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by James Yates
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You're all set to go to Imaging USA 2017, but you've never been to San Antonio before? Relax. Your PPA Team has scouted out the best attractions and locations and prepared a video guide to all the amazing sights and sounds set to blow your ten-gallon hat off come January. Here's a handy guide of things to consider making time for your trip in January:

  • Start with The Riverwalk, the unique, can't-miss 2.5-mile walkway along the San Antonio River. Take one of the famed Riverboat Tours to see the other side of attractions like the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Arneson River Theater and the Aztec Theatre. The boats pass right by and through several restaurants, making any night out to eat a gorgeous experience. It may sound like a tourist trap, it's not! It's really nice! That's probably why the Riverwalk is Texas' second most popular tourist spot after...
  • The Alamo/The Missions. Remember this? No trip to San Antonio would be complete without visiting the Alamo and the other four Spanish frontier outposts designated as a National Historic Park. 
  • Founded in 1939, La Villita Historic Arts Village is San Antonio's original neighborhood. La Vallita houses over 30 art galleries and shops along with several restaurants. The Arneson River Theater is also there so you can get a better look from off of the boat. 
  • The RiverCenter Mall is also located on the Riverwalk and literally right downstairs from our host hotels. It's a fully functioning mall with all the stores you may need to get your shopping fix ($6 cowboy hats, anyone?) and tons of restaurants including a food court if you want something fast and cheap! 
  • You can experience the largest Mexican mercado in the city for authentic shopping underneath all those iconic, colorful flags at Market Square. 
  • Get the best view of San Antonio from atop the 750 ft-tall Tower of the Americas, built in 1968 for the Hemisfair (World's Fair), which you'll hear a lot about because it was a huge deal for the city. 
  • If you're looking to venture away from the downtown area by car or bus, The San Antonio Botanical Gardens, the San Antonio Aquarium and the San Antonio Zoo offer some of the most beautiful, Texas-sized flora and fauna for the entire family to enjoy. There are also the big theme parks, SeaWorld San Antonio and Six Flags Fiesta Texas if you have the need for speed and want to ride the state-of-the-art Iron Rattler or Steel Eel. Other kinds of thrill-seekers may want to check out the Natural Bridge Caverns, named for the 60 foot limestone slab that spans the caverns' entrance.  
You may not be sure what to expect from your trip to San Antonio, but what you'll get is a beautiful city with a lively and bustling downtown area, all easily accessible from the Imaging USA hotels and convention center. We're more certain than ever that January 2017 is going to be AWESOME. 


 

For more info, head over to ImagingUSA.org. Register and take advantage of the Early Bird rates for members by December 8th, OR pick up an Expo Only Pass for only $35 and get access to the trade show, Print Theatre, Drone Zone, IPC Exhibit and Keynote Presentation by Mel Robbins!



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James Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL.

By Autumn Rice
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Mel Robbins is one of the most sought-after motivational speakers out there and you now have a chance to see her in person. Her life experiences have helped her craft speeches that deliver business-expanding, life-changing, interactive advice to inspire change, challenge thinking and accelerate personal and professional growth. Her book, Stop Saying You're Fine, is a best seller that has been translated into four different languages, and her TEDx Talk "How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over" has over 10 million views across 37 countries. Mel Robbins is a CNN host, commentator and legal analyst, criminal defense attorney, and now she can add Imaging USA Keynote Speaker to her host of talents. 

That's right folks; Mel Robbins is coming to Imaging USA! She will give a keynote presentation on the morning of Sunday, January 8th and follow it up with a book signing directly after in the lobby of the Lira Cockrell Theatre at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. in San Antonio, Texas.

So what are you waiting for? Imaging USA is the only place to be in January 2017! Go to ImagingUSA.org/Register to take advantage of the Early Bird Rates ($50 off!) before time runs out December 8th! 

See what all the fuss is about: Mel's Ted Talk 
By Autumn Rice

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As the 2017 season of PhotoVision approaches, we are very excited to announce world-renowned portrait photographer Sue Bryce as the first instructor in this "Year of Inspiration". 

With more than 25 years of experience, Sue Bryce's addition to PhotoVision is an excellent opportunity for subscribers to get inspired and learn from a multifaceted and skilled photographer! 

In her upcoming episodes, we will be bringing you thought-provoking ideas and conversations on valuing your time, craft, and how to succeed as a powerful business leader in the photographic industry.

Here's what PPA's Director of Education, Angela Kurkian said about Sue's involvement in the upcoming PhotoVision season: 

"I'm so excited to have Sue share her experience and expertise with our audience. She's an amazing educator. While her advice is heartfelt, her recommendations are based on sound business fundamentals. She helps photographers understand and own their value as artists as well as their place as business professionals."

