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  • 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

  • 03/25/2021 2:10 PM | Lisa Hill (Administrator)

    Presented by: Jennifer Collins, GPPA Board of Directors

    Jennifer Collins operates a very successful portrait studio in Eatonton specializing in High School Senior Photography and I was excited to learn her techniques in attracting new clients and selling high end packages. She did not disappoint!

    In her presentation “Get Your Clients On The Hook - And Reel Them In!” Jennifer outlined her approach to make sure her clients are educated from first contact to final sale so that they’re prepared when it comes time to make their purchase.

    Here are some key takeaways from Jennifer that you can use to educate your clients and “set the hook” for successful sales. You may find something different works for you, but these are great starting points if you want to improve your sales process and results.

    Jennifer follows these steps in her business for communicating with and educating her clients:

    1. Get client’s attention: word of mouth, Instagram, and Facebook are the most effective for her business
    2. Client contacts Jennifer: text, e-mail, and messaging are the most common initial one-on-one contact with her clients
    3. She then sends the client a couple of highlight videos and a form with a few questions for them to answer using MyPhotoApp
    4. The form is then automatically e-mailed to Jennifer. At this point, she contacts the client by phone and uses the answers provided on the form to ask more detailed questions, take credit card information for a deposit, and schedule the session
    5. After this phone call, she sends a second message via MyPhotoApp with the agreement, full price list, and a map to her studio

    General Rules for Educating Your Client:

    1. Make it clear and repeat it!
    2. Make it quick with small bites of info
    3. Make it easy to contact you
    4. Make it easy to pay
    5. Under promise and over deliver
    6. Answer all their questions
    7. LISTEN to them
    8. Build trust

    Jennifer is clear in her message of her work style, options, unique approach, cost, proofing, details, payment methods, and most importantly how she will prove them right – that they made the right choice by hiring her.

    Communication is key and repetition is important so that there’s no miscommunication when it comes time for the clients “purchasing session” (she is strategic in not calling it a viewing session – so they come ready to buy!).

    To participate in these engaging and informative webinars throughout the year, become a member of GPPA! Members receive free access to many of the webinars, classes, and weekly roundtable discussions.

    Jennifer’s website: www.jcollinsphotography.com

    To become of member of GPPA, click here: https://www.gppa.com/Membership

    My Photo App: http://www.myphotoapp.com/

  • 03/10/2021 1:18 PM | Lisa Hill (Administrator)

    Presented by: GPPA Member Michael Pucciarelli, Cr.Photog.

    Article by: Ali Payne

    As a portrait photographer, I tend to focus on everything related to my own craft, often forgetting that portraiture isn’t the only genre of photography out there.  I see beautiful work in magazines and in ads, but photographs of people are not the only images we see.  Product photography is a hugely visible brand of photography that we often don’t give a lot of thought to - that is, until you have the opportunity to participate in a GPPA workshop given by Michael Pucciarelli on Still Life Product Photography.

    One of my first take-aways from Michael’s class is that you truly don’t need much in the way of equipment to create fantastic product images that look classy and engaging.  A simple set up for him would be two lights, a white background, and piece of white plexiglass.  I learned that you don’t need an elaborate setup to produce excellent tabletop images and much of what you may use in this type of setup can be found at your local craft or hardware store!

    Another take-away from this workshop was that you don’t need to keep adding lights, lights, and more lights.  You can do amazing things just be simply adding a white or silver reflector.  As with portrait photography, move the lights and reflectors around in order to get the “look” you’re going for.  When photographing products, you don’t just shine a light in front of the item and shoot away.  Shift the light to the left, to the right, above, and even from below the object to acquire the desired effect.

    Lastly, I learned that workflow and image editing are exercises in experimentation on what works best for you.  Michael clearly enjoys the editing process and has created many of his own actions to help bring his vision to fruition.  Seeing how another photographer creates and processes images can be enlightening.  It’s important to both acknowledge and remember that photographers aren’t just artists with the camera, but also in creative editing.

    Overall, Michael Pucciarelli has created a style of product photography that is unique and powerful.  I will certainly apply the techniques I learned and maybe, in time, I can come close to producing work as beautiful as Michael’s.

    To participate in these engaging and informative webinars throughout the year, become a member of GPPA! Members receive free access to many of the webinars, classes, and weekly roundtable discussions.

    Michael’s website: www.michaelpucciarelli.com

    To become of member of GPPA, click here: https://www.gppa.com/Membership

  • 02/26/2021 2:11 PM | Lisa Hill (Administrator)

    Presented by: GPPA Member Mitch Green 

    Article by: Ali Payne

    On February 18, 2021, I had a wonderful experience attending Mitch Green’s workshop on studio lighting.  Mitch was a gracious host who also has a wealth of photographic knowledge.  I had several take-aways from this workshop that will help me in my photographic and business journey.

    Mitch’s studio is located in an upper room inside his home.  This space is not large, but the space is used quite effectively.  My own home is of similar size and design, so experiencing a photography session within such a space helped me to understand that the constraints I was feeling in my own studio, were not as constraining as I had originally believed.

    The lighting setup that Mitch uses is super simple and definitely doable even for someone just starting their business.  Mitch demonstrated his use of one light with a reflector.  We were able to see the results of this one-light setup both with and without the use of an eye-lighter.  He also demonstrated his use of a three-light setup on both a traditional background and also using a white background while creating a high-key look to the images.  It was very impactful to me that once Mitch set his camera to his desired settings, the only changes he made were to light intensity and location.

