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PPA Today: Imaging USA Archives

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By Autumn Rice

The countdown to Imaging USA is on, and 2017's convention in San Antonio is 36 days away! By now you should've registered for your all-access pass at the early bird rate, booked your stay at an official Imaging USA hotel, and registered for all of your pre-convention class sessions. Your trip is almost complete. You're just missing one more from your PPA Team! 

We know in the midst of all the excitement there are a lot of things attendees forget about, so we've come up with some reminder tips just for you! From remembering to meet new people, to visiting the trade show, and even washing your hands, this video covers all of the important tips to remember for the upcoming trip to San Antonio!

Check it out!

Stay tuned for more tips from the PPA staff, and visit to jump-start your year with the best photography conference in the country!

See you there!

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By Autumn Rice

The streets of San Antonio will soon be filled with clicks and flashes. Photographers from all over the world will be pouring into the city for Imaging USA 2017. Although many of you have been to the convention several times before, many will be enjoying the Imaging USA experience for the first time, or even returning after a hiatus. No matter your personal situation, navigating this massive convention and all it has to offer can be pretty overwhelming, so we thought we'd gather a few tips from your fellow photographer friends like Christine Walsh-Newton to help you crack the code to maximize your Imaging USA experience. From planning, to what to wear, and where to go, these tips will definitely make it easier for you to enjoy every minute of your Imaging USA experience!

Check them out!

1. Register early. Registering early for Imaging USA helps you save on registration fees, hotel stays, and it provides you access to all pre-con classes before they fill up (because they will fill up!). You'll also have more time to plan your trip to San Antonio. The Early Bird Rate is still in effect until December 8, so do it now!

2. Download the app. The Imaging USA app is up and allows you to create your own custom schedule of classes you are interested in seeing. You can also merge the schedule on your smartphone to keep track of every event you want to attend throughout the day.

3. Check the weather. Packing can get to be a lot of pressure and knowing what to pack is slightly confusing, so to ease some of the burden of figuring out what to pack, check the weather. Checking the 10-day weather forecast can help narrow your packing options.

4. Pack Smart. Don't wait until the last minute to pack, and don't pack what you don't need. Over packing can make your traveling experience a nightmare and increase costs. So, be sure to pack mandatory outfits for each event and a comfy pair of shoes for walking, and leave the unnecessary items at home. Oh, and pack an extra bag... because you might be bringing home extra goodies with you!

5. Bring Your Camera. Yes! This is a photographic convention, so bringing your camera is a must. Between hands-on classes with models and lots of on-camera assignments and with the models at some of the parties (hint-hint), you'll have some camera fun... guaranteed! Plus, who doesn't love to share the fun and excitement and on social media? Just remember to use the hashtag #ImagingUSA.

Take these tips and make your trip to Imaging USA the best it can be. Visit to register, book hotels, and plan each day of your convention visit! 

See you in January! 

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by James Yates
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You're all set to go to Imaging USA 2017, but you've never been to San Antonio before? Relax. Your PPA Team has scouted out the best attractions and locations and prepared a video guide to all the amazing sights and sounds set to blow your ten-gallon hat off come January. Here's a handy guide of things to consider making time for your trip in January:

  • Start with The Riverwalk, the unique, can't-miss 2.5-mile walkway along the San Antonio River. Take one of the famed Riverboat Tours to see the other side of attractions like the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Arneson River Theater and the Aztec Theatre. The boats pass right by and through several restaurants, making any night out to eat a gorgeous experience. It may sound like a tourist trap, it's not! It's really nice! That's probably why the Riverwalk is Texas' second most popular tourist spot after...
  • The Alamo/The Missions. Remember this? No trip to San Antonio would be complete without visiting the Alamo and the other four Spanish frontier outposts designated as a National Historic Park. 
  • Founded in 1939, La Villita Historic Arts Village is San Antonio's original neighborhood. La Vallita houses over 30 art galleries and shops along with several restaurants. The Arneson River Theater is also there so you can get a better look from off of the boat. 
  • The RiverCenter Mall is also located on the Riverwalk and literally right downstairs from our host hotels. It's a fully functioning mall with all the stores you may need to get your shopping fix ($6 cowboy hats, anyone?) and tons of restaurants including a food court if you want something fast and cheap! 
  • You can experience the largest Mexican mercado in the city for authentic shopping underneath all those iconic, colorful flags at Market Square. 
  • Get the best view of San Antonio from atop the 750 ft-tall Tower of the Americas, built in 1968 for the Hemisfair (World's Fair), which you'll hear a lot about because it was a huge deal for the city. 
  • If you're looking to venture away from the downtown area by car or bus, The San Antonio Botanical Gardens, the San Antonio Aquarium and the San Antonio Zoo offer some of the most beautiful, Texas-sized flora and fauna for the entire family to enjoy. There are also the big theme parks, SeaWorld San Antonio and Six Flags Fiesta Texas if you have the need for speed and want to ride the state-of-the-art Iron Rattler or Steel Eel. Other kinds of thrill-seekers may want to check out the Natural Bridge Caverns, named for the 60 foot limestone slab that spans the caverns' entrance.  
You may not be sure what to expect from your trip to San Antonio, but what you'll get is a beautiful city with a lively and bustling downtown area, all easily accessible from the Imaging USA hotels and convention center. We're more certain than ever that January 2017 is going to be AWESOME. 


