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PPA Today: Inspiration: April 2016 Archives

Inspiration: April 2016 Archives

by James Yates

Want to enter into a serious photographic competition? Been thinking about entering again or wanting to take the first-time dive? PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) begins accepting entries May 23. It's time to start preparing your images. It's through competition and critiques of your work by professional photographers that you can truly grow and evolve as an artist.

Entering the IPC is one of the best ways to improve your craft, especially if you choose to have your images critiqued by one of PPA's Jurors! You can have your images evaluated and scored based on the 12 Elements of a Merit Image. You'll receive a recording of an IPC Judge giving you dedicated feedback and explaining to you how the elements are present and impact YOUR image. By competing and getting your images critiqued, you'll learn what you do well as a photographer, as well as identify the areas in which you may need improvement. It's an amazing learning experience!

We know the process can seem intimidating for first-timers, so here's an actual critique from last year's International Photographic Competition. This image called "Cloud Surfing" was created by Heather Cook, M.Photog., and is being critiqued by PPA juror Rod Brown, M.Photog.Cr.

Take a look and see how entering a photographic competition can improve your own work as a photographer through constructive feedback like you'll hear in this critique.

We hope this critique can help you get a better understanding of what the IPC judges are looking for when scoring your images. Start preparing your images for the International Photographic Competition! Submissions are open May 23-June 22, 2016. Late registration extends until July 7, with an additional fee. The IPC judging dates are July 31-August 4, 2016 and you can stream it live at Be sure to request a critique so you can receive some personalized feedback on your works of art and Be More Prepared.

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.

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by James Yates21738677.jpg

PPA members are totally PAWsome! Many of you have dived, heart first, into the pawsitively wonderful world of pet photography. In order to support our fur-friendly photogs, PPA added pet photography to its list of specialties in its See The Difference campaign.
See The Difference is PPA's online, print and social media awareness campaign that aims to help consumers "see the difference" when evaluating photographers... and realize the importance of hiring a pro. The campaign also gives PPA photographers FREE marketing tools to help with their sales processes and justify their costs, quality, and expertise.

As part of See The Difference, PPA periodically writes feature stories that are picked up by 1,000s of national and regional online and print news organizations with the explicit goal of teaching consumers the value of choosing a professional for their photography needs.
With the help of PPA pet photographers Kristin Adams, Barbara Brady-Smith, Barbara Breitsameyer, Mary Anne Broderick, Margaret Bryant, Julie Clegg and Kim Hartz, PPA wrote a See The Difference feature story called 7 Keys to a Pawfect Pet Session. The story was picked up by 1,084 online publications with a combined online audience of over 50 million. Photos from these talented photographers were used to illustrate the story and further hone the importance of using professional photography. Check out the whole story from some of the many sites that are hosting the article: the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Gate, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Orlando Sentinel.
Inside you'll find great info on these seven tips for consumers along with some awesome photos like the one above ©Bryant Dog Photography!:
1. Hire a photographer who specializes in pet photography.
2. Plan for patience.
3. The puppy/kitten window is as small as they are...start planning ASAP!
4. Try to capture every stage of your pet's life.
5. Plan the session to fit your pet's schedule.
6. An illuminated solution...the right light makes all the difference.
7. It's all in the eyes!

This is only one of 12 stories that PPA will push out each month in an effort to show consumers that professional photographers are worth the investment.
Want your photos considered for stories like these? Fill out this form today and we'll contact you if your images are selected!

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.

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for BizChallenge_blogpost_650x160.jpg103 PPA photographers quietly kicked off the new PPA Business Challenge in February. Since then, two more groups have gotten underway with well over 300 participants at

The Business Challenge helps photographers improve their business by building a stronger foundation with a focus on sustainability and profitability. The April group has already experienced two weeks of business-changing assignments, Q&A webinars, inspiration, check-ins, recaps and mark-your-calendar alerts. It's a great way to confidently build your business and not go it alone!

#1 No nonsense business advice
Led by PPA Director of Education Angela Kurkian, this 12-month Business Challenge is THE place to come for small-business help specifically developed for photographers. It is a sound framework to help PPA photographers steer their studios in the right direction. Don't be afraid to take the Challenge! Kurkian explains, "A lot of the things (the participants) are nervous about are things that being a member of PPA will help with (i.e. pricing, marketing, value through certification and becoming better at the craft of photography through photographic competition)."

