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Phillip Abel (619) 435-0583

1514 N.  Elm  Street,  Escondido,  CA  92026 (800)  439–5839


Cayce Newman, S–PPC


(951) 737-7310


Marcy Dugan, CPP, F-PPC, S-PPC (310) 322-2917


Penny Palumbo, CPP (626) 826-1836


Robin Swanson, CPA (818) 790–6333


Stewart Schulze, Cr, S–PPC (209) 669–6203





M.Photog, Cr, CPP, ASP, API,

M.Photog, Cr, CPP, F–PPC, S–PPC

CPP, F–PPC, S–PPC, MPhotogCr

(951) 696–9706


(951) 780–2627

(909) 946–4836

(800) 439–5839




(805) 551–1363

(805) 551–1363

Professional Photographers of California, Inc. is a non–profit, 501(c)6 trade association of professional photographers, employees, suppliers and others allied to the profession. Professional Photographers of California offers a variety of opportunities and benefits to its members and is one of the largest state affiliates of the Professional Photographers of America. Pro Photo West is the official publication of Professional Photographers of California, and is published quarterly for the purpose of keeping members informed of photographic information, news and activities of the state. Subscription is included with member dues, or is available for $26. per year. Articles, with or without photographs, are welcome for review for inclusion in this publication; however the Editor reserves the right to edit and use articles on a space–available basis. Materials will not be returned unless a postage paid envelope is provided. Letters and contributions must include a phone number. Send all communication, articles or advertising to the Editor. Articles appearing in Pro Photo West reflect the opinions of the writer. They do not necessarily represent those of the editor or Professional Photographers of California. Permission to reprint contents of this magazine is granted to similar photographic publications, provided the author, Professional Photographers of California and Pro Photo West are credited as the source. Printed by Marathon Press, Norfolk, Nebraska .

2 | Professional Photographers of California

C F



I M—D J, S-PPC Marcy Dugan

 E


B  C

 P’ M


B  NOT B

 A D


F  P


CPP C C C  S


M F—J B


A Y R  S


I F—L P

Marcy Dugan

Mike Collins

Cary Conrady

Cayce Newman

S R P A

 W  S P S

 W C S K C

 QB  P R S

 PPC C  E  T E

 Y P

Your favorite PPC magazine is now available online!

That’s right! You can now view the most current issue of ProPhotoWest magazine at Click on the cover to access the pages inside, and navigate from one page to the next by clicking on the arrow buttons on either side of each 2 page spread. You can also click on the pages to zoom in automatically and read the print quality text. Clicking on advertisements will take you to those vendors’ Web sites automatically, just like magic. Back issues of the magazine will be available shortly, and are only available to PPC members in good standing.

O  C

Jodie Beck Madison Grace Photography Spring 2011 | 3

Don’t break the bank. Fill it.

Go to for more information! Learn more about how PickPic ProofPro can impact your life, business, and bottom line. 4 | Professional Photographers of California

by whcc

WPPI 2011, Booth #1201

From The




n a field crowded with enthusiasts who do photography as an avocation instead of a ‘real’ profession (that is, one that pays the bills and supports a family), how do we make ourselves and our profession stand out? How do we convince people we’re worth the money? We have to be so good we stand head and shoulders above the crowd—and then we have to make sure people know just how good we are. One’s about being good, the other’s about being seen as good—or better yet, great! We have to learn more each month, improve our creative and business skills each month, market ourselves as the best possible choice each month, and put all that we learn to work as soon as we learn it. If we don’t make ourselves stand out, the $500 run-andgun wedding shooters will ruin the wedding business, while delivering rotten work, and the avid enthusiasts will take over the portrait biz. A great way to jumpstart a new specialty or enhance an existing skill is to attend West Coast School. The range of courses each year is designed to make sure you never run out of opportunities to grow in our profession. The biggest problem many people have is that they want to take more than one class. For them, it’s really too bad school only comes around once a year!

The instructors are topnotch, and you can learn as much as you want to learn. Impromptu shoots outside of class, special short offerings, and very approachable instructors guarantee you can continue learning outside of regular class hours. You’ll get out of it even more than you put into it. Add in the networking and friendship-building opportunities, and WCS is one of the best deals around. Members of PPC have a wide range of additional resources available to them. This magazine offers a range of examples of various photographers’ work— and one of the best ways to stretch your skills is to look at a particular image and ask yourself “How would I recreate this image?”, challenging yourself to figure it out so well you could do it to match, then improve on it even further. Our yearly convention offers a wide range of skilled speakers’ presentations, as do the monthly meetings around the state. And you can always call another member—maybe one you met at WCS—and ask them how they would handle a particular challenge. Yes, we’re competitors, but we’re colleagues as well, and we’re supposed to be here for each other.


Steven and Peggy Roosa own Sandstone Photography in Thousand Oaks, CA. They specialize in formal portraits and commercial work. Steven is an accomplished photographer, having won numerous awards for his work over the past 30 years, including PPC’s prestigious Photographer of the Year in the Nature category in 2008. In his spare time, he serves as Critique Chairman of the Thousand Oaks local photography SIG, and regularly teaches photography classes to its members. Peggy is an aspiring novelist, and together, they are writing a series of beginning photography books they hope to have published soon. Steven and Peggy belong to several photography societies and organizations, including CIPPA, PPA, WPPI, and PSA.

An incredible range of knowledge and skill is just waiting to be seized and put to work, to keep us on top of our profession. Let’s grab with both hands. Spring 2011 | 5

From The


R A



At the tender age of four Phillip loved spending time with his father, a serious amateur photographer, in a darkroom in their home. Watching black and white film develop in front of his wide eyes still causes the same reaction: ”WOW! Look at that!” Phillip earned a degree in photography at UC Hayward, then spent the next 12 years as a Navy photographer. Then, he opened a studio in San Diego, focusing primarily on commercial work. He continued to feed his fascination for B&W photography, as the general manager of a custom lab producing B&W prints and murals. Phillip became a Tech Rep specializing in black and white papers for Oriental Photo. Next, he became a Technical Sales Representative at Fujifilm. He was awarded Salesman of the Year for his work with the team that brought to market the first affordable digital SLR’s. He went on to become a Director at Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI), and a Business Development Manager for Calumet Photographic. He currently is a Regional Sales Manager for the Mac Group.

ecently, a group of photographers and their families set out to the annual Professional Photographers of California retreat. Each year we find a stunning out of the way place to relax from out daily stress filled lives. This year’s event took place at the Montecito Lodge in the Sequoia National Park. Definitely out of the way and beautiful, majestic, awe inspiring…you get the idea. It fit the bill. We filled our time with good company, eating, drinking and shooting stuff with guns…not cameras. We even managed to kill Phil M! The activities we enjoyed most were the day trips taking pictures of nature… not high school seniors! Each morning we would trek out to the wilderness to capture the great 100 point image. I must admit the scenery was breathtaking and majestic. So…let me set the scene for you. We came upon a couple out enjoying nature. They discover a hollowed out tree, which would make a great backdrop for a photograph. Boy takes picture of girl in the tree, then girl of boy in the tree. Seemed pretty boring to us so we all jumped out of the car to “assist”. Two professional photographers pose the boy and girl and the third shoots the photographs with their camera. All I could do was

6 | Professional Photographers of California

stand back and watch. It dawned on me that what I witnessed was a “random act of photography”. It is not uncommon for people to ask a stranger to take a quick snapshot. This, however, went way past the happy snappy. I’d be willing to bet that that couple got home and showed that image to family and friends and regaled them with their experiences with the professional photographers. I would also bet that those posed portraits were the best images of their trip. I have always believed in random acts. My personal favorites are random acts of kindness. This is when you do something special for someone that they may or may not know about. It’s even better if they don’t know who is behind the act of kindness. I’ll give you a quick example. We used to have a toll on our bridge in my community that I drove daily to reach home. I would pay my toll and the toll of the car behind me. Why? Simply to be kind and add a little something to someone’s day. Now I call upon you, the working professional photographers, to look for opportunities to do random acts of photography. You might even hand that random couple or family your business card just as a reminder of your talents and services. They might just need some not so random photographs in the future! –Phillip Abel

“If I did not have the Scene Machine, I would not be in business today. The Scene Machine is my most important tool, next to my camera and lights. My customers absolutely love the variety and quality. Scene Machine is so simple and time savy”



Cindy Cofer Creations. Wiliamstown, KY

Images by Cindy Cofer

80% of Cindy Cofers studio photography is done with the Scene Machine. It enables her to offer her clients infinate background variety. That variety leads to more sales and profit.

