Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Appearing at Imaging USA—Kenny Rogers!

Kenny Rogers image copyright Jay FletcherDid you know the multi—(and we mean MULTI)—million record selling country singer is also an accomplished photographer? Rogers will be in Phoenix to display some of his favorite work and receive an honorary Master's degree from PPA. He will also do a live, hour-long Q+A. Don't miss this!

Here's his schedule:

  • Sunday-Tuesday
    Kenny Rogers Photography Exhibit on display in Symphony Hall foyer
     
  • Tuesday
    5pm - Kenny Rogers Places I've Been, Things I've Seen Q+A in Symphony Hall

    6:30pm - PPA Award & Degree Ceremony
    Kenny Rogers will be presented with an honorary master of photography degree

Image ©Jay Fletcher

Posted by gregoryaide on 10/02 at 04:31 PM
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

PPA Kickstart Scholarship for Imaging USA

Start Imaging USA off with a bang (for your buck!) with the 2014 PPA Kickstart Scholarship. For the first time ever, PPAedu is sponsoring four scholarships for Imaging USA pre-convention classes, just because we want your Imaging USA experience to be more! You'll get that extra education boost you need, completely on us! Check out the rules and submission criteria to see if you qualify!

Posted by Chris on 09/19 at 02:41 PM
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

#IUSA14 Timeline

Check out our timeline of #IUSA14 events at Phoenix below. Download the PDF for a handy printable version.

Imaging USA Timeline

Posted by Chris on 08/27 at 01:20 PM
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

#IUSA14 Phoenix Overview Video

Check out our overview video for #IUSA14, featuring the Phoenix Convention Center, headquarter hotels and fun activities around Phoenix!

Posted by Chris on 08/22 at 01:30 PM
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pro Tips for Imaging USA

Even though Imaging USA is still a few months away, it's always nice to know you've got some quick tips in your pocket to be better prepared! It's one thing for us to tell you what we think you need to know, but it's much more credible to hear it from your fellow photographers! 

We asked the Imaging USA community on theLoop what their tips were for first-timers and here are the top responses! 
 
Networking
  • "Attend the "first timer" reception and meet others that are there for the first time as well. You just might meet some photographer friends for life." - Audrey Wancket, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
  • "Bring business cards. These will come in handy and don't be afraid to hand them out to people you meet. Networking with peers is SO important!" - Amber Rushing
  • "The PPA Charities Event is casual and there are lots of great items to bid on. This is an amazing event to have face-to-face meeting with people you may only know from theLoop, Facebook or Twitter, in a smaller setting. It's also the perfect time to turn a virtual contact into a real-life friend. (Some of my dearest friends in this industry are people I've met through PPA!)" - David Grupa, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
  • "Find a couple of people who have been [to Imaging USA] before and buddy up with them. You can swap notes if you have to attend conflicting classes and compare notes with the ones you shared. You can visit the tradeshow floor with each other. It's great to have another pair of eyes or two when shopping the floor." - Steve Folino, CPP
Classes
  • "Take a pre-convention class and book it now. You'll learn a lot more in a small class environment than in open access lectures." - Haroon Ahmad, CPP
  • "If you're not making enough for a living, sign up for the pre-convention programs.  It will open your eyes!  Also if you have time and have a few things you need help with, go to one of the hash it out sessions. It's a forum where you can ask questions and get solid answers." - Timothy Cameron, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
  • "Sign up for portfolio review with a judge. You will really learn, especially if you end up with a great reviewer." - Haroon Ahmad, CPP
Expo
  • "Schedule some time to walk the print exhibit and watch the digital exhibit as well for inspiration." - Audrey Wancket, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
  • "Make good use of about 2 hours each afternoon to spend at the tradeshow. You will learn a lot about who is who and about products that may enhance your studio's revenue. Some trade show vendors offer free 1 hour lectures at the booth, and some of them can be as good as taking a class. Check them out as soon as the schedule is posted." - Haroon Ahmad, CPP(Editor's note: Many of the vendor's do not announce their seminars prior to the Expo)
  • "Save. Save. Save. So many of the vendors offer incredible deals during the show so if you have your eye on a new camera, lens and studio lighting...then save your money and wait." - Amber Rushing
  • "Another great thing about the Trade Show is that I get the opportunity to walk the floor and see all the different products, and see them live. I really love having the opportunity to touch and feel the products I am considering, either to buy or add to my current product line." - Andrea Taylor, CPP
  • "Don't forget to go through all your stuff when you get home. There will be coupons and so much useful information that you will forget you even had. It's like a recap." - Amber Rushing
General Info
  • "Download the Imaging USA app as soon as it is available! It was a tremendous help last year. It is great for selecting and organizing the classes you want to attend, and sorting out the vendors you want to see. It's a great time saver" - Dennis Chamberlain, Cr.Photog., CPP (Editor's note: We'll keep you posted for when it is available!)
  • "It can be a little intimidating at first. If you need help, look for an orange shirt. Folks wearing these orange shirts are there to help us. And if you can't find one, ask anyone wearing PPA medallions. Really, we've all been there and we'll be happy to help!" - David Grupa, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Clothing & Accessories
  • "Wear comfortable shoes! Even though the floor is padded usually, I find myself on my feet for HOURS on end because I'm enamored with the show, then standing listening to the extra seminars at the booths and just walking. I think good, supportive shoes are #1!" - Amber Rushing
  • "Pack lightly. My first year I carried a purse, camera bag with 2 bodies, coat, two notebooks, all the fixings and on top of all that, all the awesome free stuff you get at the show... that's A LOT!  They will have notebooks and pens for you. They will also give you bags to carry around all your free stuff." - Amber Rushing
Travel
  • "Take public transportation if possible!" - Amber Rushing (It is possible! Check out the LightRail options!)
  • "Last but not the least, stay an extra day or two and visit nearby surrounding attractions that you may want to photograph (Sedona, Red Rock, Grand Canyon...)" - Haroon Ahmad, CPP
 
