grow the audience and make a good impact on the photography community. I think the future is very bright. The combination will be very successful because it will be easy for PPA to get the message out to either buy or subscribe or better yet, join PPA. It's a great opportunity for photographers in general.

What's the future for PhotoVision?

I'm going to continue to be involved in content creation for the foreseeable future as the main producer.  I'll continue to be in front of the camera and behind the editing desk in my current role as host, creator and executive producer of PhotoVision. I want to continue to bring photographers the "Best of the Best."

But I'll also serve as an advisor and we will utilize great committees, like PPA's speaker selection committee, to help find our next speakers. And with the added insight from PPA, the scope will be more timely and pertinent to what's currently going on in the industry. It's a much bigger vehicle now.

After all these years, there's not a tradeshow or photographic event that I go to where I don't have photographers walk up to me and say "I've been a subscriber for 5, 10, 15 years, and PhotoVision has brought me so much and has helped make me who I am."

That's so gratifying to hear, and I'm confident that this will continue with PPA. What we present are photographers' proven, working ideas and if you can implement them, you will be successful.


PhotoVision's online video library is available now to PPA photographers at no cost. Eight new videos were added this month! If you are a PPA member, just get started! Not with PPA yet? Like Ed said, it's the perfect time to join PPA or check out PhotoVision Exposed, running now through June 30. 

With PPA and PhotoVision you will Be More Inspired.



John Owens is PPA's resident wordsmith. Know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? That's where he comes in. The Connecticut transplant and (still) avid Hartford Whalers fan is an aspiring adventurist/novelist/racer on a lifelong quest to find the best trails, brews and burger.



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This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on June 16, 2015 2:01 PM.

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