Imaging USA 2018, that took place at the beautiful Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, is a Photography Convention that I will never soon forget.  Not only did I walk the stage to receive my Masters of Photography Degree, but I was also awarded Diamond Photographer of the Year – two of my professional goals met in one year!

I worked hard to earn the prestigious Master of Photography degree.  It is not merely a piece of paper – It means that the recipient has met the standards of excellence set by Professional Photographers of America!  The degree is awarded in recognition of superior photographic competence demonstrated through photographic competition, advanced education and service to the profession.  I am truly honored to be recognized for superior image making and photographic service and to have the M.Photog. designation after my name.  I have learned so much from other master photographers and through being a member of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA).

Being named a Diamond Photographer of the Year is also a dream come true!  Earning a Diamond in IPC means that all four of a photographer’s images submitted into competition (i.e. the whole “case”) earned a spot in the coveted Loan Collection and is considered the best of the best.  In 2017, only 16 cases in the Photographic Open category earned Diamond Status and I was thrilled to be one of them.

I have only been entering prints in competition for the past two years.  I certainly wish I would have jumped into print comp sooner.  In 2016, all 4 of my images merited and three were accepted into the Loan Collection (Platinum Photographer of the Year).  In 2017, all 4 of my images merits and all four made it in the Loan Collection (Diamond Photographer of the Year).    Below are the 8 images that helped me be an award-winning photographer.  I would advise any photographer who is trying to improve upon their craft to join PPA and enter the International Print Competition.  It will strengthen your vision, skill and creativity and will certainly stretch you toward your  artistic potential.