A Student's Take on Imaging USA - PPA Today
A Student's Take on Imaging USA
Written by guest blogger and Student Photographic Society Member Tessa Smucker
To read more of Tessa's blog, click here.
As the snow continues to fall, I figured there was no better time to write about my trip to Phoenix. Last week this time, I was enjoying palm trees and sunny 70 degree weather. What I would give to still be there!
I have been a member of PPA (Professional Photographers of America) for about a year now and have been receiving their monthly magazine for over three years. PPA is a "non-profit international photography association that helps those serious about photography live their dreams profitably." Members enjoy the benefits of equipment insurance, educational resources and the connection to thousands of other professional photographers.
Among the benefits is the opportunity to attend their yearly conference, Imaging USA. Last year, I attended as a student volunteer in Atlanta, GA. It truly shaped my entire 2013. I had the pleasure of attending Imaging USA once again this year in Arizona. Because of the impact it had previously, I was anxious to be back.
Although I am "technically" no longer a student, they let me slide for one more year. The role of a student is to volunteer about 4-6 hours a day. In exchange for our time we receive free lodging, free entry to the event and the chance to attend amazing workshops put on by world renowned photographers. We also have the opportunity to have our work individually critiqued by very established professionals in the field. Pretty much, it is a sweet deal.
I attended seminars touching on topics of business, lighting, and creating a quicker workflow. I had the opportunity to learn from Gregory Hesiler, Kimberely Wyle, Julieanna Kost and many more. The conference is mentally exhausting, in a good way. At times it can be very overwhelming and takes a few days to digest all the new material.
Last year I was introduced to Lindsay Adler, a fashion and editorial photographer from NYC. I was immediately drawn to her work. Her inspiration can be seen in many of my bodies of work, created in 2013. Once again, I had the pleasure of attending a four hour seminar, taught by Lindsay Adler. She is a photographer I aspire to be like, especially in the way that she is so willing to teach others from things she has learned along the way. I was left more inspired than ever with a clearer direction of what my plans will be in the future.
Not only did I have the opportunity to attend classes and have my work critiqued but there was also an expo with dozens of vendors in the industry. This few hours a day, allowed me to test new equipment, explore updated software options, and create quite an extensive wish list!
But above all, I was able to spend time with my favorite college classmates! Now all graduates, it is a pleasure seeing the progress they are making and continuing to learn beside them! These girls are already successful and will continue to do big things. Katie Yuen is a military wife based out of San Diego, California who specializes in wedding and portrait photography. Jenni Kowal is the traveler of the group and focuses on landscape photography. Gabrielle Elizabeth is a neighboring photographer, based out of Philadelphia who is rapidly building her portrait studio. Then of course, my partner in crime, Juliana Laury, who traveled with me from Philadelphia a few short hours after we finished photographing a wedding!
I am so grateful to be a part of such an established organization that continues to provide resources that inspire me and continue to help me growing. Here are some photos that show a bit more about my experience!