PDN Photo District News


Graduate Students Need to Know about the 2015 Snider Prize


Image: 2014 Snider Prize award recipient Hyounsang Yoo, from Smoke and Mirrors, 2013

Next week, Columbia College Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) will begin accepting submissions for the 2015 Snider Prize, a purchase award given to emerging artists as they leave graduate school. MoCP’s curatorial staff will select three artists for this award: one winner will receive $2,000 and two honorable mentions will each receive $500. These funds will go toward the purchase of work to be added to MoCP’s permanent collection.

This award forms a part of the museum’s ongoing commitment to support new talent in the field of contemporary photography. The prize is open to MFA students currently in their last year of study at an accredited program of study in the United States and is sponsored by MoCP patrons Lawrence K. and Maxine Snider.

The 2014 Snider Prize award recipient was Hyounsang Yoo, whose works explore relationships between history and ideas of production of reality through photography, video, installation and sculpture. His work has been exhibited in the Bridge Art Fair, NY; EXPO Chicago; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among others. Yoo is a recent MFA graduate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Submissions will be accepted from January 15 to midnight on April 1, 2015, and the three award recipients will be announced on May 1, 2015. More information about the prize and how to apply can be found here.



Photo Educators, give us your feedback … for a chance to win a $250 B&H gift certificate!


View from the podium at the 2014 PDNedu/Nikon Panel discussion, © 2014 Jill Waterman

It’s hard to believe that 2014 is quickly coming to a close. PDNedu has spent 2014 hard at work to provide you with valuable educational resources, from publishing content-rich print and digital magazines in spring and fall semesters to producing our third annual PDNedu/Nikon photographer panel at PhotoPlus Expo this October. As we gear up for 2015, we’d like to invite you to offer us some feedback on these efforts by completing this short survey. Please click here to provide us with your feedback no later than December 15, 2014:

Your responses, which will be kept anonymous, will help us to gather valuable details about how you use PDNedu in the classroom, in order to better understand the effectiveness of our efforts in relation to your educational needs. Our goal is to boost the relevance of future issues and deliver more of what you and your students need and enjoy the most.

Your participation in this electronic survey is voluntary and the questions should take you less than five minutes to complete. By submitting your response, you’ll also be entered to win a $250 gift certificate from B&H as a token of our appreciation. To be eligible, please complete the survey by midnight on December 15, 2014.

If you have any questions regarding the survey or the magazine in general, please contact PDNedu editor, Jill Waterman at jill.waterman@emeraldexpo.com.

Thanks for your attention and your insightful comments!


Adobe Spotlight: Tim Landis’s Extraordinary Instagram Scenes

Sponsored by Adobe / All photos © Tim Landis

While many photographers say they picked up their first camera before adulthood, creating beautiful images is a skill that can be acquired at any time. Photographer Tim Landis is proof of this—while hesays that he has always been drawn to visual storytelling, it wasn’t until after the birth of his children that he became interested in the medium. His wife, Staci Landis, began her own wedding and portrait photography business, and after relocating from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin in 2008, Tim became her second shooter.

“I began to really love telling stories and wanted to work hard at developing my skill in photography,” he recalls. “There was a beauty I was drawn to of capturing moments that were unique and wouldn’t happen again. Bringing real moments and scenes to life in a photo was intriguing for me.”


Above: Two outdoor scenes showcasing Landis’s knack for capturing and enhancing beautiful light.

Landis began to study the basic rules of photography and hone his composition and lighting technique. But it was through constant picture-taking that he was really able to learn about his camera and the tools he was using. And, as most photographers do, Landis looked to successful photographers for inspiration in developing his own visual style.

Today, Landis has over 632,000 followers on his @curious2119 account on Instagram, an achievement that he never expected. “My Instagram following began like everyone else: I downloaded the app and started taking photos.” His direction into stunning landscape photography began out of practicality: at the time, Landis was traveling daily around Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota for work, providing the perfect setting to be able to practice and improve his shooting technique.

It wasn’t long before his Instafame was set into motion—a particular landscape image caught the eye of an editor at The Huffington Post’s Arts section, and Landis was contacted to feature his mobile work on the site. Shortly after, his account was also featured on Instagram’s blog, followed by an addition to the site’s Suggested User list. As his following grew, Landis says, “I realized I had an amazing opportunity to do something I love and feel connected and passionate about.”