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YOUR LOCAL AFFILIATES Affiliate AIM – Associated Image Makers, Fairfield



3rd Th

Robert Pierce

(707) 528–0850

2nd W

Walter Wright

(661) 255–6811

CIPPA – Channel Islands, Camarillo

2nd M

Dan Holmes

(805) 643–1086

CVPP – Central Valley, Fresno

3rd Tu

Paul Rutigliano

(559) 266–0305

3rd M

Michael Collins

(805) 733-5197

3rd W

Jack Bohlka

(909) 981–6318

AVPP – All Valley, La Canada

GCPPA – Gold Coast, Pismo Beach

IEPPV – Inland Empire

LAPPVA–Los Angeles 3rd & 4th M Rudy Loza (714) 579–7927

NCPP – Northern California

2nd Tu

Wayne Miller

(925) 330–8737

PPGBA – Greater Bay Area

3rd Th

Marc Benjamin


PPLAC – Los Angeles County

4th Th

Jim Brammer

(818) 344–0671

PPNV – North Valley, Redding

3rd Th

Michael Sauer

(530) 604–0167

2nd W

Mark Montgomery (949) 337–6225

3rd Th

Janet Meadows

(707) 548–1181

PPSBC – Santa Barbara Co.

2nd Tu

Kristen Beinke

(805) 403–4742

PPSCV – Santa Clara Valley

2nd W

Linda Eaman

(408) 979–9179

PPSDC – San Diego County

2nd Tu

Grant Ussell

(858) 748–7948

PPSV – Sacramento Valley

3rd W

Jonathan Orfanos

(916) 483–8545

SPP – Stanislaus, Modesto

3rd Tu

William Stigman

(209) 524–5664

2nd W

Christi Nolan

(661) 203–7208

PPOC – Orange County

PPRE – Redwood Empire, Santa Rosa

SVPIP – South Valley , Bakersfield

8 | Professional Photographers of California

Spring 2011 Spring 2011 | Â 9 | 9

SURVIVING AND THRIVING W I S L  C J W   P


After graduating from Brooks Institute, Paul began his professional photography career as an industrial photographer and color printer with General Dynamics, then moved to Lifetouch, then jumping at the opportunity to “go digital” at Photo Art Industries, a full service portrait studio in Chino. In 2005, Paul submitted his first competition prints beyond the affiliate level, and won the People’s Choice Award for “Flower Girl” at the PPC Convention. In 2006, he had prints merit at PPA, and won PPA’s Showcase book. For the 2007 PPA convention, he had his first Loan Collection print hung. His print “Wireless Activity” was selected the People’s Choice at PPC’s 2008 Convention, where he was a recipient of the new PPA Certified Competition Award, one of two California photographers to be so recognized at both the state and regional level. Paul was recognized by his peers in 2005 as the Outstanding Portrait Photographer and overall Photographer of the Year by the Inland Empire Professional Photographers and Videographers. The Professional Photographers of California also presented Paul with their highest medal for volunteerism, the Evans–Kingham Award. In addition, Paul has earned the PPC Fellowship Award for his accepted entries in the State Print Competition, and the PPC Service Award with three bars for his many years of service to the state association and the annual state convention. In addition to memberships in IEPPV, PPC, and PPA, he is also a member of ASP, WPPI, and NAPP.


o one would deny that the past few years have been challenging, to say the least. From rising gas prices, full body scans and baggage restrictions, overwhelming federal and state deficits, and rapid technological developments (think the introduction of the iPad about a year ago, the power of social networking, the ascendency of photography, the beginning of fusion, etc.). The onslaught of change has become so rapid, it’s hard to keep up with everything, to remain on the cutting edge, to understand everything that we need to know and do to be “successful”. Success has been defined in many ways, by many people. I’m sure you have a definition of the word, as it applies to your professional and personal life. However, when the grass appears greener elsewhere, or when it appears you aren’t having the same degree of success as others appear to have, then it becomes necessary to really define what “success” means for you, to really understand the components that combine to make success inevitable.

John Wooden (1911-2010), the coach of the UCLA basketball team during the 1960’s and 70’s, developed what he called the Pyramid of Success, a series of philosophical building blocks for winning at basketball and at life. So, how can his building blocks help us, as photographers? 1. Hard Work — failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Work, by its very definition, implies effort, application, and persistence. If it wasn’t challenging or difficult, it would be play. There is a fine line here, with so much of what we do enjoyable—it’s the less pleasant parts that become “work”, where we have to push ourselves to master the more arcane features of Photoshop, learn new social networking skills, or update our advertising campaigns to reflect current economic conditions. 2. Friendship—to make friends, be a friend. Photographers spend a lot of their time alone. We used to be in the darkroom. Now, we’re sitting at a computer working files in Lightroom, Photoshop, or other software proContinued on page 12

10 | Professional Photographers of California

Reward Yourself

www.TRAVELPPC. com Another member benefit brought to you by PPC

Convention 2011 | Â 11


continued from p. 10

grams. What would happen to your business if you were temporarily incapacitated? Do you know other photographers who would volunteer to work your schedule (in addition to their own) until you were back on your feet again? I’ve seen it happen more than once in my own affiliate, Inland Empire Professional Photographers and Videographers, based in Riverside. There are 16 active affiliates of the Professional Photographers of California (PPC) from San Diego to Redding. Find one near you, meet their members, and get involved. It can’t hurt!

excess. Moderation is the key here. Stick to your budget. Keep good books. Keep it legal.

5. Enthusiasm—make each day special. This trait should be one we all express daily! Enthusiasm got us into photography as a profession. Enthusiasm will keep us looking ahead, eagerly anticipating the next session, the next client, the next opportunity to share our unique skills and talents. Dwelling in the past, especially on past failures, can be deadly to enthusiasm.

9. Determination—slow and steady gets you ready. Set your goals, then work at the steps necessary to get there, day in, day out. Small steps on a daily basis will be far more productive than a few random bursts of inspiration or flashes in the pan.