For more info, head over to Register and take advantage of the Early Bird rates for members by December 8th, OR pick up an Expo Only Pass for only $35 and get access to the trade show, Print Theatre, Drone Zone, IPC Exhibit and Keynote Presentation by Mel Robbins!

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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 Autumn Rice
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Mel Robbins is one of the most sought-after motivational speakers out there and you now have a chance to see her in person. Her life experiences have helped her craft speeches that deliver business-expanding, life-changing, interactive advice to inspire change, challenge thinking and accelerate personal and professional growth. Her book, Stop Saying You're Fine, is a best seller that has been translated into four different languages, and her TEDx Talk "How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over" has over 10 million views across 37 countries. Mel Robbins is a CNN host, commentator and legal analyst, criminal defense attorney, and now she can add Imaging USA Keynote Speaker to her host of talents. 

That's right folks; Mel Robbins is coming to Imaging USA! She will give a keynote presentation on the morning of Sunday, January 8th and follow it up with a book signing directly after in the lobby of the Lira Cockrell Theatre at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. in San Antonio, Texas.

So what are you waiting for? Imaging USA is the only place to be in January 2017! Go to to take advantage of the Early Bird Rates ($50 off!) before time runs out December 8th! 

See what all the fuss is about: Mel's Ted Talk 
By Tristin Vaccaro

Everything's bigger in Texas, and when Imaging USA 2017 kicks off in San Antonio in just a few weeks, one of the BIGGEST convention centers in the state will play host the BIGGEST photographic conventions this winter. January 5-10 the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center on the banks of San Antonio's River Walk will be home to everything-photography with Imaging USA. As navigating this 16 million square foot space can seem like a big task, PPA staff is here to help.

Follow this video overview of the Convention Center. It will give you some essential navigation tips and you'll know exactly where to find Registration, the Expo hall, and lounges, all before even showing up! You can never be too prepared, so check out this video to get a feel for the Convention Center layout.

There's just a little more than a month left before thousands of professional photographers just like you flood these Convention Center halls. But don't worry, there's still time to register and see this place in person. 

We can't wait to see you in San Antonio!  

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By Autumn Rice

Imaging USA 2017 in San Antonio is closer than you think, and we know how much photographers love to attend this amazing photography convention, so don't miss out!  Right now until December 8, you can register for your 3-day all-access pass and save $50 dollars! 

So, what do you do with your savings? Here are a few ideas!

1. Register for a pre-con class. Pre-con classes are a great way to take advantage of the educational opportunities at Imaging USA. These classes are offered January 5-7 at an additional cost, and provide participants with hands on learning experiences from PPA approved professional photographers.
2. Reserve your room at an official Imaging USA hotel. The official hotels are located in very close proximity to the convention center and allow you easy access to all Imaging USA events. Booking a room at these hotels is the best way to ensure you won't miss a minute of Imaging USA action, all while getting the best hotel deals! The rates that PPA negotiated for Imaging USA with these hotels will be hard to beat! 
3. Buy some fancy pants for the Award and Degree Ceremony. For a lot of photographers, that ceremony is a highlight of their Imaging USA experience. The ceremony takes place Tuesday night and is like a fun graduation for all of your fellow photographers who won awards and degrees in 2016. The dress code for this event is formal, so we suggest wearing your fanciest pants! 
4. Keep the cash to take advantage of great specials from vendors at the Expo. There will be tons of vendors offering special discounts on the latest in photographic tools, just for you at the Imaging USA Expo. Take advantage of the deals, and snag some new equipment for your studio.
5. Buy a pass for a friend. The fun and fellowship at Imaging USA should not be experienced alone, so consider bringing a friend along for the fun. Gather a group of friends to register before December 8th and everyone can go to Imaging USA at a discounted rate.

