Photographer Wins Bronze and Silver at IPC

PRESS RELEASE: Grove City Photographer Wins Bronze and Silver at International Photographic Competition 

Grove City, OH — The annual judging at the International Photographic Competition (IPC) hosted by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is complete. Over 1,300 photographers and digital artists from seven different countries competed to have their images scored on technical excellence, composition, storytelling, and creativity. This is the most prestigious competition of its kind, where images are judged based on a standard of artistic excellence, not against each other.

Grove City, Ohio resident and digital artist, Danica Barreau, CPP, of Pouka Art & Photography, was named a Bronze Medalist in the Portrait Competition and a Silver Medalist in the Artist Competition. Barreau’s work will be on display at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, Jan. 17-22, 2019.

Central Ohio residents can view Barreau’s work at the 2018 Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce’s ”Arts In the Alley” Photography and Fine Art Shows in Grove City, OH on September 15 and 16th.

Additional information about the artist and her work can be found on her website: pouka.com

About Me

I'm an internationally award-winning pet photographer, digital artist, and author. My chili has won a few trophies as well! I live in Grove City, Ohio with a multitude of pets and a very patient school teacher. I love meeting new people and am more than happy to chat about dogs and photography.

Contact Me

The Lisping What?

The Lisping What?

If you're curious as to how this blog got its name, check out the Model Spotlight post about Finch. He's The Lisping Dog!

Local Photographer Wins at Grand Imaging Awards

PRESS RELEASE | Grove City, OH – Danica Barreau of Pouka Art & Photography in Grove City, OH was awarded a third place Grand Imaging Award from Professional Photographers of America (PPA) in Nashville, TN on January 15th. Mrs. Barreau’s image, “My Fairy Dogmother”, was selected as one of the top ten animal portraits from over 5,800 photographs during the prestigious International Print Competition last August. The announcement of the top three winners in each of ten categories was eagerly awaited during PPA’s award ceremony at their annual photographic convention where Mrs. Barreau accepted a trophy from PPA President Rob Behm on stage at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center.

This is Mrs. Barreau’s second year competing in IPC and she is a recipient of a silver medal and bronze medal in the Artist category as well as the GIA award for her animal portrait.

About Me

I'm an internationally award-winning pet photographer, digital artist, and author. My chili has won a few trophies as well! I live in Grove City, Ohio with a multitude of pets and a very patient school teacher. I love meeting new people and am more than happy to chat about dogs and photography.

Contact Me

The Lisping What?

The Lisping What?

If you're curious as to how this blog got its name, check out the Model Spotlight post about Finch. He's The Lisping Dog!

Bronze Medalist at 2017 IPC

Danica Barreau of Pouka Art & Photography is honored by peers and jurors for high-quality photography.

PRESS RELEASE | Grove City, OH – Danica Barreau of Pouka Art & Photography in Grove City, Ohio was named a Bronze Medalist during Professional Photographers of America’s 2017 International Photographic Competition. Barreau’s work will be on display at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, Jan. 14-16, 2018. This International Photographic Exhibit is held in conjunction with Imaging USA, an annual convention and expo for professional photographers. Her work will also be shown locally at the annual “Arts in the Alley” Sept. 16-17 in Grove City, Ohio.

A panel of 33 eminent jurors from across the United States selected the top photographs from nearly 5,800 total submitted entries at Gwinnett Technical College in Georgia. Judged against a standard of excellence, 2,660 images were selected for the General Collection and 644 (roughly 11 percent) were selected for the esteemed Loan Collection—the best of the best. The Loan Collection images will all be published in the much-anticipated “Loan Collection” book and over 200 selected General Collection images will be published in the “Showcase” book by Marathon Press.

The level of the award is determined by how many of those four images receive the highest possible honor: acceptance into the PPA Loan Collection, which is displayed at photographic exhibitions, conventions and other photography events. Barreau was named a Bronze Medalist by earning a merit—a mark of quality and honor—for each of the four images included in her Master Artist entry case to the International Photographic Competition. Barreau also had two Portrait entries accepted in the Loan Collection and one Portrait entry into the Showcase. This is the most prestigious competition of its kind, where images are judged based on a standard of artistic excellence, not against each other. In 2017, she was one of only 152 Bronze Medalists.

