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PPA Today


Photography can give a whole new meaning to even a familiar subject.

Commercial Photographer Mikkel Jul Hvilshoj's creative and exceptional images capture dishes in a new light.

Go behind the scenes with Mikkel, as he explains how he achieved these unique images on Professional Photographer.

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 Marie. Check out Marie's story on her battle for the rights to her own image:

Marie is an architecture photographer who gets a large portion of her income from photographing homes and licensing images to the home's seller for uses related to the sale. She recently performed such a job for a client in Idaho. Marie later found out that the real estate company her client worked with used one of her photos several times for the purpose of promoting the business. She found the advertisement for the real estate company featuring her work on the back cover of a magazine and on the back cover of the program for a music festival. Marie assumes there are other infringing uses she did not happen upon.

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Marie contacted the owner of the real estate company directly to retrieve payment for the infringing uses. She sent an invoice with her standard licensing fee. The infringer completely refused to pay anything to Marie and was adamant that the use was not an infringement because the images were provided by the photographer's client who paid for the job. The owner of the real estate company even claimed that this was their "standard practice".

A cease and desist letter was sent to the offender from Marie's photographic association on her behalf to which she received no reply. She followed up with the infringer several more times to be either ignored or sent extremely offensive responses. When asked if she would like to sue the offender, Marie responded, "I would like to but feel that is not an option and will not find an attorney to take on the case for such a small amount of money." Marie estimated the licensing fee of the infringing uses she knew about to be less than $1,000.

Marie reports that all she wants is for the offender to admit wrongdoing, pay the invoice, and change her standard practice. She believes her requests were disregarded because the infringer knew Marie could not make her pay if she refused - of course Marie was not going to file a federal lawsuit over a $1,000 licensing fee.

"A small claims option would give me the opportunity to actually pursue this further or at least would provide something to hold over [the infringer's] head," Marie said.

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

The roof of the Gaylord Opryland spent most of the day covered in snow but everyone inside was happy and warm. While Nashville's weather is expected to plummet down to -4 degrees tonight, the attendees at Imaging USA will be dancing at the Closing Party on the Delta Island.

Day Three of Imaging USA rounded out a remarkable week. For those of us who have been here for both Pre-Con and the full convention, we've watched as the halls and islands slowly filled up with close to 10,000 professional photographers. The massive trade show floor was transformed into the Imaging Expo, the ballrooms became learning centers, and everywhere you look you see badge-wearing, camera-toting happy campers, networking and soaking up this experience. 

We had the pleasure of interviewing attendees on the Expo floor all day and they were amazed at the camaraderie to be found at Imaging USA. As people exited the International Photographic Competition exhibit they were beaming, having been inspired by the images. Several members said they had received feedback from IPC mentors at the Merit Cafe and it had encouraged and motivated them to enter in 2018. If YOU haven't entered photographic competitions, there is no better way to improve your craft and push yourself forward. Start by learning more about them at

PPA Charities gave away their annual "Dream Studio", a prize package of gear and equipment worth over $40,000. Lindsay Syme, last year's winner, assisted as Jamie Hayes and the Charities gang announced this year's recipient: Rebecca Crawley from McKinney, Texas. Stay tuned to PPA Today to find out what happens with her new Dream Studio throughout the year.

Remember, Imaging USA is the place where your year STARTS. It's the launching point for a whole 365 days of opportunity for you to take your business to new levels. Stick with PPA throughout the year as we all learn more about closing the gap between who WE are and who are customers are. 

Go out, stay warm, and make the most of 2018. We'll see you for the 150th celebration in Atlanta next year! 

Would you like to challenge yourself with PPA's Western District Photographic Competition? Hurry, the early deadline is January 18, 2018 by 5pm ET, after which a late fee would apply. So don't wait, enter today and save money. The late deadline is February 1, 2018.

Entering your local district competition is one of the best ways to push yourself to be more. You'll learn where you stand--how your photography matches up with your peers. You'll learn about the 12 elements of a merit image, and start incorporating them into your daily photography. You'll learn what it takes to create a merit image, and if you stick with it, work your way up to the Loan Collection.


