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  • 08/05/2022 9:50 AM | Lisa Hill (Administrator)


    Photoworks 2022 is Georgia’s PPA affiliated school that features a 3-day intensive learning experience with a master instructor in a small class environment. This year, we have two talented instructors who are experts in their field. Photoworks will be held September 16-18 at the Hilton Garden Inn North Alpharetta and PhotoPlex Studios.

    Suzette Allen is teaching A Trio of Talents to Leverage in Photoshop: Image Magic, Graphic Design, and Video Basics. This class is an intermediate-level course, so a working knowledge of Photoshop is helpful. Photoshop is the ultimate creative tool, but the learning curve can be daunting without a patient and creative guide…so, take this opportunity to spend a few days with Suzette Allen, a well-known Photoshop instructor for over 20 years!  There are a variety of tools to help you succeed and they all live in Photoshop and Lightroom.

    Chris Wooley’s class is Eclectic Creativity: Headshots, Pin-Ups, and Composites. Get ready for an action-packed weekend! In this class, you’ll be diving deep into the art and business of headshots, including shooting techniques, marketing, and workflow. Next, you’ll be able to explore the classic genre of vintage Pin-Up photography – boudoir’s classy cousin – including lighting, posing, and post-production. Finally, you’ll take a deep dive into Photoshop Composites where you’ll learn to create compelling composites for both clients and competition.

    You don’t want to miss this incredible opportunity so sign up today! Link to registration: Photoworks 2022


  • 07/01/2022 5:40 PM | Lisa Hill (Administrator)

    What exactly is Club 79? It’s both a place and a state of mind.

    As a place, it’s a room shared with fellow photographers who’ve entered a photographic competition through a PPA affiliate or state association. In pre-Covid days, all competitions were held in-person with judges in the same location. Most of the images were actually prints. In the past 5 years, digital has become more common and Covid restricted in-person gatherings.

    On Friday, July 15, while the judging is taking place virtually for GPPA photographic competition, we’ll have a room set up at the Hilton Garden Inn in Columbus so that entrants can watch the streaming of competition together - celebrating achievements and encouraging one another as scores pop up. If you can't join us, you can still participate with us via the Exposed online platform - simply register for Exposed and you'll have access to all the speakers and Club 79!

    There is no need to suppress your feelings of joy, excitement, or even frustration. If you are frustrated, what better environment to express yourself than with your fellow artists. If you do well, what better place to be as your friends congratulate you on your success.

    Club 79 as a state of mind. With the scoring system, a photographer can earn a merit if their image scores an 80 or above. A score of 79 can be frustrating as the image was so close to achieving merit status, but didn’t quite make it. However, by listening to the judge’s comments and ordering a critique of your image, you can improve your image so that you can enter it again at a future competition. Learning and growing as a photographer and artist is one of the most important reasons to compete.

    Registration is open until July 11 at 11:59 p.m.!



  • 06/20/2022 4:16 PM | Lisa Hill (Administrator)

    You’ve created an incredible image. You’ve looked at it through the lens of the 12 Elements of a Merit Image. You’re happy with the end result and you’re almost ready to enter competition. Now you have to give your image a title.

    While the title isn’t one of the 12 elements, it IS the first experience the judges have with your image and can make a difference in the final score.

    During competition, the judges will sit in front of a calibrated monitor. The Judging Panel Chairperson will read the title and then the image appears on their computer screen. Did your title increase the impact of your image and the story you’re telling?

    What makes a strong title?

    Here are a few Do's and Don’ts:

    Don’t use too many words. Don’t be too cliché (unless used for irony). Don’t use words that are difficult to read (this includes foreign languages) – you don’t want the Chairperson to mispronounce the title!

    Do look at song titles and lyrics, poems, phrases, simple words, something that truly tells the story of your image. Unexpected, fun, whimsical, somber - what do you want to create in the judge’s minds before they see your image? Do make sure you’ve spelled the title correctly! When this image is shared post-competition, whatever you type in as the entry title will stay with the image forever.

    These are not hard and fast rules, but your title IS important and can make an image go the extra distance!