About PPA: Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is the largest international nonprofit association created by professional photographers, for professional photographers. Almost as long-lived as photography itself, PPA’s roots date back to 1869. It assists more than 28,000 members through protection, education and resources for their continued success. See how PPA helps photographers Be More at PPA.com.

About Me

I'm an internationally award-winning pet photographer, digital artist, and author. My chili has won a few trophies as well! I live in Grove City, Ohio with a multitude of pets and a very patient school teacher. I love meeting new people and am more than happy to chat about dogs and photography.

Contact Me

The Lisping What?

The Lisping What?

If you're curious as to how this blog got its name, check out the Model Spotlight post about Finch. He's The Lisping Dog!

My Fairy Dogmother

“My Fairy Dogmother” is my second International Photographic Competition Loan image . It is another “case filler”, an image not originally intended for competition and stuck into a case to fill it out.

I was shooting an image for a children’s book I’m working on called “Finch and The Spot Fairy”. I was trying out various crowns to see how they would photograph and Sparrow was modeling with her typical bored expression. “Yeah, fine. But there had better be treats later.”

This was the final image:

One of the test images turned out pretty well – I loved the way the light fell on her so I tacked on some wings and posted her on my business page.

The post. Blew. Up. The image reached over 48 THOUSAND people and was shared over 2,000 times. That’s… uh… a bit more than my usual reach. So when I was looking for an image to pad out my case for the spring State Print Competition, I figured I would go with my FB followers’ gut and add this one. I took off the wings (no added elements for a portrait submission) and submitted “My Fairy Dogmother.”  It scored an 82 with no challenge. That seemed about right to me so I prepared to submit it to our Northeast District competition. I made a few tweaks, adding a bit of light, taking down some highlights on the crown, toning down the background texture, and fixing some pearls that were damaged.

At District judging “My Fairy Dogmother” scored an 88 and then was challenged. 88 was already the highest score I’d ever received in competition. Imagine my surprise when one of the judges insisted that this image deserved a 100. A ONE HUNDRED. I started crying. Seriously. Ugly sobbing tears. The judges rescored and I ended up with a 97; what we call an auto-loan. Images with 95 and above don’t get rejudged at International. They go straight through. This was officially an IPC Loan Image. I was on cloud nine for a week afterward and I still get a little verklempt thinking about it.

About Me

I'm an internationally award-winning pet photographer, digital artist, and author. My chili has won a few trophies as well! I live in Grove City, Ohio with a multitude of pets and a very patient school teacher. I love meeting new people and am more than happy to chat about dogs and photography.

Contact Me

The Lisping What?

The Lisping What?

If you're curious as to how this blog got its name, check out the Model Spotlight post about Finch. He's The Lisping Dog!

SHARING IS CARING!

Silver Screen Kitty

Today I wanted to give you a glimpse of the editing behind “Silver Screen Kitty”, one of two of my Loan images in the 2017 International Photographic Competition.

Aside from some work in shelters, I haven’t had much luck photographing cats and certainly never in studio. I have a cat at home named “Boo”, aptly so because he’s pretty skittish and would never consent to a studio shoot. Imagine my surprise when I walked in one afternoon and found Boo drowsing in one of the prop chairs right in front of a left-over lighting set-up from an earlier shoot. I quietly went around turning all the strobes and triggers back on and grabbed the camera. I got one shot – this one, before he took off.

It’s nothing spectacular – that fur blanket is all bunched up around him but I was pleased to have finally caught a decent image of my skittish fifteen year old. I played around with it a bit and decided that it had more impact in black and white. I changed the crop, tweaked a few adjustment layers, and voila:

I needed another portrait to round out my case for our state level print competition so I decided to put this one. We call these “case fillers”. They’re not images we shoot for competition and they’re generally not images we expect to score particularly well. But when you’re paying to compete with four images and you only have three… you find another to get your money’s worth! I ran it by my mentor and she made a few suggestions – take out part of the chair arm and even out the background exposure. In our Spring State Print Competition, I submitted “Silver Screen Kitty”.

It scored an 82, was challenged, and re-scored at 84! This was a pleasant surprise and my case filler just found a permanent spot in my portrait case!