To find out more about how to enter and improve your skills, visit From there, you can find the entry deadlines, rules, and judging dates for each District competition. Be sure to read the rules carefully!  

If you're in the Western District, enter today! Below is the schedule for the remaining district competitions, which will be accepting entries throughout the winter and early spring of 2018; be sure to mark these dates on your calendar so you're ready when registration opens for your district! 

Northeast District Photographic Competition
2018 Judging Dates: March 8-9, 2018 
Registration Opens: January 3, 2018
Early Deadline: January 31, 2018 by 5pm ET
Late Deadline (Late Fee Required): February 15, 2018 by 5pm ET 

Northcentral District Photographic Competition
2018 Judging Dates: March 22-23, 2018
Registration Opens: January 24, 2018
Early Deadline: February 14, 2018 by 5pm ET
Late Deadline (Late Fee Required): March 1, 2018 by 5pm ET 

Southwest District Photographic Competition
2018 Judging Dates: April 5-6, 2018
Registration Opens: January 31, 2018
Early Deadline: February 28, 2018 by 5pm ET
Late Deadline (Late Fee Required): March 15, 2018 by 5pm ET 

Southeast District Photographic Competition
2018 Judging Dates: April 17-19, 2018
Registration Opens: February 20, 2018
Early Deadline: March 13, 2018 by 5pm ET
Late Deadline (Late Fee Required): March 27, 2018 by 5pm ET

So find your district and start preparing your images. It's time you take the plunge to improve as a photographer by entering your District Photographic Competition!


Day Two of Imaging USA 2018 was a whirlwind of happy faces, inspiration, education and the "Disneyland" of photography...the Imaging Expo. And to make the day even more jam-packed with thrills, the Award and Degree ceremony was held tonight...the first time ever that it has preceded the Grand Imaging Awards.26814436_10156085539293234_5969225065156767443_n.jpg

If you've never been to the Awards at Imaging, you're really missing out. Not only is the joy radiating from those picking up their degrees and medals infectious, but you also get to see the best of the best from the International Photographic Competition(IPC) and the World Photographic Cup. 

Missed the awards but still want to see the goods?? You've got ONE DAY LEFT! Head on over to the Gaylord Opryland and get yourself a FREE EXPO PASS. You'll be able to walk around the trade show floor and take in the wonderful IPC Exhibit, housing the GIA winners and many more artists who made this year's Loan Collection. 

I spent a lot of time on the Expo floor today, interviewing attendees and finding out what was on top of everyone's mind for Day Two. Between the special vendor deals, the networking and the International Photographic Competition Exhibit (look for the IPC signs), the word "overwhelmed" came up a lot. Oh, and there's also the PRINT Theatre, where there are sessions every hour on how to incorporate printed products into your studio's portfolio and the Drone Zone, an area next to the IPC, sectioned off to host classes and demos on all things drones. The looks of amazement on everyone's faces at the trade show are priceless. 

Speaking of amazing...the winner of the Grand Imaging Award this year is Ben Shirk! Be on the lookout for our videos of the ceremonies where you can watch Ben take home the ultimate prize for his portrait image, "Till Death Do Us Part". Also keep your eyes peeled for the February issue of Professional Photographer magazine, which features a profile of Ben and his amazing, groundbreaking work. 

The GIAs were followed up by the official unveiling of Team USA for the World Photographic Cup! Learn more about this exciting competition, in which 30 countries will compete in May for the top award in photography, here.  

It's hard to believe there's only one day left! Get out there and make the most of Imaging USA 2018! 
What's a REAL professional photographer? 
How do you close the gap between you and your customer?

These are just two of the big, life-changing questions that we're asking ourselves as three days of the best photography learning, shopping and parties kicked off today at Imaging USA in Nashville, Tennessee!

The world's oldest and best photography convention is happening as we speak. If you weren't able to get out in the snow and make it to Music City, have no fear. You'll find plenty of info here and on Imaging USA's social media to make you (almost) feel like you're here with us (and we really, really wish you were here with us)! 

