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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Let the Sun Shine In...Imaging USA 2017, Day Three

by James Yates

The temperature in San Antonio today reached a sunny 80 degrees. As I mentioned on Day One, I'd like to thank Imaging USA and the 10,000 amazing professional photographers who descended on the city for bringing the warmth. It was a remarkable three days, packed with so much networking, friend-making and bonding that, if you're leaving here not making at least one new contact, friend or mentor...you did it wrong! The education has been so life-changing that, again, if you didn't take away at least one thing for your business in 2017...maybe you should look back through your notes. 

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We had the pleasure of interviewing attendees on the Expo floor all day and they were amazed at the camaraderie to be found at Imaging USA. As people exited the International Photographic Competition exhibit they were beaming, having been inspired by the images. Several members said they had received feedback from IPC mentors at the Merit Cafe and it had encouraged and motivated them to enter in 2017. If YOU haven't entered photographic competitions, there is no better way to improve your craft and push yourself forward. 

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PPA Charities gave away their annual "Dream Studio", a prize package of gear and equipment worth over $50,000. Throngs of people gathered around to hear the winner's name called and, fittingly, the award went to a brand-new Business Challenge participant, Lindsay Syme. Stay tuned to PPA Today to find out what happens with her new Dream Studio throughout the year.

Imaging USA 2017's program closed with the Award and Degree ceremony, honoring those who have earned a PPA degree, excelling and uplifing PPA and its thousands of members. There were 163 degree recipients this year, more than ever before, demonstrating that more and more people are taking their craft seriously, entering competitions, earning merits and elevating professional photography through their PPA membership. 

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The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Robert Freson, the legendary photographer who has captured the last half of the 20th century in his photographs. Everything and everyone from President Eisenhower to Charles and Diana's wedding has been viewed through Freson's lens. President Lori Craft presented the award to Freson, who found it "remarkable and quite unexpected". He said he was "truly amazed" by the work of PPA's members and, coming from him, that is quite the honor. 

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The closing party rages on. Business cards are being passed out, social media links are being exchanged. New friends for a new year, bonded through a love of professional photography, is what Imaging USA is all about. Do NOT miss Nashville next year. Take it from this year's attendees: Imaging USA is the greatest photography show on earth. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

"I've Got This"...Imaging USA 2017, Day Two

by James Yates



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See, you have to know if you just give things time and put the right energy into it the clouds will give way and the sunshine will break through. This applies to Imaging USA 2017 and how amazing Day Two was, but it also applies to the story of our winner of the 2017 Grand Imaging Award, Barbara Breitsameter M.Photog.Cr., CPP. But more on that later...


The day started with another round of amazing classes. One of the newest and most exciting things at Imaging USA this year is the Drone Zone, a ballroom sectioned off to host classes and demos on all things "drones". Local television news was on hand to get footage and let viewers in San Antonio know they still have another day left to get their Free Expo Pass and come check it out! 

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I spent a lot of time on the Expo floor today, interviewing attendees and finding out what was on top of everyone's mind for Day Two. Between the special vendor deals, the networking and the International Photographic Competition Exhibit (look for the IPC signs), the word "overwhelmed" came up a lot. Oh, and there's also the PRINT Theatre, where there are sessions every hour on how to incorporate printed products into your studio's portfolio. The looks of amazement on everyone's faces at the trade show are priceless.

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Now, speaking of priceless...how to put into words the amazing human being that is Barbara Breitsameter, M.Photog.Cr., CPP and winner of the 2017 Grand Imaging Award for her pet photography portrait, "Send in the Clowns"? Barbara took the top TWO prizes in her category and then won the overall award, an honor she was shocked to receive. I got to interview Barbara after her big win and, while seated with six of her closest friends (almost all of whom she mentored!) the joy and camaraderie that comes from a life well-lived and a hard-won and well-deserved honor was contagious. Barbara created this hilarious image during a particularly "dark" period of personal struggle in her life but, the image and its humor not only helped her through but has put her in a whole new direction with her pet photography work. 

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"I never even dreamed I could attain this," Barbara says. "It's like looking Parkinson's in the face and saying, 'I've got this.' It's my legacy to my kids to never give up and go for it. I love what I do. I have the best job in the world---I get to work with dogs!" 


