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PPA Today: Inspiration Archives

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By: Lauren Walters

Ready to take the plunge into Imaging USA? First, stay up to date with what's happening in the world of photography. Read our top ten favorite blog posts and use them as conversation starters at the convention!

1.       5 Tips for Successfully Marketing Yourself at an Industry Trade Show

PERSONAL BRAND: Headed to Imaging USA next week? Get a head start! Learn how to market yourself successfully for when you're walking around at the Expo. The first step is to plan, plan, and plan again!

2.       Why Sports Illustrated Laid Off All of its Photographers

LAYOFFS: For a magazine so heavily reliant on its high-quality images, we were surprised to learn that Sports Illustrated laid off their entire staff of six photographers. A cut of photographers of this scale hasn't happened since The Chicago Sun-Times cut their 28-staffed photographers in 2013. Is history repeating itself?

3.       Joshua Kane: Running a Destination Wedding Photography Business

DESTINATION PHOTOGRAPHER: PPA photographer Joshua Kane gets paid to travel the world and photograph destination weddings. Although Joshua is living the dream, it's not always a vacation. Read about the challenges and benefits of a destination photography business.

4.       Pixels to Paint: Mixing Photography and Printmaking Yields Beautiful Results

MIXED MEDIA: How would a printmaker involve photography in their process? After mixing digital and print mediums, a hybrid medium was born. Check out a lithographer's approach to digital photography.

5.       India Through a Lens: The Nation Embraces Photography as Art

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY: India has always been rich in imagery, but not so involved in the art of photography. After their first photography festival four years ago in New Deli, India has become more present in the photography scene. Check out breath-taking images showcasing the exotic Indian lifestyle.

6.       Study Finds that Professionally Captured Photos Are More Memorable Than Amateur Ones

DUH! (THANKFULLY): According to the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), people can distinguish a professional from an amateur photographer. The researcher who conducted this study used special equipment to record the subject's eye movements when exposed to photographs. Check out other conclusions they drew from this experiment.

7.       Johnson Publishing to Sell Historic Photo Archive

ARCHIVES: Hoping to raise funds, the publisher of Ebony magazine is selling their entire photo archive. This collection dates back to 1945 including historic and award-winning photography. Find out more about this collection.

8.       Street Photography: It All Comes Down to Editing

EDITING: As a street photographer, you can shoot anytime, anywhere! Where the structured schedule is lacking, the photographer picks up the slack when it comes to editing. Why would one have to heavily edit street photography? Read more to find out!

9.       Photographer Suing Nike Over the Origins of the Famous Jordan "Jumpman" Logo

COPYRIGHT: Learn about Nike's "jumpman" logo legend. Was there a photograph behind this genius design for inspiration? If so, does the photographer deserve to be compensated?

10.   Photographer Captures Enchanting Landscapes Inspired by The Brothers Grimm

INSPIRATION: We all know those beloved fairytales from our childhood. How about capturing the landscapes that inspired the original Grimm's fairy tales?

Check back with us next week for more top blogs. Any interesting blogs you'd like us to check out, let us know on theLoop!

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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 

This week, take a stand as a photographer. Sign a petition or commend those who give back. Check out the top ten blog posts from this week.

PUBLISHING: Do you walk through book stores scrutinizing book cover photography? Maybe you could do it better? Join a stock agency to get your work out in the world! Read more to find out what it takes to sign with a stock agency.

CONVENTIONS: Learn how to prep for conventions like Imaging USA. Which preconvention events pique your interest? Read this "must see" list of events for Imaging USA. Get ready, the fun starts next week! 

GRIEF PHOTOGRAPHY: After diagnosed with a severe heart condition before birth, the parents of this child turned to a non-profit organization "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep".  The experience for both the parents and photographer was an emotional one. However, the portraits helped the parents cope and aided the healing process. 

TUTORIAL: Shooting on a sunny day? Perfect your photos by capturing all the tones in your shot. This blog explains how to punch up your photography using dramatic range.

PHOTOGRAPHY FEES: In Fairfax County Park, authorities enforced a $100 fee for commercial photography back in 2011. Why? The park was overrun with publicity due to weddings and other commercial photography. Will they finally reconsider?

