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By Rachel Noto

Though the early bird deadline for entries has passed, there's still time to enter your images in the International Photographic Competition (IPC)! 

If you've waited until now because you were intimidated by the idea of entering your images into a competition to be judged -- don't be! All IPC judges have earned Master of Photography degrees by submitting their work to competitions like this, so you can be sure that they have the experience to back up the feedback they give you.

You'll even have the option to have your images critiqued by an IPC judge so you can get professional feedback on what you've done well and what you can improve on. To get an idea of what your critique would be like, watch a review of one of last year's merited images, "Grandma Mary" by Pete Rezac, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, with critique by Larry Lourcey M.Photog.Cr., CPP.

Submitting your images comes with more perks than just receiving feedback, of course! All images that earn a seal of approval are awarded with a merit, and all merited images then have a chance to be featured in the prestigious loan collection. Merits on your images go toward your Master of Photography degree, which requires 13 exhibition credits. 

If you're still nervous or feel unprepared, watch this video of PPA Instructor Michael Timmons explaining the process by which IPC judges judge entries and gives tips on everything from image size specifications to where to set your easel compared to the judges' chairs! 
It's not too late! Click here to enter and Be More Confident in your work!

Rachel Noto is one of the summer interns wandering around the labyrinthine offices of PPA, enthusiastically taking pictures of her cat, and occasionally getting a little writing and design done. An Atlanta native, she's learned to embrace the feeling of getting lost every now and then, though she now spends most of the year in the gridded city of Savannah, Georgia, where she attends the Savannah College of Art and Design. She has a passion for food, cute animals, and communication in all of its forms.

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By Rachel Noto

The latest round of PhotoVision videos are here! Check out the list of new videos below, and if you're a PPA member, you can go ahead and dig in!

And don't forget, through the end of June, anyone can sample PhotoVision for free during PhotoVision EXPOsed. Sign up or spread the word to your photography friends to get access to the PhotoVision library and be entered into a raffle to win $20,000 worth of prizes!

The lineup of new PhotoVision videos that have just been added includes:

  • "Senior Photography: Including the Family" shows how Melanie Anderson Cr.Photog., CPP, includes an entire family in her senior family photo shoots and includes helpful tips on everything from aperture settings for group shots to how to get everyone in the group to behave and look their best.
  • "Lighting for the Urban Environment" is an excellent tutorial for anyone interested in learning more about lighting tips. Ed Pierce, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, shares his expertise on the matter as he takes you through one shoot in the beautiful Wilmington area.
  • "Start Up to Success" features Jill Austin, the woman who has it all, sharing tips on how she manages to keep her business running smoothly while also maintaining a healthy family life. 
  • "Window Lighting for Newborns" takes you through Jill Austin's process of capturing the tender, warm imagery that sets her newborn shoots apart from the rest. 
  • "Iconik Studio Techniques" demonstrates how Iconik studio photographers Jeremy Witter and Brent Legg combine youthful but stylish and current elements to their senior photographs to create an end result that pleases both the senior and their parents. 
  • "Increasing Value with Senior Video Fusion" features Jen Basford, Cr.Photog., describing how she offers videos as an option for senior photography and how it both enhances the client experience and raises the caliber of her studio.
  • "Secrets to Make You Blush" focuses on Blush Boudoir's Tracy Malott, who lets you in on how she makes her clients feel special and then sits down with her husband to discuss cross-market potential between photography and local businesses!
  • "Extreme Sports" joins Melanie Anderson, Cr.Photog., CPP, as she continues a senior photography session with her "Extreme Senior" add-on. She shares tips on capturing lively images of sports-themed shoots, recommending everything from using a spray bottle to simulate sweat, to having the senior take a swing to get those lively, action-filled shots. 

If you're not already with PPA , join and gain immediate access to PhotoVision's entire library plus tons of other advantages that help PPA photographers Be More Inspired, Profitable, and In-Demand!

Rachel Noto is one of the summer interns wandering around the labyrinthine offices of PPA, enthusiastically taking pictures of her cat, and occasionally getting a little writing and design done. An Atlanta native, she's learned to embrace the feeling of getting lost every now and then, though she now spends most of the year in the gridded city of Savannah, Georgia, where she attends the Savannah College of Art and Design. She has a passion for food, cute animals, and communication in all of its forms.