7. Alertness—what you learn after you know it all is what counts. We’ve all completed our formal K—12 schooling. Many of us have taken college level classes and have received degrees recognizing the time we’ve spent in classes. But life does not stand still. Advances are made in the tools we use on almost a daily basis. Continuing education is the easiest way to upgrade our skills, to keep us in the mainstream, to show us where the cutting edge is. This is 3. Loyalty—be trustworthy. This pretty much speaks for where our Professional Photographers of California local itself—if your word isn’t good, your clients, not to mention affiliates really shine, with their many programs designed your family, won’t trust you. This is a two-way street—you to improve our knowledge and their workshops which expect your vendors to be worthy of your trust, as well. allow us the opportunity to practice newfound skills; this Visit the PPC website ( to find ven- is where the annual PPC Conference in Pasadena can be dors which are worthy of your trust. Once you find a lab a major shot in the arm; this is where West Coast School you can trust, use them frequently enough to learn what particularly shines—check it out at input is needed to get your desired output, then continue wcs/. to use their services. 8. Action—be quick, but don’t hurry. In other words, 4. Cooperation—be more interested in finding the best don’t be the first to adopt a new program or technique, way, not in having your way. Whether we face extreme but don’t delay too long, or you’ll be playing catch up, road rage or political polarization, cooperation works to and the learning curve will be too steep for easy adopexamine the problems to find the fastest, easiest, most tion. Take the time to properly become acquainted with economical solution to expedite the most beneficial result the major features before using it on paying jobs—your for the most people. As photographers, we need to get out clients shouldn’t be your guinea pigs. Social media, fusion, of our comfort zone, to consider alternative solutions to hdr—all are current hot topics we should be conversant achieve the desired result. Stubbornness, all the time, is about, even if we consciously choose not to offer them to not necessarily a virtue. our clients.

6. Self-Control—control yourself so others won’t have to. As photographers we need to be aware of behaviors or activities we engage in which are self-destructive or in 12 | Professional Photographers of California

10. Fitness—act, eat, and think right. Take care of yourself, physically, mentally, emotionally. No one else will care as much about you if you don’t take care of yourself, first. And if you’re not fit, how can you take care of your clients or your family in the long run?

Continued on page 25

West Coast School 2011

“Thanks for the times that you’ve given me, the memories are all in my mind…”



Kip A. Cothran has been in the photography business for over 20 years. Kip developed his 1st photo when he was 8 years old and has had the photography bug ever since. During high school Kip continued with his passion by taking photography classes, and photographing for the school newspaper and yearbook. Kip started his professional career managing a photo lab, processing, and printing film. Eventually, he began photographing weddings and events during his free time, gaining further photography knowledge and experience. After 5 years in the business Kodak Cruise Services came looking for Kip to run their Photography Operation aboard the Royal Princess. Looking for adventure, Kip climbed aboard, and traveled the world for 2 years as a cruise ship photographer, shooting a multitude of countries, and over 350,000 people. Upon his return to the United States, Kip began photographing newborns from 5 days to 6 months old. Now Kip is a Digital Event Photographer, running his in–home studio in Murrieta, CA, photographing Portraits, Weddings, Sports, Schools, Reunions and Corporate Events. 98% of Kip’s work is photographed digitally, printed and delivered the same day. Kip’s passion for photography is a life long adventure. Kip’s business motto is “We Aim to Please”. Kip fulfills this promise with his everlasting quest for knowledge in learning and teaching all aspects of the photography business. 14 | Professional Photographers of California


ere we go again! This will be my last article promoting WCS as the director of the school. Sign up now! School dates are June 12-17 on the University of San Diego Campus; see I will still be involved in Professional Photographers of California, Professional Photographers of San Diego County & Inland Empire Professional Photographers & Videographers. I will always be associated with education, business and fun! I have to get back into my business so I can retire one of these days. Hopefully I will still be able to travel as much as I want to. With two kids (almost adults) trying to go to college to further succeed in their lives, I still need to guide them like my father did me. He told me that I can do anything I want to do in my life and I have been very happy & successful being a Professional & Event Photographer. I traveled the world for two years as a Kodak Cruise Ship Photographer and got paid great money while traveling. You may remember some of the images in past PPW editions of me in a very tight swimsuit wearing Gold Chains & modeling like Mr. T. Or maybe dressed up like Santa Claus in port in Cartagena, Mexico. I want

—Lionel Ritchie

nothing but the best for all that have touched my life and hopefully you will remember me dressed up like a Dudoir Diva for Ken Sklute & Doug Box at Pro Photo Expo years ago. Please touch, mentor & help others succeed in our business & cherish the moments that you have captured over the years. I love the fact that I have many people that I have photographed over the years that still tell me that they still have images of themselves or family from up to 27 years ago! What really touches me are the kids that I photographed as a newborn in 1990 and they have the collages still hanging on their walls that they will soon be showing their kids. We are in the business of creating memories and printing those memories so others can appreciate them as well. All I ask is that you sell images to your clients and make them real Big! 30x40 & 40x60 images will help people remember what their family looked like. That size image is not expensive at all. Our lab cost is probably under $150 mounted. The memory will last forever! “Thanks for the times that you’ve given me, the memories are all in my mind. (Lionel Ritchie)”–Kip Cothran

White House  Custom  Colour,  Your  Professional  Photographic  and  Press  Printing  Partner





Visit  today  to  open  your  WHCC  account.      -­

QuickBooks for Photographers L –S ( U) T R by Robin Swanson



Robin Swanson is a professional photographer and CPA (Certified Public Accountant) who realized her accounting and business skills could be combined with her photography skills to create a successful photography business. Robin has always loved photography, and several years ago became a professional photographer. She is a member of San Fernando Valley Professional Photographers (SFVPP), Professional Photographers of California (PPC), and Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and attends every photography convention, seminar, and class she can fit into her busy schedule. Robin photographs anything that gets in front of her camera. Robin’s great rapport with adults, children, and even pets creates an environment conducive to capturing beautiful images. Several of Robin’s photographs have earned merits in regional print competitions and in PPA’s International Print Competition. Robin has easily adapted her business and accounting skills to her growing photography business. During these past few years she learned a lot about photography from her peers, but also noticed that some of them could benefit from her accounting and business knowledge. As a Certified QuickBooks Professional Advisor, Robin is helping other professional photographers use QuickBooks software to accurately account for their finances.


ne of the issues I am constantly asked about is sales tax. Now, this topic is fresh in my mind because I just went through a Sales & Use Tax Audit. What fun! The State of California is looking for money and sales and use taxes are the low hanging fruit on the proverbial money tree. So, let me help you stay in compliance with California’s sales and use tax laws (and out of trouble). W I  D B S  U T t Sales tax is imposed on retailers for the privilege of selling tangible personal property at retail. The obligation to pay sales tax is on the seller. t Use tax applies to the “use, storage, or other consumption” within the state of tangible personal property, the purchase of which would have been subject to sales tax if the transaction had occurred within the state. To give you an example, when you purchase equipment from an on-line (out of state) company (like B & H), they do not charge sales tax. If you purchased the equipment for your own personal or business use (and not for resale) then you must pay use tax on that equipment. I I R  H  C S’ P If you are a photographer working in the State of California and you sell ANY tangible personal property, then you must obtain a California Seller’s Permit. These are the rules as they pertain to photographers: 1. If a photographic service results in the sale of tangible personal property, then the ENTIRE AMOUNT OF THE SALE is taxable. That means session fees, retouching, framing services, etc. ….. they are all taxable. 2. What is tangible personal property? Generally, it’s anything you can touch or move. Therefore, if you charge a client $500.00 for a session fee and some retouching, and all the client does is buy a 4 x 6 print, then the entire sale is taxable. 3. Shipping and Handling: A. Common carrier (i.e. U.S. Postal Service, UPS, or Federal Express) transportation charges ARE NOT taxable if the charges are separately stated on the invoice. continued on page 18