PhotoVision features a host of professional photographers as instructors, propelling the education of other professional photographers into new dimensions. Coupled with PPA, PhotoVision offers photographers more than 600 educational videos about lighting, posing, location, and so much more!

PhotoVision is offered to PPA members for FREE with unlimited access to streaming content. Non-PPA members can take advantage of a discounted, limited time subscription rate of $6.95 per month (regularly $19.99 per month) using promo code INSPIRE at checkout. 
Let this be your year of inspiration!

Visit PhotoVisionVideo.com to subscribe to the education program, and read the full press release.

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October is the month of PRINT, and we're celebrating by bringing you some great content. If you weren't sure how to present print art to your clients, then we have a few items that will help you...and your sales.

Head to our new Resources page on the Print.The Movement website, and you'll find a few things: 

Elegant, customizable brochures to showcase your print art. Simply add your photos and studio information. They also include a section to add your price list, so the brochure can do the selling for you! They're super easy to use, and a great way to help you be more profitable.

Outreach content with information that you can repurpose and use as needed. Adjust the message for your clients and use it in your studio. You can also use it as sample copy to customize and send to your local publications along with your photography.

PRINT.The Movement logos. Use them on any of your branding materials to let clients know that you are a print artist. These logos will help set you apart from the shoot-and-stash competition. 

All of these items are meant to spark a dialogue with your clients about why print is so important. Let's build a movement, and let's get people printing again!

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The International Photographic Competition has seen substantial growth over the last few years due to the consistent efforts of its members, staff and competition volunteers. PPA is thrilled with the renewed interest in competition among its members. With this growth in mind, we're excited to share some changes in both the District and International Photographic Competitions.

Here are some of the changes coming to the 2017 Competitions:

  1. All panels convened to determine merit will operate with a five-member panel. This will increase efficiency in the judging. In 2016, a six-juror panel was seated and the lowest score was dropped, therefore five scores were used in determining score. This change is an alignment of the amount of scores required to determine a final score to be congruent with the number of jurors on the panel. The lowest score will no longer be dropped. When a judge associates an entry with an entrant, the judge is required to disqualify themselves from scoring an entry. When this scenario happens, the Jury Chair will enter a score for that entry. In the case of two jurors needing to disqualify themselves, the entry will be skipped until a panel with five jurors can be convened to score the entry.

  2. To further bring consistency between the District Competitions and the IPC, scores will be used to determine merit at both events. A majority of members surveyed stated that they would like the two scoring systems to be the same.

  3. The PPA Loan Collection will be determined in a different manner as well. Images scoring in the "deserving of a merit" category (80-84) will not be reviewed for the Loan Collection. Entries that receive a score of 80-84 at a District judging have the choice to send those Seal of Approval entries on to IPC for a merit towards their degree, or to break the seal to chance a higher score at IPC. 

    • Entries scoring 85-94 at the District or IPC will be reevaluated for the Loan collection at the IPC event. 
    • Entries scoring 95-100 will be automatically accepted into the Loan Collection. Entries in this scoring range from the District events will still need to be submitted to the IPC to be included in the Loan collection and to receive the merits associated with those entries.
  4. Critiques ordered in conjunction with the IPC will be produced off site from the IPC judging. Critiques ordered for both events will be available within four weeks of the competition.

  5. The review mechanism of "outs" will no longer be utilized. Currently, entries scoring 78-79 were reviewed again for merit. The introduction of the majority challenge effectively activates this review on each entry.

  6. Entries into the Artist Competition will now be required to have guide images within the entry.

  7. In the Photographic Open category, an entrant will now be required to have made all elements in the entry. Entries involving elements from other artists may be entered into the Artist Competition.

Beginning in 2018, all district competitions will utilize a minimum of two panels during their judging events. This will allow each district to continue to grow and accommodate those members who are looking to earn their Seals of Approval prior to the IPC.

Once again, PPA is looking forward to further encourage its members to take advantage of these incredible educational opportunities. Look for 2017 District Rules and Schedules this fall on PPA.com/Competitions

Be sure to check out the results from this year's exciting IPC

By Autumn Rice

PPA photographers are a diverse group of people who begin as friends, but ultimately become family. Through connecting with one another and sharing experiences, they provide a support that contradicts the thought of being in business alone. PPA's YouTube video series, Behind The Camera, features professional photographers who share their trials and tribulations, and their relationship within the PPA community. Today, Lisa Thayer pitches in. 

None of these interviews are scripted or paid for. These are real photographers, members of PPA, who value and share the power of their PPA community. 

In this video Lisa Thayer shares her experience at her first Imaging USA, why she joined PPA, and what she enjoys most about her photography career. 


Help your photography friends and share this video. The power of being involved and deeply connected goes beyond professional development. It's a support system no one should be left without. You can also view a full playlist of the Behind The Camera Video series on PPA's YouTube channel and learn more about the Imaging USA here.

