Professional Photographers Unite!

IMG_4364I recently returned from Imaging USA 2013 in Atlanta. This is the annual convention organized by The Professional Photographers of America (PPA). I have been a member of PPA for many years.

Conventions and other educational programs are important for photographers. They help to keep their skill and knowledge levels high, the expose the photographer to new products and services, and they give us a chance to socialize in a noncompetitive environment. This year I met some great people from all over the world, and talked at length about Senior portraiture and Wedding Photography.

This year, I both attended and volunteered. As a PPA volunteer, I helped with the many courses offered at the convention. There were several large courses offered at the same time, and I worked at seven of them. The bonus was that I got to see those seven classes, and many more when I was “off the clock”.

For my volunteer effort, I earned a Service Merit toward my next level of Certification,  Photographic Craftsman. It will take me a couple of years to earn all of the service and Speaking merits to achieve this level, but the journey will be worth it.

I am very proud of my friend Stephanie Cunningham, who has finished the requirements for her Craftsman degree. Next year in Arizona at the Imaging USA event, she’ll have a chance to cross the stage and receive her medallion!

Erie Photography: New Studio: Need Models!

I have moved into the Raven Building! The new studio is awesome. This building was built in 1897 as a schoolhouse, which supported nearly 400 students. Lots of bricks and wood and windows and high ceilings. Here’s a shot of Lauryn, who convinced me to go inside and take some photos for her Senior Portraits last year. I’m indebted to her for that, as it convinced me that this is the place for incredible photos. Here she sits in a windowsill. Ahh, the light…!

I’m looking for a few models to help me figure out the room. If you are interested in hanging out for a bit and getting some great images taken in this cool place, let me know. Here are the details:

  • Shoot date tentatively Sunday 1/31/10 – starting about 2PM until after dark. I need a mix of day and dark shots to figure out the light and reflections.
  • I’ll be getting a variety of natural light and full studio lighting shots with backdrops. You may be in either or both.
  • If you are under 18, a parent will need to accompany you.
  • Your session will last around 1/2 hr to 1 hr.
  • You get – for FREE – a bunch of digital files, an 8×10, a couple 5×7’s and two wallet sheets. And bragging rights of course…
  • I’ll need a model release from you and/or your parental unit.

Sounds like something you would like to do? Send an email to I’ll let you know if we can get you into the schedule!

Erie Photography: New Studio!

Today I got the keys for my new studio space. Located in the Raven building in Suite 101, it has perfect north-facing windows, which provide wonderful diffused illumination for natural-light photography. It has great wooden floors, high ceilings, and a killer brick wall. This building was an old school building, and has tons of character and history.

Here’s a view from the doorway facing North. Look at all that light! (Don’t look at the cheesy furniture…they are on the outs.)

Facing south. You can’t get better light than this for portraiture.
The east corner has the windows and the brick wall, and a floor that will shine up quite nicely.
Closeup of brick wall. You know me and bricks…this is serious!

It needs just a bit of cleaning, but it will be a perfect space for portrait photography, seminars, consultation and hanging out. It will be a wonderful meeting spot and indoor portrait spot for my summer seniors, family portraits and pre-wedding bridal photography. It’s also 20 feet from some of the best graffiti in Erie.

I’m going to post a call for models in a few days. Once I get the place cleaned up, I’m going to do some test shoots with willing participants, in exchange for some prints and digital images.

I’m also planning a February indoor portrait marathon as a fund raiser, most likely for an agency that supports the relief effort in Haiti.

Stay tuned…lots more “Raven 101” to come!

Can you tell I’m pumped? I’ve been waiting for this for over 5 years!

Dance Photography in Erie: High Key Images

We’re getting close to dance photography season. Each winter, we capture images of dancers, in costume and sometimes in motion!

This image was from a special session that I do only for the competition teams – high key photography against a white background with lots of light.

I shoot high key with four lights: Two for the backdrop to blow it out, and a main and fill light in the front. You can see from the shadows of her arms cast onto her legs that the front lights were on either side of the camera and the light to camera right was the higher intensity main light.

Heather here has jumped about as high as she is tall. I left a bit of detail in the white background so she wasn’t floating on thin air.

It’s great to be able to capture the energy, art and motion of dancers and see the smile on their face when they see a perfect image of themselves.

Nice leap, Heather!