    2021 Merit Image: Feathered S Curve | Lisa Hill

  • 06/12/2022 3:05 PM | Lisa Hill (Administrator)

    Printcompetition.com is a website platform that has become the standard for most state association and IPC affiliate photographic competitions. While existing successfully for many years, the pandemic has made this platform a real game-changer so that competitions could continue during the past two years when in-person judging wasn’t always available.

    In order to enter GPPA photographic competition, each photographer must first set up an account with printcompetition.com. You can select either a Standard or Premium subscription. Click HERE to set up your account.

    Standard is $12/year and allows you to enter most of the competitions via the platform. Premium is $16/quarter ($64/year) and offers so much more! It’s worth every penny as it allows you to not only enter, you receive an e-mail and text as soon as your image is judged to learn the score, you have access to the image archive (over 95,000 images!), you can listen to audio clips of the judges discussions, and there’s even a “pre-game” app so you can check out the competition!

    You also have an opportunity to watch competition live via the printcompetition.com website and “game day” app!

    So, register at printcompetition.com and prepare your entries! GPPA photographic competition entry is now open with a deadline of July 11 to enter. Judging takes place on July 15.

    What are you waiting for?

    2021 Merit Image: Show Closed For The Duration | Michael Boatright

  • 06/08/2022 7:41 PM | Lisa Hill (Administrator)

    At the state level, all images will be judged and given a numerical score. Images can receive scores up to 100 points, dependent on how well the image meets the 12 Elements of a Merit Image. Images that receive a score of an 80 or above will be awarded a GPPA merit (see previous blog to learn about merits). All 80 and above scored images from each category will be reviewed and a First Place designation and two Distinguished Award designations will be given. Only members of GPPA who have been active for a minimum of one year are eligible for the awards. However, the competition is open to ALL! A great way to earn scores and get feedback on images you want to take to the next levlel.

    Scores and meaning:

    100 – 95: Exceptional

    94 – 90: Superior

    89 – 85: Excellent

    84 – 80: Deserving of a Merit

    79 – 75: Above Average

    74 – 70: Average

    69 – 65: Below Exhibition Standards

    Why you should order a critique and how it will help you:

    One of the best ways to improve your work is to have your images critiqued by an official IPC juror. New this year – GPPA is offering critiques for $10/image! You’ll sign up for the critiques at the time you register your images for competition. The critique will allow you one-on-one time with one of the GPPA judges via an online platform.

    The critique will help you improve your image so you can be more successful as you enter future competitions!

    You can find all the rules HERE.

    You also have an opportunity to watch competition live via the printcompetition.com website. More info on printcompetition.com in the next blog.

    2021 Merit Image: Stairway To Heaven | Brad Budd

  • 06/04/2022 6:03 PM | Lisa Hill (Administrator)

    You’ve heard about photographic competition, but what is it and why should you enter?

    It can be confusing if you’ve never entered before. You may have heard about state competitions, Districts, IPC, merits, seals, and Imaging Excellence Awards.

    When we talk about photographic competition through GPPA or PPA, we’re referring to an opportunity for each photographer to push their skills to a higher level. While the term competition is used, it’s not traditional competition. You’re not competing against other photographers, you’re competing against yourself to grow professionally.

    In today’s blog you’ll learn more about photographic competition through Georgia Professional Photographers Association.

    What is a merit?

    A merit is basically a unit of measure. It helps us keep track of your successes and contributions to GPPA. Earning a merit can be very exciting, and one way to earn merits is through photographic competition.

    A competition merit is earned when an image scores 80 or higher. The scores are based on the judge’s interpretation of your image and how it exhibits the Twelve Elements of a Merit Image (each of the twelve elements will be discussed in future blogs).

    Why should I enter photographic competition?

    Personal Growth: Learn how competing brings out your best and gives you an impartial opinion from judges who have been extensively trained in the twelve elements.

    Rewards and Recognition: Have you ever seen a photographer walking around with a ribbon and medallion around their neck? Some ribbons are covered in pins and bars! Each ribbon, pin, and bar represents merits, degrees, and awards earned by the photographer.

    You can earn these, too! GPPA offers the Fellowship Degree which is earned through photographic competition and education.

    Personal Portfolio Builder: Competition encourages you to branch out into areas that you might not otherwise try. You may be a portrait photographer by day, but your competition self can be anything you want it to be – a wildlife, macro, commercial, wedding, or abstract photographer to name a few.

    Are you ready to give a try?

