The Viewfinder

Welcome to the new Viewfinder format!To keep up with the latest articles and news, be sure to subscribe to the Viewfinder! Subscriptions are provided at no charge! Click here to subscribe.

Please contact us with any questions you may have at

2020 (whole year)  - Image Competition 80+ Score Images

The Viewfinder

  • 09 May 2022 3:43 PM | Kathleen Kinser, CPP (Administrator)

    Do you use multiple software programs to run different facets of your business? 17hats ambassador, Leslie Cervantez, held a full day workshop with a team of fellow photographers last Thursday to share how 17hats could become a one-stop solution for many of your business needs. For example, did you know 17hats has a bookkeeping module that will connect to your bank account and payment platform, automate your invoicing process, and track your income and expenses just like Quickbooks? It’s true, when you set up the bookkeeping module, you can say goodbye to that extra subscription for Quickbooks, which should save you several hundred dollars a year! That fact alone was worth the price of admission!

    However, Leslie shared so much more about how 17hats can help improve your client experience while relieving you of some monotonous procedures. 17hats centers around the four stages of a client experience – leads, booking, onboarding, and fulfillment.  Leslie walked through each of these modules demonstrating how easy it is to set up 17hats for repetitive tasks. Using a system of templates and workflows, the program is fully customizable to your business.  

    Another exciting feature of the program is the built-in scheduling calendar that allows you to cross reference all calendars in your life so you never overbook yourself. Plus, she introduced an amazing consultant who can assist with setting up the 17hats experience for yourself and your clients. By the end of the day, all attendees, even some who already use 17hats, had more than enough information to begin implementing immediately. Leslie broke the information up into bite-sized pieces to make it easy to understand and covered a ton of content.

    If you get the opportunity to attend this workshop in the future, do not hesitate. It was extremely informative and will undoubtedly help all who attended run a more efficient, organized business.

    Reviewed by Theresa Campbell

  • 14 Apr 2022 1:48 PM | Laura Mansur, Cr. Photog., CPP (Administrator)

     Margaret Bourke-White was a respected industrial and social photographer during the 1930's until her death in 1971.  Her images of Mahandas Gandhi, Joseph Stalin and the liberation of concentration camps in Buchenwald, Germany provided her early notoriety.   Bourke-White was a woman of many firsts.  She was attached to the U.S. Army in Germany & Italy and became the first western photographer allowed in to the Soviet Union, and was also the first female war correspondent to travel into combat zones during World War ll.   She became a symbol of swashbuckling photography. 

    Bourke-White was born in New York City on June 24, 1904.   She studied photography under Clarence White at Columbia University, and began her career by specializing in architectural photography.   "Bourke- White had an excellent sense of simple, poster like design, perhaps the legacy of her apprenticeship in the demanding field of industrial reportage".   Where many would see industrial blights, she saw arabesque shapes and geometric figures. 

     With the onset of The Great Depression, her images chronicled  the course of the mid 1930's.  The Depression caused a steady deterioration of living conditions and quality of life for Americans through the United States, and she captured the images.   Bourke-White saw firsthand the effect of the economic downturn and became interested in politics.   The beginning of Bourke-White's photojournalistic style occurred when she decided to explore the human side of the changing world around her. 

    When Bourke-White joined the staff of Fortune magazine in 1929 at the age of twenty five, she made several trips to the Soviet Union and in 1931 published 'Eyes on Russia'.    In 1935, she met the Southern novelist Erskine Caldwell and during her brief marriage to him, she published three illustrated books: '

    You Have Seen Their Faces'( 1937), about Southern sharecroppers,

    'North of the Danube'1939), about life in Czechoslovakia before the Nazi takeover.

    'Say, Is this the U. S. A.'(1941) a documentary of the Dust Bowl.

    She was criticized for her portrayal of Southern whites as being racists, and her commitment to social causes became evident in her images. 

    The images she captured were and still are unforgettable: a line of black flood victims in Kentucky with a billboard of a happy white family in the background.   Mohandas Ghandi reading a newspaper with a spinning wheel in the foreground.  She actually interviewed and photographed him a few hours before he was assassinated, and had a knack of being in the right place at the right time enabling her to photograph world events. 

     In 1941 she traveled with special envoy, Harry Hopkins, who was sent by President Roosevelt to determine the Russian leader's commitment o fight Germany in WW ll.    Among her images are a rare "smiling Stalin" and Stalin's grandma in the republic of Georgia.  On this same trip, The German forces began invading Moscow and she was the only foreign photographer to capture images of the devastation.   Hopkins carried her film out of the country in a diplomatic pouch and into the photo labs of 'Life"'magazine. 

