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January 2020 - Image Competition 80+ Score Images

The Viewfinder

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  • 04 May 2020 9:32 PM | Theresa Campbell, CPP (Administrator)

    The PPGH board saw an opportunity to reflect our current guild in a new way through our logo. We are a strong, modern, energetic group of professional photographers built on a foundation of solid teaching, sharing, and camaraderie. We needed a logo to reflect this modern sentiment while holding to the traditions of the past.

    After months of research, study, and commissioning a logo design company, we have created this new logo. The square design is similar to the shape of the old logo, a nod to the past,but the three squares provide a modern feel.  We felt it was important to not only spell out “Professional Photographers Guild of Houston” but also to use the “PPGH” nickname since we use both names interchangeably. The colors blend with our new and updated website and will fit beautifully in that new space.

    Join us in celebrating this new logo and the modern feel that it brings to this wonderful group where we honor the past, are present for each other, and look to the future of professional photography in Houston.


  • 26 Apr 2020 8:39 PM | Theresa Campbell, CPP (Administrator)

    When Houston photographer Kat Mack revived her desire to sew, she had no idea just 90 days later she would be where she is today. Years earlier, Kat had begun sewing a quilt which she came across in January and decided to finish. So in February, she flew to Chicago to work on the quilt with her aunt, a master seamstress. They enjoyed a week together, sewing and chatting while they completed Kat’s quilt. Little did they know, the skills Kat gained would be of great help to her and countless others in the coming weeks.

    As COVID-19 news began to spread, Kat realized she could use her newfound skills to make masks. She searched online to find a pattern she felt comfortable enough to make. She researched and tried many different techniques before arriving at her current mask design. Once she made a few masks, she posted them on her Facebook page on March 25. After three days, someone saw them and contacted the local news channel, Click 2 Houston, who contacted Kat and interviewed her for the 10:00 news. (See the interview here: https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2020/04/01/top-health-officials-may-recommend-masks-be-worn-in-public/). Kat was the first person to be interviewed about making masks. She said, “Before the segment was even over, orders started coming in!”

     That first week she awoke at 5 am every day and split her time between sewing and fielding Facebook messages to answer questions about the masks. When people began ordering quantities of 50 and 100, she knew she was in over her head. But if you know, Kat, that wasn’t about to stop her. She already used Photobiz for her photography website so she developed an order form on her website home page so people could order the masks online (www.katmackphotography.com). She placed all the details on the order page. Kat doesn’t charge for the masks, she just asks folks to cover their own shipping costs and donate, if possible, to help fund the purchase of fabric and sewing materials. Her good friend, Davey Dave, helped her set up a video about creating a mailing label so she could ship the masks securely and her fabulous husband, Bob, prints the orders and helps keep them straight.


    News soon spread about Kat’s #Covid-19Kindness project and others wanted to join in to help. Her first helper was her neighbor, Nicola, a sixth-grade home school student who had recently attended a sewing camp and had a new sewing machine on hand. In fact, Nicola made over 150 masks by herself! Her family even came up with the idea Kat uses for sewing the pleats into the masks. The next person to join was Laura Thompson. Kat said, “She’s been my right-hand mask maker! Laura also worked day and night completing over 300 masks, sometimes in yoga pants and sometimes donning a funky Halloween costume!”

    Additional neighbors now assist with the various tasks of fabric washing and cutting, nose bridge making, sewing, and stuffing envelopes. Kat calls them her Dream Team and says their help really streamlined the process. The time to create the masks has also decreased from 30 minutes to 6 minutes per mask! As of 3 days ago, they have made 1,500 masks with 1,346 masks on faces! They currently have a surplus. Kat said, “One mask turned into maskageddon! But what a great way to get through the whole pandemic thing. When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. And I got a lot of lemonade!”


