DONNA JIRSA, F-PPC, S-PPC Editor, Pro Photo West
It’s a hectic time here at PPC. Many volunteers are busily working to bring you an Awesome Pro Photo Expo and Conference experience! I’ve already chosen my favorite speakers and look forward to being inspired – bringing back new creative ideas for my business and my clients! I can’t wait to see the print exhibits, bid on fabulous auction items and visit the Digital Café. The parties will give me an opportunity to network with old friends and new acquaintances. There’s so much going on … I LOVE attending Conference! As Membership Chair, I’ll be at the Concierge Desk in the lobby of the Convention Center. Stop by to say hello and find out what our new Premium Professional Membership is all about!
Special thanks to Seth Resnick, Canon Explorer of Light and Conference Speaker, for giving us the inside scoop on his exciting cold weather photography adventures. Seth’s tips for protecting our gear in extreme conditions, along with his business and marketing advice, are invaluable! Be sure to hear him speak at Conference on Saturday, August 24, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. Courtesy of Canon USA, tickets are not needed for this program, so gather your friends and make it a special evening.
Our Spotlight Member this quarter is Troy Miller. He has earned the 2013 Commercial Photographer of the Year Award. He humbly shares his images and his story with us. Troy is an expert on all things digital, and he will be available to answer your questions as the Digital Café Chair. Be sure to stop in and pick up some “words of wisdom” from him while you’re at Expo!
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Rodney Ninow, 2011-2012 Pro Photo West Editor, for being awarded First Place Editor in the Professional Photographers of America 2013 Affiliate Communications Competition! Thanks to Rodney’s efforts, Pro Photo West remains the #1 Affiliate Publication in the Nation. That, my friends, makes my day!
Be sure to check out the complete Pro Photo Expo and Convention Guide beginning on page 25 of this issue, register if you have not already done so, and prepare your own plan so you don’t miss a thing!
PPC Member, Kat Meezen, 2013 Photojournalistic Photographer of the Year, shares her journey into the profession of photography with us in this issue. Kat’s accomplishments, in a very short period of time, are remarkable. She’s living proof that ingenuity, hard work and determination can help us reach our goals!
Sophie Lane generously provides all the info you need to profit from Gift Certificate donations. It seems so easy, it’s almost frightening! If you’re looking for a way to increase your bottom line (who isn’t?), you may want to try her method of giving more to get more. Sophie will be speaking at Conference on Saturday, August 24, 2013 at 7:30 a.m. Don’t miss her program.
I wish each of you a fun and productive summer. We value your comments and suggestions. Go to: http://www.prophotowest.com/our-suggestion-box
Find out more about Donna at: http://www.ppconline.com/about-us/meet-our-volunteers Summer 2013
MARCY DUGAN, CPP, F-PPC, S-PPC President, Professional Photographers of California
“Your Path to Success ” Of all the things we have in our mission statement, Unity is the one thing that will help us survive the challenges of the future. I’m not sure how to measure Unity, but I’m pretty sure that how our organization is received in the public arena speaks highly of how unified we are as professionals. After all, what makes us different than the guy that just bought a camera at Costco? Quite frankly, it is the quality of our work that separates us from the masses.
I believe that PPC events are the tools that connect us and establish the standards of excellence. With Pro Photo Expo and Conference coming, I’m asking each and every one of us to grab a fellow photographer, friend or colleague and head to Pasadena. There you can experience how PPC helps us unite as professionals and see how our standards of photography are applied to Image Competition. It’s a great way to make sure that we strive to improve individually and
maintain the highest standards of professional photography.
Arrive a day or two early, August 21-23, and enjoy the PPA Western District Image Competition. Learn what it takes to be a Master Photographer and also enjoy the image display. And don’t forget to vote for the People’s Choice Award! The award ceremony will be held Friday night at 6:00 p.m. Be there to cheer on your fellow photographers! While you’re in Pasadena, we also have some great old/new events you will want to check out: Digital Café, Mentor’s Lounge, Image Critique Salon, Certified Professional Photographer Exam and Image Judging Academy Moderator’s Course. These, along with many expert speakers, are available to help guide your business on the Path To Success. See you at Pro Photo Expo and Conference!
Professional Photographers of California July 13-15 August 21-23 August 23-25 August 24 August 24 August 24 October 12-15
Save These Dates!
RoadShow | Quarterly Board, Affiliate & Committee Meetings | Sheraton Hotel, Pasadena Image Competition | Pasadena Convention Center Pro Photo Expo and Conference | Pasadena Convention Center CPP Exam | Pasadena Convention Center Image Judging Academy Moderator’s Course | Pasadena Convention Center All Members Meeting | Pasadena Convention Center Annual Retreat & RoadShow | Photo Excursions, Networking, Quarterly Board, Affiliate & Committee Meetings | Sequoia
Find details for all PPC Events at www.ppconline.com/events. Don’t miss a thing! Be sure to check often as new Events are added regularly.
By TROY MILLER
Redhot - PPC 2013 Commercial Photographer of the Year
Winning PPC 2012 Wedding Photographer of the Year, and now the 2013 Commercial Photographer of the Year is a very humbling experience. Although I see myself as a fairly competent photographer, I never saw myself as being good enough to win either title. 10 | Professional Photographers of California
It has been through the relationships I have made while involved at PPC and my local Affiliate, IEPPV, where I am serving as President for a second year, that I have made friends which encouraged me to try. Image competition has pushed me to evaluate and create images that I would never have tried before. www.ppconline.com
SPOTLIGHT MEMBER … someone should photograph that!” Needless to say, I took the opportunity. I looked forward to having a valuable commercial piece within my portfolio to give myself some diversity from the wedding and portraiture work I do almost daily.
Classic Diva - PPC 2012 Wedding Photographer of the Year
This shot was created in less than 3 minutes. We were waiting for the rest of the wedding party to join us. I loved the wall and asked her to show some leg and give me some attitude. I pulled the trigger, my bride did the rest.
If you do the same thing too long you will find yourself in a rut, and as I was once told by Vance Havner, “a rut is nothing more than a grave with the ends kicked out.” My inspiration for “Redhot” began in my garage where I was working on a personal project for my home, making rivets for my fireplace. When you can’t buy what you want, you make it! Right? I needed rivets, so I took threaded pan head bolts, ground off the threads, and shaped the head. Once I got the bolt red hot, I would pull it from the torch and pound the heads with a hammer to give them a “hand forged” look. During the process of heating the bolt to the point of being malleable, I thought to myself, “blue flame ... red hot bolt
For the capture I used my Nikon D3S with a 24-70 Nikkor lens at ISO 2,000, 1/80th, at F8, all atop a rarely used tripod. Why didn’t I use a macro, you might be asking? I didn’t have one at the time, but I do now. The most challenging aspect of getting this shot was setting up the bolt and the blowtorch. I had to fabricate a bracket that would endure the heat from the torch to hold the bolt in the exact position that I wanted. From there I
Shot at the same location as the “Stormy Kiss” (page 13). Beautiful bride and a fantastically cool location. I just loved the colors and the texture. Add bride, shoot, edit, submit and get merits. Wish they were all that easy.
This image was shot at the Salton Sea in July. Yes it was hot and smelled rather ripe. I have alway loved this place, however. Itâ€™s so desolate and beautiful. The absence of color and the decay of what was once hopeful aspirations has always fascinated me.
