Announcing PPMT’s April Peers’ Choice Competition Winner-Dorma Tabisz

Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee

is pleased to announce the winner of this month’s Peers’ Choice Competition: award-winning photographer from Franklin, TN, Dorma Tabisz. 

This month’s winning image was selected by votes cast by PPMT’s top professional photographers.

Congratulations to Dorma and thank you to all those who participated.  Our next Peers’ Choice Competition will be held at our May 9th monthly meeting.


In her own words, Dorma shares the story behind her winning image, “Ruffle My Feathers”…

“Ruffle My Feathers is an art piece created from an image taken at Brookgreen Gardens near Murrells Inlet, SC.  My original image is just the beginning of my process in which I used several Photoshop techniques to achieve my final look.  The background is from my texture collection.  The bird is processed using the oil paint filter in Photoshop.  Using masks and the mixture brush enabled me to clean up the birds edges and lengthen the feathers over the texture.  It was very important to diminish the harsh highlights from the afternoon sun and enhance the shadows around the body of the bird to give it dimension.

I have been a photographer for about 16 years now.  I chose to begin my business a few years after that.  I prefer the artsy side of photography, however I also photograph families, high school seniors, professional headshots, and am an assistant wedding photographer.  I have been a member of PPA for over 12 years now, and joined TNPPA 10 years ago this summer.  I have served as President of our PPMT organization and am a past president of TNPPA.  I was awarded my PPA Masters of Photography degree in 2015.  I wear that ribbon and my state degrees (Tennessee Certified Degree and Tennessee Service Degree) proudly.  I am most proud of achieving the 3rd place award in the International Kodak Award competition.  I never would have believed someone if they had told me that I would achieve any of these distinctions.  I could not have done it without the support of my local PPA affiliate (PPMT), my state PPA affiliate (TNPPA), and PPA.  The education received has been exemplary.  The friendships are priceless!!”

The Peers’ Choice Competition is presented by the Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee (PPMT), Middle Tennessee’s official trade association of professional photographers and local affiliate for the Professional Photographers of America.

Click HERE to learn more about PPMT’s Peers’ Choice Competition.

To view all of this month’s Peers’ Choice Competition entries visit our online gallery 

SOMETHING NEW: PPMT Peers’ Choice Competition (April 11, 2017)


We have something new and exciting going on!  Our Peers’ Choice Competition will be held at our monthly meetings from now on (with the exception of select events or programs).

It’s a way to challenge members to compete and improve their photography.  The ultimate goal is to reward a member as PPMT “Photographer of the Year” for achievement and excellence in photography.  We will be featuring the winning entries on the blog every month.

We are also discussing ideas for expanding the “Photographer of the Year” program to include other avenues of excellence such as service, providing content for the website, etc. This is in the works, however, but we are starting with the monthly Peers’ Choice Competition.  And, I want to give a BIG thank you to Dorma Tabizs for heading this program up.

So get those images printed to compete at our next meeting, April 11th, 2017.  You must provide an accompanying digital file of your image by uploading at the link at the bottom of this email or on portable storage media at the meeting.

Details can be found at our website under the events tab.  (Please follow the submission guidelines).


How it works:

At each of our monthly meetings, PPMT members at any paid membership level can submit up to two 8 x 10 or 8×12 prints for judging and voting by their peers in the PPMT’s Peers’ Choice Competition with an entry fee of $3.oo per image.  Any paid member may compete and place; however, competitors in the Student and Aspiring membership levels are not eligible for the “Photographer of the Year” award and do not receive reward points. There are no set categories or restrictions on subject matter or genres at this time.  PPMT members vote by secret ballot on the images and the highest scores win.  Those who win are awarded points toward PPMT’s “Photographer of the Year”, if eligible.  The winner each month receives 2 points towards “PPMT Photographer of the Year” and a door prize.  Points earned from the votes cast by PPMT members are accumulated during the course of each year. The eligible photographer who earns the highest annual point total is awarded the prestigious PPMT Peers’ Choice Competitions “Photographer of the Year”.  All award-winning images in our Peers’ Choice Competitions are published in gallery showcase on our website. Each month’s winner and “Photographer of the Year” will be featured on our website blog.


Required Guidelines for Submitting Images:

Make sure you follow all the submission guidelines so your print is eligible to receive votes for the Peer’s Choice monthly competition and “Photographer of the Year” awards.

