I arrived early to teacha “Basics” class and to participate in the All-Star Charitable Marketing class that took place on Saturday. The class was sponsored by PPA Charities, which was honored to have as one of the speakers my friend Margaret Moore, who together with her husband, Barry, operates Photogenic Photographers in the upmarket community of Dalkey, Dublin. Margaret generously donated her time to explain how the Irish Professional Photographers Association (IPPA) have turned their annual Happy Faces Day into a major fundraiser that drives business to participating studios and elevates the status of IPPA members in the eyes of the public. Here’s a photo of Margaret and me taken during Saturday evening’s PPA Charities Celebration event. Read more about this exciting evening in my next post.
The print show was packed as usual, and I only made it halfway through the exhibition. Next year I’m going to make this my first priority, as the inspiration these prints provide can fuel your creativity for a year and beyond!
It was great to observe the brisk business being conducted on the floor of the huge trade show, which remain packed throughout the convention. I would say that the mood of the entire convention was very upbeat. Yes, there was talk about the effects of Recession, but there was a lot of determination to concentrate on moving business forward in the coming year. I’ve never seen so much interest in fundamental business issues: In fact, my program on PPA’s most recent Financial Benchmark Survey, presented with PPA CFO Scott Kurkian, had standing room only in a seminar room that seated 1,000, and I’m told the overflow room was crowded as well. Wow!
Here’s at look at the trade show:
One of the convention highlights was the evening Super Program presented by three White House photographers who have chronicled the administrations of three American presidents. The panel included J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press photographer of President Barrack Obama’s administration; Paul Morse, official photographer of President George W. Bush’s administration; and Robert McNeely, official photographer of President Bill Clinton’s administration. Attendees were treated to intriguing behind-the-scenes stories and photographs, most of which have never been published, and the panelists state on for quite a while to answer questions from the appreciative audience.
Another of my Irish friends, Mary McCullough, also attended IUSA; Mary serves with me on the PPA International Committee. She and I managed to escape with some of my SuccessWare and Studio Management Service friends to the nearby Aquarium Restaurant for dinner one evening. Mary is shown below, at left, with Brooke Goldman and Bridget Jackson of Studio Management Services, and Judy Grann and Diane Jessup of SuccessWare.
Another convention event that I really looked forward to was the Judges’ Refresher Course, which this year concentrated on the changes being made to implement digital entries as an option for upcoming International Competitions.
Outgoing Print Exhibition Committee (PEC) Chairman Helen Yancy, and incoming PEC Chairman, Dennis Craft, explained the process and timetable to us . . .
. . . and everyone had an opportunity to examine the software being used to evaluate and score prints. I was very impressed by the incredibly hard work that PEC, the Print Competition Action Team, and President Ron Nichols have done to assure a smooth transition to this exciting new phase of competition.
The convention crowd included representatives from at least 20 other countries, and I was especially pleased to see that International Committee member Kan Suzuki was accompanied by his family, so they were able see him honored in the “Photographer of the Year” category as well as receive his Master of Photography degree at the Awards & Degrees Ceremony. Congratulations Kan!
The various countries represented were recognized at the “Parade of Nations” during the Awards Ceremony.
An intriguing Awards Ceremony highlight was a display of “wearable images” modeled on stage as attendees began to arrive for the ceremony.
Incoming PPA president Louis Tonsmeire got a good laugh when he made use of a stepladder so that he could, for once, tower over outgoing President Ron Nichols, when he presented Ron with the association’s Honorary Master of Photography degree.
It was a great pleasure to be on hand to see Bill McIntosh receive PPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award and to view a retrospective of his extraordinary image-making career. I have long admired Bill’s work and consider him to be one of the world’s most accomplished portrait photographers. You can view his work, and that of his daughter, Leslie, on their studio website.
After the Awards Ceremony concluded, I caught up with three of my favorite photographic “divas” . . . from left, Lisbeth Guerrina, Deanne Burch, and Joyce Wilson. How elegant they are!
At the All-Convention party that followed the Awards Ceremony, Mary McCullough and I posed with one of the best-dressed men at the party . . . PPA board member and outstanding Canadian photographer Don McGregor.
When Mary and I left the party, it was still going strong. Hope you will join us in 2011 in San Antonio on January 15-18. When PPA goes to Texas . . . the party’s never over!
If you’re arriving on Saturday, don’t miss the PPA Charities Celebration at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, starting at 8:00 P.M. This fantastic event is FREE, and I know you’ll enjoy bidding for some FABULOUS auction items, from software to week-long schools, and my favorite item of all: A one-of-a-kind bracelet from Kindred Charms, the innovative company formed by my teaching buddy and good friend Carol Andrews Jensen and her husband, Greg Jensen.
Carol and Greg are donating a sterling silver charm bracelet, similar to the one shown above. What is so incredible about it is that it will feature four charms cast from the fingerprints of children who received the gift of life-changing surgery during a recent Operation Smile medical mission to Paraguay. PPA member Bert Behnke documented the mission and created the wax impressions from which the charms were cast. These fingerprints represent the healing gift given through the generosity of PPA Charities participants: These simple symbols artfully personify the touches of gratitude from the children and their families whose lives have been healed, and a tag charm bears the PPA Charities identity. Talk about a priceless gift! Learn more about Kindred Charms by clicking here.
