Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Why Should I Stay at the Conference Headquarter Hotels?
Save yourself the trouble of searching for a lower rate! PPA's already done the work and negotiated discounted rates for you during Imaging USA. We have a guaranteed block of rooms already booked, so be sure you tell the hotel you're part of Imaging USA to get these great rates!
Plus, most everyone prefers to be where the action is, right?! By staying at the Imaging USA hotels, you'll save money, have an incredibly short walk to the conference, and best of all, you'll have a better opportunity to network with your photography friends and remain at the center of all of the activities. That's why you're going to Phoenix after all, isn't it?
Besides, even if you find a cheaper hotel option, when you factor in time and travel fees associated with hotels further away (let's not even get started on parking fees), you may not benefit as much financially as you had planned. So why miss out on the action?
Imaging USA is truly made and organized for you. Make the best of this experience and stay at a host hotel!
Ready to start planning your trip? For more information or to book your room now, visit ImagingUSA.org/hotels-travel.
Friday, July 05, 2013
Someone Said Attending Imaging USA Is A No Brainer… Why? - Here are Ten Reasons to Attend:
1. Dive deep & reinforce your photography specialty
You're good at what you do -- that's why you're a pro. But we all know the moment you stop challenging yourself is the moment business starts passing you by. Imaging USA offers tracks on everything from weddings and portraits to sports and software keep you on your game. Explore the latest posing and lighting techniques, update your post-processing routine, and save time and money. Your clients will love your evolving craft and keep coming back.
2. Challenge & expose yourself to something new
It's always good to break your routine. Attend a class or two (or more!) outside your specialty area as a way to explore new horizons (and revenue sources), experiment with new products and check out some tools of the trade you might have never utilized before. Sitting in on sessions outside your comfort zone will force you to look at things differently and might create some unexpected a-ha moments. It's always a great way to expand your creativity and comfort your choices.
3. It's always easier with a little help (of your friends) -- network & enrich your connections
It's hard to make new friends when you're in your own studio all of the time! This is the perfect environment to meet lots of fellow photographers who care and are or have been on the same boat. Getting help from others is priceless and a natural way to get help with tough business decisions, challenge you creatively, or keep you focused on why you love doing what you do! Everyone has rough days in any profession, but it makes it a lot easier when you have other supportive photographers ready, willing and able to talk it out.
4. Try, compare & snatch photo gadgets & gizmos deals (while saving big bucks!)
The Imaging Expo is like the Mall of America for photography equipment. Lenses, props, accessories, editing programs and more -- you'll find everything you wanted (and some stuff you didn't know you needed!) from hundreds of vendors. Try or test products in all the demo booths and ask the million and a half questions that you can't ask when shopping online. It's like your own testing grounds - everything is set up to help you explore all the options. If you need some instant gratification, in most cases, you can walk away with your purchases in hand. For the bigger orders, there are plenty of FedEx and UPS stops around the area to ship home your new found toys. AND last but not least: on Tuesday, the last day of the conference, there are always mind-boggling deals for those who stick around the tradeshow floor!
5. Reconnect with your passion & get inspired
The exhibit for winning images of the International Photographic Competition (IPC) is held during Imaging USA. This competition is open to all professional photographers until July 12th (late fee required) and the top scoring images will be included in the PPA Loan collection. Interested in competing? Get all the details! You'll want to schedule a bit of time to view the images of those who have taken it to the next level and will have been awarded recognition for their entries. It's key to (re)connect with the Arts component of Photography. We all get pulled away running our business and not always finding time to create for ourselves, so in the middle of all the learning and shopping hustle and bustle, it's nice find a photographers' haven. That's why you have to take some time to experience what the best of the best are doing across the globe in photography. Who knows, you might even pick up some new inspiration along the way.
6. Boost your business & get ready for a mega jolt of ideas to kick off the year
Even in the long history if Imaging USA, it's safe to say that no one has left the conference less motivated than when they came. You'll leave energized, filled with great ideas and ready to utilize new skills and put those new thoughts into action! Your business will feel the boost in creative juices you've gained over the three days (or more if you register for pre-con classes)! There is no better way to start the year and put your business on a path to success. Continuing to connect with the instructors and connections you will have made will also keep you on cloud nine for the longest time. It's oh-so-worth it!
