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With the new FAA regulations regarding drones going into effect August 29th, you need to have the most up-to-date information to fly and use a drone for business or work purposes. Bottom line: you MUST take the aeronautical knowledge test (the "Drone Test") and have your drone registered. Here are important links and guidelines that will be helpful while navigating through the process.

  • In order to sit for the "Drone test", and be able to apply for the remote pilot certification, the applicant must be at least 16 years old, be fluent in English, be in good physical and mental condition to operate a drone, and take the test at an approved FAA knowledge testing center. Step by step guidelines are posted on the FAA website under requirements and process for becoming a pilot.


  • All applicants need to take and pass the Drone Test in order to apply for their remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating. The cost of taking the test is $150 and, once certified, the certification will be valid for two years. Taking the test and getting certified allows photographers to use drones during photo sessions in accordance with FAA guidelines. To ensure that everyone has the knowledge necessary to pass the drone test, the FAA has posted various study guides and sample test questions for applicants to study. These materials can be found under the FAA's suggested study materials

  • Once an applicant has passed the drone test, applied for and received their remote pilot certification, they MUST register their drone. The drone must be registered if it is over .55 pounds, up to a maximum weight of 55 pounds. The 55 pound limit includes any equipment you attach to the drone, such as your camera. Registration cost is only $5 and will be valid for three years. All drones need to be registered at https://RegisterMyUAS.FAA.gov/.

  • Your drone must also undergo a pre-flight check to ensure it is in proper condition to be operated. This link has a .pdf of the FAA's pre-flight checklist. 

The FAA has addressed some Drone Regulations frequently asked questions here. Here is also an easy-to-read recap chart with all the necessary information regarding both pilot and drone requirements:

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You can find even more information in the FAA's Getting Started guide. We hope you're as excited and ready to fly your drone as we are! Share your (legal) drone photography with us on theLoop, Facebook or Twitter! Now, get out there, take some amazing photos and share them with the world!

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This has been a HUGE week for Drones! The FAA finally released their new regulations covering UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) and PPA has read all 600 pages to help YOU better understand how to (legally) incorporate drones into your business. 

You can head over to www.faa.gov/uas/ to get all the latest information, but we've got a summary for you to get you started and answer your most basic questions.

So...You Want to Be a Small Drone Pilot...

To become a pilot you must: 

Be at least 16 years old
Be able to read, speak, write and understand English (exceptions may be made if the person is unable to meet this requirement for a medical reason, such as hearing impairment)
Be in a physical and mental condition to safely operate a small UAS
Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center

How Do I Apply for a Remote Pilot Certificate?

1. Schedule an appointment with a Knowledge Testing Center (there are over 700 locations in the U.S).
2. Pass the Aeronautical Knowledge Test. 
3. Complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a Remote Pilot Certificate.
4. Pass the TSA security background check. You will then receive a confirmation email containing instructions for printing a temporary remote pilot certificate from IACRA (Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application). 
5. Receive a permanent remote pilot certificate via mail once all other FAA-internal processing is complete. 

Once certified, your certification must be easily accessible by the remote pilot during all UAS operations. It is valid for two years, after which you must pass a recurrent knowledge test to renew your certification.


Thumbnail image for iStock_money bag.jpgJust a friendly reminder! PPA members get amazing discounts and special offers from a slew of companies. It's all meant to save you money on the products and services you use most.

Hurry! There are offers from DriveSavers, Manfrotto, Profoto, H&H Color Labs and Pounds Labs that are expiring soon! Be sure to use them while you can and keep the Special Offers page bookmarked so you don't forget the deals.

Member Perks & Savings are just more of the ways PPA helps you Be More Savvy. 


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by Lindsey Forson

There is a lot of information floating around right now regarding new FAA regulations for drone or UAS use. We want to clear a few things up for you and give you some helpful tips!

The new regulations released this week from the FAA require the registration of all Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). As of Monday, the FAA launched a very simple online registration process for hobbyist users of small UAS. There is a paper application currently available for commercial users, but it is important to note that commercial use is still only currently permitted for professional photographers who have been granted a Section 333 exemption and are licensed pilots or have exempt licensed pilots operating the UAS.