16 | Professional Photographers of California

April 2011 | Â 17


B. Handling charges ARE taxable. So be sure to separate shipping and handling. If you lump them together, it’s all taxable. C. Delivery charges ARE taxable when you use your own vehicle to deliver the item purchased. 4. If there is no tangible personal property resulting from the service, then the sale is NOT taxable. Two examples of this might be: A. You charge a session fee and the client never purchases anything. B. The client purchases only digital files that are delivered via the internet (i.e. ftp or email). No tangible personal property has changed hands; however, be advised that if you supply a CD or DVD of the images, that is considered tangible personal property and the sale is then taxable. H D Y G  S’ P That’s the easy part. There are several ways to apply for a seller’s permit. t Register In Person: You can register in person at one of the California State Board of Equalization’s field offices. They can be found on-line at The nice thing about applying in person is that you will usually get your permit the same day. In addition, there are people there who can help if you have trouble filling out the form. t Register by Mail: You can download the application at, fill it out and the mail it to one of the field offices. You will generally receive your permit in about two weeks after they receive the completed application. If you don’t want to download the form, you can call 1-800-400-7115 and request a registration packet. Also, if you have any questions, they should be able to help you. Y G Y S’ P…N W When you receive your seller’s permit, READ THE LET18 | Professional Photographers of California

continued from p. 18

TER that comes with it. It will tell you if you need to file your sales tax return monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Filing date deadlines can be found on the BOE website. In addition to your Seller’s Permit number, the letter you receive will also include an “Express Login Code” so that you can E-file your sales tax returns. The E-file process is very easy and you can always call the above number if you have any questions. Once you get your Seller’s Permit, I also recommend that you go to the BOE website and register as an “EClient”. It’s free, easy, and it will give you the ability to log into your account and see your filing history, get copies of previously filed sales tax returns, etc. D’ F U T When you fill out your sales tax return, there is a place to report any purchases that you did not pay sales tax on. I highly recommend that you do this. In the sales and use tax audit that I just went through, they were specifically looking for use tax violations. Fortunately, I purchase all my equipment from California companies such as Samy’s Camera and I’ve paid the sales tax. Let me reiterate … they aren’t fooling around. If you are chosen for a sales and use tax audit, they will want to see every invoice where you purchased equipment. If you can’t provide an invoice that shows you paid sales tax, they will assume that sales tax was not paid and you will get a nice bill from the State of California. Also, they want to see an invoice or a receipt. A credit card bill will not be acceptable. That’s it in a nutshell. Now that you know all about sales tax, my next article will be on how to keep track of and pay sales tax using Quickbooks.

Spring 2011 | Â 19

In Memoriam

Doug Jirsa, S-PPC

A M W L  L O L


tember 3, 1966. He lived in Highland, CA prior to the family move to Redlands in 1960. He and Donna moved to Banning, CA in 1977.

He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Donna Jirsa, F-PPC, S-PPC; two daughters, Dawn Fairfield and SonIn-Law Scott Fairfield of Mentone, CA and Diana Jirsa of Talequah, OK; two grandsons, Daniel Jirsa and Vance Kennedy; and three brothers, Richard Jirsa, Jr. of Banning, CA, Terry Jirsa of Durango CO and Steve Jirsa of Redlands. He was also fortunate to have two nieces, four nephews, and his godson, Ralph (Trey) Serrano, III in his life.

Doug worked at Andy’s Chevron in Redlands before going to work for the City of Redlands as Animal Control Officer. He was a member of Redlands Police Reserve serving as Reserve Officers’ Range Master, and was a member of the first Police Reserve Basic Post Academy graduating class of 1975 held at Glen Helen Training Center. In 1977 he began working as a Police Officer for the City of Banning and was promoted to Sergeant in charge of the Detective Bureau and also spearheading a Federally funded major crimes task force.

Doug was born in Redlands, CA on April 9, 1948 to parents Richard and Betty Jirsa, who both preceded him in death just nine months ago. He attended Cram Elementary School in Highland, Redlands Junior High, graduating in 1966 from Redlands High School. He married his high school sweetheart, Donna, on Sep-

In 1980, Doug left his law enforcement career to open his own photography studio. His interest in photography began when he was a ninth grade school newspaper photographer and expanded during his three years as a yearbook staff photographer in high school. His passion for photography flourished as his talents broad-

oug Jirsa, S-PPC, long time PPC member and co-owner of Lasting Impressions photography studio in Redlands died of a heart attack Tuesday evening, March 22, 2011, at his home in Banning.

20 | Professional Photographers of California 20 | Professional Photographers of California

ened during college and in the use of photography throughout his law enforcement career. Lasting Impressions was founded in Beaumont in 1980, and in 1985 the studio was moved into a larger building Doug and Donna purchased in Cherry Valley. In 1992 a second studio was opened on State Street in Downtown Redlands. With the business philosophy to remain the only studio photographer for their business, the decision was made to close the Cherry Valley location in 1994. On Doug’s birthday in 1999, a MegaVision digital camera back and software were delivered and installed. He photographed his first “digital” session that afternoon, and never used another roll of film in the studio! Doug and Donna received national acclaim for making a successfully profitable transition to digital imaging. Doug’s talents have been featured in Professional Photographer magazine (PPA), Photo Imaging Entrepreneur (a national publication), Studio Photography and our own ProPhoto West magazine. The Redlands

In Memoriam, continued from page 20

He was a 28-year member of Professtudio continues to flourish today, having recently celebrated its 30th an- sional Photographers of America. Doug had earned many PPA Merits. niversary. Many PPC members remember Doug and Donna as previous Co-Chairpersons of the Western States Expo Digital Café, where they enjoyed sharing the excitement of digital imaging with fellow professionals. Doug thrived on the excitement of everchanging digital technology. He was honored to have the opportunity to help fellow photographers, teaching numerous digital photography workshops throughout the State. He treasured the friendships he made with his colleagues. Doug referred to himself and Donna as “Pioneers of the Digital Revolution”. Doug was, or had been a member, and officer in most cases, of: Masonic Lodge of Redlands, Elks Lodge of Redlands, Exchange Club, Rotary Club and Beaumont Chamber of Commerce.

He is past Vice President of Professional Photographers of California, and Past President of Inland Empire Professional Photographers and Videographers. Doug approached every endeavor with unbridled passion; he lived his life to the fullest. Never stepping away

from a challenge, he excitedly tackled new projects often. His most recent passion was his 2002 Chrysler Prowler hotrod, and all things “Prowler”. He enjoyed taking it to car shows and making new friends of fellow “Prowlers”. Some of his favorite activities through the years were: Fishing, hunting, trap & skeet shooting, scuba diving, driving fast cars, fast boats, water skiing, camping, and traveling with Donna in their motorhome. Doug could “fix” anything, from cars to computers, and had a remarkable businesssense. Doug didn’t want glory or recognition. He cared deeply about his family, being a steadfast friend and serving his customers and community. A man of his word and always ready to lend a helping-hand to anyone in need, Doug certainly left a “Lasting Impression” with many people. Donations in Doug’s memory can be made to Redlands Family Service Association, 612 Lawton St, Redlands, CA 92374. Please note “In Memory of Doug Jirsa” on the memo line.

Spring2011 2011| |  21 21 Spring

Print Competition

Behind the Scenes

B  C W R H  S P C by Marcy Dugan, CPP, F-PPC, SPPC


f you ever wondered how a print competition works, you’re not alone. I have been print competition chairman for the past two years and I learn more about what it takes to run this event every day. Here’s how the January 25, 2011, PPC State Print Competition came together. Preparation starts about six months in advance of the event. Assuming the date and location is set, the first thing you need to do is to select the judges. Then it’s an ongoing effort to get contestants entries registered for is about the prints and images, and the competition. Next you need to or- there are a lot of great volunteers that

chestrate the logistics of the competition. Sounds pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? Guess what? It’s not! It’s more about the volunteers than it

made this competition possible. First, selecting the judges wouldn’t happen without Tim Mathiesen’s

22 | Professional Photographers of California

hard work. Tim works with PPA to get a list of qualified judges and starts preparing a diversified panel. I don’t know how he does it but he is always one step ahead of me and the judges seem to magically appear. I make sure they have snacks and water but Tim makes it happen. Thanks, Tim. Next, it’s time to get all the prints and images registered for the competition. If it was only prints, it would have been easier but this year PPC decided to allow digital images in the competition. We had to adapt the process to accept both prints and digital files.