    Kat operates on a zero-waste policy. When she runs out of useable sizes, she sews her scraps together to hodgepodge more fabric in the kids’ patterns because that fabric is harder to find. She keeps even the tiniest of scraps to use as filler in other projects. Kat even made a mask tutorial video on her Facebook page and began holding Facebook Live chats to lift people’s spirits. As for the donations, all donations go to purchase more materials. Once the pandemic is under control and things return somewhat to normal, Kat intends to donate the remainder of the money to the Houston Food Bank. Kat said, “There have been so many cool, feel good moments over the last four weeks for us. While I have been concerned about the status of my business and whether I will be able to recover, having something that keeps me so focused and the support of my husband, who I could never ever in a million years have done this without. It’s a great, great feeling. Plus, I get to wear yoga pants every day!”

  • 16 Mar 2020 6:05 PM | Theresa Campbell, CPP (Administrator)

    As we all await news of what is to come over the next few months, we can take steps to protect our small businesses through this situation. I came across a very informative video detailing some of those steps and wanted to share. We have no affiliation with this gentleman, but he made some excellent suggestions. I have briefly noted them below, but I suggest you watch his video at https://youtu.be/msCxAQ1NQn0.

    1)     Use this time to take an inventory of your business. (Side note: Evaluate your marketing approach. Ask how your business might be able to help your

    clients during this time.)

    2)     Reach out to three sets of people:

    a)      Employees – They are concerned about their livelihood and caring for their families. How will your work fit into their lives during this time?
    b)      Vendors – How will their business be affected and how will that affect your business needs? What arrangements can you make to keep your business afloat?
    c)      Clients – Cash will be very interesting over the next few months – cash flow will not be the same. Get an understanding from your major customers how/when they will be able to pay you. Remember that they will also be stressed, reach out in a way that is meaningful to your relationship so they will continue to value your business. Remember to keep the discussion about their needs and not your own.
    3)    Explore funding alternatives


    4)    Check with your insurance agent – business interruption insurance?

    5)     Remember to help others, especially the elderly.


    Speaking of helping others, David Chaumette is also a small businessman in Houston. He is a business coach. Let's help him out by liking his YouTube video and helping to spread the word about ways to protect small businesses during this crisis.

    If you have additional information that may be helpful to our membership, please contact Kathy Kinser or Tess Campbell. We will post on your behalf. Stay healthy.

  • 13 Mar 2020 12:50 PM | Theresa Campbell, CPP (Administrator)

    Members of PPGH attended Carol Andrews workshop, Bigger Than Your Website, on Sunday, March 8, 2020 at her home. It was beautiful weather, so we started the class outside on the patio introducing ourselves, discussing our type of photography, and sharing how we got started.


    Carol is a very thought-provoking teacher inspiring actions to take with your photography business. She spoke about Business By Design and setting your goals/purpose for your photography business.

    Carol used several writing exercises to illustrate things that she wanted us to think about. She quoted from Seth Godin’s book about Marketing. We all came up with plans for working with a non profit to enhance our sales and make connections. Time flew by during this class which ended with enjoying Carol’s famous red beans and rice, which were delicious!



  • 28 Feb 2020 9:22 PM | Alison Montgomery, Cr.Photog.,CPP (Administrator)

    Newborn Safety

    by

    Alison Montgomery


    Everyone loves newborns and photographing them is so amazing, you cannot take a bad photo of a newborn in their Mom and Dad’s opinion and they trust us to be gentle, kind and to keep their new little one safe while we get those great photos. Well all of us do, we are very patient and gentle with them and would never do anything to hurt them but there are a few things that we may not think about or realize that we need to keep in mind to protect them.

    • 1.    Keep an eye open as they cannot tell you what is wrong.
    • Watch for purple limbs when posing, blood supply is cut off.
    • They need a warm room but no direct heat blowing on them. Their skin is delicate.
    • Absolutely no heating pads under the blankets. It can get too hot and you don’t want one to short out from getting peed on and shock a baby.

    • 2.    They have little to no immune systems.
    • If you or anyone in the studio or home is sick reschedule.
    • Do not kiss them.
    • Get a Flu Shot
    • Ask your Dr. what if any other shots you need

    • 3.    Prop Safety
    • The weathered look photographs great but no rust, there are great faux rusty looking items out there to purchase and watch for loose metal particles on anything metal.
    • On Antique props watch out for lead paint.
    • Be sure fabrics are soft and not scratchy or abrasive.
    • In buckets and other unstable props, put a weight in the bottom or back to counter balance.
    • Check wooden props for splinters.
    • Make sure the props will fit a baby comfortably, never force a baby to fit the prop.
    • Be sure to buy from smoke free environments.