  • Prints can only be submitted by PPMT members at any membership level (all members may vote in the competition).
  • Prints must be accompanied by a $3 entry fee per print (paid at the meeting).
  • Each print must be un-mounted but may be placed in a protective sleeve.
  • Entrant must have captured and created the original exposure.
  • Entries must not violate copyright rules.
  • The longest edge of the print must be no shorter than 8 inches and no longer than 12 inches.
  • Print entries should not have any markings that identify the photographer.
  • Prints will be accepted between 6:00pm and 7:00pm at the meeting site. (voting will take place during the meeting).
  • Prints must be accompanied by a digital image file submitted prior to 7:00pm. (There are two ways to submit digital files).
    • Entries will not be accepted without a digital copy provided in advance of the competition (for online exhibit and publishing purposes).
    • Digital images may either be submitted via the upload link on this page or in-person on a disposable, portable digital media storage.
    • Digital images must have the following specifications:
      • jpeg in sRGB
      • 2000 pixels on the longest side
      • Less than 2 MB in file size
      • Filename structured as such: FirstName_LastName_ImageTitle. (Example: Bob_Jones_SeeSpotRun.jpeg)
    • Accompanying digital image file submissions (not print entries) may have a small, unobtrusive watermark identifying the photographer or the photographer’s studio. NOTE: Print entries with any markings that identify the photographer will not be accepted.
    • In case of a “tie”, the winning entry will be voted on and determined by the PPMT board of directors.

Upload April 2017 Images Here



PPMT President’s Message-April, 2017

PPMT President’s Message-April, 2017

Getting Going is Half the Battle

By Donna M. Butler, PPMT President

I can’t believe one third of 2017 has passed by. Where, oh where, does the time go? While we have accomplished much already, there’s still a ton of things I would like to see happen for our association. We are setting goals and exploring new ways to improve PPMT and attract new members. We have to make our association a fun, exciting and great resource for Middle Tennessee Photographers. We have to make joining PPMT a “no-brainer” and we aim to provide a plethora of additional member benefits and resources in the coming months and years.

If I were to pick a theme for this year, it would be centered around growth, innovation and momentum. While it’s true that innovation is all about creating new and unique ideas and designing better methods or systems that keep pace with an everchanging industry, it’s, really, only part of the equation. Positive change with substantial growth is the long-term goal. A crucial element, which is as important, if not arguably more important than innovation, is the ability to create momentum along the way. According to Newton’s first law of motion, an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. This is as true in any endeavor as it is in physics. Getting going is half the battle but a long-term momentum strategy will keep us going and help us get the results we planned for. Generating new ideas or crafting unique strategies are futile if we don’t have the tools, techniques and commitment to drive change and continued, sustainable growth.

It is equally important to remember that the initial enthusiasm, effort and drive associated with innovation are difficult to maintain without a way to “keep the ball rolling”, so to speak. Often times, our energy and motivation start to wane as setbacks occur, frustrations set in, or plans get diverted. So, how do we create momentum?

First of all, everyone needs to be involved. While the board is working diligently behind the scenes, a healthy organization is not run from the top down. Together we can foster a culture of innovation and embrace real change but we need greater member support and participation in the affairs and functioning of PPMT. We cannot expect the work to be done solely by a few elected board officials. Attending meetings, participating in activities, providing feedback and volunteering on committees are a few ways members can gain a greater sense of camaraderie or “purpose” and help make PPMT a remarkable experience for everyone. Furthermore, if each member gives a little of their time and talents, no one individual is spread too thin. And, since we live in a “digital” age, so much can be done online, using technology as a tool of communication, creativity and coordination.

Secondly, as we move forward, we start to see the fruits of our labor. Confidence builds. Pride in our accomplishments and positive reinforcement go a long way in building momentum. Action drives more action. Little victories lead to big victories. Small accomplishments lead to larger ones. As the word spreads about how awesome it is to belong to PPMT, we gain more traction in our membership base and create momentum by building on that energy and enthusiasm. As momentum builds. We begin to feel a sense of great achievement and the impossible becomes possible. Please consider the skills, knowledge and abilities you have to offer PPMT and help in any way you can within your comfort zone.

Finally, in order to sustain momentum for the long term, communication is key. We must discuss what is working and what is not. We must then tackle challenges with originality, measure our results and respond to feedback, periodically review and adjust the goals and targets to be met and keep an eye on the big picture.