    Watch for more blogs that will talk about the twelve elements and how to enter.

    To see past merited images for inspiration, click here.


    2021 Merit Image: Orange You Glad to See Me | Javon Longieliere

  • 07/19/2021 11:18 AM | Lisa Hill (Administrator)


    Tracy Vann has only been a member of GPPA for one year, but in that year she’s met some wonderful members whom she can’t wait to get to know better both personally and professionally. The knowledge and talent of other members has been encouraging and inspiring to her. The weekly Tuesday Zoom meetings and the workshop that she attended have been full of information and advice.

    Tracy has worked as a professional photographer over the last decade – part-time, freelancing, and full-time. She specializes in high school seniors, families, weddings, and youth sports. She currently only offers on-location sessions, but one of her goals is to build and at-home studio.

    The pandemic definitely took a toll on her business like everyone else. Many events and sports leagues were cancelled resulting in lost income, but she was able to implement social distancing and mask wearing into her sessions and events.

    When asked who inspires her, she has a hard time narrowing it down to just one person. She’s inspired by the human spirit, in general, and how resilient it is, and the great capacity to which we can love. Her husband, mom, dad, brother, extended family and friends are so amazing. They are parents, creatives, entrepreneurs… they wear so many different hats and they keep going no matter what is thrown their way. They encourage her to be the best version of herself!

    Tracy describes herself as quirky, coffee loving, dog loving, and flip flop wearing. She recently married her best friend Kent. She and her husband have two ridiculously spoiled dogs and a blended family of grown children and one grandson. The beach is her happy place and she loves the outdoors. She loves random road trips, travel, and running (she ran 5 half-marathons in one year). She loves to laugh and she loves Jesus. She says she’s a good mix between adventurous and cautious but she likes to think she’ll try anything at least once.

    Tracy earned a Distinguished Award in the Wedding category for her image “Bonny and Steve”.

    Tracy's Facebook: LifeHappensPhotography

    Tracy's Instagram: @lifehappensphoto

    Tracy's Website: www.lifehappensphotography.org



  • 06/24/2021 1:17 PM | Lisa Hill (Administrator)

    Image Submission is OPEN for Georgia Photographic Competition, and we welcome out-of-state entries! In preparation for the event, our judges joined us on a Zoom call last week hosted by GPPA President Wendy Ann White.

    The discussion included: why District and IPC is no longer using a numeric scoring system, recommendations for presentation and matting of entries, inspiration for competition entries, when you should and when you shouldn't break a seal from District competition, what judges look for in a merit image, and what might lead to an IPC loan!

    To watch the Zoom replay featuring judges Tim Mathiesen, Gina Tussey, Pete Rezac, and Bryan Welsh, click here

    Submit your entries at printcompetition.com

    DEADLINE to enter is July 3. Judging takes place on July 7 and you can watch live on printcompetition.com

    Georgia Photographic Competition Rules can be found HERE.


  • 05/11/2021 6:20 PM | Lisa Hill (Administrator)

    Sharon Fuente started as a Fine Art and Landscape photographer in 2009, participating in art shows and craft fairs. Although she sold some of her work, it wasn’t generating enough income. Her first paid photography position was in 2010, taking newborn photos at the hospital and is one reason she loves newborn photography. She then worked for Lifetouch taking school yearbook photos. After that, she spent a couple of years branching out on her own as a part-time professional photographer and then went full-time in 2017. In 2018, she opened her studio in Adairsville where she offers in-studio and on-location sessions.

    Sharon has been a member of GPPA for 3 years and says her membership has helped her grow in almost every aspect of her photography, including technique, business, and competition. She earned her CPP in 2020. The biggest benefit of membership for her has been interacting with people who have become both friends and mentors, people who have helped her without hesitation, and given her confidence. She loves her GPPA family!

    While she specializes in maternity, newborn, and family photography, she also enjoys miniature photography. She calls them ‘tiny people’, but they are actually HO scale train figures, which are 1/87th to scale, which she sets up in whimsical situations. Sharon also enjoys nature photography, fine art photography, and pushing the creative envelope with different techniques.

    The pandemic had her business totally shut down for 3 months, but overall, it gave her time to learn some new techniques as well as work on personal photography projects. IPS via Zoom became vital to her sales when she wasn’t able to sit in a room with her clients.

