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By Penn Hansa, PPA Intern

Jonathan Givens, CPP, isn't just a photographer.

For starters, he was a master carpenter for the Oprah Winfrey show who had never considered picking up a camera until Oprah herself suggested he take pictures of the sets he built for the show. Fast forward 11 years, and Givens is now a Certified Professional Photographer who has made a business out of taking pictures of the thing he loves - entertainment.

Givens grew up as an actor, dancer and singer. He first performed when he was five years old, and was 12 when he had his first paid gig. Theater life was consuming, but Givens didn't want it any other way. "I didn't go to my high school graduation because I was in technical rehearsals for a show," he said. "Theater was always there for me. It was the place where I got to be silly and jump around, and do all the crazy things I wanted to do."

He was doing what he loved - until injuries set him back. He shattered an ankle during a show, and then his voice was "destroyed" by the steroids that were prescribed to help his vocal cords. But Givens couldn't stay away from the stage, and instead, moved his talents behind the scenes to work as a technician in 2001. Taking jobs here and there, he eventually worked as a technical director at a youth theater in Phoenix, where he taught a child actor named Emma Stone how to build scenery.

He made the move to the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2003, and as the carpenter who built the set, was part of the team who won an Emmy the following year for Best Set Design on Oprah's Pop Star Challenge. the host's own version of American Idol. When he built a set for Destiny's Child's appearance on the show, complete with smoke rolling over a moving sidewalk for the singers to walk in time to the beat of "Lose My Breath," he knew he should take pictures of his work. "It was hours of preparation and $80,000 worth of work and materials for only 10 seconds of airtime," Givens said. "I needed some way to document what I was doing, so I wasn't just throwing the set away."

Other highlights of his career include working with Cirque du Soleil in 2006 as head carpenter of the

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 show Alegria on their European tour. He also did rigging on major motion pictures like Iron Man 3 and Rock of Ages and at Univision Studios. In photographing the sets he was building, he began taking pictures of the entertainers he was working with and found that people were much more fun to take pictures of than set pieces. He started his own studio in Miami, Entertainment Photography Specialists, and joined PPA in 2012.

"I didn't want to be just another guy with a camera, which is why I joined and got certified. There are a thousand photographers out there, and tons of people who try to do the work that I do. PPA membership sets me apart from the rest," he said.

He attributes his success as an entertainment photographer to his background as an entertainer and technician, and notes that it's allowed him to capture some unique pictures. As a certified rigger, he was able to set an aerial dancer under a bridge in Portugal, with the 5:30 a.m. sunrise and a lighthouse in the background. "It's definitely different from being just a portrait photographer because I have to set up all the rigging," he said. "It's a logical challenge setting up the images."

What also helps are the emotions he recognizes in the performers, passions that he can empathize with having once had them himself. "I don't get my subjects posing - they are doing what they enjoy, and I take pictures of that. I can see the passion behind what the performer does, from the performer's point of view. When the dancer loses herself in the dance, I click the shutter.

"I photograph what I know - entertainment. I'm not only thinking about the lighting, the composition or all the other technical aspects of photography, but I'm also considering how the image will promote the subject's career, or gain attention for the production," he said. "And that's what's made all the difference."

 

 

As a PPA member, you're using some of the benefits the membership brings you and could probably leverage it a lot more. You know the value of belonging to this photography association. In fact, you probably have some photographer friends who don't belong to PPA and could use a little help with their business. 

Why are you a PPA member? People have very different reasons to join and belong to this group, but who better than existing members to get the word out? That's why PPA has developed a reward program, called the Member-2-Member Campaign, to compensate PPA members that refer fellow photographers to PPA. 

Whether the photographers in your network are new to the industry or veteran pros, we hope you will encourage them to belong to PPA! Here's how the program works: for each photographer you refer to PPA, you'll earn a $25 Visa Gift Card! The photographer you refer will also get a free all-access pass to Imaging USA 2015. Pretty good, right? Well, it gets even better:  

After 3 photographers you've referred join PPA, you'll get a $75 Visa Gift Card ($25x3) AND an all-access pass to Imaging USA 2015 (that's a $179 value!). That means that you get $75 in cash and save $179. Additionally, the friends you referred all get a free all-access Imaging USA 2015 pass. It's a win-win!