Here is the recorded challenge from the State competition:

 

I took the judges feedback to heart and went back in and made a few edits. I brought down the brightness on the right side of the image, cloned out the odd bump in the blanket in front of the cat, and toned down the texture of the blanket so it didn’t compete with the cat. It was also suggested that I tighten up the crop, so I played a bit with the warp tool in PS and managed to crop off the straight piece of the chair arm and shortened the body of the cat. Yes, that’s a fair amount of editing and sure, it would be great to get images perfect in camera but, especially with pets, sometimes you have to fudge a bit. This was the final image that I submitted to District Print Competition:

The image scored an 83, was challenged, and finished with an 87! Remember our print competition scoring goes like this:

Exceptional 100-95
Superior 94-90
Excellent 89-85
Deserving of a Merit 84-80
Above Average 79-75
Average 74-70
Below Exhibition Standards 69-65

An image that scores 85 through 94 is automatically sealed through the first round of judging at International Photographic Competition so that it proceeds directly to Loan judging. So Silver Screen Kitty was in the running for a Loan!

This image was judged as a Loan Image during International judging and will be joining the prestigious PPA Loan Collection!

 

About Me

I'm an internationally award-winning pet photographer, digital artist, and author. My chili has won a few trophies as well! I live in Grove City, Ohio with a multitude of pets and a very patient school teacher. I love meeting new people and am more than happy to chat about dogs and photography.

Contact Me

The Lisping What?

The Lisping What?

If you're curious as to how this blog got its name, check out the Model Spotlight post about Finch. He's The Lisping Dog!

SHARING IS CARING!

A Whiter Shade of Pale

Here’s how I created my 2017 International Photographic Competition Merit print – “A Whiter Shade of Pale”.

One of PPA’s print competition rules is that you can only use the same subject once. That means that my favorite in-house models, Sparrow and Finch, can only have one portrait each. So this year I drafted some of the rest of our pack – Piper, Apollo, and even the cat got their portraits done.

I was not optimistic about asking our six year old Akbash, Piper, to pose for me in studio. She’s never done any modeling work for me and she’s extremely sensitive to any sort of negative feedback. Even “stay” can make her nervous. At 96lbs and an impressive 6 foot reach, she’s not a dog you can man-handle. Even getting our working guard dog to leave her post and lounge around on an ottoman was going to be a challenge.

Boy, did she prove me wrong. Piper was a PRO. She sauntered into the studio like she owned it and, once she was assured there were some treats involved, she climbed up on the ottoman and gave me some of the best shots of her that I’d ever taken!

Although I loved her expression and the contrast on the dark background in the image on the left, there were some technical issues that would not have fared well in competition. So I decided to work on the image on the lighter background. Her pose was a little awkward, though. I wondered if I could possibly get Piper back into the studio for a reshoot. Turns out, she was more than willing. A better pose, a little tweaking of color gradients, and cleaning up the background and I had my first image ready for judging at our state spring print competition! I titled it, “Little Miss Manners”.

It scored an 80, was challenged, and then re-scored at 78. If you’re not familiar with print competition, this is the scoring range:

Exceptional 100-95
Superior 94-90
Excellent 89-85
Deserving of a Merit 84-80
Above Average 79-75
Average 74-70
Below Exhibition Standards 69-65

In order to get a Merit image, you have to score 80 or above. Only images that score 85 and above will be considered for Loan judging. So 78… not even close.

If you’re interested in why it was scored that way, the challenge was recorded:

 

This is the part of the process where makers have a tendency to yell at the computer if they’re watching the judging online.

I did not have any sort of blur or lightening on that leg or shoulder but what matters isn’t what you have or haven’t done, but what the judges are seeing. So I had some edits to make before the PPA Northeast District competition. I got recommendations from my peers, sent the image off to my mentor, but I still had some serious banding issues on that seamless background where I couldn’t get a clean color. At the last minute, I decided to add a textured digital background and this is the image I submitted to the District competition with a new title of “A Whiter Shade of Pale”.

It scored an 83, acceptable… then was CHALLENGED… and scored an 86! This put the image solidly into the “Excellent” category and “sealed” it for judging at the International competition! At IPC, there are two rounds of judging – images that score 85 and above go on to a second round of judging for the Loan Collection. With a score of 86 at Districts, “A Whiter Shade of Pale” skipped the first round of IPC judging and went automatically for the Loan judging.

