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PPA Today

By Chris Homer

It's Friday, so you know what that means. You guessed it - time for our weekly rundown of
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 our favorite photography blogs from around the web. Enjoy them below!
WORKING ABROAD: If you ever do photo shoots in foreign countries, you'll want to pay attention to this post. PetaPixel reports on 13 American photographers who were thrown out of Indonesia for not having the proper permits for a photo shoot. Moral of this story? We can't expect clients to respect our copyrights but flagrantly break other laws.

COMPETITION IMAGES: PPA Photographer and PPAedu instructor Christine Walsh-Newton, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, has started a great new series on her blog. As a way to show the value of photo competitions, Christine examines different self-portrait entries that other photographers have entered in the International Photographic Competition (IPC). This week, she breaks down PPA Photographer Christie Kline's, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, "Soul Salvation" self-portrait entry. You'll learn all about how the image was created, and maybe draw some inspiration. Want to hear more on photo competition? Don't miss her "Certification, Competition, and Credentials: The Course for Continued Success" webinar on June 9! This live webinar will be free for anyone to watch; PPA members have the advantage to be able to replay it later at their convenience.

TUTORIAL: If you do HDR photography, you won't want to miss this tutorial from PhotoFocus. You will find tips on using the HDR tool which is now part of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC. It just may improve your workflow!

INSPIRATION: In this interview on Fstoppers, Fashion Photographer Dana Pennington discusses breaking into the fashion photography industry as well as overcoming the challenges of moving from a mid-sized market in Denver to the huge market of Los Angeles. It's a great read for both fashion photographers and anyone that's struggling with moving to a new market! 

LIGHTING TIPS: If you do Macro Photography (close-up images) or have been thinking about getting in to the market, check out this post from Digital Photography School. It provides some quick tips for properly lighting these images that may come in use on you next shoot. 

EARTH DAY/JUST FOR FUN: April 22 was the 45th annual Earth Day. To celebrate, The Atlantic put up a great photo series of environmental images from throughout the years. Check it out, there may be something here to inspire you. 

BUSINESS: We're sure that headline grabbed your attention! While reading this post from the Online Photographer won't necessarily make you a millionaire, it does cover good points on something all photographers (especially those just starting out) struggle with - giving away your work for free! If you've ever done this before, read up! Working for free may not be the best marketing strategy out there. 

LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY: Here's a great post for the landscape photographers out there. Photofocus has compiled a list of 10 quick tips you can use to make your landscape images have more impact.

BUSINESS: You may have heard that Google has updated their search algorithm so that sites with mobile friendly pages rank higher than those without mobile friendly pages. If you're confused by what this means for your website, PhotoShelter has provided a great guide on the changes, as well as how you can check to make sure you are mobile friendly. 

BUSINESS: If you're thinking about making the transition from part-time to full-time photographer, read this post from Digital Photography School first! It provides some good things to think about before making the leap into full-time professional.

There you have it - our favorite posts of the week! What photography blogs or podcasts do you follow? Post your favorites on theLoop or email them to us at OnlineContentCommittee 
(at) PPA (dot) com.


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About 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: Lauren Walters


Pet photography is a very particular niche... the pets run the show, but a great pet photographer knows how to capture those candid, playful poses to bring the picture to life in front of your eyes. So, Spike and Fluffy, when your parents schedule your next photo session, ask them to follow these tips to make everybody smile!


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1. Hire someone who specializes in pet photography. He or she should have     experience working with animals and be able to engage them to bring out their unique personality.


2. Patience and Flexibility! Pets run the show so a session can take over 2 hours if your pet is not cooperative. Let the photographer get comfortable with your pet and do whatever he or she needs to capture your pet's essence.  Pet photographers should be willing to drive to your home or the location your pet is most comfortable in.


3. The puppy or kitten stage is very short. Those playful, cuddly puppies and kittens will change as if before your eyes - blink, and you could miss it! This is the sweetest and most innocent phase of your pet's life, so the sooner you immortalize it in photography, the better.


4. It's only a short amount of time that we receive unconditional love from these wonderful creatures. So, why not take photos of your furry pal every couple of years when he or she is still strong and healthy, so that when they do pass, you'll have something to illustrate their whole life?


5. Pet photography can become a piece of art. Pet photographers shoot at many different angles to capture your pet's unique personality. Imagine the action shots, the cute poses and expressions framed perfectly on your wall, at larger than life proportions.


6. Scheduling. If you have a wild puppy or kitten, schedule your session when you know your pet will be tired out. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if your pet is lazy, this could be great for capturing up-close shots.


7. Natural Light. Make sure your pet photographer can show you examples of photos taken outdoors. Natural light eliminates red eye, pets frightened by the flash and dark overcast shadows.


8. The eyes are the windows to the soul.  A great professional photographer will always capture photographs of your pet's eyes full of expression. Look for plenty of photos showing pets eyes when viewing photographers' portfolios.