Glowing in the Wind
This image has inspired so many of our brides to trade in their short veils for longer ones. Interestingly, this image did not merit at two local affiliates or PPCâ€™s images competition. However it went to PPA, merited and was accepted for the PPA Showcase Book. Believe in your images!
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Shot April 13th. Friday the 13th. It was cold. 38 degrees cold. It rained and it poured, the wind blew and tried to remove us from the mountain top. The bride and groom loved the weather and, with their guests, they embraced the day. Right after the ceremony the rain stopped, clouds opened and the sun peaked out for less than 2 minutes. Everything was put on hold while we took advantage of this moment.
had to figure out how to get the camera close enough without melting the lens hood. Once I had the bolt and the torch in proper alignment, it then came down to figuring out what shutter speed best captured the flames of the torch. I ended up going through at least 15 bolts because they began to bubble as they became heated, forcing me to start all over. Eventually, through time and patience, I got the shot that I had envisioned. Once I was happy with the capture, the images were then brought into Lightroom for editing. I began by applying a fair amount of sharpening and a liberal amount of clarity, finishing it off with small amounts of luminance noise reduction. Other than those minor tune-ups, the image was shot how I saw it.
I am completely amazed that my work has won any awards, let alone allowed me to make a living for the last twenty years. I stress and worry if what I’m doing is good enough. And just when I think I have it figured out, I go to WPPI and come away thinking ... “Oh man, my work bites!” I don’t have it figured out! I have no idea what I’m doing. I make it up as I go. I try to get the images out of my head the best way I know how and ignore the voices when I can. I learned long ago from my Dad, who has been selfemployed for as long as I can remember, that “cant’s don’t come in cant’s, they come in cans.” Basically, you CAN do whatever you want. Make it happen. Somewhere along the way I was taught, “don’t come to me with a problem, come to me with a solution.” Summer 2013
Forever I thought it was just stuff old guys say. But I understand it better now. Well … at least I think I do. If we want to succeed, we have to work hard. To make a good image and run your business in a way that might last twenty-plus years, you have to get out there and bust some butt! Louie Pasteur said, “chance favors the prepared mind.” I love that. Work hard, stay focused, and move ahead all the while keeping your eyes peeled for that “chance”.
I remember the very moment I decided that professional photography was what I wanted to do. I had been working in construction for several years with my dad while dabbling in photography, and photography was winning. I remember sitting in my home, not really looking forward to another day in the sun, and decided right then and there that photography was where I wanted to be. In the beginning, I was convinced that landscapes were the right place for me, never expecting to end up making a living as a wedding photographer. Regardless of where I ended up, I knew photography was going to be my living from then on. As fate had it, and thanks to my dear friend Bob Fletcher who introduced me to weddings by throwing me in the deep end, I then made the move and never looked back. Ultimately I can look to my wife Marjorie for getting me started in photography. We were together in high school when she bought me my first camera, a Minolta X-370. It didn’t take long for me to build a darkroom and start photographing anything and everything. It did take a bit longer for me to start down the path to being a Professional Photographer. At the beginning of my professional photography journey, Marjorie left her great corporate job just as our
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daughter was six months old, came to work with me and has been there ever since.
I have always loved images, and not too long ago I finished scanning my entire film library. When I think back to when I started my photography career just over twenty years ago, I realize how much has changed. It’s amazing to look back on all of that history and not only see time passing, but the methods we used. So much has evolved since the days in the darkroom and what was considered a good image. Without the limitations of film, digital has allowed me to create the images that I have always envisioned. I have always felt that I am part of an “end of an age”. I started in film and now make a living with Digital. It saddens me that so many people learning today will never embrace the disciplines that film required, such as the patience during the time between shooting and getting to see your images. There was a hard cost for every frame you exposed. This made you slow down and think. Be more intentional. More thought and purpose was required for every shot … Is the lighting right? Are the camera settings correct? Did I choose the correct film type? Making sure your subject is just as you want it. No 10 fps and hope you got a few good frames. There was no, “I’ll remove the trash can later”. You changed your pose! If you shot on the wrong film, you lived with it or did a re-shoot. You made it better right then. The point to my rant is this: Take the shot you want. Don’t “hope” you get it. Know your gear intimately. Unlike in the “film days,” it now costs you nothing to shoot. Ansel Adams said it very well, “The ‘machine-gun’ approach to photography – by which many negatives are made with the
SPOTLIGHT MEMBER hope that one will be good - is fatal to serious results.” May I leave you with this:
Create without expectation of fame, and photograph remembering that a captured moment will never exist in that way ever again, and most of all, be kind.
Troy Miller has been a full time professional wedding and portrait photographer for over 20 years, along with his wife, Marjorie. Working together, photography is their business and their passion. Wedding and portrait photography is what they do every day. Troy started with a Hasselblad and a darkroom, and then transitioned to digital in 2004. Although he misses the “Film Days”, digital has allowed him to expand his creative vision beyond what film could ever have offered. Having had the opportunity to teach other photographers and as someone who is predominantly self-taught, Troy strongly believes in the process of education and sharing what he has learned with fellow photographers.
Pro Photo Expo and Conference 2013
DON’T MISS IT!
Register now at: www.prophotoexpoandconference.com
Be sure to stop by the Digital Café while you’re at Pro Photo Expo and Conference, August 23-25, 2013. Troy will be there, along with other Mentors, sharing tips and tricks, offering hands-on experiences and answering your questions about all things digital! PPC: Western States 2013 Commercial Photographer of the Year; 2013 Digital Café Chair; and Western States 2012 Wedding Photographer of the year. IEPPV: 2012 and 2013 President and 2011 Wedding Photographer of the Year. Visit Troy’s website at: http://www.imageconceptsphotography.com/ Summer 2013
By DAVID BEVER
CPP, CPC, MBA
The philosophy behind creating any plan, whether it is a strategic, business or marketing plan, is to thoroughly think through your future, your investments and how you intend to make it all come together into a profitable venture. The importance of creating these plans cannot be understated. It does not matter if you scratch these plans on a napkin, or develop a tri-color glossy brochure, the act of creating the plans will pay for themselves in higher profits and reduced business risk. While the strategic plan defines your vision, provides an understanding of your business environment and establishes goals to achieve over the next 5-10 years, the business plan is a very tactical plan focusing on the value of an investment. You must have a good strategic plan before you create your business plan.
So why do photographers need business plans? Reasons can vary from needing to define your business risk in order to obtain a bank loan, or to simply validate for yourself that the investment you are about to make creates a profitable venture. The bigger the investment, the greater the need for a good business plan. Here are the elements of a good business plan: Executive Summary. A clear, concise, one page summary of your company, the market, what your objective is, your investment, projected returns in a defined time frame, your business risk, how you intend to market your new service or product, and your exit strategy should the venture fail. Describe Your Company. Provide details about your current company, its’ products, operations, employees, revenue and earnings.
The Business Concept. Here is where you describe what the new thing is you intend to do, merge or acquire. You need to adequately describe the concept for a layperson to understand the merits of your business investment. Your business objectives must be clear (e.g. buying a dye sublimation printer with 16 | Professional Photographers of California
the intent to capture 80% of the metal printing market in Detroit). If you are acquiring an existing business, and intend to pay more than it’s worth (called goodwill), then the reason for this needs to be clearly described and valuated (e.g. The business has a well recognized and respected name (good), includes 5 useful patents (good) or comes with five long term employees (bad)). The Market. This comes straight out of your strategic plan. You will need to describe the size of the market, the market growth, your competitors, and what the barriers to entry are for your competitors to copy what you are doing. Risk Analysis. Defining your business risks are one of the hardest things to do. There is a very simple three-step process to use to help identify and quantify your risks. These steps are: 1. Risk Identification 2. Score the likelihood of occurrence on a scale of 1-5 3. Score the consequence to your business should the risk occur on a scale of 1-5 Take this information and place each risk on a 5x5 cube (as shown in the graphic on the next page). Those risks that fall into the light gray (medium risk) or dark gray (high risk) require you to develop a risk mitigation plan. An example of a mitigation plan might be as simple as the following: Risk – Printer failure may shutdown operations for up to 2 weeks. Mitigation – Maintain critical spare parts in inventory along with a 24 hour service contract from company XYZ.