We expect the FAA to finalize new regulations for business-related use of small UAS during the first half of 2016. The FAA has also said that the online UAS registration system will be expanded to include business-related use by the spring of 2016. If you are using UAS for hobbyist or recreational purposes while awaiting new regulations for business use, be sure to register your UAS with the FAA as soon as possible. Please see our recent coverage (link to last blog post) for more information on the most recent regulatory change.

Here are step-by-step instructions for how to register your UAS after the jump:

Sending holiday cards can be a pain in the butt, right? As busy as you are, it's pretty easy to let the project drag out into the New Year. Luckily for PPA members, Marathon Press has stepped in to help ease some of the stress!

PPA has teamed up with Marathon Press to offer PPA members another Extreme Deal--a free holiday greeting card design collection of your choice and an unheard of Buy One Get One Free on all holiday greeting cards.

Yes, FREE. 

Holiday cards are more than just for your family and friends. As a professional photographer, they are another opportunity to take your customer service to the next level. Especially since you can provide top-notch images!

With this extreme deal, you'll get:

   A free Holiday Greeting Card design collection (a $30 value).

   Unlimited Buy One Get One Free on Holiday Cards.

The offer expires November 30, so don't miss out!

Since there are actually two deals here, there are two ways to redeem! Log in to PPA.com{LINK} to get the promo codes!

Marathon Press is the leading provider of press printed products and marketing services for photographers. Their exceptional employees and state of the art color management are the keys to outstanding print quality. Always going above and beyond to please their photography clients, they provide 7 paper options, 1 -2 day turnaround on all press printed card orders placed in the Store and free shipping.

Extreme Deals are short-term, ridiculously good (extreme!) deals that are available only to PPA members. 
Keep checking for the latest and greatest deals here.

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onOne Software, Inc. has announced Perfect Photo Suite 7 for Adobe® Lightroom®, Photoshop®, Apple® Aperture® and as a standalone application. Improved to give photographers even more ways to maximize their creativity and solve common problems in digital photography, Perfect Photo Suite 7 now offers new easy-to-use, yet powerful tools to develop stunning black and white images, enhance, stylize and correct images, retouch portraits and prepare all images, including mobile snapshots, for enlargement and print. Perfect Photo Suite 7 includes the brand new module Perfect B&W, Perfect Effects 4, Perfect Portrait 2, Perfect Layers 3 and Perfect Resize 7.5 Pro-powered by Genuine Fractals technology, Perfect Mask 5.2 and FocalPoint 2.

Improved workflow integration and a significantly redesigned user interface allow photographers to focus on their image editing while working seamlessly within their preferred workflow. Users can select their image from Lightroom, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements or Aperture, send it directly to the Perfect Photo Suite 7 module of their choice, make adjustments, then immediately return it to their original photo editing or organization application.

The new modules in Perfect Photo Suite 7 also include the new Perfect Brush giving users the ability achieve precise edge-detected masking quickly. It smoothly applies or removes adjustments to the specific areas being worked on without crossing over the edges around it. A redesigned browser with Search functionality and a Favorites panel allow users easy access to the specific effects and presets they're looking for. Photographic effects, designed by industry experts specifically for onOne Software, are also easily accessible alongside manual controls to give photographers the option to create professional looking images with one click or fine-tune adjustments to create the specific look they desire.

Availability and Pricing
The new Perfect Photo Suite 7 will ship in late October 2012. Pre-orders are available immediately and will include a complimentary Perfect Photo Suite 7 Creative Companion DVD with purchase through September 20, 2012. The Creative Companion DVD includes training and inspirational videos, Photoshop templates from Graphic Authority and unique presets for the suite. Owners of Perfect Photo Suite 6, Perfect Photo Suite 5, and Plug-In Suite 5 or earlier can upgrade to Perfect Photo Suite 7 for $149.95. Perfect Photo Suite 7 is available to new users for $299.95. Pre-orders may be made at http://www.ononesoftware.com/store. For more information on Perfect Photo Suite 7, visit http://www.ononesoftware.com.

For those who have purchased Perfect Photo Suite 6 on or after August 1, 2012, onOne Software will issue a complimentary upgrade to Perfect Photo Suite 7 via download when it is available in late October 2012.

