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The Photographer - October-November 2017

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Official Publication of the Texas Professional Photographers Association, Inc.
VOLUME 52 - #6 Oct/Nov 2017
Magazine Editor
Bill Hedrick, M.Photog.Cr.
1506 E. Leach St.
Kilgore, TX 75662
Executive Director
Steve Kozak, M.Photog.Cr
5323 Fig Tree Lane
Grand Prairie, TX 77052
Printing by
Complete Printing & Publishing
1501 W. Panola
Carthage, TX 75633
“Trapped in the Amber of the Moment” was
created by Melanie Hall, M. Photog. Cr., CPP
of Conroe, Texas, and won a Distinguished
Ribbon at TPPA Summerfest 2017. She
photographed this image during an editorial
stylized wedding shoot that she arranged
with local wedding vendors. To start the day,
the crew had set up a mobile studio setup at
the wedding venue. However, a couple of
hours into hair and makeup, they discovered
that their time was to be cut short due to a
misunderstanding and rushed to tear down the
setup because they had to photograph the other
vignettes that the stylist designed. Luckily,
at the end of the day, the crew was able to
stay late and reassemble a studio setup in
another building where she could photograph
each model in a completely controlled studio
environment. Melanie chose the background
(Kelly Golden Brown by Backgrounds by
Maheu) and used a large strip box (f8) adjacent
to a horizontal 4x6’ softbox (f4) to layer the
light, add direction, and still hold details in
the shadows of his dark attire to the camera
left. Then, to separate the subject from the
background, she used two strip boxes on either
side (f5.6). The title of the print is a steampunk
reference to the novel “Slaughterhouse-Five”
by Kurt Vonnegut. Basically, all time is all
time. It does not change. It does not lend itself
to warnings or explanations. It simply is.
You Have a Skill Set!
Ears to You!
A Message from TPPA President, Trey Homan
Photographing a Dog’s Ears by Margaret Bryant
Spotlight: Cris Duncan
Image Competition
Texas School ‘18 Classes Announced
Uniquely Designed
Creating an Uncontested Market
Spotlight: Dominique Harmon
The History of Texas PPA
Spotlight: Dixie Dobbins
The Wild World of Achraf Baznani
Mixed Light & HyperSync
“Bon Appétite”
Sometimes Confusing & Frustratiing by Bryan Welsh
Scholarships Available by Don Dickson
Portraits for Your Client’s Home by Gregory Daniel
New Approach to School Photography by Neal Freed
“The Farmer’s Daughter”
Back to 1898 by Bill Hedrick
“Bon Voyage”
An Artist Trying to Find Himself by Bill Hedrick
On Location in Canada by Dave Montizambert
THE PHOTOGRAPHER is the official publication of the Texas Professional Photographers Association, Inc. Acceptance of advertising or publishing of press releases does not imply
endorsement of any product or service by this association, publisher, or editor. Permission is granted to similar publications of the photographic industry to reprint contents of this publication,
provided that the author and this publication are credited as the source. Articles, with or without photographs, are welcomed for review for inclusion. However, the editor reserves the right to
refuse publication, or if accepted, the right to edit as necessary. For more information, visit Send all communications, articles, or advertising to:
THE PHOTOGRAPHER, 1506 E. Leach St., Kilgore, TX 75662. Phone (903) 985-1080, or
Oct/Nov 2017
2017 TPPA Executive Council
President Trey Homan
17222 Classen Rd., San Antonio, TX 78247 (210) 497-3809
Vice-President Tammy Graham
You Have a Skill Set!
3300 Joyce Drive, Ft. Worth, TX 76116 (817) 300-0780
Treasurer Ross Benton
1876 Nacogdoches Rd., San Antonio, TX 78209 (210) 804-1188
Secretary Marla Horn
10716 Camelot Dr., Frisco, TX 75035 (972) 567-8613
Councilman-at-Large Belinda Higgins
1301 Genoa Red Bluff, Pasadena, TX 77504 (281) 998-9905
Councilman-at-Large Luke Edmonson
7628 Brownly Pl., Plano, TX 75025 (972) 208-0215
Chairman of the Board Stephanie Ludlow
205 N. Mays, Round Rock, TX 78644 (512) 246-0063
Executive Director Steve Kozak
hese were the words that David Boeck said to me when he invited me to serve as a Councilor at Large
for TPPA. That was his response when I said, “But I’m not a photographer.”
Each of us has talents that TPPA needs! As I have mentioned before, event planning is not my strong
suite….as a matter of fact, simple details like napkins and nametags seem to be out of my ability to
remember. But that is ok! We have other members of TPPA that actually think planning something
like Summerfest is fun (can you believe that?). And that is my point. You have a skill set that is very
different from mine. I actually enjoy reading by-laws, operations manuals and writing my “President’s
Messages”… wife, well let’s just say she finds by-laws much more effective than Ambien. We need
these different skill sets to maintain our growth and to compensate for deficiencies when needed.
5323 Fig Tree Ln., Grand Prairie, TX 77052 (972) 601-9070
Texas School Director Don Dickson
1501 West 5th, Plainview, TX 79072 (806) 296-2276
Magazine Editor Bill Hedrick
I encourage you to reach out and offer your skills. We need people that enjoy event planning, carrying
sound equipment, chauffeuring, by-law reading, socializing, FaceBooking, photographing (events), and…
well you get my point. This is your organization and you can help it become better. You know what you
can do, so reach out to a member of the Executive Board and say, “I am here, use me!”
1506 E. Leach St., Kilgore, TX 75662 (903) 985-1080
Trey Homan
TPPA President
PPA Councilors
Gabriel Alonso (Ft. Worth), Brad Barton (Grand Prairie),
Doug Box (Caldwell), Don Dickson (Plainview),
Cris Duncan (Lubbock), Walter Eagleton (Denton),
Elizabeth Homan (San Antonio), Trey Homan (San Antonio),
Fonzie Munoz (Corpus Christi), Randy Pollard (Victoria),
Cliff Ranson (McAllen).
To contact any of your PPA Councilors, you may obtain their
phone numbers from the TPPA Membership Directory
or visit the TPPA website at
Complete financial information on Texas Professional Photographers Association is
available to any TPPA member by contacting
Steve Kozak, Executive Director,
5323 Fig Tree Ln., Grand Prairie, TX 77052
Oct/Nov 2017
If you are not a member of Texas PPA, this is my personal invitation to you to join!
