Personal Work Roundtable | April 6th, 2022

Do you have a photography project or series you’re passionate about? Curious what your peers and others think of it? Join APA San Diego for an in-person roundtable on Wednesday, April 6th at 6:30 PM PST, to share your own work and/or to comment on the work of others. Four photographers will be selected to present and discuss their personal photography projects in an in-person critique session. Send us a link to your project and we’ll review and discuss how this work benefits you, your clients and our industry. 

WHEN: Wednesday, April 6, 2022 | Roundtable starts at 6 PM

WHERE: 5343 Banks Street, San Diego, CA 92110

COST: Free and Open to All
Proof of vaccination is required.

Email director@apasd.org to reserve a spot or submit your project.

RSVP by 2 pm (PST) on April 6th, 2022

MEET. Paula Watts

© Paula Watts

Meet Southern California based photographer and APA member, Paula Watts.

Do you have a favorite podcast?
I love podcasts and am always on the lookout for new ones. I’m probably the only person who hasn’t gotten into podcasts but I’ve been devouring audiobooks though. Professional Troublemaker by Luvvie Ajayi Jones is a must for any woman!

Who are your top 5 favorites that you’re following on Instagram?
I am loving London based photographer Desiree Mattsson’s work. I love Lindsey Adler and her photo breakdowns, Comedian Celeste Barber for a great laugh, The Female Hustlers for some extra motivation, and AskSternRep because they give so many helpful Q/A’s on the business side of photography.

What 3 words describe your photography style?
Clean, elevated, bright

What do you listen to when you’re shooting?
It usually ranges anywhere from 90’s hiphop or Beyonce.

What inspires you?
A team without egos, collaboration of the minds, artists of all mediums, kindness.  

What’s your favorite thing about being a photographer?
I love bringing a vision to life with a creative team who all played a role. It truly takes a village and it’s so satisfying to see a campaign come together.

When you aren’t making photographs, what other pastimes do you have?
I love to workout and have family time with my husband and 5 year old daughter.

Describe your daily or weekly work habits. (Pre-Covid and currently)
I work from home mostly (pre covid and currently) unless I’m on set. Since my work is project-based, I have weeks where I’m doing a lot of marketing and the business work and then I have weeks where I’m in pre-pro meetings and scheduling plus I also have weeks on set or dealing with post-production. It varies depending on the job and deadlines. I wish I could tell you there was any sort of routine, and it’s not a negative or unorganized answer, it’s just the nature of the industry. 

Who were your biggest influencers?
I was and still am influenced by a lot of the greats… Richard Avedon, Annie Leibowitz, Herb Ritts, Irving Penn. I studied under Michael Thompson who directly studied under Irving Penn and there was such a refinement in everything they did. Yes, deadlines are deadlines and we all feel rushed in certain aspects, but attention to detail, interaction with your subject, lighting, it was all so flawless. 

What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
Shoot often. Shoot personal projects and constantly refine your work.

What are the current challenges that you face as a photographer?
Marketing feels like a moving target a lot of times.

What have been some of the highlights and challenges of your career so far?
Highlights: One of my first years in business, I was hired to travel around Norway for 3 weeks to photograph some of their top chefs and dishes and learn all about Norwegian cuisine for a television show. It was even more remarkable of an experience than I can describe, and just starting out at the time, I don’t think I even realized how amazing the gig was. It set the bar and expectations of future projects really high 😉 Challenges: I need to get better at realizing the ebbs and flows of my industry. When things are slow for a couple weeks, I need to learn to enjoy that time so that when things are really busy, I have had some restful and rejuvenating time in there too. Learning balance is easier said than done.

What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
Studying advertising photography and assisting photographers. 🙂

If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing?
Well some options I’ve considered have been: scuba diving instructor in the GBR, surgeon with Doctors without Borders or skydiving instructor. I still think I could do all 3 in this lifetime, right? 😉

What do you do when you get stuck?
I’m a verbal processor so I usually talk with my husband or family or a close friend. 

What is your best advice for your peers?
This industry is 90% business and 10% photography. The best photographer in the world won’t get hired if no one knows about them. Market yourself even when you’re too busy. (I’m speaking to myself here too!)

What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years?
Buy as much property in Southern California as you can possibly afford and outsource all the things you aren’t great at!   