Barbara (and all of the Grand Imaging Award winners) are a reminder to push yourself, enter competition, find a mentor and really make sure you're living your life to the fullest...even in the dark and uncomfortable spots. The sunshine will show up. Warmth is coming right around the corner.


Tomorrow is the last day of Imaging USA 2017 and, if it's anything like today, there won't be a dry eye in the house. Now, everyone get out there and make Day Three count! Go see the Drone Zone, PRINT Theatre, speakers, the photo exhibit, the Merit Cafe, the Expo, the Award and Degree ceremony....do whatever you can to fit it all in. You can sleep next week.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

"Since 1869...and we aren't going anywhere"--Imaging USA 2017 Day One

by James Yates 




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You want to talk about sunshine and warmth on a cold and cloudy day? We've seen it and it's Imaging USA 2017. Terrible weather and travel delays couldn't stop the 10,000 photography professionals who have descended upon San Antonio, Texas for Imaging USA! It may have taken some doing, but now that (mostly) everyone is here, it's on! 

The world's oldest and best photography convention is happening as we speak. If you weren't able to get out of the snow and make it down to the Lone Star state, have no fear. You'll find plenty of info here and on the Imaging USA social media to make you (almost) feel like you're here with us! (we really, really wish you were here with us). 

The final day of Pre-Con on Saturday brought with it the New Member Meet & Greet and...WOW. Hundreds of new PPA members attended the event which saw Board Members and Newbies alike, mingling and having a great time breaking the ice. It may have been freezing outside, but inside the Henry B. Gonzalez convention center, everyone was warm and having fun networking with their new photography friends.

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Today was the first "official" day of Imaging USA 2017 and, as the weather improves and flights clear, the cold January doldrums are melting away and the party is really taking off! Everyone got an immense jolt of inspiration this morning at the Keynote Presentation with author, CNN star and motivational speaker Mel Robbins taking stage. Mel comes from four generations of small business owners and has photographer family, so she was uniquely capable of relating and speaking to the packed house. She acknowledged that being a small business retail owner is one thing but it's an entirely different thing when your small business is also your passion. Mel's signature idea is that you're your biggest obstacle. You know exactly what you need to do and you can begin to take control of your life using the "5-second rule". 

Attendees were also welcomed by PPA CEO David Trust and President Lori Craft. David really 
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stirred the crowd with his call to FIGHT for your small business! With the Print Movement, the Drone Zone and the grassroots campaign for Small Claims, there are major signposts that point to professional photography's best years being ahead of us. PPA has been an association of professional photographers just like YOU being there for each other "since 1869...and we aren't going anywhere." It was very exciting to see a video message from Rep. Judy Chu (CA) who urged everyone to call or write your congressman to ask for co-sponsorship of the Freedom for American Small Creators Act. 

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There's nothing like the Imaging Expo, of course, and President Craft cut the ribbon immediately following Mel Robbins. This writer hasn't had the chance to really take it in yet, but I know I'll find amazing gear there along with the Print Theatre, IPC exhibit and Merit Cafe. Can't wait!

Finally was the Business Challenge class themed "Four Things You Need to Know to Be Successful". It was led by Angela Kurkian, Mary Fisk-Taylor and Gregory Daniel and it was such a bountiful session for small business photographers at any level. The hosts took the audience through the testimonials of four current Business Challenge participants, relating each one to one of the "Four Things You Need". Be sure to sign up for the next Business Challenge, which begins Feb. 1st. 

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Whoa. The Opening Party just started! And guess what? The weather is getting better each day at Imaging USA 2017. By the time we leave San Antonio, it will be a sunny 80 degrees. I'd like to say we (along with Louis and Annabella, pictured) brought the warmth. 

photos by Alex the Photo Guy

Friday, January 06, 2017

Here's Your Imaging USA Arrival Checklist!

By Autumn Rice

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The wait is over, so let the Imaging USA festivities begin!

As you arrive at Imaging USA 2017, there will be loads of intriguing sights and sounds filling the air, but before you dive into the greatest pro-photography convention, there are a few important tasks that need to be completed. 

Be sure to mark the following items off of your arrival checklist.
 