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With so many resources available online, you may be asking whether it's worth your time and money to attend Imaging USA. Especially if you are a member of PPA, you already have access to online networking and education with theLoop, PhotoVision and PPAedu. So what makes Imaging USA so special?

There's literally a bajillion reasons to go to Imaging USA, but here are 10 you can't ignore:

Sharpen Your Saw
Stephen Covey talks about this in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It's the idea that if you don't step away from your daily grind to take care of life's other needs, you won't be doing your best work. It's a simple fact that the dull saw cuts less wood.

When you socialize, learn and network with your peers at Imaging USA, you are "sharpening your saw." When you return to your studio, you'll have new ideas, inspiration and connections that will help you work more creatively and efficiently.

Your Next "Ah-Ha" Moment
You never know where your next "ah-ha" moment is going to come from. But when you're surrounded by 10,000 photographers it could come from a new friend, the keynote speaker (this year it's Mel Robbins!), a tradeshow vendor, or the photographer sitting next to you in a session. One thing for sure, you will have several of these each day, and it's all worth it!

The Value of Face-to-Face Connections
Social media has its place in keeping you connected and forums like theLoop are great if you need a quick answer. But it's hard to make a strong, lasting personal connection when you aren't meeting face-to-face. At Imaging USA you get the face time you need to make connections that will last a lifetime with speakers, vendors, other photographers, or all of the above! People do business with people they like. And when you spend several consecutive days under the same roof, strong connections are bound to happen. The benefits of your networking at Imaging USA will serve you long past the end of the conference.

That Thing You Didn't Know You Needed
You never know what you'll find on the Imaging USA EXPO tradeshow floor, but you can be sure it's the latest and greatest. After all, these vendors are in the business of providing photographers with the equipment and services they need to thrive.

And the Expo is more than just a shopping mall for photographers. It's your opportunity to get hands-on demos of the products you need, check out the winners of the International Photographic Competition and take the opportunity to discuss your specific business challenges with the vendors that can help. Oh, and the discounts that you'll find on the tradeshow floor are well worth delaying your Christmas shopping for your studio until Imaging USA! 

Get Out of the Studio
Being in the same studio or sitting in front of the same computer monitor day after day is a sure way to find yourself in a rut. A change of scenery always leads to a fresh perspective, and Imaging USA is the perfect setting to spark new ideas... photography speaking, business speaking and for your creativity in general!

Business Solutions That Work
Sometimes the problem with having the Internet at your fingertips is that there is simply too much information. How do you find the exact solution to your problem and how do you know that it will work for you.

Imaging USA can help cut through the clutter. Bring a list of your business challenges and discuss them with your fellow photographers. You're likely to find others who have successfully overcome similar challenges and you can put their ideas to work for you. Plus, all speakers are available at the end of their sessions for questions. Those of you who sign up early enough to get a portfolio review are in for a treat! And there will be even more speakers on the tradeshow floor, with mini sessions and demos, and at the IPC Merit Café on photographic competition.
 
The Energy of Like-Minded Individuals
At Imaging USA you will be surrounded by like-minded people who are there to learn, share and teach. It brings a new level of energy of motivation to the learning that you can never get anyplace else. You WILL end up making (new) friends for life and this WILL boost your motivation and inspiration... perfect timing to start 2017!

The Power of the Random Workshop
Attend one class outside of your specialty and find one thing from that session that you can take back for your business. It could be a new product line, a new workflow method, a bit of marketing genius or a new way to sell prints. Imaging USA has 10 educational tracks so there is bound to be something new for you. Often times we have heard of exploring classes in a track outside your day-to-day practice as becoming a game changer. News ideas, new approaches, new techniques, new best practices, all make for more inspiration, more motivation and more power to you!

Invest In Yourself
Attending Imaging USA is a small investment in yourself, and you're worth it 20 times over! Constantly learning and growing is vital to your bottom line and essential to keeping you one step ahead of your competitors. Imaging USA is organized by PPA and because PPA is a non-profit, it is able to keep the registration cost so much lower than any other conference of this caliber, that it would be a mistake not to leverage it! Don't spend top dollars with fauxtographers! Come where the real pros come year after year to learn, grow, connect and have fun! There's no way you'll regret it ? 

Photography is Your Passion
Like with any great love, you must nurture it to sustain it. Your life can get so full and hectic with all the things you have to do throughout the year. You most likely need a jolt to recharge your passion after the busy holiday season. So come join us at Imaging USA and re-discover your love of photography.




Keynote Speaker: Mel Robbins
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Mel Robbins has worn many hats: criminal defense attorney, entrepreneur, life coach, CNN host...Now she's wearing her 10-gallon hat and joining us in Texas for Imaging USA 2017's Keynote Speech. Mel has picked up valuable life-lessons from her experiences and crafted a dynamic way to share them with an audience. She's the author of Stop Saying You're Fine and has a top-viewed TedTalk, "How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over". Mel's going to jumpstart Imaging USA 2017 in her signature, pants-kicking way Sunday morning, January 8, in San Antonio.  


