Terriffic Time in Tennessee!

If you’ve never visited Knoxville, Tennessee, you really should, as it lives up to it’s Visitors Bureau description as Tennessee’s “Hidden Gem.”

If you’re a photographer in Tennessee (newcomer or veteran) and are not a member of Professional Photographers of East Tennessee (PPETN), you really should be. Why? I just had the pleasure of presenting my Get Down To Business! workshop for that organization, and I discovered that it’s one of the most vibrant local organizations I’ve ever visited. Not only is it well run administratively, it is member-centered and firm in its mission to provide photographers with the education they need to thrive in an industry fraught with the confusion of change. Best of all for me, these folks have a wonderful time together, and I thoroughly enjoyed their great personalities, their willingness to share ideas freely with one another, and their warm and friendly company. I believe their camaraderie comes through in the photos below.


Thanks to the PPETN Board of Directors for making this workshop possible: Chairman Nicole Webber, President Alisa Whitley, Vice President Eddie Foley, Secretary Gena Tussey, Treasurer Noelle Bell, IT/Web Editor Ben K. Moser; Senior Board Members J. Wade Tipton, Ambler Brown, Carla Hoskins and Michael Broyles; Junior Board Members Kathy Smith and Tyson Smith. Not all of the Board members were present for the board photo shown in the above composite; those who were are clockwise from 1st row: Carla, Gena, Alisa, Ben, Ambler, Noelle and Michael.

Best 2016 Olympics Photos


Helping Clients Understand The
“7 Ages of Childhood”

As a professional photographer, the single most repeated lament that I have heard from clients over the years—even in the era of easy-to-use amateur cameras—is “I wish I had more portraits of my child growing up.”

Mindful of this issue, over 50 years ago, Professional Photographers of America (PPA) developed a program to help parents recognize the most important milestones that should be professionally photographed to insure that a child’s development is documented as he or she grows from a tiny infant through young adulthood. Called “The 7 Ages of Childhood,” PPA revitalized the program in the mid-1990’s, and today many professionals still use these guidelines, which were suggested with the help of child-development specialists who took into consideration the physical, psychological and emotional changes that occur during childhood.

The message of this PPA program is clear: “Someday the child you hold now will want to tell your grandchild what it was like when he or she was growing up. Imagine how wonderful it would be to have a beautiful album of priceless images of that childhood, created by a sensitive professional who knows how to interpret and preserve these precious moments.”

“The 7 Ages of Childhood” has served me well in my business and also in reminding me to create more than my usual family snapshots to capture the key milestones of Lucas, my only grandson, who was born in 2001. As a proud grandmother, I’ve chosen his portraits to present the various “Ages” along with the program’s description of each developmental stage.

Newborn Through Year 1 — Baby’s First Year
At no time in your child’s life will physical changes occur so rapidly. In what seems like the blink of an eye, a tiny, helpless bundle is transformed into an active, robust and inquisitive youngster. Once the baby arrives, it’s wise to contact your photographer right away to plan these important sessions, as those changes already are happening!

Unlike the rest of the individual-session “7 Ages,” PPA suggests that infants be photographed at least 3 times during the first year. My choice was newborn, 6 months, and shortly after 12 months, when Lucas could walk and sit unassisted.

My dear friend and exceptional artist, Helen Yancy, turned my favorite
newborn session image into a timeless watercolor portrait
through the use of Corel Painter.
Helen lives and works in Plymouth, MI.

For the 6-month session, I decided to include my daughter, Julie, in the portrait
to allow me to have more freedom in creating a variety of poses
to capture Lucas’s emerging baby personality.

I waited until Lucas was almost 14-months old to finish his “first-year” sessions. I wanted to make sure that he was completely confident as a walker and had begun to react to my camera-room silliness in order to assure a happy expression.

When I look back on these three portrait sessions, they truly confirm why it’s important to take the time to capture these priceless days of change.

