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Pro Photo West Fall 2013

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Official magazine of Professional Photographers of California to educate, inform and inspire Members.
  • DONNA JIRSA, F-PPC, S-PPCEditor, Pro Photo West

    This year winds down with the approach of autumn; change is in the air. There are still several education-al and networking opportunities available to PPC Members this last quarter of 2013. Your Executive Board is planning an exciting calendar of events to bring even more value to your PPC Membership in 2014!I would like to take this opportunity to thank our 2013 Executive Board, Department Heads and Vol-unteers who have put so much time and effort into making PPC thrive this year. But, more importantly, I want to thank you our Members for your Mem-bership, support and camaraderie. Without YOU, there would be no PPC! In this issue, Ann Gordon shares her insight and ex-pertise on pet portraiture. Anns award winning im-ages show her passion and connection with all types of pets. Be sure to check out her tips to help expand your business with a piece of this niche market. 2013 PPC Photographer of the Year, Jerry Steven-son, reveals his secrets to creating compelling fine art portraits. Jerrys style is distinctive, and he offers great advice to help each of us better our craft.Pro Photo Expo and Conference was a magnificent success! An overwhelming number of educational, networking, mentoring, social and shopping oppor-tunities were brought together in three jam-packed days. Conference Manager, Dea Meyer, certainly went above and beyond in the planning and execution of this awesome event. And, of course, the many dedi-cated Volunteers who helped make it happen must

    also be recognized for their contributions.Many of our Members were recognized for their ser-vice and accomplishments at PPCs annual Awards Ceremony. Youll find out who they were in this issue. Image Competition award winners were previously recognized in the Spring 2013 edition of Pro Photo West. These Members also received their plaques and trophies at the Awards Ceremony. Peoples Choice Award went to Michael Collins; if you missed it, you can see the feature article about Michael in the September 2013 e-Supplement which spotlights his winning image on the cover. Congrats to all the 2013 award winners!The business of professional photography becomes more challenging with each passing month. We can learn to survive ... even thrive ... by taking advantage of all Professional Photographers of California offers its Members. Learn to set yourself apart from the sea of photographers flooding the marketplace. You are not alone out there, but part of a family of PPC Members who have your back.Im longing to get out of my studio and create new fine art environmental images of the gorgeous fall colors bursting out all around us. Heres hoping youll be able to find the time to do exactly that. Dont forget - Image Competition is just around the corner!

    We value your comments and suggestions. Go to:http://www.prophotowest.com/our-suggestion-box

    Find out more about Donna at:http://www.ppconline.com/about-us/meet-our-volunteers


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  • MARCY DUGAN, CPP, F-PPC, S-PPCPresident, Professional Photographers of California

    As 2013 winds down, I cant help but look at how well PPC has grown this year. We have so much participa-tion from our members and we continue to receive great new ideas on how to make PPC even better, we are on a path that will take us to a fantastic future. In fact, our future is so bright we may have to wear sunglasses!All of our success this year comes from a lot of hard work from a lot of great individuals. PPC wouldnt be the great organization it is without all of our mem-bers, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank some very dedicated and involved volunteers that go beyond the call to make the organization function. They all have made great strides in advanc-ing different areas of PPC: Karen Nakamura in Affili-ate meetings; Robin Swanson the best money man-ager on earth; Penny Palumbo for keeping us focused and on task; Roger Daines for keeping us founded in our bylaws & standing rules; Tim and Dea Meyer for making Pro Photo Expo and Conference amazing

    and providing the very best speakers; Michael Sauer, Dennis Nisbet and Tim Mathiesen for educating our members; and Kathy Metz for creating the best week of schooling. I need to thank Dawn Jirsa-Fairfield for lifting our marketing and branding effort to a new level and Donna Jirsa for creating our new member-ship packet and for the hard work she does on our magazine and e-Supplements. We absolutely could not make it without our Executive Administrator, Mike Collins, who works countless hours on PPC ad-ministration and Awards & Degrees. And Im sure there are plenty more individuals out there who have helped these individuals. Thank you all, PPC couldnt exist without all of your help.Now, as we wind down 2013 and start to prepare for a new year we need to do our best to add some new names to the list of volunteers. I encourage everyone to make some time and volunteer for a committee to help some other individual continue to make PPC a great organization.

    Your Path to Success


    Professional Photographers of California

    Save These Dates!