Your Marketing Plan. Once you’ve made your investment and have your operation up and running, how do you intend to tell the community that you are here, and providing this service or product? Some examples are direct mail, TV commercials, signage, grand opening press releases, etc. You need to be able to quantify how many people will see these ads, www.ppconline.com
BUSINESS scribe how this will change under this new business venture. In a one-person business, you really need to describe how you will be able to effectively execute this extra capability.
The Financial Plan. OK, here is what it all comes down to. Does this investment make you a good return on your money, and over what period of time? To truly evaluate your business plan, your financial plan should include: The initial investment including your labor to implement. Define and valuate all fixed costs to own and operate this new project (building, insurance, employees, etc.)
Define and valuate all variable business costs (ink, paper, etc.)
how often and the projected impact of this marketing plan.
Your Implementation Plan. Here you need to describe the schedule for implementing this business plan. The timeline should start from day one, account for any tasks that you’ve already completed, and fully layout your plan to buy, build, advertise, setup, test, market and begin selling your service or product. Your Management Structure. Discuss your personnel and their roles and responsibilities. Now de-
Once this is all written down, it should clearly show when you recover your investment and how healthy of a business you intend to run.
And finally, Your Exit Strategy. This is something none of us like to think about. What if something goes wrong with your plan? The customers don’t come, or a county road construction project starts one month after your new studio opens and you don’t get the drive-by recognition you expected. Thinking through how to recover from the unexpected before the unexpected happens is a form of risk management and is just good business. In the end, a business plan is nothing more than a well thought out description of your new business concept and the evidence that it is financially sound.
David Bever is the owner of dB L.A. Photo in Redondo Beach CA, a photographic services company offering small business consulting, education, and photographic solutions for live events. David is a Certified Professional Photographer, with a degree in Engineering and an MBA in Entrepreneurship. Find out more about David at www.prophotowest.com/about-us/our-contributors Summer 2013
By KAT MEEZEN
Clean Getaway - PPC 2013 Photojournalistic Wedding Photographer of the Year If someone had told me five years ago I’d be a professional boudoir and wedding photographer, I would have laughed and said “I wish!” As a result, my message is not to be careful what you wish for, it’s to go for what you wish! 18 | Professional Photographers of California
I remember it like it was yesterday (well, it kind of was). I was working as a Human Resources Director in the corporate world and was probably in the middle of documenting inappropriate behavior, and setting some sort of dress code policy when I read an article in Professional Photographer Magazine. The www.ppconline.com
BOUDOIR AND BRIDES
article was about a photographer who was providing in-studio boudoir portrait parties. The idea intrigued me and sounded so fun. The ultimate girl time! Ok, so in reality I knew nothing about boudoir photography. I had, after all, been in Human Resources for pretty much the last 25 years. But I did own a fabulous Canon 30D camera along with the kit lens that came with it and I was filled with the passion for photography.
After that day I became a sponge when it came to anything related to photography. From re-learning the basics I had learned in college 25 years earlier, to trying to figure out Photoshop. I was playing all night and on weekends with photographs and offering free shoots to everyone I knew.
I found that so much of what I was doing was very instinctual. Which is why the name of my company made perfect sense. I was using my “Focal Instincts”! Before long I had a website, and an LLC and was offering free family photo weekends in order to build my portfolio.
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A couple of months later a door was opened for me. I had been laid off from my corporate position. (I don’t think reading Professional Photographer Magazine while at work had anything to do with it but I can’t say for sure.) I was a little freaked out, to say the least, however, I was let go on a Friday just before I had a full weekend of 5 families meeting me at the park for scheduled portrait sessions. Honestly, I didn’t skip a beat and I’ve never looked back. I laugh with my husband about when he met me I was an HR Director making six figures and driving a Mercedes. Two months after we got married, I lost
BOUDOIR AND BRIDES
my job and traded the Mercedes in for a Mini Cooper and was photographing friends and family for free, and I’ve never been happier! I kept telling myself “If you do what you love, and work hard at it, the money will follow.” The free family sessions turned into paid family sessions, but the idea of boudoir photography still intrigued me. I tried to contact a couple of local photographers in my area offering boudoir photography and asked if they needed an assistant or an intern and told them I was looking for a mentor … I never heard anything back. I contacted a studio who was offering a $1,200 boudoir class, everything from shooting to
marketing to the business side of it. It sounded perfect! As it turns out they would not allow me to enroll in the class because I lived within a 75-mile radius of their studio.
It was shortly after that when I learned of and attended my first PPA Imaging Conference. It felt like a whole world of knowledge and opportunity had opened up to me. Information was available on all the subjects I had been searching. I returned even more motivated than before. After the Imaging Conference, I explained my vision to a few of my friends. Some thought I was nuts, but Summer 2013
a couple were willing to help. So on a cold night, there we were on the floor of a one-car garage with 2 strobes, a backdrop and some satin sheets. I remember telling the girls “this is going to be so funny when I’m famous one day!” (And I’m sure it still will be.)
That first garage shoot gave me enough images to create one little marketing post card. I wanted to offer something different, the in-home boudoir portrait party. I figured there were in-home parties for pretty much everything from home goods to naughty lady supplies, why not boudoir photography? I’m honestly not sure where my confidence came from, but within a couple of weeks I had three boudoir portrait parties scheduled. One party would lead to another party, the way home parties do. One of my very first boudoir parties actually resulted in 26 additional parties over time. I had made it happen and it was working. I wasn’t charging enough, but that grew as my skills and confidence grew.
if you were to ask me to photograph your wedding a year ago I would have turned you down and hoped you’d book your bridal boudoir session with me. I really just wasn’t interested and had never really had the desire to photograph weddings. If it were not for my former make-up artist insisting that I photograph her wedding, I would probably still be saying no. I reminded her that I don’t specialize in wedding photography and in fact I had never photographed what I consider a real wedding.
She responded that she knows my work and is confident in my capabilities, and that was it. I caved. So I began to read and research more as well as watch
I learn the fastest when I throw myself into something and the abundance of parties with every shape, size, and age of women was the most valuable training I could get. I paid attention and learned that a woman will talk about even the most minor flaws she feels she has, and through posing, lighting … and when all else fails, editing, it is my job to diminish those flaws. I also use another powerful tool I already had in my arsenal: the gift of gab. I never let the camera room go silent, it’s awkward and if you are lying there half dressed in a vulnerable state and it’s quiet, it becomes creepy. Even with music, I keep talking. The boudoir photography then led to maternity photography, which led to babies and then of course more families. It was a normal progression for the growth of Focal Instincts. However,
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BOUDOIR AND BRIDES webinars about how to prepare for, photograph, light and survive this monster called a wedding. I read so many stories about the “Bridezilla,” and how you can be sued for everything under the sun. And, there is the list of “must get” shots and God forbid you don’t back it all up in 6 places from the cloud to a secret drive buried in your back yard. There is some scary, yet real, information out there. So I showed up on the wedding day, June 2, 2012, with two second photographers, a tad bit overkill for a 120 person wedding. All of us were geared with two camera bodies, about a dozen lenses and probably 500 gigs of memory. So there I was, my spider holster belt with a camera at each hip, looking like I was prepared more for battle than a wedding.