As usual, Jim and I are donating a week at our Deep Creek House. You can read about it and all the other awesome auction items by clicking here.
See you in Nashville!
Have you heard about the FREE December 28 Websummit? It’s Sarah Petty’s latest educational extravaganza that will feature 14 hours of education from 28 super-successful photographers offering their best ideas for marketing and making money in 2010. What a great way to prepare for the new business year!
Best of all, Sarah’s Joy of Marketing organization has partnered with PPA Charities to use the Websummit as an opportunity to raise funds for Operation Smile, the incredible Norfolk, Virginia-based charity that provides the gift of surgery to precious children suffering from facial deformities. As a PPA Charities Trustee, I am thrilled that so many photographers will have the opportunity to learn about and donate to PPA Charities’ outreach on behalf of Operation Smile during this high-profile educational event! Over 10,000 professional photographers registered for Sarah's Master Photographers Free Marketing Telesummit in September, and she expects an even bigger audience for this great marketing event, which will help you jump start your business for 2010.
Sarah has set a goal to save the smiles of 100 children ($24,000) through the Websummit. It takes only $240 for Operation Smile's volunteer medical professionals to change the life of a child forever. What better way for photographers to give back to children in need!
What's more, The Joy of Marketing will match
Websummit donations up to $5,000!
So if you haven’t taken the opportunity to stand with your fellow photographers to really make a difference in the lives of deserving children, now’s the time to do so — when you register (for free) for the Joy to the World Marketing Websummit by clicking here.
Donations of $1 to $1,000 will be accepted. Before you register consider this: For a donation of $240, you can become a 2010 Operation Smile Studio, which proclaims to your clients that you are part of an international commitment by PPA Charities to support the life-changing work of Operation Smile. Why? Because it’s a privilege to be a photographer who makes a living by photographing the smiles of children and their proud families.
I’m extremely grateful to Sarah, and to other PPA leaders and educators this year for recognizing the power we have as an industry when we work together toward a single goal. So take a moment to listen to Sarah as she explains what’s happening at her Joy to the World Websummit set for December 28.
If you're not available on December 28, 2009, or want to get a head start on 2010 planning for your business, you can purchase the Adobe FLASH files of all 14 hours for $89 and receive access to the speaker presentations IMMEDIATELY. A pre-websummit special price of $59 is available until December 27. Just register before December 28, 2009, and you'll receive this special offer! To learn more about Sarah Petty's Joy of Marketing Websummit, click here.
Huge thanks and BIG SMILES to Sarah for her generosity in partnering with
PPA Charities in support of Operation Smile!
I want to alert you to an outstanding learning opportunity involving three of my teaching buddies: Tim and Beverly Walden and Sarah Petty. Their “Marketing U” will be held in Dallas on July 12-14. Marketing U will give you a chance to see how two entirely different studios, at the top of the marketing game, have created memorable, meaningful brands through a hand’s on, jam-packed workshop. To learn more about this exciting opportunity, click here.
I’m pretty sure the entire group of 1,100 plus turned up for the fun.
As a trustee of PPA Charities, I was thrilled when Texas School Trustee and fellow PPA Charities Trustee Cindy Romaguera announced at the school’s final night party that Texas School students, instructors and vendors contributed over $17,000 to Operation Smile, the charitable partner of PPACH! This unprecedented donation was made possible by class instructors who showed an Operation Smile video to their classes and encouraged their students to buy as many smiles as they could, challenging other classes to exceed their totals. The clear and convincing winner was the class taught by Sarah Petty and Jed and Vicki Taufer, whose members donated an incredible $7,300 through individual contributions and from an auction of merchandize and a donation of private classes offered by the instructors.
At the urging of Texas School Director Don Dickson, shown below at right, along with Cindy and PPACH Executive Director Bert Behnke , an impromptu auction of donated vendor items on vendor night netted $1,900. Best of all, many of the instructors and students vowed to come up with ways to increase donations next year. Sounds like a great new Texas School tradition has been born, and with a little luck it will spread to other affiliate schools.
Thanks to Texas School students, instructors and vendors, at least 70 children will receive new smiles from Operation Smile! Learn more about Texas School by clicking here.
Meanwhile, back at school . . . I caught Lori Nordstrom with her sweetie Dan, as they were heading to class. I’ll have the pleasure of teaching with Lori next month at an SMS Workshop in Atlanta.
. . . and here I am with my wonderful hard-working class wranglers, Derryl Barnes and Glenn Cole.
Glenn was kind enough to drive me to the airport, and on the way I got to stop to visit the beautiful studio that Glenn shares with his wife, Gina, shown below. Yes it’s true . . . They actually did meet at the Texas School, a fact that they celebrate on their studio sign: Just another example of the good things that happen at Texas School!
