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PPA Today: Inspiration Archives

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The holidays are almost upon us, and they're definitely a hot topic on theLoop! Check out the top discussions you might want to check out when you need a post-turkey break!

Do you love your studio management software? Chime in! See what people are shopping for or hot tips on what to avoid in this thread. 

The man in the red suit is back in this thread, too! How do you price for an event of 1,000 photos over three days? Chime in!

Get to know Steve Kozak, Imaging USA 2015 speaker! Read through his Ask Me Anything and see if it spurs you to register for his pre-convention class in Nashville!

Do you often ship final products to clients? Who do you use? Where do you shop? Weigh in or pick up some quick tips on saving money when shipping.

Uh-oh, hopefully you don't find yourself in this situation! What happens when you did the work, and the client won't pay? See what your fellow photographers have to say or weigh in with your own experience. 

Is a new computer and monitor on your holiday wish list? What are you looking for? Are you a Mac or a PC? See what your fellow pros are looking for in this thread. 

Don't forget, theLoop is PPA's safe and secure online community where members can discuss various photography topics! Not a PPA member? It's easy: join today!

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Thumbnail image for photo (2).JPG"There is something seriously wrong with the teenage brain," states my 16-year-old son as we sit in my warm car in the pouring rain waiting for his bus.

"Agreed." I nod, watching his fellow high-schoolers trudge up to the top of the street in flimsy hoodies. Every single one of them is standing in utter misery without a coat, an umbrella, or common sense between them. The rain is beating down on them cold and relentless.

"They look like a bunch of wet lemmings," adds my son.

They do. Pathetic wet little rodents with plastered hair, every last one of them. Pride surges for my son for having the good sense not to join them in their damp collectiveness. (When you have a teenager it's important to celebrate the small things.)

But then again, if you follow my posts you know that my son is a six-foot-one, cowboy-hat-wearing original. Don't forget, we live in a New England suburb, and the cowboy hat is not commonplace in these parts.

How one obnoxious hairdresser and a frazzled mother of the bride taught me a valuable lesson about sales


By Mariah Ashley


I love going to the salon to get my hair done. I have a very specific routine. I don't park close on purpose so I can enjoy the walk through Providence. I stop and buy a vanilla soy steamer at Starbucks to sip while I'm pampered. I arrive early so that I can sift through the stack of magazines and find the most current issue of PEOPLE.

I need a mind eraser bad. Trish and I have decided to expand our office. We are moving from a home office to a full blown three room; gallery, sales room, and office space. Because it's my nature to over analyze everything, I second guess the decision we've made and worry incessantly about the jump in our overhead.

Content in the solitude of the stylist's chair, head wrapped in tinfoil, inhaling chemicals with nothing but time to kill, I savor the mindless gossipy articles and my soy steamer. I let my mind drift far, far away from all things business and photography. 

Behind the Camera with PPA Photographers is new a video series to show off our beautiful/talented/awesome members. PPA photographers like you are speaking out more and more about their way of coping with the changes in the industry (and how PPA is helping along the way). It's much like Faces of PPA, but this time, with video! 

Never before have we seen people joining the photography profession so rapidly. While this represents a challenge at first, this is also showing the strength of our industry. Photography isn't going extinct! And in response to the growth, photographers are coming up with ingenious ways to be more.

The first subject in the series is Atlanta-based portrait photographer Jessica Williams. She talks about how mentoring has helped her take her business to the next level. Take a few minutes to see Jessica's passion for photography, why she joined PPA and how it's helped her be more.




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John Owens is PPA's resident wordsmith. Know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? That's where he comes in. The Connecticut transplant and (still) avid Hartford Whalers fan is an aspiring adventurist/novelist/racer on a lifelong quest to find the best trails, brews and burgers and wishes Taylor Swift would just stop.

By Chris Homer

We're back at it again with our favorite photography blog posts from around the web! Check
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 them out:

PHOTO COMPETITION MENTORING: PPA member Christine Walsh-Newton, M.Photog.Cr.,CPP, is back in the roundup this week with an article in Southern Exposure. This time, Christine recounts her experience mentoring new photographers at the 2014 International Photographic Competition. Christine talks about how being a mentor is not nearly as difficult as you might think, and how even doing something small to help another photographer can make a big difference. With District Photographic Competitions coming up, take a look and see if it inspires you to become a mentor!