7. Earn your Merits
If you're pursuing a Master of Photography, Master of Artist or Photographic Craftsman degree, it's important to earn you Merits! There is no easier time than at Imaging USA! For attending the conference, any PPA member in good standing will earn one Service Merit. Interested in pre-con classes? A one-day session will earn you one additional Service Merit (for a total of two) or a multi-day session will earn you two Service Merits (for a total of three)! These Service Merits go towards the additional credits you need to earn any of your degrees - and earning three in one week is a sure fire way to keep on track!
8. 10,000 pros under one roof means someone's been there & done that. Don't be shy -- ask away!
With hands-on classes, live demos with small groups and instructors eager to share what they love, you'll have more resources than you'll know what to do with! If you need specific advice, there are portfolio reviews and the coach's corner to offer honest and transparent feedback. It's also easy to connect online - join the Imaging USA community on theLoop, Twitter or Facebook, and start the conversation with fellow attendees before your flight touches down in the desert!
9. No matter how successful or famous you are, we all need to fuel our passion & inspiration
There is an unmatched passion and intensity of everything-photo-related that goes on at Imaging USA. The amount of energy from attendees, speakers and vendors make it mind boggling place for inspiration, creativity and motivation. There are so many options with ten tracks, the IPC, Coach's Corner, hands-on sessions and Pre-Con classes (and more)! It's impossible to miss your quota of creative and business learning.
10. Get a full dose of Vitamin D (sun!) & explore the new Phoenix
It's been five years since Imaging USA was held in Phoenix, and my oh my, has the city changed! There are dozens of new restaurants and attractions mixed in with your favorites of years' past. The new highlights include CityScape -- a mixed use development located only one block south of the Renaissance Hotel. CityScape offers a dozen restaurants, night life, live music, a bowling alley, comedy club and a CVS for sunscreen, ice cream and band aids! A few blocks from there, the Phoenix City Market has taken off, spurning a café and weekly food truck round-ups for your ever-changing tastes. Another project that was recently completed was the Phoenix Civic Space Park, including a modern art piece that lights up the night and moves with the breeze. Last but not least, it's now easier than ever (and super affordable) to get around town with the LightRail. At PPA, we're so excited to be going to Phoenix, we will be posting videos, photos and a bunch of tips to show how much the city has changed. Stay tuned!
There you have it! If you have more reasons why going to Imaging USA is the easiest decision of your year, please share these us! In the meantime, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (@ImagingUSA) to share your insight, ask questions, get great tips and tricks, or simply see behind the scenes action.
For more information on the specifics of Imaging USA 2014 or to register, simply visit www.imagingUSA.org. PPA's here to help you be more in photography, so don't be shy and reach out.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
#IUSA14 - 10 Things To Do in Phoenix
First things first! Register for Imaging USA 2014! Done? Okay, keep reading.
Gearing up for the desert heat yet? Well no need! We're going in January so it will be pleasantly in the low 70s--comfortable enough for you to explore Phoenix and the surrounding area. We recently sent a few staff out to Phoenix to sniff out some of the best local sights, sounds and snacks and will have a video coming soon with what they found.
But for now, here are a few options for your precious spare time at Imaging USA 2014. Keep reading to find some of the more fun and unique Phoenix-offerings.
1.) Be a Zookeeper for a Day
Zoos are pretty rad, but they're all pretty much the same, right? Well, the Phoenix Zoo is a pretty hip place. They host cool events like Rock 'n' Brew and even got their animals in on their version of the Harlem Shake. Plus, they're a non-profit just like PPA!
Also, we know you've walked around and seen someone feeding a baby penguin and thought, dang, what a cool job! Well apparently, at the Phoenix Zoo, you can do that (not the penguin part, but fingers crossed). No information is currently available on their website, but here's to hoping they bring it back!
2.) Take a Hike!
Ditch the valley for a bit and climb around the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. The Phoenix Mountain's offer enjoyable day hikes without even having to leave the city limits.
First there's Papago Park. The park features the aforementioned zoo, the Desert Botanical Garden, giant saguaro cacti, ponds, and geological formations like the Hole in the Rock.
There's South Mountain Park, the largest city park in the U.S., which features Mount Suppoa and Dobbins Lookout and houses an impressive chuckwalla population.
