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2020 (whole year) - Image Competition 80+ Score Images
Review of Sandra Pearce's Photoshop Painting PPGH PPA Merit Program
by Sabrina Casas
This year I had the opportunity to attend the Sandra Pearce workshop organized at Houston by PPGH. It was a fun and refreshing experience that allowed me to take a break from my commercial work and truly enjoy learning from the beautiful artistic dimension that Sandra delivers to her class.
The first thing that I noticed during the class was the love that Sandra has for teaching and how good she is at that. It is not easy to manage the expectations and different experience levels of so many students —we had a very diverse group in the class.
Sandra was fantastic at organizing and presenting the subjects in a way that everyone could understand while providing time to cover questions and keep the class going.
I was also surprised about how much I enjoyed painting in Photoshop, the different brushes, and different uses for them. Sandra even showed us an eyelash brush, which I never thought to have but it is extremely useful for portrait work.
There are so many different things I want to try now that I have learned how to use these tools. I found myself going back to my old hard drives, looking for some of my photos of animals and flowers to find new ways to recreate them using what Sandra showed us. I’ll be honest, I am enjoying every minute of it! Since the class, I am making use of every free time I can to work on a few of my favorite images using Sandra’s techniques.
Also, as usually happens when learning something new, I have started to use on my day-to-day work some of what I have learned in the class. Using the mixing brush to correct little reflections in metal decoration or appliances, in my architectural work —just to mention one example.
I know that Sandra, with her beautiful work and her wonderful teaching, helped me to reconnect with my artistic work and inspired me to explore new tools.
Thanks, PPGH for bringing Sandra Pearce to Houston. And many thanks, Sandra, for sharing your knowledge and love for the craft with us."
Texas School 2021 Greg and Lesa Daniels Class
Review by Diana Waguespack
Hi everyone, I wanted to thank the PPGH for providing me with the Scholarship this year. I attended Texas School of Professional Photography and was in Greg and Lesa Daniels Class, “Taking your Studio to the Next Level”. First let me say if you have never attended Texas School then you are missing out on some fantastic education and experience. Texas School is a week-long class held every year (the last week of April first week of May) in Arlington Texas, and is filled with great instructors, trade show, parties, and many photographers from all over. If you don’t know Greg and Lesa Daniels, they are just a joy to know and to take their class. They are nationally recognized husband and wife duo who create exquisite portraits and are always willing to share their knowledge and experience. They have portrait photography galleries in both Indialantic and Titusville Florida. As you know Greg was our PPA president last year and has achieved both the title of Master of Photography and The American Society of Photographers Fellowship, a member of Camera craftsmen of America and International Society of Portrait Artist. If you have not taken their class before it is a great class and something for everyone. I took their class ten years ago at Texas School and I decided to take the class again this year to learn more and all I could from them, and I am happy I did. The class focused on building a successful business, creating the buzz in your marketplace, unique low cost and highly effective marketing, Greg and Lesa’s “Trigger Market” concepts, creating stunning images with studio lighting, building an experience base brand, and photographing for large sales, catering to the client, and more. This class was just packed with so much good information and was a lot of fun! The class started with learning to give yourself permission to be able to move forward to where you want to be, to have the confidence needed. The Daniels give their clients a great experience but more important is they speak to the soul through their images and give the client value in their portraits they create. When the Daniels approach the client, they are speaking to their spirit thus creating a relationship which is so important to provide the client their portrait art that is meaningful and a beautiful wall portrait they will cherish forever.
We began the class asking yourself What do you sell? How does it make your clients life better? What do your potential clients think you do? How do they get in touch with you on your website? These are just some of the questions we had to ask ourselves and someone in the class just by looking at our websites and evaluating how the client views us. Having a good website is important. Having your branding for the client you wish to serve is also important and knowing what you want them to purchase, what you want them to “put in their shopping cart” when they come to you is one of the most important things photographers should know. Giving the client an experience is not what the client is buying they are buying a product you have created for them; the experience is important but is part of your branding and marketing. Making things really clear to the client is what is needed and will increase your sales. Start with the end in mind and visualize what the game will look like, are just a touch on what we learned.
