ppa ipc image prep

ppa ipc image prep

For those that compete (or want to compete) at the International Photographic Competition (IPC) through the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) an important part of the process is presenting your image properly. There are twelve elements on which the images are judged. One of them is image presentation.

Think of it like this. Have you ever had an image that you thought was quite good? Then framed it and it looked even better? That is what you should try to make your image do when putting together your submissions.

Here is a video to give you one way to put together a presentation for a black and white image. This example is showing a double keystroke. The final image could be done with a single keystroke as well. As an artist it is your choice for the color (or tone) of your keystroke as well as the width. Coming soon, I’ll share some ideas on working with color images.

If you have any questions on PPA image competition, don’t hesitate to ask. I wish you the best in your competition journey.

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

PS – The subject is Craig Christopherson a wood and metal sculptor. See some of Craig’s work here on Instagram. Image was made with the Lumix G9 and 42.5mm f1.2 Leica lens. You can see how I went from the original capture to the final post processed image in my blog on post processing with Adobe Photoshop and Skylum Luminar 4 software.

vision of vets

vision of vets

Vision of Vets – A Photographer’s Project

I’d like to tell you a story about a colleague of mine. He’s a kind man. A giving man. A selfless man. And, a veteran himself.

bruce roscoe portrait

Bruce Roscoe, Vision of Vets Founder. Portrait courtesy Studio 3 Images

In 2014 my friend Bruce Roscoe (of Aiyana Studio) had a vision. It came on a flight back from Rhode Island after photographing his best friend of 58 years. Doctors had told Bruce’s friend, Joe Rowe, he had only six months to live due to complications brought on by exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. Bruce offered to professionally photograph Joe so his family and friends would have something to remember him by when he was gone.

The Concept

Bruce’s idea was to create a nonprofit organization whose mission was to memorialize the stories of U.S combat veterans and share that history with the family and the world. He envisioned adding a method for bringing photographs of combat veterans to life with the use of Live Portrait technology. Families could now view these after their loved ones had passed.

Bruce gained support for his idea in the local community of Prescott, Arizona. This was no surprise because Prescott and the surrounding towns host the largest number of veterans per capita in Arizona. With a wonderful Veterans Administration (VA) hospital and the large veteran population, he started gathering veteran stories with the help of experts. The helpers are now the Vision of Vets board of directors.

Following three years of continual work, in June 2017, the IRS recognized Vision of Vets as an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and Bruce’s vision became a reality.

vision of vets portraits

Vision of Vets Portraits by Bruce Roscoe

The Vision of Vets team are committed to not only capturing the stories from our country’s living veterans, but also telling the stories of war heroes from the French & Indian War and forward. Vision of Vets hires professional re-enactors to bring the stories of heroism and sacrifice back to life with the use of modern technology.

The Gift

Each veteran in this project receives at no cost, a professional 16×20 framed portrait, prints in different sizes, a DVD of their interview, and an essay summarizing the interview.

You Can Help

You can be part of this story too! Help preserve history and add to the education tools in schools have to teach and remind students that ‘Freedom isn’t Free.’ Click here to learn more or Donate to Vision of Vets.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

PS – Below you can get an idea of how the Vision of Vets Live Portraits work.

tuesday painterly artist kelly schneider

tuesday painterly artist kelly schneider

Tuesday Painterly Artist – Kelly Schneider

PPA – Photographic Craftsman & Certified Professional Photographer

The work in these Painterly Posts are usually a bit more on the obvious painting side using the digital tools we have. Today’s artist is one I’ve been following for a while and while it is not specifically a painting style the work in my opinion transcends photography into a realm of it’s own. I’ll leave you to decide… Let me know what you think of Kelly’s work.

image © Kelly Schneider

Elegant Shades of Red © Kelly Schneider

Kelly’s Start

Kelly got his start while traveling in the US Navy starting a business called Captured Journeys Photography. He shares, “Initially, I knew so little about photography and anyone doing it that I was not influenced except that I wanted to get great images!  After a few years, I realized that if I was ever going to really grow my game and produce good work, I needed to invest in my craft and my skills. That is when I started looking at true professionals who were masters. I realized I knew next to nothing!” Schneider notes an early influence for stepping up his game was Trey Ratcliff of Stuck in Customs fame.