If 6 or more photographers you refer join PPA, you'll get a $150 Visa Gift Card ($25x6), plus an all-access pass to Imaging USA ($179 value), and a FREE year of PPA membership ($323 value!). Each friend still gets their all-access Imaging USA 2015 pass. You cash in $150 and save $502! Plain simple!

There's only one rule to earn the rewards: the photographers you refer must not have been a PPA member within the past year. That's it! 

Ready to start getting your photography friends to belong to PPA with you? Simply share with your friends how PPA has helped you (think PhotoCare Equipment insurance, PPAedu videos, networking opportunities, copyright guidance, inspiration, etc.). We've even put together recruitment materials to make it easier for you to discuss PPA with your friends. Heck, the free Imaging USA pass may be motivation enough! That's a $179 savings alone!

The campaign will run through December 31, 2014. Just be sure that your friends add your name as "Referring Member" on the top of the application form so you'll get credit for bringing them in. 

Find the recruitment materials and referral application on the Member-2-Member Campaign page. Get out there and invite your fellow photographers to Be More by joining PPA! 
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By John Owens


An excited voice was on the other end of the phone.

It was Holly Howe, longtime PPA member and co-owner of Photographic Images, a high-end portrait studio in North Platte, Nebraska, which she operates with her husband, Keith.

"Thanks so much for the invite to participate in the Faces of PPA campaign!" she said. "I think it's great. We love PPA and love that you're showcasing members, but I don't think we can participate at this time. I definitely think we have a story to share, I just don't know if this is the right place or... It's not that we don't want to, we do, it's just... We wouldn't look our be--, becau--, well...

"Keith has cancer. We're actually at the hospital right now for treatment. And I've been reading everything you guys send out and I just want to tell you: There's a membership benefit you don't talk about..."


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Keith Howe, 55, started getting sick November 2012. New and puzzling symptoms seemed to emerge with each passing day. Keith and Holly would go in to the doctor and he would say, "Well, this is weird. I'm worried" and they'd think well, yeah... us too.

In December, Keith felt a lymph node in his hip. He went in for a biopsy, but the pathologist couldn't make a diagnosis. Tissue samples were sent to the University of Nebraska for a second opinion, where he was told no, he had a granuloma (a bacterial inflammation). But Keith wasn't getting better. He continued to seek help.

He went to a neurologist, an infectious disease specialist and was referred back to the University of Nebraska for a second third opinion. Keith underwent hundreds of blood tests on top of spinal taps, biopsy's, MRI's and even brain scans.

Somewhere along the way, Keith actually started to get better. Still without answers, he was on the road to recovery. He built up his strength and started to resume his normal workload and life as a photographer. Then, one day when he was feeling about 95%, he went to run some errands and had a hemorrhagic stroke (a brain aneurysm). Keith was airlifted back to the University of Nebraska.

"You're not old enough," the doctors told him. "You're not overweight, you're not hyperactive... there's no reason for you to have a stroke."

After further inconclusive tests, Keith was sent home. A month later he went in for a follow-up. At an eye exam, the ophthalmologist noticed hemorrhaging in his eyes and said, "Well, that's not good." Keith was sent back to Omaha for a brain biopsy and repeated a bunch of the previous tests. After his third spinal tap and more blood work, he was sent home.

The brain biopsy again came back negative for cancer, but there was a silver lining: They had an answer. Keith was diagnosed with neurosarcoidosis, an auto-immune disease of unknown causes which produces granulomas. It seemed to fit the bill. After some initial treatment, Keith started to get better.

By September, he got worse.

Keith discovered new enlarged lymph nodes. He went back to Omaha for more MRI's and CAT scans. The doctors initially thought the new lumps were due to an infection from Keith's chemotherapy and steroid treatment. They wanted to remove the lymph nodes. He (underwent more tests. had another surgical biopsy)

Finally, the rheumatologist returned in tears, and told Keith he had lymphoma.

 

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"It took him a long time to ask me out," recalls Holly. "We both had tremendous crushes. I even wrote in my journal at the time, I can't eat, I can't sleep, I just think about being with him.

"When people talk about love at first sight--this was it."

