Win an Apple Watch at SPAC 2017

JDLab will be at the School & Sports Photographers of America (SPAC) convention January 25-28 in Las Vegas, NV. Please join us at our booth #20, and at the Thursday lunch buffet and the 5pm hospitality suite we are co-sponsoring.

If you’re going to SPAC, here’s your opportunity to win a free Apple Watch. Here’s what you need to do:

#JDLabRocks Apple Watch Promotion RULES

1. Stop by the booth and pick up a pair of JDLab sunglasses. Take a selfie (with or without your friends) with your new sunglasses, or be creative. Just make sure the JDLab logo on the glasses is showing in the picture.

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DPPA Annual Print Competition Nov 16th

The Detroit Professional Photographers Association will hold it’s annual Fall Print Competition on Tuesday, November 16 at 7pm at the Birmingham Conference Center. Contest rules and Entry forms are here.

If you have never entered a print competition, I have five reasons why you should make the commitment to get started this year:

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DPPA Folio Competition April 20th

DPPAThe 2010 Detroit Professional Photographer’s Folio Competition will be held at the DPPA’s April 20th meeting. The rules for the competition are the same as last year:

  • Open to DPPA members only.
  • Folios will be judged in four categories – wedding, senior, portrait, and illustrative. You can enter one folio in each category.
  • One or two photographers from a studio can enter a single folio in each of the four categories, but you cannot enter both as a single photographer and as part of a team in the same category.
  • Each folio must include 5-12 images from the same session, not including the base/background image.
  • Finished prints must be 10×20” mounted on matte board, with any studio identification (like a logo) covered. You should tape your business card on the back of the folio, and submit it before 7:00pm the night of the competition.
  • Note their must be at least three entrants in a category to qualify for an award.

Remember, when it comes to any competition: the biggest winners don’t bring home ribbons – they are the ones who become better photographers for trying. In other words, to compete is to win.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 810-239-8671 or e-mail me at

Tom Hicks
DPPA Print Competition Chair

Discover the Secret Behind the Rule of Thirds

I read an interesting article online entitled “The Lazy Rule of Thirds” by fashion photographer Jake Garn. He argues that the “rule of thirds” we’ve all been taught in photography is really just a shortcut to take photographs that follow the Golden Ratio.

Stick with me.

Over 2,500 years ago mathematicians figured out that if you drew a rectangle or a curve where the ratio of the height to the width was approximately 1.6, it just looked better. Without going into all the math, it turns out that nature uses this same ratio too: everything from flower petals to the branching of veins inside your body follows this pattern. Artists started using the Golden Ratio, and evidence of it is found in the Greek Parthanon, works by Leonardo Da Vinci, and even paintings by Salvador Dali.

Notice in the image above, if you draw a successive series of curves based on the Golden Ratio, the bigger rectangle on the left is approximately two-thirds of the total area. The logic is that instead of trying to teach us knuckleheads the Golden Ratio in Beginning Photography 101 class, the teachers simplified it into the Rule of Thirds.

Think this doesn’t work? After I read Jake’s article, I found a transparent .PNG file of the curve online (you don’t even want to know why it is called the Fibonacci spiral), copied it to my desktop, and opened it in Photoshop. Then I found a really nice image done by the folks over at Classic Concepts Studio in Durand, and dragged the curve on top of the image as a new layer. I resized the spiral by dragging the corner with the shift key held down so it wouldn’t lose proportion, rotated it, mirrored it, and colored it with a red stroke.

This is the result.

I always knew I really liked this image, but I never knew why. Now I’m going back over other images and dropping the spiral on top. I can’t say every good image matches perfectly, but I can say that the bad ones don’t even come close.

If I were making an image for a competition, I’d have this spiral file saved on my hard drive and use it to help me with composition and cropping. It might just be the secret ingredient I needed to create the perfect award-winning image.

Do you have any images to share that match up with the Golden Ratio? Send them to me as a 250x200px 72dpi JPG and I’ll post them here.

PPM Print Competition Special Discounts

If you have never entered print or album competition or attended one before, this would be a great time to start! This year at the Michigan Photographic Expo, PPM will offer a $500 cash prize to a lucky winner, and JD is offering specials on competition prints.

  • Order 4 16×20″ competition prints for the price of 3 – Use promo code PPM3-1 in ROES
  • Order 6 16×20″ competition prints for the price of 4 – Use promo code PPM6-4 in ROES
  • Next Generation Entries: Order 4 16×20″ competition prints for the price of 2 – Use promo code PPM2-2

This special runs January 29th from 12 noon until February 12th at 12 noon. Use the competition print category in ROES to order. Note that this promo pricing does not include mounting, coating or laminating.

More about the PPM Album and Print Competitions

The Michigan Photographic Expo will include both album and print competitions.

  • This year, album category entries can include Wedding, Senior, Baby, Family, or any other type of album. In addition, this year, albums may be submitted on CD. Please refer to the album rules to learn more.
  • Entries must arrive between Monday, Feb 15th and Friday, February 19th, at 4:30 PM at the Mariott to be eligible. Judging will take place Friday night. Please include a CD of your images ( 4×5 @ 300 dpi) to be projected during the banquet.
  • To qualify for the $500 prize, you must enter a print case. For each print case you enter, your name will be submitted into a drawing to take place during the awards banquet.

If you have any questions email or call Dave at 810.733.8888.

Fall Print Competitions – Get Started Now

The 2009 MTPPA Print Competition will be held Tuesday November 10th, and the DPPA Print Competition will be held Tuesday, November 17th. I strongly urge you to enter one or both of these print competitions. Here’s why:

• There is no better way to improve your skill and confidence as a photographer than to enter a print competition. Preparing to submit entries to the DPPA competition (selecting and tweaking images, discussing choices with peers) forces you to look deeper at your own photography.

• DPPA takes the time to bring in a juried panel of print judges – the same caliber of judges you would encounter at a regional or national competition. If your prints do well at DPPA, you can be assured that they will be competitive at the regional shows next year.

• Award-winning prints give you the confidence to pursue PPA’s Merits and Degrees program. With a PPA degree, you are not only recognized by your peers, but a degree can help you to justify higher prices for your work.

• No matter what kind of photography you specialize in, your style and subject matter is suitable for this competition. There is no excuse NOT to enter.

If all of this isn’t enough to motivate you, everyone who competes in the DPPA competition will get a chance to win a $250 dollar cash prize.

I hope we’ll have another good showing of entries like the recent DPPA album and folio competitions. If you had the opportunity to attend these events, you saw some wonderful work (Great job everyone who participated).

As always feel free to call or email me if you have any questions.

Tom Hicks
DPPA Print Competition Chair