    In spring of 1945, she travelled through a war torn Germany with Patton's troops.   Entering the Buchenwald concentration camp with the liberation forces, she captured the first images of the surviving Holocaust victims.  "Using a camera was almost a relief.  It interposed a slight barrier between myself and the horror in front of me.", she said.

    Biographer and critic Vicky Goldberg referred to the portraits by Bourke-White as "the posed candid" because she preferred a classical composition to photograph everyday people when she worked outdoors.   Her husband Erskine Caldwell gives us insight into her ability to compose a scene. "She was in charge of everything, manipulating people and telling them where to sit and where to look and what not. That's how she achieved such a good effect. "

    In conclusion, Margaret Bourke-White was a fascinating woman, artist and photographer who documented world events and portrayed the human side of those events. 

    Respectfully submitted by:

    Laura Mansur Guerra

  • 01 Apr 2022 2:59 PM | Kathleen Kinser, CPP (Administrator)

    Lighting that Sells 

    presented by Sonia Ahmad

    Photo Credit Sonia Ahmad

    Sonia packed so much information & fun into this workshop.  We learned about dozens of lighting set-ups and techniques.  Sonia demonstrated different modifiers along with multiple lighting scenarios.  We also played with different gels and how they change the mood of the image.  

    During this workshop, it was obvious how well organized Sonia’s small studio is  & how every space is used to its best advantage.  It was a great example to see how every piece of equipment has its own special spot.  This was a great demonstration of how to use a small studio space to its best advantage.

    The level of organization that Sonia had for this workshop was great. The handout/cheat sheets she gave out for each set up were very helpful as a reference. There were no lulls in the blocks of instruction. She moved smoothly between each set up, each talking point and kept the momentum moving forward for the entire class period.

    Sonia invited participants to ask questions during the class.  She addressed each question and demonstrated  fixes for problems.

    If you missed this class, Sonia is giving a Off Camera Flash class in October!

    Review by Kathy Kinser

  • 17 Mar 2022 1:39 PM | Duane Blocker, CPP (Administrator)

    By Jordan Scheiner

    Its march 14, 2022 and in sitting down to write this article for the Viewfinder I realized it is almost two years to the day of the first covid lockdown. I remember that weekend we shut down vividly. I had two giant parties to photograph that got in right under the wire before the city shutdown. No one was wearing masks yet and no one was really freaking out as we didn’t really know much yet…kind of the calm before the storm.

    As a photographer who makes a good part of their living from giant fun parties I hadn’t really thought about what was coming as I have always been a pretty go with the flow dude. So, like most of us, I wasn’t really ready to watch my business come to a screeching halt over night.

    My clients were upset over their lost events, but also really great as we were able to reschedule most of the weddings and Bar Mitzvahs for 6 months later…and then a year later. It was nice to know that I had so many events ready to go in 2021, but now what about 2020?

    After going through the five stages of grief over my business: denial(its all good, covid is just a cold!), anger(this sucks!), bargaining(of course you will be able to have your wedding by May 5th, I mean June 1st, no, September 1st for sure!), depression(drinking) we finally came around to…Acceptance(yay!).

    I won’t lie, it took a while to get there. And that’s when I started talking to some of my other friends in the creative industries and saw that we were all in the same boat. Photographers, caterers, Dj’s, event planners, musicians, fine artists, we were all stuck in covid limbo.

    So, at this point you are wondering what this rant has to do with anything. It’s about community. I realized within these artistic industries we all move through, there is a great community of creatives of all kinds that we work with and may not know as well as we would like. My friends and I started getting together(outside, staying 10 feet apart, of course!) And once we got through the initial “my business is in the toilet” conversation we all got to know each other better and even started working together to figure some of this crazy covid stuff out. We started working on ideas for the future, fundraisers for those covid affected more than us and even started new businesses together.

    This idea of a community of creative people is the reason I joined PPGH in the first place and what makes it important. And what I have found in the last few years as I have gotten more involved in the guild(thanks Laura!) is that our photographers genuinely want to help each other grow and get better in their craft and business.

    So in a final rant. Now that we see the light at the end of the tunnel with this covid insanity we have all been living in, let’s remember how important our photography community is by coming to meetings and workshops and learning from our peers. Let’s welcome the new photographers and help them take their business and craft to the next level, while also welcoming back those members we haven’t seen in a while, and most of all let's keep being a community. 

  • 04 Mar 2022 12:56 PM | Kathleen Kinser, CPP (Administrator)

    Learning TikTok & Instagram Reels with Leslie Cervantez

    You know the last time you went to a meeting and the speaker asked you to put away your phone?

    You were NOT at Leslie Cervantez’s workshop.IMG_0092.JPG

    We’ve all heard that video is the way of the future for marketing.  You’re going to get more views on your social media when you use video instead of static pictures.