Email Steve Kozak, TPPA Executive Director, at or call 972-601-9070.
Oct/Nov 2017
(Above) Dog’s ears are down and not very expressive.
(Left) What a difference it makes having the dog’s ears up!
Dogs are probably the most common animal that is photographed.
There are a variety of ear shapes in dogs and different ways to get
them to look alert. The two most common ear forms in dogs are prick
ears and floppy ears. Believe it or not, it is possible to get both forms
of ears to look alert. Unlike cats and horses, most dogs react better
to noises than to movement. Although with all animals you use what
works best whether it is noise, movement or food.
When you get a dog’s attention, its ears will likely be alert. Not
surprisingly, prick ears are easier to look alert. But floppy ears can look
alert as well. Floppy ears will rise slightly where they attach to the
dog’s head, and the ear flaps will sometimes turn outward. Most times
there is a dramatic difference between ears that are alert and ears that
are down. (See photos)
Not all dog ears go up, so it is important to test them before the
session. Make a noise and see if the ears go up. If they don’t, ask the
owner if that is typical. There is no point in spending a lot of effort to
get the dog’s ears up if they don’t normally go up. (And the client is
unlikely to purchase “ears up” photographs if that is not normal for the
f you are a portrait photographer you already know that a person’s expression is one of the most important elements of the photograph. If your subject
is not a human, one of the most important elements of the photograph is the subject’s ears. Dogs, cats, horses and other animals use their ears to express
themselves. It is important for you, the photographer, to pay as much attention to the animal’s ears as you would pay attention to a human subject’s smile.
To get the best animal expressions, it is helpful to know more about an animal’s ears and how to get them to respond in the way you want it to respond.
For example, a bird’s ears are on the side of their heads under their feathers. If you are behind the camera making noises, the bird will turn its head in
profile so it may listen more closely. If you want a bird to look at the camera, you need to make a noise off to the side so the bird will turn its head to listen
and be looking at the camera.
Both horse ears and cat ears need to face forward. Both animals, with a few exceptions, have prick (straight up) ears so it is easy to see any movement.
Any ear movement off to the side indicates the animal is listening to something. If the side movement is sustained or if the ears are held back close to the
head it indicates the animal is stressed. This is not desirable. This would be similar to a human subject frowning.
To get a horse or cat ears facing forward, you need to make sure they feel comfortable in their environment. Take the time to make this happen. Then you
need to do something to get their attention. Horses and cats might respond to noises. Do not startle the animals, but make them curious. Even better, both
horses and cats usually respond to movement that gets them to look towards the camera. That movement could be a feather toy in the case of cats and an
empty plastic shopping bag in the case of horses. Try different things and see what works.
Oct/Nov 2017
To get a dog’s ears up during the photo session, try a variety of noises.
There are two types of noises: noises they are familiar with and noises
that are new. Noises they are familiar with might be a doorbell, a door
knock, a squeaky toy, tags on their collar, or their owner’s voice. A list
of noises that are new could be endless. Think of anything a dog would
not normally hear. Items like a harmonica, a slide whistle, a siren
whistle, or a hunter’s animal calls might be on that list.
What is more important is how the noises are used. First, a few rules.
Only one person at a time should make the noises. Only one. That
person should be located where you want the dog to look. Noises
should be used once and not repeatedly. If you are using a squeaker,
proper use would be once (*squeak*) or twice (*squeak* *squeak*).
Do NOT squeak repeatedly (*squeak* *squeak* *squeak* *squeak*
*squeak* *squeak*). The dog will ignore the noise and you will drive
yourself nuts!
Oct/Nov 2017
Some dog’s ears don’t go up (above), but most
cats have prick ears (right) that should face
forward. Horse ears (below-right) should
always face forward.
With any noise, if you get a reaction, great! Then use it again. If you
do not, then switch to something new. It is important to be able to
quickly change noises when one no longer works. You need to keep the
momentum up so whoever is making the noises needs to be ready to
change. You also need to know when to stop. You do not want the dog to
get overloaded from too much noise.
Vary the volume of the noises. Softer noises will likely get the dogs to tilt
their heads to listen more closely. You can also get a dog’s ears up and an
alert look with movement. Movement could be a cat feather toy, or even
the owner walking back and forth behind the photographer. Favorite toys
can be used. Dogs that are ball crazy can be alert with ears up merely by
showing them a tennis ball. Food can also be used. In this case, you let the
dog know you have food, but do not give it to him. By holding a tidbit of
food in your hand and moving your hand around, you can get the dog to
have its ears up and look in almost any direction you want.
Never forget that every animal is different. What works to get one animal’s
ears up may not work for another animal. Do not get into the mindset that
a squeaker works for every dog. It does not. For each animal you need to
figure out what works best for that particular animal and you need to be
ready to change it up when that noise no longer works. Taking the time to
get an animal’s ears looking alert, much like getting a human subject to
have a natural smile, is worth the effort to create a great portrait. Always
remember, expression sells!
Margaret Bryant is an award
winning photographer who
specializes in photographing dogs
and their people. Her style is
simple, original and authentic and
often shows the humor and whimsy
of dogs. She shares her knowledge
with others with speaking, teaching,
private coaching and writing.
Oct/Nov 2017
“Bon Appétit” was created by Cris Duncan of Lubbock, Texas. The image is part of a collection of images done for
a commercial client who sells cookware and teaches people how to cook and eat healthy. Cris created images for their
website, printed material and cookbook.
This image of the Wok and ingredients was shot in his studio. “I borrowed a stovetop from a local dealer and fabricated
a mock counter top using tables and vinyl flooring. The client and myself styled and designed the image. Lighting
was a large 9x12 scrim for the pan and then I added a 10º grid to a separate strobe to create a sunlight type light in the
vegetables. White foam core boards were used to add fill and handle reflections,” he explains.