Greg and Lesa are known for their Classic Elegance, Environmental, and Studio Monochromatic portraits. We learned posing and arranging families for their portraits in an Environmental setting in nature according to the scene and beauty of the surroundings. Also, how it’s important to have met with the client for a consultation before the session. During the consultation is when they will choose the location along with the size of the wall portrait where it will hang. Knowing the measurements of the finished piece, along with the environment the piece will be hung helps to create the finished product. For the Classic Elegance we had two ballet dancers come in to work with studio lights. Greg did a couple different lighting set ups using one light, then two lights. Greg and Lisa showed us how they work together with the client, Greg photographing and Lesa helping to show the model posing by demonstrating the pose herself to create a beautiful studio portrait. They both put the client at ease and were able to photograph some amazing expressions and looks. Greg then talked about how he creates his style of art with photoshop and painting techniques. The next day we even saw a printed piece of the ballet dancers with his artwork printed on beautiful fine art paper.
We talked about marketing and what type of photographer and artist do you want to be and what type of clients are you desire. Finding your lane in your business and selling to the client who is in your lane by having your brand recognizable. Working with those who want to work with you, who love and appreciate what you do and value you are the recipe needed for success. Having this gives you the passion that will shine through in your business.
We learned so much and they really did hold our hand helping us to step into the next level of success in our businesses. I really can’t say enough about how wonderful this class was. They have both along the years always encouraged me and I am so blessed to know them. Next year when you’re looking for a great class, I recommend Greg and Lesa Daniels as one of the top classes I have ever taken at Texas School.
Greg and Lesa with my certificate on the last day of class
Studio Lighting with dancers Greg’s finished portraits of dancers
Our class learning environmental posing
Greg one of my mentors
'Colt'-tivating Great Clients
Workshop Review by Scott Holleman
This past week, Colt Melrose opened up his Winter Street studio and gave us a great workshop on creating great clients.
In the morning session, we discussed how to make your personality reflect in your business to attract the right client. Colt had us create a storyboard of our personality (using giant sheets of paper on his walls!) and gave us quite some time to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses. (By the way, we were all introverts, which is a plus!)
Carla, one of Colt’s repeat clients, came in for a mini session so that we could see how he listens and interacts with his clients. She was fantastic, both in our discussions and as seeing Colt demonstrate his method of solving his client’s problems. He also displayed how he uses a simple one light system for his clients in studio. He also took us through an ordering session with Carla, which was helpful.
During and after lunch, we discussed our takeaways and how to take action in our own business. He recommended several books that he found useful and Patty won a book as a door prize.
When Colt offers this workshop again, I’d take it again and would recommend it to any business owner, not just photographers.
Did you know that PPGH has a Fellowship Degree Program?
The PPGH Fellowship Program was designed as a means of rewarding individuals who have given freely of their time and talents in service to their fellow members. The Fellowship Degree is earned in two phases, each phase requiring the member to earn fifty (50) points, for a total of one hundred (100) points. To collect these points, a member must fill out the Fellowship application found under "Members Only" on the PPGH website by midnight on November 17, 2021.
TIPS FOR GATHERING FELLOWSHIP POINTS
For a full breakdown of Fellowship Points, be sure to read the document on the PPGH website under MEMBERS ONLY>Fellowship Information. Want to know how many meetings and workshops you attended for the year? Login to the PPGH website, then click on MY Event Registrations.
Image Competition- If you were a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place winner, December 2020 through November 2021, these points will count toward your fellowship.
Committees – if you served on a committee for at least 6 months, collect a point. Not on a committee?! Plan to volunteer for one in 2022 for some good times!
Remember, you get credit for your activity at the state and national level, too. Are you CPP or have you earned a degree recently from PPA? Did you attend Imaging USA? Did you judge for image competition? Have you recruited a new member? All these things count, too!
Don't forget you can download a PDF Fellowship form to help you gather your points so you will be ready to submit them in November. The form can be found under Members Only>Forms & Applications> Fellowship tracking Chart. So, don't wait until the last minute, start your homework now so you will be ready to submit your points.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: The submission deadline is Wednesday, November 17 at midnight, the day after the November meeting. Submission forms will be released and emailed soon! I would recommend that you start gathering your list now but wait until after the November meeting to submit, so you can be sure and receive credit for attending the last event before the cutoff date.