PLAIN FUN: Our new favorite reality show is back with their next episode! Photo Throwdown pits 2 photographers against each other in a series of challenges. We find it quite entertaining! In this episode, photographer Dan Hughes and Levy Moroshon go head to head in San Diego. And check out the first episode, featuring PPA photographer (and PPAedu instructor!) Jennifer Rozenbaum, too.
 
GEAR N' STUFF: If you're in need of an IR remote for your DSLR, you'll want to read this post from PetaPixel before you go out and buy one. ShutterBOT is a free app for Android phones that turns your phone into a universal IR DSLR Remote that works with most of the DSLR cameras out there. 

INSPIRATION: Photographer and past Imaging USA instructor Benjamin Von Wong recently did a photo shoot for SmugMug where he turned the company's employees into pro athletes for inspiring photos hung around the company's gym. The results are impressive, even more so when you consider Benjamin did it all with a $20 budget and just a few lights. It just goes to show how far creativity can take you. Check out the video and get inspired! 

PORTRAIT TIPS: In this post for PhotoFocus, Scott Bourne shares his tips for creating great headshots. If you do portrait photography, you may find some best practices to utilize here! It might even inspire you to write your own tips... share them with us!

INSPIRATION: Each year, Nikon hosts the Small World Micrography Competition, where photographers submit images of things only visible under a microscope. In Focus has a collection of photos from this year's competition. If you do this type of photography, you won't want to miss these photos!
 
SHOT LIST TIPS: If you're thinking of getting into the corporate event market, check out this post from Digital Photography School. You'll find some good tips for building a shot list, as well as some advice on the types of photographs to avoid. 

PSD TUTORIAL: With the holidays rapidly approaching, chances are you're starting to get requests for family photos for Christmas cards. If you'd like to give your clients a winter backdrop, but don't have any snow, this tutorial from the Photography and Video blog can give you some advice on how to create a winter scene using Photoshop.
 
TIPS & INSPIRATION: Renowned photographer David Ziser shares five of his favorite photography techniques in this post on his Digital Pro Talk blog, complete with examples from a recent trip to Valencia, Spain. You may be inspired to grab your camera and try out these techniques yourself!

NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY: If you photograph babies, you know how stressful these sessions can be. Virtual Photography Studio provides some advice for keeping both babies and moms relaxed for the best photo session possible.

There it is! Your top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!

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About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages. 
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Check out 10 of our favorite photography articles from across the web in this week's edition of the Round Up. (Star Wars is mentioned twice, it's a special week).

INSPIRATION:  Sometimes it is what we can't see that separates us from the rest. In this article about famous French photographer Marc Riboud, we gain access to a sliver of insight into the amazing career of one of history's greatest cataloguers.

GEAR: It's okay to occasionally bust out that old SLR film camera! There is something very romantic and satisfying about shooting film. In this video the folks over at DigitalRevTV count down their picks for the five best film cameras money can buy for under $1000.

FOR FUN: Soooo this is one of the coolest things we've seen in a while. What happens when you stick a bunch of Star Wars geeks in the woods with some drones and cameras? Pod racing of course!

TUTORIAL: In this article, photographer Joe McNally talks about how he chooses what light to use on different faces. From aggressive, weather torn looks, to younger, softer faces-- this is a great one for all the portrait photographers out there.

VACATION ADVICE: Getting away from the office is often times crucial to both the success of your company and to your sanity. This article breaks down a great plan for how you can vacation without feeling guilty and without letting your business deteriorate while you're gone. 

WORKFLOW: If you're like us you use social media a lot. Like a lot, a lot. As a photographer it's become a necessity to maintain your business' presence online. So if you're as big of nerds as we are, (and we know you are) you're going to love this--you can now schedule Instagram posts with Latergramme! Check it out at the jump.

FOR FUN: Two Star Wars posts in one day! They must have put something in the coffee over here at PPA headquarters. Remember when I said that the Star Wars pod racing drones were the coolest things I'd seen in a long time? Yeah I changed my mind. THIS IS AMAZING! Thomas Dagg makes creative use of Photoshop, everyday locations, and Star Wars to amazing effect. 