For these types of commercial sessions, Cris will capture tethered to Lightroom so the client can see exactly what was
captured and make adjustments on the spot. You can learn more at and
Oct/Nov 2017
mage competition and the pursuit of merits and association degrees
is a rewarding though sometimes troubled endeavor. It’s going to be
hard—we all know that—and
there are going to be situations
that come up that make you
want to give up. However,
like a lot of things that you are
working to achieve, it’s what
you do once you are knocked
down that matters most.
With the hyper connectivity we
now enjoy with the internet, we
are able to share details about
our disappointments that in
the past we would have kept
to ourselves or perhaps only
shared with a close group of
friends. However, with social
media, we also now have the
opportunity to vent in very
public ways. Here are some
recent observations about
Image Competition venting that
might be useful to address.
First, your results may vary.
Have you ever had an image
receive scores from different
judges or even different panels
of judges that receive different
scores? We hear from many that
competitors don’t understand
how this can happen given
that each image is judged on
the 12 Elements of a Merit
image. They don’t understand
why the score isn’t always the
same regardless of the judge or
panel. Intellectually we know
art is subjective and beauty is
Oct/Nov 2017
in the eye of the beholder but emotionally we want our art to be seen as
unique and thus rewarded with glowing reviews. But this is not always
the case, for one very simple
reason… the human factor of
the process.
Each judge filters what they
see through their own life
experience, which is why
different panels may score
things differently. This variation
translates to scores that can
sometimes be dramatically
different from one panel to the
next. One image scored 100
in a recent competition but at
another competition it scored in
the mid-80s. You ask how this
can be.
The answer is quite simple—
each panel saw different
strengths and some found
weaknesses of the image and
gave it the score they felt
appropriate. As Jeff Dachowski,
a PPA approved juror,
mentioned online recently,
“Which panel got it right?
Maybe it was a mid-80s image
if it was judged ten times by
ten different panels or maybe it
would score in the nineties 8 out
of 10 times. That’s a hard one
to answer. Why do we always
assume the panel that scored it
higher is better or gave it the
correct score? We would argue
both got it right. Both panels
used the process to come up
with their best score for that
image on that day.
The process is the
best we have and
nothing is perfect.
However, this
process has stood the
test of time and we
believe one to rely
on. Trust the process
and while results may
vary in the end we
contend your images
will be scored as they should be with fairness, integrity and care by people
who are doing the very best job they can given the fact that it’s subjective
and imperfect.”
Some folks will vent on social media, “How can this be that I score great in
one competition and don’t even merit in another competition with the same
image? I’m so confused!” Are you sure you are not just disappointed and
frustrated rather than confused? If you take some time to truly understand
the process, we believe you can take all the mislabeled confusion out of
your mind and find a much better place to spend your energy.
Don’t get us wrong—it can be frustrating. No one wants to hear that
an image they poured their soul into isn’t a merit image. It’s ok to be
frustrated! You have worked so hard to get everything just right and your
image didn’t get the score you wanted. The important thing to glean from
this, in our opinion, is who to be frustrated with. We contend that if you
channel the frustration inward and use that energy to increase your skills,
you will get better at creating images and your scores will reflect that.
Here is a little secret—the best result you can have from image competition
isn’t receiving merits or degrees—it’s becoming a better image maker.
When you are frustrated, it’s an opportunity. You have an opportunity for
growth and improvement. Unfavorable scores push you to work harder so
that eventually you’ll be creating images with a level of skill that can only
be honed through the fire of disappointment.
One juror at District recently expressed that it’s ok to feel disappointment
but please don’t channel that anger toward the judges and blame them.
Jurors are always hoping to award a merit! To become a juror takes a lot
of time and training and sacrifice. No one enters the juror training program
hoping to dash spirits and ruin lives.
Becoming a juror is truly a labor of love—you must be passionate enough
about photography and photographic education that you are willing to
spend your own hard-earned dollars to acquire the training necessary and
then be humble enough to be evaluated by approved jurors over and over
until you are approved. And then the evaluations continue! It is through
much personal sacrifice and time away from family and their business that
jurors are trained and approved. Please understand that when a juror scores
14 your image, they are
looking for ways to
reward the maker, not
the other way around.
We hope confusion
is not your mindset now that you
understand the
process. Understand
that frustration and
disappointment are fleeting and then turn that emotion into determination
to excel. One juror recently equated this to the 5 stages of grief... (1)
Denial, (2) Anger, (3) Bargaining, (4) Depression, and (5) Acceptance.
Maybe we should write a book on the 5 stages of Frustration in image
competition—there are a lot of similarities and we think it would be a best
seller amongst the competition crowd. If you can channel that frustration
and use it to your advantage as you create, we believe good will come from
In science, we look for things to match and be evidence based with
repeatable results. Image competition is not science. It’s an art. But in
the pursuit to give it meaning, we give it a method of order—the PPA 12
Elements of a Merit. We believe it’s the best system in the world and one
we can rely on. Sometimes you will score well and sometimes you won’t.
But as long as you are participating, you will get better and become the
artist you aspire to be. Just don’t get caught in the trap of confusion on why
the result may vary and understand that truly, the value of competition is
in the process. The result is but a tiny fraction of the process of competing
but because we like accolades, it’s the part we focus on the most. Let your
focus be broad and the accolades will come.
Bryan Welsh, Photog.Cr, CPP, is a
second generation photographer
from Hillsboro, Oregon, who is
recognized for his creative stylized
journalistic photography. He has
taught throughout the nation and
is an approved juror with the
Oregon Professional Photographers
Association. Bryan takes pride in
helping aspiring photographers and
enjoys following their success in
image competition.
Oct/Nov 2017
2018 Texas School
by Don Dickson
he 2018 Texas School of Professional Photography will once again be held at the Intercontinental Hotel and
Conference Center in Addison, Texas. Over 1,000 photographers attend Texas School and we look forward to
another great year in 2018. The hotel, located north of Dallas, just off the North Dallas Toll Road, is the setting for this
The 523 room Intercontinental Hotel has agreed to a room rate of only $126, so more people will be able to stay at the
host hotel. More information is available on the Texas School website at You might want to go
ahead and book your room because they will sell out fast.
Online registration for Texas School ‘18 begins at 11pm on January 3, 2018. Last year the first class booked in only 3
seconds with several others within 2 minutes! If you’ve never experienced Texas School, you’ve missed out on one of
the best learning experiences available to photographers in the world. There will be at least 36 classes covering every
topic imaginable and all are designed to help your business grow and be successful.