If you're a seasoned vet--what other tips come to mind? What other questions do our rookies have for the vets? Head on over to the Imaging USA community on theLoop to ask and/or answer!
Posted by Chris on 08/21 at 11:26 AM
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Be More Educated with #IUSA14 Pre-Con Classes

If you've had a chance to check out the Imaging USA 2014 class schedule (or attended Imaging USA in the past), you know that three days of intense education in ten different tracks are included with your registration fee. But you also probably noticed that classes have been scheduled before the conference kick starts, from January 9 - 11. So, what's the deal with these classes before the official dates of the conference? 
 
Get the Jump on Imaging USA with Pre-Con Classes
 
Up to three days of pre-convention classes are available for an additional fee for those who want to maximize the Imaging USA experience. Get to Phoenix a few days earlier and get hands-on and small group learning sessions. There's something to interest any type of photographer... and offsite / outdoors / on-location hands-on opportunities!
 
Workshops 
 
If you're a PPA member who's considering attending one of the Studio Management Services (SMS) workshops (Business Basics or Business Breakthroughs), both will be taking place during pre-convention in Phoenix. The Business Basics workshop has even been split into two separate focuses for wedding and portrait photographers. If you're just starting out in the photography business, this workshop will provide some vital information on setting up and managing your business so that you can stay profitable! 
 
Check back next month for information on scholarship options for the SMS Business Basics workshop.
 
For those of you further along in business, the Business Breakthroughs workshop provides a more in-depth look at business and financial management, the how-to's of effective branding and marketing for maximizing sales. Better yet, if you sign-up for the Business Breakthroughs workshop you'll get a full-access pass for Imaging USA... for free! Just call us at 888-851-0405 or send us an email, so that we can set you up.
 
There will be other workshops (other than SMS) geared toward photographers who have just recently turned pro. Including "The Secrets To Success When Turning Pro" with Steve Kozak, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, which you can read all about in this recent blog post
 
There are great opportunities for photographers that specialize in high school senior portraits as well, so be sure to check out the "Taking Your Senior Business to the Next Level" with Gary Box, Cr.Photog., and Pam Box, Cr.Photog., as well as the 'Building and Maintaining a Successful Senior Business" class with Larry Peters, M.Photog.MEI., CPP. 
 
Finally, if you've been thinking about earning your Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) designation, consider attending the Certification Preparation Class to prepare for the exam and image submission. After taking the workshop, there are three opportunities to take the exam during Imaging USA.  Read more about the Certification Preparation Class on PPA.com/cpp and read the thoughts of some past class attendees on the PPA Today blog
 
Single Day Pre-Convention Classes
 
All the workshops mentioned in the previous section of this post last for multiple days, but there are excellent one-day pre-convention classes as well! 
 
These programs are for photographers of various skill levels and cover many different specialties. For instance, if you're into landscape photography you can spend a day in the Arizona outdoors in an "Off to the Desert Photo Shoot" with Bob Coates, M.Photog.Cr., CPP. A real treat!
 
Other pre-con classes focus on topics such as school and senior photography, babies and children, Photoshop techniques and many others!
 