The Howes met back in college at Kearney State, now the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and the feelings were indeed mutual. Keith was just a bit shy and seemed to have some competition for Holly's affection.

"If I checked out the odds, things didn't look too good for me," said Keith. "She was on the phone with one guy and getting flowers from anoth--"

"Ohhh one was just a friend and the other was a bad date that I was never going out with again," arm-punched Holly, as if she had a thousand times before. "It took him a year to ask me out, but once we started dating we both knew."

Keith spent much of the first date talking about photography.

"We went out on a Saturday night, and the following Tuesday I started a part-time job at a local photography studio, Denny's Photography."

It was there that Keith learned about PPA.

"I planned to work until I had enough money to go to school for fine art photography, but Denny got me hooked up with the Professional Photographers of Nebraska (PPN) and sent me to seminars and conventions," he said. "I think I wound up getting a much better education that way. Photography school will teach you the technical aspects, but they don't tell you how to handle a two-year-old or a bride that has had too much champagne before the ceremony."

Holly was in school to become a child psychologist, but that quickly changed as she lost the emotional investment in her career path. Instead, she followed her heart and fell further in love with Keith and photography. After graduating, they married and opened their studio in 1980.

"Initially, we wanted to work together just to be together," she said. "I worked behind the scenes doing our marketing, sales, bookkeeping... vacuuming... all of that background stuff that goes into running a business. Then it became a creative outlet."

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Over the years, they learned that Keith was actually better at sales and Holly at marketing promotions and design work. They work together behind the camera. The Howes quickly became known in the community and rapidly outgrew their cozy downtown studio, eventually settling on a home.

"Our reputation built over time because we continue to enter photographic competitions," said Keith, a nine-time Nebraska Wedding Photographer of the Year and three-time Nebraska Photographer of the Year along with Holly. "We've become known as the studio that wins awards. People assume that if we're in the paper, we won another award.

"If people have issues, we're the ones that get called. If other people aren't getting good images, they ask if we can work them in. If there's a big local event, we get brought in to cover it."

It doesn't hurt that they have each earned their master of photography degrees from PPA (Keith in 1991 and Holly in 1999). 

"I don't know if a client ever says, 'I want to go to a master photographer,'" said Keith. "It's more about the process it took to earn the degrees. The continued excellence. We've been at the top of our field for years."

 

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The fast-paced nature of a photo shoot is too much for Keith. He can't move fast enough anymore and will lose his balance and fall. He had to resign as a councilman for PPN. While he is on this much chemo, his immune system is weakened. He wears a mask when he is around large groups of people. He uses what strength and resources he has to get better and do what he can around the studio.

"We're big believers that there's a reason for everything," said Holly. "Now we know there's a reason why I learned so much more about photography, I needed to know how to light and how to set up a session on my own."

Throughout their 30+ years with PPA, the Howes have made countless connections. They regularly participate in photographic competition and Keith has been an affiliate judge for 22 years. They have established lifelong connections through mentoring across the country and Imaging USA.

They have given so much to other PPA members, that when word spread about Keith's health issues, it was time to give back.

The Howes annually photograph a local dance school each April, but after Keith's stroke, they didn't think they would be able to do it. There were whispers among the mothers that someone else would have to be brought in, but the Howes had an unexpected back-up plan.

Somewhere along the way, they had helped two PPA members from Wyoming start their studio. When they heard about the Howe's situation, they dropped everything and flew in to photograph in Keith's place so he and Holly would have that much needed income.

Insurance will cover Keith's treatment, but it won't take care of their day-to-day expenses. With their focus on his recovery, the Howes will shut down the studio for the next four to five months. When a friend and fellow PPA member learned that they wouldn't have any income, she set up a fund in Keith's honor to help with their expenses.

Donations have poured in from all over the world and to date, they have raised more than $6,000. But to the Howes, it's been about so much more than financial assistance.

"It's just that feeling of support and caring," said Keith. "Just knowing that all of these people from all over the country are pulling for me is a constant reminder to keep our spirits up and have a positive outlook."

The Howe's upbeat attitudes and candor are major components in their cancer-fighting arsenal.

"We're trying to stay light-hearted and find the humor in the weird things that are happening to Keith," said Holly.