Print Competition

Behind the Scenes

Registration opens one month before the event but advertising and notification starts at least 2 months before that. It’s the volunteers who help get email and web sites going along with the social networking tools and the word gets out. Mike Collins and Roger Daines made this happen (and did a great job!) or we would have

never had the competition.

Collecting information for print and image registration isn’t easy. We tried to make it as straightforward as possible and attempted to use web based entry forms but we couldn’t make it happen as smoothly as it should have. Entry forms didn’t work as planned but somehow we collected the information and got the ball rolling. This is one area we will improve for the next competition. The prints and images need to be registered before the deadline but have different paths to the competition. Prints can be shipped or carried to the event but must be preregistered. Images must be sent earlier so that they can be loaded into the viewing program and

continued from p. 22

prepared for competition. Making sure that this runs smoothly requires more volunteers, and I can tell you that this wouldn’t have happened without Karen Nakamura and Bob Young. Now, all this all happens before anyone travels to the event. But what about the details around what happens during the event? Since this

was our first print competition with digital images, we needed to arrange for the necessary equipment to display and score them. Luckily we were able to borrow some equipment from PPSD and the PPC board included additional funds in this year’s budget for the event. With the stage set, it’s time to kick things off and keep our fingers crossed. If you even wonder what goes on behind the curtain, I can only tell you that it’s a lot of chaos and a lot of work. Luckily, things went off without a hitch. The many volunteers that make things flow are extremely good at working together and it’s fun continued on page 24 Spring 2011 | 23

Print Competition

Behind the Scenes

to be a part of the team. Several key individuals take the lead in different areas, and should be acknowledged for their contributions: Backroom Coordinator–Kathy Metz Album Coordinator–Robin Swanson Electronic Image Coordinators– Karen Nakamura & Bob Young Print Records–Julie Diebolt-Price Judge Coordinator–Tim Mathiesen Webinar Coordinator–Stewart Schulze, and Awards Coordinator– Babs Giachetto There are many others behind the curtain too, including Mike Collins, Anne Hutton, Madonna Nicholson, Cathy Nisbet, Jim Paliungas, Penelope Palumbo, Yogi Patel, Tashia Peterman, Paul & Nancy Speaker, François Clement, and Marie Zigon.

continued from p. 23

behind the curtain, I suggest that you volunteer and become part of it. This is a well-oiled machine and we would not be able to pull this off without volunteers. Competition starts at 8:00 . There is a small crowd in the room watching from behind while the images are shown on a screen off to the side. Questions are being asked from people on the webinar and are answered by Marie Zigon. There are some smiles and some signs of disappointment as scores are announced, but in the end everyone received an education.

After all the judging is done, it is time for all the winning images to be identified. This is also a process that takes time and patience. The room is cleared If I missed anyone, I apologize. Now, if and only a few remain. The awards are you really want to know what goes on established and everything is docu-

mented. All the plaques and trophies are then ordered and are ready for the Annual Awards Ceremony at the Pro Photo Expo in Pasadena. And don’t worry, the scores are sent to Fellowship Chairman Allan Kuykendall who records merits. B W Our job is not done. We now have to prepare the merited prints for convention and hang them for display. At the end of the convention we have to take them down and place them into the proper case for pick up or have them shipped back to their owners. And that’s a little insight into how print competition works. So the next time you enter print competition, think of all those volunteers who make it possible for you to be standing on the stage accepting your award. It takes great prints and images to show at the event but it’s the fabulous volunteers that make it happen. —Marcy Dugan Photos by Mike Collins/Marcy Dugan

24 | Professional Photographers of California


continued from p. 12

11. Skill—practice makes perfect. Now that we have digital, once the investment in cameras, lenses and media cards has been made, there is nothing (but our own inertia) to keep us from practicing our craft over and over again. Experiment with all the features of the cameras you own. Explore the software you use, including the really weird and different settings you’ve never tried before—there might be some hidden gems and techniques you can utilize on an assignment later.

work out there, realize that the jurors are simply voicing their opinion; that they are offering suggestions to improve your presentation skills and not personally attacking you. You will benefit far more than you can imagine. If you’ve already earned your Masters Degree from Professional Photographers of America and you’ve stopped entering print competition, get off your duff and enter this year!! You’re being left behind! The rules are changing, the techniques definitely have, and you have a lot to share with those young whippersnappers!

12. Team Spirit—be eager to help your team. This might need some thought to define how you fit into a ‘team’. It could be your family, your business associates and your interaction with your vendors or clients. The operative word is ‘help’, as in assist, facilitate, improve, mentor, etc., whether in a formal or informal relationship.

15. Personal Best—be the best you can be. There will always be a photographer somewhere who will earn more money, garner the bigger award, or make more spectacular splash. But what is most important is that you put all your effort into doing your absolute best each and every time you pick up your camera. Your competition is with yourself, to always do your best.

13. Poise—just be yourself. No need to put on airs or pretend to be someone you really aren’t. If you like yourself, you will have the dignity, the self-confident manner or bearing, the composure of a person with balance or equilibrium, defined as poise. As photographers in the public eye, this is crucial. Everyone we meet is potentially a client, and without this quality, we’ll rarely make the contacts we need to meet our business goals.

By the way, the recent Pasadena Conference was a success by all standards. If you missed it, you missed a great speaker line up assembled by our Speaker Co-Chairs Susan Heflin and Jackie Wood, an outstanding Expo put together by Bill Thomas, and inspiring print exhibits assembled under the guidance of Marcy Dugan, Print Competition Chairman, and Bill Stigman, Affiliate Print and Speaker Print Chairman. Our West Coast School Auction successfully raised money for scholarships, under the watchful eye of Dea Meyer, and who could forget our Murder Mystery, Who Killed Phil M?

14. Confidence—you must believe in yourself if you expect others to believe in you. Have I mentioned Print Competition yet? If ever there is a device of torture designed to inflict pain, yet grow confidence, it is the process of Print Competition. I strongly urge you to get involved See you at the next PPC event. in the print competitions sponsored by your local affiliates of Professional Photographers of California. Put your best

—Paul Speaker

Please support our advertisers. They make this magazine possible. Spring 2011 | 25

Tools , Tips &


B I NOT B L          


Michael Collins retired from Law Enforcement at the rank of Sergeant after 30 years of service. He has been a professional photographer for over 15 years and served on the board of directors for the Professional Photographers of California becoming President in 2007-2008. He has also served as President of the Gold Coast Professional Photographers Association 6 times. Michael’s passion in photography is mostly photographing high school seniors. As he says, “I am at the same maturity level as they are.” He has written several articles, published in both photographic and law enforcement magazines.


ast article, I chose to write about the Cropping Tool in Photoshop and how to save time using it. This time I chose to write about the letter “B” in Photoshop, also known as the Brush Tool. Or is “B” for boring? Well I know this is going to sound just a touch weird but the letter “B” can be exciting if used right.

can find 12 more sets of brushes from Calligraphic to Wet Brushes to choose from. You need a brush that resembles a rubber duck? Just add the Special Effects brushes from the flyout menu. Some of you are asking, “Where the heck is this flyout menu you choose to write about, Mike?”