 • Hotel Check-In. Before you head to the Henry B. Gonzalez convention center, you'll need to stop by your hotel room and check-in. You'll get the chance to drop off your luggage and gather all of your important items to attend classes and the convention. 

• Registration Check-In. You'll need to stop by the registration desk to receive your convention badge, lanyard, ribbons, bag and show guide. The badge is important, as it is required for attending the Imaging USA expo, classes, parties, and more. Hold on tight to your badge! If you lose it, there is a reprint fee of $25 for the first badge reprint and $50 for one additional reprint. Stop by the main registration area for assistance. Pre-Con registration will be located at the Marriott Rivercenter, 101 Bowie St, San Antonio, TX 78205, 3rd floor. Main Registration will be at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention, Main Lobby, street level. There will be signage, so you won't miss it!

• Make a plan. Your show guide is a great way to get a complete list of the events hosted at Imaging USA. Use your show guide to schedule your days at Imaging USA, and stay on schedule using the official Imaging USA app! Be sure to attend the trade show, and as many classes and parties as you can pack into each day!

• Have the time of your life! Imaging USA is all about learning and connecting with your peers, while having the best fun of the year. So, shake off your nerves and dive into the greatest photographic convention around!

Imaging USA has begun, and your PPA Team is happy to answer any of your convention questions. You can also head over to ImagingUSA.org/About to get answers to any questions you may have!

Enjoy Imaging USA 2017, and stay tuned for daily convention recaps and updates!

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Thursday, January 05, 2017

A Rising Tide Sails All Ships: An Imaging USA Experience

By Mariah Ashley 

**originally published February 11, 2015; Don't have your badge for this week's Imaging USA 2017 in San Antonio, TX? There's still time! Register here and we'll see you on Sunday!**

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes: "Such a pleasant thought, if you improve overall conditions everyone can sail happily into the sunset".

It's an idea I try to set my moral compass to and a philosophy I practice in my business. When I recognize this quality in others I want to latch onto them because lately it seems most people practice the "every man for himself" motto and would sooner see you walk the plank than steer your own ship.

...except at Imaging USA. There, everyone is raising the tide. Unfortunately, it's not possible to latch onto 11,000 people, not even if you're a Kraken (mythical sea beast with many arms). Still, I wish I could give every special person I talked to a big old slimy tentacle hug. I guess I'll have to settle for squeezing them with my words instead.

But before things get awkward, let's consider ships.

If your business were a ship what kind of vessel would it be?

A cruise ship, big and solid chugging along smoothly?

A classy vintage sailboat effortlessly shuttling beautiful people from one sundrenched Mediterranean island to the next?

A hardworking lobster boat, a little messy and a little stinky and filled with salty characters?

A leaky little rowboat adrift in a sea of questions looking for a safe harbor? (Me too).

I met people at Imaging who were sailing and bailing all of these kinds of ships. PPA is the 
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tide rising under us all. I'm so proud to know such a positive, cheery, and enthusiastic crew. Team PPA, easily identified by their bright orange shirts; registering, directing, tweeting, photographing, interviewing, organizing, and helping in a million other ways all the guests on the big festive Imaging USA party boat.

A particularly perceptive PPA team member asked me how my first Imaging differed from my current experience. It's funny thinking back to that convention just three years ago. I didn't know anyone at all. I felt like the new kid in school, the lame-o at the lunch table all alone. What a difference a few years can make.

Imaging feels like a family reunion now. It's not because I am so outgoing and that I easily made friends. I'm actually more like a nervous weirdo. But you'd have to be a Kraken (misunderstood mythical sea creature) not to make friends at Imaging. Team PPA is so open, so encouraging, so willing to go the extra mile, and so darn nice. Making friends with the crew that first year is what kept us on course. Plus, it's nice to know we have a place at the cool kids table. If you didn't get a chance to acquaint yourself with Team PPA this year make it your mission to do it at the next Imaging, join the reunion!

Another difference--the first time I went to Imaging I didn't speak to other photographers (nervous weirdo, remember?). Two years later I found myself chatting it up left and right. Talking with random attendees from all over the country renewed my faith in our industry. Photographers are good people, people! Not only are they creative and interesting but they are curious and kind as well. They want to know where you are from, what you shoot and how you are doing.