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When the chemo caused Keith to lose all of his hair, they dug through the attic and started taking pictures of Keith in funny hats. They created a modeling portfolio on Keith's Facebook, and it took on a life of its own.

Hats started arriving from all over the country. Members sent prop sunglasses with mustaches and stick-on eyebrows. They even received a box from a member now living in Japan.

"Almost every day we get a card or package from a friend through PPA, we've had so many thank you notes to send," said Keith. "Even the Archbishop of Quebec reached out. It's just amazing the people we know through this association."

"That's the benefit that no one talks about. PPA membership is so much more than equipment insurance or the indemnification trust. It's the lifelong connections you make, that heaven forbid, you might need sometime. I don't even know some of these people. But they are taking the time to send a silly package or a card. I can't describe how much that helps."

 

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The Howes still don't know the source of Keith's cancer. Doctors re-examined his brain tissue and didn't find anything. They suspect transverse myelitis--an inflammation along the spinal cord. They've tested for multiple sclerosis and diseases you can only get in Asia and Africa.

"We fell in love at 19 and have been glued to each other's hips," said Holly, with a laugh. "Our friends were all very relieved to learn that he did not have HIV or syphilis."

Keith's lymphoma continues to only show up in his hip, but there had to be some explanation for his central nervous system issues. Doctors are treating him as if it is a reoccurrence to his lymphatic system. Although brain scans continue to show nothing, Keith is gearing up for a second round of aggressive chemotherapy.

"I said 'Let's just get it done.' Even though it's not showing up, something is going on."

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Keith's treatment program is a 28-day cycle. It starts with a day of outpatient chemo, which is rough on the body and takes six hours to run in. Once it is finished flushing, he checks-in for inpatient treatment. For the next four days, his routine will consist of a 24-hour cocktail of three different kinds of chemo followed by a flush of saline. After that, he gets another kind of chemo and goes home for 16 days. He returns on day 21 for yet another round.

On day 29 he starts it all over again. Keith spends 10-12 out of each 28-day cycle in the hospital, always with Holly by his side.

"I'm doing pretty good considering," said Keith. "The legs don't work like I'd like them to, and I have some fatigue, but pretty good."

"He's definitely feeling much better than he should at this point, physically," said Holly.

 

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Years back, the Howes decided to come up with a Christmas promotion that was different than your average photo with mall Santa.

"Christmas is a big deal for us," said Holly. "I mean, my name is Holly Joy..."

The idea eventually came from a speaker at Imaging USA, where they learned that people have a family dentist, doctor and mechanic, and when something comes up, they don't even think about it, it's where they go immediately. For photographers, it takes three times to establish that trust. The third time someone comes into your studio, you're now their photographer.

Holly thought: How can we get them back a second or third time in one year?

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She came up with a low-priced, themed Santa Claus session. Each year, they decorate the studio with a different twist. One year, it was Woodlands Santa, made to look like he built everything. Another year, Santa wore an apron and a chef hat. Last year, they went with a giant gingerbread house.

"I want real reindeer but I don't think PhotoCare covers live animals," joked Holly.

This year, they declared they would forge ahead in the middle of Keith's first round of chemo. Keith mostly had to keep his distance, so once again a friend and PPA member took two days out of their life and stepped-in to photograph in his stead. They went with a vintage 1930s Santa and Christmas tree, complete with period-accurate thin flannel Santa suit and a tree adorned with antique ornaments and popcorn strings.

The Santa session brings people into the studio that would normally find a full-session with the Howes to be out of their budget. It shows them what the Howes can do and helps them understand the value in a high-end studio. It also has become a Christmas tradition for many of their clients. One 19-year-old has been coming since she was a newborn.

"It's a fun, hectic couple of days," said Holly. "A lot of people said 'Thank you for doing this.' There was no way we could not do it while Keith was sick. It's our tradition too."

 

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The Howe's will miss Imaging USA this year, which hits extra hard since Keith is sponsoring two photographers who will receive their master of photography degrees.

"It's hard to sit here and know we can't go." said Keith. "They feel like my little sisters. I wanted to be there to hang the ribbon around their necks, but I had to call and say I can't."