2-years old — Tiny Traveler

Here one minute and gone the next! Around the second birthday a major milestone is achieved. Your toddler now responds to reason, humor, and action. Totally unpredictable. . . loveable, shy, rowdy, or reserved . . . but always adorable and always on the move!


3-years old — Little Discoverer
Most 3-year olds have discovered how to entertain themselves. Their world is filled with portrait opportunities that capture the mystery and fantasy that are so much a part of these joyful days of discovery and make-believe that fade so soon.


4- to 5-years old — Eager Searcher

The 4th and 5th years are among the cutest, most engaging ages for little boys and girls . . . the ability to speak and reason grow stronger every day. Searching for their place in the world, they have already developed personal interests, likes and dislikes. Their individuality of character and action should be portrayed before the baby teeth are lost and replaced by permanent ones . . . forever altering the endearing look of early childhood.

6_Lucas_h&s_b&w copy

6- to 8-years old — Young Learner

Between the ages of 6 and 8, the snaggly-tooth period ends and permanent teeth emerge to change facial contours. A developing mind reveals a more mature, inquiring look. Now off to school and making their way in the world . . . there is so much to learn! Portraits made at this age help to confirm a child’s positive self image.


9- to 12-years old — Budding Explorer
From the ages of 9 to 12, the child is preparing to enter the teenage years . . . when physical, emotional, and attitude changes occur. The little person you have known so well is about to become a more complex and less-dependent young person. Peer acceptance is now important, and portraits can capture the child’s sense of style and expanding horizons.

Pasted Graphic 1

13- to 15-years old — Young Teen
Ages 13 through 15 are the early teenage years. A kind of dress rehearsal for adulthood, these years begin to erase the memories of childhood. The boy is almost a man . . . in his interests, his attitudes, and thinking. They are often carefree years, yet ones that anticipate the challenges of adulthood on the horizon. The young woman has begun to blossom into womanhood. Still a lifetime of growing and learning ahead . . . but never again a child.


What’s Next?
The image of Lucas flying his kite at the Delaware shore was made when he was 13. He just turned 15 this spring, and reviewing the images for this post reminds me that I should do another portrait of Lucas before it’s time for his high school senior portraits, which will be here much sooner than his family members would like. How grateful we all are to have this record of his journey through childhood. They are happy memories for us today and I hope that someday he will enjoy them with his own family: That would make me a very happy great-grammy!


Two Great Days in Maryland!

My last workshop of the season took place in Columbia, Maryland, less than a three-hour drive from my home in Pennsylvania. So nice not to have to fly! Sponsored by the Maryland PPA, my contact was Anne Looney, treasurer of MDPPA, who attended a Guerrilla Management Workshop way back in 2007. I was pleased that Anne was able to join me for dinner the night before the workshop at a wonderful sushi restaurant right next to my hotel, which sat alongside a lovely man-made lake. I grabbed this quick auto-pano of the promenade with my Lumix FZ1000.
It’s been quite a while since I visited the MDPPA, which I was happy to observe is a vibrant and thriving state organization . . . thanks to the hard work of its member volunteers. What was clearly evident was the welcoming spirit of the members, which is so essential to sustain an organization over time, as well as the outstanding roster of talented speakers who have instructed there recently or are scheduled for future meetings.

Because Jim and I operate a studio housed in a converted Pennsylvania Dutch barn, I was intrigued that MDPPA holds its meetings in Oliver’s Carriage House, a beautifully restored 1811 barn owned by a local community church. What a great resource for association meetings!
MDPPA President Melanie Anderson, also a Guerrilla Management graduate, did a great job keeping things organized.
The attendees were a very knowledgeable group, so we were able to cover a lot of ground.
I was especially pleased with the results of the “marketing message” homework assignment, the results of which were shared on workshop day two.
There was even time to renew friends and share ideas.
Day two concluded with a print competition, at which it was my pleasure to judge alongside jurors Don Aittama and Mona Sandler. With close to 200 prints to judge, the competition lasted past midnight. It was well attended and quite competitive, especially in the Best of Show categories. It was a pleasure to honor some truly outstanding images.