    • 4.    Camera Safety
    • Be sure you are steady when taking overhead shots, if on a step stool have someone spot you.
    • When you change your lens double check to be sure it is on securely.
    • Neck straps are preferred, however be aware of the danger they can pose as well. I see many photographers push the camera behind them while leaning over working with the baby. A camera that accidentally swings around can kill a newborn.
    • If you use a hand strap as I do, watch where you set the camera down. You don’t want to trip over it and fall on baby.

    • 5.    Cleanliness
    • Wash all wraps and fabrics between sessions in fragrance free detergent.
    • Spray and wipe down all props between sessions with a disinfectant.
    • Clean and dust studio before sessions.
    • Wash, shake or sun rugs periodically to remove dust particles.
    • Be aware of allergies with pets in studio.
    • Wash or clean all props before first use.

    • 6.     Assistants
    • Use a spotter when needed.
    • If you don’t have an assistant, Mom or Dad are usually happy to help.
    • Never EVER leave baby unattended. Newborns are stronger than you think and can lift themselves up and definitely can launch themselves from some poses or props.

    • 7.    Posing
    • Not all babies are flexible and can do all poses, never force a baby into a pose. If you try a couple of times and they don’t like it move on.
    • Some poses can injure a newborn if not done correctly. They should be done as composites. If you are not sure ask for help from another newborn photographer.
    • Manage posing expectations with the parents. Let them know that you will try for the poses they want but cannot guarantee that baby will do them but you will get them some really cute photos.

    • 8.    Props Parents Bring
    • Parents love to see their new baby posed in props from their jobs, especially first responders etc.  Please keep in mind that these tools of their jobs are exposed to chemicals and other things that we can’t see. Fire turnout gear is exposed to all kinds of toxins in a fire and these can permeate the materials and should never be against a newborn. Always ask parents to have these things cleaned well before bringing them. Best scenario is to do them as a composite so baby never has to be in the actual pocket or helmet etc. 

    • Finally, be sure to use a contract, have studio insurance, invest in and attend workshops in person. Invest in a doll to practice and consider taking a CPR course. You never know when something can go wrong so we want to be prepared. Don’t be paranoid, just aware and careful and enjoy those tiny humans.
  • 27 Feb 2020 12:55 PM | Theresa Campbell, CPP (Administrator)

    This bit of encouragement is to all you moms out there trying to be a good mom, a good wife and also find “your thing” by following a passion.

    This year I turned 70. This is going to be a great decade. However, looking back over the previous decades, I remember the challenges of wanting to be a good mom and at the same time be a good business owner that added joy to the lives of others. I come from a worker bee mom that loved her job. She was the minister’s secretary and she loved all the church people that were in and out of her office. There were many times that she just sat and listened when someone needed to talk to Dr. Robinson or Dr. Bridwell, but they were unavailable. After listening they would eventually say “It’s okay. Just have him call when he can.” Crisis averted by a listening ear. But as much as she loved her job, she would only agree to working until 3:00pm so that she could pick me up or be home when I got home from school. She said that I always seemed to be willing to talk for those first few minutes after school was out.

    I was fortunate to have a career where I could be in control of my time. Being home when Curt and Kristen got home from school was important. I was not home long since photographing students began after school. Kristen did a lot of homework in the front seat of the car while I captured smiles. Curt had baseball practice or a game. I was always at the game…just late!

    In the 80’s I joined PPGH (Photographer’s Guild of Houston), TPPA and PPA. I attended meetings and went to Texas School and all sorts of other educational opportunities. I started entering print competition, but always found it challenging to meet the time deadlines. My goal was to be awarded the Master of Photography by Professional Photographers of America. But I put that dream aside for many, many years. I just had my hands full running a business and being a good mom and wife. The most important thing was to be there when they were willing to chat about their day.