"These are the things we get excited about celebrating--the WOW moments," said Holly. "Those times are still exciting. It still feels good to win a trophy or have a great sale, but it's not as exciting as those first few times. So what's the adrenaline rush now? It's seeing someone else achieving those accomplishments and knowing you helped them get there. These two young women are having their moments and we don't get to be there and that's hard."

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Keith and Holly will spend Christmas in the hospital, but they won't let it hurt their spirit. They're making stockings and passing them out to the other oncology patients. They have each other. They have their support system.

"I'm so grateful for all of the experiences I've had through PPA," said Keith. "We've learned a lot, gone places and done things we never dreamed we would. Without PPA we never would have had those opportunities."

"Where would we be?" asked Holly. "We'd probably still have a business, but where would we be without the support?"

It also helps to have something to look forward to. The light at the end of the chemo tunnel comes in May, when their eldest son (they have two) is set to be married. Keith vows to be there, and although he photographed his first wedding at age 14, he promises to leave the camera at home.

As the Howes push forward, their support system remains steadfast. In January, PPN will hold a print auction in Keith's honor. The Wyoming photographers already have the dance school on their calendar for April. Donations keep rolling in on the fundraising site. Cards and packages continue to arrive, many from total strangers. Every little bit helps Keith stay strong. Even just the power of a few words. 

You don't know me, but photographers have to stick together.

 

 

 

 

We can all use a little extra education to keep on top of our photographic game--but where do you turn for your educational needs? PPAedu of course! PPA started the PPAedu program, and we hope that you'll turn to us for your educational needs. 

PPAedu has over 170 HD videos (and counting) that PPA members and PPAedu subscribers can access on-demand. These videos cover techniques for photographers like lighting, posing and post capture, as well as the business topics sales, finance, marketing and operations. All taught by some of the most accomplished photographers in the industry. It's a complete education program, included for free with your PPA membership! 

What really makes PPAedu stand out is the Assessment. You can answer a brief series of questions in several areas which will give you personalized class recommendations based on where your photography and business skill are now. Find out more about the Assessment in the "Be More Educated: Take the PPAedu Assessment" post. 

As we alluded to earlier, new PPAedu courses are constantly being added. Take a peek at some of our most recently added courses below:

Beth Taubner


Brands are about the marriage of fact and narrative. It's important to convey your special capabilities and traits so that potential customers can easily understand what sets you, your photographs, and your business apart from the competition. Photographers tend to be focused on technical and problem-solving capabilities rather than the emotional content of what makes their brands unique, so learning to operate from a brand perspective can make a real difference in your satisfaction and career.

View more of Beth's PPAedu courses.

Lori Nordstrom, M.Photog.Cr., CPP


You know you best. Lori will share a quick way to identify your target market and brand (so simple, you might never think to try it!)

You don't have to break the bank: Lori will walk you through some low- and no-cost marketing ideas to enhance awareness, from creating a customer database to e-marketing, rewards programs and more.

The devil is in the details: Lori will share ideas right and left as she discusses how displays and network marketing can work, which products she has found can increase sales for these particular clients, and the services that create loyalty and repeat business. We're talking VIP programs, charitable events, portrait installations and more.

So join Lori and take your marketing education and idea bank up a notch. After all, it's not just who you know or what you know--it's how you promote it!


For some photographers, creating a price list is like throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks. That process, however, leaves you with inaccurate prices and messy walls! So take a smarter approach and watch this video class where instructor Lori Nordstrom walks you through creating a price list that works for you and your business.

A price list that helps you walk clients through what you want them to buy isn't built in a day, but how can you get started? With real-life examples from her own studio, Lori takes you through the process and what to consider.


Whether your motivation is sowing good seeds, creating good Karma or developing good relationships, involvement in charitable organizations is good for the soul...and for your business. But before you over-commit your time and money, develop a plan. In good works, just like good business, there should be method to the madness!

Lucky for you, instructor Lori Nordstrom is here to discuss just that topic: how to make a charitable marketing plan using a few of the 5 W's (and an H). She'll show you how answering the following questions can help you create a special campaign, product line and even a pricing structure for your charitable work:

What can you give of your time and your talents?
Who do you want to share this with - what charity?
What is your product offering?
When do you want to do this?
How do want to do this?

