print competition at the dallas professional photographer of america meeting

Photillustrator Joins Dallas Professional Photographers of America

Many, many years ago just as I was graduating from college with a degree in Graphic Design, Marketing, and Photography, I was working in the premiere Portrait Studio in Kansas City, MO. This studio was the oldest storefront on the Plaza, and had been around since 1895 when Photography was being produced on glass negatives.

When I started with Strauss Peyton Photography, I had no idea what the PPA was, but my boss at the time, Mark Braswell, encouraged me to enter the Missouri PPA Print Competition.

So I did, and you wouldn’t believe what happened.

Fast forward 25 years, and having been out of the world of Photography for 15 of those years, I decided to look into the PPA and see how it could help me bring my Signature Family Portraits and my style of Composite Photography to the world.

Today, I’m a member of not only the PPA, but also the Texas PPA, and now the Dallas PPA.

The Professional Photographers of America

If you’ve never heard of the PPA, it’s a group of Professional and Non-Professional Photographers mostly interested in Portrait and Scenic type of Photography.

Through the PPA, a Photographer has the opportunity to take advantage of many benefits ranging from insurance, tutorials, discounts, and even degrees within their Photography programs.

Admittedly, I know very little about the entirety of what they offer, and no NOTHING about their “Masters” whatever you call it, or the “Certification” program thingy.

What I do know, however, is the PPA is full of really nice people who don’t mind sharing their knowledge and experiences, and for a dude like me who IS NOT a gear junkie, it gives me the opportunity to learn more.

The Dallas PPA

I joined the PPA for one reason, and that was to get my Composite Photography work seen by more people. Photographers, Artists, Companies, my Target Market, or just Anybody, it doesn’t matter to me, I just want my Portraits to be Experienced.

So, I started asking around at BWC, the lab I use for all my printing, and Anthony pointed me in the direction of Steve Kozak, who is the brains and energy behind Texas PPA. Steve gave me a run down on how the PPA worked, and pointed me in the directions of the national PPA and the local Dallas PPA Guild, which I joined both.

My thinking is, “More PPA’s = more eyes = more experiences!”

Having now been to three (3) Dallas PPA meetings, getting to know some of the great people who attend, and even entering my “Lakehouse Fun” Portrait in this month’s competition, I have to say I dig the group.

composite photography portrait of manson family by dallas portrait photographer, jason ulsrud

Here are some of the images from the DPPA meeting this month.

print competition set up at dallas ppa meeting

entry desk for print competition of dallas ppa meeting

print competition display for dallas ppa meeting

the business of dallas ppa meeting

Missouri PPA Print Competition

You probably thought I was never going to tell you what happened at the Missouri PPA Print Competition, did you?

Fresh out of CMSU, and preparing to move to Minneapolis to open a Strauss Peyton, I entered my very first Print Competition.

With one (1) traditional Bridal Portrait and three (3) very untraditional Portraits, I was doing what was expected of me as a Professional Portrait Photographer. After all, it’s what Mark did, and if Mark was a successful Portrait Photographer, then I better follow his lead right?

Anyway, I entered my four (4) Prints and won damn near everything I could win as a Non-Master PPA member.

ppa award for non-master best of show

As unconventional and controversial as my Photography was, I couldn’t believe I was winning anything.

ppa award for non-master photographer of the year

In fact, the same images I was winning awards with at the Missouri PPA were the same images I received failing grades for at University.

The great thing about that was, the Photo Instructors who gave me failing grades on my images were sitting in the audience that evening.

So, who’s the failure now? BOOM!

That’s a Wrap

All-in-all, I believe the PPA is a really great group of Photographers and Aspiring Photographers who want to help, and having as many people as you can on your side is always an advantage.

Anyone who knows me, however, knows I tend to run as fast as I can from groups of anything, so we’ll have to see how this plays out in the months to come.

Do you belong to the PPA? What’s been your experience? Leave a comment below and let’s hear it.

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