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


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The Viewfinder

  • 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

  • 10 Oct 2021 4:56 PM | Kathleen Kinser, CPP (Administrator)

    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

  • 05 Oct 2021 3:55 PM | Kathleen Kinser, CPP (Administrator)

    '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.

  • 05 Oct 2021 9:06 AM | Tara Flannery, M. Photog.,Cr. Photog., CPP (Administrator)

    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! 

  • 29 Sep 2021 11:31 AM | Kathleen Kinser, CPP (Administrator)


    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.

    Julia Garza

    Photography by Julia

  • 14 Sep 2021 3:55 PM | Kathleen Kinser, CPP (Administrator)

    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!

  • 11 Sep 2021 3:30 PM | Kathleen Kinser, CPP (Administrator)

    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!

  • 28 Jul 2021 10:28 AM | Kathleen Kinser, CPP (Administrator)

    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 PlacePaul Broussard – Heavenly Storm is Brewing


    1st placeDiana Waguespack – Emerging to the Surface

    Tied for 2nd placeStan 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 placeKaren Butts – Her Royal Highness

    Tied for 2nd place - Ann O’Neill Deal – I’m Not a Bully                                    

    Tied for 3rd placeArmando 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!

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