Are you flying in for Imaging USA? If your touchdown is at Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MARTA) train can be a great, cheap option for getting to the heart of the Imaging USA action: the Georgia World Congress Center and the headquarter hotels. Here's a rundown of how it works:
MARTA has a train station attached to the airport, near baggage claim. You can purchase a "ticket"—a Breeze Card—loaded with a round trip ticket from the automated machines at the MARTA entrance, which accept cash, credit or debit cards. A round trip pass is $5 (a one-way fare is $2.50), and we suggest getting that so you don't have to purchase another ride for the trip back to the airport. (There is also a one-time $1 charge for the reloadable MARTA Breeze Card.)
Simply tap your card at the gate to enter the station.
Headed to the Georgia World Congress Center, Omni Hotel, Holiday Inn or Glenn Hotel?
Once you're inside the airport MARTA station:
Take either a red or orange line train NORTH 7 stops to the Five Points station.
At the Five Points station, follow the signs to the west bound platform. Take either a green or blue line train WEST to the Georgia Dome/Georgia World Congress Center/Phillips Arena/CNN Center station. It will be the first stop on the west line from Five Points.
It will take you about 20 minutes to ride from the airport to Downtown Atlanta and the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) station.
Once you arrive at the GWCC station, follow the signs towards the GWCC. You will come out of the station on Centennial Olympic Park Dr., and head towards Andrew Young International Boulevard.
Headed to the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel? Your MARTA directions are a tad different. Once you're inside the airport MARTA station:
Take either a red or orange line train NORTH (like everyone else).
Stay on that northbound train until you get to the Peachtree Center station, one stop north of the Five Points Station. You will emerge on Peachtree Street. The Westin is just down the block at the corner of Peachtree Street and Andrew Young International Boulevard.
Ben Shirk of Shirk Photography in Wilton, Iowa, has become recognized for his creative high school senior portraits. In fact, the sports posters that he creates for his senior athletes have helped increase his average sale from $600 to $3,000 in just a few years! Sound like an increase you'd like to see in your business?
Well, aren't you in luck. Ben's going to be at Imaging USA on January 20, 2013, teaching you how to create those unique photographic products for high school seniors, including composites and posters! Just mark your calendar for his "Become an Image Warrior" class. In the meantime, check out the adventures he had on his own path toward becoming an image warrior...
Throwing Down the Gauntlet of Inspiration
Like many a photographer, Ben's photographic journey was inspired by the birth of his son. In fact, when Ben's wife took their son to a mall photographer for portraits, he was disappointed that he wasn't the one to take his son's first portraits.
"My wife simply laughed at me and told me that I couldn't take as good of portraits as they did (and back then, I probably couldn't have). But the gauntlet had been thrown," Ben recalls. "I borrowed a friend's digital camera and that began my adventure into photography." It's been seven years since then, and he's been a full-time photographer for the last five years. (And it's probably safe to say his wife lets him photograph his son now.)
Facing Those Pricing Challenges
Like many photographers new to the business, Ben at first struggled with pricing his work correctly. "I was giving away everything for nearly nothing and was basically happy that people liked what I was doing," he remembers.
After attending several business workshops, though, Ben faced the hard truth that he needed to change some things.
"We raised our prices quite drastically and found out quickly that the key was making sure your clients were well-educated in everything that was going to happen," says Ben. "If they know exactly how everything works and what to expect, then nearly all the objections and complaints are addressed beforehand." And the unique portraits he delivers to his clients help justify those prices, too!
"Creativity is my specialty," he adds. "I have become known for my sports and senior composites, but I think that's simply because I have more chances to make those kinds of portraits. I enjoy just about anything as long as I can have fun and be creative."
Teaching You How to Become an Image Warrior
Take a page from Ben's book of inspiration, and don't let anyone tell you it can't be done. If you're ready to boost your creativity, elevate your senior photography business, and learn to make those creative composites and posters (especially those for senior athletes), be sure to attend Ben's "Become an Image Warrior" class at Imaging USA.
After all, as Ben says, "Creating something unique can be a lot easier than you think!"
Ben Shirk was named Top Non-Master Photographer for Iowa in 2011 and 2012. He was also a 2011 Diamond Photographer of the Year in the Master Artist category of PPA's International Photographic Competition, and he placed third at the 2012 Grand Imaging Awards. Learn more about Ben here.
Get the full scoop on Imaging USA and all the other classes and inspiration for the taking.
We've started sharing with you the kinds of inspiration, educational programs and expo-only specials that you'll find at Imaging USA. Are you getting pumped to join us in Atlanta this January...with close to 10,000 other professional photographers? If so, here's the latest hotel deal that may make your day (or night, as the case may be): The Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel just agreed to offer Imaging USA attendees a cut-rate $149-per-night deal for our early birds (meaning you book before December 16)!
