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Professional Photographers of Northeast Ohio

Welcome to our website! We'd like to introduce ourselves by saying that we are a group of professional photographers who want to learn through quality education, grow in knowledge and skill, and share in each others' successes as well as helping out in times of trouble. Most of all, we like to hang out together as friends, and we have the pleasure of doing that on the third Monday of every month, in the evening, unless there's an all day workshop. Our all day workshops are usually held on a weekend so those who have day jobs can attend these fabulous events. Our fellow photographers hail from all over northeast Ohio AND the western part of Pennsylvania! Yep! Our group is so awesome that some of our members come from a great distance to get in on the action. How cool is that?!

We have many members who have greatly benefited from this organization. It's all about connecting, socializing and networking with each other. You might find a mentor who will help you grow or you might learn some new skills that help you advance in your photography. No amount of isolating-yourself-and-trying-to learn-from-YouTube-videos can compare to the hands-on education you will receive, along with the camaraderie of being with others in the industry. Many of our educational speakers are international award winning photographers. They come to our meetings and workshops to share their knowledge and expertise. We do live demonstrations, hand's on studio portrait sessions, Adobe Photoshop editing, and much more. Our topics range from how to successfully run a business to creating beautiful portraits. Our goal is to become better photographers and business owners. We are all reaping the benefits from belonging to such a wonderful organization.

Here's a story that gives an example of what a group like ours is all about; a story that could have ended badly for one of our members, Brent Watkins, who is also the president of Professional Photographers of Ohio. He was the victim of a burglary. All of the equipment in his studio was stolen. As the sole provider for a family with children, Brent was not only devastated, but extremely concerned about his livelihood. He had clients booked but no camera, lights, or other equipment to do his work. What was he going to do? Fortunately, word spread fast, and when he talks about what happened next, tears well up in his eyes. To his amazement, the very next morning, a photographer unexpectedly walked through his door with some equipment. Then another photographer showed up with more equipment. And another... He says he didn't miss a beat thanks to the generosity of these people. His business did not go under. He was able to put food on the table for his family. Fortunately, Brent's story has a happy ending. THAT is the power of making friends in the industry by belonging to a group such as ours.




"It's every photographer's worst nightmare. You are two days away from photographing a wedding and you get a call that your mother is in the intensive care unit in another state. You can't go be with her because you have a contract, and the bridal couple is counting on you to be there for their big day, so what do you do? Grief-stricken, I picked up the phone and called one of our members, Dan Swain, who said his bridal couple had postponed their wedding so he had the day open. He agreed, without hesitation, to cover for me. I flew to North Carolina where I learned my mother only had two days to live. She'd suffered a massive stroke. The day that Dan and his wife, Connie, photographed the wedding for me was the day my mother passed my arms. Dan and Connie gave me the greatest gift anyone has ever given me: the chance to say goodbye to my mother. They had my back and I'm eternally grateful."

Kristy Steeves, M.Photog., Cr., CPP

"I met a photographer, whose name is Denny Valentine, when I was thinking about starting photography as a professional. I saw one of his ads in a magazine at a doctor's office I worked for and thought to myself, 'That is the kind of photography I want to do'. I gave him a call and he invited me over to his studio to look at my work and give me tips on what to do and what equipment to buy in order to get started. He also invited me to a meeting with the Akron Society of Professional Photographers (which is now Professional Photographers of Northeast Ohio). I was hooked and we hung out at all of the conventions together. Denny introduced me to other photographers and my career took off from there. I am where I am because of meeting him. He helped me immensely. You're a great guy Denny, a wonderful friend, and I am glad to have you in my life."

Karen Smith, M.Photog.

"Professional Photographers of Northeast Ohio has changed my life and my business. When I joined the organization a year and a half ago I was lost in my business. I wasn't taking the right steps to operate my business properly. This group opened my eyes to see the potential I had inside of me. They empowered me and gave me the tools I needed to grow as a professional. Most importantly they gave me support in so many ways. I didn't just make connections, I made friends. I made friends who wanted to see me succeed as much, if not more, than I knew I wanted for myself to succeed. They had my back. I owe a lot to this organization and they certainly have me as a member for life."

Courtney Minton

"I am a professional photographer located in Butler, PA. I have belonged to PPNEO for one year now, and even though it's a two-hour drive each way, it is worth my time and effort to attend these meetings. Every meeting has a speaker who talks about how to improve your photography, business and sales skills. They also offer workshops with some of the best Master Photographers in the business. They are there to encourage photographers who are working toward their personal goals. These are the reasons I go for my business, but the best part about PPNEO, is the the friends that I have made. From the very first meeting I attended they welcomed me into the group. I have made friends in this organization that I hope will be in my life for many years to come."

Marsha Lonchena

"I've been a photographer for a long, long time, and along the way have learned from the best. But there hasn't been a PPNEO meeting in which I haven't learned something new and valuable, either from one of the speakers, a workshop, or in discussions with other members. The group has helped me extend my knowledge into new areas while seeing how other working photographers exercise their craft, solve problems, and grow their businesses. Plus, it's rewarding to just enjoy the company of others who speak the same language."

David. D. Busch

"I have been a member of PPNEO for nearly 6 years. This organization continues to help me grow as a photographer. The education I've received through the monthly meetings and workshops has far exceeded my expectations. My fellow photographers in this group are always willing to help whenever I have a question about something I'm struggling with. I'm always encouraged to do better and to be better at my craft. I am currently studying for my CPP exam, something I have dreamed of having the confidence to pass. Once I pass that exam I will work on my Masters. They have taught me that the sky is the limit when it comes to learning my craft. We are all in this organization to help one another become better photographers and I've gained so many friends in the process. Each meeting I attend, I come away with something new to try, whether it be in sales, lighting, posing, or any aspect of photography, we are learning it. It is definitely worth the drive to attend these meetings."

Ginni Tuggle

"Being a member of PPNEO has many benefits. The speakers we have at our meetings come from all over the country to share their knowledge, keeping us up on the latest trends, and oftentimes providing us with hands' on workshops. Unlike learning on social media or Youtube, we can interact with the speaker, ask questions and get immediate answers. In addition, we get to network with other professional photographers in our area. I call this friendly competition. We steer potential clients to each other if we are unable to book them ourselves. I have even referred clients to another PPNEO member whom I trust. Not only is it important to supply high quality photography to our customers, but it's just as important to send customers in the right direction for work if we are unable to supply their requests. It is a win/win situation for everyone who belongs to this group. In one instance, Kristy Steeves, of Kristy Steeves Photography, referred me to a studio in Houston, TX that contacted her to do work for them. She was unable to do the job so she passed my name along to them. These are just two examples of the many benefits of being a member of PPNEO."

Dan Swain