A True Professional

When asked what makes a true professional photographer Kelly said, “I think being a true professional has little to do with how many hours or if it is a full-time thing. A true professional is someone who has dedicated and committed themselves with all facets of a skill or craft and invested in both time and resources to grow and develop their knowledge, skill, and ability to be recognized for their work. Being a true professional and doing it full time is another layer. It is just a measurement of how much time you are doing it, not how much of a master you are while doing it.”

© Kelly Schneider

KS Fine Arts Portrait

Changes in Photography

Changes in professional photography are coming fast and furious and while Kelly recognizes the single most impact in photography comes from those photographers who can leverage the changes.  “The single most impacting element in learning photography (outside of the core ability to “SEE” light and render wonderful and powerful images, is the capacity to learn and use more complex and advanced technology in your photography.” According to Kelly. “Those who have a natural and gift for awesome photography will find themselves fading into the “non relevant” layers of photographers if they don’t embrace and learn how to bring new and exciting technology into their game. From the expanded things a photographer can do with such little effort with lighting and tech, is making it harder and harder to separate yourself from the over 44 million practicing photographers in the USA.

image © Kelly Schneider

Elegant Stylized Portrait © Kelly Schneider

To be Continued

I’ll continue this post with Kelly next week when we find out why Kelly teaches other photographers his techniques and where he sees photography going in the next ten years…

KS Fine Arts Web Page https://www.ksfinearts.com
Portfolio: https://www.500px.com/kellyschneider
Instagram: http://instagram.com@ksfinearts

Kelly’s Bio

kelly schneider portraitBorn and raised in Coronado California he joined the US Navy in 1980 and served for 29 years. During his US Navy travels including 137 countries, he began “capturing” life around him. In 2010, Kelly began his pursuit of professional portraiture, growing and developing his skills in creating “salient” portraits focused on weddings portraiture and boudoir.

Over time, Schneider has become passionate about teaching others. He earned a Master’s degree in Human Systems Integration from the Navy Post Graduate School in Monterey California. He completed the Executive leadership course at both UC Berkeley and Duke University and is a MDPPA Board of Directors member for 2019.

Kelly and his wife Kalina (also a gifted photographer and active PPA member/Maryland PPA member) have been hosting workshops both in the US and in Europe. Kelly Schneider Fine kalina schneider portraitArts ksfinearts.com focuses on Boudoir and Fine Art portraiture and workshops.

Schneider is writing his first book “The Salient Portrait – the science behind it and how to achieve it” and it is a core element of all his workshops and training events. He earned the Best Portrait of the Year award in 2017 for MDPPA and Best Portrait Photographer for the State of Maryland for 2017 and 2018 and Wedding Photographer of the year for 2018 as well as earning two Fujifilm Masterpiece Awards in 2019.

Kelly is married Mrs. Kalina Schneider from Katowice Poland. Kalina and Kelly currently call Accokeek, MD home with their two kids – a beagle and a terrier!



imaging usa 2019 part three

imaging usa 2019 part three

Imaging USA Part Three

Here’s my final wrap up from Imaging USA in Atlanta.

As mentioned, but worth saying so again, networking and speaking with people is a great way to continue your education. And I don’t think you can put a price on that.

Accolades at IUSA

I mentioned some ASP accolades that were earned this year and I also want to recognize the Grand Imaging Awards. This is a way for people to be recognized to push and further their photography skills. While the GIA’s are the pinnacle you don’t wait until you think you have the imagery to win there, you get there by getting into it to learn. These results come from International Photographic Competition (IPC) which is a contest with yourself to become better than you were the previous year and to learn, sometimes through hard knocks, what you might do to better your skills. In my opinion, IPC has been probably the single most important vehicle in helping me become the image creator I am today. Not to mention that it generates a reason to send out a press release, not only when you are successful, but even just being a participant! (you know me and press releases for promoting my business!)