With half of the official hotels already sold out, that Westin offer is a very good deal. Here's why:
It was completely renovated in 2012 and has the best views of the city (you can get fantastic shots right from your room).
It's walking distance from the congress center (less than a 10-minute walk away) AND it will offer free shuttle service during Imaging USA for your quick transfers to and from the convention and expo.
The hotel also has sweet features like in-room spa treatments, an indoor pool, a delectable revolving restaurant AND a viewing deck. An exhilarating 85-second ride in a scenic glass elevator will carry you 723 feet to the observatory View Level (and we're betting some of you come back with tripods)!
Want to save even more on your Imaging USA stay?
Don't forget to bring a friend...or find a roomie! Pairing with a friend to register for Imaging USA can save you about $20 each (that's the Member+1 registration option), PLUS you can split the hotel cost and spend even more time sharing ideas and inspirations. It's totally worth it: team up, save money and double the fun!
Want to find someone to catch a ride and share a room with? Check theLoop for potential roommates! You can post an invite in your state community, the Imaging USA community or even the all-inclusive PPA Member community.
Just don't forget to book those hotel rooms early. The Westin deal cuts off on December 16, or whenever we fill our room block. That's just over a month away! Get booking!
Enter the Weekly Facebook Giveaway to Win a Tenba Messenger Bag
Visit the Imaging USA Facebook page to enter the weekly giveaway!
Enter by November 10th for you chance to win a Tenba Messenger Bag. The bag can hold an SLR body, 2–3 lenses, flash and accessories, magazines, files and laptop (up to 15”). The Tenba Messenger is an urban-inspired laptop bag that’s designed to hold everything you need for a day; on vacation or at work; at school or at the gym. A removable photo insert holds camera gear as well (included). All Messenger bags are made with water-repellant, military-grade 1000 denier nylon, YKK® zippers, Duraflex® clips, steel D-rings and a waterproof bottom panel.
ASP Post-Banquet Reception Omni Hotel at CNN Center, Pre Function Area, Grand Ballroom A / B/ C, North Tower, Grand Ballroom Level
Monday, January 21, 9:30pm – Midnight
If you're an ASP member, you can also sponsor any PPA degreed, member in good standing, who was not an ASP member in 2012 for a Buddy Membership and split the dues. See your ASP Magazine, dues renewals and emails for details.
Non-ASP, PPA Degreed members wishing to join should contact ASP Executive Director, Jon Allyn. 800-638-9609 or firstname.lastname@example.org
You definitely don't want to miss Imaging USA's closing night party—we're hosting it at the amazing Georgia Aquarium, and we've yet to meet a single person who did not drop a few oohs and aahs here!
After all, when you celebrate with fellow attendees at the world's largest aquarium, you and your camera will be joined by playful penguins, graceful beluga wales, spectacular whale sharks and aquatic animals of all types. Yep, you get full aquarium access! Add in great music, food and plenty of libations to keep you well-watered (cash bar and one free drink ticket per person), and this party will be the perfect way to end your Imaging USA experience in style.
But this party is more than a cool locale you won't want to forget.
This is your chance to solidify those new friendships you've built at the show! Relationships with vendors and colleagues (not just customers) drive photography businesses, and this kind of networking is a major part of Imaging USA. So take mesmerizing pictures with friends old and new, exchange contact info and create memories at this last night party. The fact that you can do it at such an unforgettable location is like putting sprinkles on a cupcake—it makes a good thing even better!
Your full-convention Imaging USA badge will be your golden ticket to all this fun: Tuesday, January 22, 8:00pm – 11:00pm. Oh, and family and friends are welcome ($45 per guest / $20 per kid aged 12 and under)! We can't wait to see you here!
Will Crockett Presents 7 Smart Ideas for Making Hybrid eProducts Extremely Profitable
How about adding a new and extremely profitable category of products to your current mix? Will says you can with hybrid imaging, the skillful blend of photo, video, audio and anything else you can fit into an electronic image file. These hybrid "eProducts" need to be created quickly, at low costs, and transform the photographer's style into this new category. Luckily, you have Will here to help—a leading hybrid innovator! Monday, January 21 at 9:30 AM
Does the term "networking session" conjure up the image of people standing around trying to think of a way to promote their businesses to each other? Wipe those thoughts clean! At Imaging USA, we're hosting daily, interactive #Hash It Out gatherings where you'll join fellow photographers to explore new thoughts and best practices.