They are quick with encouragement and insight. They want to share how they got their photograph in the Loan Collection, where they found the perfect album, and where the shortest lines for coffee are in the morning. I'm so glad I came out of my shell and took the time to chat with fellow photographers. We photographers can be solitary creatures 360 days a year, why not be more social the other five? If it was your first Imaging and you felt a little hermit crab-ish, then shed that shell at Imaging USA 2016.

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The first and second time I went to Imaging I sat in the audience of many lectures listening to the great advice of the speakers. This time I had the perspective of being behind the podium looking out at the crowd and you know what I discovered? Of all the people at Imaging the speakers are the most selfish! We get the most out of it. Knowing that your message is reaching and helping people is like crack (not Kraken, that's an ominous sea creature).

Honestly my sails have never felt quite so full. I felt I had a small part in the tide rising and was so proud to see it release some of my beached buddies. I've been in that leaky row boat too, though I've recently graduated to a semi stable canoe. I want to share my canoe with others now, but not so many that I tip (just kidding). I want to see all of the hard working passionate people I met succeed. You deserve it!

Lady I talked to next to the post-it note clad Imaging USA Idea Wall, tying for her CPP: I hope you passed and got your certification!

Girl that borrowed money for the convention pass and slept in her car because she couldn't afford a hotel but knew Imaging would give her the answers she needed: I hope you got them!

Tall dude who told me he felt he had been given permission to express his true personality: Be you! Be tall and let that big personality shine through in your business!

Lady who told me she had decided to quit photography on Friday but felt inspired now to keep trying: Don't give up! I know you can do it!

Isn't it comforting to know that we are all in the same leaky boat? We have the ability to throw each other a life line. Toss it when you can! Imaging USA has done that for us over and over again. If it did for you too, make it your pleasure and your addiction to return the favor.

I cannot imagine what Imaging USA 2016 in Atlanta will bring, but one thing's for sure, the tide is already a lot higher, let's keep it rising all year.

 
About the author:
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Mariah Ashley is co-owner of Snap! Photography in Rhode Island. She is blonde, loves to bake fruit pies, wears flip flops way past the summer season, should have been born in the 50s, paints and writes when the mood strikes her, is mother to Jacques and Vianne, vacations on Block Island, is vegan, never has proper or stylish outerwear, fears frogs and toads but loves turtles, has really skinny legs, personal Style- Bohemian Chic, wants to own a VW van,  grew up on a cranberry farm and is happiest when snorkeling is happiest when sipping a rum punch under a palm tree.



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Friday, December 30, 2016

4 New Year's Resolutions You Can Keep By Attending Imaging USA

By Chris Homer 

With New Year's Eve right around the corner, chances are that you've been examining your
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 photography business and making some New Year's Resolutions to improve in the coming year. Attending Imaging USA, January 8 - 10 in San Antonio, can be a great way to start the year off right and get the knowledge you need to make your resolutions a reality! Here are 4 resolutions photographers commonly make - and how attending Imaging USA can help you achieve these. 

Sell More Products/Make More Money
One area many photographers struggle in is selling printed products to their clients. Selling these products can often greatly increase your business' profitability. The PRINT For Success Theater at Imaging USA provides the answers you need to start selling more printed products! At the PRINT For Success Theater, top photographers will share sales advice in nineteen 30-minute sessions over the course of three days, all happening during the trade show. Come by and get the sales advice you've been looking for. It's open to all badged attendees - including Expo Only! 

Learn a New Photography Skill
Adding a new specialty to your business is a great way to bring in new clients, and at Imaging USA we'll be hosting classes on one of the most popular new specialties - drone photography! The Drone Zone will allow you to learn anything and everything drone-related. There will be speakers who are pioneers in the area, a representative from the FAA to answer all your questions, and rumor has it that you might even get to FLY A DRONE! Photographers can have access to the entire Drone track (10 classes, presentations, and demos) with your Imaging USA badge (Expo-Only and All-Access passes alike)!

Find a Mentor/Become a Mentor
It's easy for photographers to feel like they are all on their own when running a photography business. In reality, there's a vast network of professional photographers who are willing to share their knowledge with you and provide support when you need it! Imaging USA is a great opportunity to find a mentor, because you'll be mingling with 10,000 other professional photographers. You may just meet that person with the knowledge to jump start your business - or become someone's photography mentor and create a life-long friendship. 

