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by James Yates

Want to enter into a serious photographic competition? Been thinking about entering again or wanting to take the first-time dive? PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) begins accepting entries May 23. It's time to start preparing your images. It's through competition and critiques of your work by professional photographers that you can truly grow and evolve as an artist.

Entering the IPC is one of the best ways to improve your craft, especially if you choose to have your images critiqued by one of PPA's Jurors! You can have your images evaluated and scored based on the 12 Elements of a Merit Image. You'll receive a recording of an IPC Judge giving you dedicated feedback and explaining to you how the elements are present and impact YOUR image. By competing and getting your images critiqued, you'll learn what you do well as a photographer, as well as identify the areas in which you may need improvement. It's an amazing learning experience!

We know the process can seem intimidating for first-timers, so here's an actual critique from last year's International Photographic Competition. This image called "Cloud Surfing" was created by Heather Cook, M.Photog., and is being critiqued by PPA juror Rod Brown, M.Photog.Cr.

Take a look and see how entering a photographic competition can improve your own work as a photographer through constructive feedback like you'll hear in this critique.



We hope this critique can help you get a better understanding of what the IPC judges are looking for when scoring your images. Start preparing your images for the International Photographic Competition! Submissions are open May 23-June 22, 2016. Late registration extends until July 7, with an additional fee. The IPC judging dates are July 31-August 4, 2016 and you can stream it live at Stream.theIPC.org. Be sure to request a critique so you can receive some personalized feedback on your works of art and Be More Prepared.

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 James Yates21738677.jpg

PPA members are totally PAWsome! Many of you have dived, heart first, into the pawsitively wonderful world of pet photography. In order to support our fur-friendly photogs, PPA added pet photography to its list of specialties in its See The Difference campaign.
See The Difference is PPA's online, print and social media awareness campaign that aims to help consumers "see the difference" when evaluating photographers... and realize the importance of hiring a pro. The campaign also gives PPA photographers FREE marketing tools to help with their sales processes and justify their costs, quality, and expertise.

As part of See The Difference, PPA periodically writes feature stories that are picked up by 1,000s of national and regional online and print news organizations with the explicit goal of teaching consumers the value of choosing a professional for their photography needs.
 
With the help of PPA pet photographers Kristin Adams, Barbara Brady-Smith, Barbara Breitsameyer, Mary Anne Broderick, Margaret Bryant, Julie Clegg and Kim Hartz, PPA wrote a See The Difference feature story called 7 Keys to a Pawfect Pet Session. The story was picked up by 1,084 online publications with a combined online audience of over 50 million. Photos from these talented photographers were used to illustrate the story and further hone the importance of using professional photography. Check out the whole story from some of the many sites that are hosting the article: the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Gate, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Orlando Sentinel.
 
Inside you'll find great info on these seven tips for consumers along with some awesome photos like the one above ©Bryant Dog Photography!:
 
1. Hire a photographer who specializes in pet photography.
2. Plan for patience.
3. The puppy/kitten window is as small as they are...start planning ASAP!
4. Try to capture every stage of your pet's life.
5. Plan the session to fit your pet's schedule.
6. An illuminated solution...the right light makes all the difference.
7. It's all in the eyes!

This is only one of 12 stories that PPA will push out each month in an effort to show consumers that professional photographers are worth the investment.
 
Want your photos considered for stories like these? Fill out this form today and we'll contact you if your images are selected!

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 James YatesThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for copyrighticon.png

By now you know PPA is always fighting for your rights on Capitol Hill, lobbying and advocating for improvements to copyright registration and the modernization of the copyright office (including a small claims option).

We're pretty proud of the "big-picture" ways that we're working to improve your business's sustainability and profits, but there's a smaller, peer-to-peer way that PPA has helped, behind the scenes, for years: assessing whether or not members' works have been infringed.

In the old days (up until this month), if a PPA member felt their work may have been lifted without their permission, they would call and speak directly to our Government Affairs Coordinator. The GAC would walk each caller through the appropriate steps of determining if the use of a work was a violation of copyright law and what the next steps to take were.

Now, in honor of World Copyright Day being right around the corner (April 23rd), PPA is unveiling our newest member tool: the Copyright Infringement Assistance tool! This fast and easy tool does, online and in minutes, what the GAC used to do over the phone. Call it the "scaling up" of helping our members. With the new tool, if you think you've been infringed upon, you only have to answer 2-3 questions and the tool will generate specific help for you, including DCMA takedown notices, certified letters to the infringing parties or letting you know when it's time to contact an attorney.

If you feel your work has been infringed upon, but you don't know what to do about it, PPA can help with our Copyright Infringement Assistance tool. It's designed to point you in the right direction, with steps you can take to stop the infringement! It's quick and painless...because having your art stolen is painful enough! Come see how it all works, and also get your hands on our Copyright Kit and see Anne Geddes speak on the subject, at PPA.com/Copyright.

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by James Yates

PPA's Northcentral District Photographic Competition judging is happening this weekend and the Southwest District judging will take place the first of April. While entries for these competitions are now closed, you can watch the live stream of each and witness the judging online as it happens!

