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PPA Today

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Imaging USA is almost here and PPA has so much planned for you, including a variety of classes covering as many topics as you can think of!

In order for you to get the most out of your experience in Nashville, we created tracks that you can easily follow if you have an area you specifically want to concentrate on. 

So, if you've got the "what" down but you're still trying to figure out the "how," or you're just looking for the best ways to go about your photography, check out the School, Sport, and Event track!

With this track, you will learn non-complicated but exceptional techniques that will save you time and still keep clients coming. It includes everything from exclusive photography, to mind-opening business tips and tricks, such that no matter your niche, there's a class for you! 

Some of the classes in this track include:

Session Time: January 14, 8:00 am - 9:30 am
Speakers: Neal Freed and Bryan Blanken
Discover how high-volume school photography can change your world! Bryan Blanken and Neal Freed will demonstrate how their business model is transforming school photography in their Washington, DC market and how easy it is for you to apply it to yours. You will discover how to identify the schools that you want and attain these clients. Learn how to create school portraits that both students and parents will love - and purchase! These two are serious photographers and business people who have replaced their wedding business and grown their school photography business to record levels by generating sales at twice the national average. This is your opportunity to do what they do! From sales and management to marketing and market share, you will walk away with specific action items to help you attain, grow and sustain your school photography business.

Session Time: January 16, 8:00 am - 9:30 am
Speaker: Rose Coleman and Nancy Emmerich
Come see this dynamic program where Nancy Emmerich and Rose Coleman will teach you how to photograph cheerleaders. They know the art of making money with this specific sport that is unlike traditional sports and pre-paid packages. Learn lighting, posing, and creating ways to flatter your clients and sell products. Talk specifics of what you will need to work fast and still maintain a high average. Come see why you should be photographing cheerleaders!

Session Time: January 14, 5:00 pm - 6:15 pm
Speaker: Leslie Ann Kitten
Everyone knows the key clients in volume photography: sports, schools, and daycares.  But what lies beyond the packages? Leslie Ann will teach you how she gains traditional volume clients and turns them into hybrid clients - those that photograph like volume and pay like private commissions. Learn how to handle volume with confidence and extreme streamlining, and where to market so that they lead to higher-end volume clients.  

Session Time: January 15, 8:00 am - 9:30 am
Speaker: Jetawn Spivey
There is a hidden power in the simplicity of volume photography. Jetawn Spivey, a 28-year veteran of the volume portraiture business, comes to Imaging USA to guide you through why volume photography can be such a great direction for your business and how to create a successful, money-making program. You'll learn how to create seasonal programs that will help you, and how to avoid the traditional downturns. But you will also learn how to redefine the perception of volume photography by creating valuable portraits, not just pictures. Jetawn will also walk you through his post-production workflow and image management so you can consistently produce high-quality work. It doesn't have to be complicated to work and make you successful. Jetawn Spivey will show you why and how in this Volume Portraiture class!

Session Time: January 15, 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Speaker: Mark Schoenrock
The School Picture Business seems to be getting more challenging and the path to profitability more difficult. Business owners are asking themselves if it's possible to improve results and at the same time prepare for change. Has your studio -and have you- done what's necessary to survive and thrive? If any of this causes you concern, then this is the program for you!  During this class, Mark will give you a model to maximize your performance, create value, and also prepare your business for change. Mark will take you through your business strategy and how this, combined with shared values and your company's culture, can influence the results you're currently getting. You'll come way from this program understanding what you can do as a business owner to shape your staff's behavior and to support your company's goals. Mark's systems solutions and his concept of operational consistency can improve your studio's performance and efficiency. This session is not just about school photography but about setting your own path to success while creating an experience and a value proposition of which you and your team can be proud.

Session Time: January 16, 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Speaker: Eric Miller
This is not a class about lighting, camera settings, or posing techniques. Rather, Eric Miller is here to show you everything you need to run a successful Sports Photo Day. You'll discuss the all-important element of communication and how to work with your leagues leading up to and on the day of the event. You will learn the how to organize and prepare essential elements for running a successful Photo Day. You'll explore how to lay out your set up so you can expertly and efficiently run through all your teams and individuals. These Sports Photo days can be a hectic and chaotic experience, leaving everyone frustrated and exhausted. With Eric, you'll learn how to rise above the rest and how to create an experience that will have your sports leagues coming back season after season.

... and more!

You can find the classes in the School, Sport, and Event track and other tracks in the Imaging USA schedule. Don't forget to register for Imaging USA 2018, January 11-16 in Nashville, TN. We hope to see you there!