    My children are grown now and live out of town. Running an excellent business is still of upmost importance to me. Capturing the landscape of your family brings me great joy. However, it was time to finish the goal. I didn’t realize how close I was until I stopped and accessed what I had accomplished. So, with the encouragement of so many colleagues, I reached that goal this year! I was awarded my Master of Photography and as I walked across the stage, one of my favorite sparks of positivity hollered “You did it, Cindy!” I was way more emotional than I was expecting. Thirty-five years later, I really did accomplish my goal.


    Let me encourage you young moms or you more seasoned moms. Time goes by more quickly than you can imagine. I loved my life raising children but I also love my life now where I can see more clearly the goals that I want to achieve. I even got braces because it is never too late to improve. (The top braces are off and the bottom braces will be off very soon.) I lift weights three times a week with the most amazing trainer and friend that a woman could ever ask for. I find life so fulfilling and I want you moms to know that you can have it all. You just can’t have it all at the same time. Pace yourself. Enjoy the day. Do what you can do. Realize that some goals won’t be fulfilled until later in life, but I want to encourage you all to know that it is all so sweet and fulfilling to never ever give up and to keep on chipping away at this one glorious life. The journey has never been sweeter.




  • 19 Feb 2020 10:20 PM | Teri Whittaker, M.Photog.Cr., CPP (Administrator)

    I do not have an art background as so many in photography do.  So, as I endeavor to grow my photographic art, and I try to consider color harmony (one of the 12 elements of our PPA photographic competition), I ask myself what is it and how do I apply it?

    So I started doing a little sleuthing to find out the things I did not know.  Like did you know that hue simply means color?  You are probably thinking to yourself, Teri, did you not learn this in kindergarten?  No, I didn’t go to kindergarten, but I didn’t learn it in first grade, or second grade, or third grade…you get the idea.  I only recently came across this little nugget of information.  But maybe there is someone else out there who is as clueless as I am, so I am going to be vulnerable and share my ignorance.

    So in addition to learning that hue means color, I also learned that color value is the lightness or darkness of a color.  The lightness of a color is referred to as a tint, and the darkness of a color is referred to as a shade.



    And that is not all!  If I add gray to the color, I reduce the intensity of that color.  When I add gray to a color the result is a tone of the original color.


    Okay, so now I know that hue equals color, that color value equals the lightness (tint) or darkness (shade) of a color and I found out that I can create tones of a color by adding gray.  What else did I want to understand? Oh yeah, what is color harmony?  Color harmony is using a pleasing color palette or color scheme in our photographs/art.  I learned that there are six commonly used color schemes.







    So there you have it!  Color schemes that will help establish color harmony. I have found my little journey into the world of color theory helpful when planning for image creation.  I hope you find the information useful as well!


  • 28 Jan 2020 8:45 PM | Theresa Campbell, CPP (Administrator)

    Classes are still open for Texas School 2020 to be held April 26 - May 1 in Dallas. In case you aren't familiar with this amazing event, we are posting a write-up from Sandy Buller, 2019's recipient of a $500 Scholarship to Texas School to give you a taste of what to expect.

    MY PPGH SCHOLARSHIP EXPERIENCE by Sandy Buller

    It was late morning, April 28, 2019 as I drove the back roads from southern Waller County up through Grimes County and Madison County to reach I-45 headed north to Addison, Texas to attend the 2019 Texas School of Photography at the Renaissance Dallas Addison Hotel. I was thinking to myself, this is quite odd going to a photography school yet my instructor’s course syllabus mentioned that cameras were not required for this week’s course, just one’s laptop computer. Well, it only makes sense, because it was a course in Photoshop.

    This course was not about retouching photographed portrait images. It was about how to make artwork out of nothing or use elements from one’s photographs and other mediums to create a composite illustration that could be identified as fine art. The instructor was Thom Rouse from Chicago, Il. He used his and other’s actual photographs which were transformed and manipulated from Photoshop techniques. He also added real-life, everyday stuff like magazine pages that had been altered from a chemical reaction, then photographed to highlight the textures and colors. In the Photoshop techniques, he demonstrated how he used masking layers, adjustment layers, and layer styles to generate the outcome of the artwork.