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By Megan Mitchell

You might have noticed us post about the International Photographic Competition (IPC) quite a bit recently. That's because registration is now open! 

We could talk about the value of competing until our faces turn blue, but why not let other photographers do the talking? We asked IPC competitors to share their thoughts on theLoop here. Here's what they had to say!

Why should I compete?

"To grow beyond from merely being a photographer to becoming an artist. That's why a total immersion in the crucible of competition is what I suggest."
-Jerry Venz, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, Idaho

"It has given me something to send out press releases about and that helps keep my name in front of potential clients. I share credit with clients whose images have done well in competition and they get excited about it also. As you earn enough merits and receive your degree that gives you more talking points when selling clients that your skills are top notch."
-Bob Coates, M.Photog.M.Artist.Cr., CPP, Arizona

"Working on your own work shows and tells clients you believe in your own work."
-Joanne Fabian, Pennsylvania

Great, so a critique will help me "improve." How?

"I often learn more from those critiques than any other education resource. While I may not always agree with the critique, there is still validity and things to be learned. As a result, I see my work constantly improving."
-D. Brent Walton Cr.Photog., CPP, New York
 
"It takes much longer to progress in a vacuum. By that, I mean the usual praise you may receive from family and friends. So, go for it! Even if you don't earn merits or Loan Prints right away your client images WILL improve because you will be getting UNBIASED, HONEST feedback on your work--and that is PRICELESS!"
-Jerry Venz, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, Idaho

"You start to look for possible competition images in every session that you shoot--consciously, and subconsciously. In every portrait session that you do, you start looking at things just a bit differently. You start looking to see if you can possibly create a competition image from just about each and every session that you do. You find yourself taking just a second or so before tripping the shutter to really look at your subject like it was a competition image and you end up finding yourself correcting those things that would keep that image you see in front of you from scoring well... and in the process, the quality of your day-to-day work just automatically gets better and your clients get a better product. 

Without even noticing it, you look back a year or two and are amazed about how much your work has improved with what seems like no effort at all. Just because you started to take just those few extra seconds to do the steps that you need to do to change an ordinary image into a competition image."
-Rick Massarini, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, Lousiana

"Almost all the critiques pointed at things I did not see at first and helped me get even better. After your first critiques you will view your images differently. You are not looking for a sellable image or a showcase of your work. You are objectively looking for the 12 Elements of a Merit Image they list as you pick your images. It is an enlightening journey, so welcome aboard."
-Joanne Fabian, Pennsylvania

I don't think I can do this. 

"It's obtainable to all those folks who are naysayers - find your inner artist, turn it loose, find mentors whose work you admire and ask for constructive feedback. Most of the best people out there are willing to help others raise their bar because in the end, it makes our industry better for everyone!"
-Gena Tussey, CPP, Tennessee

They said it best! Ready to step up your game and compete with your images? Register now!
And check out the full conversation on theLoop. Have something to add? Jump on in! 

Megan Mitchell is an intern at PPA. Though she attends college in New York, she is originally from Georgia - most everyone she meets up north is shocked and disappointed by her lack of a southern accent. She finds great joy and comfort in copy editing and reading. She loves nothing more than words, but her family and friends take a close second.

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By Rachel Noto

With the call for entries for PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) in full swing, it's now more important than ever to make sure your images are at the top of their game!

The work of artists can be fundamentally personal, and as such it can feel intimidating to submit work to be criticized and reviewed by masters in the field. However, absorbing a critique is one of the most important aspects of being an artist. Learning to think critically about others' work benefits you as well; in identifying the stronger and weaker parts of the work of your peers, you can turn that same discerning eye on your own work. 

All IPC jurors have earned Master of Photography degrees from PPA by submitting their images to competitions just like you, so their advice comes from a place of experience and empathy.  Hearing the thoughts of one of the jurors themselves is incredibly useful because they are not only a master in their field but have been in your shoes!

Watch Glen Mahan's merited image from the 2014 IPC, "Afrikaans Language Monument," be critiqued by Donna Goodhale, M.Photog., for some insight into what judges look for, and hone your own skills in observation and critique so you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of your own work in order to set your best foot forward in the 2015 competition!


Are your images ready for judging? Submit your work here!

