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PPA Today: Inspiration: December 2015 Archives

Inspiration: December 2015 Archives

By James Yates

PPA Charity 5K 215-(c)-randy-taylor.JPG2016's Imaging USA convention in Atlanta features several celebrations and programs brought to you by PPA Charities. A fully functioning philanthropic arm of Professional Photographers of America (PPA), PPA Charities' mission is to "allow PPA to become a force for positive change in our society and to make a difference in the lives of others." PPA Charities chooses partners in the philanthropic community to help reach their giving goals.

Imaging USA is always the kick-off to a great year of giving and this year's charity events are no exception. It all begins Saturday, Jan. 9 at 8pm with the Cooking it Up with PPA Charities party at the Georgia World Congress Center. It's a great place to meet and mingle with other philanthropic photographers. Yearly donations are presented to Operation Smile and Dando Amor, the newest recipient of the prestigious Legacy Award will be announced and the whole party is sponsored by White House Custom Color.
Don't party too hard because the next morning, Sunday, Jan. 10 at 7am is the Super Hero for Smiles 5k Fun Run around downtown Atlanta! It's a fundraiser for Operation Smile, an international medical charity that has provided more than 220,000 free surgical procedures to children and young adults from over 60 countries born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities.

After the run, kick off those shoes and donate them and other gently used shoes to Dando Amor's "Shoes for Love" shoe drive! Dando Amor helps orphans in South America and Africa escape poverty through education and self-sufficiency training. They collect gently used shoes of all kinds to give to the shoeless and also help teach the unemployed how to run a small business selling repurposed shoes.

Stop by the PPA Charities booth #1551 to see the Dream Studio and buy raffle tickets for Tuesday, Jan. 12th's Dream Studio Giveaway, where one lucky winner's photography studio is overhauled with $20,000 worth of photographic equipment, products, software, lab credits and more. 

Be sure to allow plenty of time in your Imaging USA 2016 schedule to party with your philanthropic peers and help artists give back to the community with PPA Charities! 

By James Yates

PPA's theLoop online community has been on a roll lately, hosting Imaging USA 2016 speakers for Ask Me Anything sessions. This week, we were privileged to have Terri Eddington, M.Photog., CPP, sit and answer your questions for our final AMA before Imaging USA 2016!


Terri is a 3-time recipient of the International Photographer of the Year Award as well as PPA's highest honor of Diamond photographer; her elegant style and talent in wedding and boudoir photography has truly set her apart in the industry. Terri also devotes her time and energy to furthering her industry as the rising President of PPA Louisiana.

At Imaging USA 2016 in Atlanta, Terri will be teaching the class "High Impact Lighting Made 'Easy'", January 11, 5:00 PM - 6:15 PM. In this amazing workshop, Terri demystifies everything that is difficult, complicated and cumbersome about lighting. Using her unique gift of simplifying this all-important concept, she'll show you fun and easy-to-understand setups that will deliver stunning images for your clients!
Terri's easy-going approach and sparkly personality are infectious. Right at the start of our AMA session, she told the audience, "Go ahead ask me anything...I will answer with a 'TNT' response! Does that mean 'Powerful'? From me, no! 'TNT' means 'Terri Not Technical' LOL! If you like an easy approach and simple explanation...then I'm you girl!"

Thanks, Terri! We know there are both new and evolving photographers who appreciate "easy" and "simple"! Here are some highlights from her AMA:
What's Your Inspiration and Your Favorite Personal Photo?

My inspiration? "People". I love to photograph people. Any kind, any style and even anywhere! Years ago in painting or art class when I could choose to draw or paint anything, I would choose people! I was told that was the hardest - but not to me. It was my passion. I did not know that many years later I would be photographing people but I never get tired of it. It is always exciting to see the many faces and personalities before me. And I have the privilege to capture them all! 
What is my favorite photography ever? Really? I mean, really? That is impossible to say! But I can say, when I capture the soul of a person, there is nothing like it. When their inner beauty shines through their eyes we are no longer just photographers but artists!
Is your creativity for an image fully realized before the capture or in post-production?
There are so many ways to approach photography to where there is not a true right or wrong. I can just say from my personal experience I have done a little of both. I do try to have a "game plan" when I shoot. I like to know location, time of day (if outside), the personality or taste of the client to know what to work towards during a shoot. If shooting in the studio I try to have the type of props and style of lighting ready that will work for the client. These are things I do for my everyday clients. A lot of times these clients have a need for normal/regular shots. What I do try to do is at the end of the shoot I like to be creative and do a little something different. We just have fun! A lot of times it will be their favorite but it was nothing they originally asked for. This allows me to stay creative and also gives them something that maybe no one else has. 
Now, on a stylized shoot I do plan more ahead of time. I try to have a theme, look and style ready. But again during the shoot something might hit me and I go for it. It's either the look someone has or their personality that comes thru and may lead me in a different direction. No matter how tired I am at the beginning of a shoot, once we get started I am "in the zone". I don't get in a hurry when I shoot. I love to create so I make sure I schedule in the time. 
That being said I would say that I don't fully realize everything I am going to do before a shoot but it does help to plan a little.
How do you approach High Key Lighting?