#2 Peer-to-peer support group & accountability
The Business Challenge was developed to help hold photographers accountable in their attempts to improve their studios. One of the most popular and rewarding components of the Business Challenge in that regard are the questions and answers in the forums, where Kurkian poses questions to the group for an honest, frank discussion among peers. The questions can be complex, or as simple as "What are you afraid of?"

Here are some examples of the candid answers pulled from the group:

Q: What are you afraid of? What stops you from taking action?

"Will people value me?"

"My biggest fear is that I'm going to fail and look like a complete fool for even trying. I worry that my work isn't worth anything, that my peers view me as just another mom with a camera, and that I won't earn their respect; and I worry that I'll never find a client that values my work."

"I worry that maybe I AM talented but I'll let my fears squander it away or that my lack of business acumen will outweigh that talent."

"People will not pay our prices and will go with cheaper alternatives. People do not value our art or our time. My phone will stop ringing. We won't be able to afford/maintain our lifestyle."

But don't get too bogged down in the muck of negativity! Sharing with your peers is a wonderful way to see how alike we all are. Once these obstacles have been identified, it's only a matter of banding together and learning how to stomp it out with knowledge, hard work, and support from
PPA and your peers. We're all in this together!

#3 Safe practice for your own business
PPA is constantly developing new curriculum, offering webinars and advice to inspire and ignite the Business Challenge participants, and pushing them to greater success as artists and business people. You'll even notice Wes Roberts, who completed the Studio Makeover Challenge last year, hanging around the forums and offering great advice as someone who's been through the program.

Check back in a couple weeks, where we see what's going on with April's class one full month in...maybe some of their fears will be alleviated? (Spoiler alert: They will be!) Sign up now for the May class! Over 50 members are already on board! It's your turn to take control over your business and Be More! Sign up for free at

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By James YatesThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for copyrighticon.png

By now you know PPA is always fighting for your rights on Capitol Hill, lobbying and advocating for improvements to copyright registration and the modernization of the copyright office (including a small claims option).

We're pretty proud of the "big-picture" ways that we're working to improve your business's sustainability and profits, but there's a smaller, peer-to-peer way that PPA has helped, behind the scenes, for years: assessing whether or not members' works have been infringed.

In the old days (up until this month), if a PPA member felt their work may have been lifted without their permission, they would call and speak directly to our Government Affairs Coordinator. The GAC would walk each caller through the appropriate steps of determining if the use of a work was a violation of copyright law and what the next steps to take were.

Now, in honor of World Copyright Day being right around the corner (April 23rd), PPA is unveiling our newest member tool: the Copyright Infringement Assistance tool! This fast and easy tool does, online and in minutes, what the GAC used to do over the phone. Call it the "scaling up" of helping our members. With the new tool, if you think you've been infringed upon, you only have to answer 2-3 questions and the tool will generate specific help for you, including DCMA takedown notices, certified letters to the infringing parties or letting you know when it's time to contact an attorney.

If you feel your work has been infringed upon, but you don't know what to do about it, PPA can help with our Copyright Infringement Assistance tool. It's designed to point you in the right direction, with steps you can take to stop the infringement! It's quick and painless...because having your art stolen is painful enough! Come see how it all works, and also get your hands on our Copyright Kit and see Anne Geddes speak on the subject, at

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by James Yates

Every once in a while, we get a little star-struck here at PPA headquarters. For instance, when someone as famous as Anne Geddes stops by, and proves to be amazingly down-to-earth and kind, we can't help but feel super-proud to be doing what we do. Anne has teamed up with PPA to help spread the word about Copyright Law in the U.S. and how vital it is that you protect your images.

Anne sat with us to film a Red Chair video and we're over-the-moon about her excitement and passion for our Copyright Defense projects. In this video, you'll see that Anne knows how important it is for a 29,000+-member strong association like PPA to "have your back". She recounts how difficult it was to protect your work as an artist in the 1980s and early-90s before PPA began lobbying and fighting for stronger copyright protections for photographers. Now, Anne is making sure photographers know the importance of having their work copyrighted and having PPA's resources at their side if any theft occurs.