Along with classroom instruction, there is a fun and exciting social life at Texas School with parties, meal events,
entertainment and an impressive trade show. Another good reason to attend is that all evening meals will be FREE,
thanks to our many sponsors. So, mark your calendar now for April 22 - 27, 2018, and come and see what the “Texas
School Experience” is all about.
16 Oct/Nov 2017
Bree Adams
Suzette Allen
Melanie Anderson
Ross Benton
Doug Box
Gary Box
Ana Brandt
William Branson III
Randy Braun
Margaret Bryant
Alison Carlino
Carl Caylor
Tony Corbell & Rob Hull
Bry Cox
Gregory & Lesa Daniel
Cris & Deanna Duncan
Steve Ellinger
Mike & Suzy Fulton
Jeff Gump
John Hartman
Jamie Hayes & Mary Fisk-Taylor
Elizabeth & Trey Homan
Steve Kozak
Don MacGregor
Gary & Kathryn Meek
Dustin Meyer
Dave Montizambert
Sandra Pearce
Thom Rouse
Jen Rozenbaum
Marilyn Sholin
Kimberly Smith
Richard Sturdevant
Billy Welliver & Mitch Daniels
John Wilson
Chris Wunder
Oct/Nov 2017
Scholarships Available
Texas School of Professional Photography
Don Dickson
ach year the Texas Professional Photographers Association grants
a number of scholarships to the Texas School of Professional
Photography to be held at the Intercontinental Hotel and Conference
Center in Addison, Texas. These scholarships are available to
newcomers to the profession as well as photographers who have been
in photography for several years and meet certain requirements. You
may qualify!
Two types of scholarships are available. The first is a classroom
scholarship that pays the week’s tuition to a class. To be eligible for
this scholarship, you must be a member of TPPA by July 1, 2017,
and you must renew your 2018 membership prior to attending the
2018 Texas School. In addition, you must not have received a Texas
School scholarship during the previous ten years. Also, you must not
have been in photography for more than five years, or if you have
been in photography for more than five years, you must have earned a
minimum of 20 Fellowship Points from TPPA. The final requirement is
that only one application per studio or firm will be accepted.
The second type of scholarship is a “Wrangler Scholarship.” To be
eligible, you must be a current (2018) member of Texas PPA, have
18 attended the Texas School in the past, willing to work, able to get along
well with people, able to take directions well, must have a car, must
have satisfactory computer skills, and must be available by 9 am on
April 22, 2018.
If you want to be a part of a very elite, fabulous, hard working group
of people who are a very important part of the success of Texas School,
and would like to be considered as a wrangler, then apply online today
at to obtain a Texas
School Scholarship or Texas School Wrangler application.
If you have any questions, ask any of the trustees, talk to someone
who has been a wrangler in the past, or contact Cindy Romaguera, at
504-799-9729 or email her at Remember,
a Wrangler Scholarship is a “working scholarship.” When you are
a wrangler, you get very close to your instructor, classmates, other
wranglers, and the Texas School staff.
You can apply for these scholarships online at,
so sign up now and check the website and this magazine for further
Texas School information and updates.
Oct/Nov 2017
Gregory Daniel, M.Photog. CR., CPP, F-ASP
y first memory of Lesa having an interior designer help us
determine what our home should look like was anything but
welcome on my part in the beginning. I was not very helpful or
understanding with the entire process. Words like painful, fear, non-trust
and expensive come to mind. What I did not realize is that the experience
would change the direction of our business and how we would approach
all of our clients in the future. I had no idea how much value that an
educated, trained professional designer could add. Our interior designer,
Liz, had fantastic listening skills and was able to translate our ramblings
into concrete design solutions for our home. She quizzed us on styles we
liked and asked for any clippings we had collected. Her commissioned
focus was on our family room but she trained us in seeing the bigger
picture and how the design would flow throughout our home.
Uniquely designed is one of the reasons why our clients trust us in the
creation of their most important lasting treasures. Lesa spends a great deal
of time prior to the actual camera study skillfully listening, translating
and creating a concept design for the portraits. She is able to determine
what is important in their lives and special interests they might share as a
family. The location where the portraits will hang plays a big part of the
color harmony, clothing selections and orientation of the final product.
This will also be the time Lesa will decide on which style of portrait that
will best fit their lifestyle and living area.
In the case of the
Weeks family, Lesa
found that this was a
very special time in the
transformation of their
family with one child off
to college and the other
soon to follow. Their
beautiful home, where
they spent building their
family, is a very special place and was
specifically designed by a well known
architect. They shared many details of
their building experience and how the
architect brilliantly brought their dreams
to fruition.
Now that we knew the time of day,
clothing to wear, location of camera
study and what was important, we were
ready to create a portrait that would
bring them joy everyday of their lives.
Knowing this was to be a vertical
composition to fit on the main entrance
chest, I chose this direction and angle
to accentuate the beautiful design lines
of their home. The main source of light
was the setting sun behind my back with
the trees, house and foliage subtracting
the light creating the shadow and form
on their faces. I normally like to use
the direct sun behind our subject to
create a beautiful rim light but this was
not going to work in this situation so
I elected to use a bare bulb Lumedyne
behind the subject for separation from the background.
The Weeks selected our Handcrafted Mixed Media product with embellished acrylics
and beautifully enhanced with the perfect frame for their décor. As you can see the final
results are just perfect.
The family selected Gregory’s Handcrafted Mixed Media product with
embellished acrylics and beautifully enhanced with the perfect frame for
their décor. As you can see the final results are just perfect.
20 Who knew that Liz, our personal interior designer, would have had such a positive
impact on our lives in so many ways? I truly enjoy our home each and every day
largely due to the value Liz added with her talented designs. As a bonus we have built
a business that adds the same type of value for each of our wonderful clients who
commission us.
Oct/Nov 2017
Serendipitously, we were approached by a client at this time to photograph
her children at their school. She was sick of getting an order envelope home,
having to pick a package and put in a check, and then having to wait to see if
she liked the photograph, which she never did. The school wanted to upgrade
and she wanted us to do it.
