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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?
Acclaimed wedding photographer and Imaging USA speaker Booray Perry stopped by PPA's member-only online community, theLoop, last week for an AMA and it was awesome. He waxes poetic about any and everything--from his "desire" to be a doctor to mastering bounce flash in order to shoot weddings more effectively. It's an awesome and illuminating conversation which you members should absolutely check out. (Sorry, members only!)
We've selected 5 of our favorite quotes from the conversation if you missed out:
"I did not fake the moon landing. Not officially."
"I remember feeling pretty good when a fellow photographer asked me to shoot his wedding. I had a successful business already and happy clients but when a fellow pro trusts you with their wedding, that's a pretty good validation that you might know what you're doing."
"The first time I booked a Bar Mitzvah I told the client, "I've never shot a Bar Mitzvah." She said, "That's okay, I've seen your wedding work." I felt pretty good that she felt my expertise was such that I could be trusted with a job that was totally new to me."
"You have to sell yourself. It's hard to be a wedding photographer if you are the shy type. People want someone who they think will be good, but also fun to have around for 7 hours. I've talked to photographers who complain that they just aren't getting booked and I think, "Dude, I can't talk to you on the phone for 10 minutes without starting to pray for the sweet release of death to spare me from your uncanny Deputy Dog-like demeanor."
"This may sound hokey, but I like that I get paid to work at weddings and Bar Mitzvahs where there is fun and celebration and love. It's not a bad place to spend your time. " :)
If you want to learn from someone who is passionate about what he does and is willing to speak freely about his tips on being a successful photographer, check out the full conversation here. (theLoop is an exclusive, online community for photographers to discuss privately their problems and solutions. Join PPA to get in theLoop!)
And make sure you stop by Booray's program at Imaging USA!
Every year, PPA strives to bring education on the latest photography and business techniques to Imaging USA. We believe that there's great education for any type of photographer at Imaging USA--from wedding to commercial photography, the class tracks cover it all!
If you've got a certain photographic specialty you know you want to learn more in, you can easily sort the Imaging USA schedule by class track to be sure not to miss anything during the convention. It's a great way to plan your education schedule for Imaging USA 2014 in Phoenix.
One such track is the aforementioned Wedding track. True to its name, this track is built specially for wedding photographers and will continue to advance your knowledge in these areas.
The first available wedding class is the pre-convention Business Basics Workshop for Wedding Photographers. In this intimate, two-day setting, you'll assess the competitive wedding landscape and acquire those necessary, but too often avoided, business skills. Instructors , CPP, and , CPA, will walk you through the financial, tax and legal requirements of running your business, so that you are confident and legally compliant. It's a great way to kick-start the convention as well as your business in 2014.
Then, once the convention officially starts on Sunday, you can start your day by learning the art of capturing a moment from acclaimed wedding photographer, Ross Oscar Knight. In Moments Not Poses, Ross will teach you the three key components to document candid moments.
The rest of Sunday is open for you to explore other areas or the EXPO floor, but three wedding classes are on tap for Monday. Start your morning with a live demo class with . In Helping Others See, you'll learn the tried and true techniques from one of the world's top wedding photographers.
Next, you can learn tactics to establish a consistent workflow in Discovering Your Personal Vision with . Then finish-off your day with award-winning wedding photographer Roberto Valenzuela's Expand Your Vision by Gaining Control of Any Situation or Challenge.
On Tuesday, you'll be faced with the difficult decision of starting your day between two 8 a.m. wedding sessions. will teach you how to Transform Your Studio and Unleash Your Greatest Potential while Carrie Wildes, CPP, offers the wide-spanning Build Relationships, Book Weddings, Get Published. Cap everything off with Photo Video Fusion from Vanessa Joy and Rob Adams.
Remember, these are just a few of the great classes you'll find at Imaging USA--there are so many more if you want to broaden your scope! Be sure to check the entire Imaging USA schedule and download the mobile app to customize your schedule. If you haven't registered yet, view all the Imaging USA registration options and pick the one that's right for you.
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