If you're looking for more of a challenge, give Camelback Mountain a try. Two trails over a mile long ascend 1,280 feet to the peak of the mountain, the highest in the region. Give yourselves a good 2-3 hours for this one.
Lastly, there's Piestewa Peak, formerly known as Squaw Mountain. The second-highest mountain in the range takes its name from SPC Lori Piestewa, the first woman to be killed during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq and the first-ever Native American woman in history to die while serving in the U.S. military. Take in views of the Phoenix valley and the surrounding mountains from the peak.
3.) Shoot From Above
As photographers, you've probably all had days where you struggle to find a higher vantage point to shoot from. And if you're trying to shoot something as expansive as the Sonoran Desert, you'll want to get nice and high. But don't try to climb a cactus, we're talking higher. Like hot air balloon high.
Get carried away with Hot Air Balloon Expeditions, America's best and largest hot air balloon tour operation. We recommend taking a sunrise or sunset ride. Make it as romantic as you like, but, you know, bring your camera.
4.) Bring Out Your Inner Cowboy
Are you after a true Wild West experience? Look no further than Western Destinations, located north of Phoenix at Canyon Creek Ranch. You can go horseback riding, stroll an authentic old western town, try the tomahawk toss and even duel the Governor for his daughter. No, seriously.
Just read this excerpt from their website:
At Western Destinations we represent a time when people were free, self-reliant and connected to nature. A time when the brave and adventurous left the humdrum of life in settled society behind and set off for the unexplored western frontier. As our guest, you too can experience the thrill of nature and the rugged beauty of the Sonoran Southwest the same way the original cowboys did.
Yep, we're in!
5.) Take a Desert Tour...Day or Night...in a Hummer
So maybe hiking or horseback riding isn't your thing. All good. You can still ride around the desert like a boss in a military vehicle at Desert Storm Hummer Tours.
Once voted one of the Top 100 Adventure Tours in America by National Georgraphic, DSHT have provided exciting off-road tours through the Sonoran Desert since 1995. There are several different options to explore the desert. Daytime tours can include shooting off some AK-47 rounds or even a stop at Four Peaks Brewery to wash down the dust. Actually, you can even ditch the hummers and go straight for the guns and beer!
But for the REALLY adventurous, there's the Night Storm Tour. That's right, ride out and experience the desert at twilight with night vision goggles. Don't forget, most of desert wildlife is nocturnal! Sorry, no assault rifles or beer after dark.
6.) Relax in a Pool & Spa...in the Outfield
By the time January rolls around, the Arizona Diamondbacks season will be long over whether they make the playoffs or not. But you can still experience Chase Field in a way no other baseball park can offer--in the pool.
No, you won't get to catch a home run ball, but the pool is available for rent year-round, it's the perfect way to cool-off after a long day at Imaging.
7.) Attend a Phoenix Coyotes Game
Did you watch this year's playoffs?! They were insane! No sport can match the intensity of hockey, a game in which players willingly lay their body in front of 100 mph slap shots, break their leg, and FINISH THE PLAY, have names as cool as Cal Clutterbuck and oh yeah, occasionally drop the gloves and fight.
The Phoenix Coyotes (yes, there's hockey in the desert) narrowly missed the playoffs this year, but boast one of the NHL's most exciting young rosters, led by all-star defenseman Keith Yandle. The Coyotes play at Jobing.com arena in nearby Glendale. The 2013-14 NHL schedule hasn't been released yet, but if the Coyotes are in town during Imaging, try to head on over for a game.
8.) Find a New Instrument or Two, or 15,000
Museums are cool to see and all, but Phoenix has the most extraordinary museum you'll ever hear™. The Musical Instrument Museum is a bright and open space and home to 15,000+ instruments from around the world. Since photographers and musicians go together like peas and carrots, it's the perfect place to find some added inspiration while on your Imaging journey.
Obviously, music isn't just a visual experience, so you can hear them all too! But before you get a headache thinking about that many instruments playing at once, luckily that's not the case. The museum will provide you with a wireless headset (or you can bring your own) to take in the sounds of the museum. As you approach an instrument, you will enter a wireless hotspot which plays a solo or ensemble loop of music from that instrument accompanied with video.
It creates a unique experience that's personal and shared at the same time. So learn the history of the instruments you already love, educate yourself in the musical culture of other countries and who knows, maybe even find a new instrument that moves you. And yes, you can bang the gong.