If you're having trouble picking just one pre-convention class, the "Hands On Photography" sessions may be a great option for you. You can choose to attend up to three sessions, and you can combine them to create your own unique plate of photographic education! And yes, as the name suggests you won't just be listening to a lecture, you'll actually get hands-on experience with live models, shooting with the techniques your instructors demonstrate. 
 
Focus on children's photography? Maybe you'll want to attend "The ABC's of Children's Photography" Hands On Photography class. You can follow that up by learning more about lighting in the "The Power Of Light" Hands On session with Tony Corbell, Cr.Photog.API, and conclude your day with Julia Kelleher, M.Photog.Cr, CPP, and the "Bijou Baby: The First Year Forever" session. 
 
There are many hands-on photography options, so you can create whatever combination will suit your fancy! But don't think too long: pre-con classes always sell out. Attendance is limited to ensure a higher learning experience. So don't delay, or simply sign up today!
 
You can view the up-to-date pre-convention (and regular convention) class schedule on imagingusa.org. (Classes are continually being added, so be sure to check back frequently!)
 
When you're registering for Imaging USA, you'll see the options to add pre-convention classes to your registration. Make sure to act soon as the class sizes are limited for pre-con. 
Posted by Chris on 08/21 at 11:24 AM
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Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Looking Ahead and Becoming Full-on Pro with Steve Kozak at Imaging USA

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Imaging USA might be 24 weeks away (yes, we are counting down), but we already have a stellar line up of industry professionals ready, willing and able to help you elevate the level of your photography. Steve Kozak,  M.Photog.Cr., CPP, of Steve Kozak, Photographic Artist, in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area will be back as one of our pre-convention speakers. 
 
Steve's class, "The Secrets to Success When Turning Pro" focuses on the transition to becoming a full-fledged professional starting a photography business. 
 
"I expect [attendees] to walk away with a clear understanding of their role in the craft of photography.  They will learn the pursuit of excellence is not optional and that the work we do has value--professional photographers can make a great living," said Steve. 
 
Like many of you, Steve doesn't take the term "professional photographer" lightly. 
 
"Being a professional photographer carries with it a responsibility to always deliver at the highest level of quality and service, and to never stop learning something new.  The rewards are greater than most can ever imagine and the personal satisfaction is over the top! I never take it for granted."
 
Some of that personal satisfaction comes from hearing about other photographer's successes. At Imaging USA, Steve's favorite interactions come from talking to former class attendees.
 
"I love those moments where I run into a former student who shares their success story and how far they have come after attending one of my classes." 
 

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Steve has plenty of opportunity to find those students; he has been a leader in the photographic industry for over a decade. 
 
"This will be my 11th year speaking at Imaging USA and it is one of my career highlights. I love watching photographers learn how to take their passion and turn it into a profession. It is very gratifying watching others succeed while following my path towards success. I have been inspired by so many others before me, it is quite an honor to follow in their footsteps and give back to others."
 
So what keeps him coming back alongside newcomers and experienced pros alike? It's because Imaging USA combines the education you need to get started and stay on top with the networking and collaboration that the industry thrives on. Some folks go because they are starting out and need all the help they can get. Others, already in business, need some strategic help and guidance. And most everyone thrives on a triple shot of inspiration, creativity and energy boost. There are nine tracks during the conference, and a wide variety of pre-convention courses. This is THE only convention for all photographers, regardless of your specialty, location, or size. 
 
Networking is a key at Imaging USA (or any conference!). This is where you connect with real people who will later be able to help you from afar. There are plenty of opportunities to spark these connections, even before the conference. Check out the Imaging USA Facebook or Twitter pages or head to the Imaging USA Community on theLoop and start hunting for a roommate or a dinner partner. 
 
With all of the wonderful memories from so many years of experience - one moment stands out for Steve. 
 
"I think [my most memorable moment] might be the first time I walked through the print exhibit and saw some of my prints hanging in the show.  I knew then that I had made it and that I belonged," Steve said. "Getting my Master's Degree was pretty cool, too!"
 
Join Steve, and 10,000+ photography friends in Phoenix, January 12 -14, 2014. Early bird registration is now open!
Posted by Chris on 08/07 at 12:16 PM
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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.

Posted by Chris on 07/10 at 01:44 PM
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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 specialtyiusatop10_blog.jpg 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,iusatop10_blog1.jpg 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 whatiusatop10_blog2.jpg 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.

Posted by Chris on 07/05 at 01:53 PM
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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!

Posted by Chris on 06/27 at 01:57 PM
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Monday, June 17, 2013

Your Tracks to Success at Imaging USA

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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!

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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.

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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. 

Posted by Chris on 06/17 at 02:57 PM
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