Today was the first "official" day of Imaging USA, coming on the heels of the Pre-Convention classes. Pre-Con days are always great because, while there are lots of people soaking up hands-on and day-long classes, it's still somewhat...quiet. It's the perfect time to walk around and get to know your home for the next few days. 
Because once Sunday morning rolls's on! Now the islands, ballrooms, and Expo floor are filled to the brim with people, eager to learn, network and shop. There's so much excitement in the air here and you can watch just a sliver of it in the recap video above. 

The opening keynote at Imaging USA is always where you want to start your experience. It's specifically tailored to fit each year and the challenges and new surprises they bring. This year, PPA President Rob Behm introduced the thousands assembled at the Gaylord Opryland to Ryan Estis. Ryan is one of the world's most sought-after motivational speakers, a former ad executive who broke away in 2009 (during the economic downturn) and became a small business entrepreneur...something we can relate to! Ryan's whole message is that our customers are changing. Rapidly. The Era of the Customer is upon us, a five-year (at least) timeline in which customer expectations are set to change more than they have in the previous 50. 
Ryan has researched how to "adapt and thrive" in today's Era of the Customer and he's put it in his e-book, Adapt & Thrive. (Today's attendees got it for free!) Ryan wants you, in 2018, to initiate continuous reinvention, brand the customer experience and take action now. Dig a little deeper into Ryan's philosophy and you'll laugh, think and cry (all things you should be doing every single day to live a full life!). 

Everything at PPA in 2018 is going to be focused on helping YOU close the "gap" between you and your customers. David Trust, PPA's CEO, led a class on Photography Is a Business: Are You Ready for the Journey? David picked up the threads Ryan began and deepened them with a specific focus on the photography marketplace. Our industry is hungry for help on how to run their small businesses (in 2000 maybe around a dozen photographers attended this business there were hundreds) and PPA is ready to step up to the charge. What is really happening in your market? With consumers shifting so rapidly, is the sky falling?? NO! Consumers still spend. A lot. If you can "stay out of the Koi pond" and think about today's market, you'll begin to understand your business and become more profitable. This was a class everyone should see...and you'll have a chance as the entire thing was recorded for a future video release so be on the lookout for that! 

The Opening Party begins in just a few minutes and is going to be amazing as always. Great food, dancing, music know what happens when you get this many photographers partying together, right? I won't be reporting on it because what happens at Imaging USA stays at Imaging USA ;) 

See you tomorrow for Day Two of the greatest photography show on earth! 

Imaging USA 2018 is finally here and we are so excited that our top 10 blogs are all about the best photography convention!

Last Chance to Register For Imaging USA

More than 100 sessions and speakers, an enormous Expo (80,000+ square feet!), parties that will rock your socks off, and lots more - are you sure you want to miss it? This is the last call!

Imaging USA 2018: For the First-Timers...

Well over a thousand new members come to Imaging USA every year. If this is your first time attending Imaging USA, read this post to find out how to have a perfect time at the world's largest (and best) photography convention!

Packing Essentials for Imaging USA

Packing for Imaging USA? Check out this life-saving checklist of things you don't want to forget.


Travel Mistakes to Avoid on Your Way to Imaging USA!

Beware of these commonly made mistakes so that you can have the best possible time at Nashville this year!

Learn Everything about Drones at Imaging USA

This post gives you a hint of what to expect at the Drone Zone at Imaging USA 2018. If you have been considering drone photography, prepare to be exhilarated!

Enhance Your Skills with the School, Sport, and Event Track at Imaging USA 2018

The classes in the School, Sport, and Event track at Imaging USA includes everything from exclusive photography, to mind-opening business tips and tricks! Find out more about the track in this article.

Your Imaging USA Keynote Speaker... Ryan Estis

You probably already know that the Keynote speaker for Imaging USA 2018 is Ryan Estis but this article will get you even more excited to meet him.

Survival tips for Imaging USA 2018

As you know, Imaging USA is the one of the largest photography conferences in the world with tens of thousands of attendees and an expo floor of over 600 booths! So you may want to read this article with tips on how to make the most of your experience at Imaging USA 2018.

#Say Cheese! Help Us See Imaging USA Through Your Snaps, Posts, and Tweets!