There’s a saying that when opportunity knocks, make sure you open the door,
well we almost didn’t. We had no interest in doing school photography, and
we told her no, three times. But, she kept asking and eventually this led to our
calm blue water.
re you a wedding/portrait photographer whose sales are flat or declining? Are your prices the same or lower than they were three years ago? Do you think
that improving your photography is the answer to increasing your sales? If you have a sneaky suspicion that the problem isn’t your photography, you’re
probably right. The problem may be that you’re swimming in churning red water, not calm blue water.
Red water is churning, foamy, water that’s infested with sharks and barracudas in a feeding frenzy. Those sharks and barracudas are your competitors, killing each
other to book the same customer. In red water quality doesn’t matter, originality doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is having the lowest price. And, the
only way out of red water isn’t improving your photography, it’s finding the calm, blue water where you can swim alone.
After years of successfully defining itself as one of the best photographers in the Washington, DC area, Freed Photography unexpectedly found itself in 2009
stuck in churning red water. Coming out of the recession of 2009‐2010 we could see that there was a dramatic increase in the number of people calling themselves
professional photographers and we could also sense a dramatic change in the attitudes of our brides. Pre‐recession brides were primarily concerned with hiring
the best photographer – and we were often their choice. Post‐recession brides were singularly concerned with getting the most stuff for the absolute lowest price.
We often didn’t want to be their choice for that amount. We could see that this market was overcrowded with photographers and quality was taking a back seat
to price in the bride’s decision hierarchy. They no longer wanted “the best,” but they were looking for the most at the lowest price. This led us to the question of
where is the blue water?
22 Oct/Nov 2017
What we noticed right away was that nobody was happy with school
photography. “Sit here, smile, click, next, next, next.” The old approach had
gotten old. Schools, students, and parents were uniformly unimpressed with the
quality of the photographs and school photography companies were alarmed by
the declining parent participation rates and shrinking sales. As H.J. Heinz (of
ketchup fame) said: “To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success.”
We realized that we could find our blue water by doing school photography
in a way that nobody else in our market was doing it, by taking uncommonly
good school photographs.
We could take time to engage with each student, we could take more than
one photograph of each student, we could let the students have fun in the
photographs and we could let the parents see the photographs before asking
them to buy. In short, we could take advantage of current technology to bring
school photography into the 21st century.
These few changes in total, allowed us to create a product and sales method
that was dramatically different than all of the other school photography
companies. The other companies were stuck in their own ocean of red water,
competing on price or how much money they could give away in commission
Oct/Nov 2017
while we were signing school after school where commissions were barely
spoken about. By taking a different approach we were able to identify blue
waters where we were the only ones swimming in our part of the ocean.
As Mr. Chan and Ms. Mauborgne report on Cirque du Soleil: “Despite a
long‐term decline in the circus industry, Cirque du Soleil profitably increased
revenue 22‐fold over the last ten years by reinventing the circus. Rather
than competing within the confines of the existing industry or trying to steal
customers from rivals, Cirque developed uncontested market space that made
the competition irrelevant.”
If your business is stagnating or not growing as robustly as you would like
and you feel buffeted by events beyond your control, maybe you’re swimming
in the wrong part of the ocean. The solution may lie not in improving your
photography as much as in charting a path over to calm blue waters.
Neal Freed is the owner of Freed Spirit, a studio in Bethesda, Maryland.
School photography is a major focus of the studio
where they promote it as “The New Face of
Student Portraiture.” Their staff of photographers
are talented and experienced in various types of
photography and bring those talents to the school
picture industry to provide a product and service that
parents prefer over the typical “smile, click” service
but at the prices that parents are used to paying.
Neal was an instructor at the 2016 Texas School of
Professional Photography. Learn more about Neal at
“The Farmer’s Daughter” was created by Dominique Harmon, M Photog Cr., CPP, ASP, of Lubbock, Texas. “It was
an idea I had been wanting to do for quite some time because I’d been wanting to do something fun with a parachute,”
says Dominique. “With the West Texas winds always blowing at my studio, I was a bit nervous putting her on top of that
hay. But we picked a calm day and a beautiful West Texas sunset. I had my assistant underneath the parachute with a leaf
blower and my husband is on top of his pickup truck on the right side of the hay holding the profoto light (way up high).
Learning what I had in Sandra Pearce’s class at Texas School, it was my first major attempt at painting in Photoshop.
Not realizing at the time that I would have to paint every strand of that hay, it was a great learning lesson! I received
some good critiques from judges at TPPA Summerfest and will rework it for district next year.”
Oct/Nov 2017
On May 11, 1898, photographer J.C. Deane, of Waco, being unanimously
elected as President of the newly formed Photographic Association of
Texas, called the meeting to order. A committee on Constitution and Bylaws
was appointed and Dallas was chosen as the next place of meeting for a
convention in October. All charter members were urged to forward their
names and the fee of $2 to the secretary.
J.C. Deane was a logical choice for the association’s first President. He
had made headlines just two years earlier when the Missouri-Kansas-Texas
Railroad decided to stage a head-on collision between two trains just north
of Waco at a location known as Crush (named for the event). After an
estimated 40,000 people showed up for the event, Deane was set up on a
platform just 200 yards from the proposed collision site with his camera
What was intended to be a magnificent collision turned out to be a
devastating explosion with flying shrapnel, killing several people. Deane
lost his right eye and remained in a coma for several months following the
event. But he eventually recovered and returned to his Waco studio, posing a
notice in the Waco newspaper stating, “Having gotten all of the loose screws
and other hardware out of my head, am now ready for all photographic
At their first convention in Dallas, there were about 1,000 people present.
President Deane addressed the group, saying, “Our profession is one that
more nearly reaches the great masses of the people than any other that I
know of - all classes and conditions, rich and poor, white, black, yellow and
red, pass under our hands.”
Many of these early photographers were amazing art scientists who were
capable of coating wet plates, sensitizing their own paper, and building
much of their own equipment. Prizes were awarded for contraptions,
gadgets, and engineering apparatus at conventions. Few of these ideas
were patented, being given by the inventor to his fellow craftsman or any
company that desired to use them for mass production.