Time is running out to take advantage of the early bird rate, and with what you save, the possibilities are endless. So, gather your friends and plan a trip to Imaging USA 2017! The upcoming convention will be held from January 5-10, 2017 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. Head over to by December 8th to secure the early bird rate, and we'll see you in January!

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By Autumn Rice



Early-bird savings are coming to an end! Don't be left paying full price when you could get an all-access, three day pass for just $179. Offer ends December 8th! Need some more persuading? Here's a list of the top things you won't want to miss at Imaging USA 2017...

10. Be More Philanthropic... PPA Charities Celebration 

Saturday, Jan. 7, 8-9pm.  Kick of the festivities with the PPA Charities Celebration! You'll "cheers" all of the charitable giving from 2016 and have the chance to participate in an auction that has anything a photographer could dream about and helps a very good cause. You can also participate in the PPA Charities 5k run around San Antonio.  All attendees are welcome!  

9. Be More Connected... PPA's Closing Party 
Tuesday, Jan. 10, 8-11pm. Dance the convention away at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center! This is an exclusive party, brought to you by PPA;
Wrap it all up and exchange info with the new friends you've made. Eat, drink and be merry as we celebrate the closing of another amazing Imaging. FREE to attendees with an all-access 3-day pass or $60 for just the party! 

8. Be More Encouraged... Awards & Degree Ceremony  
Tuesday, Jan. 10, 6:30-7:30pm. It's like a fun graduation for photographers earning degrees (Photographic Craftsman, Master of Photography, and Master Artist) and awards (Lifetime Achievement, Imaging Excellence, Distinguished Service, Humanitarian Service) from 2016. This is a free event to the public, so attendees can bring guests to enjoy in the celebration! Formal attire is suggested, but not required.  

7. Be More Challenged... Grand Imaging Awards
Jan. 11, 6:30-7:30pm. Celebrate with friends as we honor the 2016 Medalists, Diamond Photographers of the Year, and all the elite Loan Collection artists from the most recent International Photographic Competition (IPC). Stop by to see these top photographers' works and see who gets crowned champion, earning the Grand Imaging Award! Doors open at 6:15.

6. Be More Creative... International Photographic Competition (IPC) Exhibit
Jan. 8-10th. Come see the largest photographic exhibit in San Antonio! Located next to the Expo show floor and open during show hours, the IPC is one of the FREE events you can bring non-members to (they just need to print out a free Expo Pass)! There are even PPA-conducted tours of the exhibit so you can hear all the great stories behind the fantastic images!

5. Be More Marketable... Stop by the Print Room

Jan. 8-10th. If you're interested in encouraging your clients to purchase more printed material, this room is for you. Stop by the print room and join a comprehensive sales session, get information about how to price and market printed products to your clients, and show them the value of printed photography. The sessions will be held in 30-minute intervals during Expo hours. The tips provided in these sessions are sure to get your clients excited about the print movement, and buying printed products in no time.


4. Be More Drone Ready... Come see the drone demonstrations

Jan. 8-10th. Drones are the hottest new photography tool on the market, and it's important that photographers know how to use them and incorporate them in their business. In this room expo goers will have the chance to watch drone demonstrations, and get information about how to legally and effectively incorporate them into their business.

3. Be More Confident... Top Notch Education
Jan. 5-10th. Need some tips, pointers, or pick-me-ups? We have your learning needs covered in every area imaginable. Throughout Imaging USA 2017 you'll find Live Demos complete with equipped with stages, models and props, and the best speakers in the business. Show Floor Classes are short, 15-20 minute sessions on product features, benefits and more on the expo floor. The Coach's Corner is setup for sports and events photographers and includes portfolio reviews and 30 minutes of mentoring with a PPA photographer (first come, first serve). Before the convention officially starts, take advantage of the Pre-Conference Classes: nearly 50 hands-on classes comprising three days before Imaging USA 2017 (Jan 5-7). These classes cover a wide variety of topics including LightRoom A-Z, business workshops, certification prep, maternity posing, wedding photography, fashion photography, lighting, posing, men's portraits, commercial architecture, boudoir photography and "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" workshops. Costs range from $129-$299 per class.  

