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PREMIER STATEWIDE PHOTOGRAPHER CONFERENCE GOES REGIONAL
Covington, KY/January 9, 2009–An annual statewide photographers conference and workshop takes on a regional feel at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center during Photo Pro Expo, January 22-27 with the combined forces of the Kentucky Professional Photographers Association (KPPA) and the Mid-East States Professional Photographers Association (MESPPA).
The 65th KPPA Annual Convention, Photographic Exhibition and Trade Show at the Center will also serve as the host site for the MESPPA regional print competition and print exhibit. MESPPA encompasses the states of Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. This is the first time MESPPA has hosted its event outside Ohio.
MESPPA Secretary/Treasurer Scott Walz calls the conference “the strongest regional photographic educational event in this part of the country. You won’t find a professional development event of this quality within driving distance for thousands of professional photographers.”
The Center has hosted KPPA’s annual conference for six years and has consistently drawn larger crowds year after year, topping out near 300 attendees last year. In fact, since its start in Covington, vendors and the physical size of their booths at the trade show have increased 500 percent. Walz says with the regional appeal he hopes that overall attendance can be doubled to 600.
One drawing card for people outside Kentucky and Ohio will be the growth in this year’s print competition. Normally about 300 entries are judged. This year the number is expected to grow to 600-800. The entries that are given blue ribbons by the nationally-approved judging panel are automatically accepted as Professional Photographers Association (PPA) Sealed Merit Images at the national judging later this year. This display of images is open to the public from 9-6 Saturday and Sunday, the 24th & 25th.
The KPPA Annual Convention is recognized on a national level, says Walz. He adds that the quality of the meeting space, hotels, shopping attractions, restaurants and the aestetic beauty of the area are also cited as reasons to not only keep the statewide conference but to invite the regional group.
KPPA’s convention is also renowned for its outstanding national speakers. This year’s show is no exception, highlighted by a daylong workshop Monday, January 26 by celebrity wedding artist Joe Buissink, entitled “Unlock the Artist in You”. Buissink has shot the weddings of Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson/Nick Lachey, Kelsey Grammar and others. He’ll talk about how photographers can heighten their awareness to provide better value to wedding clients. Also featured will be noted husband-wife photography team J.B. and DeEtte Sallee on Friday, January 23 from 9 a.m. to noon. “Take Back Control of your Weddings and Albums” will explore approaches to shooting modern weddings and how albums can be turned into pieces of art.
Eighty percent of KPPA’s membership is located in Northern Kentucky, Greater Louisville and Lexington. Walz says with 15 percent of the membership in the Commonwealth, they hope that out-of-state members will be enticed to join the Kentucky group. And organizers have a big carrot, or in the industry vernacular, the squeaky toy to get their subject’s attention.
“If attendees are members in their statewide group when registering (other than Kentucky), we are extending a special Regional Pass rate of $25 which will entitle them to attend the whole conference. If they’re not a member of any statewide association and join KPPA for $75, they can get the KPPA member rate. All the other states charge roughly $200 for individual memberships,’ added Walz. You can register for the whole event at the non-member rate of $265. To register: www.kypaa.com or www.mesppa.com.
Going into the photography business has probably never been more popular:
In a down economy, Walz agrees that people with a passion and skill for photography are drawn to the industry because of the perception of low overhead and start-up costs. While not necessarily untrue, potential professionals do themselves a disservice by starting up without the arsenal of knowledge that groups like KPPA can provide.
Walz says that KPPA and PPA members stay in business longer and make more money than photographers that operate outside the professional community. “We want to help “mom and pop” operators become full practicing professionals. Anyone interested in attending will receive great training, education and will be put in touch with the industry’s best vendors providing essentials such as equipment, marketing and solid business services. We not only want to grow the Kentucky organization but provide reciprocal help to neighboring states’ photographers so they can professionalize their studios.”
The mission of the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau is that of an aggressive sales, marketing, service and informational organization whose primary responsibility is to positively impact the Northern Kentucky economy through conventions, meetings and visitor expenditures. The direct economic impact of visitors’ spending in Campbell, Kenton and Boone Counties in 2007 was $325 million.