Enter a Photography Competition
Photographers who have participated in PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) commonly mention that the knowledge you gain by entering is one of the best ways to improve your images. At Imaging USA, you can browse the International Photographic Exhibit; It's the largest photographic display out there with over 3,300 photographs featuring the top images from 2016. Come take a look and be inspired to create your own images! 

There's also the opportunity to speak with an IPC Mentor about your own images you're thinking about entering in competition and get their advice. Check it out and remove the fear that comes with entering your images in a competition!

Now that you've seen how Imaging USA can jump start your resolutions, go to ImagingUSA.org/Register today and sign up to attend. Keep in mind that you can attend the Expo trade show, Drone Zone classes, PRINT For Success Theater, Keynote speech by CNN anchor Mel Robbins and International Photographic Exhibit with an Expo Only pass for just $35. If you want to attend all of Imaging USA's classes, parties, and events, upgrade to an All-Access pass! 

Don't be left out; Join us in San Antonio!

ch_headshot_100x100.jpgAbout the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.


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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Why Imaging USA? Here are Photographers' Answers!

By Autumn Rice

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Imaging USA is so close that we can barely stand the wait! While some of you know how life-changing the convention experience can be for professional photographers, new comers may not know what to expect. Aside from the parties and fun Imaging USA provides education, network, and inspiration that change the outlook on professional photography for many attendees, like you!

Here's a testimonial from PPA member Karen Langley Bentley on the impact Imaging USA has had on her photography and her business.

"For those of you who are/have been speakers... While some attendees might take your words with a grain of salt... There are some whose whole career is changed. In 2013 I was running my business single handedly while working a day job. My husband worked a crappy factory job on swing shift and honestly our family was suffering. At imaging 2013 in Atlanta I brought my husband along for company even though he didn't have any interest in photography. While I was at a maternity class he decided to "just go sit in some other class". He ended up in Jerry Ghionis` class. When we met back up afterwards he was a changed man. Not only was he taken aback by what a powerful image can do, but one small key on lighting illuminated the world of photography to him. I was in disbelief but that very same year my husband became the lead photographer of our business and was able to quit his awful factory job. We have both been full time photographers ever since. We have made mistakes but we have sustained our family and our bills through photography alone. That never would have happened if he hadn't ended up in that class. YOU GUYS MAKE A DIFFERENCE."

"We took many business classes, but we also attended classes by some of our idols. We were the creepy couple wanting selfies with you guys. The reason we wanted those selfies is because you have inspired us majorly in one way or another. One day when we are speaking at Imaging USA (and yes that's a goal of ours) we want to look back and say "this guy changed my life, my business, and yours can change too." We had an awesome time and learned so so much. Thank you all so much for the knowledge and inspiration!"

Imaging USA is an unlimited source of encouragement for photographers to achieve their photography goals, improve their work and build better businesses. If photography is your dream, make it a reality with all of the opportunities at Imaging USA. Imaging USA 2017 will be held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, TX from January 5-10. Visit ImagingUSA.org/Register to get your all-access pass to be a part of the world's largest pro-photography convention!

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Got a Drone for Christmas? Start Here!

By Bethany Clark
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Did you get a drone for Christmas? We can only imagine the delight you're feeling! There's little that can compare to getting something that you really want, especially if that item has the unique capability of simultaneously boosting your business. 

Now that you've got one, what's next? Read on for the plethora of resources that PPA has prepared for you, the actions you need to begin taking, and the in-person experience that you can have in a couple of weeks!

  1. Visit PPA.com/Drones for all the information you need about registering your drone, becoming a drone pilot, insurance options, and soon, how to get you Drone-Photography Certified! Also browse these articles for a vast array of information all about drones!  
  2. Check out these comprehensive videos on PPAedu about Drone Photography! Drone experts Randy Braun and Stacy Garlington from DJI  go over everything from safety and etiquette rules to tips on flying. These programs are available online 24/7 to all PPA members. Take advantage of them to get your buzzing edge!
  3. Come to Imaging USA to explore the Drone Zone! This brand new program features 10 classes with all you need to learn about drone photography, especially how to incorporate them safely, legally, and profitably into your photography business. The Drone Zone walks you through all of your options, in-person, with experts on hand to answer all of your questions! You'll be able to watch drones in action, participate in demos, learn best practices for a sustainable business, and so much more.