What is a photographer’s role now that technology has made it so much more accessible to the masses?
A great photographer is so much more than a button-clicker to a piece of equipment. We are communicators. We are a creative voice. We help strategize, give input in the creative ideation, we are experts in lighting and understand a vision and help interpret it. There’s a whole process that the masses who buy a camera won’t hone in on. 

What do you see yourself doing in five years?
I still see myself as an advertising photographer. I’m always striving for quality projects over quantity and more time with my family, so I hope I’m heading in that direction year by year. 

Thank you APA. You’re such a support to the photographic community and I am honored to be interviewed by you!

To view more of Paula’s beautiful work you can follow along here.

Developing & Presenting Your Portfolio: A Workshop with Beth Huerta

There is nothing more important or impactful than a strong, curated presentation: an edit that successfully acts as the visual embodiment of your work. Building an edit to perfectly speak to your strengths as a photographer can be incredibly daunting. It’s not easy, but the good news is that APA San Diego has invited Beth Huerta from Candace Gelman & Associates to teach an exclusive online workshop on best practices in editing. Beth will share some tools that can be mastered to ease this critical practice: a practice that is both art and science.

Beth brings serious academic know-how and street credibility to the process of creating a killer edit for any need, whether it be a digital portfolio review, treatment, or customized PDF.


In this online workshop, Beth will cover the topics including:

·       What Constitutes an Effective Edit?

·       Identity and Cohesion

·       Knowing Your Audience

·       The Art and Science of Self Editing

·       How To Talk About Your Work

By attending this online event you can learn the skills necessary to take your edits to the next level.
Join us on Saturday, April 23rd from 10:00 am – 12 pm

Reserve your spot now!

Cost = $25 for APA Members
Non Members $40

Students with valid ID can receive discounted admission.
Contact director@apasd.org for code.


About Beth Huerta

Prior to CG&A, Beth worked as a consultant/assistant for a bevy of internationally acclaimed advertising photographers including Howard Schatz, Theo Westenberger, William Huber and Stephanie Rausser. Beth is a frequent workshop presenter and contributing writer for the American Photographic Artists association. She has taught at Drexel University (where a course that she authored is now a permanent part of the BS in Photography curriculum) and The University of the Arts, and has been a guest instructor at Columbia College. Beth is also a Mentor for NYC Salt, a program that creates opportunities in photography for underserved New York City youth.

Nick Nacca | Super Control Freak 2.0 | Saturday, February 19th, 2022

© Nick Nacca

For Nick Nacca, image-making isn’t capturing a moment in time, it’s several moments combined. When it comes to lighting, he’s a super control freak. Not just on set – later, in a dim room he builds an image from the ground up. Blending, shaping, and sculpting with light is at the heart of his process. What started out as a technique to control light in still life photography has morphed into a unique way to create motion.

Join us on Saturday, February 19th, 2022 from 10am – 12pm for an online lighting workshop.

During the event, Nick will show behind-the-scenes images & videos detailing his approach to lighting and the gear he uses. Later he’ll show the post-production workflow used to create stills and motion from the same image.

Be sure to check out Nick’s demo reel below:

Cost: APA Members $25, NON-Member $40

Not a member?
Join Now! Annual Memberships start at $50!

Register Now!

MEET. Jermaine Beckley

© Jermaine Beckley

Meet San Diego based landscape and nature photographer and APA member, Jermaine Beckley.

Do you have a favorite podcast?
I don’t consistently listen to podcasts, but during lockdown I would listen to a lot of Jim Kwik during my walks outdoors.

Who are your top 5 favorites that you’re following on Instagram?
I follow Dan Winters because I’ve always enjoyed his work, but I get my inspiration from @Kodak, @Ilfordphoto, and other hashtags I follow mostly.

What do you listen to when you’re shooting?
I don’t usually listen to music while shooting, but I’ll listen to mellow sounds to get me in the mood while driving to where I want to shoot.

What inspires you?
Nature inspires me. The more I learn about it the more fascinated I am about how similar everything is. 

What’s your favorite thing about being a photographer?
Seeing a potential image everywhere I go.

When you aren’t making photographs, what other pastimes do you have?
Music, bowling, working on my vehicle, however most of the time if I’m not making a photograph, I’m thinking about how to make the next photograph. I can’t turn it off.