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theLoop is a great place for members to connect with each other, share information/advice, get image feedback, and overall - a place to go if you need help. Become a member so you can "stay in the loop," and if you already are, then head over to theLoop to see what everyone's buzzing about. 

Lots of great discussions have been happening, so here are a few of the top posts from the front-half of December. Check them out, provide some feedback, and perhaps even learn something new!

Ask Me Anything is back on theLoop in December and it's become quite popular! Check out the latest, with Imaging USA-speaker Bry Cox scheduled to answer YOUR questions this Friday, December 15th!

Fascinating conversation here, sparked by a recent shooting death of a photographer. Have you ever been stopped from taking photos or had your work blocked by authorities? Chime in here. 

If a photographer messes up, how much does that reflect on the entire industry? A spirited discussion here on the public's perception of the photographic industry and what part you play in all of it. 

This Looper's friend hired a subpar wedding photographer. He's trying to touch up and fix their amateurish photos and it hits him...how many professionals go through this? The answers lead to lots of great discussion in this thread. 

And there you have 'em, the top posts from theLoop! Remember to check out theLoop frequently as new discussions are posted daily. It's a great way to catch up with fellow PPA members! Not a PPA member? Join today!

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by Mayo Lawal

If you are wondering why tens of thousands of photographers attend Imaging USA every year, you probably haven't checked out the more than 100 sessions and speakers on all photography topics, lined up for you in Nashville, January 14-16. 

Just to show you a tip of the iceberg, Imaging USA will feature:

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Market like a boss...with an "A-Game" strategy

Build a personal brand that matters

A new approach to school photography that can transform your studio

Taking your drone images higher

Lighting a wedding day from start to finish

SEO for photographers

Maternity posing and lighting

The Power of Print

What's new in Lightroom

Psychology of high-end sales

These are just taste of what's in store for you with your All-Access Pass registration. In addition to the education sessions, there's also:

Acclaimed keynote speaker Ryan Estis on how to "Adapt and Thrive" with today's modern client.

Parties that will rock your socks off

An enormous Expo (80,000+ square feet!) filled with tons of new products and deals

International Photographic Competition exhibit with well over 3,000 images! This is the largest photography exhibit out there!

The Drone Zone--all you need to know about getting started in drone photography

A dedicated theater to learn how to sell PRINTED WORKS

Award shows and degree presentations

And so much more! So, don't miss this incredible opportunity for professional growth, and to connect with like-minded professionals from all over the globe! Head on to Imagingusa.org and register today.


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By Chris Homer

It's dirty work, and there's nothing to smile about. Such is portrait-making truth for Pete Rezac,
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 M.Photog.Cr., CPP, whose black-and-white fine art images of children follow a recipe: Get them dirty, tell them not to smile, and aim for authenticity. "That word 'authentic' resonates in everything I do," says the Reno, Nevada-based photographer.

Read all about Pete's child portraiture in "Authentic Child Portraiture, Dirt and All" on PPmag.com. Pete will also be sharing his knowledge at Imaging USA 2018, during his "Black-and-White Children's Character Portraits" session. Register for Imaging USA today!


ch_headshot_100x100.jpgAbout 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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by Mayo Lawal

We are just a few weeks away from Imaging USA 2018! Can't wait? Well, here's something that may get you even more excited:  this week's Imaging USA giveaway prize is a "Music City Backstage Pass!"

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This pass (valued at $1000) is good for admission for 2 people into 20+ Nashville attractions that you can enjoy during Imaging USA 2018 and beyond! You and one guest get free (or reduced-price) entry to places like the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Johnny Cash Museum, the Adventure Science Center, the Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art, and much more.

If you've already registered for Imaging USA, this pass is sure to make your time in Nashville even more exciting and fun. The best part is that it doesn't expire until December 2018, so if you don't get to see everything while you're in town for #ImagingUSA, you have ample time to visit Nashville again!

Find out how you can increase your chances of winning today! The winner will be announced this Friday December 15, 2017 at 12 noon ET.  

Not registered yet? Head over to ImagingUSA.org/Register today. See you in Nashville!

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Imaging USA 2018 will be here before you know it...three-to-six days of everything photography, including learning, networking, shopping, and partying! It's all going down in the Music City, Nashville, TN, January 14-16, 2018 (Pre-Con classes January 11-13).
Imaging USA is known far-and-wide as THE place to see some of the best speakers in the photography industry, as they take you on deep-dives into every photographic and business topic you could want to learn more about. In order to get you even more excited (if that's possible!), PPA is highlighting our 2018 Imaging USA speakers.

Let's Meet...