By 1914, Henry Ford was selling his Model T for $550 and the more
affluent folks dressed to the teeth, zipping around town at 10 miles per hour
on a Sunday afternoon. War clouds in Europe drifted across the Atlantic
and America’s isolation from the rest of the world would soon end. A
long, drawn out film patent controversy was finally put to rest and the late
Rev. Hannibal Goodwin was declared the original inventor of transparent
sensitized film and the Eastman Company would continue to make film. At
the annual Photographic Association of Texas, H.J. Braunig stated, “Push,
and if you can’t push, pull. If you can’t do either, get out of the way!” This
would be the first convention to award Blue Ribbons to all exhibits rating
higher than the required points, except for those winning prizes.
By 1918, the group would be known as the Professional Photographers
of Texas. Because of the Great War being fought in Europe, there was a
shortage of train cars and “getting things carried from one city to another
with any certainty,” this convention would not have the traditional displays
or vendor booths. President A. M. Howse also explained that manufacturers
and dealers did not provide exhibits for the purpose of making money and
were willing to pay for the same space as last year. They all wanted to help
the association as much as possible.
(left) One of the earliest known
group photos of a Texas PPA
group taken in 1902 at the 5th
annual convention. (right) Jarvis
C. Deane was the first President
of TPPA in 1898.
(below) Another TPPA
Convention in those early years
in San Antonio.
The photographic industry would see its share of growing pains over the
years. In the beginning, artificial lighting was non-existent and studios had
skylights and/or window lighting. When flash powder arrived on the scene,
there would be more stories. In the 1920’s, one young photographer in a
Houston studio seemed dedicated to blowing up the city. At a trade show in
a giant tent, one hour before opening, he managed to burn it to the ground
with a flash gun. A few weeks later, he blew a $600 stained glass transom all
over people and the sidewalk. He was retired by his employer and became a
Baptist preacher and reports were that he “gave a snappy sermon on Hell.”
San Antonio had a memorable Flash Picture made during a water parade
staged on San Pedro Lake. Young ladies dressed in their beautiful summer
formals seated in Gondolas, being poled by their handsome escorts became
excited when a dish pan of flash powder atop a telephone pole exploded.
They capsized the Gondolas and had a bath in the lake up to their bust line.
Hats were blown off of spectators fifty feet away. The fireworks display that
followed was greeted by yells of, “More flash pictures, do it again!”
By 1930, the Galveston Tribune reported: “Goodbye to the time when the
photographer’s flash light picture filled everyone’s lungs with smoke and
caused timid ladies to shriek and drop their glasses on account of the noise.
Galveston bade the now old fashioned method a joyous farewell when
J.M. Maurer, local photographer, made a picture in the Texas Cities Gas
Company showroom with a PHOTO FLASH BULB.”
In 1933, after some reorganizing, the name Texas Professional
Photographers Association was officially adopted and remains to this day.
The nation was in the midst of The Great Depression. The previous year,
TPPA elected Virginia Leberman as its President. In her book, The Diamond
Years of Texas Photography, author Ava Crawford wrote, “I admired
Virginia Leberman as a fine photographer and great woman. Her life was
filled with much sorrow and heavy responsibilities. She had a wealth of
inner strength. She was as strong as any pioneer woman and possessed a
true Southern charm.”
t was in the year 1898 that a group of visionaries decided to form an organization of professional photographers in the State of
Texas. Times were tough and the average wage was $1.00 per day. Newspaper headlines in May of that year were alarming,
“Trouble in Cuba - Sinking of the Maine.” The Spanish-American War became a reality in Texas with Colonel Teddy Roosevelt and
his Rough Riders training in San Antonio. But the little town of Waco seemed to ignore the war news and was preparing for their May
Kween Karnival which would later become The Cotton Palace Festival, an annual social event and first of its kind in Texas. Those
who arrived for the event were greeted by a kaleidoscope of many colors, tri-colored buntings, flags, and innumerable lights strung
across the streets.
In the Waco Times-Herald, there was a story which said, “Where there is much loveliness, refinement and artistic elegance, there
you will find the photographer and Waco has, along with her thousands of guests, nearly all the leading photographers in Texas.
Not only the great Carnival has brought these artists to the Central City, but they are here also for the purpose of organizing a State
Photographers Association.”
26 Oct/Nov 2017
Oct/Nov 2017
Virginia Leberman
TPPA’s First Woman President
Kaye Marvins
TPPA President 1959
During the years of WWII, changes in photography were as drastic as
the changes in our everyday lives and more photographic products were
used than ever before. Europe and the islands in the South Pacific became
giant aerial photographic maps. Countless lives were saved through photo
reconnaissance. Land, air, and sea battles were photographed by boys that
had never used a camera and many of them would become leaders in our
One of those was a young Navy combat photographer named Odell Poovey,
of Henderson, Texas. Unlike many of the others, Odell had worked at a
small studio in his hometown before enlisting. Stationed aboard a carrier,
the USS Kadashan, Odell photographed sea and air battles as well as a
Kamikaze attack on his ship. After returning from the war, he purchased
the studio he had worked at as a teenager and made photography his career,
serving as President of Texas PPA and SWPPA.
Odell Poovey
TPPA President 1961
Walt Hawkins
TPPA President 1972
Other notable Texas photographers would make it a “family tradition”
during the 1950’s. Kaye Marvins, of Houston, was already a third generation
photographer and his sons would continue that tradition well into the next
millennium. As a young boy in Poland, Kaye’s chore before school was
to climb up on the roof to scrape the snow away from the skylight to his
father’s studio. At the age of 12, his father asked if he wanted to make
pictures. When Kaye admitted he did, his father sent him to the next town
with film and camera. Five years later, he immigrated to Canada, arriving
before the stock market crash of 1929. His childhood sweetheart, Sonia, was
already there and they married a few years later and had two sons, Mike and
Buz, who continued the family studio business until 2016.
By 1967, the Vietnam War raged and color film was “here to stay.” During
that year, Gene Swinney served double duty as TPPA Secretary and Editor
of the Texas Magazine. Walt Hawkins headed up a “posse” for a “Hangin’
Party” staged by the PPA of Central Texas and the PPG of Austin. Hawkins
would later serve as TPPA Executive Director and Editor of the Texas
Professional Photographer Magazine until 1997. Under his leadership, TPPA
became one of the most fiscally responsible associations in the country and,
for his service, Walt Hawkins was presented the National Award from Texas
for his contributions to the profession.