PETITION: Are you using a left-handed camera made for a right-handed photographer? Well, you just might be in luck! Sign the petition on petition to request that Canon designs a left-handed camera.

COMPOSITION: If you're off to a coast anytime soon, these quick tips from Digital Photography School will help you make the most of any seascape photographs. Learn the rules, and learn when to break them here!

DECISION TIME: In business (and in life) we all get caught up in the process of making decisions. Imaging USA speaker Jeffrey Shaw is back on his podcast with Brian Whetten and they are here to guide you through the process of finding big wins in your decision process. Your weekend can always use a little more inspiration!

EDUCATION: What should we be learning as photographers? The question is: are we learning it? Read about the parallels drawn from music to photography education. 

PROFESSIONAL vs. AMATEUR: Educate your potential clients with PPA's #PhotoFails video. Showcase simple mistakes that can ruin their experience with an inexperienced photographer.  

Tune in for next week's Round Up! If you have a blog you want us to check out, let us know on theLoop!

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By: Lauren Walters

Itching for news in the world of photography? Here are our top ten blog posts for this week. From tips and tutorials to adventure and high art, this week's top ten is a creative cluster.


1.       Imaging USA: The Next Stage of Your Photography Career Begins Here!

EVENT: Become more knowledgeable, connected, and confident by attending Imaging USA. This convention hosted by PPA takes place on Sunday, Feb. 1 - Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, in Nashville, Tennessee. Read this article to find out about all the benefits it has to offer. Come join the fun at Imaging USA!


2.       The Consequences of Working for Free

BUSINESS: Relating the life of a photographer to a life of a circus performer, this blog shares a few concepts of working the circus life that seem all too familiar to us photographers. There is no publicity value in working for free. North America has a silly belief system that work should not be enjoyable, therefore we should only be paid if there isn't enjoyment. But, don't sell your skills for free just yet! Value your work and yourself as a professional. 

3.       How to Make Artistic Multiple Exposures In-camera and in Photoshop

TUTORIAL: Interested in expanding your portfolio with creative pieces? Try a multiple exposure piece! From abstract to artistic portraits, regardless of the medium, this tutorial covers it all when it comes to multiple exposures. Have fun experimenting!

4.       How I Learned to Stop Taking Photographs and Start Making Photographs

PARADIGM SHIFT: Going from taking photos to making art can be a huge step. A common struggle among learning photographers can be focusing on a shallow depth of field. As soon as you start to learn that photography is a story telling device is when you start "making" photos instead of "taking" them.

5.       Why Photographers Aren't Artists

ARTISTS vs. PROFESSIONALS: As a photographer, do you consider yourself an artist? This blog distinguishes creative individuals as craftsmen, artists, professionals and finally entrepreneurs. Furthermore, this blog explains that true artistic geniuses such as Beethoven no longer exist. Instead of artists, we've become professionals.


6.       Help Unravel a Gordon Parks Southern Mystery

HISTORY: They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The featured photograph dates back to 1956 in an Atlanta airport. Relations of race and gender are assumed through this intimate photograph. Although, the details of this photo still remain a mystery today.

7.       Help, I Am Being Sued for Nearly $500,000 by a Model I Photographed

COPYRIGHT PROTECTION: After signing a release, participating in the shoot and getting paid, a model decides to sue the photographer for the photos getting stolen. The model signed a release allowing her photos to be used as stock, but they got stolen off her personal Facebook page after posting them herself. You won't believe where the images wound up!

8.       Gotham 7.5K A Rare High Altitude Night Flight Above NYC

AERIAL, BY NIGHT: "Gotham From Above" was shot from a helicopter 7,500 feet above the ground of New York. Capturing aerial photographs can be quite a challenge; helicopters vibrate, so the photographer had to use a relatively high shutter speed. This project showcases the scale of New York City.


9.       Photographer armed with just a SWORD braves threat of wolves and -50C in Siberia to snap awe-inspiring Northern Lights images

-50C AURORA BOREALIS: Into the Siberian wilderness, a Russian photographer ventured to capture images of the Northern Lights. Because of temperatures (as low as -50C), the photographer designed a coat to protect his camera. We applaud this photographer for braving such harsh conditions for the sake of art. Take a look at the results!