    Overall, my experience with this workshop was extremely powerful and impactful.  I appreciated the opportunity to also do my own shooting using Mitch’s light setup.  He was prepared with easy-to-use triggers, was highly organized, and clearly had a plan for our time together. As an instructor, Mitch was very helpful and did a great job explaining the why’s and how’s for lighting choices he makes.  I would definitely attend such a workshop again!

    To participate in these engaging and informative webinars throughout the year, become a member of GPPA! Members receive free access to many of the webinars, classes, and weekly roundtable discussions.

    Mitch's website: seportraits.com

    To become of member of GPPA, click here: www.gppa.com/membership

  • 02/17/2021 10:15 AM | Lisa Hill (Administrator)

    On February 3, GPPA hosted a webinar featuring Andrea Taylor, CPP, Director of Marketing and Communications for Professional Photographers of America. In her presentation “Marketing Basics for Photographers” Andrea outlined successful techniques for marketing your business as a photographer.

    In today’s blog we’ll outline some important takeaways that you can use to successfully market your business.

    First, it’s important to know the difference between sales, marketing, and branding. Many businesses get these confused which may lead to confusion on the part of your clients.

    Sales is a short-term strategy in which you are closing the deal with your clients. The session has taken place and now you’ll guide them in making their final portrait order.

    Marketing pulls people into your business. You have to understand your clients needs in order to market to them.

    Your brand is an intangible sum of your product and business attributes. Your brand is how you’re perceived in your client’s mind. It’s not tangible. It’s how people think of you after you’ve left the room.

    Brand and branding is everything! It’s where you position yourself in the mind of your clients.

    You have to be intentional about your brand.

    Andrea’s final takeaway was an important professional tip – you MUST have a professional website and a professional e-mail address! If your studio e-mail ends in something other than the name of your studio, the clients you’re marketing to might not see you as a professional business.

    For more engaging and informative webinars throughout the year, become a member of GPPA! Members receive free access to many of the webinars, classes, and weekly roundtable discussions.

    Andrea Taylor, CPP

  • 02/04/2021 12:30 PM | Lisa Hill (Administrator)

    Getting it done in 2021!

    Welcome to our new and improved FOCUS BLOG!  Please check it out often for events coming up throughout the year, special tips, promos from our sponsors, and spotlights on GPPA board members and GPPA members.

    As we come out of 2020, a time most of us would like to put behind us, let’s look forward together and start planning to "Get Things Done in 2021"! 

    A great way to start off the year is to set some goals for yourself both personally and professionally, for what you would like to accomplish. Then get out your planner and actually schedule time for marketing and implementing the events or objectives you have. To assist, I hope you will take the time to join in many of the classes we will be having in the next few weeks to improve your business and photography skills so you can hit the ground running.  

    In this trying time, people are focused on what matters most to them, family and relationships have been at the top of many lists.  With everything we are going through, now is the time to reach that client who wants to capture this moment, so they can hold on to the memories. 

    Finally, while there are now vaccines being rolled out, I want everyone to stay safe and please take care of yourselves and your clients by having COVID safety protocols in place.  If I can help you in any way, please reach out.  I wish you great success this year!

    Let’s get things done together...GPPA is family.

    Wendy White, GSD

    GPPA President

  • 03/03/2020 4:02 PM | Mark Turner

    Good afternoon! I hope each and every one of you are doing well!

    As president, I wanted to give you an update on our association, some changes coming, and the activities we have planned so far.


    Photoworks is next week! Have you registered? We can accept last minute registrations at gppa.com.


    Image competition will be held at PPA headquarters on July 15. As we announced at Exposed last fall, we are no longer holding this event during Exposed. This places our competition in a better position in the calendar year between other regional competitions and IPC. This will give you time to have your images judged, and get an idea of your scores before moving to the next level competition. Plus, we'll have time to have any awards engraved and ready for the awards banquet at Exposed!


    Exposed will be October 3-4, 2020. As always, it will include amazing speakers and vendors, our awards banquet, membership meeting, and a chance to hang out with your photography family! We are holding a shorter state-wide convention in an effort to bring you a greater variety of activities and seminars throughout the year. We're excited about this new direction and hope it will mean more members can get involved. Watch your email and the website for forthcoming details about the venue and speakers.


    Now, let’s talk about our membership rates. GPPA hasn’t raised rates in about 15 years. We have done our best to bring you the quality programming and content you deserve. To bring you even more content and continue improving that content, we have to increase our fees by a small amount. We are implementing a small increase in our membership rates that amounts to roughly 12% for yearly memberships. Monthly rates will increase more, so switching to a yearly membership will get you the best rate. These changes will take effect April 1, 2020.

    You can see the complete list of membership levels and rates by clicking here.


    We have two 2-day workshops coming up. Tim Priest is teaching a 2-day commercial photography workshop in April. This is a great chance to learn how to add commercial imaging to your offerings. Sandra Pearce, a master at painting in Photoshop, will be here in July for another 2-day event. Watch for those official announcements in your email and on gppa.com!


    We continue to have an active online and in-person community. Follow us on Instagram at @gaprophotographers, and join our Facebook group at @gppamembers. Watch your email and gppa.com for information on member-led workshops, gatherings, and portfolio-building opportunities throughout the year, all over the state of Georgia.

    In closing, the GPPA has served the professional photography community of the state of Georgia since 1959. I’ve been a member for most of my 26 years as a professional. I can tell you many stories of how I have been challenged and encouraged professionally, the friendships made, and the success experienced as a result of my being a part of this great group of people over those years.

    We are writing new pages in the future of GPPA, and you are a huge part of it!

    On behalf of your board of directors, I thank you!

    As always, please contact me with any questions, concerns, or suggestions! My cell is 678-524-2501, and my email is mark@turnerphotodesign.com.


    Mark Turner, CPP, GSD, GFD

    President, GPPA

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