Unfortunately, the image didn’t “Loan” at IPC and will remain in the 2017 General Collection but I’m quite happy with it. And a general collection image gives me one more merit towards my Master of Photography degree!

About Me

I'm an internationally award-winning pet photographer, digital artist, and author. My chili has won a few trophies as well! I live in Grove City, Ohio with a multitude of pets and a very patient school teacher. I love meeting new people and am more than happy to chat about dogs and photography.

Contact Me

The Lisping What?

The Lisping What?

If you're curious as to how this blog got its name, check out the Model Spotlight post about Finch. He's The Lisping Dog!

SHARING IS CARING!

Professional Certification

I don’t consider myself ambitious or driven but I know that I can be fiercely competitive. Oftentimes, the person I challenge most is myself. My journey as a photographer has been driven by the challenge of making myself better. I see an image and I want to do THAT. I obsess about technique and composition and inspiration until I understand why that image resonated with me as I try to recreate that feeling. I don’t always succeed but I certainly learn something in the process.

A year ago I heard about a certification for professional photographers (CPP) offered by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A bit of research left me subdued – the written exam covered subjects that I wasn’t familiar with and the portfolio submission piece had me breaking out into a cold sweat. It was all over my head and I didn’t feel confident in my skills or knowledge.

I suspect that many a self-taught photographer has felt the same curiosity and dread about professional standards. Why do I need to be certified? It’s not a requirement for booking clients. What does book learning have to do with my craft? I’ve learned what I’ve needed through experience and experimentation. What could the benefit be of being certified?

One thing I’ve learned from other photographers and professionals in other fields: if you stagnate, you will fail. You have to constantly strive to change and learn and improve yourself in order to succeed. I want to keep getting better at what I do. I consider the certification to be a badge of pride. It shows a technical competency in my craft and an acknowledgment from my peers that I am a professional. I wanted that certification.

Over the following six months I mentored with fabulous pet photographers, competed well in PPA’s International Photographic Competition, and became more confident in my equipment and my techniques. In January 2017 declared my candidacy for certification. What followed were two months of stuffing my head with formulas and data in every free second I had. And I did learn. New ideas as well as the reasoning behind why I do things that I’ve learned myself. In March I took the written exam and passed.

At the end of April I submitted my portfolio for review. The portfolio had to consist of six compulsory images of specific lighting styles and nine client images. As a pet photographer, all my client images had to be animals. I decided to submit pets for my compulsory lighting images as well. Broad lighting, short lighting, selective focus, color harmony, high key, and rule of thirds.  There’s nothing like setting up your lighting and trying to convince a dog to look at a toy or a treat at juuuust the right angle to capture the correct lighting pattern!

And, on May 5th, I passed the portfolio review.

I am officially a Certified Professional Photographer. And it feels good. Danica Barreau, CPP.

About Me

I'm an internationally award-winning pet photographer, digital artist, and author. My chili has won a few trophies as well! I live in Grove City, Ohio with a multitude of pets and a very patient school teacher. I love meeting new people and am more than happy to chat about dogs and photography.

Contact Me

The Lisping What?

The Lisping What?

If you're curious as to how this blog got its name, check out the Model Spotlight post about Finch. He's The Lisping Dog!

“Setterly Yours” Wins Silver

PRESS RELEASE | Grove City, OH – Danica Barreau of Pouka Fine Art Pet Portraits in Grove City, Ohio was named a Silver Medalist in the 21st Annual Independent Publisher Book (IPPY) Awards for her book “Setterly Yours: A Photographic Introduction to The English Setter.

Danica Barreau is an international award-winning pet photographer and digital artist with a passion for English Setters. She wrote, compiled, and published “Setterly Yours” to provide a different type of information about English Setters to prospective owners. Featuring over 150 professional photographs, the book covers a brief history of the breed, their physical characteristics, personalities, grooming requirements, and health issues.

The Independent Publisher Book Awards were conceived in 1996 as a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry. The awards are intended to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles produced each year, and reward those who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity to bring about change in the world of publishing.