10.   Stunning Photos of Acrobatic Dancer Leap and Twirl Amid Dynamic Clouds of Powder

COMMERCIAL VS. FINE ART: Check out this high art marketing campaign. An acrobat dances in a cloud of powdered milk to create the most stunning photography designed to sell creamer. Did this approach make you crave creamer?


Enjoy this week's blog posts? Check back next week for more excitement! If you have a blog you want us to check out, let us know on theLoop!

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How having my kitchen remodeled revamped my sales strategy

By Mariah Ashley

Selling. Yuck. Just the thought of it makes my skin crawl. I have no idea how to close a deal. I'm not sure if it's in the bag. I regularly take no for an answer.

For me, selling is a mysterious art form that dapples in shadiness and deception. Yet, here I am, in the business of selling photography. Over the years I've pondered over how to develop a sales strategy that wouldn't make my client's skin crawl. I've never come up with one. Instead I wing it and hope for generous clients with money to burn.

Until now.

If you are (still) concerned about entering the International Photographic Competition (IPC), or any District Competitions that are currently going on, we want to show you some of the critiques to take some of the fear out! We hear time and time again from photographers who compete that once you overcome your nerves and enter, your skills and technique will improve--not to mention the confidence boost! And most get hooked! The best way to get the most out of your experience in a photographic competition is to have your images critiqued by an IPC judge. Once you understand the elements being judged and how they are scored, it's up to you to get in the game! 

 Below you will find an example of exactly what we're talking about. This image is "Breeze in the Marsh" by Timothy Eddington and critiqued in this video by Larry Lourcey, IPC Judge. Watch the critique. You will see why this image was accepted into the General Collection and how it could be improved to go Loan.

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How my business partner has been driving me around, driving me crazy, and driving our business forward for ten years.

By Mariah Ashley

You know your job is fun when your clients provide you with a golf cart for tooling around and snapping their destination wedding. Anytime there is a golf cart involved, work is a good time, right? The only problem that could arise in this scenario is if there are two Snap Girls and only one golf cart.

Oooh, instant conflict! What to do? Who will hold the keys to the chariot? Do we flip a coin? Draw straws? Joust?

No we do not.

Trish drives. It does not need to be discussed.

Easy as that?

Easy as that.

That's how it's been since we joined our businesses 10 years ago. Other photographers often ask, "How do you do it? How do you find the perfect business partner? It would be so nice to break the isolated existence of the companionless photographer but how do you integrate someone else into your existing business?"

I have some unconventional advice on the subject. These are my five tried and true rules for choosing a business partner.

The first full week in December is in the books - how are you holding up? If you need a little "you time" settle in with these 10 great blog posts from around the web!

COMPETE: We get it; photographic competitions can be tough and intimidating. But they are also extremely rewarding, educational and you'll make more friends than you'll know what to do with. Christine Walsh-Newton shares where you can get your start and why it's so important. 

REALITY TV: In our favorite photography series of all time, Caleb Shane and Jacob Slaton went head to head in Little Rock with some interesting REFOCUS restrictions. See who took home the title this round and subscribe so you always are current with your episodes! 

BETTER BLOGGING: If improving your blog is on your list of resolutions for 2015, this is a must-read from Lightstalking. Do the exact opposite of everything in this post and you'll be making substantial improvements - hey, you might even end up in this round up!

POST CAPTURE: It's true, sometimes cover models can be a little heavy on the post-process work. What happens when you take four ladies off the street and give them the same treatment? Their reactions are interesting and might hit home. 

POSING: If you're sick and tired of static looking portraits, this post from Digital Photography School is for you! Get more creative shots with a few simple tricks - you'll be thrilled with what you can accomplish.

CAREER ADVANCEMENT: Want to get up to pro status? You might be asking the wrong questions! Here are some great examples from photographer Jenna Martin of how changing up how you talk to other photographers could get you the answers you really need.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS: How do you capture the holidays? Just having a Christmas tree in your photos won't cut it anymore. Check out these three great tips from Love That Shot to beef up your holiday repertoire. 