Above: The wintery image that first drew the attention of The Huffington Post.

Landis finds that his followers are drawn to the simplicity of his imagery. He aims to capture as much as he can in camera, and while editing his images, he enhances what is already there. “For example,” he explains, “taking the existing light in a photo and using post processing to enhance and sometimes even change the mood of that light to portray what I was seeing in my mind as I photographed the scene.” And sometimes, he says, he discovers a new direction while he’s in editing mode, and changes the image in an entirely new way.

Even though Landis’s visual style is to keep his images natural-looking and authentic, he relies on tools like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Photoshop CC to bring his stories to life. “No matter how good of a job you do taking photos and achieving a certain look in camera, it’s important to be able to have post processing aids such as Lightroom and Photoshop.”


Above: Before-and-after shots highlighting the changes that Landis makes in post with Lightroom.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom has long been Landis’s program of choice, but he recently picked up Photoshop CC for when he needs “more extensive manipulation.” Lightroom, he says, is most useful for organizing photos, creating collections and editing a large number of RAW files straight from his camera. The program also has the ability to sync to mobile devices, which comes in handy for Landis’s social media shots. Photoshop CC, he explains, is better when he needs to spend a bit more time focusing on specific edits. “I like the ability to work with layers and the photo retouch tools in Photoshop,” Landis says. Layers allow users to have more control over their edits, working on top of the image without affecting the original. Photoshop CC’s retouch tools include the Clone Stamp, Healing Brush, Spot Healing Brush and Patch tool, all which assist in precise editing of pixels within an image, and can be performed on a separate layer.

Landis also utilizes a couple of Photoshop’s tricks for streamlining workflow. Custom actions for repetitive processes (such as resizing images or saving all images as a different file type) are easy to make, and he also finds Batch Editing extremely useful for creating a consistent look in his series in a quick and efficient way.

Developing a consistent style is one of the most important aspects of photography, and post processing is key to achieving a personal voice. Landis says: “Post processing is essential for anyone serious about digital photography because it gives you the opportunity to put finishing touches on your work and put your own signature on your style.”

To learn more about Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Photoshop CC, visit www.adobe.com.

The Creative Cloud Photography plan, offering both programs and more, is 9.99/mo.


Seeking a Commercial Photographer as an Assistant Professor

ASU_Screen Shot

Do you have an MFA degree in photography or a related field, five or more years of commercial photography experience and an interest in a tenure track teaching position in a location with beautiful scenery and mountain views? Appalachian State University (ASU) is seeking just such a candidate for a full-time position as assistant professor in its dynamic and growing commercial photography program. Prior teaching experience is preferred but not required. Preference will be given to candidates with expertise in product photography, advertising photography and/or video production and editing.

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Boone, North Carolina, ASU has approximately 18,000 students in liberal arts and applied fields. The University stresses excellence in teaching, prides itself on outstanding working relationships between students and professors and has a wide variety of cultural and outdoor programs for the enjoyment of faculty, staff and students.

The selected candidate will teach a variety of commercial photography courses that may include introductory photography, studio photography, business of photography, history of photography, digital imaging/workflow, architectural photography, fashion photography, industrial/corporate report photography, digital video production and editing, and product photography. Additional responsibilities include student advisement, maintaining an active scholarly agenda, participation on committees, service to the university, and laboratory/studio management. Candidates should be able to help expand the program’s industry network to continue ongoing improvements in student job placement and in the program’s reputation within the industry.

ASU’s program in commercial photography also benefits from a recent restructuring of the department of Technology & Environmental Design into five programs—Apparel Design and Merchandising, Commercial Photography, Graphic Arts and Imaging Technology, Industrial Design, and Interior Design—to facilitate transformative growth. The new department will comprise 21 full-time faculty, approximately 500 undergraduate students and more than 120 commercial photography majors. For further details, visit http://commercialphoto.appstate.edu/.