It was in the late 1970’s when I first met Odell Poovey. I had recently
viewed a television documentary on Yousuf Karsh, an Armenian-Canadian
photographer best known for his portraits of notable individuals such as
Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Grace Kelly, and many
others. He has been described as one of the greatest portrait photographers
of the 20th century. I remember asking Odell if he had ever met Karsh and
he replied that he had met him. At that point, all I could think about was
actually meeting Karsh face to face, so I asked Odell if he might be able
to introduce me to him someday. In his distinctive Southern drawl, Odell
Poovey replied, “Well... I can if you want. But I can introduce you to a
whole lot better photographers than Karsh.”
Although I never met Yousuf Karsh, my old friend was true to his word and
soon introduced me to “the best of the best” photographers in the country...
and most of them were right here in Texas and active
members of the Texas Professional Photographers
Association. These were the pioneers who shaped our
industry and left their mark on the world and it was an
honor to have known even just a few of them.
Note: In preparing this article, I must express
my gratitude to the late Ava Crawford (right)
who, back in the mid 1970’s, painstakingly
documented the detailed history of Texas PPA
in her book, “The Diamond Years of Texas
28 Oct/Nov 2017
“Bon Voyage” was created by Dixie Dobbins of Livingston, Texas. Inspired by a scene in the movie, “The Notebook,” Dixie finally found and purchased a
wooden rowboat online for use as a prop at her lakeside studio-home in Livingston, Texas. Shortly thereafter, she photographed TPPA Executive Director,
Steve Kozak, and his lovely fiance, Jacqueline, for their engagement portrait. “I envisioned Jacqueline in a beautiful, light colored dress and holding a
parasol on her shoulder, shading her delicate skin and Steve rowing his new bride away to live happily ever after. But sometimes reality is a bit different
than fairy tale dreams. On the day of the shoot, it was hot and humid. But Steve and Jacqueline were troupers. Steve rowed the boat to a distance where I
had instructed him to go and the water was calm with a beautiful sunset. However, after a few minutes, he calmly informed me that he was taking on water.
I had only assumed that the boat was sea worthy! Even so, I was able to get a number of images and still get them back to shore safely. They were the ideal
models and never complained,” explains Dixie.
The image was taken with a Canon 70D at f16, ISO 800, at 1/250 sec. Post production was done with Corel Painter and painting was done using “Blenders.”
Dixie then added the roses and the “Just Married” sign in Photoshop. The image was then cropped with the couple in the lower-right side as to communicate
the couple rowing out of the scene and into their new lives together. Steve and Jacqueline were married later in a beautiful celebration in Colorado.
30 Oct/Nov 2017
“Achraf Baznani uses his inspirations to
create photographs that the human mind
can’t believe in, or trust.”
chraf Baznani is known world-wide as a surrealist photographer that uses everyday scenes to transport viewers to a different world. His art makes
you question your own reality, wondering why things are the way they are and what other meanings aspects of our lives can hold. It taps into your
unconscious and exploits it to curate a specific idea or belief. Baznani isn’t of the stereotypical variety. He’s incredibly talented at what he does, and
completely unique in his ideas. His art is about exploration.
erhaps what’s most interesting about Achraf Baznani’s art is his choice in subject. While most surrealist photographers and other artists set forth to
challenge people on their conceived ideas about the world, this effect from Baznani’s photography and composites is merely a second benefit. His work
mainly features himself. This style is indicative of a man trying to find and understand himself, and he does this by looking through a literal lens. By
making himself a subject, he also is able to contribute to political and social commentary by expressing the idea instead of being a staunch example of it.
He believes that taking his art seriously, and using himself as a tool to do that, has been instrumental in his success.
Oct/Nov 2017
hroughout his photography career, this Moroccan artist has
intrigued the world. Starting with only a modest Kodak Ektra
250 camera and some self-teaching, he was the first in the Arab
world to publish a surreal photography photo-book, called
Through My Lens and published another called Inside My
Dreams. Despite being a photographer, Baznani spends most
of his time behind a computer screen creating beautiful, surreal
composites of multiple images. His concepts derive from
experimentation and toying with new ideas. He’s been doing
this since he was young, starting first with drawing before
receiving the Kodak camera as a birthday gift.
ecoming hooked on photography after that, Baznani began
experimenting with films and documentaries. He has released
multiple images, most of which are award winning. His
directorship has been renowned across the world for skillful
portrayal of his subjects. However, despite finding success in
the film industry, his heart was still stuck with photography.
ith his photography, he uses people as his inspiration. By
meeting new people and learning from strangers, he’s better
able to keep inspiration alive and continually grow from it. He
also credits other famous photographers, such as Robert Capa
from Hungary known for “The Falling Soldier” photograph,
for being of inspirational value to his work. He uses his
inspirations to create photographs that the human mind
can’t believe in, or trust, stating his reasoning for choosing
surrealism as, “We need a break from reality.” Our mind
takes a break from the world by dreaming. Baznani’s
photographs transport the viewer to a dream-like world
where anything is possible. He’s a magician without a wand.
Achraf Baznani was born in Marrakesh. A self-taught artist
photographer, inserts himself into his own imaginative
worlds to create fascinating art. He plays with scale and
proportion to create mise-en-scène that are dream-like,
introspective and not a little bit whimsical. His images have
been lauded by art and photography lovers, hundreds of
thousands of which follow him online. He loves surrealism
as it is a means to disconnect from reality. His works
were featured in various magazines worldwide. Baznani
is best known for being the first artist in the Arab world
to publish an art book based on surreal imagery. Achraf
Baznani’s photography has received worldwide acclaim for
a remarkably diverse array of work. He has been awarded
the International Colosseo Award in Italy and the Kunst
Heute Award in Germany. His work has been exhibited in
Germany, USA, France, Morocco, Hungary, Ivory Coast
and Portugal.
