PPA Today: Imaging USA Classes Archives
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By John Owens
Back in the fall, PPA launched the second annual PPA Kickstart Scholarship. Our four lucky PPA members are already in Nashville for their pre-convention classes--completely on the house! The winners were given the opportunity to choose between a full-day of hands on classes or a two-day Studio Management Services workshop.
We chatted with each of our winners last month, and their excitement was evident. Each will be attending their first Imaging USA. Here are some highlights from the conversations:
By Mariah Ashley
I'm sitting here in Massachusetts with a blizzard bearing down on my house and all I can think is, This better not mess up my plans to go to Imaging USA in Nashville on Friday!
It's colder than a frosted frog here so in the spirit of Nashville, I'm passing the time researching country and western idioms. What I've discovered is that we're pretty boring here in New England, at least in terms of color phrases. You know, one of the best things you can do when visiting a new place is to learn some local lingo. I've included a bunch in this post so that you can fit in too. You're welcome.
Anyway... What a difference two years can make! It was just two years ago that I tried to fake a flu to get out of the trip to Atlanta for my first Imaging USA. My business had two speeds at that time: slow and stop. Yep, my crick had run dry. True story. I had $79 in my bank account. Coming up with enough money each week to make payroll was like trying to put socks on a rooster.
I couldn't see mustering the energy, let alone the money to make the trip. Fortunately for me, my business partner Trish is as bright as a new penny and saw right through my lame faux-flu. She insisted I get on the plane. Never in my wildest imagination (and trust me it gets crazy as a bed bug in there) did I imagine how much that trip would change my life. When we arrived in Atlanta we were desperate--desperate for inspiration, desperate for answers. We had nothing to lose so we went with open minds and empty pockets and found everything we were looking for.
By: Lauren Walters
Thom Rouse began his career in 1994. He now splits his time as a portrait and commercial photographer. With two diverse sides to his career, Thom has mastered the art of photography. In the following interview, he tells us about himself as an artist.
What is your definition of "fine art"?
I wouldn't dare try to define art! My thought is that if you have a personal experience with literature, music, a painting or a photograph, then it must be art. We don't really need to define it, agree on it, or consult a critic to decide what it means. If we have an experience with it, positive or negative, I think it must be art.
Who are some of the artists who inspire you?
There are many artists who inspire me and the list changes daily. Among those near the top of my list are Salvador Dali, Gustave Klimt and Tintoretto. Among photographers, I'd include Steichen, Julia Margaret Cameron, Gordon Parks and Irving Penn. As soon as I start a list, I can think of 30 more I should have added.
Why do you teach classes for other photographers?
It sounds trite, but I like to teach because I learn so much from it. It pushes me to think and evaluate the things I think I know about my process and my craft. While teaching, I often have some self-revelation about my own image making and I always learn from other photographers, usually from the newest newbie in the room.
You've had over 50 images go Loan - what do you enjoy most about photographic competitions?
My reasons for entering competition have changed over time. When I started, I was solely trying to make the judges happy and earn merits towards a degree. Once I earned my degrees, I tried to make and enter images that I liked the most and were unique to me. At that point, I stopped looking for what I thought would achieve the highest scores. If we're not learning from competition, I see no reason to compete. We all need to present our work and receive feedback; it's a part of our ongoing creative process. No matter where we are in our careers, photographic competitions guarantee to make us better image makers. The more we enter competition, the more we have to work at stretching ourselves. It pushes us to take chances and do work that advances our vision; not just entering images that will earn more merits.
What makes photography such a versatile medium of expression?
It's great to be a photographer: a time when the medium has become more versatile than ever! I started later in life at 40 years old, but the 20 year span of my career has encompassed the transition from film to digital capture. As much as I loved the traditional darkroom, I came alive with digital post production. During that time it has become an entirely new medium that encompasses painting, compositing and extensive possibilities for post-capture manipulation. The technology has created endless opportunities, yet we have to remind ourselves that we still create images with our eyes, hearts and minds. That's what makes photography truly versatile.
Do you pursue any other creative endeavors?
Sadly, I do not. I gave up music 30 plus years ago; although, I'm greatly inspired by other media. I fantasize projects in other media, but I've never acted on it.
What is your favorite image you've captured?
I have several favorites because they were influenced by very personal experiences that captured, expressed and expanded those experiences. I think the best and most impactful work is done when it's grounded in your personal experience.
Who should take your class at Imaging USA?
