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By Autumn Rice

Summer is all about fun, but don't forget about running your business. Before you head out for some amazing adventure, be sure to check in with your fellow PPA members on theLoop for some great conversation and advice. Here's a preview of some of the top discussions from theLoop in June.

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A member has had their entire computer hacked and the files encrypted. Even worse, the hackers are demanding money for the return of the files. Tons of advice on how to protect your files and your business before this happens!

This Looper needs some advice about choosing between Lightroom and Capture One products. Chime in the conversation and let him know your take on the issue!

This photographer needs some new tips and tricks for Photoshop. Do you have any? Let him know some of your favorite Photoshop methoods.

Here's a thread about helpful website designs to distinguish your business from the competition. See what your fellow Loopers have to say!

Does anyone know about online back-up systems? Here's a discussion thread to fill you in on all your options. Check out the conversation!

This Looper needs some help with traveling with her photography equipment. Do you know any ways to navigate the airport with your gear?

This new family photographer needs some advice for getting good photos of families with more than three people. Any advice? Share it in this discussion thread!

This Looper needs an upgrade and your help. If you know anything about mobile photography and computers join the conversation!

 Remember to check in with theLoop for a safe place to stay connected with the photography community and discuss all your photographic interests. Not a PPA member? Join here!


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By James Yates
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Loopers know that the best way to find answers to your photography business questions is to ask it on theLoop, PPA's official, members-only social network. The discussions on theLoop are always productive and helpful, so dive right in!

Here's a recent example of a question and the first couple of responses. 

Q: Is the use of a UV filter standard? If so, which do I need and what is a good brand to purchase?
--Andre R.

Andre,
You are going to get a lot of opinions on this.
Some for and some against using a UV filter, and then on which one to buy.
I'll just tell you my experience and you can decide for yourself. There is a belief that the more you spend on one the better it will be. 
I use them. I have had at least 6 incidents where I've dropped or bumped a lens (no lens hood attached), and the filter was trashed. But the lens was fine. Two incidents where I did not have a filter on the lens but I did have a lens hood - and the lens hood was destroyed, leaving the lens intact. I have had one incident where the integrated lens hood on a 14-24 zoom, a lens that does not lend itself to a convenient filter arrangement, did not save the lens and the front element was trashed.
There is an article that you might find helpful if you decide to use the filter.
www.lenstip.com/113.4-article-UV_filters_test_Description_of_the_results_and_summary.html
The cheaper filters have non-metal mounts, where the more costly ones use brass. At one point in the past when lens barrels were made of metal, I would prefer to have a filter that was made of brass. These days, many lenses have hard plastic filter threads, which in the past have cross threaded when using metal filters. I have yet to have that happen with the non-metal filter mounts.
-Eugene L.

Andre,
The argument for and against UV filters (like Eugene says) is as follows:
Fact 1: Every UV filter will degrade your image (even the most expensive ones).
Fact 2: Every UV filter will protect the front element of your lens (even the cheapest filters).
The decision you have to make is, in my opinion, if negligible degradation of the image with a good UV filter is worth the protection it offers your equipment. 
Every one of my lenses has a UV filter on the constantly. When I worked full time in an indoor photo studio, none of my lenses had UV filters. 
I'm with Eugene on this one. I'd rather have a protected lens, then a lens with a damaged front element, because the degradation of your image with a shattered front element is definitely noticeable.
I like B+W filters. They are made by Schneider one of the best optical manufactures in the world. While you're checking out filters, they make an amazing Circular Polarizing filter, which is the second filter I'd buy. For the UV filter, just buy the largest lens diameter you have (77mm or similar) and get a bunch of Step-up rings to make it fit on the different lenses.
-Pascal D.

Check in at theLoop.PPA.com to see more responses and ask your own questions for peer-to-peer discussion and support!


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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

The International Photographic Competition (IPC) is now open. Have you entered your images? IPC gives photographers the opportunity to improve their work through competition and critiques from some of the most noted photographers in the business. Entering the International Photographic Competition has many benefits, including:

Engage with the passionate and supportive photographic competition community 
Improve your best work (Raise your hand if you want to get better!)
Earn the admiration and recognition of your peers
Ultimately improve your business

Your images will be evaluated 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!

Entering your work in a competition can be scary for first-timers. So, to make it a little easier, here's an actual critique from last year's International Photographic Competition. This image is "DENIA" by Jamie Mezquida and is being judged by International Juror James Wyant, M.Photog.Cr..

Take a look back and see how constructive criticism from the judges and application of their feedback can improve your work as a photographer.



We hope this critique will give you a better understanding of what the judges are looking for when scoring your images. Enter your images into the International Photographic Competition today! Registration is open from now until June 22, 2016. Late registration extends to July 7, with an additional fee. Be sure to enter your images by 5 pm EST on June 22 to avoid paying the extra 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. Familiarize yourself with the rules for the Photographic Open and Photographic Artist categories today at www.PPA.com/IPC!

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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.


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By Autumn Rice

Need inspiration? 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.

Check out the latest release!

In this video, Beth Forester photographs a high school senior while she breaks down her in-studio lighting setups. As she progressively builds it up, the difference each light makes in an image is shown on camera. Beth shows how to use a softbox as a background to achieve an editorial look, and shares some tips on how to avoid having your model squint when using a fan and directly hitting them with light.


Want to see more? Hop on over to PhotoVisionVideo.com and begin exploring all the website has to offer. Not a PPA member but want access to PhotoVision? Right now, use the promo code PPA49 to receive a full year of PhotoVision for only $49. And when you become a PPA member you get all of PhotoVision online unlocked with your membership AND you get a 50% discount on all DVDs! 

Why wait? Join today!


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By Autumn Rice

At PPA we want to create a unified community of professional photographers, so we construct outlets to connect you to other professional photographers all around the world. From IPC, to Imaging USA, to theLoop, there are countless ways to Be More Connected. And we all know that connections are part of the key to success. 

The Find-A-Photographer database on PPA.com is a resource that allows professional photographers to display information about themselves and their business in front of a captive audience of prospective clients. 

Every PPA member is listed in the Find-A-Photographer database, but not all listings are created equal! Did you know that?  You can indeed make your profile pop and be much more convincing by updating it. It's completely free to upgrade your profile; you just have to do it! 

To upgrade your Find-a-Photographer profile (again, it's free!) follow these simple steps:

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1. Log in to PPA.com/My-PPA 
2. Once logged in, click on My PPA

Then simply scroll down to FIND A PHOTOGRAPHER. Click the "Update Your Find-a-Photographer Profile" link. Then you can:
Add additional information to your profile page
Create up to 4 photo albums
Upload up to 8 images to each album
Upload a headshot or logo
Preview your listing

3. Once you make your changes, be sure to enable your listing. It's a super-simple step, but if you don't do it, your updated profile won't be visible to the public (you'll only have a standard listing in the Find-a-Photographer search.)

There are other simple tools to make your business more visible and recognizable. Hop to the See The Difference Resource section on PPA.com to find what works for your business. PPA is here to help you Be More Proactive.

Become a member to be a part of the Find-A-Photographer database and Be More Visible today!


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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.

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 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 "Colors" was created by Jamie Mezquida and is being critiqued by PPA juror Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API.

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 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

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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About this Archive

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

Faces of PPA is the previous category.

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