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    October 11-14 Annual Retreat | Quarterly Board, Affiliate & Committee Meetings | SequoiaOctober 27-28 Camp Certification | CPP Workshop | MoorparkOctober 29 CPP Test | Certified Professional Photographer | MoorparkNovember 1 California Sunday | Photographing Sports with Marcy Dugan | El Segundo February 8-10, 2014 RoadShow & Installation | Board, Affiliate & Committee Meetings | Palm SpringsJune 15-20, 2014 West Coast School | University of San Diego

    Find details for all PPC Events at www.ppconline.com/events. Dont miss a thing! Be sure to check often as new Events are added regularly.

  • By ANN GORDONCPP, Cr.Photog.

    I photograph animals because I love them. Im a niche photographer. But, what about you? According to 2012 figures, 62% of American households have at least one pet as compared to only 44% with children. How would photographing the family dog fit into your business? How about the cat? As we come out of a serious recession do you see your clients willing to spend money on wall portraits of their four-legged family members? Heck yes!

    Whether you are thinking of making this small patch of the photographic business your main focus or you just want to be ready to include a pet with your client for their wall portrait, its a simple three-step pro-cess. To begin, you need to do a consultation. This is your chance to create the connection and to educate your clients. Consultation equals education equals the wall portrait. And, yes, you can insist on it even for just a pet. Its not surprising, but if you treat www.ppconline.com10 | Professional Photographers of California

    Who can resist puppies?

  • SPOTLIGHT MEMBERdont have a clue what the session is all about. Its up to you to make them comfort-able and find ways to make them enjoy the experience. If it takes a few minutes to let them explore your studio or to check out the pee-mail in the park, its well worth the improvement in expression you will get in your images.Get down on their level. You want to be shooting right into their eyes or from a bit below. Just like the strength you want in a professional portrait of a CEO you want to shoot a bit up for a German Shepherd or other powerful dog.

    I only photograph cats in my studio. I like the control and it gives me an advantage over the cat that knows all the great hid-ing places in his own home. If you dont have a secure studio space you may have to work in the cats own territory, just make sure you can confine him to a reasonable amount of space.

    this session with importance, your stock, and their perception of the value of the por-trait goes up with the pet owner. Step two is the ses-sion and it is just as important for a pet as for a family group. Planning and prepara-tion is the key to capturing the ex-pression that will melt your clients heart. Animals are like children. They

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    Props can take over.

    Its all about expression.

  • Cats will tend to be timid in a new situation so start with them in a protected spot: a chair with a solid back, a box, or a suitcase. As they become more com-fortable you can pose them out in the open. Dogs react to noise. You want a collection of squeak-ers, beepers, and burpers to get ears up, the eyes locked on, and perhaps a cute little head cock. Best are the noises you can make yourself. Start small and quiet and use each only a couple of times. A dog will only pay attention to a noise until they can identify where its coming from.Cats react to movement. Youll need feathers, things on a string, tin foil balls, and paper bags in your kit. Treats can be problematic; use them as a backup. Dogs can get way too interested in whats offered. Keeping them where you want them, getting them to look at you rather than at whomever is holding the treat, and stemming the drool can be issues youd rather do without. Drool is not so bad on a muslin backdrop but it makes a total blotchy mess on seam-less paper. Consider catnip as a treat. I have a catnip spray I can use on a flower arrangement or other prop to which the owner has a sentimental attachment. There are other forms, but all are essentially a kitty drug. Its a last ditch remedy for a difficult session. I only use it at the end of a session and after Ive done the close-ups as the cats eyes will dilate and become visibly unfocussed. Youll have a happy, silly looking cat. Ad-ditionally, youll be dealing with drool again. Collars, tags, and leashes are usually not photogenic. Use thin nylon show leads if you need to control your subject. They work well, too, if you are out where a leash is required by law or needed for the safety of your subject. Available in many shades of dog in cat-alogs and at dog shows they can be made longer by attaching a standard Flexi lead to allow you to cap-ture more background without the handler. A dog needs to be able to sit for a good head study. The lines of the neck are the most beautiful in the seated position. Learn how to ask for a sit by gen-

    tly raising the dogs head. Do not push down on the hindquarters. Many of your subject dogs will be a little vague on their obedience commands and their owners can become overly zealous and unfortunate-ly ineffective in their requests for a sit. You need to be really patient with the dog. You dont need to be as patient with the owner and might even want to ask them to take a break while you work with the animal. Some smart, well-trained dogs will take advantage of the situation, just like a toddler, and completely ignore their person. Its hard not to laugh. Dogs and cats lay down in many different positions. When lying on their stomachs, watch that their el-bows are close to the body. Older dogs, in particular,

    tend to have problems with this and can look very awkward. Some dogs and cats will kick out a hind leg. Some owners find this endearing. Also popular with owners are crossed front paws. When a dog or cat is tipped over on its hip and side you want them

    www.ppconline.com12 | Professional Photographers of California

    Treats can lead to drooling on the seamless, creating more work.