 

Your pet is part of your family. We all take professional pictures with our spouses or families. So, why not honor your beloved pet and hire a PPA (Professional Photographers of America) photographer ? PPA pet photographers will give you images you never thought possible, plus they will fine tune your images: removing eye bugs, the leash, people in the background, and enhancing fur details and colors. To find a PPA pet photographer near you, go to PPA.com/SeeTheDifference/Pets.

If you had any hesitation there, today's free webinar is for you:

Webinar: Are Your Images Protected? 
Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 3-4 pm ET

FREE

Lindsey Forson, coordinator, PPA Copyright & Government Affairs Department

 

Protecting your images isn't something you want to leave to chance. Become more confident about understanding your copyrights and you'll be able to better defend yourself as well as raise awareness with clients and retailers. This is good for the industry and the livelihood of your business!

 

Consider signing up for the webinar, coinciding with World Copyright Day. Again, it's free and it will help you understand what further steps you can take to protect your business from copyright infringements AND what to do in the annoying case that infringements occur. Sign up to participate! It's a brief but educational webinar and it WILL help you determine if you are doing everything you can to protect your images. 

 

You might feel comfortable with what you are already doing, but the law keeps evolving and you never know what you're missing! Be More Prepared, Be More Protected, Be More Aware...  all photographers need (more) copyright protection!


Want to be more involved?


Inform/Train photo retailers in your area. This means those who print photos for consumers,

especially those high volume/low quality retailers. Focus on larger retail chains, where your clients

are most likely to have access to self-printing and scanning services. 


It's easy to sign up and participate in the program. As soon as you sign up, we'll send you the "Helpful Tips For Handling Professional Photographs" brochure that you can use as an icebreaker and excuse to visit the photo retailers in your area. It's good to leave some behind for them too.  

 

NOTE: Before you embark on this Copyright Awareness mission, please educate yourself first so you can help retailers understand their responsibilities. It's important to maintain strong relationships with photo retailers, so make sure your conversations are positive and productive!

Q: What is the most important point to get across to printing retailers?

A: When in doubt, never print or reproduce a professionally-created photograph without written consent from the photographer!

This is a great way you can help protect your images, especially since such a critical part of your revenues come from printed work.  

 

Copyright matters. And as always, PPA has your back. This is your chance to get involved.

 


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By Mariah Ashley

I would like to officially announce my candidacy for the office of President.

(Cheers and Applause)

Oh wait a minute; I'm going to need to retract that statement. I'm already the president around here. In fact, I've served two and a half terms.

I know it seems pretty important and glamorous, being the most powerful woman in my office and all, but have you ever seen the side-by-sides of the presidents before and after their terms? Ouch! Being President DOES NOT do a body good- check it out

Wrinkles are in fact... bipartisan.

Whether you are the President of the United States or President of your Small Business, the job description is the same; 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. Endless worry, countless decisions and constant public scrutiny. Success in pleasing your constituents? Unlikely. 

So who would want this for themselves? Well, Hillary, Ted, and Rand so far but maybe they'll give that a second thought after they read my blog post. Sure, right now they're all caught up in their patriotic passion to serve their country but do they realize what a grind the next four years will actually be for them?

I mean, you have got to wear A LOT of hats when you are president. I can't believe how many decisions I have to make in the course of the work week. I heard on NPR once that President Obama does not make any non-essential decisions. He has so many big decisions to make that he's eliminated all choices like, what to wear, what to eat etc. He simply does not have room for one more decision. I think maybe George W. Bush said it best when he famously said, "I am the decider." I hate to admit it, but he was right if, you are president you are the decider. Period. That's what you do, you decide.

The thing is, everything (including your skin) turns grey when you become president. It seems like much of the frustration with our elected officials comes from wanting them to take a hard line on an issue. I'm here to tell you, as someone who sits in the big chair, it's nearly impossible to boil things down to black and white and all that grey is exhausting. Let me illustrate with three examples of presidential decisions I had to make this week.

By: Lauren Walters


Family photos are one activity many families dread. What's meant to be a fun, memorable event can quickly become a stressful, panic-inducing nightmare. Here are some tips from PPA family portrait photographers to help your family take beautiful photos.


1. Find the Right Photographer

In addition to reviewing a photographer's online portfolio, pricing and policies, also look at their social media pages and customer reviews on third party websites. If you want a large portion of your session to be in black and white, then find a photographer who loves black and white too. If you want a natural, candid session with minimal posing find a photographer whose existing work reflects that. Don't waste time and energy hoping that the photographer will understand your vision, rather, find someone whose work communicates that.