Want to read more examples of critiques and other information about IPC before you submit? Read through the PPA blog's previous posts about the International Photographic Competition!

Rachel Noto is the second of two summer interns wandering around the labyrinthine offices of PPA, enthusiastically taking pictures of her cat, and occasionally getting a little writing and design done. An Atlanta native, she's learned to embrace the feeling of getting lost every now and then, though she now spends most of the year in the gridded city of Savannah, Georgia, where she attends the Savannah College of Art and Design. She has a passion for food, cute animals, and communication in all of its forms.

By Sarah Ackerman

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For a limited time, PPA is offering the best of PhotoVision to everyone with PhotoVision EXPOsed! Through June 30, anyone can stream select full-length videos. This is big because it's not often you find truly top-quality online resources at no cost! Do yourself a favor, mark your calendar and take advantage of this popular photography learning program. 

If you are a PPA photographer, you already have access to 800+ educational videos PhotoVision has to offer, but do a good deed and share this with your friends! Who doesn't love freebies and a healthy dose of inspiration? 

Send your friends to PhotoVisionVideo.com/EXPO! Get some learning on and help some fellow photographers Be More Inspired.


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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 around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming 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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By Megan Mitchell

Entries for PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) are now open, so this critique comes at a great time, because IPC is a great opportunity to improve your craft so you can offer your clients even better images.

How can watching someone else's critique help YOU? The IPC critiques provide feedback from one of the competition's jurors and such critiques are directly meant to help the image maker! All IPC jurors have Master of Photography (M.Photog.) degrees from PPA, meaning they have submitted their own images to IPC to gain merits - they've been in your exact position before and they take into serious consideration the image critiquing as a way of coaching you. So any feedback, good and bad, is meant to be constructive and to help the listener SEE what it takes to take an image to the next (competition) level. 

See for yourself! In the video below, you'll see an example of a critique from last year's IPC . Glen Mahan's image, "Solomon," is being critiqued by Jeff Dachowski, M.Photog., Cr., CPP. This image was accepted into PPA's general collection and Glen earned an exhibition merit! You can learn what put this  work over the top!



Ready to submit some of your work to this year's IPC? Do it here!
If you're still feeling a little unsure, check out some helpful PPAedu videos on photographic competition!
It's time to Be More Creative.

Megan Mitchell is one of two summer interns running around at PPA. Though she attends college in New York, she is originally from Georgia - most everyone she meets up north is shocked and disappointed by her lack of a southern accent. She finds great joy and comfort in copy editing and reading. She loves nothing more than words, but her family and friends take a close second. 

By Sarah Ackerman

Summer is just around the corner! Check out the top conversations on theLoop and join in!

Interested in expanding into the profitable world of corporate headshots? Or have you already made the jump and love it? Then this is an excellent thread for you! Discuss pricing, final products and everything in between!

How much should you charge for editorial use of your images? If you have experience in pricing it out, hop on this awesome thread! Or if you're looking to get into the editorial market, this can provide some solid guidance on what to expect. 

Rain, rain, go away! If you're ever stuck in an outdoor shoot and the weather just isn't cooperating, this is a great conversation about protecting your camera, lighting and more. Do you have any tricks on taming Mother Nature? Join in! 

Most studios hit some growing pains sooner or later. Looking to add extra staff? You've got options in terms of contracts, 1099s and other business decisions. Weigh in on this thread with your experience and help a growing photography business out!

This is an excellent thread for all wedding photographers! How do you handle your payment schedule? Do you collect the day of or do you try to handle it all before the big day? If you've ever worked a wedding, you'll enjoy this discussion. 

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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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 around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming 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.
By Sarah Ackerman

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This week we're embracing improvement! Check out our top eleven blogs to help you be more. And, yes! There is a bonus blog this week!

SCAM ALERT: Arm yourself with knowledge against these four scams that seem to be running rampant in the photography industry! The folks at PhotoShelter bring you the top four scams they've seen, including fake photo contests and fake photo assignments! Read on and Be More Protected!

INSPIRATION: If you've ever suffered from a lack of motivation, direction or inspiration, this awesome E-book from Eric Kim will give you the best kick in the pants! Download it in a variety of formats and feel the creativity flow!