Thanks to the MDPPA Board for making the workshop possible and for all the hard work they do behind the scenes. I would urge any new or veteran photographers in the region who are not MDPPA members to take advantage of this outstanding organization. Learn more by visiting the group’s website at https://marylandppa.com.
Thanks to the MDPPA Board for making the workshop possible and for all the hard work they do behind the scenes. I would urge any new or veteran photographers in the region who are not MDPPA members to take advantage of this outstanding organization. Learn more by visiting the group’s website at https://marylandppa.com.


Saying Hello and Goodbye at Triangle

It truly was an honor to teach at the last official function of Triangle Photographers in Cranberry Township last week. The reason for their closing is posted on the Triangle website at this link. I was pleased to accept Chairman Joan Stewart’s invitation from the Triangle Board of Directors to present my two-day workshop, and it was lovely to have a chance to stop in at Joan’s charming farmhouse studio and gardens. Joan was one of the first photographers to come to my 4-day Guerrilla Management Workshops in the late 1990s, so it was great to spend time with her again.

As I expected, I had a chance to see old friends from Triangle who go way back, such as Vice Chairman Bill Penberthy and board members Evert Briggs and Ron Westerman. I’ve known them most of my working life in photography. I’m aware of how hard they, and the rest of the board worked to keep Triangle afloat. It was such a pleasure to renew some acquaintances and make new friends among such a wonderful group of photographers.

Almost as an afterthought when the program was over, someone suggested that we take a group picture. Unfortunately some people had already left, but at least we have this one to commemorate Triangle’s closing event. I know I’m not the only one who hopes that sooner rather than later photographers who recognize the value of learning from each other will pull together and restart the association.

By the time I got home I received this group selfie from Nathan Ballash, who was sorry to miss the group shot. Thanks Nathan!

A final thank you to Joan for one last opportunity to take part in a Triangle event! Also, a special shout out to Bill Penberthy and Evert Briggs for their outstanding support at the workshop!

Just as I was about to post this item, I received a video from Marco da Silva, showing the wonderful 6-minute speech that his daughter Rebeca made for her local Toastmasters group. She did an outstanding job of passing on information that she learned at the workshop. With her permission, I’m posting it here as an encouragement for everyone to get the word out to consumers about digital impermanence any way possible. Thanks to the da Silvas for coming all the way from Rochester Hills, Michigan. Check out their excellent website here. Great job Rebeca! And my very best wishes to all Triangle Photographers!


Back to Atlanta for IUSA 2016

It was my pleasure to kick off the education year at PPA’s Imaging USA by teaching the 2-day Business Basics course in Atlanta last week. I was fortunate to have an extremely attentive class, many of whom were starting in photography as a second career, just as Jim and I did many years ago. I was delighted that Scott Kurkian, PPA’s Chief Financial Officer, found time to present a segment on legal and business structure requirements that was much appreciated. Special thanks go to Tiffany Kim, PPA’s new Education Coordinator, who was so helpful in organizing the class and making sure that everything ran smoothly. This groups was not only attentive, they were fun!

P1220660.. P1220618.. P1220639

Business Basics was the first class I have taught since PPA released the final version of the PPA 2014 Benchmark Survey Analysis that I authored. If you are a PPA member, you can find the document at this link. On the same page there are several other helpful resources that were made possible over the past ten years by the compilation and publication of four separate Benchmark Surveys. Pay special attention to PPA’s Benchmark Guide.

The Atlanta weather was unseasonably cold and just a bit weird. I shot the image below through a glass window in the Omni North Tower, a bit after dusk, using the “Hand Held Night Shot” (HHNS) feature of the Lumix FZ1000, which I carry with everywhere. This feature fires a 6-frame burst, then fuses them in the camera. I love what it does to skies at dusk and even after dark. I also use it indoors when I’m in a low-light situation and don’t want to use flash or a high ISO. Unlike the Auto Pano feature that is also found in the camera’s “Scene” Menu, you can turn off the shutter sound of the HHNS so you can shoot with it silently in a meeting, concert or any event where you don’t want to be noticed.