Gary Meek, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API, A-ASP, EA-ASP
Kathryn Meek, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API


Gary and Kathy Meek of Hot Springs, Arkansas own and operate Gary's Studio of Photography. Gary has been teaching Certification Preparation Classes for over twenty-five years.   His educational degree is in math and physics. Both Gary and Kathy have received their Master of Photography, Photographic Craftsman degrees and are Certified Professional Photographer. Gary has received his Educational Associate and Honorary Educational Associate from American Society of Photographers. They are Approved Photographic Instructors.  Gary and Kathy have received their Associate Fellowship, Fellowship and Senior Fellowship Degrees from Arkansas Professional Photographers Association.  Gary and Kathy have been awarded Life Membership in Arkansas Professional Photographers Association and Southwestern Professional Photographers Association. Gary is a Life Member of Professional Photographers of America.  Gary and Kathy have both received a Fellow of Photography degree in conjunction with Professional Photographers of the Ozarks.  They are both International Photographic Judges.

Gary and Kathy are both active in State, Regional and National Associations. Gary served on the Board of Directors of Professional Photographers of America 1999-2007, is a Past President of Arkansas Professional Photographers Association, a Past President of Professional Photographers of the Ozarks, and was President of Southwestern Professional Photographers Association for two consecutive years.  Gary is a councilor for Professional Photographers of America. Kathy is a Past President of ASP, Past President of Arkansas Professional Photographers Association and a Past President of The Southwestern Professional Photographers Association.  Kathy serves on the Board of Directors of Professional Photographers of America.

Gary and Kathy have received numerous awards from the state of Arkansas. Gary has received numerous print awards in all categories.  He has received the Best of Show and been named Photographer of the Year many times. He has received the Arkansas Distinguished Service Award and The National Award from Arkansas Professional Photographers Association and Southwestern Professional Photographers Association.  He has had the highest print case total score in Southwestern Professional Photographers Association.  Kathy has received numerous print awards, and Best of Show - several times!  Kathy has been named Arkansas Photographer of the Year. Kathy has also received the Distinguished Service Award from Arkansas Professional Photographers Association and the National Award from APPA, SWPPA and ASP. They have both won several regional awards in addition to these. They both have been consistent in having images accepted internationally for display at Professional Photographers of America's National Conventions.  They have both had images go into the international and ASP loan collection.

Speaker Sessions
Thursday, January 11 9:00am - 5:00pm
Friday, January 12 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday, January 13 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Q & A with Kathy Meek:
What is your life motto? That one is easy.  Nike stole it from me.  JUST DO IT.  Lee Ann Womack sings a song, I hope you dance.  In the lyrics it says 'if you have the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance'.  Never sit on the sideline and let life pass you by.  If you want something that is good for you, get it.  If you want to do something that is good for you, do it.  If you want to go somewhere, go.  I hope you dance.
What would be your advice for photographers who are just starting their career? The most important advice I can give to someone just starting a career in photography is to get all of the education you can.  You can never know too much. Understand that you must be a step above the crowd and be able to present images that the 'just put the camera on program and hope for the best' photographers are not able to produce if you want to thrive in the business of photography.  Speaking of the business of photography, don't forget to make business education a priority.  PPA provides excellent opportunities to learn the business as well as the technical side of our trade.  One last thing to remember is that the client IS your business.  Forming relationships with your clients is a must.  Always let them know that they are special to you and that you appreciate their business and their friendship. 
I believe in photography.  I also believe that if I expect my clients to be photographed regularly, I have to set that example.  I have always had my own family photographed as our family has changed.  It's so important to save all of the stages of our children and grandchildren.  I also suggest that you keep an up- to-date portrait of your family on display in your studio.  
Imaging USA has been a high point in my life every year since 1985 and IUSA 2018 will be no different.  It has come to be like a huge family reunion.  I look forward to visiting with dear friends from all over the US as well as many other countries.  The educational opportunities are what keep me up-to-date and relevant in today's world.  I just couldn't stay in business without that.  

Gary and Kathy Meek are just two of the many amazing speakers you'll get to meet and learn from at Imaging USA 2018! The early bird registration rate has been extended to December 13, so be sure to take advantage and register now!

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If you are a professional photographer looking to start or expand your volume photography business . . . tomorrow's free webinar is for you. 

In this webinar, Matthew Kemmetmueller will give you all of the information on volume 
photography that you'll need. You'll learn:

  • How to find and bid on leagues and schools
  • The best workflow to keep you from losing your mind on picture day
  • The fastest ways to process orders and keep them organized
  • How to deliver the goods
  • Small things that keep clients with you forever
By the end of this class, you'll feel confident about entering the profitable volume photography business.

