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!

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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.

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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.

IUSA — A Great Way to Start the Business Year!

In case you haven’t heard, PPA’s Imaging USA broke all attendance records with a crowd of over 11,000 at the annual convention. It was amazing how Opryland Hotel and Convention Center swallowed us all up, but next time I’m going to make sure I have the GPS I carry when I’m photographing landscapes with me so that I can find my way around.
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Once again I had the honor of teaching a full house of really well-motivated photographers, many of whom were determined to learn about the business of photography before they opened their businesses. There would be a lot less heartbreak in this industry if everyone took business this seriously!
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And again, it was my pleasure to teach along with the brilliant Bridget Jackson, one of only three accountants I trust — seriously! Bridget is PPA’s Business Consultant, and I know she would like for me to mention that if you need help on a business issue, she is just a phone call away for PPA members. Chances are you’ll get to talk to the sparkling Jenny Harrison first, so know that you’ll be in good hands with Jenny, who does a fantastic job as marketing coordinator for education and a whole lot more! I’ll be teaching this class at PPA Headquarters on April 25-26; learn more at this link.
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Bridget & Jenny
I also participated as a panel member of a Charitable Giving program sponsored by PPA Charities. The panel included, from left: Dean and Larry Lourcey, Meggan Harper, Lori Nordstrom, myself, Clark Sanders, and Pete Rezac. A reminder that Celebration of Smiles Day is scheduled for April 11, and you can find out more about this charitable giving promotion at this link.
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The Trade Show was fabulous, and it gave me a chance to fiddle with the auto pano feature of my new Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 which is my favorite traveling camera ever! I can’t say enough about how much I love this camera, and it’s not just because of the low price; I’m very impressed with the quality! Here’s a pano of the Lumix booth . . .
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. . . and one of Marathon’s display.
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Marathon introduced their new Family Marketing Program, which is a real direct-marketing bargain. You can learn more about it at this link. Marathon also debuted their new archival Bella Art Prints, a line of upscale designer prints available in sizes up to 20”x29” and on four beautiful paper choices. I was really impressed by a sample that they made from one of my 2014 Loan Collection prints, shown below.
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I also had a chance to visit the two companies without which I could not operate a business: SuccessWare . . .
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. . . and ProSelect.
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I heard someone say that “everyone and his dog was at the Trade Show,” and apparently it was true!
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Imaging USA 2016 is set for January 10-12 in Atlanta. Plan to arrive in time for the
PPA Charities Gala on the evening of January 9!