Along with the release of Perfect Photo Suite 7, onOne Software has announced Perfect B & W, part of the new Perfect Photo Suite 7.

Perfect B&W is a completely brand new product that offers photographers the easiest way to develop stunning black and white digital images. It includes powerful and intuitive tools that give photographers instant results and complete creative control to replicate time-honored black and white processing techniques. With Perfect B&W, photographers can add dramatic, elegant and classic monochromatic looks to their images, and create the many moods black and white photography can evoke--resulting in beautiful and provocative imagery.

Availability and Pricing
The new Perfect B&W is now available for pre-order as part of the Perfect Photo Suite 7 for $299.95, which will ship in late October. It will be available later this Fall as an individual plug-in and standalone product for $99.95. For more information on Perfect B&W, visit http://www.ononesoftware.com/perfect-bw.  
StickyAlbums, a platform enabling professional photographers to create branded photo album apps for their clients, is now making it even easier for clients to share albums with family and friends. An upgrade announced introduces new social media sharing features that allow clients to effortlessly share their photographers' branded album app directly to Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. The feature streamlines the sharing of clients' images across social networks, on which professional photographers are able to generate valuable word-of-mouth marketing for their studios.

Designed for photographers by photographers, StickyAlbums allows professional and prosumer shooters to create a unique slide show app for their client. The StickyAlbum, which runs on any iOS and most Android devices, save a custom app icon  to the home screen of the client's phone or tablet. As images are increasingly shared via smartphones, tablets and utilizing social networks,photographers need solutions that allow them to safely monetize their digital images while delivering the shareability that clients demand. StickyAlbums serves both purposes by optimizing image display for mobile devices and tying the infinitely sharable images to the photographer]s brand and website to generate more referrals.

Promoting a shoulder-to-shoulder sharing experience, StickyAlbums makes the images--and the photographer who took them--a point of conversation. Friends can maximize the show-and-tell factor by opening their personalized app and flipping through their professional photos just as they would open any mainstream app on their device. With this latest social media upgrade, clients can also share their personal app via a website link on their Facebook pages, Pinterest boards or Twitter feeds. Users need not install special apps from the App Store, instead one  StickyAlbum link works across all devices.

Offered as a subscription-based service, StickyAlbums provides a free basic demo level to allow new users to test-drive the service first-hand. Users can then upgrade to either the monthly Starter subscription (which offers photographers unlimited access to the service and lifetime album hosting) or the annual Professional subscription for full white labeled branding. To try out the free demo, or for subscription pricing, visit www.stickyalbums.com.

Enter PPA's Facebook giveaway by August 13 to win 1 year membership to StickyAlbums-Pro.
ChromaLuxe has announced the expansion of its Creative Border offerings with new shape additions to its line of Creative Border Photo Panels and Creative Border Ornaments. Capable of bringing unique style to accent any home, office or public space, Creative Border Photo Panels have added five brand new eye-catching shapes while Creative Border Ornaments have added two uniquely decorative shapes that compliment any holiday decor with personalized images and messages.

New Creative Border Photo Panels
Creative Border Photo Panels can either stand alone as individual pieces or be grouped together with ChromaLuxe's other distinctive HD Metal Photo Panels to create a one-of-a-kind decorative scheme unique to the client's taste and style. Clients will not only be drawn to the stunning image detail of  ChromaLuxe's Creative Border series, but will also appreciate their archival-quality, highly scratch-resistant surface that is waterproof and resistant to UV rays and other damaging elements that would easily destroy standard paper prints.

The latest photo panel shapes added to ChromaLuxe's Creative Border series include the Prague, Pamplona, Belfast, Crete and Berlin designs, and will join the existing lineup which features the Fiji, Milan, Sydney and Benelux shapes. Creative Borders range in size from 7.5"x7.5" to 21.8"x15.6" to fit any desired decorative layout and are available with a gloss white finish.

Added Creative Border Ornaments
Made with the same great quality as the high definition photo panels, the two new shapes from the Creative Border Ornaments lineup were inspired by the new Creative Border Photo Panels. They join an existing lineup of HD Metal Ornaments that come with the highest level of color clarity and depth of image. With their durable scratch-resistance surface, clients can create a fully customizable ornament that will be on display every holiday season for years to come.