Other Imaging USA Speakers Include:
 

By James Yates

PPA photographers are a very diverse group of people, but one common thread is their passion for the support that their peers provide. PPA's YouTube video series, Behind The Camera, features professional photographers who share their trials and tribulations, and their relationship with their PPA community. Today it's Trish Logan, Cr.Photog, who pitches in!

None of these interviews are scripted or paid for. These are real photographers, members of PPA, who value and share the power of their PPA community.

The world of professional photography spreads far and wide, which makes it easy to feel that you have to "go at it alone". PPA's goal is to link professional photographers together, providing a support system and business backbone that helps photographers grow, sustainably. 

In the video below, Trish talks about how she became interested in photography and why she loves shooting portraits, as well as the important role PPA's See The Difference® campaign plays in showing her clients why they should choose her over cheaper, hobbyist photographers.



Help your photography friends and share this video. The power of being involved and deeply connected goes beyond professional development. It's a support system no one should be left without. You can also view a full playlist of the Behind The Camera Video series on PPA's YouTube channel and learn more about the See The Difference campaign here.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for James.JPGJames Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL. Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for pvblogfooter0716.jpg
How and Why the Business Challenge started.
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In 2015, PPA had an idea for a case study. A group of five photography mentors and I took on the challenge of working with two studio owners to help them transform their businesses. We not only wanted to help these two entrepreneurs, we also wanted to learn from them by documenting the challenges they faced, the changes they underwent and how both they and their businesses thrived. The "Studio Makeover" was initiated and our goal was to take all the information we were using to help our makeover participants and bring it to PPA members to learn from as well. 

We did this through the entire year of 2015 with live webinars, blog posts and even personal video updates. Then, at Imaging USA 2016, all eight of us took the stage and revealed each studio's final numbers, shared their biggest "a-ha" moments and discussed their transformation from both a business and personal perspective.  

Leading up to Imaging USA, as I was putting together the program for the rest of the team, I had my own "a-ha" moment. We were about to share some extraordinary moments and information as both studios made amazing leaps forward...but we didn't have anything in place for the attendees who might want to do their own "studio makeover." 

Well, I shouldn't say we didn't have anything because PPA has a plethora of educational tools available to members: the Benchmark Study, PPAedu's online education platform with more than 350 video classes, PhotoVision with over 800 episodes, Square One, downloads, Professional Photographer magazine, specialty courses for CPP and IPC, etc. As you can see, we have quite a lot of knowledge to offer and perhaps that works against us a bit. It can be a little overwhelming. Which brings me to my point...we didn't have anything/anyone tying it all together, giving it to photographers in an order that could easily be digested, and helping you as you needed it. 

So the idea for the Business Challenge was born.

Literally, right before Imaging USA, at our busiest time of the year, I was asking other departments to help me implement a brand new concept. And everyone here jumped in to help make it a reality, so that by Imaging USA itself we were able to let people know they could sign up for their very own studio makeover through PPA's Business Challenge. (Huge thank you's to our Marketing, Membership and I.T. teams for all of their hard work.)

I had an idea. I had the recently completed PPA Business Guide to use as an outline. I had the Square One tool to share. I had amazing friends and mentors who were willing to be part of this project. I had (and have) a strong desire to help photographers as entrepreneurs learn how to build profitable and sustainable businesses so they can live their dream. That was it. 

I didn't have a long syllabus. I didn't have a very exact plan for how to execute all of it. I was still learning how best to use theLoop platform as our means of communication. But I knew that if I waited to put it all together first, things would be missing anyway. You would be missing. All that I've learned from you, each and every group, would not have happened. And your questions and ideas and support are the actions that propel the Business Challenge forward.

PPA's Business Challenge is, by design, a living thing. 

No two groups are alike. The February 2016 group is very different from the June 2016 group. The curriculum, while similar, is not identical because conversations sway the topics and move them in a variety of directions. Questions are asked and answered. Friendships are born. Mentors are invited who generously share their experience and knowledge. While the foundation of knowledge of the Business Challenge is all the same, and it is scalable to a large group, the unique experience of each group is shaped by those who are involved.

I've written in a few different places that it's important to show up and be present in the conversations that take place in this 12-month program. It was not intended to simply be a place where information and assignments are posted. It can be, if that's what you want, but I want to give you so much more. I want you to feel part of something bigger; I want to give you accountability; I want you to meet and be inspired by some of the smartest people out there; I want to give you the opportunity to share your knowledge; I want you to remember why YOU are doing all this hard work in the first place; and I want you to build a body of knowledge that will propel you so much further.


I'm so glad you're here,
Angela


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Angela Kurkian is PPA's Director of Education







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

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