WORKSHOP: Still on the fence about PPA's Super 1 Day? PPA photographer Susan Gertz wrote a brief synopsis on how awesome her experience with Christine Walsh-Newton was. Be sure to check it out!

INSPIRATION: Jenna Garrett captured her mother, who suffers from mental illness, in stark (and often brutal) detail throughout this five year photo-shoot. It's an honest and beautiful look at a relationship filled with as much love as there is volatility. 

BUSINESS: The LawTog makes another appearance this week as Rachel breaks down some of the big mistakes a lot of photographers make that are easily avoidable. Check the jump to find out how you can improve your business in just a few simple steps!

There it is! Your top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!

I pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant, our carpool rendezvous point, to collect Trish for

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 our third wedding of the weekend. Twelve hours earlier I had dropped her off to retrieve her car, twelve hours before that, the same. The days, the weddings, the people blended into one never-ending wedding reception with the despicable Old Time Rock n Roll looping horribly in my addled mind.

"I look like crap, I have huge dark circles under my eyes," complained Trish, slumping back into the seat.

"Aww, I bet it's not that bad," I said, lifting my sunglasses to get a good look at her.

We gasped in unison at the sight of each other's faces.

"You've got them too!" she cried.

"We look like a couple of zombie photographers." I said, defeated.

It's that time of year, October, and we feel like zombies too. Big, dumb, lumbering, drooling, driven to put one step in front of the other without thought or reason zombies. We are zombies hell bent on our one desire: to finish the weddings!

It didn't take a neurotoxin, virus, brain parasite, or tainted meat to turn two relatively attractive photographers into zombies. No, all it took was some overly ambitious booking, leading to forty three weddings to execute. My bad. But hey, what's done is done, right?

So we'll go ahead and slather a little more makeup on our faces to cover the dark circles and hope we can blend in with the rest of society; much like Bill Murray in my favorite zombie movie of all time, Zombieland. (Spoiler Alert) Bill has an excellent cameo role where he makes himself up to look like a zombie in order to blend in with the zombies and survive the zombie infested world. Okay, well that's actually the opposite of what we are doing but you get the idea.

Since it's almost Halloween and we are already on the topic of that great piece of Hollywood cinema, Zombieland, I have adapted some of the rules for surviving in Zombieland as they apply to wedding photographers surviving the end of wedding season. The hero of the movie, Columbus, has 32 rules for surviving Zombieland. Before meeting his friend Tallahassee who has also survived the infestation, these rules kept Columbus alive and well. Therefore, they must be true and henceforth I shall share nine of them (and two of my own) with you to help you survive the apocalypse that is "The End of the World Wedding Season."

If you haven't had a chance to browse your favorite photography blogs this week, fear not,
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 we're back with our 10 favorite posts of the week!

REAL-LIFE STORY: Every now and then, we like to brag about how awesome PPA is, but it means a ton more when word-of-mouth does its thing and when a photographer tells others why they belong to PPA. This piece is unprompted (promise!) and is Jessica Williams' experience and views. She'll also take you behind the scenes of a recent video shoot she was a part of and FYI, that video will be available soon on PPA's Facebook and YouTube pages. Check out her blog, because something tells us more than a few of you will be able to relate!

JUST FOR FUN: If you're a wildlife photographer, you'll get a laugh at this video from photographer Tony Northrup. It's a humorous look at the things that disrupt wildlife photographers while they're trying to capture that perfect shot. How many of these things have happened to you?

INSPIRATION: This week, PetaPixel features photographer Wolfgang Hildebrand and his unique composite photography of city streets. Check out a collection of his photos and learn more about his process in this post. You may be inspired to try it yourself! 

WORKFLOW: When editing your images in Photoshop, it can be easy to get set in your own processes and miss some areas that need to be touched up. That's why we liked this post on PhotoFocus. It covers five Photoshop tools that you should use when editing. It's a good reminder for yourself before you start your next round of editing. 

TUTORIAL:  If you use Capture One Pro software to retouch your portraits, you don't want to miss this video from Fstoppers. Photographer Michael Woloszynowicz walks you through the steps he uses to get the most out retouching with Capture One Pro. 