Whew! Getting a drone for Christmas makes for a very merry holiday indeed! See you at Imaging USA, January 8-10, 2017! Register today!

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Monday, December 26, 2016

Photo Opportunities Are Endless At Imaging USA 2017!

By Autumn Rice

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Thousands of photographers will take over San Antonio for Imaging USA 2017 and if you're planning to be there, then don't forget to pack your camera! There will be loads of great photo opportunities and we want you to take advantage of them all! 

From photos with friends, to sights around the city, you'll have the opportunity to capture memorable moments all around Imaging USA. So, pull out your camera and take a picture of anything that catches your eye! And after you've captured the perfect picture, don't forget to share it with us. Tweet, snap, post, and share with the official #ImagingUSA, and your posts will be shared on large screens on site! 

Need more reasons? Here are a few sights for great photos opps at and around the convention:

Classes: There are great moments to capture photos of in classes. Snap some photos and share them with us!

Expo: The expo will be filled with your friends, industry professionals, vendors, and your PPA Team. Grab a few folks and get a group pic of the expo action!

The GIA's and the Award & Degree Ceremony: Snap some photos of the year's winners in their fanciest pants at these events where the award winners from the last year are recognized.

Parties: take a break from dancing the night away and snap some pics with friends. 

River Walk: Take a ride on the San Antonio River Walk and get great shots of the city from the boat! 

So whether you're on the plane to San Antonio, headed to an Imaging USA event or touring the city, keep your camera handy and capture some great moments from Imaging USA 2017 in San Antonio. Remember to share all of your moments via social media with the hashtag:   #ImagingUSA

If you haven't already done so, you can still register: Go to ImagingUSA.org/Register and we'll see you soon!

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Need a Last-Minute Christmas Gift? Give an Imaging USA Expo Pass!

By Chris Homer

Did you procrastinate on getting a Christmas gift for the photographer in your life? Don't panic
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 - Imaging USA 2017 is right around the corner, January 8-10 in San Antonio, and an Expo Pass makes a great gift for any photographer!

Expo Only passes are available for just $35 and they'll get the recipient into the 3 day-long Imaging Expo trade show that will feature more than 600 booths from top photographic companies. They'll get a kick out of being able to get hands-on with the latest and greatest products in the photography industry, hear the inspirational keynote speech by CNN star Mel Robbins and check out the best images of 2016 at the International Photography Exhibit - the largest photography exhibit out there with well over 3,300 images! As an added bonus, the Expo Only pass goes even further this year by giving photographers access to the PRINT For Success Theater and the Drone Zone! 

The PRINT For Success Theater will have top photographers sharing sales advice in 19 sales training sessions over the course of three days, all happening during the trade show. Come by and get the sales advice you've been looking for! 

And at the Drone Zone, you can learn anything and everything drone-related. There will be speakers who are pioneers in the area, a representative from the FAA to answer all your questions, and rumor has it that you might even get to FLY A DRONE! Photographers have access to the entire Drone track (with 10 classes, presentations, and demos) through an Expo-Only pass! 

Now that you see why the Expo Only pass is a great gift for photographers, head on over to ImagingUSA.org/Register to grab one. And if you really want to be Santa, consider upgrading your gift to an All-Access Pass which will get you/your friend into ALL of Imaging USA's 100+ classes, parties and special events!


ch_headshot_100x100.jpgAbout the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.


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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Business Challenge at Imaging USA!

by James Yates
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PPA's Business Challenge was born nearly one year ago, at Imaging USA 2016 in Atlanta. It was during the Studio Makeover class, dedicated to unveiling the results two studio owners had by implementing PPA's business advice, when Education Director Angela Kurkian began to realize the program could be scaled up. By adding the Challenge as a group on theLoop, all PPA members would have the chance to join and begin their 12-month, step-by-step program to profitability and sustainability for their photography businesses. 