Describe your daily or weekly work habits. (Pre-Covid and currently)
I honestly think Pre-Covid my routine was all over the place. Now it’s more scheduled and I’m more focused and not taking things for granted.

Who were your biggest influencers?
In life, it’s my dad. In photography and I know it’s cliche, but Ansel Adams, Gordon Parks, and Vivian Maier. I love their stories and storytelling.

What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
Study art and not just photography.

What have been some of the highlights and challenges of your career so far?
Having one of my photographs sold at an auction was a pretty cool experience. The challenges were trying to shoot everything instead of focusing on one genre.

What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
I served in the US Navy for 20 years, however photography was picked up during that time.

If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing?
I probably would have been a musician as I played music most of my childhood.

What do you do when you get stuck?
I’m always learning and sometimes I go back and look at some of my images I didn’t think too highly of with a fresh set of eyes.

What is your best advice for your peers?
Learn your gear! Great photographs are still being made with old technology. You can’t buy your way into getting better at seeing light.

What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years?
I wish I had found a mentor when I first started in the 90s to help me learn how to see. I’m still fascinated by photographers back in the day who have produced incredible imagery without things like YouTube and online courses.

What is a photographer’s role now that technology has made it so much more accessible to the masses?
I still believe the still image is incredible and I still believe teaching others about composition helps to tell the story.

What do you see yourself doing in five years?
I hope to have an exhibition within the next five years. It will take hard work, but I’m up for the challenge.

To view more of Jermaine’s work you can follow along here.

The 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

It’s time again for our annual guide to what photography fans want most. Whether you’re looking for something new for yourself or maybe that photographer in you life, we’ve got something for everyone. We put together this handy guide to share some ideas (or make it easy to share this wishlist).

Book
Legendary skate photographer and APA|SD member J. Grant Brittain‘s first book “PUSH” is out and ready to order. Brittain’s work spans decades and focuses on the evolution of the Southern California skate scene from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. With a forward by Tony Hawk and 224 pages of images from the analog era, it’s sure to please any skateboarder or action sports photographer on your list.

Bags and Packs
Think Tank bags and packs have been a longtime favorite around here and they keep innovating with some of the best gear protection and stylish comfort out there. From small shoulder bags to full function backpacks and airline-ready rolling cases, there’s a Think Tank bag for everyone. APA members can receive discounts and additional benefits, so check out your members discount page for details.

Cameras and Gear
For local San Diego gear and services, we proudly support our retail sponsors, George’s Camera and Nelson Photo Supplies. Both shops have been serving our photo community for decades and carry all of the pro gear you need and trust. Visit them for cameras, lighting, sensor cleaning services, rental gear, printing and film supplies. Don’t forget, your APA membership gets you some great in-store discounts. Support local!

Print Service
Speaking of local, Chrome Digital in Little Italy is our go-to shop for beautiful art print work. A friendly and helpful staff of technicians can help you create prints of all sizes and mediums. Want to print on wood or metal? They can do that. Super large format? Yup. Stop in the shop and check out the nearly limitless possibilities.

Big Light, Small Package
Our recent Untitled competition and exhibition yielded some truly inspiring work and the winners walked away with a bevy of great prizes. Lumecube graciously stepped up with some waterproof LED kits to give away and we were not disappointed. These little light cubes are so versatile, they shouldn’t be limited to photographers. Powerful, waterproof, and about the size of a golfball, they can be mounted on your DSLR, video rig, bike handlebars, helmet, or anywhere you need a compact light. Need more compact LED option? They also make panels, drone lights, workspace and ring lights. Check them out!

Experience
Looking to gift a little inspiration? An annual membership to MOPA is an excellent way to give an experience to your favorite art lover (maybe that’s you?) The Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa park holds a special distinction as one of only three museums in the nation dedicated solely to lens-based medium. APA members receive special discounts for an annual pass. While you’re at it, take a spin through the gift shop for unique photocentric gifts, apparel, and books.

More inspiration:
A gift of Luerzer’s Archive magazine will thrill the commercial artist in your life. The photo annual is considered one the most important publications in the industry – a triple shot of inspiration.