Review of candidates will begin January 5, 2015, with a position start date of August 2015. Complete applications should include a letter of application, a current vitae with a clear reference to the candidate’s commercial photography experience, recent transcripts (official or unofficial); names, mailing addresses, email addresses and phone numbers of three references and an electronic portfolio (CD/DVD/thumb drive) of professional commercial work, personal work and student work, if applicable. Electronic applications will be accepted via email to davisrj@appstate.edu, with the subject line: Commercial Photography Position. All required materials, excluding the portfolio, should be included in a single PDF file with a maximum size of 9 MB. Portfolio material should be placed on a single CD/DVD/ thumb drive and mailed to Ms. Jeannie Davis, Department of Technology and Environmental Design, Appalachian State University, 397 Rivers St, Boone, NC 28608-2122.

For more information, click here or contact search committee chair John Latimer at latimerjs@appstate.edu


Celebrate Young Photographers at New York’s Morgan Library


On Wednesday evening November 5, New York’s prestigious Morgan Library and Museum will open its doors to the photo community for a fundraising gala to benefit the Young Photographers Alliance’s (YPA).

Founded in New York City in 2009, YPA offers budding image makers the practical industry knowledge, valuable resources and robust contact network needed to build a sustainable career. In the past seven years, YPA’s flagship scholarship program has helped deserving photo students further their education at a wide range of colleges and universities, while its annual mentor program has connected more than 200 emerging photographers with professional mentors in major cities throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

Amid a backdrop of an elegant cocktail reception, attendees at Wednesday night’s gala will have the opportunity to explore the museum’s galleries and view a special photo display by YPA’s 2013 scholarship students and mentoring participants. The evening will also feature musical entertainment, culminating in the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement award to renowned photographer David LaChapelle and the YPA Legend Award to ASMP executive director Eugene Mopsik.

Tickets are available for advance purchase only (no door sales permitted). To join us for this wonderful celebration supporting YPA’s mission of inspiring, educating and empowering the next generation of visual communicators, visit this link.



Students and Educators Get Red Carpet Welcome at PhotoPlus Expo


From October 29 to November 1, PhotoPlus Expo rolling out the red carpet to offer the education community special access to its unique educational offerings. Students will benefit from discounted pricing on all seminars – $29 as opposed to $99 – and both both students and educators will get free admission to three keynotes, held from 12:30 – 1:30 pm each day of the conference. Thursday’s keynote features speakers from the humanitarian campaign A Day Without News? On Friday, PhotoPlus welcomes Martin Parr and Saturday features a performance and discussion with Ben Folds. Also free to students and educators is “The University” a comprehensive, hands-on series of 45-minute classes held in a variety of shooting bays on Wednesday October 29.

On Thursday afternoon, October 30, PDNedu is co-hosting a free panel with Nikon, specifically for the education community. Make sure to RSVP for the meet and greet reception with Nikon photographers Dixie Dixon, Lucas Gilman and Steve Simon, followed by the panel  discussion “Practical Advice from the Field: What You Need to Know After School.” Immediately following the panel, one lucky attendee will win a Nikkor lens in our raffle and the educator who brings the most students will be awarded a $100 gift certificate.

As always, a three-day Expo Pass is free to students, giving you access to roam the show floor and watch free demos and presentations by some of the industry’s hottest photographers. Students who stop by the PDN booth (#773) will have a chance to win an exclusive VIP bag containing gifts and swag valued at up to $500 and possibly a Golden Ticket for one of B&H’s sponsored prizes. Students can also win everything from cameras to lenses by participating in the Facebook giveaways which occur twice a week, leading up to the show.

To qualify for free access to events and special pricing on seminars, all students must register for PhotoPlus Expo by October 28, 2014 using the promo code: studentEDU.


PDNedu Offers Practical Advice from the Field


PDNedu‘s fall 2014 issue just shipped from the printer and should be arriving at your school soon. Our theme of Motion & Video is fully articulated through the dynamic selection of video content we’ve curated for digital edition, which just went live this morning. Click here for free access.

Students and educators can also take advantage of a special invitation to attend a free panel discussion on Thursday, October 30 from 3:45 to 5:15 pm. This exclusive event for the education community is brought to you by PDNedu and Nikon and will feature Nikon Ambassadors Dixie Dixon and Lucas Gilman and Nikon pro Steve Simon.