It's been a huge success. There are now nine different Challenge Groups on theLoop, with over 900 members taking advice, implementing changes, sharing wisdom and holding each other accountable as they make the steps toward their studios becoming more financially sound! 

YOU can get a taste of the Business Challenge LIVE and IN PERSON with a class at Imaging USA 2017

Business Challenge mentors Gregory Daniel, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, F-ASP, Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API and Angela Kurkian, M.Photog.Cr., CPP will be presenting the platform program "4 Things You Need to Know to be Successful"  at Imaging USA 2017 in San Antonio, TX. 

The class will be held on January 8 and asks the question, "If you could make four changes to your business and your way of thinking that would help you be more profitable, add time to your day and move your life in the direction you dream of, would you do it?"  Full of great takeaways and business strategies you can start implementing right away, this class is the perfect introduction to the Business Challenge program, which can help you build your business on a strong foundation in 2017.

If you're not already using the Business Challenge to own your place in the photography industry and be more profitable, what are you waiting for?! Sign up now at PPA.com/Challenge! And be sure to register for Imaging USA and join us in San Antonio! 

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Top 10 Packing Essentials for Imaging USA

By Tristin Vaccaro

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Imaging USA is less than THREE weeks away, and whether you like to pack far in advance or throw everything in a bag at the last minute, packing for a trip can be a little stressful. Of course you need the basics like clean clothes, toiletries, and personal items, but there are other essentials you should pack, too. We took out some of the packing guesswork with this checklist of 10 essentials to bring with you to Imaging USA 2017.

1) Outerwear: January is San Antonio's coldest month of the year, meaning a coat or jacket is necessary. While the convention is held indoors at the Henry B. González Convention Center, exploring the beautiful city of San Antonio isn't as appealing if you're freezing. It's a good idea to be prepared for any kind of weather, so a rain jacket would also make a smart addition to your suitcase.

2) Camera: It's a photography convention, so you definitely don't want to leave your camera at home.  Between the hands-on classes and tech accessories available at the expo, you'll want your camera by your side throughout the convention.

3) Comfy Shoes: Make no mistake, you will be doing LOTS of walking during your time at Imaging USA. There are classes to attend, parties to dance at, and one amazing city to explore, so be sure to break in your shoes before you come. Trust us, your feet will thank you! 

4) Phone Charger: You don't usually leave home without your phone, so don't leave for a trip without the charger.  While this seems pretty obvious, you don't want to be the one who left your charger plugged into your wall at home.

5) Refillable Water Bottle: We know there's lots to do while at Imaging USA, so it's easy to forget to STAY HYDRATED! This is so important, and there are tons of places to fill up across the convention center so you'll never go thirsty. 

6) Business Cards: Part of the fun of Imaging USA is meeting tons of new people! These people can become friends for life or the professional mentor you've been looking for. Building your photographic network is easy when you have business cards to share. 

7) Semi-Formal Attire: The Award & Degree ceremony, the Grand Imaging Awards, and the official Imaging USA closing party are all good reasons to get dolled up. By no means is formal wear a necessity (well, unless you are going to be receiving a degree), but the option to dress up while having fun is definitely appealing.

8) Empty Bag: There's lots of swag to be had at Imaging USA, but you'll need another bag to bring it all home in! Bringing a spare bag with you ensures you'll have plenty of space to bring home those extra goodies you've picked up along the way.

9) Note-Taking Device: Do it the old fashioned way with pen and paper or bring your laptop or tablet. Whatever your note taking style, remember all you've learned at your classes by jotting down notes. 

10) Badge: Can't forget this! Your Imaging USA badge is essential for entering the classes, expo, parties, and basically everywhere else at the convention. If you lose your badge, there is a reprint fee of $25 for the first reprint and $50 for the second one, so keep an eye on your badge!

And there you have it, the top 10 packing necessities for Imaging USA 2017. This list serves as a jumping off point when considering what to pack, and you should definitely consider your specific needs as well. 

We can't wait to see you in San Antonio, and if you haven't already, there's still time to register and meet us there, too!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Left, Left, Right, Right! Here's Some Help to Map Your Way Around Imaging USA!