The Brush Tool can be accessed on the keyboard easily by tapping the letter ‘B’. You don’t have to drag your cursor over to the tool bar and finding the Pencil icon or the Color Replacement icon but not the Brush icon where you expect it. If you see either of those two, all you have to do is hit the shift key and the ‘B’ key at the same time to cycle through the others to get back to the brush tool. Or you can hover the cursor over the brush icon and wait for the flyout menu to drop down. Are you willing to wait?

When you are in Photoshop and hit the letter ‘B’ or click on the Brush tool, a menu bar opens across the top of the window that’s open. It looks like the figure below:

Once you select the Brush Tool, do you have the right brush for the job? Photoshop comes with a variety of brushes preloaded. If you don’t find what you want or need you 26 | Professional Photographers of California

Well, I’m glad you asked.

If you do not see a tool bar opening, that is an easy fix. Click on the word Window at the top of the screen then scroll down the drop down menu to the word Options. You will probably not see a checkmark next to the word. If not, click on it and as easy as making chicken pot pie, your menu appears. Now that you have the tool bar options showing, you click on the little down arrow on the right side of the word ‘brush’ and the brush sample that is showing. That opens a box with sample brushes in it. If you scroll down that samples and don’t

Tools , Tips &


see the brush you want don’t panic! Panicking is my job. On the right side of this big box is another flyout menu. The flyout menu is the one with the small triangle that points to the right. Click on this menu and it starts with New Brush Preset.

Go down further and you will see Assorted Brushes to Wet Brushes. Just click on the one that looks like you will need. You get a pop-up screen that asks, “Replace current brushes from Assorted Brushes? OK, Cancel, Append”. I like to Append as it adds the new brushes into your current list of brushes. You can click OK and it will keep your list short with just that group you just added. Ok, enough about how to add brushes, how do I use them? Well, the short answer is, “It depends!” Let’s select a standard round brush from the Basic Brush set. It doesn’t matter what size you click on, as you can

change the size easily. To change the brush size you can use the mouse to click on the brush sample in the tool options bar and drag the size slider, or type in a number in the Master Diameter box, hoping you have the right size— or you can use keyboard shortcuts. Click on the right bracket key ( ] ) to make the brush larger, or left bracket key ( [ ) to size the brush down. The left bracket key is just to the right of the letter P. This is the fastest way to get the right size. If you want to resize it even faster, hold the Shift key down, and it will zip to the size you want. If you want a softer brush, you can click on the drop down arrow next to the brush sample and drag the slider bar below the word Hardness. Drag to the right to make it harder and to the left to make it softer. You can also click in the box to the right of the word Hardness and type a number between 0 and 100. Zero is soft, and 100 is hard, meaning your brush has a very distinct edge to it. When you paint with the brush like this, the color you choose is at 100% opacity. You can change this too. You can go from 100% all the way down

continued from p. 26

to 1%. If you choose 25% opacity, each time you brush over the same spot you add 25% paint. If you paint over it again and again you can go all of the way up to 100%. You can change the mode in which you are painting as well. To the right of the sample brush in the options bar is the Blending Mode drop down menu. Normal is just that, Normal. The brush reacts just as you would expect it to. It paints right over the top of where the brush goes. If you choose the Darken mode, all of the information that is lighter than the color you are using will be affected by the darker paint color. None of the darker pixels will be changed. If you choose the Lighten mode, the opposite would be true (but I bet you already figured that one out). Experiment with the different modes and opacities and see the really way cool effects you can create. Now, let’s make a new brush. Wait, what??? You can make your own brush? Yes, sir! If you want to make a brush, it’s really simple (even I can do it). Start with an image or design that you would like to make into a brush. Here I took an image of a butterfly. Depending on the style of the brush you want you can either just convert the design into black and white or click on Image-AdjustmentsThreshold and make it a more solid continued on page 32

Spring 2011 | 27

The Value of

PRINTS– William Hodge

P . D I


ill you sell me the original portrait prints you have of your grandparents? Would you sell them for $50? 100? I’ll give you $300 for the original prints, okay? Probably not! In fact, if your parents found out you sold those prints they would be livid and you’d lose the car for months. Yet today, most high school (and college) seniors focus on having digital images in their camera, phone, computer or memory stick. And these are not formal portraits, these are snapshots that exist only as digital files on media, files that can disappear, be lost, corrupted and are unsearchable. But, all of us cherish formal portraits of our grandparents, great grandparents, aunts uncles etc. And these prints are from negatives, which (if they’re not damaged) few people still posses. They handled their negatives with little to no concern and most were scratched, damaged and discarded. Just like we handle today’s digital files: with little to no care. (More on caring for digital file issues later.) At a portrait session recently I sat down with a woman graduating from college. She looked at me and

said, “I’m not sure why I am purchasing these portraits” I asked her, “Aren’t you purchasing these portraits for your family and loved ones, perhaps for your future children?” She answered, “My mother is dead, it’s been four years and it’s just my dad and I.” My answer, was a question. “Do you cherish the formal portraits you still have of your mother?” As she digested the question, I could see her start to cry. And frankly, I was getting misty eyed as well. She said, “Of course I cherish those portraits.” We both knew the unsaid answer to her original question, ‘Why purchase portraits of ourselves?’ The formal portraits we create today are not just about you. They are for your parents, your future children, family and those who come into your life later, your future spouse.

28 | Professional Photographers of California

Because, while this is an important milestone in your life, the portraits, the commencement, the celebrations are not all about you. There are many people who helped you get to this point in life. They need and want portraits to celebrate your accomplishments and your life, this important rite-of-passage. And, you want hard prints of your portraits. Yes we know it’s a digital world and you want the files in your phone, your iPod and your computer (oh, and now your tablet.) But the negative here (no pun intended) is that these digital snapshots will not exist in 25 or 30 or 50 were 100 years. The reason I say this?

The Value of


continued from p. 28


of events June 12–June 17, 2011 s West Coast School University of San Diego Campus, San Diego, California Contact: Kip Cothran 800 439–5839

Date Unknown s PPA Certification Camp Sacramento, CA

Go to the PPC website to find the date;

Spring 2011 | 29

MARKETING H P C B F F W F     CARY CONRADY After working as the head of social media marketing at an advertising firm, Cary Conrady taught BUS 131–‘Social Media Marketing’ class at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, CA. Combining her love of photography and social media, Cary uses her online marketing knowledge to help professional photographers with their online presence. Since October 2010, Cary has helped the Professional Photographers of California, Inc. get on the social media bandwagon. She’s been busy creating and implementing a blog, Facebook page, Twitter and YouTube channel for the PPC. Her goal is to create a vibrant online community where all of the photographers in California can share their tips, knowledge and advice with each other online. You can contact her at


recent study found that 70% of people trust peer recommendations, while only 14% trust advertisements. These results do not surprise me. We’ve all seen the commercials, where guys are made to believe that after one spritz of Axe Body Spray women will come flocking to them. We’re made to think that after just one week of using Pantene Pro-V shampoo and conditioner, our hair will be as straight and shiny as the models on TV. We’ve all come to learn through our years of experience that some advertising claims are simply just not true. So where do we find out the truth about products and services? We turn to our family and friends. We ask our friends where is a good place to shop, what shampoo they like – what photographer they recommend for family portraits. When I ask most photographers what is the main way people are finding out about them, the answer I get 90 percent of the time is “word of mouth”. In today’s market-

30 | Professional Photographers of California

ing environment of smart consumers, word-of-mouth is priceless. That is why I LOVE Facebook —it is wordof-mouth online. Let me explain. W F  E V  P My (hypothetical) friend Jessica has posted photos of her wedding on her Facebook page. Of course she has posted them on her Facebook page—

all of her family and friends who are connected to her via Facebook want to see photos of the big day ASAP. As you can see, Facebook makes it easy for me as her friend to comment on her photos or to share them with others (spread the word of mouth) on Facebook.


continued from p. 30

book activity was related to viewing photos and other people’s profiles. Because photos are clicked on and shared so frequently on Facebook and because Facebook makes it easy for friends to recommend photographers and their work with others, it’s the perfect marketing tool for photographers. And the best part is that creating a Facebook page is free.