Well both of us made it to Atlanta, but not until midnight. So glad we did, as we met some really delightful folks who were either considering careers in photography or had already taken the plunge and wanted to learn the fundamentals of marketing and managing a photography business. Their wholehearted endorsement of this new two-day class means that Studio Management Services will mostly likely be offering the class again. If you know of someone who wants to learn what our industry is all about, or if you have a friend who is struggling with the business side of photography, I hope you will refer them to Studio Management Services at PPA. They should have a new class date posted soon.
I hope you were one of the more than 8,500 photographers who attended PPA's ImagingUSA convention in Tampa this week. "The best convention ever!" was the buzz, and no wonder: picture-perfect weather, a comfortable and spacious convention center, great places to hang out with friends, and the quality of education was spectacular! As you can see from my night-time photo of the convention center above, I hardly had a chance to enjoy the wonderful weather during the day, but that was O.K., because what was going on inside the convention was so awesome.
Just to prove that I did get out in the sun a couple of times, here's a photo of me having a little timeout with friends Carrie and Phil Viohl, who attended last May's Guerrilla Management Class in Deep Creek. Seated with us, at left, is their so-talended designer, Haley. I've mentioned Carrie several times here, because she has one of the best blogs anywhere. If you haven't already visited her blog click here for a treat. And while you're visiting, check out Haley's fantastic stick figures, one of the blog's most popular features.
A real high point for me was the PPA Charities Celebration, where Charities President Mary Fisk-Taylor presented a check for $52,000 to Operation Smile, PPACH's charitable partner. I'm so proud of all the studios who raised this money for such a worthy cause, and I'm excited that photographers are really taking this magnificent charity to their hearts. Fellow Charities Trustee Angie Weedon and I will be heading up this year's Family Portrait Month promotion, so I'll keep you filled in on what's planned for 2008.
Because I was involved in two platform presentations, I didn't have much time to see the incredible array of talent at the convention, but I did make it a point to stop in to see Frank Donnino's program on the baby plan for which he has become so well known. It was wonderful to witness a packed room learn the inspirational story of how Frank overcame adversity and went from a dead-end job to a profession where he brings such joy to families in his community. Along the way he has given back to countless photographers who have benefitted from his generosity of spirit.
I'm going to email Frank a copy of the photo below. It's the sign outside his huge program room directing attendees to a nearby overflow venue that was set up with a live video feed. I know he was thrilled to draw such a crowd.
I'm happy to say that my program on "The Boutique Studio Revolution" and the the Roundtable panel, "The Art of Success," also filled up both the meeting room and the overflow room. It was so exciting to see how this new business model has caught fire with photographers who are seeking to establish their reputation for artful photography and exceptional customer service. I was so honored to moderate the panel, which I called the boutique studio "dream team": Beverly and Tim Walden; Sandy (Sam) Puc'; Jed and Vicki Taufer; Sarah Petty; Jeff and Julia Woods; and Lori Nordstrom.
Interest in boutique studios also was clearly evident by the mob scene at the BellaGrafica trade show booth. BellaGrafica, as you probably know, is the company formed this year by Marathon Press for the specific purpose of helping boutique studios market their photography to upscale clients . . . particularly women, who are the primary focus of this emerging business model. Marathon chose the IUSA trade show to be the debut of their BellaGrafica line, and it was the talk of the show among photographers interested in boutique studios.
It was fun to visit SuccessWare's beautiful new booth, where they were handing out great new t-shirts. I got a real kick out of listening to studio owners tell how grateful they are to this incredible software for helping them make more money and simplify their business lives. Here's the SuccessWare crew, from left: Diane, Tracy and Judy.
The final night of IUSA was a real treat for me, as Sarah Petty did me the honor of asking me to sponsor her at the Awards Ceremony, where she received her Craftsman Degree. Thanks to Helen Yancy for recording the moment with my point-and-shoot camera.
If you didn't make it to IUSA, you can get a little of the flavor of this incredible event by visiting IUSA TV. Even though I was there, you can't be everywhere, so I found the features to be very interesting.
One of the most interesting features of IUSA TV is IUSA Expo Spotlight , which highlighted some really neat products. It's worth your while to take a look. One of the items on this video shows Vicki Taufer discussing how she sells Wild Sorbet frames . . . a wonderful boutique product.
It will really be hard to top this year's IUSA, but what I'm hearing about next year's event in Phoenix sound like it just might do the trick. It's a brand-new convention facility, and with all the fun things to do in the area, I can't wait! So mark your 2009 calendar now for January 11-13.
The conference itself drew over 600 photographers who were eager to learn all they could about marketing, management and workflow. It's simply amazing to me how digital has shifted the demand away from classes on technique to classes on how to run a business. In my opinion, the industry is better because of this transformation: There certainly is no shortage of outstanding images being made, and there are lot more profitable businesses because of this shift.
Just like last year, every program was a highlight for me, and the trade show was great as well. Plus it was such fun to see so many great friends. I heard nothing but wonderful comments and appreciation for such a meaningful event.