From your arrival at the official Imaging USA hotels to the closing events, we want you to do what you do best; capture the moment, and then snap, tweet, or post! Just use the hashtag #ImagingUSA, to share on our social media sites, and see what others are sharing.

 Watch These Videos to Help You Make Final Preparation

As if you're not excited enough we have an entire video gallery dedicated to giving you overview of what you can expect as well as recaps of last year's conference. As you make your final preparations, you might want to take a look. Don't miss anything!

See you in Nashville! 

By Chris Homer

Imaging USA 2018 is just a few days away and we can barely stand the wait!  This also
 means that if you haven't registered yet, you have very limited time to do so! If you are still contemplating, here's the question for you: Do you really want to miss this incredible opportunity for professional growth, and to connect with like-minded professionals from all over the globe?

If you're already registered, the Imaging USA website has a whole host of videos to help you make your final travel preparations! Visit the video gallery page to watch videos on Imaging USA survival tips from PPA staff, an overview of Imaging USA 2018 and our home at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, how to use the mobile app, and more! 

So, take a look to make sure you're all set for Imaging USA! We'll see you in Nashville! And if you haven't registered yet, do it 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.


by Mayo Lawal

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More than 100 captures are required to create one deep-space image, says Chris Garner,Cr.Photog., CPP, an astrophotographer who captures the beauty of celestial bodies in tremendous detail.  

Find out how Garner makes his stunning images in Professional Photographer.

Imaging USA is THIS WEEK! And nothing is more exciting than the Imaging EXPO. Did you know you can go for FREE? 
With so many options and products to consider, it's like the Mall of America for photography. Live product demos, access to revolutionary photography products, and countless networking opportunities can all be found in one place at Imaging USA 2018: The Imaging Expo! 

This three-day trade show is one of the largest gatherings of pro-photographers and exhibitors alike in the world. With over 600 booths to explore, your newest photographic discovery will be right at your fingertips!

  • See industry leaders such as Canon, Miller's Professional Imaging, and Kodak Alaris show off their newest products. Mingle with your fellow photographers while you learn about 2018 photography trends. You'll even see and be able to test some drones! 
  • You can sit for a spell in the Print Theater and learn vital tips on how to encourage your clients to value the art of the printed product. 
  • Continue your walk through the International Photographic Competition (IPC) exhibit, where you can find the best of the best photographs from 2017 on display, handpicked by judges and entered into PPA's prestigious Loan Collection. 
  • You can be inspired by the awesome images featured as part of Team USA in this year's World Photographic Cup. 
  • If you're interested in entering a Photographic Competition in 2018, definitely check out the IPC Merit Café. Here, you'll find various seminars lead by experienced speakers, get a first look at the new 2018 IPC rules, and you'll even have the opportunity to get one-on-one advice from official IPC jurors about how to improve your photos for the Competition. These sessions are free to all and available on a first-come, first served basis, so sign up today!
And whether or not you're already a PPA member, we would also love to meet you in person! At the PPA booth, you'll be able to speak with our customer service agents who are happy to answer any membership-related questions you might have or even help you understand how to get the most out of PPA membership. And if you aren't with PPA yet, Imaging USA is the perfect time to join! Make sure you stop by PPA's Booth and ask about this year's show special!

These are just a few reasons you won't want to miss the Expo! Imaging USA will be held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN. The Expo is open to all Imaging USA All-Access pass holders beginning on January 14, but if you can't attend the entire convention, Expo-Only passes are available for FREE! Just go here and enter TSC2018 as your code at checkout. 

Sunday, Jan. 14........11:30am - 5:00pm
Monday, Jan. 15......10:30am - 5:00pm
Tuesday, Jan. 16.....10:30am - 3:30pm

To get the full list of registered exhibitors and the tradeshow floor plan, visit And before you go, download the new Imaging USA 2018 mobile app that offers this information and tons more! With just a few clicks, you can even create your own custom Expo plan-of-attack. You'll know just where your favorite exhibitors will be and how to get there, saving you valuable time and effort.

If you haven't registered to attend Imaging USA 2018, do so at We hope to see this weekend! 

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