You'll also learn more ways to get creative with your charitable involvement, like partnering with other vendors to expand on the offering. And since nothing happens without publicity, Lori will explain how you can play up the buzz with local media, email, Facebook and blogs. Put it all together and you could be presenting your charity with an oversized check, something you'll love whether you started for fun or business or both!


No matter your professional aspirations, this class is a must-have. After all, you can be the best photographer in town, but if you can't sell your business, does it really matter?

What do you say the first time a prospect calls or contacts you? For real, what do you tell them? What message does your studio convey? Are your clients right for YOU? After Handling the Inquiry, you'll skillfully and expertly answer these questions and more!

View more of Lori's PPAedu courses.
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By: Booray Perry

I had just finished shooting a sunset beach wedding and was walking across the parking lot to my truck when I noticed another photographer loading her gear into her minivan. She stopped what she was doing, walked over and introduced herself. 

"I'm Carol," she said, "Have you ever heard of the Tampa Area Professional Photographers Association?"

"Sure," I said, "I've been to a couple of meetings."

"Really? I don't remember you."

"It was a while ago."

"You should come back, it's a great organization."

I had heard about TAPPA a year earlier and had gone to a couple of meetings just to check it out. It was a little awkward for me to suddenly be in a room full of people I didn't know. It was obvious that a lot of the photographers in the room had known each other for a long time. They were laughing and joking and seemed so at ease with one another. I sat by myself, pretending to be very interested in something on my phone. I felt intimidated because I didn't know anyone, didn't know if I was good enough to be there.

After running into Carol in the parking lot I thought I might give it another try. She seemed nice and really enthusiastic about the association So I went to another meeting. This time, the president of the association noticed me and came over to introduce herself. She was bubbly and engaging and she made me feel welcome. The best part was, she made me want to come back again the next month.

After a couple of more meetings I began to evaluate whether or not being in the association was worth my time. What's in it for me? I wondered. What could they teach me, what could I learn? Like a lot of photographers, I was focused on trying to grow my business and worried that someone else would take my business from me. I decided to change my approach. I wasn't going to go to the meetings anymore because I was hoping to get something out of it. What would happen if I just went to meet people and didn't care about impressing anyone or guarding my secrets (trust me, there are no secrets). What would happen if I just made friends? 

That was three years ago and I've barely missed a meeting since.

I meet a lot of photographers and every time I meet someone new I encourage them to come and join TAPPA. There are lots of great reasons to join the Professional Photographers of America and plenty more to join your local affiliate. The problem is that I think people don't talk about one of the very best reasons to join. It's not the education, it's not the competition, it's not really the networking.

It's the fellowship.

After World War II, a generation of Americans returned from the war. They had been in the military for years. They had been in regiments, battalions, units, platoons... they were always being put into groups. So, when they came home to the states, they joined groups. The Elks Lodge, the Masons, the Lions Club... after World War II there were hundreds of social clubs. Everybody was a member of at least one. Ralph Kramden of "The Honeymooners" was a member of the Raccoon Lodge. Fred Flintstone was a member of The Loyal Order of Water Buffalo.

But not anymore.

Now, we get all of our social interactions online. Facebook is the new social club. In some ways that's a good thing because it's better to have an online social club than no social club at all. But it's also a bad thing because people just don't join anymore. Especially young people. I know because I never join anything. I hate to commit.

After three years in TAPPA I have dozens of friends who are photographers. I went to Imaging USA for the first time this year and met even more photographers. Here's what I notice: My Facebook friends who I've actually met in person interact with me a lot more than the people I've never met. There's a connection. There's value in face-to-face interaction.

Now, every month when I go to a meeting, I look to see if there's anyone new sitting at a table and that's immediately the table I want to sit that. I want to meet them, I want to talk to them and I want them to feel welcome. There are photographers who have been shooting since I was in elementary school and yet there they are, every month, meeting new people. They have a fuller and richer life because of it.

So, if you haven't joined your local PPA affiliate, do it. Set a goal for yourself that you're going to meet someone new every month. Go to the meetings, go to the picnic, go to the Christmas party. Do something with people who share your interests. Do something with photographers. 