April 23rd is World Copyright Awareness Day and PPA is celebrating all month long. In addition to the release of this new celebrity interview, you can find a brand-new Copyright Tool on our website to help guide you, step-by-step, through the process of determining and stopping an infringement. Members can also pick up our Copyright Kit* for all the forms and info you need to Be More Protected. Stay up-to-date at to read about all the exciting progress our Government Affairs team is making on Capitol Hill to expand and strengthen copyright protection for small businesses like YOU.

Check out the video and come by to Be More Protected!

*A "lite" version of the Kit is available to non-members so you can share it with your friends. Because copyright protection is important for ALL photographers, not just our members (but we're sure that after seeing all the work we're doing to keep them protected, they will want to sign up at!

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By Aleighia Rouse
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As March comes to its close, April is opening its hands with 'lucky charms' of innovation and business help for the photography industry. This is no April Fool's joke, just our top 10 blog posts of the week!

Bry Cox Q&A Engage Your Client for Emotional Expression
CLIENT FUN: Are you looking for new techniques to use to connect with your clients a little more during a session? Check out this short video to learn how to better engage your clients and get images with emotion, feel and real expressions. Bry Cox, M.Photog.Cr., CPP teaches you how to ignore your gear and connect with your client to increase the quality of your shots and customer service experience.

What the New Instagram Algorithm Means For Small Businesses
TECHNOGRAPHER: PPA member Jasmine Star has brought solutions to the new changes in Instagram's viewer updates. She discusses how you can improve the way you use Instagram for your business and how some photos have more interactions than a less personal promo for your business.

How-To: Shoot Expressive Black-and-White Portrait Photos
PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY: Although black-and-white portraiture has been used for many years, it is often a very difficult thing to master correctly. This article discusses three photographers, including PPA member Ima Mfon and fellow photographers Sandro Baebler and Melanie Dunnea, as they express the power and intricacies behind creating and mastering the art of black-and-white portraits.

Google Photos Will Now Automatically Create Albums From Your "Best" Photos and Videos
CLOUD STORAGE: Not only has Google added facial recognition and GPS logging, but now Google Photos system has included an upgrade to their Albums feature. In this article by Popular Photography, discover how Google Photos has helped its consumer by selecting the "best" photos from a specific trip, event, or collection of images and making a sharable album from them.  

12 Films Worth Shooting With Before They're Gone
CREATIVITY: Many people consider film photography to be a lost art, but there are plenty of films out there worth loading into a camera. This article provides a collection of 12 captivating film images showing the rewarding photographic experience one can have with using a film camera.

Top Social Media Trends That'll Change Your Business in 2016
SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS: Social media has swarmed the world and allowed a place for fellow photographers and other businesses to market themselves through a completely different lens. Check out this article to see the top trends in social media that are going to help advance your businesses this year.
63 Photoshop Shortcuts to Speed Up Your Workflow
PRO TIPS: Think you know all there is to know about Photoshop? Here are a few more things to add to that list by checking out these shortcuts to use in your next editing session. This can help with those simple tasks that seem to hinder your workflow and also help you find out quick tips from viewing an image to actually handling the image.

Why Some Great Depression Photos Were Punched Full of Holes
HISTORICAL PROOFS: Historically, images captured during Depression-era America tend to have a mysterious black hole in their center. This once mysterious imprint has now been answered. In this article, discover the reason why Roy Stryker, the FSA's documentary photography program director responsible for photographers such as Dorothea Lang and Gordon Parks punctured a hole in the images. 

The International Space Station Experiments with Long Exposure Photography
PHOTO EXPOSURE: Photography has the power to change science, technology, and now space-research. The International Space Station has recently used their crew to experiment with long exposure photography and the results will blow your mind!

Professional Photographers Are the .1%
STAY INFORMED: Everyday more and more professional photographers are being overshadowed by amateur photographers and the numbers speak for themselves. Check out this article to learn why so many pro photographers are having to reform their business to get their clients.

There you have it, our weekly blog post roundup! What photography blogs or podcasts do YOU follow? Post your favorite on theLoop or email them to us at OnlineContentCommittee

JOY_7309-1.JPGAleighia Rouse is a graduating senior at Spelman College and PPA's Marketing and Communications intern. She aspires to hold a position just like the amazing people she works around. Aleighia is known by her happy personality and bubbly voice, and with over 6 years of film and photography experience, she can relate to and understand most of the issues faced by PPA photographers.


About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Inspiration category from April 2016.

Inspiration: March 2016 is the previous archive.

Inspiration: May 2016 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

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