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    curled towards you. If they are curled away from the camera it can look like they are missing their hind legs.A remote trigger or cable re-lease for your shutter allows you to come out from behind the camera and communicate with your subject. You dont want to be halfway back to your camera when they smile for you. Learn everything you can about the breed of the dog or cat you are about to photo-graph. Some breed standards want the ears up, some down, and some breeds have signifi-cant or identifying features you dont want to miss. Think of the hair whorls and raise ridge down the back of the Rhodesian Ridgeback or the stumpy tail on a Maine Coon

    Cat. Ask the owner what it is they love about their pet; nothing is more impor-tant. Lastly, step three: Show what you want to sell wall portraits. This is exactly what we hear over and over. Project your images for the client. You can do this in your studio, your living room, or in their home. Just make sure they are seeing large, beautiful images. I only use an online service when the client is across the country or on another conti-nent and we cant do it in person. The personal touch with your subject and with the owner is where joy hap-pens.Elbows out and drooling on the seamless. *Sigh*

    Curled away from the camera the dog (or cat) can look like an amputee.

  • It is no coincidence that Ann is an animal photographer. The Gordon home boasts a husband and three dogs: a Jack Russell Terrier and two Gordon Setters (what else?).

    Ann handles the dogs in the show ring, in obedience trials and in the field. Mostly they sleep on her bed and under and on her desk shar-ing all her daily activities. The en-durance riding and jumping of her youth has been replaced by com-petitive and pleasure carriage driv-ing, dressage, and long trail rides in the company of her Friesian gelding. After 25 years as a photojournalist Ann moved to portrait art in 1998

    www.ppconline.com14 | Professional Photographers of California


    capturing the essence of companion animals using both natural and studio light to create rich artwork.

    Her work hangs in homes and collections in Europe, in the UK, across the United States, and in China. The skills needed for capturing images of horseracing, track and field, vaulting, swimming, and other fast-paced sports are the same as those needed to make a litter of puppies look like they are waiting to have their picture taken.

    Visit Anns website at: http://www.gordonpetphotography.com

    A beautiful lady curled toward the camera.

    Ann Gordon, Cr.Photog, CPP

    Communicate With Your Subjects

  • www.ppconline.com18 | Professional Photographers of California


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  • www.ppconline.com20 | Professional Photographers of California


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  • Interview with JERRY STEVENSON2013 PPC Photographer of the Year

    I recently had the honor of chatting with Jerry Ste-venson, 2013 PPC Photographer of the Year. In addi-tion to this prestigious title, Jerrys distinctive work also brought him two additional titles: Environmen-tal Portrait Photographer of the Year and Studio Por-trait Photographer of the Year.As I was privileged to work with the 2013 Award Winning Images while compiling the Spring issue of Pro Photo West, I admired the unique, soulful style expressed in each of Jerrys images. I had to find out what inspires him and how he has honed his skills

    through the years! We can all be inspired by the story of this Artist.My Interview with Jerry StevensonPro Photo West (PPW): How did you become a pho-tographer?Jerry Stevenson (JS): In the late 1990s I had an idea for a series of drawings. I needed models but could not afford to pay them for extended periods of time. I began taking photography classes at Chaffey College

    www.ppconline.com24 | Professional Photographers of California

    Civil War Union SoldierEnvironmental Portrait of the Year


    JS: I have had a studio in one form or another for the last 35 years. My current studio is a beautiful facil-ity located in a business park in Upland, California. It has two offices, a gallery for my portrait artwork, and a very spacious warehouse section that is large enough to set up my lights properly to get the type of photos I envision.PPW: What would you say sets you apart from your competitors?JS: One thing that probably sets me apart is the light-ing I use in my studio portraits. Other photographers have told me I have a signature style that is dramatic and sculptural. My lighting style is ever evolving, and is partially the result of many failed experiments. I

    keep experimenting and I keep failing, but from each failure I learn something new and useful.Understanding the structure of the human face also sets me apart. The first serious artworks I produced were face sculptures; I seemed to have a natural knack for it. Sculpting the face really helped me un-derstand its structure and how light and shadow