The event is free, but space is limited and attendees must RSVP on a first come, first served basis. Registered attendees will also have the opportunity to mingle with panelists and enjoy complimentary refreshments at a welcome reception. Please spread the word to your students and colleagues and encourage them to sign up early to secure a spot! RSVP here.


When: Thursday, October 30, from 3:45 – 5:15 p.m.

3:45 p.m. – Mingle with the Pros, enjoy free refreshments and first choice seating. Then, get your questions ready to add to the mix during our animated panel discussion. You’ll get practical advice about what you need to know after school, before you get out in the field.

4:15 p.m. – Panel Discussion. Practical Advice From the Field: What You Need to Know After School

5:15 p.m. – Raffle Drawing. One lucky attendee will win an awesome AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR lens in our raffle, valued at $899.95

Where: PhotoPlus Expo Theater, (located on the tradeshow floor at the back of aisle 100). Jacob Javits Center, 11th Avenue and 36th Street

Also, please be sure to register for a PhotoPlus 3-day expo pass (free thru 10/28) to gain entrance to the building.
For additional background, read this recap of last year’s panel from PDNedu‘s spring 2014 issue.

Hope you’ll  join us. You’ll walk away fired up to put this information into practice for your own growing career!


Learn the Art of Storytelling with Gerd Ludwig


From October 23 to 27, 2014, join National Geographic photographer Gerd Ludwig for an intensive four-and-a-half-day documentary workshop aimed at students seeking to take their photography to the next level. Limited to only nine participants, the workshop is designed to help photographers develop a personal eye and to leave inspired. Classes will concentrate on the aesthetic, technical and logistical aspects of photographing with personal vision and balanced objectivity.

Ludwig will stress finding and researching subjects, photographing people in an intimate fashion, making photographs that communicate emotionally as well as editorially and using aesthetics in a sophisticated manner. He will also discuss the structural elements and differences between a reportage, series and essay and will openly share the personal approaches he uses to create stories for National Geographic.

Through daily photo sessions, each participant will photograph a story idea with the goal of producing a set of images by the workshop’s end. After individual portfolio reviews, Ludwig will provide guidance to help streamline each idea, provide research tips and create a coverage plan. Individual and group critiques will continue throughout the workshop and Ludwig will also be available for advice on personal photographic aspirations. The course will culminate with each photographer presenting his or her photographs to the class for feedback. Following the workshop, participants will also receive a 25 percent discount on one item purchased from Tenba.com.

Class meetings will be held in Ludwig’s spacious Hollywood Hills home and will include a daily light lunch salad. To assist with costs for out-of-town participants, Ludwig is offering affordable lodging in his home ($200 for five nights) for the first two students to respond. Participants must otherwise provide their own photographic equipment, laptops and transportation.

The workshop fee is $975, which can be paid through Paypal in three installments, an initial $175 deposit and two $400 payments, due by October 1 and October 15. For further details and to register, click here.


Leverage Your Web site: Four Tips for Strengthening Your Brand


The following post is brought to you by Squarespace, the leading Web site-publishing platform built with professional and amateur photographers in mind.

As a photographer, your Web site is your most valuable asset to promote yourself; it is the fastest way for a potential client to get a sense of your style, your experience and your brand. As Maren Levinson*, founder of Redeye Reps, puts it: “It’s the single most visible sales tool these days.”

Levinson is an acclaimed authority within the photography community (PDN photo editor Amy Wolff notes, “Everyone wants her to edit their work.”) and her advice for how to utilize your Web site as both a tool in itself, and the starting point for your overall branding, can be broken down into four things to consider.

1. The First Impression

Levinson says she learns a lot about a photographer’s style and attention to detail based on how he or she presents him or herself online. “The design or template selection should match the aesthetic of the photographer or their work,” she explains. “It should be a framework that mimics, complements, supports or plays off the work itself. So, it can be loud and colorful, quiet and elegant or bold and simple, but whatever a photographer chooses, they should choose it thoughtfully and with purpose.”

Squarespace Shortcut: The Style Editor gives you the creative control to personalize each carefully considered template through fonts, colors, layouts and custom CSS to achieve a custom design that’s all your own, all without writing a line of code.