I was a Silver Medalist and Bronze Medalist by going four for four in the two of the image cases I submitted. Proud of those results indeed. I also managed to earn a Third Place GIA Award in the Non-Event Album category with architectural images made from a personal project captured at the Phoenix Art Museum.

coates architectureOne of the Spreads from my Third Place album

Additional AZPPA success

A big salute to the other big award winners from the Arizona Professional Photographers Association.

dave shields photoDavid Shields, CPP, getting third place for his image “Oh the Places She Will Go” in the High School Senior Portrait category. Image © Dave Shields 2019 All Rights Reserved

heidi mixonThis is by Heidi Mixon in the Top Ten in the Portrait category and will be one of the images representing the United States in the Photographic World Cup!!! Image © Heidi Mixon 2019 All Rights Reserved

Both Heidi and Dave are part of Studio Three Images in Phoenix.

There were other AZPPA peeps that did well too but these are the highlights. It has been so amazing to watch those that enter competition accelerate their photographic voices so quickly. AZPPA is having their image competition this weekend. Time to get in! If you are looking for feedback on your work with PPA Approved Jurors and  Jurors in Training you can get in to get scores too. Awards are for AZPPA members only. AZPPA Convention

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob




gaelle buswell singer at sound bites grill

gaelle buswell singer at sound bites grill

Sound Bites Grill Entertainer
Gaelle Buswell

Great Show

First I want to say what a great show it was at Sound Bites Grill in Sedona, AZ. I photograph musicians at this venue on a regular basis, and it’s a great space. Gaelle is from France, and she brought her A game with her for the performance. I look forward to a return engagement should it happen to come this way.

gaelle buswell sings at sound bites grill sedonaGaelle Buswell Live on stage at Sound Bites

Photographing a Live Performance

I want to talk to you about capturing images from a live performance. In the studio, you have control of the lighting, posing, and expression of your subject. Not so much when the performers are live on stage. The lighting is what the lighting is, and while it was set for a specific place on stage, the entertainers often are moving in and out of the preset light pattern. Expressions can be all over the place with closed eyes, weird mouth positions, and strange body positions. To get the best captures that are flattering to the subject you need to study the movements of the performer before beginning to photograph. If you do this, you will start to notice what type of body language will happen with certain kinds of songs. When does the performer close their eyes? And better yet when will they be open? Where is the light best? The study will get you more and better images than if you just start firing away.

Processing the Files

Once you have the capture, it’s time to finesse it in post-processing. There are always improvements to be made. Control of the highlight and shadows. Getting the best color for the situation can be a bit of work because of the LED lighting not having a full spectrum. This can give some bizarre color tones on the skin, and even if everything else is excellent, an unflattering skin tone can kill a shot. Many times I will double process an image and combine. One copy is prepared for the background and the other for the skin tones. Using Layer in Photoshop and adding Masks allow complete control.

original image of gaelleOriginal image of Gaelle after ACR Process and before tweaks

You can compare the image above with the photo on the top of this post. You will see with a little dodging and burning along with a tiny bit of cloning there are fewer distractions from the performer. Let me know if you can see what the differences are. There are five.

Black and White

I always process out my images to black and white. One is for my clients use in PR situations. Providing BW images will lead to better quality in print, especially newspapers rather than letting the Paper just do a desaturation. The other reason is viewing a black and white image tells you if your tonal values are on because you are not distracted by the color.

gaelle in black and whiteGaelle in black and white

Camera Gear

As always I am using Lumix Micro 4/3rds camera gear. The camera is Lumix G9 with the LUMIX G X VARIO LENS, 35-100MM, F2.8 ASPH Instead of using the Leica f2.8-4.0 12-60mm when I am shooting in scenes with this much contrast and moving performers I want the speed and control f2.8 of the fixed aperture lens.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob