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PPA Today: Inspiration Archives

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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.

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 Amazon.com 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 nj.com.

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.  

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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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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