I cannot wait to see who has earned their Associate Fellowship or Full Fellowship Degree for this year!
The Reset Conference
Review by Julia Garza
The Reset Conference, designed for photographers, was held September 20-22, 2021 in Waco, TX. Whether one is a hobbyist, just launching your business, or running a successful studio, the conference truly benefits photographers of all levels because we all have areas of our business that need a Reset! This year’s conference was packed with fun, inspiration and education from industry experts from all around the country. The Reset Conference is a boutique photography conference, specifically, a getaway focused on providing the business education you need and a creative community you can lean on.
Each day we started with Keynote speakers and then chose breakout sessions that best fit our needs and interests. On Wednesday we were given the option of adding on specific shootouts on various topics from Styled Still Life, In Home Family & Lifestyle Sessions, Engagement & Elopement Sessions as well as Senior Sessions. The days were packed with learning and building community among the attendees so that we can build that amongst ourselves and support one another after returning home and to the day to day of our businesses. However, even though the conference is over all the instructors have been very generous to offer their follow up and time for any and all questions or reviews we might want of our work after leaving.
I learned so much from the conference and it was much needed after the last year and half with the COVID shutdowns. I learned about pivoting my business and areas that I can pursue. I was able to take on Macro in ways that I hadn’t explored and Styled Still Life Shoots. These were two areas that I was really interested in. I learned about “leaning into our ideas” and then seeing how many ways you can view them, dissecting your scenes, building relationships with the items in your pictures etc... So many ideas and it was interesting when a class full of students were given the same 3 items and how differently we all created our images. The instructors had lenses there if we wanted to explore using the Lensbaby lenses or needed guidance on styling the image. They were all an open book on what they have learned over the years and the things to look for. I also learned much about working with families in styled but yet real life. It brought back so much joy to be capturing not only the posed family picture but also the interactions of each person as the shoot was progressing and letting them flow as they chose.
I am so very thankful for the scholarship that I received through PPGH and the extension to use it through this year when COVID shutdown so many things last year. I originally planned to use it for Texas School but was not able to. I highly recommend that anyone looking for a shorter getaway to “Reset” their business and themselves that they attend the next conference. The dates for next year are March 7-9, 2022 and it will be held in Lexington KY.
Photography by Julia
Review by Shelley England
Portrait Lighting That Sells
A PPA Class taught by Sonia Ahmad
Sonia Ahmad taught the most amazing lighting class to fellow PPGH members over the weekend.
We all learned so much about lighting and different ways to compose light while Sonia taught us with unending energy. So organized, Sonia gave us each a card with a printed diagram of the lighting set up we were learning to take notes on and refer to later. This will be a handy tool for all of us to have.
After giving us a tour of her amazing studio, Sonia started out by teaching us 3 different variations of One light set-ups: One light with a screen and negative fill, One light, High Key and One Light dramatic umbrella without fill. Class members took turns being the models for Sonia as she shot synced and we could see on a screen what it looked like. She also talked about equipment, light meters and stands and we all went home with a list of wants.
Next, Sonia went on to teach us 3 different Two light set-ups: Dramatic Umbrella and Rim light, Umbrella with bare bulb and reflector and Beauty Dishes with grids and a reflector. She also showed us her different methods of controlling light with scrims and barn doors.
Our last set of lighting scenarios was Three Light set-ups and the most fun! Sonia showed us at least 5 possibilities for lighting our clients with 3 Lights using gels, barn doors, rim lights, beauty dishes and my favorite: water spray! Sonia had a model come for this shoot and everyone practiced shooting these shots. The final scenario was the water spray. Barry Hanlon and I got to stand opposite each other by lights with barn doors angled behind the model and spray water into the light while Sonia shot.
We did this without getting the model wet! She talked about different lighting her clients have wanted for head shots, senior portraits and general portraits.
Sonia ended the day with showing us several Actions and editing tricks she uses in PhotoShop. This was so useful because we all know there are a zillion ways to do the same thing in PS! She went over converting to smart objects, combining exposures, liquify tools, blemish removal, hair clean up, dodge and burn, adding eyelashes and sharpening. I think the most useful was her editing skin tones using frequency separation.. This ended our super jam-packed day of learning! I know I learned lots and would take this class again! Learning is growing and Sonia Ahmad is a wonderful teacher ~ and yes, lighting does sell! It sets you apart from the others!