2. Plan Ahead

All too often people spend the day(s) before their photo session running around to the dry cleaner, hair stylist, and novelty stores for last minute purchases and props. Instead, plan the look you want a few days before. Have everyone try everything on beforehand to ensure they have socks and the desired hair style/length. Your kids and spouse will feel your stress, so prep ahead to reduce it as much as possible. It is often hard for families to recover from a day of being nagged, so setting expectations ahead of time and knowing that the attires will work great is an immense plus. It will help even more if you spend time enjoying yourself and your kids a few hours before your session. Your kids and photographer will thank you and the images will reflect your wonderful family dynamic. 


3. Select Color Themes

Instead of looking for top-to-bottom looks for everyone in your family, look in each closet for color themes. For a soft, elegant look, choose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics. Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family? Choose coordinating colors with bold accent colors to complement each other (but not matchy, matchy which would make you compete with each other). Including fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images.


4. Talk to Your Kids Beforehand

Kids are smart and they love feeling big and informed. Tell them a "professional photographer" is coming over. Show them the clothes they will be wearing, involve them in the discussion of what you will be doing and where you will be doing it. New people and places can be unsettling to kids especially to toddlers melting down in the afternoon hours. So do what you can to turn your photographer into a  new friend familiar to your kids before the session. 


5. Decide on a Reward

Bring your kids' favorite toys or treats and give them to your photographer to use when he or she needs to get their attention. But don't overuse them or they'll lose their magic. Kids need far less prompting and are much better at candid expressions than adults. If you've been needlessly bribing them then, as you know, it loses its magic. If the photographer gets the say if your family goes for frozen yogurt afterwards, your kids will be far more apt to cooperate. 


6. Feed Everyone Beforehand.

Pick a time when your kids are usually well behaved. If they're grumpy in the morning, don't plan a morning photo shoot and expect them to be pumped about it. Bring their favorite snack as long as it's not messy and they can eat it hands-free (no red teeth or chocolate chins needed!). But bring an extra set of clothes and some paper towels just in case! 


7. Trust Your Photographer.

All too often parents get nervous when their child isn't looking at the photographer or smiling "right", causing their child anxiety and robbing the photographer (and themselves!) the chance for candid portraits. Seasoned family portrait photographers know how to make your children feel comfortable so let them work their magic. After all, you're paying them to create just that, right?


Remember: Anyone can take a good picture every now and then. But your kids grow up fast and before you know it they leave for college. Memories fade. So trust a pro; See the difference PPA photographers make and find the right photographer for YOUR family at PPA.com/SeeTheDifference/Family.


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By Sarah Ackerman

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Happy Friday! You survived the week (including Tax Day in the U.S. ), so that is cause for celebration! Take a few to relax, kick up your feet and enjoy our top ten posts from around the interwebs!

BEST PHOTOGRAPHERS IN THE WORLD: The United States took home the World Photographic Cup for the second year in a row. Led by medalists and PPA photographers Ben Shirk and Kenneth Martin, the team took four medals and nine top 10 finishes! Get all the details here.

COPYRIGHT PROTECTION: Happy Copyright Awareness Month! If you've had a run in with copyright infringement, know you're not alone. Check out this write up on PPA photographer Ross Oscar Knight and see what you can learn from his experiences with copyright infringement. PPA is here to help!

HELP TO FIND CLIENTS: Imaging USA speakers Gary Hughes and Booray Perry are back with their PhotoBomb podcast! The two weigh in on reimagining iconic wedding photographs (like the sometimes dreaded "ring shot") and discuss how to attract and keep clients when you're just starting out. Learn from these hilarious pros!

LEGAL MATTERS: You may recall Andrea Polito's case from a few months back - she was sued when she made her clients pay extra for their album cover (catch up on the full backstory here). The parties are back in the news for a defamation suit. Read the article and weigh in with your opinions in this spirited conversation on theLoop

BUSINESS COACHING: As you heard in March two PPA member studios are getting total makeovers! Wes Roberts has been working diligently over the past month with Business Consultant Bridget Jackson, CPA and Marketing Mentor, Ashley Brooke. Check in to see his progress!

DEBUNKING THE SALES TAX: Since Tax Day came and went this week, this article is extremely timely! Rachel Brenke separates the truth from fiction in the world of sales tax when it comes to photography clients in this easy-to-read post. 

BUSINESS BEST PRACTICES: If you've ever wondered what your customers are thinking - Entrepreneurs compiled a list of the top five things you need to know and how it impacts your business! Check the list and see how these tidbits can improve your customer experience, from start to return visit. 

WEB BASICS: Don't judge an article by its headline. This three part series from Go Live HQ offers some great input on not stressing out about those three little letters. Moral of the story: treat SEO like a bad boyfriend, the less you care and the more you focus on yourself, the better it will behave. 

STATE OF MIND: Imaging USA speaker, Jeffrey Shaw is back on the round up with Denise Martin, a master communication specialist. Denise and Jeffrey explore how you can improve communication with your clients by improving communication internally. Think of it this way - does your inner monologue need a pep talk? Tune in. You won't be disappointed. 