Each photo is labeled “Kyle and Jessica by Samuel Potter Photography”. Now I know who took these professional photographs of my friend (word of mouth online). If I click on “Samuel Potter Photography”, I see the “Samuel Potter Photography” Facebook page. On the “Samuel Potter Photography” Facebook page, I not only see more photos as well as contact information, but I can see that one of my friends “likes” Samuel Potter

Photography. In this way, I can see which products and services my peers recommend. People love to see photos on Facebook. A study at Harvard Business School found that 70 percent of all Face-

If you have any Facebook questions or need help with your Facebook marketing strategy, contact me at: http:// J  PPC  F For the past three months, the Professional Photographers of California, Inc. has given away prizes to randomly chosen fans of their Facebook page such as cash prizes, PPC membership, photo software, full tuition to West Coast School, iPad and A Canon G12 camera.

Not only is the PPC using their Facebook page as a way of spoiling their members, PPC is using it as a channel to keep members up-to-date about the best upcoming photography events, schools and seminars in California. The PPC Facebook page can be found at: ProfessionalPhotographersofCalifornia. Please “like” our page and join us today. We look forward to your comments on our wall and seeing your photos on Facebook! Spring 2011 | 31



continued from p. 27

the finished brush

black and white image. Once you have converted it, click on Edit, Define Brush Preset and type in the name you want and Photoshop does the rest. If you look in your list of brushes it will be the last one in the stack. The largest brush you can make is 2500 pixels. But you really don’t need it that big. Start small and see what you can make. You can take a photo of clouds and paint them into a scene without clouds. Wow! By the way, Suzette Allen taught me how to do that in a class. Ah, the value of education. Next time, I will cover whatever I feel like yapping about unless you give me some directions, but it will probably be related to Photoshop or “whatever.”

32 | Professional Photographers of California


Growing in our Profession


CPP C C   S D Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) is a professional accreditation unlike any other. Not only is this quite a milestone personally; it’s the perfect illustration of your commitment to excellence. A      You don’t want to miss this opportunity to separate yourself from the rest of the crowd. It is (as Richard Giachetto says) your silent salesman, the degree of prominence you can’t say aloud about yourself. But, it speaks quietly in all of your marketing efforts. A PPC B As a member of Professional Photographers of California, you are welcome to study and test for the PPA Certification at no additional cost (except for the cost PPA charges for the exam itself). PPA only members, non-PPA members, non-SVPP, and non-PPC members will be charged a sliding scale fee. See the PPC web site for full details when you sign up. Dennis Nesbitt, of Bay Photo, and a certified PPA proctor, has graciously offered to not only to give the exam, but to be sure you have the best chance of passing the exam by hold

ing a boot camp study group the day before. W D I S U At the time this notice needed to go to press, the date and location for the “Certification Camp” had not been set. Please go to the PPC web site now and sign up. You must sign up with PPC to reserve your space in Sacramento. Go to: www.prophotoca. com You must also sign up with PPA in advance in order to take the exam. Go to: http://certifiedphotographer. com/resources/cpp-resources/cpp-certification-faqs F R -Certification Process. See “Getting Certified” at:

*Does not appear to be affiliated with PPA, or PPC; however does appear to be a source for reviewing questions in your free time. Cost aprox. $1.99. S, W A Y W F Studies show that certification is the most widely recognized consumer credential. Being a designated Certified Professional Photographer offers clients an assurance, not just of quality, but of technical skill and artistic expertise. If the rumors are true, the economy is set for a come back later this year, maybe early next. If you are of the same opinion, then you realize the studio that’s better prepared when that occurs is the studio that will prosper again. The question is, for just two days of your time, how soon will your studio prosper? Click:

-CPP R. -B B*. Smartphone app for Android and iPod Android: Pro Photographer Prep Quiz

by Cayce Cayce Newman, S–PPC First Vice-President, PPC

iPod: Spring 2011 | 33

Jodie Beck

Member Focus

By Miriam Hermansen and Jodie Beck


or Jodie Beck, her love of photography began when she was just a small child and her grandmother gave her a small film camera. Jodie took pictures of everything, dropping film off to be developed every few days. “My grandmother gave me the camera and my parents bought the film,” Jodie remembers, fondly. She kept up her hobby, on into high school where she learned to develop her own prints in the darkroom and even into college. “The only reason I

didn’t major in photography is I felt I should get a ‘real degree’,” Jodie shares, “something that would lead to a more conventional career, I guess.” But even though Jodie chose to major in psychology rather than photography, she kept the craft up. “I took pictures of my family and for friends,” she said. “It was a serious, serious hobby, not just something I did sometimes. I knew it was a gift.” The idea of photography as a job never left Jodie’s mind, though. She thought she might like

34 | Professional Photographers of California

to own a studio one day, so she kept her eyes open for one. continued on page 35

Jodie Beck continued from page 34 It took years for the right opportunity to present itself, and the timing was just right. When Jodie was pregnant with her fourth child, a beautiful studio in town caught her eye. Her husband was the one who found the ad in the paper, and everything just worked itself out from there. “It was meant to be. The photographer had been in business there for ages and was well known and established,” Jodie explained. “We changed the name to Madison Grace Photography, took over and hit the ground running. In the first week I shot fourteen high school seniors,” with a laugh she added, “It was a very fast, very steep learning curve. And in the process, I was teaching myself Photoshop so I could do the retouching.”

wanted to make sure her materials promoted that image. “I really love design and I really love a certain look to my marketing materials. They all have the same look, the same feel. It’s important to follow through with your brand.” “Being in sales at a Fortune 500 company taught me a thing or two,” Jodie says. “You learn to connect with people and communicate your brand to them. The brand is everything, I think.” In addition to handing out homemade cookies with the studio’s logo connected to them, Jodie knew how she wanted to reach out to people, to connect with them on a personal level. “Make it a higher-end experience, be confident in who you are and find your common ground. I continued on page 36 have five kids. I know people

Jodie turned to her husband for help as her work at the studio continued. “I tried to convince him to shoot with me, but he’s not really interested in that part. He’s more interested in the background work. I’m blessed to have him supporting and encouraging me. He helps me with the business and equipment side of things. “I love the creative stuff: the natural light, the awe inspiring beauty, freezing special moments, but on the flipside, there’s the paperwork and the financials and the organization. I have to hand some of it over to him. As I say this now, my desk is piled high with all of this stuff I have to look at and go through. Ugh. I hate it.” It was Jodie’s husband who helped her with her branding and marketing, two things that Jodie feels very strongly about. She wanted to send a message with her branding: she was not at all a mall style photography studio; she has more of a high end, boutique style and space. And she Spring 2011 | 35

Jodie Beck

continued from p. 35

is, and improve her self esteem. It adds value to her life, and in so doing my own as well. Her parents and her friends see that, and referrals happen that way. If I can put a little bit extra into my work, it becomes an experience. A relationship is established.” Adds Jodie, “It’s sort of the same thing with my weddings, too. It’s more than photographing the events of the day, it’s pulling out their emotion and capturing it, giving them something tangible to remember their love, and how they began. For their entire marriage, they’ll have that and they can look at it and remember how much they loved each other in the beginning.”

through my children. And when a mom comes into my studio, I understand what they want because I can understand what they’re feeling about their children.” “Sometimes I mirror my client’s personality a bit when I am first getting to know them: if they are high energy, I tend to talk a little faster. If they are super mellow, I relate to them in a way that puts them at ease.” It’s important, Jodie feels, to know what you’re business is offering its clients. And Jodie’s business is not about just creating beautiful photographs.

