Saturday, January 26, 2013

Imaging USA 2013 Was A Huge Success!

Imaging USA 2013This past week, Kirsten and I were in Atlanta for the annual Imaging USA Conference. The event is sponsored by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). As you can tell from many of the posts, I am a huge believer in professional organizations and what they do for their members.

Just what do they do? Imaging USA is all about education. Every day was packed with classes on a variety of subjects. From portraiture and weddings, business and studio management, to keeping life balanced and prioritized between work and family, Imaging USA offers something for everyone. Photographers from all over the US attend, as well as photographers from other countries across the globe. PPA truly is an organization with International scope!

Imaging USA - PPA CharitiesHowever, it's not all about work. Saturday evening opened Imaging USA with the PPA Charities Celebration Event. This "opening night party" brought people together for a common cause - supporting PPA Charities and their work with charitable partner Operation Smile. The evening featured a silent auction with photographers bidding on great items donated by generous vendors and sponsors. There were also giveaways and other ways for people to help out.

I'm especially proud of this evening and its success because as one of the co-chairs of the event, I had a personal investment. It takes a lot of hard work and cooperation from a great group of people to make an event like this happen. You can see that we had an amazing crew to make sure the evening ran smoothly!

Of course, there's a huge trade show with aisles and aisles of vendors. There's probably as much education available in the trade show as there is in the actual programming itself. Being able to actually see new products in person helps us make decisions about what we will offer in the studio. They look so much different in your hand than they do on a website! It's also great to be able to speak directly with the vendors and ask all the questions pertaining to their products.

Imaging USA - PPA CharitiesTuesday morning, I had the honor of participating in a panel on "The Power of Charitable Marketing". We spoke about how doing good for others in our own businesses makes things a win-win for everyone. (Watch for the "Celebration of Smiles Day" promotion coming in April!) It was a humbling experience to share the platform with so many talented individuals.

The fellowship and networking at events such as Imaging USA is incredible. I have always teased about it being my annual "family reunion" with photographer friends from across the country. Every year we meet new friends as well. It's a chance to connect an actual person to the Facebook name and picture you see daily. Photographers are such a warm group of people and we truly enjoy spending the time together.

Granted, it wasn't as much of a pleasure to return home to the sub-zero temps, but Imaging USA sends us back to the studio with a renewed sense of energy and some great ideas. 2013 is going to be a great year!

- David

Friday, January 18, 2013

ImagingUSA - One of My Favorites Times of the Year

It's January and that means it's time for ImagingUSA - One of My Favorites Times of the Year.

In just a few hours I'll be leavin' on a mid-day plane to Georgia. Atlanta is the home of Coca-Cola, the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and this year, host to ImagingUSA.

Just what is ImagingUSA? According the the website it is "the largest annual convention and expo organized by pro photographers, for pro photographers! Thousands attend from around the world for a level of learning and networking you just can't find elsewhere."

I love it! This year's IUSA is on track to break all attendance records as over 10,000 photographers descend on "the home of the Braves" to learn new techniques and ideas, brush up on their marketing and network with their colleagues from across the country on a level that can not be attained by sitting at your computer in a Facebook group. For me, it's my opportunity to pick up some new ideas for the studio, stay involved with my associations and catch up with my friends and colleagues from across the world. Yes, it's a lot like a big family reunion!

The classes are outstanding. Unlike other conventions where you have to register and pay separately for your actual educational events, ImagingUSA has an all-inclusive registration that gives you access to a number of options each day. While there are also special pre-convention classes that do carry an additional fee, the daily programming is included in your registration.

This year I also have the honor of sitting on a panel discussing "The Power of Charitable Marketing". We will talk about how doing something good for others can give you greater recognition in your community and benefit your clients, a third party charity and your studio. If you're attending ImagingUSA, I do hope you'll join us on Tuesday morning at 8am.

And then there's the trade show. Acres of toys that make photographers oooohh and aaaaahh like little kids at Christmas. Vendors from across the world are set up to show you their latest and greatest. Need gear? It's there. Backgrounds, props, sets and accessories? Oh yeah, those are there too. Want to meet your lab's personnel face-to-face, or actually see all the different products you've been looking at online? They're there as well.

But don't think it's just all about the stuff. A trip through the trade show is an educational event in itself. Many vendors have classes in the trade show area as well. This gives them an opportunity to talk about how they use a specific product of go in-depth about how that particular vendor helps their business be more successful. (And being more successful is why we are there!)

There will be awards ceremonies honoring the accomplishments of the best from this past year. If there's one thing that ImagingUSA does well, it's put on a ceremony that's short, sweet and classy. No long dinner banquets with endless speeches . . . this is an Academy Awards styled affair that you will be proud to take part in.

Oh, and there are some parties as well. Good food, something to drink and time to unwind are necessary as well!

You will get new ideas, put new spins on old ideas and return to your studio with so much going through your head, you won't even know where to begin.

That's what makes ImagingUSA one of my favorite times of the year.

If you'll be in Atlanta, keep an eye open for me . . . I'll be . . . well . . . in all of these places!

- David Grupa

Monday, January 7, 2013

Are You Getting All of Your Facebook Messages?

There's always someone who says "I sent you a message on Facebook" even though you swear you never received anything from that person. This completely makes you wonder: are you getting all of your Facebook messages?
However, they may not be wrong . . . you just never saw the message because it ended up in a different place.

When you click your Facebook Messages icon from your personal page, it will drop down a menu of your most recent messages. If you click the "See All Messages" link at the bottom, a new window will open.

At the top left, it will say "Messages (xxx) Other (xx)". Click the "Other" link to see all the messages from people who are not your friends. Apparently Facebook has a "spam filter" . . . and some messages may end up here.
The worst part is that you have to go in and check it yourself; the notifications don't show up for the messages which land in the "Other" box.
But wait, there's more!
On your Business page, there is a new messages feature on the upper right side of the Admin panel. Click "show" to reveal the panel and your recent activity. Your Business page messages appear here. Simply click on them to reply as your business!
Go check it out and see for yourself . . . are you getting all of your Facebook messages?

- David Grupa