Five Weeks of Intensive, ONLINE Study
Limited to 12 students
For the 2021 season, we are only accepting 12 VIP Mastery students 😱
The educational content is pre-recorded so you can review the material as many times as needed to master it. We do a live homework review each week to help you see the flaws in your technique so you can become the best competitor you can be!
The live homework review dates are:
Every live homework review meets at 7pm Central Time and lasts for approximately 2 1/2 hours. If for any reason you cannot make the live meeting, not to worry! You'll get a recorded homework review via email a few days after the live event. Just let us know that's what you'll need and we will hook you up.
The following list covers just a few highlights for each week - we actually cover much more! You will learn new techniques each week and then have time to practice on your own images with a weekly “homework” assignment.
V.I.P. Mastery students will begin on a set date and receive weekly feedback on their homework assignments.
Every student has an equal chance for success. You just have to be willing to put in the work!
A new video series will be released each week for five consecutive weeks for a total of five instructional blocks.
There are a LOT of people teaching about Photographic Competition and even more teaching how to retouch images, and NONE of those people are teaching their classes online. How can an online class on photographic competition and retouching possibly be any good?
Statistics don't lie.
It is with great honor that I give you the results of PPA's 2015 International Photographic Competition. There were 55 course graduates who entered. Of those 55 photographers, 99% earned a merit on at least one image. There were 225 total images entered and 181 of those images were accepted!
How exciting is that?! But wait - there's more!
63 of those accepted images went LOAN. If you're into percentages, that's 80% of the entries accepted and 35% went loan! How exciting that this course helped play a tiny part in unveiling the mysteries of photographic competition and that each of these photographers had such fabulous success!
2016 IPC Statistics Have Been Compiled
There are just over two hundred course graduates as of August 2016 - however, it has become quite difficult to track that many people down for statistics! I managed to get 97 course graduates to report their statistics after entering PPA's 2016 International Photographic Competition. Among those reporting, there were 387 total images entered into the Photographic Open. 290 of those entries were accepted (75%) and 76 were accepted into the prestigous loan collection (26%).
This course has proven itself to be hugely beneficial!
Probably the most exciting part of the 2016 competition season is that over 10% of the Grand Imaging Awards (GIA) nominees came directly from this course (and I've not taught anywhere near 10% of the entrants!)
2017 IPC Statistics Have Been Compiled
Once again, graduates of the Preparing for Competition course have FAR exceeded any expectations! With 73 photographers reporting back with their statistics this year, out of 270 entries, 223 were accepted (83% merit rate), and of those meriting 42 (19%) were accepted into the prestigious Loan Collection!
Among those who were first time entrants, 60% had all 4 images accepted, a further 40% had 3/4 images accepted, and a whopping 20% had at least one loan image! WOW!
Even more important than competition success, students report increased speed in retouching and a higher level of client appreciation for their work. Nothing is more important than pleasing our clients!
In 2013 when I started teaching the competition class, I dreamed of helping someone else get a Grand Imaging Award (GIA). I set a 5 year goal to get one person on that stage. I really thought 5 years was a pretty lofty goal!
And then 2016 competition season happened (11 GIA Nominees). 😱 Followed by 2017! (12 GIA Nominees!) 😱 That number has continued to climb each year!
I know that I played a microscopic role in their success, but you have no idea how awesome it is to have had such a LARGE group of course graduates get GIA's. I get teary eyes just thinking about it!
It is WAAAYYYY better to see them up there on that stage than to receive the awards myself. I can't even describe the feeling. They worked so hard and got the ultimate reward for their efforts. AND THEY DID ALL THE WORK ON THEIR IMAGES THEMSELVES! That's the icing on the cake!!
This is why I give so much of myself to this course. It truly IS better to give than to receive.
I no longer chase down those who got GIA nominations to add to this page (not enough hours in the day!) but they are no less special than the images featured here which were the first to be recognized for GIA's from the graduates.
Each of these images were created by graduates of this course. They were either in the top 10, won a Grand Imaging Award, and/or on
Team USA for the World Photographic Cup.
Click the image to visit the maker's website
I'm not a huge fan of actions, but I do use them for repetitive tasks. This vignette action is one of my favorites! Super easy to use - and if you can't figure it out -- no worries! We will be covering it in the course.
Once you've purchased your "seat" in the course, you'll be automatically redirected to a page where you may request immediate access to the private course page on Facebook. It's a great place to get acquainted before the course begins.This private group will give you direct access to the instructor.
Graduates of the course enjoy access to the private group "Case Masters" on Facebook. Enjoy "online watch parties" during competition, a private place to critiqe potential entries, and "how'd you do that?" kind of questions. This is a wonderfully supportive group! Students are invited to the group at the end of their course.
Each week, the homework review will be conducted by my trusted friend and colleague, Francie Baltazar Stonestreet. Not only is she a HIGHLY skilled artist in her own right, but she is also one of the few people I trust to review my own competition images so you are in great hands!
REALLY great hands, actually!
You can find MUCH more on her site. https://www.fireheartphotography.com/
If you come into this course with solid camera skills, you can reasonably expect to do well in your next competition. Now is the time to be thinking about your images and to set yourself on the road to success!
*maximum of 15 students will be accepted per course to ensure enough one-on-one time with each student
These rules were screen captured directly from PPA's website
In order to be in compliance with the rules -- ALL homework is completed on images that will NOT be submitted for competition. At no time before the end of the course are students allowed to present, submit, show, or ask for critique from the instructor on any image they plan to submit for competition. This is a direct violation of the “under instruction” rule put in place for all PPA photographic competitions. If students break this rule, their images WILL BE DISQUALIFIED without warning and with no reprieve.
Please don't worry that this will negate the effectiveness of the course. Never in the history of this course have we worked on actual entries DURING the course. A merit print is not required to learn retouching techniques.
One other point of note: Many of the images on this page are from my own competition journey and not necessarily representational of the images you'll create after taking this course. Although there have been exceptional results from many students, no guarantee of merit or increase in skill level is promised or implied. The amount of improvement you experience is directly reflected in how much effort you put forth.
Some dates to keep in mind:
Projected release date for self guided course: Mid-February
The next V.I.P. Mastery Course is scheduled for May 2017
By filling out this form, you will get advance access -- before registration officially opens -- to give you the best chance at getting one of the few "seats" available for this course (yes - this course is limited in size!)
As a matter a fact, it has never failed to sell out. Make sure you get advance notice!