Imaging USA 2020: Awards Night!


PPA held its Award and Degree ceremony and Grand Imaging Awards tonight during Night 2 at Imaging USA 2020 in Nashville. The overall Grand Imaging Award went to Dani Miller, for her image, “Myrtle and Amelia”, in the Animal Portrait category. The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to highly decorated photographer and mentor, Helen Yancy. 

Yancy is just the 17th photographer in the association’s 152-year history to receive that designation. “In my wildest dreams, I never expected to be honored in such an amazing way by PPA,” she said. “I have received so much from so many, and I’m deeply grateful. PPA enabled me to reach higher and to help others to reach higher, too.”

A member of the prestigious Portrait Society of America, Cameracraftsmen of America, and the Society of XXV, Yancy is one of fewer than 100 fellows of the American Society of Photographers. She has served as PPA president and chairman of the Board of Directors and holds numerous degrees and accolades, including being honored by the United Nations International Photographic Council with a medallion of leadership. Yancy is one of only a few Americans to be honored as a Fellow of the British Institute of Professional Photography, in part thanks to her leadership in establishing ties between PPA and the British Institute.

Accolades aside, it is Yancy’s artful imagery portraying people and their relationships that has endeared her to clients and made her a sought-after mentor for countless photographers. Her book Ordinary to Elegant: Transforming Photographs into Digital Paintings, remains a bestseller, and her oil, watercolor, mixed-media, and photographic portraits are displayed in hundreds of homes and in permanent collections and exhibitions around the world.

Yancy’s distinct painterly style—infused with sensitivity, realism, and imagination—has influenced generations of artists. “Helen Yancy has made so many extraordinary contributions to professional photographers and artists around the world,” says PPA President Audrey Wancket, M.Photog.Cr., CPP. “Her film and image retouching and artistry skills—and the early adoption of digital art along with teaching these skills—improved the beauty and quality of all photographers’ work.”

Upon receiving her award, Yancy said "My heart is full of gratitude" and she gave the audience a "few words to take to heart" which were: 

"Learn. Listen. Levitate. Love and Laugh."

The ceremony honoring Yancy was followed by the Grand Imaging Awards, the top prize going to Dani Miller, a multiple-award-winning portrait photographer from St. Charles, Iowa, who was selected as the winner from a pool of 12 category winners. The other winners were: 

  • Gena Tussey in the Creative Open category
  • Kimberly Smith in the Photographic Open Album category
  • Johnathan Fusco and Tomas Munoz in the Wedding Album category
  • Michelle Parsley in the Artist category
  • Irene Bowers for the top Restoration image
  • Erica Harvey in the Landscape/Nature category
  • last year’s GIA winner, Ella Carlson, in the Illustrative/Commercial category
  • Heather Cook in the General Portrait Category
  • Dani Miller in the Animal Portrait category
  • David Beckham in the High School Senior category
  • Gigi Odea in the Children’s Portrait category
  • Mario Munoz in the Wedding category 

Each category winner received a crystal award. Miller received an award and an additional $1000 prize. Upon winning, Miller thanked her "inspiration and love, Barbara Breitsameter. She's how I got here. And everybody at PPA for opening up our creative minds and inspiring each other."

The Grand Imaging Awards encourage photographers to up their creativity by pushing themselves through competition. The Grand Imaging Award winner was selected from 5,245 entries. Miller’s image was judged by a panel of 36 jurors to be the very best of images in this year’s loan collection.

In addition to the Grand Imaging Award, PPA awarded medalists from the IPC. Bronze medalists had all four of their submitted images earn merits. Silver medalists had one of their images entered into the Loan collection and on up to a four-for-four, “perfect” case for Diamond medalists. At this year’s ceremony, PPA awarded 170 bronze, 128 silver, 60 gold, 37 platinum, and 20 diamond medalists. The night concluded with a presentation on the images selected for Team USA at the World Photographic Cup, the “Olympics of photography”, wherein 43 countries compete in Rome, Italy, March 23, 2020. 

District Photographic Competitions are held June 7-12, 2020. It is followed by the International Photographic Competition August 16-21, 2020. All PPA photographic competitions are open to the public. For more information, visit

About PPA:
Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is the largest and longest-standing nonprofit photography trade association. Founded in 1868, PPA currently helps 30,000+ pros elevate their craft and grow their business with resources and education, all under PPA’s core guiding principle of bridging the gap between photographers and consumers.