    We spent time all week going over these techniques working on our own creative project utilizing our own images. Doing the techniques over and over each day helped embed the process in our minds, too. It was from the continued repetition that other possibilities arose which fueled the creative process further. The students in the class were very engaged, interactive and courteous with each other. This cordial, loving environment made it the norm to share Photoshop shortcuts and personal techniques to help each other.

    One of Thom’s rules was that Judgement was not allowed in his class and he encouraged everyone to especially remove self-judgement from one’s thinking. Abandoning self-judgement allows ALL judgement to be eliminated as well. We learned that judgement in any form is the thief of creativity. Thom set out to make his week-long classroom a place of respite for creativity, where we could play as children, experiment, take creative chances, and learn a whole new bag of tricks.

    In addition to Photoshop, we had a continual conversation throughout the week as we worked on our personal projects that were to be completed at the end of Texas School. Our conversations explored visual literacy, inspiration, creative process, personal process, and personal style.

    Visual literacy is achieved from knowing how one makes good images if one doesn’t know what good images look like. We spent time talking about how to view art and images in a way that would contribute to our own creativity.

    Inspiration was another topic. We focused on how to find it and figure out how to use it in a way that would lead to original image making and not just imitation. We made a distinction that even though inspiration might originate from an existing piece of artwork, it can still be a unique creation.

    Creative process was discussed as a process in general. It’s not just “paint by numbers” — It’s a learned skill.

    Personal process is complex and whether we know it or not, we all have a personal image-making process comprised of a technical process, a conceptual process, and a personal process. We had conversations that spoke about how important it is for one to recognize and define one’s own personal process.

    Style, and more importantly one’s personal style, is the result of all the above. And according to Thom Rouse, “You don’t choose it — it finds you.”

    We learned how to use Citrasolv and squirt/spray it on any soy-based ink publication, like those in National Geographic magazine pages, to create abstract art. The textures and complex mixture of colors that are generated from this process are already unique and creative as a stand-alone piece of artwork, but when added as an element within a composite, the possibilities are endless.

    For a week, I was in a creative environment learning who I was and exploring my own personal process, and at the end of the week, I was “introduced” to my own personal style. It came to me in a dream while I was there at Texas School. I now know that my inspiration resides within me and I can create something intentionally or even on a whim without having to scratch my head about what to make. I have learned a skill, like riding a bicycle, that I won’t ever forget.

    Here is my personal project at the end of the week long class. I call it “Snapshot from a dream in progress.”

    And now I am honored to say that Thom Rouse is an instructor of mine.


    Thanks so much for sharing your experience and your awesome project with us Sandy! 

    If YOU haven't yet registered for Texas School, what are you waiting for???

    https://www.texasschool.org/register-2/


  • 14 Jan 2020 9:52 AM | Laura Mansur, CPP (Administrator)

            After many long and exhausting hikes in which I carried my DSLR to the top of  many  mountains (well, maybe small hills), I made the switch to mirrorless. My new camera, the Nikon Z6, is smaller and lighter than my DSLR and that makes it easier for traveling and for hiking also. 

            In order to understand the difference between the mirrorless camera and the DSLR, I realized that I had to understand the different viewfinders of these cameras. The viewfinder is the tiny square screen you look through on the back of your camera when you're focusing with your stronger eye. The LCD screen is the large black square where the image will appear. There are two main kinds of viewfinders :optical viewfinders (DSLR) and electronic viewfinders (mirrorless). Let's look at the differences between them. 

            How does the electronic viewfinder differ from the optical viewfinder? First, let's understand how the DSLR creates an image. The "SLR" bit of the name means "single lens reflex" and is the mechanism by which light is directed from the lens to the viewfinder using mirrors and a prism. When you look through an optical viewfinder you're actually looking through the lens of the camera (the light is bouncing off a mirror and flipped through a prism). This gives you a every clear, sharp view of the scene. In a mirrorless camera, the imaging sensor is exposed to light at all times. This gives you a digital preview of your image on the rear viewfinder.  Without the beefy mirror box taking up space in the  camera body, the mirrorless camera can be much smaller than the DSLRs. That's the first thing that you'll notice. 

