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Full-service storefront studio creates credibility

October 2016 issue Business

In 2009, husband-and-wife team Dan McClanahan, M.Photog., and Alex McClanahan founded McClanahan Studio in Ames, Iowa, where they met as students attending Iowa State University.By 2012 the couple was able to purchase a 12,000-square-foot commercial building in the Ames historic district, which they remade into their dream studio, installing a new storefront gallery and remodeling vacant spaces to be rented. Now the McClanahan’s live and work in the fully rented building, balancing landlord... Continue Reading >

Model might: Dan Rowe breaks conventions of senior photography


August 2016 issue Profiles

A senior model program breaks with conventionSomething you won’t hear from Dan Rowe is “maybe.” He’s either with something or he’s not. This is a great quality for someone running a senior portrait business in a tiny town like Oakland City, Indiana (population 2,432).“Our town is very small with a lot of lower-income families, but because of the way it’s laid out, there a lot of reasonably sized high schools,” says Rowe. “Last year, we ended up with 27 total high schools... Continue Reading >

From surviving to thriving


August 2016 issue Profiles

What you do when your city goes bankrupt and there’s no market for your services: get personalEd, a hulking high school senior with an introverted personality, was a tough nut to crack, and it was easy for Detroit photographer Shawn Lee to see where he got it. Ed’s mom seemed immovable, firmly telling Lee, who promises his student clients the hottest senior portraits, that her budget wasn’t budging.“[She] said, Look Shawn, I don’t care how ‘hot’ the photos are, I’m not... Continue Reading >

Cheering up teens


August 2016 issue News

Houston floods inspire philanthropyWhen spring flooding left many Houston families without homes, not to mention family photographs, PPA member Tomayia Colvin jumped in to help. “I knew in a lot of the areas affected that the parents didn’t have flood insurance and were not financially prepared to move everything,” she says. “I wanted to do something to help with the financial burden for the parents and to uplift the teens as well.”Knowing affected teens would certainly miss out... Continue Reading >

28 Competition sins

6.30.2016 News

Adrian Henson, M.Photog.MEI.Cr., CPP, has made a study of image competition. If you’re looking to rack up PPA merits in the International Photographic Competition, he says, avoid the following 28 sins, then find something in your image that really knocks you back in your seat. “Then you have the beginnings of what might be a great competition print,” he says.© Adrian Henson1. Sensor dust2. Halos3. Over-sharpening4. Crooked horizon5. Color banding6. Out of focus7. Bad... Continue Reading >

Outside, looking in


April 2016 issue Business

Gaining community and guidance to grow a businessTen years ago, Stacey Williams Dunse, CPP, launched her studio, Tailfeather Photography, in the small town of Webster, South Dakota. Situated in a rural patch of the state about two hours south of Fargo and five hours west of Minneapolis, Webster is home to fewer than 2,000 people. Dunse set herself up as the town’s do-it-all photographer and built a client base from the surrounding area. Business was growing, but she felt a few things were... Continue Reading >

Ask the experts: shy teens

March 2016 issue Business

Q. I’m fairly new to senior portraits. I love working with teens, but some are painfully shy and awkward. What are some things I can do to help put them at ease?A. One of the most important things you can do is a consultation. I like to use Facetime for this meeting so we can interact before the session date. During this call I get a feel for the student’s personality and body language. I ask a series of questions at this time, and one of the most telling is, “Is there anything you’re... Continue Reading >
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