The medal-winning books will be celebrated on May 30th during the annual BookExpo America publishing convention in New York City, with gold, silver and bronze IPPY medallions awarded in 83 national, 22 regional, and ten e-book categories. This year’s contest drew over 5,000 entries, with winning medalists in 43 U.S. states, 7 Canadian provinces, and 15 countries overseas.

“Setterly Yours: A Photographic Introduction to The English Setter” is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Autographed copies can be ordered directly from the author on her website: www.pouka.com.

About Me

I'm an internationally award-winning pet photographer, digital artist, and author. My chili has won a few trophies as well! I live in Grove City, Ohio with a multitude of pets and a very patient school teacher. I love meeting new people and am more than happy to chat about dogs and photography.

Contact Me

The Lisping What?

The Lisping What?

If you're curious as to how this blog got its name, check out the Model Spotlight post about Finch. He's The Lisping Dog!

Top 10 Ohio Photographer

PRESS RELEASE | Grove City, OH – March 15, 2017The Professional Photographers of Ohio (PPO) held their annual convention in Shelby, Ohio at the Kehoe Center, March 10th through 12th. Approximately 350 photographers attended lectures, a trade show, swapped stories with fellow professionals, and participated in an image competition.  The competition judging was completed on Saturday and awards were handed out that evening where Danica Barreau, of Pouka Fine Art Pet Portraits in Grove City, was awarded the Studio Pro Group Pictorial Award for one of her composite images in the Artist category and was named one of the Top Ten Photographers in Ohio.

OK, that’s the official story! I flew back from a business trip in Denver just in time to drive up to Shelby to attend Photo Blast, the spring convention for PPO. I’d been stressing out for a couple weeks because, in addition to participating in the state image competition, I was also taking the written portion of my Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) exam. That meant that I’d been memorizing formulas for bellows factors, guide numbers, and exposure compensation equations as well as learning about lighting ratios, color theory, equipment calibration, and software usage. Yeah, it’s intense. All while prepping images for the critiquing of judges.

I attended the judging in person for the first time and that was a lot of fun. And about as nerve-wracking as you might expect when your own images come up for review! You sit in a dark room, silently watching as five judges examine and score images as they roll around (the images, not the judges). The fun part is always the “Challenge!” when a judge disagrees with the final score and then all five judges get to talk about it, and then re-score. Although challenges are stressful because that initial score could go up or down, it’s very interesting hearing the judges’ thought processes and the things that you could fix on your image to make it better. Even if you sometimes disagree, you have to keep completely quiet!!

The final scores from the judging were not quite what I was expecting. I scored lower on some images that I thought would do quite well and higher on images that I put in at the last minute to fill my case. In the end, on my eleven submissions, I scored one “Excellent”, five “Deserving of Merit”, and five “Above Average”.  I was hoping for a few more “excellents” but those scores are solid and better than I’ve done in the past. Of course, I can’t share any images until after the International Competition later this summer, sorry.

I do want to send a shout-out to the organizers of “Photo Blast” as well as to the PPO chairs, the speakers, judges, and all my fellow photographers. It was a great convention – I learned a lot and spent a lot of money, too. And of course, it’s always nice to see familiar faces and ooh and ahh over spectacular artwork. A special shout-out to my friend Susan Gertz who was crowned THE top photographer in Ohio! I always like to see talent recognized but it makes it super sweet when it’s a fellow pet photographer!!

What comes next? I’m waiting on confirmation that I’ve passed the written CPP exam and then I have to start building a portfolio of 15 images for the last part of the certification process. I’m making edits to those images that were challenged during the state competition so that I can submit them to Districts in the next two weeks. And I have to do some triage as I can only have eight images in the District and International Competition so three of those labors of love will have to go.

In between all that, I’m still working on client artwork! I haven’t forgotten about you!!

About Me

I'm an internationally award-winning pet photographer, digital artist, and author. My chili has won a few trophies as well! I live in Grove City, Ohio with a multitude of pets and a very patient school teacher. I love meeting new people and am more than happy to chat about dogs and photography.

Contact Me

The Lisping What?

The Lisping What?

If you're curious as to how this blog got its name, check out the Model Spotlight post about Finch. He's The Lisping Dog!