FINANCES: If the finances of your business are keeping you up at night, check in with Krista Newbill and our PPA Studio Makeover team! Krista has been focusing on finances for the past month. See what changes she's made and what she's looking to do in the future with this update!

SCIENCE + STORYTELLING: How do you set yourself apart in a world filled with billions of advertising messages? It's not easy, but it can be done! Read up on how to marry the science of marketing with the joy of storytelling from HubSpot. 

I find this week's round up particularly inspiring. So get ready to feel good, stay happy and push your business to the next level!

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THE LOST GENERATION: Convincing your clients the need to purchase prints can be an uphill battle. Check out this wonderfully written piece by PPA Treasurer, Rob Behm, M. Photog., Cr, CPP, to see why it's so important and how you can better educate your clients. 

HEALTH: Here's an unpopular topic for many photographers - making time to take care of yourself! Everyone knows they should exercise, but TIME covers why it can harm your work if you don't.  
 
PERSONAL PROJECTS: Andy Baker of National Geographic clues you in on how to get noticed by potential clients, and why personal projects are so important. Check out the video from Behind the Glass in this great article from FStoppers.  

SKILL SETS: Improve your ability to effectively run a business with this piece from Inc. Even if you're a company of one, this is a great reminder if you ever hire a second shooter or office admin. Or if you're a larger organization, it serves as a great message about supporting, encouraging and taking really good care of your employees. 

DEFINING 'PRO': What makes you a professional photographer? InMyBag talked to five highly respected photographers, including Benjamin Von Wong and Missy Mwac, to get their perspectives. It's an eye opening read!

WATCH YOUR MOUTH: What are common characteristics of successful people? This awesome article by the Review Journal breaks down seven phrases that successful people wouldn't eversay, and (more importantly) why they would never say them.   

LEGISLATION PROGRESS: James Williams of the Federal Aviation Administration made an announcement this week on the status of upcoming drone regulations. Although it's taking a bit longer than we all would like, this is a step in the right direction. 

POST PRODUCTION: Photoshop can be your best friend in post-production, but these guys take it to the next level for some commercial shoots! Check out the time lapse videos on six plus hours of editing. It's amazing what you can do if you have that kind of time and skill.

PROTECTION: This great read from Fstoppers gives you a quick review on how to protect your images, but also talks about how your subjects are covered. Everything from architecture to tattoos could have a copyright. Stay educated on what's fair game and what needs some special permissions. 

HAPPY THOUGHTS: Let's end this week on a positive note! Join Imaging USA speaker Jeffrey Shaw as he chats with Cornell Thomas, author of "Power of Me, Army of One" on all things positive thinking and how it can change your business and your day-to-day life! 

There you have it - our favorite posts of the week! What photography blogs or podcasts do you follow? Post your favorites on theLoop or email them to us at OnlineContentCommittee (at) PPA (dot) com

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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 around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming 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.

By Robert Behm M.Photog., Cr., CPP
PPA Treasurer

photography preservation1
Tomorrow they may very well be gone. The treasured memories, the smile moments, the passing opportunities for a quick shot of everyday life with those we love. That vacation to the Theme park or National park or worse yet, a rare family get-together and the only shot was one taken with a cell phone camera.

As professional photographers we know the value of what we do, and hopefully we all take the proper steps to insure that our client images are properly backed up and stored safely and securely. Certainly we value every image we create... right?

This conversation is not a new one, yet I do not see or hear much change happening out there in terms of protecting people's personal images. Digital photography has changed the way we approach photography, and for the consumer it has made it more convenient. However that seems to have devalued photography. We already have a generation of young people who do recognize the moment or opportunity for a great photo but then have no after thought of what to do with it other than post it to a social media site thinking that somehow it immortalizes the image. Sadly photography has become disposable to the majority of our youngest generations.

I am the first professional photographer in my family, however I was engrained with the idea that photographs are treasures from a very early age. My paternal grandmother had a second generation Brownie camera and made photographs on paper from a very early age. She continued with other film cameras throughout her life and always made albums with analogue metadata carefully printed on the back of each image. Later in life she became interested in painting and was a pioneer in hand colorizing black and white prints with oil paint before the invention of color film. My Dad had a part time job as a darkroom assistant at a local portrait studio in the small town he grew up in. He too became enamored with the print and how it told the story of our lives together.


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.

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