A little over a year ago, Jodie was involved in a terrible incident that left her seriously injured. With multiple surgeries, lots of physical therapy and a very slow healing process, Jodie is able to continue to photograph, although not nearly at the rate she was previously. While disappointed in her inability to work as hard or as long as she used to, Jodie is hopeful. “Family is number one. I am so blessed to be a mom and be a photographer, even if I’m not able to do as much as I was. I use this gratitude when I create an image and I know my clients can see and feel that.”

“I am more than just a studio creating images. It’s a relationship building experience, and people want to feel beautiful. For example: high school seniors, especially girls that might not think that they’re particularly beautiful. When I capture her inner beauty and it shines through, I can prove to her how beautiful she 36 | Professional Photographers of California

Jodie Beck

continued from p. 36

She adds thoughtfully, “Photography is a very physically challenging job. It can be mentally draining and totally joyous. I might have to stop, or not shoot as much. I’ve thought about teaching instead. I have always loved the idea of teaching. Maybe that’s where I’ll go.” “What’s so awesome about photography is telling the story and all the different ways to tell it. There are moments and you can capture and fall in love with over and over again, moments you might not have been able to fully appreciate, if at all. It’s amazing to capture things, like love, and experience it again and again. All emotions can be just as powerful to experience, through an image that is not so fleeting.” Jodie admits, “In a way my story is sadly tragic. I do try to be hopeful that things will work out, even if it feels like I am starting all over again. It’s been a wonderful journey, a discovery of what I can do. I went farther than I ever thought, with winning awards and titles, making connections, and meeting the most real and genuine souls.” “It’s been a rough year and a half, physically, emotionally and it’s been devastating to my family in so many ways. I know my life has been a journey and a wonderful gift in itself, and I am so very, very blessed just to be alive at this point.” She added, “But when I was young, I remember wanting to understand what my gift was—I was surrounded by talented people, and to have found that talent and to have been able to use it as I have, is now my definition of what it is to be truly alive.” Spring 2011 | 37

West Coast School 2011


re you ready for School?

OK, we are putting together the best event ever for your enjoyment at West Coast School June 12-17 at the University of San Diego Campus! This year will have a lot of the jam packed education that you are accustomed to as well as several new ideas and more brownies! Richard Sturdevant’s has guaranteed a fabulous class and all attendees for his sold out class are hoping that

raphy and still photography. You will learn the benefits of using these items together to give your clients a breathtaking experience. Stephen Burns & Janice Wendt will be our Photoshop & Nik Software experts teaching you how to use the computer more efficiently in your workflow. The madness of posing and lighting will be enhanced by Tim Meyer, Scott Robert Lim and Hanson Fong. From beginning to advanced skills we have an instructor for you. Our final instructor from Ohio is Larry Peters! Larry has several studios and creates Supersonic Memories for the Senior Market! Wow your clients

free 16x20 images to our students if dropped off by Tuesday night you will receive them by Thursday Af-

they can receive 100’s in Print Comp! I always score 100’s on my images before they reach the judges’ eyes… Jenn Hudson will take you through her blank canvas ideas as she creates her emotional Heart & Art creations and adds Love to the bottom line. Ken Sklute, is putting Photography into Motion with “Fusion” This class will be a combo of Video with your 35 mm DSLR, time lapse photog-

and Dare to be different in what you photograph and sell your clients! A couple of our vendors have offered

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ternoon. We are thinking about how we can do a Photo Contest and have some fantastic prizes for the winners! That is still in the making, but if I

West Coast School 2011

continued from p. 38

were you I would want to be involved with WCS this year! Yes, we are going to have our dance party / social on Monday night. Tuesday and Wednesday night will be open to the world, all affiliates, local Smug Mug and Meetup Groups etc. We will start off at 5 with a free trade show with some of the most incredible vendors in the industry! I would plan on seeing representatives from Bay Photo, BWC, Calumet, MAC Group, Burrell Colour Imaging, Wacom, Nik Software, Scott Robert Lim, Color Plaque, Image Tech Marketing (Onsite Digital Needs), ViewfinderMask.Com (for camera sensor cleaning & cropping guides in camera/inferred conversions), Topaz Labs, Graphic Authority, and more! At 7:30 Richard Sturdevant, the nation’s 1st Human Being to score a perfect 100 on all 4 images in PPA Regional will show you some of his artistic styles that got him on the path to perfection. Wednesday night 7:30 Hanson Fong will show you how to make the woman look good, pose couples quickly and a large group as well! This is it folks! Five full days of hands on education where we help you become a better photographer! www.westcoastschool. com Experience the difference. Fun, Food, Education and Brownies June 12-17 at the University of San Diego!

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West Coast School Instructor Spotlight:




he one thing I’ve found to be true in all 37 years of my career is that customers always ask for their portraits to be “different”. High school seniors are somewhat fickle. They seem to follow

around us is doing and direct our business 180 degrees in the opposite direction. A good example happening these days is photographers closing their studios for location shooting. Understand that I like location

photography, but when I see another over flashed, over saturated image, I just feel like saying, “Your images look like every other photographer’s.” There’s no imagination, just a fun location that in many cases means absolutely nothing to the subject. Personally, I feel the fad will change, and many will be stuck with no other way of producing their images. History tells us if you’re the same as everyone else, the only thing that can be different is the price, so you become involved with a bidding war. The problem I see with public

one another but also want creative images. I can honestly say that I have tried to maintain individual treatment for every client in my photography. I absolutely believe that looking at the differences in people will allow you to take your photography to another level. All of a sudden they aren’t just seniors; they are people with interests of their own. We should embrace this information and know that when we want to be noticed in our business, it is necessary to look at what everyone Spring 2011 | 43

West Coast School Spotlight: XXXXXXXXX HERE L ARRY PETERS

continued from p. 43

areas is they have no real meaning to the subject other than being “different”. However, this is not unique because anyone who owns a camera can shoot the same locations. Why not embrace creative studio lighting and backgrounds that can produce dramatic, flattering, slimming and timeless portraits? Yes, studio photography is the new “different” and, when done well, will drive clients to your door. Save the location photography for locations that are meaningful to the client. At that time, you can uncork all of the creative lighting techniques you have learned and give your client something special at their favorite location. The client will love you for it,and pleasing clients is what it is all about. It seems everyone has moved outdoors to shoot, and I believe it’s time for them to move back inside and do what part-timers don’t want to do or don’t know how to do, and that is the creative manipulation of light. Whether it is a strobe or continuous light, the fact that you are doing something different from the rest is going to get your studio noticed. 37 years ago, I got noticed when I started shooting outdoor photography, because (at that time) very few professional photographers were. Well, now is the time to move indoors and get noticed for being different from others. —Larry Peters Larry Peters will teach at this year’s West Coast School; see his course description on page 49. 44 | Professional Photographers of California

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888-851-0405 Spring  2011  |  53

at long last, we come to...

The End This photograph provided by Yogi Patel.

THE END is a regularly featured column of Pro Photo West Magazine, designed specifically to feature our members’ work. If you have an image you believe signifies “the end”, please send a high–resolution jpg file, along with a short descriptive e-mail for consideration to 54 | Professional Photographers of California

Pro Photo West - Spring 2011  

Pro Photography Magazine - business, Tech, photos, contest winners, pro photo expo and conference