    with the goal of posing models and using the result-ing photos as reference material for my drawings. Although I achieved my goal, an unexpected result was that I got hooked on photography. Until then my artwork consisted of drawings, sculptures, and paintings. Slowly but steadily I began to buy photog-raphy equipment and take more classes until even-tually my studio became a full time photography stu-dio.PPW: What subject-matter do you enjoy photo-graphing?JS: I have always enjoyed photographing the human figure. Previously I photographed families, couples, children, individuals, and even dogs. The last few years, however, I decided to focus exclusively on having one individual as the subject. I love interacting with people on a one to one basis. This ap-proach puts the model at ease and creates a sense of joint cooperation, which helps me capture the essence of the person I am photographing.I photograph both in the environ-ment and in the studio, but I prefer the studio because I can have com-plete control over the lighting.PPW: What inspires you to create such soulful images?JS: I would say the thing that inspires me most is the creative process. Very often I work late at night; for some reason that is when the creative juic-es flow best. I shift into a right brain, intuitive mode and go to it. Many times I have cre-ated a piece of artwork out of a photograph while in the zone and have no idea how it came about. There is no better feeling. It boils down to trusting your instincts.PPW: Do you operate a store front or residential stu-dio?

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  • help define shape and form. This knowledge comes in handy when I refine a portrait.

    Additionally I view my portraits as fine arts pieces, not just photographs. The original photograph is just the starting point, not a given or static form. Past generations mastered the darkroom; Ive gained a command of computer programs (the new dark-room) and use this knowledge to transform the pho-to. As I work on the photograph I let it guide me in its development. I never know how it will turn out. Part of the satisfaction of creating artwork is this discov-ery process; I can never anticipate where the process will lead.PPW: Who are your mentors?

    JS: My mentor in life is my father, a kind and gentle man who is my personal hero. He died at age 90 in June of this year; although he is not with me physi-cally I feel his presence in all that I do.In photography, my first mentor would be Arden Alg-ers, photography teacher at Chaffey College. He gave me a solid foundation in studio lighting and encour-aged me to continue photographing.My other photography mentor would be Joel Grimes. My first print competition was at IEPPV in Septem-ber of 2011. I received one merit out of four images, which I thought was pretty good for the first time out. My next competition was again at IEPPV in Feb-ruary, 2012. I admit, I was a little cocky; I submitted four images and was sure they would all merit. Wrong. The judges did not respond to my work and gave me no merits and low scores overall. I was very discouraged and

    disappointed and briefly considered not continuing with competition photogra-phy. Shortly afterwards Joel Grimes came to speak at IEPPV. His speech changed my photographic life. The message of his speech was basically: Follow your passion and everything else will fall into place. I looked at the work I had submitted in the February competition and realized I had submitted work that I thought the judg-es would like, not work I felt passionate about. The next competition I decided to submit work that I really believed in and not worry about the judges. Lo and behold, I got four merits and a Best of Category for Portraits. The next competition I got a Best of Show, and have continued to do well in subsequent competitions, always keeping in mind what is now my mantra: Follow your passion.Since Joels speech I have been fortunate enough to take his class at West Coast School as well as to attend several of his other workshops and presentations. Joel is a master of all types of lighting, and I as-www.ppconline.com26 | Professional Photographers of California



    Fall 2013 | 27

    pire to one day know as much about lighting as he does.PPW: Are you a Member of other professional affiliates?JS: Yes, Im a member of: Profes-sional Photographers of America (PPA), Professional Photographers of California (PPC), Inland Empire Professional Photographers and Videographers (IEPPV), Professional Photographers of Los Angeles Coun-ty (PPLAC) and Professional Photog-raphers of Orange County (PPOC).PPW: What advice would you like to share with beginning photogra-phers?JS: Believe in yourself; follow your passion; work hard; trust your in-stincts; and dont allow anyone to be your dream breaker. PPW: These are powerful words! Thank you, Jerry, for sharing with us.

    Observing A Moment Of Silence

    Jerry Stevenson has operated a photography studio for the last 15 years. After retiring from the public school system as an art teacher and Fine Arts Department Chairman, he transitioned seamlessly into running his photography studio full time. Jerry heard about photography competitions from a fellow photographer and entered his first one in September of 2011.