P1220672 (1)

One of my favorite annual events at IUSA is the past-presidents’ luncheon, which brings together a very special group of friends who have devoted years of service to PPA. They are: (row 1) Bert Behnke, myself, Dennis Craft, Louis Tonsmeire, Helen Yancy, Bob Lloyd; (row 2) Don Dickson, Tim Walden, Susan Michal, Ron Nichols, Ralph Romaguera, Bill Stevenson, Michael Timmons, Michael Taylor.

I didn’t get as much time as I wished to view the International Print Competition Exhibition, and I never did find my own prints. I was thrilled to have all four selected, with three awarded Loan Collection status, allowing me to achieve Platinum Photographer of the Year Status for the first time. This was quite a thrill for me, as I’ve been using PPA Print Competition to challenge myself to improve my skills in the field of landscape photography. Years ago, Jim and I entered prints as a way to improve our skills as portrait photographers, which is how we earned a living. These days, I do landscape photography for the pure joy of it, so it was quite special to have such a good outcome this year. All of the images were photographed in 2014 in County Donegal, Ireland, using my Lumix FZ1000 . . . my favorite travel camera ever!

North Atlantic Beacon — Loan Collection

Low Tide on the Marsh — Loan Collection

Hardscrabble Farm — Loan Collection

Tranquil Hillside — General Collection

Another great IUSA event was the International Reception, which I attended with my Irish friend Tanya Crosbie, who has a wonderful baby, children, and family portrait business, Giggles and Smiles Photography, in the greater Dublin area. It was lovely catching up with Tanya and having the opportunity to meet other international photographers. Tanya is shown 8th from the left in row 2 of the photo above.

Mark your calendar now for IUSA 2017, which will take place in San Antonio on January 8-10.

Mentoring Sessions Now Availalbe for 2016

Since PPA has closed Studio Management Services, I have received several requests for mentoring services. I have decided to take on a small number of mentoring clients whose needs I can possibly help through online support over a three-month period.

The first step is a no-charge telephone conversation to determine if or how I can be of help. If you are interested in this service, please call me at 717-867-5079.

Lumix FZ1000 Goes to a Concert

P1220257.1 - Version 2 (1)

My friends and colleagues know how much I love the versatility of my Lumix FZ1000 mirrorless camera for on-location shooting when I’m traveling; I rarely go any place without it. Having a lightweight camera, with a fixed lens that ranges from 25mm to 400mm, has opened a world of opportunities for making images for fun as well as for business.

In December I took the camera with me to a local concert by Garnet Rogers, a Canadian folk musician-songwriter whom I have followed for many years. I was astounded to learn that he was going to be in our little town at the charming Allen Theatre, and I wanted some photos of the event. However, the last thing I wanted to do was haul gear, set up a tripod, and in any way call attention to myself instead of enjoying the music. So I took a third-row seat that had an unblocked view of the stage, set the camera on “Hand Held Night Shot,” which is one of my favorite settings from the Scene menu, and settled back to enjoy the show and make a few images. I didn’t want to irritate the audience with camera noise, so I silenced the shutter so no one would hear anything when it fired a burst of six frames at different apertures per exposure, which it instantly fuses to create each image.

I shot some 4K video with the FZ1000, as I have a lot to learn about this medium, and I loved the idea of capturing Garnet’s wonderfully smooth and powerful baritone voice and record his virtuosity on guitar. But mainly I was interested in making a variety of stills at different focal lengths without moving from my seat. You can see the versatility of the fixed lens in the following shots: The first was taken with the lens set at 25mm to portray the scale of the darkened stage. For the second, I extended the lens to 200mm. Both are sharp as a tack and took hardly any effort on my part. The images are a great reminder of a delightful Sunday afternoon being entertained by an enormously talented musician.

P1220367 - Version 2