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PPA Today: Imaging USA: January 2017 Archives

Imaging USA: January 2017 Archives

Imaging USA 2017 wrapped up on January 10th, and, to be honest, PPA is still buzzing with excitement. The energy from the thousands of attendees, the inspiration from the speakers, the incredible gear from the Expo vendors, and the beautiful city of San Antonio... everything came together to make a truly spectacular conference. 

If you want to relive some of the fun, check out these video recaps! They are chock full of some of the funniest, most touching moments from Imaging USA 2017!

And don't forget: YOU can be a part of the action in Nashville, 2018. Registration opens very soon at!


by James Yates

The temperature in San Antonio today reached a sunny 80 degrees. As I mentioned on Day One, I'd like to thank Imaging USA and the 10,000 amazing professional photographers who descended on the city for bringing the warmth. It was a remarkable three days, packed with so much networking, friend-making and bonding that, if you're leaving here not making at least one new contact, friend or did it wrong! The education has been so life-changing that, again, if you didn't take away at least one thing for your business in 2017...maybe you should look back through your notes. 

We had the pleasure of interviewing attendees on the Expo floor all day and they were amazed at the camaraderie to be found at Imaging USA. As people exited the International Photographic Competition exhibit they were beaming, having been inspired by the images. Several members said they had received feedback from IPC mentors at the Merit Cafe and it had encouraged and motivated them to enter in 2017. If YOU haven't entered photographic competitions, there is no better way to improve your craft and push yourself forward. 

PPA Charities gave away their annual "Dream Studio", a prize package of gear and equipment worth over $50,000. Throngs of people gathered around to hear the winner's name called and, fittingly, the award went to a brand-new Business Challenge participant, Lindsay Syme. Stay tuned to PPA Today to find out what happens with her new Dream Studio throughout the year.

Imaging USA 2017's program closed with the Award and Degree ceremony, honoring those who have earned a PPA degree, excelling and uplifing PPA and its thousands of members. There were 163 degree recipients this year, more than ever before, demonstrating that more and more people are taking their craft seriously, entering competitions, earning merits and elevating professional photography through their PPA membership. 

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Robert Freson, the legendary photographer who has captured the last half of the 20th century in his photographs. Everything and everyone from President Eisenhower to Charles and Diana's wedding has been viewed through Freson's lens. President Lori Craft presented the award to Freson, who found it "remarkable and quite unexpected". He said he was "truly amazed" by the work of PPA's members and, coming from him, that is quite the honor. 

The closing party rages on. Business cards are being passed out, social media links are being exchanged. New friends for a new year, bonded through a love of professional photography, is what Imaging USA is all about. Do NOT miss Nashville next year. Take it from this year's attendees: Imaging USA is the greatest photography show on earth. 

by James Yates


See, you have to know if you just give things time and put the right energy into it the clouds will give way and the sunshine will break through. This applies to Imaging USA 2017 and how amazing Day Two was, but it also applies to the story of our winner of the 2017 Grand Imaging Award, Barbara Breitsameter M.Photog.Cr., CPP. But more on that later...

The day started with another round of amazing classes. One of the newest and most exciting things at Imaging USA this year is the Drone Zone, a ballroom sectioned off to host classes and demos on all things "drones". Local television news was on hand to get footage and let viewers in San Antonio know they still have another day left to get their Free Expo Pass and come check it out! 


I spent a lot of time on the Expo floor today, interviewing attendees and finding out what was on top of everyone's mind for Day Two. Between the special vendor deals, the networking and the International Photographic Competition Exhibit (look for the IPC signs), the word "overwhelmed" came up a lot. Oh, and there's also the PRINT Theatre, where there are sessions every hour on how to incorporate printed products into your studio's portfolio. The looks of amazement on everyone's faces at the trade show are priceless.


Now, speaking of to put into words the amazing human being that is Barbara Breitsameter, M.Photog.Cr., CPP and winner of the 2017 Grand Imaging Award for her pet photography portrait, "Send in the Clowns"? Barbara took the top TWO prizes in her category and then won the overall award, an honor she was shocked to receive. I got to interview Barbara after her big win and, while seated with six of her closest friends (almost all of whom she mentored!) the joy and camaraderie that comes from a life well-lived and a hard-won and well-deserved honor was contagious. Barbara created this hilarious image during a particularly "dark" period of personal struggle in her life but, the image and its humor not only helped her through but has put her in a whole new direction with her pet photography work. 


"I never even dreamed I could attain this," Barbara says. "It's like looking Parkinson's in the face and saying, 'I've got this.' It's my legacy to my kids to never give up and go for it. I love what I do. I have the best job in the world---I get to work with dogs!" 

Barbara (and all of the Grand Imaging Award winners) are a reminder to push yourself, enter competition, find a mentor and really make sure you're living your life to the fullest...even in the dark and uncomfortable spots. The sunshine will show up. Warmth is coming right around the corner.