    Jerry maintains his photography studio in Upland, California, and is always looking for the next great face to photograph. Visit Jerrys website at: www.stevensonstudio.net

    Read Jerrys complete bio next month in the November 2013 Pro Photo West e-Supplement.

    Dont miss more of Jerrys compelling Fine Art Portraiturein Pro Photo West November 2013 e-Supplement.

  • Images by Tim Meyer

  • Learn all you need to know without going to Atlanta!

    For all of you that want to be Certified Profession-al Photographers but just have not found the time, NOW is the time. Dont go to Atlanta and spend a lot of money to get Certified, go to our program and learn the same things. Regardless of where you go, CPP classes are a review of what you have studied!On October 27, 28 and (29 test day) we are going to conduct a Certification Training Class tailored to fit the current testing and our industry.Thanks to Professional Photographers of California and Yogi Patel, our host for this event, you will be learning at one of the greatest residential studios in California. Yes, we are meeting at Yogis place, the home of Global Photography, located at 7020 Hogan Street, Moorpark, CA 93021.Past training, centered on a typical Q&A presenta-tion, was and continues to be a standard around the country. With all the great things happening with CPP we will be departing from that practice and learning from a program designed to follow the cur-rent testing requirements. This process will further enable your understanding of your craft. Yes, you are going to learn many things that will make you a bet-ter photographer.Be sure to come prepared! What do you need to study? A current version of the book Photography by Lon-don, Stone, and Upton (at least the 9th addition) is

    always a good starting point. There are many other references listed on the PPA web site that will help you and I always suggest that you read The Portrait by Glen Rand and Tim Meyer.You should read over the following information and decide where you need additional education, then make sure you acquire and study the right materials.If you are reading this on line, click this link to see the expanded version or you can find the ex-panded version of this in the CPP section of the PPA web site. http://www.ppa.com/cpp/content.cfm?ItemNumber=4152#testspecsClick on CPP Test SpecificationsPlease be sure to following these directions: A. You must be a PPA member. B. You must be a PPC member for the lower attendance rate for the class. C. You must be registered as a CPP Candidate on the PPA Site. D. In order to have your test sent in advance to me you must be registered at PPA for this event. E. For the Study Group you must be regis-tered through PPC.Beginning January 1, 2014, you must be a PPA mem-ber in order to be a Certified Professional Photog-rapher. This is approved by ICE (Institute for Cre-dentialing Excellence), providing that the tests be developed by a group that is independent of PPA. That is a big deal and something many of us have wanted for years. In an industry as small as the professional photo-graphic industry, it is difficult to promote something as valuable a CPP without having a nationally recog-

    DENNIS NISBET, CPP, Cr.Photog.Camp Certification Chair

    www.ppconline.com30 | Professional Photographers of California

  • nized organization behind it. Now we have that sup-port and additional abilities that will help promote the value of CPP.There is a saying that goes like this: Nothing is so constant and unchanging as change itself.That certainly applies to the photographic profes-sion! Changes in technology now take us to levels of creativity that we could only dream of in the past. I spent several years in Lab management where we worked very hard to create the simplest of prod-ucts by todays standards. As professionals, it is our EDGE. While many have similar equipment, few have the expertise to use it in creative ways.The wedding market is an interesting example of the changes that are taking place in our industry. Ac-cording to Wikipedia, there are approximately 2.5 Million weddings in the US per year. Spreading the weddings over 365 days per year, that would represent 6,849 wed-dings per day.Now lets apply some rules to this. Perhaps a Prado analysis, better known as the 80%/20% economic rule, can be applied and it would go something like this:- 80% of all the weddings are pho-tographed by people that shoot less than two wedding per year. That leaves 500,000 weddings photographed by professionals.- Almost all of the weddings are photographed on Saturday/Sun-day. That is 104 days per year to photograph 500,000 weddings or about 4800 weddings per day. - California has 11% of the total population, thus 11% of the 4800 weddings are shot in California - or about 528 per day or 1056 per weekend.

    Compared to all the other professional photographic opportunities, weddings are a drop in the bucket!If you are a PPA/PPC member and photograph wed-dings as all or part of your income, are you getting your share? If you are not, perhaps you should be looking at your marketing and the quality of your work. Are you using your credentials as a marketing tool?Professional Members of associations that are active in their trade, members that devote time to educa-tion and credentialing in all areas of professional photography including being a CPP, are known to be more successful.Are you being as successful as possible? Are you a Certified Professional Photographer? If not, perhaps you should add CPP to your credentials and put your-self above the masses.


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