    In this fun, hands-on class, Leslie opened our eyes to the capabilities of the Tik Tok app and how to make short videos\Reels for TikTok & Instagram on your phone; no video camera required.  She gave us loads of lighting, speaking and audio tips & tricks to make the videos look better.

    We learned how to find trending audio clips and build our videos around that audio.  Since the audio is already trending there is a better chance TikTok will share your video with more of their users.  She even showed us the difference between Solo, Stitched and Duet videos.

    Leslie showed us how to use the Profile and the Insights pages for analytics.  Later in the day she showed us how to screen record the video created in Tik Tok and un-brand it (as a TikTok video) for Instagram**.  

    **Instagram doesn’t like to show TikTok branded videos.

    Ok, so I haven’t made my first TikTok video myself yet, but I’m committed to do it.  Follow Tara Flannery on Instagram; she is burning it up out there with hers. 

  • 02 Mar 2022 7:25 PM | Kathleen Kinser, CPP (Administrator)

    Colt’ivating Great Clients Workshop

    Colt Melrose Workshop on March 1, 2022

    Colt Melrose put on a very impressive workshop at his Silver Street Studio for 10 participants from Houston and the Brazos Valley. Colt started by having everyone do some personal mapping on their personality traits and what drives them. Everyone shared and gleaned insight into why some of us do what we do.

    Colt and his wife, Lindy, have put lots of effort and education into developing their successful business and it really shows. He told us about the mentors he has and how he has implemented some important procedures that make his business run smoothly while trying to keep a home/work balance. Colt and Lindy have 4 adorable children at home, so they are busy!

    Colt had a client come in for a mini session so he could show us his work flow and how he handles a shoot. While she was in make-up with Lindy, we walked over to the Buffalo Brewery for a quick lunch and continued our conversations. It was a beautiful day and the view on the 3rd floor is spectacular.

    When we got back to the studio, we watched Colt shoot pictures and engage with his client all the way through the image selection process and ordering. Lots of very useful tips were given. We were all mesmerized watching him go through the images with his client. He talked about follow-up with clients and how important it is and different ways to do this.

    After the client left, we continued on talking about the importance of gaining your client’s trust and educating them on the value you are providing them with your services. We talked about vendors and outsourcing what you don’t love to do. Colt continued showing us some of his favorite books on business he has read. The day flew by and we were all so engaged the whole time, I think we could do a second day with Colt! I highly recommend this class to all who are in photography business regardless of the genre you shoot. ~ Shelly England

  • 10 Jan 2022 3:58 PM | Duane Blocker, CPP (Administrator)

    “If you want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.” - Woody Allen

    As I sit here at my computer, trying to create this blog post, I thought of this quote. Why you might ask? Well, COVID hit our house over the weekend and what once was a busy week turned into quarantine and a week off. 

    So, instead of sharing a blog about all the wonderful, amusing questions we get asked as photographers. I am going to give you tips and tricks to get through a week of quarantine. 

    First and foremost, take your vitamins and meds and hope you feel better soon. 

    But, if you have some unplanned free time, here are my suggestions of things to do:

    • Today I am working on my Certified Professional Photographer(CPP) renewal! If you don’t already have your CPP, this is also a great time to declare and start studying. 

    • Polish up an image and prep it for Print Competition! Every photographer who enters Print Competition comes out a better photographer. The beauty of PrintComp, as I like to call it, you are only competing against yourself. If you are ready to take the leap visit

    • Calibrate your monitors! I am using my Spyder 5 to calibrate all 3 computer monitors and Samsung TV. That way I can show my clients their images in their true colors on any device. It’s a great time to sit back with a cup of coffee and watch the pretty colors! 

    • Read or listen to a good business book or two. I generally have two books going at all times. My most recent books that I love are The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran & Michael Lennington and Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey. Audible has been my go to book service. Along with the monthly credits, there are “free” podcasts and books to listen to.

    • Speaking of Podcasts, this is a great time to catch up on them, too! A lot of great photographers and business folks have weekly podcasts from photography world banter. Some of my favorites are Gary Hughes and Booray Perry’s Photobomb or Sue Bryce Education’s The Portrait System Podcast. 

    Last, but not least, rest. Sometimes, unplanned downtime is God’s way of telling you to take a break! Get some fresh air, take a nap, and have Pho delivered to you. 

    Thersa Couch
  • 06 Dec 2021 10:46 AM | Kathleen Kinser, CPP (Administrator)

    The Best of t he Best!