And, if you don't have a local affiliate, start one. Kevin Newsome started TAPPA in his studio back when they had this thing called, "film" and he's still there every month. When I got a chance to bid on a big event job, I called Kevin for advice. When I needed to hire some extra photographers to work the gig, Kevin told me who to call and what they would expect. When I decided to start competing, Kevin helped me pick out my images.

At Imaging USA I ran into a TAPPA member on the first day, around lunch time. When I said I was going to eat lunch by myself, Melissa said, "I've already eaten but I'll go sit with you." Suddenly I wasn't all alone in Atlanta. My affiliation was there.

When the "Photographer of the Year" asked me to lunch, I thought, This is great! I'm really making friends! Then, over bread and pasta he asked me to photograph his wedding. It's the only wedding I've ever worked where I knew a lot of the guests. They were fellow affiliate members.

When one of our members had a robbery at his studio, he had more replacement equipment than he needed within 24 hours. When a member called me from a wedding and said he was feeling sick, I volunteered to come take over. I recently called a member just to chat on a long drive back from a gig and he said, "I'm on vacation and I usually don't answer my phone but I wanted to make sure it wasn't a photography emergency."

I can pick up the phone and call any one of a dozen photographers... just to talk. I couldn't do that three years ago. I was all alone in the wilderness.

One day I turned around and realized, I have a lot of friends. That's the benefit of joining your local PPA affiliate that no one ever talks about. And for me; it's the best benefit of them all.


About the author:
Booray Perry has been a member of PPA since 2008. You can view his original story on his Google+ page and on his blog.




Professional Photographers of America (PPA) proudly ushers in the new council for 2012 - 2015. As a non-profit, member-driven association, PPA's membership ultimately governs the association through these PPA Council representatives! 

Councilors are professional photographers who volunteer their time and service to guide and act as the voice for their state's PPA members. Duties include discussing and voting on changes to the Bylaws and Adopted Procedures and the leadership of the association (via the election of the board of directors and the Nominating Committee). They also play a crucial role in sharing the PPA message to existing, new and prospective PPA members.

degrees.JPGWendy Newman, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, recently earned both her Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman degrees from PPA. One of her reasons for pushing herself toward those degrees was her clientele. "My clientele are predominately professionals, such as physicians, lawyers and pro athletes...all of whom are familiar with what it takes to become a 'professional,'" she says. "In all of those fields, it takes a lot of hard work, practice, dedication and continual testing or trials to validate their abilities. My PPA degrees assure my clients that they are dealing with a qualified photographer who is at the top of her game. "

Curious about PPA's degrees and how you can earn them (and use them), too? PPA has created a website that walks you through the what, why and how of those degrees and merits: www.ppa.com/degrees.

AT&T is performing routine system maintenance on Thursday, May 26, from midnight to 6:00am EST. This will affect PPA.com, ImagingUSA.org, and other association-related Web services. Please note that PPA online content and services like event registrations may be unavailable during this time. We apologize for any inconvenience. 
Stay tuned to your email inbox next Friday (May 20)! PPA is updating our system to provide more streamlined and efficient services, which will require a new login and password to access your PPA records and content. These updates will occur during the week of June 6, and more information (including your new login and password) will be emailed to you on May 20. 

Are you ready to compete in PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC)? Don't wait too much longer because the entry deadline is April 27!

Entering IPC is easy--just click here for rules, entry forms and tutorials: www.ppa.com/competitions/international.php.

A few things to remember:

  • The entry deadline is April 27, and the entry fee is $95. The late entry fee for submissions between April 28 and May 10 will be $155.
  • Both digital images and prints are accepted. Get more details in this week's Vital Signs email.
  • Be sure to choose your Grand Imaging Awards (GIA) entry category when you register. Last year's GIA winners were recognized at the Grand Imaging Awards celebration at Imaging USA and earned trophies and cash prizes!
  • Earn Exhibition Merits for your winning images and start your path to earning a PPA degree. If your image received a Seal of Approval at your District Competition, you must enter it into the IPC to earn your PPA merit.

Enter and continue your journey toward image excellence. Rules, entry forms and tutorials can all be found here: www.ppa.com/competitions/international.php.



About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the PPA Membership category.

PPA Member Brag Book is the previous category.

PPA Merits and Degrees is the next category.

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