34 Oct/Nov 2017
Mixed Light
“Having fled the city, Narissa has removed her mask
and is seeing her true self for the very first time.”
his image of model Kelsey Barnwell is a study in color harmony,
mixed lighting, and perhaps an attempt at humor. The job at hand
was to create an eye catching image of this fiery red dress for Vancouver
fashion designer Sam Stringer and to do so relying on lighting and
photographic skills rather than Photoshop. Sam made my job easier by
sourcing Kelsey and the makeup artist Ana Maria Badila leaving me to
supply the location, lighting, photography, and concept (with the help of
my publicist/wife Sylvianne).
Part of my concept was to contrast the vibrant red of this beautiful
creation against a cold blue city skyline. The deep blue sky and its
blue light reflecting on the Vancouver city skyscrapers would create
wonderful color harmony with the dress. I wanted everything except the
dress to appear cold in image and so I processed the raw files with a bias
to blue (3700° Kelvin for color temp in Lightroom). Kelsey’s fair skin
with the additional blue balance was perfect. Fair skin tends towards blue
while darker flesh towards yellow, so it helped lend a cold and ethereal
For my perfect background, I needed the blue sky behind the camera to
create a blue wash of light over the towers of the city. For this to work, it
was necessary to pick the time of day when the sun starts to move behind
the buildings. This would minimize direct sunlight on their front sides.
Too much direct sunlight here would negate the cold blue look (see setup
on next page). To separate Kelsey and the dress from the background,
I chose to shoot at f4. This aperture opening created a shallow depth
of field which threw the city scape nicely out of focus while leaving it
distinguishable as a city.
The open sky lighting on the front of Kelsey gave an incident meter
reading of f4 at 1/160 of a second at 100 ISO and an incident meter
reading of the direct sunlight striking the back of Kelsey read F4 at
1/1000 (see image A on next page) shot at f4 at 1/160 of a second. This is
pretty close to how this scene would photograph if I had set my camera
to “P” for Program or “A” for Automatic.
Oct/Nov 2017
To find an exposure of the city, I simply set the camera to f4 then took a number
of test exposures bracketing the shutter-speed. A quick look in Lightroom on
my “Tether-Tooled” MacBook Pro revealed f4 at 1/1600 to be my favorite. An
incident meter reading of the backlighting on Kelsey was asking for a longer
shutter at 1/1000, so at 1/1600 the backlighting is recorded at 2/3 of a stop
below the camera setting. Due to the back-angle of the sunlight, its brightness
on the subject will appear brighter than the incident meter reads. When light
comes from beyond 90° from the camera angle, it appears much brighter than an
incident meter suggests. I was totally happy with the look of this minus 2/3 ratio.
As I mentioned, the open sky is lighting the front of Kelsey and read f4.0
at 1/160, this will expose at 3 and 2/3 stops under the camera setting of f4
at 1/1600. In other words, the open sky will deliver low level fill lighting to
Kelsey’s front while the direct sunlight will appear very bright on the back
edges of Kelsey’s body, dress, and hair (see Image B to see the image shot at f4
1/1600). Note how the backlighting on the dress and Kelsey is perfect, adding
extra depth to the image. But the front of Kelsey is 3 and 2/3 stops underexposed
and is lit with boring flat light.
Here’s where the mixed light part comes in. To create more suitable lighting
and exposure on the front of the subject, a small Chimera soft box (0.6 x
1.0 meter) attached to an X3200 White Lightning mono block studio strobe
plugged into a portable Pro-Foto battery pack was placed 2.5 meters from
Kelsey on the camera-right-side. The strobe is triggered with a Pocket
Wizard Plus III on the light and a Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 on the camera.
One of the cool bits of working with Pocket Wizards and Sekonic meters
together is that I can set the meter so that every time I press the take-areading-button, it sends a signal to the Pocket Wizard receiver to fire the
light. Isn’t that just the greatest thing since chocolate truffles? How often do
photo-gear manufacturers cooperate like this? Placing this light to the side of
Kelsey makes for light the skims the front of the dress creating lots of texture
and beautiful dramatic high-contrast shadows that are slightly filled in by the
open sky (see Image C). There is, however, one thing wrong with this setup.
Because I’m shooting at 1/1600, the camera shutter is unable to sync with
the strobe flash at this shutter-speed. The fastest it can handle is no more than
1/200 of a second.
This is not a problem because the Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 happens to be
programmable. I can actually set it to create an offset that causes the camera
to only collect the end portion of the strobe burst, this gradual trailing off
portion of the burst occurs right after the strobe peaks. You are, of course,
losing a lot of the strobe power by omitting the peak. But since we’re
shooting with a fairly powerful strobe, and with our camera aperture wide
open, we get more than enough light. So the imaging sensor receives mostly
constant light during the travel of the opening shutter-blades rather than an
intense short light-spike for a fraction of the exposure.
By setting the strobe to its highest power to ensure the longest strobe burst
duration possible, and then by tricking the whole system with an offset set on
the Pocket Wizard Flex TT5, I’m able to use strobe lighting with high shutter
speeds. This technique works best on strobes that take longer to dump their
full charge of light onto the subject. The most suitable strobes are typically
older and/or more powerful models (older is better because newer designs
tend to use more capacitors and so dump faster, perfect for freezing action
but not a good thing for Hypersync). Also, those units that generate more
light need more time to dump this charge onto the subject. So, in a nutshell,
slower (within reason) is better!
So there you have it, a mixed lighting setup fully exploiting the available
light sources—sun and open sky with a mix of heavily modified strobe
lighting. At the request of Pocket Wizard, I created an in-depth how-to
video during this shoot as well as a video on how to perform the required
preliminary Mixed Light & HyperSync setup test. It can be viewed on my
website on DaveOnDemand at
38 Camera Lighting Info:
• Camera: DSLR with full frame sensor.
• Lens: 70-200mm set to 70mm
• Exposure: f4 @ 1/1600, 100 ISO.
• Camera to subject distance: 3.5 meters.
• Camera height: 1 meter from ground to middle of imaging sensor.
• Main-light to subject: 3.2 meters.
• Main-light height: 2.2 meters from ground to strobe-tube.
Dave Montizambert will be
teaching at the 2018 Texas School
of Professional Photography. He
lectures internationally on lighting,
digital photography, and Adobe
Photoshop. He is also a published
author having written two books on
lighting and digital photography
plus numerous magazine articles
on these topics in North America,
Europe, Russia and Asia. Learn
more at
Oct/Nov 2017
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