I think that photographers in any genre and at any experience level will find something of value in my program. I'll be making the case for spending time on fine art and how fine art will translate into added success in commercial and portrait work. Creating and displaying fine art expands your reputation as an artist, and will contribute to both your image making skills and to your bottom line.
What are the top 3 things people should take away from your class?
1. Pursuing personal fine art will keep you fresh, alive and vibrant as an image maker.
2. These days everyone is a photographer - being recognized as an artist elevates your status and recognition in the market.
3. Fine Art translates into skills and styles that let you create work like no one else in your market.
Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Jack White?
This is trick question that should be answered with "all of the above". I know that Elvis and Johnny Cash have influenced nearly everyone that's followed, but my first choice for listening right now would be Jack White!
This must be a based on Nashville connections; otherwise I'd be voting "none of the above" and writing in Miles Davis!
By: Lauren Walters
Let's get to know one of our speakers who will be at Imaging USA in Nashville, Tennessee. JulieAnne Jonker has her master of photography and photographic craftsman degrees from PPA and is also a certified professional photographer (CPP). In the following interview, she sheds some light on her career as a photographer.
Who's your class for?
Any photographer, really. It's about inspiration as much as what it takes to get your photography studio to the next level. I'll help you direct your business based on your definition of yourself as an artist
What are the top 3 takeaways from your class?
At the end of my class, you will be able to understand 3 things:
1. Who you are as an artist
2. What direction you want to take your studio in 2015
3. How you can operate a low-volume, high-end studio in this economy
Define your style as a photographer in 5 words.
My style reflected in my photography is vintage, ethereal, classical, compelling and timeless.
What makes your portrait style so unique?
The influences that I continually derive from the fine art world shine through my work and define my photography style.
What is your favorite medium of expression besides photography?
Outside photography, there are two outlets I use to express myself: painting and sculpting.
What was your proudest photographic moment?
Being invited and voted into the Camera Craftsmen of America has to be my proudest moment as a photographer.
What is one marketing mistake many photographers make when they are first starting out?
Inexperienced photographers tend to compete on price, and price only, to get their foot in the door, but that presents them as cheap studios with too many sales and specials.
What do you want to be known for?
As an artist I'd like to be known for creating timeless pieces.
Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Jack White?
Definitely, Jimi Hendrix.
JulieAnne has had a long streak of success. Learn from her at Imaging USA in Nashville! You'll have two opportunities to hear her speak: on the business panel "5 Golden Nuggets" and in her solo-class called "The Portrait as an Art Form".
If you haven't registered for Imaging USA, you can do so now at ImagingUSA.org/Register! We can't wait to see you in Nashville!
It's time to get to know another Imaging USA instructor taking the stage at Nashville in 2015. In this interview, Steve Kozak, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, talks about why you should sign up for his "The Secrets to Success When Turning Pro" pre-convention class (which he'll be co-hosting with Britney Fullgraf). He also shares why he become a photographer, what he believes his style is, why he enjoys serving on PPA's Board of Directors... and why he prefers Johnny Cash to Elvis.
When did you know you wanted to be a photographer?
I was a professional musician in a band when I got my first camera. I loved music, but there are demands that go with being in a band that make things hard to keep up with that lifestyle. The more I learned about photography, the more I realized the similarities between taking photos and making music. When I figured out I could use my camera to tell stories, make people feel and use it as an outlet for my creativity, I left the band, sold my guitar and bought my first 2.8 lens. There was no looking back!
What are the top 5 things people will learn from your class?
The first thing we discover is that quality photography begins with the fundamentals--the techniques all photographers should know. Participants will learn how to elevate the quality of their images to a professional level through proper exposure, lighting and posing.
Next, we'll look at gaining control over the portable flash by using it in manual mode and the value of using supplemental lighting with off-camera flash. This is a huge game-changer for photographers trying to improve the quality of their images!
Then, we examine the value that studio lighting brings to the financial success of photographers--and I'll show you how you can use this type of lighting even if you don't have a studio space. I plan to really demystify studio lighting and make it an approachable technique for photographers.
We then look at how to market professional photography and the importance of the message that you place in front of the target market.
Finally, we examine sales strategies and techniques to maximize the sale without feeling like you are pushing too hard. After all, the easier sales become for you, the more money you'll make and the more time you can actually spend behind the camera!
Who should take your class?
All photographers who are considering stepping out into professional photography as their full time job, as much as those who "leapt before they looked". It's not too late to learn how to run a photography business properly! It's never too late! I've built this class to answer so many of the questions photographers starting in the business have, and I truly believe it can help you be successful.