ADVICE: If you do landscape photography, check out this recent Podcast from Improve Photography. Tips covering everything from dealing with weather to equipment to shooting are covered. You may find some good advice here that you didn't think of before!
 
INSPIRATION: This post from Strobist will remind you that there are great background opportunities for photos everywhere! Photographer Ben Lurye shows how he uses a bridge abutment as a background for portraits with great success.

BUSINESS: You've probably been in a situation where a client asked you for your RAW files. This post on the Phoblographer dives into why photographers don't feel comfortable giving those files out as well as some (handy) ways to explain to clients why they can't have them! 

ADVICE: If you've ever entered PPA's International Photographic Competition, you know that story telling is one of the 12 elements on which your photograph is judged. If you want to learn how to add more of a story telling style to your images, the advice on this post from Digital Photography School is a great place to start! 

HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Some of you might have caught the new LEICA commercial that features reenactments of some very iconic images through the years. LEICA hasn't been around nearly as long as PPA (they're celebrating their 100th anniversary while we're on our 145th!) yet this commercial is a clever way to go over 100 years of photography and image making. How many were you able to recognize? It's amazing to see how these images still managed to go viral way before the internet era. 

There it is! Your top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!

Meet Peter Lik, M.Photog. 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

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 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 is awarded 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?

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Oh hi there, October! When did you get here?! If you've been running around like crazy, here's our top 10 favorite blog posts from this week you might enjoy. 

NEW BENEFIT FOR PPA MEMBERS: Very, very Low Credit Card Processing Fees
Exciting news! PPA has partnered with Bank of America to help you keep more money in your pocket by offering crazy low credit card processing fees, only for PPA photographers. These new rates are locked in and are so low, they could literally save you thousands (hundreds for sure, thousands most likely!). Read up on this one! This can be an easy way to help you be more profitable right away!


WOW-WORTHY PHOTOS: The folks at Photography Talk get you in a wintery mood with these 20 beautiful images from the Antarctica! You might want to grab a cup of tea first-- it's about to get chilly.


NEW PHOTOGRAPHY LAUGHS: This blog from Missy Mwac was too much fun not to share. We understand we all have to start somewhere, but these 10 stereotypes are pretty darn accurate. Which one did you fall into when you first started? 


MENTAL HEALTH: How do you handle it when you're overwhelmed? It's a feeling that ironically enough can halt all productivity and cause even the most efficient and creative photographers to spin in circles. Jeffrey Shaw, Cr.Photog. has some interesting ways to combat this phenomenon. Check them out here on Huffington Post! 


PUSHING BOUNDRIES: Some people always have to push it to the limits, and for that, we thank them. DJI's Eric Cheng recently went to Iceland to capture the eruption of a volcano. As he arrived, he captured a variety of beautiful wide angle shots, but he wanted more. Despite not being able to get within a mile of the mountain, he still managed to melt the face off his drone mounted GoPro! You have to see these amazing images and videos:


LEGAL TOOLS: Photographers can always use a little help in the legal department, and that's where the Law Tog, Rachel Brenke steps in. She's compiled a list of free resources to help you through every step of the sales process! Check them out here and be more protected!


LEARNING CURVE: Want to learn how to master some easy curve adjustments in Photoshop? The Digital Photography School has just the answers for you! Check out their fantastic tutorial here.

COMMON SENSE: It should be common sense, but it's nice to have a refresher every once in a while. To quote Moose Peterson, wildlife photographer extraordinaire, "No image is worth sacrificing the welfare of the subject!" It's easy to forget sometimes, in the effort to capture the perfect shot, but check out this article from PetaPixel for a sobering reminder. 


BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE: The fine folks over at Digital Photography School understand most people like cute, fluffy creatures. You can even love taking images of those cute, fluffy animals, but does that mean you should open up a business doing it? Here are their five things to consider before you open up shop.


MUSIC TO MOVE YOU: How do you rock out in your studio while you're editing? Photo Jojo has their top songs that will definitely inspire sweet dance moves and hopefully some creative work too!


There it is! Your top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!



About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Inspiration category.

In Memory is the previous category.

Photography Business is the next category.

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

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