The latest ornament shapes added to ChromaLuxe's Creative Border series include the Berlin and Prague, and will join the existing lineup which features London and Benelux. Ornaments are available in a gloss white finish in the following four sizes: 3"x3", 3.99"x2.75", 2.99"x2.99", and 3.95"x2.76".

For more information about the Creative Border Photo Panels and Ornaments, or to learn more about ChromaLuxe's complete product line or to find a full listing of participating professional photo labs, visit www.chromaluxe.com.  
mitsubishi_cp_blog.JPGMitsubishi Electric Visual Solutions America, Inc. has announced a new free 2x6 Multi-cut Function driver upgrade for the CP-9550DW professional photo printer, making the CP-9550DW a perfect solution for high-speed production, event and photo booth applications.

"Our engineers have developed another profitable solution for our customers with the addition of the 2x6-inch Multi-cut Function to the CP-9550DW," said James Chan, vice president of marketing, Mitsubishi Electric Visual Solutions America. "This feature fills a need in the event printing market because of increased demand for photo-booth style prints. The release of the free Multi-cut Function driver upgrade has expanded the versatility of the CP-9550DW to include photo booth applications."

Mitsubishi Electric's CP-9550DW is a high-speed, high-volume professional photo printer that offers outstanding print quality at a low cost. Its unique, dual-line color reproduction system and adaptive thermal head management improves print head resolution.

The CP-9550DW is equipped with a choice of two print modes: Superfine for high-quality photo prints, and Fine for high-speed photo production. Plus, with a unique roll-type mechanism to help ensure jam-free reliability and the flexibility of six different output sizes (2×6-, 3.5×5-, 4×6-, 5×7-, 6×8- and 6×9- inch), the CP-9550DW provides a solution for all photo-printing applications.

The CP-9550DW Multi-cut Function driver download is available for free from the Mitsubishi Electric website: http://www.mitsubishi-imaging.com/.
Sigma Corporation of America  has announced that the Sigma DP2 Merrill compact digital camera will be available in the United States on July 12 for the street price of $999.
 
This upgraded, high-resolution, compact digital camera with a fixed lens is named in honor of Richard "Dick" Merrill, the co-creator of the Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor technology that powers Sigma's unique lineup of cameras. It differs from its predecessor, the DP2x, because its resolution has grown by moving from Foveon's 14.6-megapixel APS-C size image sensor to the 46-megapixel APS-C image sensor found in the company's flagship SLR, the Sigma SD1 Merrill. The full-color Foveon X3 direct image sensor ensures outstanding resolution, richly gradated tones and images with a three-dimensional feel. A focus ring and custom Quick Set (QS) mode also improve the user interface.

The Sigma DP2 Merrill boasts a telecentric 30mm F2.8 lens, which is the equivalent to a 45mm lens on a 35mm SLR camera. The camera is compact and lightweight, and features Super Multi Layer Coating to reduce flare and ghosting.
 
Other features of the  Sigma DP2 Merrill camera include:

  • A dual, three-layer responsive ultimate (TRUE II) engine that now incorporates two TRUE II processors to improve the processing speed and overall quality of the final image
  • RAW and JPEG format recording to retain the full image detail of the utmost quality captured through the direct image sensor, as well as a JPEG recording format for convenience
  • Sigma Photo Pro processing software to convert RAW data quickly and easily
  • Manual focus for use when autofocus or focus-lock is not desired
  • Easy-to-use auto focus with a "nine-point select mode" which can select the desired focusing point from nine different frames, and a "free move mode" that allows shooters to select their desired focusing point
  • An advanced user interface complete with a custom QS menu and the metallic command dial to improve usability
  • Continuous shooting capabilities to capture up to seven RAW images per sequence
  • A large, highly visible, three-inch TFT color LCD monitor for great visibility
  • A hot shoe for the use of the dedicated external flashgun EF-140 DG (optional)
  • Movie mode for movie recording with VGA (640×480) size, with 30 shooting frames per second
For information about Sigma Corporation of America or information about the companies cameras and lenses, visit www.sigmaphoto.com


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