Which do you enjoy more: teaching or photographing?
OK, this question is not fair! It's sort of like choosing your favorite child or your favorite Beatles song. The truth is, I love teaching to those who will dare to take information and run with it. Helping others grow and seeing them succeed brings me greater pleasure than just about anything I do.
What makes you and your co-speaker Britney Fullgraf such a great team?
Britney is simply brilliant. She has a sharp mind for business and knows how to make money. We really take two different approaches to what we do, but when it comes to teaching photographers how to find success, our styles complement each other so well that students can take the best of what each of us has to offer.
Describe your photographic style.
I think of my work as "crafted". I do not leave the details of my work to chance and I am very selective about my lighting, posing and technique. I almost always go into a session knowing what I seek to create for the client. I strive to create images that are unique for every client.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Life. Music. The heart of the person in front of my camera. Landscapes. Fashion. Movies. Art. The human emotion. The mountains. The beach. Contrasts. The dark side. Beauty. Love. Lost love. Hope. Just to name a few!
Why was it important for you to serve on PPA's Board of Directors?
It is important that all of us answer the call to serve whenever or wherever we are called. Serving on the PPA Board of Directors means that I really am serving the 27,000+ photographers of this association who have dreams, passions, struggles, needs, successes and desires. By giving my time and service to this group, I become a small yet active part of a larger community that provides photographers a light along a path that helps them be more and get where they want to go. The tools and the opportunities that PPA provides for photographers are limited only by the willingness of each photographer to reach out and take hold of them. Who wouldn't want to be a part of something as special as that?
Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Jack White?
What about the Beatles?! OK, focus...Jack has had a hand in the success of a number of projects, but is not as recognized as Elvis or Johnny Cash. Johnny was, and still is, "The Man in Black". How cool is that? But Elvis... he is so cool he only needs one name.
This question has me "all shook up", so I think I will "walk the line". I think Elvis had so many people he had to please and so many people trying to own him, so I chose Johnny Cash because I think he did what he wanted to do the way he wanted to do it. Sounds like a true artist to me!
Come learn from Steve live at Imaging USA 2015. His "The Secrets To Success When Turning Pro" pre-convention class will run January 29 - 30 for an additional $199 fee to your registration. Get all the details on Imaging USA and register here!
Meet Peter Lik. He's the most acclaimed landscape photographer in the world right now, and that's hardly an exaggeration. This high-octane Aussie and star of The Weather Channel's "From the Edge" will go far and wide and brave any elements to get the perfect shot. Peter will deliver a special keynote presentation at Imaging USA 2015 to discuss how and why he does it. He's bringing along some of his most celebrated images like "Ghost" and "One" and will share the stories behind them and more.
Peter will also be presented with PPA's Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been a PPA
photographer for nearly 10 years and is a fervent advocate for the association and its membership. Peter's accomplishments in the industry speak for themselves, and you'd think he has nothing to prove, yet he continues to enter the International Photographic Competition (IPC). One of his images made it into this year's Loan Collection.
Peter earned his master of photography (M.Photog.) degree from PPA in 2010. The degree warded for superior photographic skills--demonstrated through obtaining merits through the IPC, and by advanced education, speaking engagements and service to the industry.
A native of Melbourne, Australia, Peter has photographed the American landscape since he first arrived in the U.S. in 1984. Fifty thousand miles and 1,000 rolls of film later, he has now photographed landscapes in all 50 states. Highlights of this American odyssey can be found in his book, "Spirit of America."
Throughout his career, Peter has sold hundreds of millions of dollars of his artwork (again, not an exaggeration). Two of his iconic images, "Ghost" and "Inner Peace," were exhibited in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. Peter also has 13 galleries of his own and counts presidents of countries and big celebrities among his many collectors. His aforementioned Weather Channel show has made Peter Lik a household name.
Want a preview? Go behind the scenes with Peter in New York City and the Pacific Northwest. In fact, you might just want to watch everything on his YouTube channel. And be sure to follow Peter Lik on Facebook and Twitter and check out his website.
Lik's keynote presentation at Imaging USA 2015 will be Monday, Feb. 2, 8-9 p.m. The program is open to anyone with an Imaging USA badge, including all-access and expo-only passes. Trust us, a program from a guy with this much talent, passion and energy is one you don't want to miss. It's first-come, first-served so you will probably want to get there early! And don't forget, you have to register for Imaging USA and come out to Nashville to see him.
Want to be more? Be there.
After all, how far are you willing to go for the perfect shot?