I really don't shoot a traditional high key. As far as a high key look on the subject themselves, I shoot normal lighting ratios and then lighten in Photoshop. This allows me to be in control of how much I want to lighten the subject and also to keep good detail and depth in the eyes, etc. I do sometimes shoot to have the background a white high key look by putting a one-to-two stop higher light on the background than the subject as long as the light on the back of the subject (reflecting from the background) is not brighter than the main light.
We hope you found Terri's advice helpful! And remember to catch her live at Imaging USA in Atlanta! Sign up today at

By James Yates

Because sometimes being an internationally recognized symbol for overcoming adversity just isn't enough and some of you wondered where the connection is, we have been spending the past several weeks helping you get to know Amy Purdy. You'll quickly understand why we're so excited to have her be part of Imaging USA 2016!

Each week you'll see a highlight on Amy, and how the inspiration and insight she provides make perfect sense for this year's convention! Be sure to go back and read last week's post and find out about Amy's amazing 2nd place finish on ABC's Dancing with the Stars or check out our post about Amy's non-profit, Adaptive Action Sports. This week, your Amy Purdy round-up is super-sized for your holiday week perusal and will be taking a look at the rest of Amy's noteworthy television appearances, especially her stint on The Amazing Race and her meet-cute with future husband, Daniel Gale.

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One year after losing her legs, Amy placed third in a snowboarding competition. In 2003, after proving herself as an unstoppable athlete, Amy was chosen as spokesperson for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. This job opportunity moved her to San Diego where, soon after, she began picking up work as a model and actress.

As soon as Amy got out into the modeling world, she was recognized for her fierce determination and unbeatable attitude...not to mention her looks and ability to affix props to her legs! She was cast in a Madonna video and, when the Material Girl caught Amy strutting around on her prosthetics in the background, she demanded Amy be a featured performer and placed front and center in the "American Life" video. The video, while Amy's big modeling breakthrough, was pulled from television and banned. You can find it with just a little searching (it's the one with the military-runway theme).

Element skateboards and clothing company signed Amy to design and model a line of clothes and snowboards for them. They were a huge success and, once Amy took off on Dancing with the Stars, Element made the collection a permanent part of their line.

Already a muse for Madonna, Amy next worked in the pop music world with Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx as a model for his book, This Is Gonna Hurt. She posed with giant ice picks as her legs in these unforgettable photos.

Continue Reading after the jump for Amy and Daniel's love story...





By Sarah Ackerman

The New Year is coming. Now is the perfect time to take a few moments, reflect on what 2015 has brought to you and your business and evaluate where you want to go for the next trip around the sun. 

We asked what you wanted to do in 2016 and here's what your fellow photographers had to say:
Mark Turner, CPP of Bellingham, Washington: 

The big thing for me next year has to be improving my business systems. I'm sure there will be incremental improvements in the quality of what I offer, but if my business is to grow (and grow more profitable) I have to do a better job of implementing what I've learned from many workshops about running my business. And I've been at this for many years. You'd think I'd have learned by now.

James Lout of Grand Junction, Colorado: 
The biggest thing I plan to focus on is finishing the CPP process. I've already passed the test, but need to nail the image submissions. I don't believe I'm quite there yet, so I opted to not submit this year and pay the 100 bucks to extend it to give me time to nail it 100% percent.

Kari Castrogiovanni of Burbank, California:
First and foremost... Learning how to use theLoop better. My resolution for 2016 is to implement a solid marketing strategy. I am a photographer turned to Photo Retoucher nearly 5 years ago. I have worked with several talented retouchers who have shown me the tricks of the trade. The images I have worked on as a subcontractor have been seen on covers of popular magazines, TV shows, and even a billboard. The only issue is I'm unable to take any credit for them. I have decided to branch off on my own. I'm currently in the brainstorming phase to come up with creative ways to get photographers to notice my talents and take a chance on me. My goal is to go full force in January and make 2016 the most rewarding and successful year to date.