    Sharon finds inspiration from many places. Her inspiration for how she lives her life comes from her parents. She was always inspired by their generosity and willingness to help others, and their work ethic. The inspiration for her art is drawn from everyday objects as well as the most celebrated artists and photographers. Often when she needs inspiration, she looks at past IPC Loan books and Professional Photographer magazines.

    She’s been married to her husband, Robert, for 10 years. They have a blended family which includes 6 children, 7 grandchildren, and a terrier mix rescue dog. Her husband also likes photography, and much of their free time is spent enjoying photo adventures. They bought a camper last year with the hopes of future travels with their dog. Any other free time is spent with family, especially her youngest grandchild. She also loves to read and recently started taking yoga classes.

    Many of us may not know that Sharon can throw pottery on the wheel, uses a kiln to create hot glass items, creates fine art silk screen prints and linocut prints. She also enjoys knitting and drawing. She is truly an artist with many talents!

    In the 2020 GPPA Photographic Competition, Sharon received 1st place in Illustrative/Commercial for “Soul Food”, as well as a Distinguished Award in the same category for “Stacked”; Distinguished Award in Illustrative/Fine Art for “Rebuilding”; Judges Choice Award for “Soul Food” and “Rebuilding”; and was a Top Ten GPPA photographer for 2020. Her award-winning images are shown here in the blog.

    Sharon’s Facebook: lifesongartandphoto

    Sharon’s Instagram: @life_song_photo and @love_tiny_life

    Sharon’s Website: www.lifesongphotography.net


    This year’s GPPA Photographic Competition judging is on July 7 and entry is now open to enter! Go here to learn more: GPPA Photographic Competition




  • 04/01/2021 2:55 PM | Lisa Hill (Administrator)


    Mike Bentley has worked full-time as a photographer for 40 years, 31 of which he’s owned Bentley Photography in Winder. He holds his PPA Craftsman, CPP, and Georgia Service degree and has been a member of GPPA for 40 years! Mike shares his business with his wife, Chance, and they have a storefront with their home in the back. No one knows they live there since they have a separate entrance and they never go into the studio after closing! 

    Mike attended his first GPPA convention in 1978 and he’s made a lot of great friends in the association. GPPA has had his back in times of need and when he just needed a few extra hands. Anytime he’s needed professional advice he has someone to call. GPPA is a group of friends that know what life is like being a photographer and it gives members an extra bond.

    Primarily a portrait photographer, in the past few years the studio transitioned to volume photography with schools and sports, which was important in the post-recession years. It made up most of their business until last year when the pandemic hit. Mike and Chance initially lost a lot of their volume business in 2020, but it’s starting to get back to normal - except for masks and distancing. When photographing groups, they’ve had to rely on green screens and building the teams on the computer, which takes much more time than photographing groups together.

    He met his wife when he worked at Sea Island Photography in the 80s. She was a photography student at East Tennessee State and came for a summer job. They were married a year later and opened their studio in Winder in 1990 when Chance was 5 months pregnant with their first child. They work together in the studio and Mike says “she runs the place.” They’ve always loved to travel and hike, and during the shutdown last year they took up mountain biking and are now addicted! They also love to cook (and eat). Mike and Chance have two daughters that were married within the span of 5 months in 2018. Both daughters are pharmacists, the oldest married a pharmacist, and a first grandchild is due in May.

    Mike’s mother always inspired him to follow his dreams and was always a positive person with nothing bad to say about anyone or anything. She passed away during July of last year from Parkinson’s Disease and visits with her were limited to seeing each other through a window because of the pandemic.

    In 2020 GPPA Photographic Competition, Mike received 1st place in Portrait – Open for “Nature’s Masterpiece”; 1st Place in Portrait - Teens and Seniors for “Young Maestro”; and he also received Best Of Show - Portrait for “Nature’s Masterpiece”, and was a Top Ten GPPA photographer for 2020. His award-winning images are shown here in the blog.

    Mike’s Facebook: bentleyphotography

    Mike’s Instagram: @bentleyphotography

    Mike’s Website: www.bentleyphotography.com


    This year’s GPPA Photographic Competition judging is on July 7 with entries open on May 1. Click here to learn more: GPPA Photographic Competition


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