As it turns out, nothing I had read said anything about the beauty, grace, intimacy and vulnerability I was about to capture. Interestingly enough, those are the same descriptive words I would use when speaking about my boudoir photography. I was and am hooked. Since that day last year, I have photographed six more weddings, one of which was a destination wedding in Puerto Vallarta. I now love the idea of doing what I love while traveling the world.
My vision for every wedding, and actually every portrait session, is to capture images that will forever remind my clients of the feeling and the experience from their special day. This year I am receiving the Photojournalistic Wedding Photographer of the Year Award for an image that I captured at that very first wedding. I call the
image “Clean Getaway”, which is the bride and groom departing their wedding reception through a wall of bubbles created by guests.
2012 was my first year participating in print competitions and it has been a great learning tool. Last year I won 6 merits for my wedding, portrait and illustrative work and was awarded “Best New Photographer of the Year” for the Inland Empire Chapter of PPA. This year I have won 5 merits for wedding and portrait work as well as a scholarship to attend West Coast School in June. I guess you can say it was pretty important to pay attention to my Focal Instincts!
Kat Meezan is an awardwinning photographer who started her business, Focal Instincts, LLC, in 2008. Operating from her home studio in Corona, California, she focuses primarily on fine art boudoir portraiture and weddings. Additionally she offers family and senior portraits, modeling and corporate headshots as well as special event coverage. She and her husband also love to travel where she adds to her fine art travel portfolio as often as possible. Visit Kat’s website at: http://www.focalinstincts.com/
PRO PHOTO EXPO AND CONFERENCE
DEA MEYER Pro Photo Expo and Conference Manager
Here it is. In the following pages, you’ll find everything you need to get ready for Pro Photo Expo and Conference on August 23-25th - or to encourage you to come if you’re still on the fence! Some notable items:
Seth Resnick, Canon Explorer of Light, will be speaking on Saturday evening. This program is free and open to the public. No separate registration is necessary. As a worldwide explorer, Seth produces superb imagery that transports the viewer to the far reaches of our globe. Follow him on a journey through creativity.
The truly outstanding speaker roster also includes Greg Gorman, Ann Monteith, Judy Host, Jaron Horrocks, Brook Todd, Tamara Lackey, Julia Kelleher, Gary and Pamela Box, Sophie Lane, Drake Busath and special guest speaker, Laura Bruschke.
Don’t miss the Digital Cafe, Print Critique Salon, Mentor Lounge, Print Competition and Affiliate Exhibits, Annual PPC Awards and Annual PPC All Member Meeting, as well as the PPC Featured Photographer of the Year, Janel Pahl. Plus, we’re busy collecting the items generously donated by our vendors and other sponsors for the Silent Auction which will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This will allow all attendees to participate. Make sure to bid in support of West Coast School Scholarships! The Certified Professional Photographer Exam and the Image Judging Academy Moderator’s Course will both be held on Saturday, August 24th. The registration for both of these activities is separate from the Expo and Conference. Please check online at 24 | Professional Photographers of California
www.ppconline.com for further information. And consider joining us for the Western District Print Competition which will take place August 21-23. Merited prints will be eligible for the national print competition in 2014 in Atlanta.
The Friday evening Welcome Party is included in the All Access Pass (or tickets can be purchased at the door for $25) and the Saturday Evening Social following Seth Resnick’s program is open to all. It’s the time to relax and just have fun! Stop by the PPC Booth - the hub of activity. It’s where your PPC Board can be found, where Affiliates gather, where you can learn all about the numerous Member Benefits of Professional Photographers of California and where you can purchase a really cool PPC shirt or hat or… The price is only $149 for three days of programs, of trade show, of networking, of social gatherings. If you are a PPC Member, the price is only $99 - use your Membership number as your code for a maximum of two tickets. Register online at www.prophotoexpoandoconference.com or onsite at the event.
We’d love for you to attend the programs, but if your schedule doesn’t allow, join us for the Expo/ Trade Show and the great gathering of vendors from around the country who will be bringing their best products and services to you. Use the coupon code from your favorite vendor or this one - PPW - for a FREE Expo/Trade Show Pass - a $10 value.
We hope this gives you a sense of all the excitement waiting for you at The Pasadena Center on August 23-25! Enjoy and we can’t wait to see you there!! www.ppconline.com
DENNIS NISBET, CPP, Cr.Photog. Camp Certification Chair
One definition of Separating the Wheat from the Chaff describes it as “choosing the things or people that are of high quality from a group of mixed quality.” Not long ago I read something on a Facebook page that startled me. Written by a photographer that was new to the profession (I think I should use the word profession loosely in this case) wondering where they could read about how to create the images that were required for CPP Image Submission.
If that were possible, if it was possible to circumvent experience and education with a few written words, then the whole idea of becoming a Certified Professional Photographer would be useless! Thanks to the Certification Board, it isn’t easy and the chaff is quickly blown away. Here is a boiled down version of the requirement as described in www.certifiedphotographer.com.
All portfolios require the completion of a compulsory section of 6 images, showing standardized technical proficiency that all professional photographers, regardless of specialty, should know.
What are the Compulsory Images? The compulsory section is comprised of 3 mandatory images and 3 elective images. These images may come directly from client files or may be set up to demonstrate the technique that is required. The CPP Certification judges will review the 6 compulsory images before reviewing the remainder of the body of work. If one of the compulsory images 34 | Professional Photographers of California
does not pass, the entire portfolio will not pass. The remaining nine (9) images must be representative of your paid client work from nine (9) different job assignments in the last 24 months.
Just like a comment on one TV commercial says, “It’s not complicated.” It is simply a matter of applying your learned skills to demonstrate a variety of lighting/posing techniques that you have learned over time as you develop your skills and work in this profession. Preparing the compulsory images is probably not the time to demonstrate some particular style you may be developing but rather to create images that very effectively demonstrate that you know how to create that particular requirement. Remember, “You cannot break the rule until you understand the rule.”
Enough of me standing on a soapbox, let’s talk about the required images. Most of the photographers working on their CPP enter the Portrait/Wedding category. Therefore, what I talk about going forward in this article will be primarily applicable to this category and not necessarily the Commercial category. The sample images you find in the .pdf you can download are pretty good representations of expectation. Only short and broad lighting are still not represented very well and I would suggest you read “The Portrait - Understanding Portrait Photography”, by Glenn Rand & Tim Meyer, for a better explanation. Keep your image naming simple and use the following naming nomenclature: Image_1_Short Lighting_3to1.jpg Image_2_Broad_Lighting_3to1.jpg www.ppconline.com
CAMP CERTIFICATION The first two are demonstrations of very basic lighting. It would be advisable to pose and shoot head & shoulder images, correctly lit and posed so as to demonstrate your lighting skills and your understanding of posing dynamics. Pay close attention to the catch light position, as it should be at either 10 or 2 o’clock. Make sure the nose shadow demonstrates that your main light is sufficiently high and that the open or closed loop is clearly visible. The Selective Focus image must look like you purposely created it that way and it was not just an accident! The sample images are a good demonstration of this.
If you are doing the “S” Curve image using the female form, be sure that the “S” Curve is readily identifiable.
If you use high or low key images, make sure you follow this definition and do not have dark clothing in a High Key portrait or light colored clothing in a Low Key portrait.
Note: ‘Key’ in an image describes the overall tonal range in which an image is created. This includes background, props & clothing. Therefore, a High Key image is an image where the predominant tones in the image are brighter than the mid tones. High Key images are typically lower in contrast than Low Key Images. A subject photographed on a white background wearing dark clothing is not High Key!
For Rule of Thirds images, it is important that you have a single dominate subject that is properly located so as to demonstrate the Rule of Thirds, as well as good composition and balance. Be sure to view the image using the appropriate grid in Photoshop before submission.
In the sample images, Don Dickson’s image is an excellent demonstration of shape/form/texture as is Jeff Johnson’s and Roger Daines’. All three of these images demonstrate these attributes while Audrey Wancket’s image, though accurate, is more subtle. In the samples, Elizabeth Horman did an outstand-
ing job of demonstrating the difference between Symmetrical and Asymmetrical images. One definition is as follows: Symmetrical balance is when everything is perfectly and evenly balanced out. Asymmetrical balance refers to a design that has dissimilar elements but still appears balanced, dividing a picture in half won’t have the exact same elements however the elements they do have are varied and seem to balance one another out.
In photographic subjects, Color Harmonies are most generally demonstrated using Complementary Colors, those colors that are on opposite sides of the color wheel or Analogous Colors, those colors that are on either side of the dominate color on the color wheel. Complementary color schemes can be taken in small doses and have high impact while analogous colors are generally softer and appealing to the eye. The sample images demonstrate analogous color harmony. Though not common, it is possible to pose a female form in a more masculine way. You have probably seen photographs of women in the armed services that are portrayed as strong and more masculine. A female executive might want a portrait that portrays her as both assertive and slightly masculine so as not to appear soft.
Angular images in portraiture might be like the one in the sample. The important part is that something is demonstrating angles. When selecting images from your work, be sure that they are interesting, well balanced with impact as well as properly exposed and composed.
If you are an experienced professional photographer, your skills will kick in and you will pass this part with ease. If you do not yet have those skills, you will probably just get kicked. Either way it is a great learning experience and you will be proud to be a CPP when you pass. Summer 2013
PART THREE OF THREE
By SETH RESNICK
Canon Explorer of Light Pro Photo Expo and Conference Speaker
BRINGING YOUR FREEZING CAMERA BACK INTO THE WARM HOUSE OR CAR PREPARING FOR RE-ENTRY: Going back inside from the cold presents a challenge to your camera as well. The warm humid air inside a house will cause condensation to form outside and possibly inside your camera. To prevent this from happening, place your camera in a sealed plastic bag before returning indoors. Your camera may still develop some condensation, so you will need to allow your camera to sit and dry out for a few hours before using it again. 38 | Professional Photographers of California
Again consider wrapping your media cards as well. The moisture will settle on the outside of the bag rather than on the inside surfaces. You can protect the delicate electronics this way. In fact, it’s best if you place the bag on the camera while still outside, not when you bring the camera in. When you bring the camera back indoors, odds are good that you’ll still get some condensation on the lens. Be patient. It’s a bad idea to wipe the lens off because doing so will likely pool the condensation up around the edges, allowing it to leak into the inside of www.ppconline.com
PRO PHOTO EXPO AND CONFERENCE SPEAKER the lens assembly. That’s a really bad thing. So let the condensation evaporate on its own; it shouldn’t take long.
Don’t bring your camera in from the cold for just a few minutes, and then rush outdoors with it again. If you do, the condensation won’t have a chance to evaporate, but will instead freeze on (and perhaps even inside) the camera, possibly damaging it. Let your camera warm up slowly. Place it on a cool windowsill or an unheated area for a couple of hours so it can rise slowly to room temperature. Seal your camera before going back inside.
Lastly, just to play it safe make multiple copies on different storage media of all the files. Media cards that are cold will still transfer, but if they do get wet with condensation they may fail, so backing up right away is import
The technical limits, according to most camera manuals, for guaranteed low temperature operation with any digital camera is 0 degrees Celsius. However, the bottom line is it’s certainly possible to use professional digital SLRs in freezing conditions, as long as they are handled correctly. I have been very successful with cameras in sub-freezing temperatures, as long as I observed precautions against condensation and poor battery performance. With some simple planning, you’ll be able to make breathtaking images, “no pun intended”, outdoors in cold weather. Cold weather offers exceptional opportuSummer 2013
nities for wonderful landscapes because of crystalclear air, vivid colors and dramatic textures. So donâ€™t be daunted when the temperature drops into the Arctic zone.
MY ANTARCTIC GEAR LowePro Stealth Reporter camera bag and LowePro hard cases.
My bag contained a Canon 1DX and Canon 5dM111
Seth Resnick has marked the world of contemporary photography by a prolific career spanning education, fine art, editorial, stock and commercial work, and entrepreneurial contributions to the education of digital workflow through D-65. Chosen as one of the 30 most influential photographers of the decade, Seth is greatly in demand for his beautiful graphic images in both natural and created light. Resnick has been published in the worldâ€™s most prestigious magazines. His credits include over 2500 publications worldwide and his clients constitute a virtual list of Corporate America. Seth Resnick is an industry consultant to photo agencies, software companies and is frequently quoted by industry magazines. Learn more about Seth at: http://www.prophotoexpoandconference.com/speakers-info/seth-resnick/ 40 | Professional Photographers of California
PRO PHOTO EXPO AND CONFERENCE SPEAKER and four lenses – a Canon 300mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8, 24-70mm 2.8, 14mm 2.8 and a 2x convertor. Also, I carried 6 32GB SanDisk cards, 15” MacBook Pro with CS6, Lightroom, 8GB of ram, 5 Western Digital 2TB 7200 firewire drives and ample cords and miscellaneous assorted goodies. Much of the time I walked around with the 300 and was amazed that I was able to shoot handheld at ISO 100 even at 2:00 a.m. Oh, and here is one more little tip. I found that in low light if you shoot multiple bursts, use 14 frames per second. Even at lower shutter speeds, the first frame will typically show movement but the second and third frame will be sharp. I shot approximately 90GB of files. Some of the selects from this trip and other recent trips are posted at http://www.sethresnick.com/recent
MY BACKGROUND When I started my career as a photojournalist, I fell in love with the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson. “Of all the means of expression, photography is the only one that fixes forever the precise and transitory instant. We photographers deal in things that are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth that can make them come back again. We cannot develop a print from memory...” Bresson wrote these words in his 1952 essay on “The Decisive Moment” and those words began to define my career and those of almost all my colleagues. In a film based world we had the expression of F8 and be there, essentially defining that the critical aspect of my job was quite simply to get the moment. With every news story I covered I cherished the days when I ran into the newsroom charged on adrenaline and yelled, “I got it.” It was rather easy to operate a camera in those days. For the most part, the cameras had limited bells and whistles and if you remembered to put in the roll of film, you could pretty much concentrate on a subject and wait for that unique decisive moment. In theory, today is not much different. In fact, with digital we have the light table that we used to edit with built right into the back of the camera. Considering that you can now see what you got, it should
be the best it has ever been. Yet time and time again, I watch photographers both pro and amateur alike completely miss the decisive moment because they are too enthralled with the technology on the back of the cameras. Instead of keeping their eyes focused on a subject, or building a repertoire with a subject, they seem to spend most of the time looking at histograms and continually checking frame after frame for exposure, white balance, and noise. Has the impressive quality of digital today become more of focus than the image itself? I watched a critique of a shoot recently and most of the comments were related to technical issues. Images were being rejected based on histograms, color space, clipped whites and blacks, poor channels and the scariest of all was that the judging was being done based on the IPTC and EXIF data. The images themselves were rejected without even looking at the images. When I shot film, we were forced to shoot things like professional black athletes playing night baseball with the aid of limited stadium lighting. We were shooting at obscene ASAs and leaving the film in developer while we went out and got dinner. The concept was if there was anything on that film we would get it if we left it in the developer long enough … sure the prints were grainy, but they ran in the paper and they looked great. Digital is great and I will personally never shoot film again. The quality is simply better than film, but I am constantly noticing more and more that folks seemed to be more concerned with the technical aspects than they are with the image itself. We must never lose sight of a fundamental concept. Photography is all about the image and the heart of the image is that decisive moment, not the histogram… ADVICE FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS You need to believe it is possible to succeed, and then be able to convince others that you can too. Being a professional photographer, especially freelance work, is not for everyone, but it is not impossible. It requires a particular configuration of skills, and being good at making images is only one small part. In addition, you need to have good skills in logistics, marketing, business, and dealing with people, all at the same time. Summer 2013
Marketing is indeed a challenging part of freelancing. Keeping a business going is a never ending effort. Doing a little here and a little there won’t cut it. You need to research the clients you want to target and then go after them with a plan. I spend a great deal of time developing clients and making sure I keep them through marketing.
I tailor my presentations according to client needs. I find out their needs by researching them on the web or through professional publications. Getting and keeping clients can take as much of your time as taking pictures and doing assignments, but it is a part of the equation that you cannot ignore. Work will only come your way if you make it happen. It is my experience that making personal contact is useful if you can do a good job of selling yourself one on one. This is how I’ve built a business that is regional, national and international in scope.
Parts One and Two of Seth’s article, along with more of his stunning images, can be found in the May and June issues of Pro Photo West e-Supplement at: www.prophotowest.com/current issue. Don’t miss Canon Explorer of Light, Seth Resnick’s program “Seeing Color: Creating Dynamic Killer Images” at Pro Photo Expo and Conference, Saturday, August 24, 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Note: Courtesy of Canon USA, tickets are not needed for this Saturday Evening Program. Please feel free to invite friends and family at no charge.
Many of us don’t start out with much confidence, but we need to project it nonetheless. Of course, I made plenty of mistakes along the way, but I made sure to learn from them and spent a lot of time honing my business skills as well as my photography skills. Figure out where you want to go, then take the first step toward that goal. Then take the next, and the next one after that. Repeat until you’re on your way.
THE FUTURE Photographers have a creative inspiration to share with the world. The visions we develop will quickly fade unless we acknowledge that we must be business people as well as creative people. The essence of our creative drives are being jeopardized by our inability to educate, participate, and negotiate in the global market. Our long term success is no longer dependent on just our creativity, but on our ability to integrate creativity, technology and business. Photography is an ongoing process and I am still excited by it each and every day, but I am never content. Imogen Cunningham said, “Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.” This is why I continue to question what it means to make a picture in 2013. 42 | Professional Photographers of California
DAWN JIRSA-FAIRFIELD PPC Marketing and Social Media Chairperson
As we come into the time of year that is usually busy for most portrait photographers it may seem that marketing isn’t something you need to worry about “right now”. Think again!
Imagine a 1/2-ton cement wheel just sitting in front of you. If you nudge the wheel just a little, it may budge an inch or two and you may strain a muscle, but the cement wheel won’t move much before it stops. Apply another nudge and you’ll get a few more pangs in your back and the wheel will move another few inches. What if we applied consistent light pressure even after the wheel starts to move? Without more than a pulled muscle or two we get the wheel to move much further down the road. Pretty soon that heavy cement wheel picks up speed. Suddenly the wheel doesn’t want to stop -and good luck trying to stop it!
Marketing is much like this imaginary wheel. Too many times we slam a few hours at our marketing needs, business picks up a little speed and then comes to a stop again. If you go through the strain of pulling those marketing “muscles” once why would you want to do it over and over again?
In April my column walked you through creating a marketing calendar for the remainder of 2013. Today I want to share a few tips with you on how to put your wheel in motion that keeps a steady roll down the road.
Constant Contact is a wonderful tool for busy business owners. Import your email addresses, design 1 or a handful of templates for your business and you’re ready to roll! You can create multiple emails and schedule them for release throughout the year. You know what your specials are according to your marketing calendar so you should be able to draft 6 months of emails at one time. Leave space in each email for you to quickly add a short “blog” or journal about your previous month -talk about your upcoming trip to Pasadena for the Pro Photo Expo and Conference, brag about your recent Print Comp scores, mention (first name only) clients you’ve chosen for display and share a new technique you learned at West Coast School. The blog style email is far more likely to be opened every time than just a “flier” with specials. Always keep your clients informed of what you do behind the scenes!
Use Constant Contact no more than once per month and highlight or mention the specials you have for
MARKETING the next 3 months. Your July email should include specials happening this month as well as August, September and October.
Facebook is another way to keep your marketing wheel rolling. Did you know that when you are using a Business Page you can type a post or upload an image and schedule it to go live at a later date/time? Schedule Facebook posts up to 2 weeks in advance and watch this free social media site do some of your work for you! Create an event for each of your special offers. Again, create them well in advance and schedule the event to “post” 90 days prior to the start of your special. Be sure to include full information about the offer, upload a graphic depicting the offer and don’t forget to set the start and end times/dates to coincide with your offer dates. Once you create the event on your Business Page, switch to your Personal Profile and invite all your friends that are clients to that event. Every client that “attends” your event will automatically have posted to their Timeline that they are attending with a live link to your event. This post shows to all of their friends, which rapidly increases your reach and exposure! We should not forget one of the original forms of social media -the humble newspaper. Most high schools print their own newspaper and generally release once per month. Although these publications are always in need of advertising money students may not think to call you. Most likely you will have to reach out to your local school to get advertising started.
School newspapers are an inexpensive way to market directly to your target audience if you photograph se44 | Professional Photographers of California
niors! Call the school to make contact with the newspaper Advisor for pricing and dimensions as well as projected release dates and deadlines. Line up your marketing calendar with those release dates and reserve your newspaper ads for the school year NOW. Take a few moments and design your ads based on your marketing calendar. Most schools will allow you to give a CD to the Advisor with a year’s worth of ad space and require you to pay only for the ad that is currently due, making it much easier to budget your marketing dollars.
Keep in mind that by using school newspapers you are communicating directly with teens. Your printed ad should remain professional but it should also appeal to the 16-18 year old group. This is also not the right place to market a special offer 90 days away. School newspaper ads should have an immediate call to action, so only market your current special, or a special starting not more than 1 week from the newspaper release date. With your marketing calendar on semi-auto pilot you can move on to more important tasks, like earning the funds to buy the latest camera gear!
Dawn grew up in the family studio learning business management, marketing, sales, personnel management and customer service. She has perfected these skills through employment with multiple international marketing and customer relations companies, bringing her knowledge and experience back to the family studio and to the Marketing Department of PPC. Learn more about Dawn at: www.prophotowest.com/our-contributors www.ppconline.com
By SOPHIE LANE
Pro Photo Expo and Conference Speaker
Looking back, I now recognize the feeling I had was the need for change. In 2010 our photographic industry market had shifted and the general economy had shifted. My husband, Steve Winslow, and I realized that our marketing strategy at Winslow Studio and Gallery had been without innovation for far too long. Steve opened his studio doors in 1990. Over the course of twenty years, he carefully honed his craft and secured his spot as Bozeman, Montana’s elite high end portrait studio.
Yet, since 2007 there had been many dynamic changes in the photographic industry. I vividly remember while studying at Brooks Institute of Photography in 46 | Professional Photographers of California
2004, my professor, Tim Meyer, shared a number of his own concerns about the state of the industry. There we sat, six years later needing a plan … and fast.
GIVE TO RECEIVE The plan came eight months later at Imaging USA, when Travis Gugleman said, “If you’re not receiving what you want, you’re not giving what you should.” Simply put, that phrase opened an entirely new realm of money-making possibilities. In that very moment, the antsy need-to-change sensation I had disappeared and I excitedly got to work changing www.ppconline.com
PRO PHOTO EXPO AND CONFERENCE SPEAKER
how we do business. Thinking about ways to give while seeking our target market turned my focus to charities. Refreshing some old ideas provided a threeway-win formula.
1. We donate to charities and fill our pockets instead of emptying them!
Turning $96 Into $27,000 By Giving
2. Patrons redeem their certificates and TRIPLE their money value! 3. The charity raises as much as $1000 with just our donation!
In short, Winslow Studio made $27,000 dollars by donating and redeeming twenty gift certificates. This all occurred in the last six months of 2012. I’ll spare you my two-year learning curve and show you how these gift certificates proved to be such big money makers.
ROCKIN’ THE RATIO FOR BIG BUCKS I found that a $100 to $300 ratio yielded the best results (i.e. a certificate purchased for $100 that gives the buyer $300 in credit at our studio). I create 10, yes TEN, $300 gift certificates to Winslow Studio for a family or children’s portrait session ($150 session value with a $150 print credit). The charity sells these gift certificates for $100 each. From these ten gift certificates, we’re potentially gaining ten new clients. I will NOT limit myself to donating just one gift certificate and I’m raising up to $1000 for the charity!
48 | Professional Photographers of California
The Charity displays these certificates as a type of silent auction item that we call a ‘Direct Purchase’. Each person, up to ten people, who fill out a line on the bid-sheet commits $100 to the Charity and receives a $300 gift certificate to Winslow Studio. There is no “outbid the person before you” on our gift certificates.
PRO PHOTO EXPO AND CONFERENCE SPEAKER All I ask in return from the Charity is the contact information (name, address, phone and email) of everyone who purchases a gift certificate. I have the charity sign a contract stating their willingness to give me this information. I won’t donate without it. Ever. Having their information allows me to contact each person and help them schedule their portrait session. The $100 donation helps to qualify our target market because not everyone is willing to hand over a hundred-dollar bill. Having that initial investment helps the purchasers understand what it is they’re buying and the value of what we’re offering.
By following the steps below, Winslow Studio gave, in total, over 80 gift certificates to charities and raised over $8,000 for those causes just last year. This year I expect those numbers to double.
From those eighty gift certificates, twenty have been redeemed. That’s a 25% call rate, so far! In addition, not all of the sessions have been in to order their portraits yet, nor have the gift certificates reached their expiration date. Our percentages should still increase quite a bit. On a direct mail campaign, it’s unheard of to get more than a 2-3% call rate. I’ll take this 25% over 3% any day!
Only one of the twenty gift certificates was redeemed for face value with no extra purchase. If you consider the $27,000 we made from those twenty gift certificates, it’s ok with me if one in 20 doesn’t order more. SO HERE GOES Step One: Research Where to Give!
Placing a few calls to local, well-known charities is a great way to get started. The three things to ask when you call a charity are:
• “We’ve heard wonderful things about your organization and we’re looking for ways to give back in our community, do you have any fundraising events com-
ing up that we could discuss being a part of?” Believe me, they already love you.
• “What are your monetary goals in fundraising for your biggest event this year?” Who wouldn’t want to brag about their most successful event?
• “Would you be open to some ideas from us about what we’d like to do for you?” This is where you describe to them the idea of a Direct Purchase. By asking the questions above and researching the charities in your community, you will quickly and easily find where you’ll fit best.
Our studio has a stellar reputation in our community as a high-end portrait business. Therefore, we approach some of the higher-end charities that have the biggest footprint in our town of Bozeman and surrounding county where we have a population of 90,000. We contribute to the following types of organizations, among others:
Hospital Foundation • Raises $200,000-$300,000 in one night for departments at our local hospital
Women’s Shelter Foundation • Raises $100,000+ in one night to shelter women and children displaced by abuse Cancer Support Center • Raises $70,000 plus in one night to help cancer patients and their families with activities, counseling, cooking classes, etc. Step Two: Preparing the Gift Certificates
Our ten 5x7 gift certificates are printed locally at a big box store on lustre photo paper. I mount them on 2-ply art board, trim with a gold pen and package them in a slick black envelope with a gold stretchy band and our Winslow Studio sticker. My total cost for 10 certificates is $12. Summer 2013
They’re beautiful and charities LOVE the look of them. Step Three: The EASY upsell
There’s nothing easier than selling to people who have a gift certificate! Obviously they want what you’re offering! But we purposefully structure our donation as a studio credit rather than a set package.
When you receive a gift card, don’t you oftentimes discover that you spend more when you get there? I do. If I receive a gift card to a clothing store, Steve better watch his wallet because spending more is inevitable! Why, then, would I donate an all-inclusive package and thwart our opportunity to upsell the images we create? Instead I give them credit toward products at our studio to help them purchase what they really want. I know they will fall in love with their portraits and, when they do, spending more is as easy as pie! It’s a beautiful thing. Our average additional sale on every gift certificate was $1,350. So, yes, we made $27,000 from 20 gift certificates.
My cost to acquire those clients who spent $27,000 was just $96 in materials. MAKE IT EVEN BETTER I must admit that with a new studio and home purchase in the last six months, we haven’t made all of the necessary follow-up phone calls to the recipients of the gift certificates. Even so, we’re still very pleased with our results.
This year, our goal is that 60% of certificates will be redeemed because we’re getting in touch with those clients sooner and more consistently. I’ll reiterate the words that changed my life three years ago. “If you’re not receiving what you want, you’re not giving what you should.”
I have high hopes that if you want to change and grow your business, you’ll donate your way to amaz50 | Professional Photographers of California
ing profits, all while supporting a great sense of community right where you live and work.
Remember the old adage that you have to spend money to make money? I’m excited to say I might have found a better way. The $96 dollars I spent in materials raised $8,000 for good causes. In addition, it brought $27,000 to my business. What goes around comes around? I’ll take that, thank you.