Think of these sessions as powwows with people who share similar challenges. Together you can hash out solutions to questions posed to the group by our moderator and our dedicated Twitter feed. Such honest conversations can provide the best learning of all...and that's why it's a new part of Imaging USA. It's a whole new way of collaborative growth and meeting people!
Here's how the #Hash It Out sessions work:
Allison Rodgers, Cr.Photog., and Angela Carson, Cr.Photog., API, our marvelous moderators, will kick the session off with a bang and keep things lively as only they can do.
Your questions, solutions and ideas will be shared live, facilitated on stage by the moderator and online by texting 404-382-8034 or tweeting #HashItOut.
No separate registration is necessary; just attend the #Hash It Out sessions as you would a regular class.
Talk about hot-ticket items! With four months to go, one of our hotel room blocks has already sold out!
Why so popular (and why is this worthy of a blog post)? Many Imaging USA attendees say it’s more than the location convenience—the convention hotels simply offer better opportunities to meet fellow attendees. You never know where those hallway or elevator run-ins will take you, from gaining a new friend to sharing an idea that changes your business for the better.
Regardless, you have to have a place to catch some shut-eye. All the new ideas and inspiration in the world won’t keep you at your best for three or more straight days! So why not be near all the action AND get your beauty rest? You can when you book a room at one of these remaining Imaging USA hotels:
The Omni Hotel at CNN Center is our headquarters hotel, and it’s by far the most convenient—it’s even connected to the Georgia World Congress Center! This is the place to be if you want the easiest route to your 8:00am classes (and back from the evening parties), and it’s also where you’ll see the most Imaging USA instructors, exhibitors and fellow attendees.
The Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel is another smart choice—there are complimentary shuttles to and from the Georgia World Congress Center (Jan. 20-22)! Plus, it has a restaurant up top that is just divine.
The Holiday Inn Downtown Atlanta is only about a 5-minute walk to the Georgia World Congress Center (and the parking and room rates are the best of the lot).
(And don’t forget to book for an extra day or two if you want to take a pre-convention class on Thursday, Friday or Saturday! We don’t want anyone sleeping in doorways, no matter how adventurous you are. Imaging USA may be the South this year, but it’s still nippy in January!)
We are still 4 months away from Imaging USA in Atlanta, but one of our contracted room blocks has already sold out! That means it’s time to book your room for Imaging USA.
Room blocks at the Glenn Hotel have sold out, but blocks are still available at the other official Imaging USA hotels, including the Omni Hotel at CNN Center – our headquarters hotel. Rooms are also still available at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel and the Holiday Inn Downtown Atlanta.
Jen Basford Presents Seniors IGNITE at Imaging USA 2013
Want to take your senior portrait business to the next level? Jen Basford of 3 girls photography will show you how she's grown her senior business into the most sought-after senior studio in her area (and beyond!) by using relationship marketing, her exclusive model program, and her must-see standing-room-only annual fashion show. Separate your studio from the rest by creating a buzz marketing strategy that's one-of-a-kind. See how with Jen! Monday, January 21 at 9:30 AM.
The three-day Imaging EXPO is way more than a trade show to us. It's a smorgasbord of the latest products and most innovative solutions for the photography addict (and savvy businessperson) in you! That's why we've arranged the schedule to give you about 5 ½ hours to spend roaming the expo floor almost every day:
January 20 - 21 / 11:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
January 22 / 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Why are we so ga-ga over the Imaging EXPO? Let us count the ways: At the Imaging EXPO, you can...
Grab show-special deals for tools & accessories you've been eyeing online - Wondering if a lens is right for you? What about that new album or background? Come see for yourself how these (and many more) products and services look and feel in person. (If you're a gadget gal or guy, you'll go bananas!)
See how the experts use products via in-booth demos - Yep, you can get a pretty solid education outside the classrooms here at Imaging USA. Just walk the show floor and you'll find well-known photographers and other experts sharing how they use certain products themselves.
Build vendor relationships - The Imaging EXPO allows you to meet the people behind the companies whose products you use. Pick their brains, and they might help you find the perfect solution for a new problem. (Get it straight from the horse's mouth, as we like to say.)
Create lifelong connections with peers - Walking the show floor is an eye-opening experience in itself, but there are thousands of photographers you can walk with, too! Who better to compare the pros and cons of different products with?
Kick your creativity into gear at theInternational Photographic Exhibit - Browse one of the largest annual photography exhibits of the best of the best, and discover new techniques and ideas to try in your own imagery.
What do you think? Enough reasons? We could wax poetic about the energetic atmosphere and other opportunities, but maybe we should stop here for now. Words aren't enough—you have to experience it! (Remember, the trade show is free with all full-convention registrations, so sign up now.)