9.) Downtown Starts Here
Shop, eat, laugh, drink, dance, heck even bowl your way through CityScape Phoenix--the central hub of downtown.
There's Copper Blues rock pub & kitchen, heave your best gutter ball at Lucky Strike, work on your abs at Stand Up Live and grab some sushi at Squid Ink. Plus there are about 20 shops and restaurants to pick your way through. Best of all? It's right down the road from the Convention Center! Just use your feet.
10.) Wherever You Go, Take 007 With You
Listen, we're big fans of everything listed above, but there's always a way to make it a bit better. And what better way than to take 007 himself, James Bond, out on the town with you?
You might recognize Dennis Keogh, and that's because he holds a striking resemblance to actor, Sean Connery. So much so in fact, that Keogh has made a career of impersonating Connery in his most famous role, as James Bond. You can hire him to bring some class to your evening, maybe even play a round of celebrity jeopardy.
Just make sure the martini is shaken and not stirred.
So there it is, our little preview of some of Phoenix's hidden and not-so-hidden gems. Make sure you make the best of your spare time, and whenever you can, use the Light Rail to get around. It's quick, easy, and cheap!
See you at Imaging USA 2014!
Monday, June 17, 2013
Your Tracks to Success at Imaging USA
Since you're making the trip to Imaging USA, why not take things a step further? Enhance your photography business and broaden your scope and take some classes outside of your focus to learn new techniques and be more. Each track comes complete with live hands-on and demo sessions to see the skills you'll be learning in action!
People often describe Imaging USA as the Mall of America for photographers. This great mix of attendees, exhibitors and connected (well-respected) speakers from around the country forms the backbone of an expanding and evolving photographic industry and we're proud to be a part of it with you!
Mixing and matching is a great way to find new approaches, uncover some easy solutions and get beyond inspired. Many people tend to stick to what's familiar when operating a business. The conference is your platform to safely learn and explore new opportunities, options, products and solutions to take your photography business (and your craft as a whole) to the next level.
Here are the nine distinct areas to explore while at Imaging USA:
Portrait: Tips to skillfully capture the essence of an individual, young and old, male or female. There are different strategies for everyone! Get tips on workflow, post production, editing, client management, posing, lighting and how small tweaks in your process can relate to a big bump in your bottom line.
Senior Portrait: Get the latest posing, marketing and sales techniques in this ever-changing specialty. Get creative tips on working with your clients (and their parents) to boost your buzz and increase sales.
Family/Children Portrait: If newborns, baby packages, children and family portraits are an area you'd like to discover, these courses are right up your alley! Finding quality maternity clients and working with them through the stages of newborns, baby packages, childhood milestones and then start the process all over again. You'll have clients for life!
Wedding: What are the images, albums and products that today's brides are demanding? Learn how to make your brides feel beautiful, maximize your profits, streamline workflows and create the memories for a perfect day!
Business: Pricing, sales, brand and marketing are all essential to making your business soar. Engage with speakers to see how they took their studios to the next level and see how their successes (and failures) can help you up your studio.
Technique: Refresh your fundamentals and gain new skills that will take your images and business to the next level. Watch live shoots, get in depth knowledge about lighting and get the inside track on creating your most dynamic images yet.
Inspiration: Reinvigorate your passion for photography and find new direction for your art and business. It's always important to take time to fall (back) in love with your work--so take the opportunity to kick start your motivation, feed your creative soul and watch how the rest falls into place.
Schools, Sports & Events: See techniques for posing, lighting and workflow for teams and individuals, sports action, dances or events. These are all great opportunities to expand your business, create additional lines of revenue and make customers for life.
Hash It Out: Share your questions, ideas and solutions during these daily, interactive smart talks via tweet, text or in person. Think of it as a group brainstorming where you can be a part of all of the solutions! Commiserate over problems all studios face, find creative solutions and make new friends in the process!
Become an expert in what you do best, but also treat yourself to the opportunity of exploring new terrains. This is the safest place to experiment; approach new techniques and test drive some new ideas! All of this (plus the networking, parties and awards) is only $129 for current PPA Members. Not a Member yet? You can "Join N' Go"- meaning you join PPA and get to attend Imaging USA your first year for free!
For more information on Imaging USA or to register, visit www.imagingusa.org! Early bird pricing is through December 4, 2013.