2. Be More Inspired... Mel Robbins
Sunday, Jan. 8, 10-11:15am. True inspiration! Get motivated and take your business to new heights with our keynote speaker at Imaging USA: Mel Robbins! CNN host, commentator and legal analyst, and criminal defense attorney Mel
Robbins is one of the most sought-after motivational speakers in the world. Her life experiences have helped her craft speeches that deliver business-expanding, life-changing, interactive advice to inspire change, challenge thinking and accelerate personal and professional growth. Her book, "Stop Saying You're Fine" is a best seller that has been translated into four different languages, and her TEDx Talk "How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over" has over 10 million views across 37 countries. She will bring her story and motivational advice to Imaging USA to help your business soar to new heights!

1. Be More Shopping-Savvy... Imaging Expo
Jan. 10-12th. Basically, it's the Mall of America for photographers. Show hours that complement the class schedule, 600+ booths (everything from heavy equipment to small gadgets, printers, labs, service providers and BIG name photographic companies like Canon USA, Miller's Professional Imaging, H&H Color Lab, Kodak Alaris, Marathon Press Inc., ChromaLuxe, and many more!) Classes, product demos, expo-only deals, prize giveaways...the kitchen sink? Maybe that too! 

We can't wait to see you at Imaging USA in January. If anything on this list sounds like something you would love to be part of, then hurry up and register! Register for Imaging USA before Dec. 8th at  for the Early Bird savings OR become a member of PPA and your full access  pass to Imaging 2017 will be FREE as a welcome gift at


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By Autumn Rice

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Every year, Imaging USA attracts tons of reporters, bloggers, and podcasters that want to get a first-hand look at the convention and all that it has to offer to attendees. These popular media outlets set up shop right in the convention, and want to hear from you. We encourage all convention attendees to get involved and share their highlights from Imaging USA!

Here are a few of the popular podcasts that have featured Imaging USA content:

Episode 53: Imaging USA Pre Show
Episode 54: Live From Imaging USA 2016!

Imaging USA 2016 - Closing Night Party
Imaging USA Registration Area Guests

Certification for the Professional Photographer
Mike Hanline Shares Photography Business Advice

Theses podcasters and so many more will be at Imaging USA 2017 in San Antonio, live from the conference. So, if you see them asking questions, stop by and let them know about all of the fun you're having at Imaging USA 2017 in San Antonio, Texas!

And remember, you can still take advantage of special Early Bird Registration rates (just in case YOU haven't made it official yet) at  

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By Autumn Rice

For some, the thought of being with more than 10,000 of the industry's greatest professionals at this larger-than-life photography convention can be exciting and intimidating at the same time. That feeling is completely normal, and PPA is here to help YOU! To take away some of the first-time jitters, here's a video overview of what you can expect at Imaging USA 2017:

Whether you're a first-time attendee or a convention expert, we want to see you in San Antonio from January 5-7, 2017 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Book your hotel, sign up for classes, and plan your week at Imaging USA, all at

We'll see you deep in the heart of Texas!

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By Bethany Clark

Over the past few weeks, we've given you plenty of tips, tricks, and things to look forward to that will ensure you have the best experience possible at Imaging USA 2017

And since we want every aspect of your experience to be the best it can be, take a peek at some of these travel mistakes to avoid. We hate to be Debbie Downers, but steering clear of these potholes will keep you primed for an awesome time at Imaging USA! 

  1. Not checking the weather before you pack. We'll be in San Antonio, but it can get pretty chilly in January! Check the weather before you head out and bring the outerwear and layers you may need.
  2. Not bringing an extra bag. If you plan on stocking up at the Imaging Expo, pack an extra suitcase or duffle to accommodate your haul and avoid shipping charges.
  3. Forgetting the essentials, like your badge, a refillable water bottle, maybe a fanny pack (not fashionable, but quite handy for a three day conference!). Be sure to bring them to San Antonio, and definitely don't leave them in your hotel room! You'll need them at the convention.
  4. Not bringing enough business cards. Imaging USA is an excellent networking opportunity and there are plenty of drawings to enter during the Expo! Be prepared!
  5. Not booking a room at an official Imaging USA Host Hotel. You can save heaps by reserving a room in the Imaging USA block, plus each of the four hotels we've reserved are in easy walking distance to the convention center, keeping you centrally located and close to all the action. Also, you can trim costs by finding a roommate! Check out theLoop for attendees looking to split the cost of the rooms. Bonus: you'll have more money to spend at the Expo! 
  6. Bonus mistake: Not bringing hand sanitizer! With so many people in one place, germs can spread. Wash your hands regularly to prevent getting sick. That way, the only thing you'll bring home after the conference is your new gear!

Avoid these travel mistakes and have the best Imaging USA ever! Register if you haven't yet! You don't want to miss it!

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