If you missed your District's Photographic Competition, but want to still enter in a serious photographic competition, PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) begins accepting entries May 23. It's never too early to start preparing your images!

Entering a District competition or the IPC is one of the best ways to improve your craft, especially if you choose to have your images critiqued by one of PPA's Jurors! You can have your images evaluated and scored based on the 12 Elements of a Merit Image. You'll receive an actual recording of an IPC Judge giving you dedicated feedback and explaining to you the components of YOUR image. By competing and getting your images critiqued, you'll learn what you do well as a photographer, as well as identify the areas in which you may need improvement. It's an amazing learning experience!

We know the process can seem intimidating for first-timers, so here's an actual critique from last year's International Photographic Competition. This image called "Cappuccino for Three" was created by Debra Klawetter, CPP, and is being critiqued by PPA juror Tina Timmons, M.Photog.Cr., CPP.

Take a look and see how entering a photographic competition can improve your own work as a photographer through constructive feedback like you'll hear in this critique.


We hope this critique can help you get a better understanding of what the IPC judges are looking for when scoring your images. Learn more about when and where the District competitions are held here and then head to Stream.theIPC.org to watch live streams of the District competitions and also start preparing your images for the International Photographic Competition! Be sure to request a critique so you can receive some personalized feedback on your works of art and Be More Prepared.

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By James Yates
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See The Difference is PPA's online, print and social media awareness campaign that aims to help consumers "see the difference" when evaluating photographers ... and realize the importance of hiring a pro. The campaign is designed to give PPA photographers FREE marketing tools to help with their sales process and justify their costs, quality, and expertise.

As part of See The Difference, PPA periodically writes feature stories that are picked up by 1000s of national and regional online and print news organizations with the explicit goal of teaching consumers the value of choosing a professional for their photography needs.
 
Most recently, See The Difference provided 5 Tips to Ensure You Get Romantic Wedding Photos. The story was picked up by 1,059 online publications with a combined online audience of 57,978,514. Photos from PPA photographers were used to illustrate the story and further hone the importance of using professional photography. Check out the whole story from some of the many sites that are hosting the article: Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, The Baltimore Sun, and the Houston Chronicle.
 
Inside you'll find great info on these five tips for consumers along with some awesome photographic examples, like the one above © Ace Photography, provided by PPA photographers:
 
1. Let yourself be vulnerable

2. Don't risk putting your memories in the hands of amateurs

3. Put together a detailed shot list

4. Be daring

5. Be there for the magic hour

This is only one of 12 stories that PPA will push out each month in a proactive effort to show consumers that professional photographers are worth the investment.
 
Want your photos considered for stories like these? Fill out this form today and we'll contact you if your images are selected!

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-    Currently, commercial use of UAS is almost completely prohibited.

o    The only way to use UAS commercially is to obtain a section 333 exemption from the FAA (a very complicated process which usually involves an attorney) and to have someone with a pilot's license operating the UAS.

-    This makes drone photography virtually impossible for professional photographers unless they also have a pilot's license.

o    For this reason, PPA (over the past few years) has been regularly meeting with the FAA and members of Congress to petition for better regulations.

-    In February 2015, the FAA proposed a set of new regulations which would create a new type of airman certification specifically for UAS operators which would be required in lieu of a pilot's license and would be obtained through a knowledge test.  This proposal improves other regulations for small drone use (55 lbs. or less) affecting photographers by allowing users to fly them much closer to buildings and people than currently authorized.

o    PPA submitted comments to the FAA based on the proposal.  We were generally very pleased with the proposal but did suggest some minor changes.

-    In May 2015, the FAA gave themselves a deadline of no more than 16 months to pass the final rule.  We have the impression the final regulations will be very similar to the proposal and will greatly improve the regulatory framework as it applies to professional photographers' use of UAS.

-    In December 2015, the online registration process was introduced for HOBBYIST use of drones.  

o     In our most recent meeting with the FAA's UAS integration office, PPA was told that their goal for passing the new regulations is early summer 2016, and that they will be completed before the end of 2016 at the latest. We have since heard that it may be even sooner.We expect the use of UAS among professional photographers to massively expand this spring/summer once the new rule is made official and in the years that follow.

Stay right here every week for all the latest Drone news and updates!

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There is a lot of information floating around right now regarding FAA regulations for drone or UAS use. We want to clear a few things up for you and give you some helpful tips! Because while drones are very exciting, we want to keep you legal!

The regulations released last December from the FAA require the registration of all Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The FAA launched a very simple online drone registration process for hobbyist users of small UAS. There is a paper application currently available for commercial users, but it is important to note that commercial use is still only currently permitted for professional photographers who have been granted a Section 333 exemption and are licensed pilots or have exempt licensed pilots operating the UAS.

We expect the FAA to finalize new regulations for business-related use of small UAS literally any day now. We certainly expect the regulations to come by Summer 2016. The FAA has also said that the online UAS registration system will be expanded to include business-related use. If you are using UAS for hobbyist or recreational purposes while awaiting new regulations for business use, be sure to register your UAS with the FAA as soon as possible. Please see our recent coverage for more information on the most recent regulatory change.