Tomorrow is the last day of Imaging USA 2017 and, if it's anything like today, there won't be a dry eye in the house. Now, everyone get out there and make Day Three count! Go see the Drone Zone, PRINT Theatre, speakers, the photo exhibit, the Merit Cafe, the Expo, the Award and Degree whatever you can to fit it all in. You can sleep next week.

by James Yates 

You want to talk about sunshine and warmth on a cold and cloudy day? We've seen it and it's Imaging USA 2017. Terrible weather and travel delays couldn't stop the 10,000 photography professionals who have descended upon San Antonio, Texas for Imaging USA! It may have taken some doing, but now that (mostly) everyone is here, it's on! 

The world's oldest and best photography convention is happening as we speak. If you weren't able to get out of the snow and make it down to the Lone Star state, have no fear. You'll find plenty of info here and on the Imaging USA social media to make you (almost) feel like you're here with us! (we really, really wish you were here with us). 

The final day of Pre-Con on Saturday brought with it the New Member Meet & Greet and...WOW. Hundreds of new PPA members attended the event which saw Board Members and Newbies alike, mingling and having a great time breaking the ice. It may have been freezing outside, but inside the Henry B. Gonzalez convention center, everyone was warm and having fun networking with their new photography friends.

Today was the first "official" day of Imaging USA 2017 and, as the weather improves and flights clear, the cold January doldrums are melting away and the party is really taking off! Everyone got an immense jolt of inspiration this morning at the Keynote Presentation with author, CNN star and motivational speaker Mel Robbins taking stage. Mel comes from four generations of small business owners and has photographer family, so she was uniquely capable of relating and speaking to the packed house. She acknowledged that being a small business retail owner is one thing but it's an entirely different thing when your small business is also your passion. Mel's signature idea is that you're your biggest obstacle. You know exactly what you need to do and you can begin to take control of your life using the "5-second rule". 

Attendees were also welcomed by PPA CEO David Trust and President Lori Craft. David really 
stirred the crowd with his call to FIGHT for your small business! With the Print Movement, the Drone Zone and the grassroots campaign for Small Claims, there are major signposts that point to professional photography's best years being ahead of us. PPA has been an association of professional photographers just like YOU being there for each other "since 1869...and we aren't going anywhere." It was very exciting to see a video message from Rep. Judy Chu (CA) who urged everyone to call or write your congressman to ask for co-sponsorship of the Freedom for American Small Creators Act. 

There's nothing like the Imaging Expo, of course, and President Craft cut the ribbon immediately following Mel Robbins. This writer hasn't had the chance to really take it in yet, but I know I'll find amazing gear there along with the Print Theatre, IPC exhibit and Merit Cafe. Can't wait!

Finally was the Business Challenge class themed "Four Things You Need to Know to Be Successful". It was led by Angela Kurkian, Mary Fisk-Taylor and Gregory Daniel and it was such a bountiful session for small business photographers at any level. The hosts took the audience through the testimonials of four current Business Challenge participants, relating each one to one of the "Four Things You Need". Be sure to sign up for the next Business Challenge, which begins Feb. 1st. 

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Whoa. The Opening Party just started! And guess what? The weather is getting better each day at Imaging USA 2017. By the time we leave San Antonio, it will be a sunny 80 degrees. I'd like to say we (along with Louis and Annabella, pictured) brought the warmth. 

photos by Alex the Photo Guy
By Autumn Rice

The wait is over, so let the Imaging USA festivities begin!

As you arrive at Imaging USA 2017, there will be loads of intriguing sights and sounds filling the air, but before you dive into the greatest pro-photography convention, there are a few important tasks that need to be completed. 

Be sure to mark the following items off of your arrival checklist.
 • Hotel Check-In. Before you head to the Henry B. Gonzalez convention center, you'll need to stop by your hotel room and check-in. You'll get the chance to drop off your luggage and gather all of your important items to attend classes and the convention. 

• Registration Check-In. You'll need to stop by the registration desk to receive your convention badge, lanyard, ribbons, bag and show guide. The badge is important, as it is required for attending the Imaging USA expo, classes, parties, and more. Hold on tight to your badge! If you lose it, there is a reprint fee of $25 for the first badge reprint and $50 for one additional reprint. Stop by the main registration area for assistance. Pre-Con registration will be located at the Marriott Rivercenter, 101 Bowie St, San Antonio, TX 78205, 3rd floor. Main Registration will be at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention, Main Lobby, street level. There will be signage, so you won't miss it!

• Make a plan. Your show guide is a great way to get a complete list of the events hosted at Imaging USA. Use your show guide to schedule your days at Imaging USA, and stay on schedule using the official Imaging USA app! Be sure to attend the trade show, and as many classes and parties as you can pack into each day!

• Have the time of your life! Imaging USA is all about learning and connecting with your peers, while having the best fun of the year. So, shake off your nerves and dive into the greatest photographic convention around!

Imaging USA has begun, and your PPA Team is happy to answer any of your convention questions. You can also head over to to get answers to any questions you may have!

Enjoy Imaging USA 2017, and stay tuned for daily convention recaps and updates!

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Imaging USA category from January 2017.

Imaging USA: December 2016 is the previous archive.

Imaging USA: February 2017 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

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