By Autumn Rice

Imaging USA is home to the world's largest pro-photography expo. With 3 days of more than 600 booths over 80,000+ square feet of trade show with top companies from the photography industry, this show compares to none! This year's Imaging USA Expo will be the ultimate feast for photographers, featuring gadgets and gizmos from companies like Canon USA, Miller's Professional Imaging, H&H Color Lab, Kodak Alaris, Marathon Press Inc., and ChromaLuxe, just to name a few! 

Navigating this large convention can be quite overwhelming, and you'll want to visit every inch of it. So, plan your route in advance! Use the interactive map featured on ImagingUSA.org, like the map below, to plan your routes to the MUST see vendors that are important to you.

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Another way to get seamless navigation through the Imaging USA Expo is through the official Imaging USA App. This free app has a special navigation feature that will allow you to choose any vendor that you would like to visit, and get directions to their exact location on the expo floor. Visit ImagingUSA.org/Videos to get step by step instruction videos on how to use the navigation feature of the app. 

Make your way around Imaging USA 2017 in San Antonio with ease by using the interactive map and the official Imaging USA App navigation feature. The Imaging USA Expo has so much to offer, and you deserve to see it all. To get a list of all of the exhibitors that will be at Imaging USA and access the interactive floor plan, go to ImagingUSA.org/Imaging-Expo!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Make a List and Check it Twice! Here are your Classroom Necessities for Imaging USA!

By Autumn Rice

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If you're heading to San Antonio in January, by now you've registered for all of your pre-con classes and scheduled your education-filled days at Imaging USA. But before you run out the door, here are some tips on what to bring to classes to ensure that you're prepared to get the most out of your "Imaging experience" this year!

Check your bag for these few necessities before you head to class:

1. Camera: This is a photographic convention. Of course you need your camera! Some of the classes at Imaging USA 2017 are hands-on and will give you the chance to use the skills you've learned right on your own camera. Bringing your camera is a MUST! Triple check your bag for your camera (and batteries) before you leave!

2. Mobile App: The mobile app is the best way for you to stay on the schedule you set for your days at Imaging USA. It has a special feature that allows you to schedule your days, and stay on time for each class. The app is also easy to use, and there are demo videos to help you master each feature. Make sure to download the official Imaging USA app before you head to San Antonio!

3. Laptop/Tablet: Some Imaging USA classes teach you about programs and editing, and having the program handy would be a good idea. Although laptops are ideal, keep in mind that tablets or smaller, compact items may be easier to carry. Be sure to equip your tablets and laptops with the software and programs you'll need for before you throw it in your bag!

4. Notebook & Pen: There will be a lot of information given in each Imaging USA class, and bringing writing utensil will ensure you're able to take advantage of it! You'll want to write down notes as a reference for future use and projects. Remember to stop by Registration on site to pick up your FREE Imaging USA notebook! And don't forget to throw a couple of pens in your backpack before class; you'll need them!

5. Business Cards: Many of your fellow photographers and vendors will attend class sessions with you, and building business relationships is a great way to find pro-photographer friends that can help you! Building and nurturing a professional network is also great for support, so don't forget to grab enough business cards before you leave!

There you have 'em! These items are your basic necessities for Imaging USA classes, and you don't want to forget them. So before you leave home triple check your bag for these items and you'll be Imaging USA education ready!

Visit ImagingUSA.org to register for the Imaging USA 2017, download the app and register for classes, and we'll see you in January! 

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Friday, December 16, 2016

Download the Official Imaging USA App to Optimize your Convention Experience!

By Autumn Rice

The countdown to Imaging USA 2017 is on, and to help enhance your Imaging USA experience we've made the Imaging USA app bigger and better than ever before. So forget the maps, schedules and alarms, and pick up your phone to download the official Imaging USA App!

With the Imaging USA app you can:
Create your own customized schedule of classes and events
View interactive maps with a navigation feature to help you find your way around the trade show floor
View the comprehensive list of speakers, exhibitors, and programs offered
Favorite and bookmark the speakers or vendors you don't want to miss
Connect with other attendees through the app's networking function
Take notes and keep them stored all in one place
Give feedback on the classes you attend
Receive expo-only offers and discounts while in San Antonio

Navigating the app is simple and easy to use, but we want to highlight some of the special features, just for you. Check them out!

 

 

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