This webinar is FREE and open to all TOMORROW ONLY, so register now and tune in, December 12, 2017, at 2:00 pm ET.

Oh, and if you're a member of PPA, you'll be able to replay this and any PPA webinar at your leisure and as many times you wish (videos uploaded about two weeks after original webinar date)! Block your calendar and learn how to be a successful volume photographer!


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When you put your blood, sweat and tears into creating a masterpiece that showcases your uniqueness, the last thing you want is your work being improperly used or even stolen, especially if your art is your livelihood.  Unfortunately, many professional photographers of all backgrounds and fields deal with copyright infringement every day.

Granted, those who have high enough incomes predominantly benefit from today's current laws, but the same can't be said for the average professional, like Janis. Check out Janis' story on his battle for the rights to his own image:

Janis is an award-winning fine arts photographer who identifies himself as story-teller. He tells beautiful stories through his writing, photography and other artistic pursuits. Among his favorite subjects are architecture and vineyards. Janis captured a beautiful image of Oregon's wine country. Later, he saw a very similar image on the bumpers of Oregon citizens.

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After some investigating, he discovered that the image on a new Oregon license plate was, in fact, derived from his photo. According to Janis' account of the infringement, the tourism bureau of Salem, Oregon decided to create a license plate with a vineyard scene in order to "develop a steady stream of income." They hired an artist to create the image for the plate and provided the artist with images to use as a "vision for the plate". The plate was created with art derived from these "vision images" which included Janis' image.

With a $30 surcharge per license plate sold, the plate brought in $530,000 for the state, Janis reported. However, when contacted by Janis, an attorney representing the bureau claimed that the state did not make any profit from the plate asserting that the $530,000 was not "profit". Janis consulted with an attorney who advised that the legal realities of copyright enforcement make it very difficult to pursue a case and the fact that it would be against the state only makes it more complex.

Janis' attorney advised him to send an invoice to the bureau. He did and, many months later, has yet to receive another response.

This story and many others are the reason that a Small Claims process can be a game-changer for photographers and creative artists. It will help them enforce their copyright in cost-effective and efficient ways. We need everyone to support Small Claims at PPA.com/SmallClaims



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By Chris Homer

Imaging USA 2018 will be here before you know it...three-to-six days of everything
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 photography, including learning, networking, shopping, and partying! It's all going down in the Music City, Nashville, TN, January 14-16, 2018 (Pre-Con classes January 11-13).

Imaging USA is known far-and-wide as THE place to see some of the best speakers in the photography industry, as they take you on deep-dives into every photographic and business topic you could want to learn more about. In order to get you even more excited (if that's possible!), PPA is highlighting our 2018 Imaging USA speakers.

Let's Meet...

Nancy Emmerich, M.Photog.Cr., API, F-ASP




Nancy Emmerich is a Past President of the Professional Photographers of Oklahoma, ASP Fellow with degrees from PPA for her Masters and Craftsman. With huge success stories running multiple photography studios with her husband Don Emmerich and daughter Rose Coleman, she knows how to support multiple families off her photography income and makes it a huge success!

Speaker Sessions:

Tuesday, January 16


Q & A:

What is your life motto? If not now when?

Why do you love photography? I love making magic through the lens, knowing the camera and what to do with it. 

If you could have a theme song, what would it be? James Taylor. "It's a Lovely Ride"

What would be your advice for photographers who are just starting their career? Make money! It's a business.

What was one of the defining moments in your career? Getting my ASP Fellowship

Nancy Emmerich is just one of the many amazing speakers you'll get to meet and learn from at Imaging USA 2018! The early bird registration rate has been extended to December 13, so be sure to take advantage and register now!

ch_headshot_100x100.jpgAbout 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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Every so often, PPA realizes its exemplary members need to be recognized in ways that they haven't yet been. With that being said, the Board of Directors has created a new accolade that honors PPA members who give back to the industry through teaching. 

The new EDU100 bar will be awarded for every 100 speaking merits a member has earned. The first round of recipients is being notified and awarded December 2017. 

Since 1937, PPA's Merit & Degree program has provided its members with a path to earning a PPA degree that vets, recognizes and celebrates their achievements in the profession. Merits are the points-system used by PPA that adds up to getting one's photographic degree. Each degree requires 25 merits that are obtained through exhibition, competition, speaking, and service, and each degree requires a different combination of merits. 

The Merit & Degree program is an exclusive PPA member benefit, so click here to learn more about earning your degree. Ready to get started but you're not a member? Join PPA Now!



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