Melanie Wirkkala of Centralia, Washington:
Ahh, New Year's Resolutions - so easy to make and sometimes difficult to do. Upgrades for my software are on the list. Also camera and lenses. Continue to learn more about studio work, LightRoom, and Photoshop.  Learning is always an adventure!

Charles Burgess of Pensacola, Florida:
My major goals for 2016 are:
1. Network with PPA members in the Pensacola, FL area, so as to be better able to refer clients when they are not a good match for my photographic vision. Maybe a monthly field trip, or something as well.  I don't see my fellow PPA members as competitors; I view my colleagues as collaborators. There are more than 40k households (not counting active duty military) in my immediate area with incomes greater than $100k per year, so there are enough clients to keep us all busy and profitable (not to mention the annual flood of tourists to the Emerald Coast).
2. Build a new wet process darkroom.  Finding an enlarger is the main problem; I may have to construct my own (an enlarger is essentially a reverse of a camera).
3. Better document my business and photo process into a written SOP in order to track inefficiencies and general improvements. Sort of like a business play that is a living document that gets tweaked as needed.

What are your goals for 2016? How do you want to build your business, skills, technique or artistry? Chime in on theLoop! 

Remember to check out theLoop, a safe and protected online community where PPA members can discuss a range of photography topics. Not a PPA member? Join here!

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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 

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by James Yates 

Because sometimes being an internationally recognized symbol for overcoming adversity just isn't enough and some of you wonder where the connection is, we will be spending the next several weeks helping you get to know Amy Purdy. You'll quickly understand why we're so excited to have her be part of Imaging USA 2016!

Amy Purdy - PR Shot.jpg
Each week you'll see a highlight on Amy, and how the inspiration and insight she provides make perfect sense for this year's convention! Be sure to go back and read last week's post and find out about Amy's non-profit, Adaptive Action Sports.
This week, we're looking at the platform where most of America learned about Amy: a televised dancing competition. We've scoured the internet to bring you recaps and video clips of Amy's amazing 2nd place finish on ABC's Dancing with the Stars!
Even before Season 18 of Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) began in 2014, there was buzz building in the entertainment news world that Amy Purdy was "one to watch". She was only the second double-amputee to compete in the top-rated reality competition series.
Just a few weeks into the competition, Amy brought the house down with her "Inspirational" dance. It was based on her relationship with her father, who provided Amy with a life-saving kidney transplant as her donor. "My dad gave me one of his kidneys," she said. "I always say that my dad gave me life twice. He brought me into this world, and then through his gift he kept me in this world." You have to check out the dance as well as the recap provided by The Daily Mail. But BE WARNED: Lots of tears within.
The Dancing with the Stars YouTube channel has all Amy's past performances including a fantastic Jazz performance of "Too Darn Hot" and Amy performing like, in the words of judge Bruno Tonioli, "a superhero", to the Jive... one of the most difficult DWTS routines.

Take a look at Amy and dance partner Derek Hough's appearance on Ellen during their run on DWTS. Amy truly exemplifies self-motivation, perseverance, and bigger-than-life goal settings. For the past few years she has worked relentlessly to share her passion for life, thriving on helping people Be More. How could PPA not be excited to bring her on-board as an amazing keynote speaker at Imaging USA?
Next week: long before she dazzled audiences with her dancing skills, Amy participated in another reality competition. We'll take a look at The Amazing Race and her meet-cute with partner and future husband, Daniel Gale.

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200901we_geddes_c_royemerson.jpgby James Yates

World-famous photographer, New York Times best-seller, PPA member since 1997, PPA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient and philanthropic rock star Anne Geddes is hosting an event in New York we thought you might want to check out!
On December 8, 2015 at 10am EST, head over to to watch Anne create a brand-new holiday newborn photograph. It's a rare gift to be able to watch an icon like Anne work. Anne is opening this live-stream, so that fellow photographers can have the opportunity to peek in on her process and observe how she interacts with babies, their parents and her team during this exclusive live-stream. This is a tremendous opportunity, share it away!

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Inspiration category from December 2015.

Inspiration: November 2015 is the previous archive.

Inspiration: January 2016 is the next archive.

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