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Have you taken the time to look at how far you've come as a photographer? Even two years can be the difference between "Meh" and "Wow!". Join Sasha Juliard on a journey looking back and the dramatic changes that can happen. 

INSPIRATION: Peter Lik is coming to Imaging USA (and you should be too)! He'll be presenting a key note address, along with receiving PPA's Lifetime Achievement Award and let's just say this high energy Aussie is a little excited. Check out this great video from when he recently sat down with PPA President Susan Michal.

SOCIAL PURPOSE: Past Imaging USA instructor, Jeffrey Shaw, sat down with Ted Coiné to discuss the human side of social media. This podcast will help you reframe how you look at social, and all of the good it can do! Give it a listen!

There you have it, our favorite posts of the week! What photography blogs do you enjoy? Let us know on theLoop.  

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Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarah's in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs with Witless Protection around the Atlanta area and at Dad's Garage Theatre Company. When she's not tweeting/instagramming/facebooking all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.

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With the house ablaze, Katie Woodring rushed forward like she had so many times before. But not with a hose--with her camera.

She arrived on scene as the fire was still fully involved. The fire fighter before her sent a high arc of spray into the burning home. Just then one of the power lines to the house came unattached and swung into the line of the hose. Katie heard a huge POP and sparks flew. She pressed the shutter and prayed. 

Wind down from the Thanksgiving smorgasbord with some of the top photography stories of the week! 

PRICING: This piece from PetaPixel focuses on one of the most difficult aspects in the photography business--pricing. How does one determine how much to charge for their work? You may think that the process is a tedious one, but you can save yourself a lot of time and headache by viewing the process in terms of value. 

CLIENTS FROM HELL: So you may have a few "clients from hell" stories that you keep in your back pocket, ready to whip out in the event that you're around a bunch of disgruntled photographers. It's natural and inevitable that you'll eventually have to deal with a terrible client. The client in this article from PetaPixel is more than the client from hell. It may well be the worst client of all time. A must read for all photographers who want to know what not to do. 
BUSINESS DIVERSIFICATION: The folks over at must go through a ton of coffee. We're talking boat loads of the good stuff. According to The Guardian, starting next year, they will be opening a fashion photography studio to coincide with their increased presence in the fashion industry. Good news for all of you sartorially minded buffs out there.  

MODERN ART: Paul Strand was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century and what he did for the legitimacy of the art of photography often goes understated. From now through January 4, "Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography" will be showing at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Draw inspiration from one of the true masters in this awesome display of talent in this article from the Boston Globe.

LEAVING A LEGACY: You've seen his images all over the place in magazines and books--they have become a part of pop-culture over the years. The rustic and iconic cowboy was captured in divine clarity by David Stoecklein over the years, and should be remembered posthumously by us all. This is a must-read from the Idaho Statesman for anyone who is a fan of iconic commercial photography.

CLOSE CALL: Sports broadcasters are already calling it the greatest catch in the history of football and honestly, it's tough to argue. What Odell Beckham Jr. did was unbelievable, but perhaps just as impressive are some of the shots that came from this miraculous moment in football history. Check out some of the best images of this soon-to-be iconic moment after the jump and the story behind the images on

GIVE THANKS:  Portland based photographer Brian Matiash and PhotoFocus gives us the rundown of what he's thankful for this year. See if there's anything you can relate to and let us know what you're thankful for in 2014! 

DEALS & STEALS: 'Tis the season of savings! The folks over Reviewed bring the top 8 Black Friday deals to you. All of the major brands are represented, but you better hurry - we all know these deals won't last long!

GRATITUDE & GRACE: Former Imaging USA speaker Jeffrey Shaw brings you a feast for you heart and soul with Selina Maitreya on this special Creative Warriors Podcast. Let it bring you peace and joy while you fight those Black Friday lines or during your second helping of leftovers (hey, we're not here to judge). 

GIVING: Have a special lady photographer in your life and not sure what to get her? The folks that Love That Shot are here to help! Grab your 2015 Holiday Gift Guide here and check one more person off your list!

There you have it, our favorite posts of the week! What photography blogs do you enjoy? 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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