2. Your Web site’s Functionality

A good Web site loads quickly, with clean organization and navigation, and no guesswork involved as to where your contact information is located. Beyond the basics, photographers need to continually update their site design and functionality to stay ahead of the curve. Levinson urges photographers to stand out from the crowd by being amongst the first to adopt new technology and platforms into their online presence. She points out that professional photographers who utilized Instagram early on are “very happy right about now.” All social media pages should be integrated with your website.

Squarespace Shortcut: In addition to using the latest HTML, CSS and Javascript techniques, the site’s reliable cloud infrastructure ensures there is never anything to install, patch or upgrade. Squarespace also offers diverse and powerful social integrations, from Twitter and Instagram to Flickr and Smugmug, that let you connect with your audience everywhere. Each design has also been carefully considered and crafted to make your photos look spectacular on any device.


3. Your Photo Edit & Gallery Organization

Take a critical eye to your work. Levinson says she asks photographers to consider the same question on every image: “Is this a photograph that only I could make?” She says, “Don’t include [a photo] because you think it’s what people want to see. Include the pictures you are most passionate about; the pictures where someone would say ‘that is such a you picture.’”

When organizing your galleries, lead with the group that is the most robust or will have the most impact. She notes that viewers will form an impression of your work from the first gallery, so choose something that represents you and the direction you want to go in. Within each gallery, choose your order carefully. “The first image is the defining image and carries the responsibility of saying what the rest of gallery will be like.” She suggests, “ Start on an upbeat, get into the thoughtfulness and beauty of the series, then end with a contemplative or uplifting punch. There’s a lyricism to it, in the best-case scenarios.”

Squarespace shortcut: Utilize Squarespace’s multiple options for presentation, including full-screen, slideshow and lightbox layout with easy drag-and-drop management, display effects and the ability to mix still, video and audio content within the same gallery. All features can be found here.


4. Align your brand through consistent, thoughtful and personal promotions.

Whoever is viewing your site, your potential clients are “highly visually literate,” says Levinson. They have experience in communications design, creative direction, or photo editing and buying. She emphasizes that these potential clients are looking for someone who can execute their vision, so consistency is the fastest way to gain the trust of creatives. For example, inconsistency in your logo from Web site to mobile, to book to promo cards, can imply a larger sloppiness towards business practices or quality of imagery. She advises, “Use your branding and presentation to show who you are, not only visually, but as an artist, businessperson and collaborator.”

In her experience, the best promotions are personal: postcards with a strong image, a quarterly newsletter sent out to a list of people you have met (and would have an interest in what you’ve been working on), and custom letters, booklets and print promotional pieces. Avoid impersonal emails, and make sure printed pieces are flawlessly printed. Overall, Levinson says, “Show what makes you exceptional.”

Squarespace shortcut: Create your logo using Squarespace’s custom logo designer and keep continuity across all your marketing. All aspects of your Web site design will seamlessly transition to any device display.



Squarespace is offering a discount to PDN, Rangefinder, WPPI and ShutterLove audience. Use promo code PDN10 upon checkout for 10% off your subscription!

Get started on building or improving your brand. Squarespace is a Web site publishing platform that provides an easy way to create galleries, portfolio sites, blogs and more, without touching a line of code. The completely inclusive, all-in-one service provides content management, hosting, domains, social integrations, e-commerce, and 24-hour customer support.

*Maren Levinson is not affiliated with Squarespace and was interviewed independently.


PDN PhotoPlus Expo Deals for Educators and Students


While it still feels like a far cry from autumn, it’s not too early to register for PDN’s PhotoPlus Expo (PPE), which will be held at New York’s Jacob Javits Center from October 29 to November 1. Featuring 225 exhibitors, more than 80 seminars and master classes, engaging new photo walks, a myriad of portfolio review opportunities and a trilogy of world-class keynotes, PPE is the essential event of the coming season for photography professionals, emerging talents and students alike.

PPE’s seminar program offers something for everyone, from business and marketing to lighting and post production to portraiture and weddings to filmmaking and photographic genres such as architecture, travel and sports.

Educators and students get preferred pricing and can save up to 50 percent on a full conference pass, one-day passes and individual seminars. Take advantage of early bird pricing on a full conference pass until July 31.

To find out more, visit the PPE Web site , then click here to register today.