INSPIRATION: We frequently talk about getting it right in the camera, and Ray Dennis did just that. Ray ditched the digital editing and created some surreal images that you have to see the behind the scenes photos to believe! 

What's photography blogs or podcasts do you follow? Post your favorites on theLoop! Also, you can email your suggestions directly to OnlineContentCommittee (at) PPA (dot) com.

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Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarah's in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.

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By Lindsey Forson

April is Copyright Awareness Month at PPA! Why get involved? Because copyright is arguably the most important legal concern for professional photographers. During the course of your career as a pro, it's inevitable that you will have to deal with copyright infringement at some point. To highlight the importance of copyright protection and give you the opportunity to learn the easy way, some PPA photographers have agreed to share their experiences!

In light of a recent issue with a copyright infringement, we had a conversation with PPA member Ross Oscar Knight.

Ross has been a professional photographer since 2004. He takes great care in protecting his images but still faces around 4-5 copyright infringements per year! He has dealt with infringements from clients, retailers, and other photography businesses, along with those frustrating unknown infringers.

Ross stands with PPA in encouraging photographers to protect their images and sees copyright protection as one of the most important aspects of a photography business. For him, there are reasons to protect images beyond the obvious business-related concerns because his images will live on long after his life and the life of his business. "It's no different than a musician writing a song," said Ross. "I'm a photographer, and for me, images are my legacy."

That's right! PPA has elections and you get to vote! Starting today, April 15, PPA Council nominations will be accepted online at PPA.com/CouncilElections.

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But first...

What's PPA Council, you ask?

It's a delegate body that oversees PPA's bylaws. Volunteer PPA members are elected to represent their states for a 3-year period.

What does PPA Council do for YOU?

  • Assists PPA members and fellow photographers. As a group, they make decisions that guide the association.
  • Elects members to serve on the Nominating Committee and PPA's Board of Directors.
  • Approves PPA degree recipients and maintains PPA's merit system.

PPA Council Nominations will be held for each state. Who do you want to represent you? Give it some thought, and submit your nominee(s). But please, run it by them first...

You've got two weeks to submit your elected nominee(s). All nominations must be submitted by May 1, 11:59pm EST. Take advantage of this chance to give input on your state's PPA representative(s) and help shape your photographic association.

If you're not sure who a good candidate in your area would be, chat about it on theLoop and share what traits/skills you'd like your PPA representative to own.

For more information on the 2015 elections and instructions on how to nominate, please visit PPA.com/CouncilElections.

Don't forget - voting opens May 15!

By Chris Homer

PPA's Super 1 Day Photography Workshops are returning May 4 - 18, 2015. During this time, dozens of studios across the country will invite attendees to join daily workshops featuring portrait and wedding photography, posing and lighting, digital retouching and workflow, and sales and marketing strategies. It's a chance you won't want to miss--a full day of photography education brought to you by fellow professional photographers.

This year, there's more than 100 workshops being offered on various techniques for photographers and business practices, so there's bound to be something that interests you... and hopefully not far from you! Online registration is open until April 28, 2015 for $99 per class. Make sure to register by that date, because after the 28th registration will be on-site only (at the class and space permitting) for $120 per class. So register early, allow the instructors to organize their groups properly with an advance headcount and save some good money! 

If you need more incentives besides the great photography education, keep in mind that PPA members that attend Super 1 Day classes will receive one service merit towards their degree for each class they attend. Plus, you also get the Bonus Pack, with offers and discounts from top photographic companies that will help you save more! 

Be More Inspired. Find a class near you today, and remember to register by April 28, 2015 for the lowest price! 


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About 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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PPA-led Team USA Brings Home Second Consecutive Title

The World Photographic Cup is on its way back to the States as Team USA, made up of PPA members, narrowly defeated the competition for a second consecutive year. The cup was awarded April 12 in Montpellier, France.

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Gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded to the individual creators in each of six categories, and teams were awarded points for top ten finishes. Team USA won the cup with four medals and nine top 10 finishes. Team Portugal finished second with four medals and seven top 10 finishes, and Australia rounded out the podium with two medal wins and eight top tens.

"We're very proud of the stunning images created by PPA photographers for Team USA this year," said David Trust, PPA CEO. "This competition is really all about the fellowship of photographers from all over the world. It's an honor to be the association that represents this winning team of incredibly talented photographers."

The team's efforts were led by medalists Ben Shirk, Iowa, and Kenneth Martin, Wisconsin. Shirk, an Imaging USA and PhotoVision speaker, took two gold medals, in the portrait and wedding categories, as well as silver in the illustrative category. Martin won silver in the landscape/wildlife category. The other gold medals went to Portugal, Belgium, New Zealand and Spain.



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