Communication Arts magazine focuses on the high level creative work and unpacks trends, highlights artists and agencies, and delivers several curated annuals in all things visual communications. A valuable resource for the commercial creative.

Frank Ockenfels 3‘s book “Volume 3” (teNeues Press) is a bold, edgy, and introspective collection of his personal work. Curated from Ockenfel’s journals, the photos, collages, drawings, and paintings tell an inside story of an artist overflowing with ideas and concepts. It’s a visual journey that will surely open your eyes to something new in your own artistic path. If you were fortunate enough to attend his presentation at MOPA in January 2020, you know what a dynamic force in photography he is.

Community
Lastly, if you are looking to give the gift of community, inspiration, and education, look no further than APA. With your membership you give a gift to yourself; a gift of support, camaraderie, learning, advocacy, and most of all, you give back to the photo community you so dearly love. Please help support APA by upgrading, renewing, or joining. We sincerely appreciate your membership.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday season and a plentiful and prolific New Year. See you in 2022!

Untitled 2021 Winners Announced

We want to thank all of our sponsors, and participants who helped make Untitled 2021 a wonderful exhibition and event. A special thank you to our jurors, Anna Goldwater Alexander, Director of Photography at WIRED; Mark Gallo, Creative Director, traina; and gallery owner Joseph Bellows who curated the top 21 selections from nearly 500 submissions. Congratulations to all of our Untitled 2021 finalists and prizes will be awarded to the top 3 images.

20% of the entry proceeds will go to Outside the Lens to support their mission and programming. 

Selected Winners

  • Todd Glaser – 1st Place
  • Jennifer Rubin – 2nd Place
  • Jim Esposito – 3rd Place
  • Nick Nacca
  • Markku Lahdesmaki
  • Marshall Williams
  • Joe Patronite
  • Taggart Lee
  • Beto Soto
  • Dana Hursey
  • Marina Griffin
  • David Fouts
  • Joshua Goodell
  • Jens Lucking
  • Robert Ripps
  • Liana Grigoryan
  • Sam Zauscher
  • Sean Horton
  • Matt Harbicht
  • Jim Esposito
  • Art Streiber

Click here to preview the top 21 winners!

Thank you for supporting our photo community!

THANK YOU TO OUR 2020 SPONSORS!

Untitled 2021: A Photographic Exhibition

Join APA | San Diego at Bread & Salt Gallery for a one-night only exhibition of the top 21 photographic prints from our Untitled 2021 contest. APA | SD will donate 20% of the contest entry proceeds to Outside the Lens; a San Diego-based organization that provides photography and digital media programming to youth and the community. See all competition entries shown in a rotating slideshow, sip craft beer from Saint Archer Brewing and support the photo community. Winning entries were curated by Anna Goldwater Alexander, Director of Photography at WIRED; Mark Gallo, Creative Director, traina; and Joseph Bellows | Joseph Bellows Gallery. Prizes will be awarded for the top 3 images.

To preview the top 21 winners click here

When:
Friday, November 12, 2021
6:00-9:00 PM

Where:
Bread & Salt
1955 Julian Avenue
San Diego, CA 92113

THANK YOU TO OUR 2021 SPONSORS:

DEADLINE EXTENDED! Submit Your Images Now For UNTITLED 2021!

Untitled is an annual competition and exhibition designed to showcase the best work of APA members and beyond – Images that show your unique vision, creative passion, and individualistic style, titled or untitled. This contest is open to all photographers at any level and there are no specific categories. All entries will be curated by our jurors and the top 20 images will be selected to display for exhibition and the top three (3) photos will be awarded prizes.

20% of the entry fees will be donated to Outside the LensThe mission of Outside the Lens is to empower youth to use digital media to create change within themselves, their community and their world.

We welcome this year’s jurors, Anna Goldwater Alexander, Director of Photography at WIRED; Mark Gallo, Creative Director at traina; and Gallery Owner, Joseph Bellows.

You can find full details and submission guidelines here.

Deadline extension to enter is NOON PDT October 14th, 2021!

ENTER TODAY!

Need another reason to enter?
Here are the prizes being awarded for the top 3 winning images! 

1st Place Winner

$500!!!