    Active Photographer of the YearDiana Waguespack

    Master Photographer of the YearAnn O’Neill Deal

    Highest Scoring Image by a CPP:  Ann O’Neill Deal





    Best Overall Illustrative:  Maryanne Keeling

    Best Overall Portrait:  Ann O’Neill Deal

    Best Illustrative: Armando Chacon

    Best Illustrative Scenic:  Maryanne Keeling­

    Best Portrait of a Child:  Karen Butts

    Best Portrait of a Man:  Armando Chacon

    Best Portrait of an Animal:  Ann O’Neill Deal

    Best Digital Artist:  Maryanne Keeling


    Best Overall Illustrative:  Diana Waguespack-A Mermaid’s Dream

    Best Overall Portrait:  Tara Flannery – The Morning Blues

    Best Illustrative:   Diana Waguespack

    Best Illustrative Animal:  Stan Matzke

    Best Illustrative Scenic:  Monty Orr

    Best Portrait of a Child:  Alison Montgomery

    Best Portrait of a Woman:  Tara Flannery

    Best Portrait of a Man:  Tara Flannery

    Best Portrait of a Group:  Sabrina Casas

    Best Commercial Image:  Sabrina Casas

    Best Digital Artist:  Diana Waguespack

  • 10 Nov 2021 9:15 AM | Kathleen Kinser, CPP (Administrator)

    I Heart Photography Conference

    Review by Ron Vachon

    I Heart Photography Conference

    October 15-17, the I Heart Photography conference was held in Grapevine Tx.  I really enjoyed it and I’d like to share some of my thoughts and experiences.

    The classes are about 4 hours which is a longer format than many workshops I’ve attended, like Imaging.  I liked this length because we could dig deeper into the topic and that wouldn’t be possible in a 1-hour class.  Sure, you’re limited to attend 2 classes a day (unless you jump between classes) but I think it was very worthwhile.

    Friday morning, I attended the zoo excursion.  This was one of 3-4 excursions which were offered pre-conference.  The instructor, Dennis Kelley, spoke for 30-45 minutes outside the zoo and gave us some good tips about photographing the animals and general photography.  He also discussed the layout of the Ft. Worth zoo. Once inside the gates, the class broke up and went our own ways.  I was able to get some 1:1 time with the instructor.  The zoo itself is top-notch; unfortunately, the big cat enclosures were closed for renovation. 

    Friday afternoon I attended Alison Carlino’s class on sports photography.  She definitely takes it up a notch beyond step & shoot.  She had models for hockey, soccer and drill team.  She shared lots of the tricks of the trade that she’s learned over the years.  A couple of my favorite take-aways were the posing charts she has, as well as, the use of canned smoke along with some cool gelled lighting techniques.  She also discussed how camera position (low or high) would impact sports photography.

    Friday evening, Alison led a photo walk in downtown Grapevine.  I expected that everyone would be shooting architecture of the historic downtown but it was much more.  Again, she had models and it was like we were along with her on a Senior or couples environmental photo shoot.  She showed how ambient light plays into the decision of the locations she chooses.

    Saturday morning, I had a hard time choosing which class to attend, Richard Sturdevant and Todd White’s video class.  I must admit I jumped between those classes a bit.  There was so much great content.

    Saturday afternoon I attended The Battle of the Business – presented by Katherine McClure & Allison Russell.  I’d recommend them as speakers if you get the chance to hear them.  They’re obviously good friends and, although their businesses are somewhat different, they cross state lines to help each other with marketing and business ideas as well as keeping each other accountable.  It is sort of like they mentor each other.  It is a unique relationship but one that seems to work well for them. 

    Our own Teri Whittaker presented a photo walk, Friday afternoon, and a couple classes Saturday and Sunday.  I missed her class but I know I can go to one of her workshops in Houston.  Shannon Squires, Dr. Tomayia Colvin and Stephen Stookey also taught classes.  When you go to I Heart you’ll just have to be choosy and decide which class will benefit you the most.

    It was good to see some friendly faces in the Houston contingency like Scott Holoman, Mitch Daniels, Terri Whittaker and Cornell McGee.  Unfortunately, I had to travel back to Houston for Sunday so I missed classes that day.  With the quality of the content, I heard during the rest of the conference, I’m sure there was lots of good information Sunday as well.

    Overall, I enjoyed the small classes with adequate opportunity to ask questions as well as the half-day class length. Additionally, I found the instructors to be very helpful and willing to share.

  • 15 Oct 2021 11:06 AM | Kathleen Kinser, CPP (Administrator)

    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."

    Sabrina Casas

Upcoming Events

Vendors - Caught Ya Looking!

Let's talk about this space...

webmaster at ppgh dot org


Like It, Share It!

Our Photography Affiliations

Copyright © 1950-2023 Professional Photographers Guild of Houston. All Rights Reserved.
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software