YOU HAD ME AT WOOF!
Creating engaging dog portraits
Megan Murray, CPP
By Joan Reynolds
I recently had the extreme pleasure of attending this fantastic workshop taught by Megan Murray. During the full day workshop Megan discussed a variety of topics including creating styles & inspiration, interpreting dog behavior & body language, and techniques for getting priceless expressions. She also emphasized the importance of capturing a variety of images and developing a shot list. Oh, and of course, we talked about dog-related business stuff.
At three times during the day, models of varying sizes and breeds visited the class. Megan worked with the models to demonstrate the concepts we were learning. Three of the images captured by Megan are included to illustrate her ability to capture the essence of Man’s Best Friend. We then had the opportunity to pose and photograph the models along with their owners.
Megan is a superb instructor! It’s clear she is highly skilled and a master of her craft. Her engaging personality made the class fun, interactive and very inspiring. We were left wanting more and I’d look forward to another opportunity to continue to learn to create engaging dog portraits. I can’t recommend Megan’s class highly enough!
We saw 34 great images last night during our July Image Competition!
A big thank you to our judges: Teri Whittaker, Francie Stonestreet Baltazzar, Armando Chacon, Ken Martin, Karen Butts
And here is the best of the best!
1st Place – Paul Broussard – Heavenly Storm is Brewing
1st place – Diana Waguespack – Emerging to the Surface
Tied for 2nd place – Stan Matzke – Morning on the Beach
Tied for 2nd place - Michael Reiland – Man of Integrity
Tied for 1st place - Karen Butts – Pure Innocence
Tied for 1st place - Karen Butts – Engaging Glance
Tied for 2nd place - Karen Butts – Her Royal Highness
Tied for 2nd place - Ann O’Neill Deal – I’m Not a Bully
Tied for 3rd place - Armando Chacon – Lord Hear My Prayer
Tied for 3rd place - Ann O’Neill Deal – Is That Your Final Answer?
Congratulations to all these winners and to all that entered!
Texas School 2021 - The Artist Within by Shelly England
Kimberly Smith is such a talented artist and was an inspiration to all in her
class at Texas School 2021. The week flew by and was so much fun each day.
There were 3 of us from the Houston Guild in her class.
Our main project was photograph then paint a scene. We had 2 adorable
models: Emmaline, Jenny Eisenhauers 2 year old baby girl and the cutest
fluffy puppy that was our wrangler, Ken Hatley’s dog. The shoot was fun and
From there, Kimberly showed us her process and inspirational ideas for
editing and painting the photo of the baby and puppy.
I learned so many things in Photoshop that I didn’t know before. It’s the
little things that make it all fun. We always started in layers and made 2
copies of the background like a hamburger. There are many different ways
that artists paint, even in Photoshop. Kimberly is a no frills painter - no
special pen, brushes, etc. She uses what is available in Photoshop with a
couple of additions from Topaz. We took the picture of the baby and puppy
section by section and learned tips and tricks such as extending a dress to
the floor, adding a pink bow, adding sleeves to a sleeveless dress and painting
eyes to name a few things. She showed us how to add flowers and place them
and also how to add a headband. All the details make the art come to life.
We got the picture painted as far as we could, then Kimberly showed us how
she mats her own prints and how to make a torn edge mat. It was a perfect
ending to a week of learning that I thoroughly enjoyed! If given the chance, I
would take this class again in a heartbeat! This was my first Texas School
class and I look forward to many more!
PPGH Image Competition Results June 22, 2021
Thank you to our judges last night: Aaron Hockley, Karen Klawetter, Maryanne Keeling & Ann O'Neill-Deal for their commitment to giving back to the photographic community. All the judges spent time after the competition answering questions from participants on how their images could be improved. What wonderful images we saw last night during our Image Competition! And here is the best of the best!
1st place – Diana Waguespack – I Am Yours
2nd place – Stan Matzke – This Just In
3rd place – Stan Matzke – The Catch
1st place – Ann O’Neill Deal – Resistance is Futile
2nd place - Ann O’Neill Deal – Frowning Gives You
3rd place - Ann O’Neill Deal - On Edge
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