ONE FULL-DAY STUDIO RENTAL at Skylight Studios in San Diego, CA  – (Liability Insurance Required) $1,000 Value 

ADOBE CREATIVE CLOUD (FULL 1-YEAR MEMBERSHIP) – $599 Value

THINKTANK: URBAN ACCESS™ BACKPACK – $219.75 Value

LUME CUBE PANEL GO + LUME CUBE 2.0 – $188 Value

ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION TO COMMUNICATION ARTS – $53 Value

GEORGE’S CAMERA $50 GIFT CARD

2nd Place Winner

THINKTANK: Retrospective® 7 V2.0 – $164.75 Value

LUME CUBE PANEL PRO LED LIGHT – $159 Value

ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION TO COMMUNICATION ARTS – $53 Value

GEORGE’S CAMERA $100 GIFT CARD


3rd Place Winner

THINKTANK: Urban Access™ 10 Sling Bag – $109.75 Value

LUME CUBE PANEL GO – $99 Value

ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION TO COMMUNICATION ARTS – $53 Value

GEORGE’S CAMERA $50 GIFT CARD

PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK LIBRARY INCLUDING:

Signed copy of Galveston by Jason Lee – $60 Value

Signed copy of Soul. R&B. Funk Photographs 1972-1982 by Bruce W. Talamon – $70 Value

MEET. Samantha Schwann

© Samantha Schwann

Meet underwater photographer and APA member Samantha Schwann.

Do you have a favorite podcast?
I’m not a podcaster but right now I’m trying a learn to speak Spanish one.

Who are your top 5 favorites that you’re following on Instagram?
@spacex
@hiroshisugimoto
@missionblue
And a couple of dog accounts because they bring me joy 🙂 

What do you listen to when you’re shooting?
I can’t listen underwater, but there is nothing better than getting lost in creative flow while editing with good music. A lot of indie electronic.

What inspires you?
That we still have a shred of a chance to preserve our oceans, but it’s a global call to action.  

What’s your favorite thing about being a photographer?
I get to invite viewers to join me in experiences, and share my passion for our ocean planet.  

When you aren’t making photographs, what other pastimes do you have?
I’m deeply engulfed in a project (which is my happy place) so it’s pretty all-consuming. That being said, I love what yoga does for me mentally and physically, so I try to keep that balance.  

Describe your daily or weekly work habits. (Pre-Covid and currently)
I’m a very early riser and find mornings are when I’m at my creative best. Currently it is a lot of writing and preparation for a project. Covid meant no travel, but time in quarantine allowed for concentrated work in other areas. I’m usually traveling every couple of months, so it’s a cycle of developing, preparation, and then editing.

Who were your biggest influencers?
Nick Brandt
Edward Burtynski
Laurent Ballesta

What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
“Hard work beats talent any day of the week” – Joel Grimes.

What have been some of the highlights and challenges of your career so far?
Highlight is happening right now, working on my dream project. The challenges have been learning how to navigate my way to where I want to be, and in funding my work.

What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
I was an investment advisor. It was interesting and I was ok at it but I knew it wasn’t what I was meant to be doing. I saw a lot of people who worked and saved their whole lives, for moments which never came. That stuck with me – while it’s important to plan and be responsible, I want to do things now, while I can.

If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing?
Perhaps an oceanographer, or a submarine pilot – but I require a creative outlet. I feel I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing.

What do you do when you get stuck?
I’ve learned to trust the creative process, and stopped freaking out a while ago. Step back, hit a yoga class, go for a swim or lose myself in a movie. The less I stress about it the smoother the wave.

What is your best advice for your peers?
Keep going.

What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years?
All of the experiences you will go through, especially the difficult ones, will be catalysts for growth. Be fearless in your pursuit, observe and listen to learn as much as you can, and trust your instincts.

What is a photographer’s role now that technology has made it so much more accessible to the masses?
I think it’s great that technology has made it easier for people to become interested in photography and take better pictures! I don’t see it as a threat, as I find it can foster a deeper appreciation. While advances have made things easier, at the end of the day you still have to put in the work if you want to pursue photography seriously. What separates a photographer from the masses is a cohesive body of work, personal style, and vision, and there are no shortcuts for that.

What do you see yourself doing in five years?
Contributing to ocean conservation in a meaningful, tangible way, and ocean exploration.

To view more of Samantha’s work you can follow along here.