At this point, you may be wondering why we keep using the word "hobbyist". Again, we have to stress that as it stands now, drone use is restricted to only "hobbyist" use and not "commercial" use without a pilot's license. Since you, our members, are professionals and are probably thinking about using drones in your photography work, we feel we have to keep you informed of the illegality of that situation. Think of these posts as "How to Use Your Drones ONLY FOR RECREATIONAL and HOBBYIST USE and NOT FOR PROFESSIONAL OR COMMERCIAL USE". The new regulations relaxing the rules for business use are expected any day now. But until then ... here are step-by-step instructions for how to register your UAS (FOR HOBBYIST USE ONLY) after the jump:

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You never know who you may meet or what fun you might have on theLoop, PPA's online community reserved just for our members. Discuss, ask, learn, network...theLoop is there to strengthen your business by leveraging the power of community!Thumbnail image for theloop_128.jpg

Valentine's Day recently came and went and lots of people got engaged, which got us thinking: what are some quick tips on bringing out the big L.O.V.E in couples during engagement sessions? We put the question out on theLoop and here are a few things we learned from you, our valued members...

"I look for the moments right before the kiss, and in between, the way they look at each other and interact. I want portraits of the relationship not the act. A sure sell is one looking at the camera with the smallest hint of a smile and the other gazing at them... I will often say "I need to check light in this new location just relax a minute", and I get some of my best shots when they think I am not shooting. I also see how they really are as a couple in that moment."-- Joanne Fabian, Photographer/Owner, J Gray Fabian Photography, Souderton, PA

"I prefer to reserve the questions about their life and relationships for during the session because I can get lots of great shots with spontaneous reactions when they answer my questions, together... It's always a little harder in the beginning to get them to relax with each other and with me so I do a lot more talking in the beginning of a session to get them to feel more comfortable... Just remember that these couples are in love, we don't need to ask them to act it! It's just a matter of making them comfortable with you and the love will show!"--- Orita Issartel, Orita Issartel Photography, PPA member from Miami, FL

"I usually ask them to kiss and smile, kiss and smile. The more they do it, the more they begin to giggle together and relax, and I get some great body language in their images this way. It helps that I also tell a lot of corny jokes and have the couple laughing with me for the majority of their session!... I always save the more serious poses for the end of the session. By then, the lighting is more dramatic and the couple is comfortable enough with me to do whatever I ask of them. These are some of my favorite images, where they are focused on their love and each other, and I can get a more dramatic shot. This one ends up being ordered as a large print almost every time!"--- Melissa Brewer, Wedding Photographer and PPA member from Columbia, SC

"I like to set couples up and then ask them to tell me about the first time they met, now look at each other and remember how you felt then. It creates more of a moment to capture instead of just a look."--- Elizabeth Kilgour, Echt Photography, PPA member from Calgary AB

Be sure to stay "engaged" (get it?) in theLoop all year long and don't be shy: ask questions! It's only through sharing with your peers and gaining feedback that you can grow as an artist. www.theLoop.ppa.com



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by James Yates

Being the oldest and largest nonprofit photography association comes with responsibility. Our mission is to not only provide photographers with the education, resources and industry standards of excellence to help them be successful, but to also help consumers see the difference when evaluating photographers. That's why PPA launched an online, print and social media consumer awareness campaign called See The Difference®. 

For the Jan/Feb 2016 issue of Bridal Guide, PPA was called upon to offer the top three wedding photo trends for 2016. You can find us on the bottom right corner of page 5. If you're snowed in and can't make the newsstand, here's some of what we revealed:


  • Photographers are needed for more than just the "big day". They're being asked to be around the whole week!


  • Photo editors are in-demand now for onsite instant retouching and social sharing! 


  • Forget the old superstition about not seeing the bride before the wedding! "Many brides and grooms not only want to see each other before the wedding, they also want to capture those private, connected moments in their photos." 


The 2016 Hottest Wedding Trends issue of Bridal Guide is on sale now! 

See The Difference is a marketing toolset developed for professional photographers, by professional photographers. If you want it, or for more information on how YOU can put See The Difference® marketing resources to work for your business, visit PPA.com/SalesTools

by Lindsey Forson

There is a lot of information floating around right now regarding new FAA regulations for drone or UAS use. We want to clear a few things up for you and give you some helpful tips!

The new regulations released this week from the FAA require the registration of all Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). As of Monday, the FAA launched a very simple online registration process for hobbyist users of small UAS. There is a paper application currently available for commercial users, but it is important to note that commercial use is still only currently permitted for professional photographers who have been granted a Section 333 exemption and are licensed pilots or have exempt licensed pilots operating the UAS.

We expect the FAA to finalize new regulations for business-related use of small UAS during the first half of 2016. The FAA has also said that the online UAS registration system will be expanded to include business-related use by the spring of 2016. If you are using UAS for hobbyist or recreational purposes while awaiting new regulations for business use, be sure to register your UAS with the FAA as soon as possible. Please see our recent coverage (link to last blog post) for more information on the most recent regulatory change.

Here are step-by-step instructions for how to register your UAS after the jump:



About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Helpful Hints category.

Faces of PPA is the previous category.

How They Did It is the next category.

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