          My first day of using my mirrorless camera, I used it in the default mode of 'live view' or at least I thought it was in 'live view'.  But not really. That was how it started working when I took it out of the box. The mirrorless camera has this astonishing new feature: your image is shown on your LCD screen in the same way the 'live view' on your DSLR shows you the image on your LCD screen. But there is a difference. As soon as I put my eye to the viewfinder , it shows the image to my focusing eye. The camera senses that my eye is touching the viewfinder. But when I take my eye away, the viewfinder goes black and the image is shown on the LCD screen. How can that possibly happen? That's the beauty of  the electronic viewfinder. You get what  you see. 

            Let's get technical to understand more. With an electronic viewfinder, you're actually just looking at a tiny screen, instead of seeing an image that is projected by mirrors or other optical means.  You are viewing directly the image that is captured by the image sensor. This tiny screen gives you a real time preview of what your photo will look like. You have a real time exposure preview to hep you dial in the exact exposure. With the the electronic viewfinder, you'll also get a preview of your depth of field. Even though a DSLR has a depth feel button, it sometimes makes things look unrealistically dark.

               I'm still getting used to the electronic viewfinder. It's definitely different than an optical viewfinder. I still feel as if I'm shooting in live view' although that's not what's actually happening. In general, I'm happy that I bought a mirrorless camera although I'm not going to sell my DSLR any time soon. I'll use both of them  but in different situations. 

    By Laura Mansur Guerra

         

  • 02 Jan 2020 11:35 AM | Kathleen Kinser, CPP (Administrator)

    Happy New Year and welcome to another exciting year at PPGH!

    Thank you for the opportunity to serve as President of PPGH in 2020.  Current board members are listed on our site under About>Board of Directors.  We have a great team working together for the coming year and we hope you will contact us with questions or suggestions.

    We always have volunteer positions available for members to serve PPGH.  At the moment, we are looking for someone to create graphics for our monthly programs & workshops.  Let me know if you would like more information about this opportunity.

    Texas School registration is January 3rd at 11pm.  There are so many opportunities to learn from knowledgeable instructors that I keep changing my list of classes.  I usually am early to bed, but tomorrow I’ll be sitting at my laptop waiting for 11pm.  Here’s a link to the site:  https://www.texasschool.org/

    This month our meeting is on January 14th, the second Tuesday, due to Imaging.  Michael Martinez is our presenter with a PPA merit program starting at 12:30pm. This is your opportunity to learn from the owner of a successful boutique studio. Come join us and learn how to increase your profit from sales and take your business to the next level.  If you cannot attend the day portion, Michael is presenting an evening program 7–9pm during which he will explain his ‘circle of happiness’ & how to use this to your advantage in business. Don’t miss this opportunity to increase your profit.  You can find more information & register on our Home page.

    Image competition will be starting a little earlier now, at 5:15 pm to allow our Image Competition Team & Judges  time to review all the images & tabulate scores for the ribbon winning images. If you entered an image, you will be able to sign in before winners are chosen.  By entering image competition, you already are a winner, because you will receive valuable feedback from our judges.

    Updated PPA merit program times are:

    • ·         12 pm             Check in Desk Opens
    • ·         12:30 pm       PPA Merit Program Bjegins
    • ·         5:00 pm          Check in desk opens for the evening program
    • ·         5:15 pm          Image Competition begins
    • ·         6:15 pm          Dinner & Social Time
    • ·         7-9 pm            Evening program

    Our Fellowship Program Description, Tracking Form & our Submission Form have been updated on our site.  The tracking form is now a copy of the submission form so if you print it and fill it out during the year, it will be easy for you to input your information on the submission form; no more hunting for the right category.  A description of the PPGH fellowship program and the forms can be found under MembersOnly>Fellowship Information.  These awards are available to Professional Active & Lifetime/Honorary members.  Laura will oversee out Fellowship Program this year & will be able to answer questions you may have regarding accumulating points and fellowship awards.

    I hope to see you on January 14, 2020.

    Kathy Kinser


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