Sophie Lane walked a dynamic road to find a place in the photographic world. Seeking the best information in the most efficient form, she enrolled at Brooks Institute where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Portraiture in three years. “Graduating from Brooks Institute gave me the discipline to do what I love and the drive to succeed at it. My husband, Steve Winslow, began his portrait business 23 years ago in Bozeman, Montana. I, now, have the privilege of finding ways to expand an already wonderful business into something even more visible to the community. I love working with my camera, but find I am just as excited about business and marketing. Though I might be an anomaly, I am grateful to have found ways to enjoy every part of our business.” Don’t miss Sophie Lane’s program “It’s Your Day Too: The Opportunity Cost Of Weddings” at Pro Photo Expo and Conference, Saturday, August 24, 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Find out more about Sophie at: http://www.prophotoexpoandconference.com/ speakers-info/sophia-lane/ Register for Pro Photo Expo and Conference at: http://www.prophotoexpoandconference.com www.ppconline.com
TIM MATHIESEN, M.Photog.Cr., F-ASP, F-PPC Image Competition Chair
2014 Western District Image Competition August 21-23, 2013 Attn: Please note information changes in BOLD TYPE!
Western District Image Competition (Aug 21-23, 2013) is just around the corner. Yes, the dates are correct. As we mentioned earlier this year, PPC will be hosting the 2014 PPA Western District competition in conjunction with the 2013 PPC Pro Photo Expo and Conference in Pasadena. We not be holding a PPC state competition during this competition. We have already held the state competition for 2013. Future PPA District Competitions will be held in conjunction with PPC Pro Photo Expo and Conference. There will be the manufacturer awards. The Kodak Gallery Award, Fuji Masterpiece and Lexjet Sunset award will be awarded in the print competition. Each of the manufacturer awards are product specific. To qualify for the awards you must use that specific manufacturerâ€™s paper. The Lexjet Sunset award will be given to the highest scoring print in the competition. If that print is awarded Best in Show, an additional award of an Apple iPad will be presented. Awards from the February 2013 competition will be presented at Pro Photo Expo and Conference during the Annual Awards Ceremony to be held Friday, August 23, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.
Get your entries ready! The entry window opens on July 22, 2013. The deadline is August 12, 2013 before 2:00 p.m. PST. All entries have to be uploaded to PPA headquarters in Atlanta, GA. Go to www. ppa.com to upload your entries. I have to put the emphasis on the closing time on the 12th of August. If you are later than 2:00 p.m. PDT, your entry will not
be accepted. Their computers shut down at 5:00 p.m. EST/2:00 p.m. PDT. Donâ€™t wait until the last minute!
If you are entering prints, you still must upload your digital reference files by the August 12th deadline. You can deliver the print case to the Pasadena Conference Center on August 20, 2013 by 4:00 p.m. Cases will not be accepted after 4:00 p.m. I cannot emphasize enough to not wait until the last minute to enter. We will not accept any print case after the 4:00 p.m. deadline for entries. I will be sending out more information as we get closer to the judging. PPC is looking forward to exciting and educational competition. Good luck.
Tim is a PPA international qualified photographic juror and Jury Chairperson. He has conducted image critiques in the USA, England, Mexico, Canada, Korea and Japan. He has over 200 PPA exhibition merits and more than 40 images in the PPA Loan Collection. He has won the Kodak Gallery Elite Award, 6 Fuji Masterpiece Awards and 5 Kodak Gallery awards. If you have any questions or concerns about the 2014 Western District Image Competition, you may contact Tim at: email@example.com Find out more about Tim at: http://www.ppconline.com/about-us/meet-our-volunteers/ Summer 2013
By TIM MEYER
MSA, M.Photog.Cr., F-PPC, S-PPC Photographic lighting ratios have been confounding photographers since they were first defined. There are many photographers today who refuse to consider the subject and sometimes label it unimportant because of this confusion. Whether understood or not, photographic lighting ratios are a part of today’s photography, especially portraiture. Photographers either control them or lose control of their imagery.
The term photographic lighting ratios describes the difference in exposure between the highlight side of the subject and the shadow side of the subject and is usually expressed as a ratio (such as 2:1, where the highlight side has one stop more light [or twice as bright] as the shadow side).
The confusion comes in because there are at least two distinct ways to measure lighting ratios. Each way can produce apparently different results. Add that to the fact that sometimes in describing measuring lighting ratios, instructors inappropriately mix the two methods which invalidates the results. So, let me distill it all down to what I consider the most practical approach to the subject. Simply put, ratios describe how much brighter the highlight side of your subject is than the shadow side of your subject. In a 2:1 ratio, the highlight side is twice as bright as the shadow side, a 4:1 is four times brighter, and an 8:1 is eight times brighter. In Figure 1 (next page), you can see how different ratios appear on a common subject.
The questions become which one fits best the style of work that you like to produce, and how do you consistently achieve each of the looks? The answer about style is dependent on your subject matter and the effect you are trying to achieve. Conventional wisdom states that the lower the ratio the “flatter” the contrast. This works well in traditional work and is also seen in much of the beauty lighting used in commer52 | Professional Photographers of California
cial work. The higher the ratio, the darker the shadow becomes, increasing contrast and often the drama of the image. A high contrast can be used to great effect, but can also become decidedly non-traditional with the higher ratios. As mentioned in my earlier point about controlling lighting ratios, if you do not control them, you lose your ability to affect the style of your imagery in a consistent way. Lighting ratios are not the only consideration in determining style in imagery, but they play an important role.
As for how to set up or determine what your lighting ratio will be, I would suggest the following method. In today’s modern cameras, it is possible to meter ambient or continuous light selectively on both sides of the face using the spot metering mode. (Check your camera’s manual to change your settings to this mode. I am unaware, however, of any camera that will do this with flash or strobe lighting.) Take a meter reading on the shadow side of the face and compare it with a reading taken on the highlight side of the face. Alternately, and my preferred method, would be to use a hand held light meter when determining lighting ratios. My favorites are the Sekonic L-358 or the new Litemaster Pro L-478DR. Using the meter in the incident light mode (refer to the manual), measure the light on the shadow side of the face by pointing the dome of the meter towards the camera from the shadow side of the face. Make sure that none of the light from the highlight side hits the dome. Take note of this exposure. This is the shadow side exposure. Now place the dome near the highlight side of the face where it is illuminated by both the shadow and highlight side illumination. There is a giant controversy as to whether to point the dome of the meter towards the camera or towards the main source of the highlight side illumination. Either will work effectively, but I find for the kind of work that I do, I point the dome www.ppconline.com
Figure 3 2:1 Ratio Figure 2 5:1 Ratio Summer 2013
LIGHTING LESSON of the meter towards the main source of the highlight side illumination. Take note of this exposure. This is the highlight side exposure. Compare the shadow side and highlight side exposures. The difference in F-stops between the two will determine your ratio. Below is a chart to convert that difference into lighting ratios.
Figure 4 4:1 Ratio Figure 5 8:1 Ratio
I am a portrait artist and use lighting ratios extensively to influence the look of my work. In Figures 2-6 you will see some examples of my images with the lighting ratios listed. How you use lighting ratios is up to you. Just use them consistently and powerfully.
Figure 6 No Fill
Drawing from over 30 years of experience, Tim Meyer (M.Photog.Cr.) mixes our rich artistic heritage with todayâ€™s styles. His images enlighten and inspire. In addition to numerous exhibitions of his fine art work, Timâ€™s professional photography has been internationally recognized for its innovative style and technique. He is the Lead Instructor at Brooks Institute and maintains a nationally acclaimed portrait and wedding business, Meyer Photography. Tim teaches internationally for the MAC Group Pro Educational Team and is honored to be sponsored by H&H Color Lab, Big Folio and Triple Scoop Music. His writings on photography and art have been published internationally, and his book, The Portrait - Understanding Portrait Photography, co-written with Glenn Rand and published by Rocky Nook, Inc., is available worldwide. Learn more about Tim at: http://www.prophotowest.com/our-feature-writers/tim-meyer/ 54 | Professional Photographers of California