So, in the coming months and years, expect more! Expect some positive changes and get involved! In the mean time, I look forward to seeing you at our next PPMT meeting April 11th featuring speakers Bert Behnke, Hanson Fong and Michael Taylor. You don’t want to miss this one!

***Don’t forget to bring your 8×10 or 8×12 Print (up to 2) and the $3 entry fee per image for the Peer’s Choice Competition April 11th.

You can find out the details here:






Donna Butler, President

Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee

PPMT Board Meeting April 6, 2017

Hi Everyone,

Our next board meeting is Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 6pm at the 100 Oaks Panera. All PPMT members are invited and encouraged to attend.

We will meet at 6pm at the 100 Oaks Panera. We can eat and fellowship for about 30 minutes before actually starting the meeting.

As always, bring your ideas and suggestions to the meeting for discussion.

See you Thursday, April 6th. I look forward to a productive meeting.


PPMT Meeting with Scott Barker-March 14, 2017

This month Scott Barker will be our host for the PPMT meeting.

We will meet around 6 pm at his business location, Lane Photography.
434 Houston St., Nashville, TN 37203

The title of his program:
“Meeting Client Expectations-Going Above and Beyond”

Why client meetings are so important. Connecting with your client before the wedding, and how it helps you capture better wedding day images. How to deal with client expectations and difficult clients. And how to turn a disappointed client into your best positive word of mouth advertising.

Scott Barker is the owner of Lane Photography, a wedding and portrait photographer based in Nashville TN. Since 2006 he has photographed over 300 weddings, and a multitude of newborn and portrait sessions. He also rents out his natural light studio to other photographers in the Nashville TN area. He is an avid motorcycle rider, loves tattoos and enjoys connecting with his clients on a level that lets him be seen as a friend on their wedding day and not just a photographer.

Check it out on our Facebook Event Page or on our website calendar

PPMT President’s Message-March, 2017

PPMT President’s Message-March, 2017
Spring forward…Spring into action
By Donna M. Butler, PPMT President

The “busy” ness of the holidays are behind us and we have settled into 2017. A new year, a new start.

The early spring we have experienced here has been really nice (unless we didn’t get enough cold to kill off all the bugs coming in Summer; but, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it). I must say, I have enjoyed the pleasant temperatures and early spring-like weather. Spring gives us a renewed energy, a forward-looking hope, a little pep in our step. Springtime refers to ideas of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth. Spring brings transformation and change; from darkness to light, from cold to warmth, from grey to bursts of color. We see the signs of new growth and opportunity. As long, dark nights turn to lighter, longer days, new life emerges in the warmth and we look forward to bright and beautiful colors in our lives. There’s a bustling in our neighborhoods which seemed eerily quiet…and suddenly there are people where there used to only be lonely sidewalks.

But, we often get severe weather in the Spring in Tennessee. Spring brings struggle. The force of nature can be sheer terror and uncertainty. Just this morning, a powerful, angry storm and sheer winds wreaked havoc throughout my neighborhood peeling siding off effortlessly, toppling 6 ft. wooden fences, leveling patio furniture, backyard sheds and gas grills to nothing and propelling roof shingles through the air like Frisbees. Unstable weather is caused by the changing orientation of the earth’s axis relative to the Sun when warm air begins to creep in from lower latitudes, while cold air is still pushing from the Polar regions. Life can be a lot like Spring in Middle Tennessee. The storms of life come upon us suddenly and it sometimes feels overwhelming and daunting. It’s inconvenient and challenging to deal with the aftermath of storms. We just don’t have the time or energy…or extra resources. We get frustrated and lose heart. But, we don’t give up. We keep moving forward. The storms pass and we recover. We bounce back and resume life as we know it and we don’t remain in any one season or cycle in life indefinitely. Perhaps we learn something along the way. And, in the process, we realize we are more resilient than we thought. We are resourceful. Yes, sometimes we need help. That’s what friends and family are for and that’s what PPMT is all about. We are a group of like-minded artists and regular people here to support and encourage each other. We know what you’re going through and want to help in any way we can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it and don’t forget to pay it forward when you get the chance.

Facing the storms in life with a confident hope that warmer, brighter days are ahead gives us the courage to persist through the hardships and motivates us to work toward the next season ahead. The promise of green buds after a season of difficulty and hard work propel us forward. Spring inspires us to feel hopeful about starting anew, doing something different, making a change, trying again, overcoming, reevaluating, persisting, and believing something awesome and colorful is ahead. We want to clean out the accumulation of months past, tackle those projects on the to do list we eagerly created the first of the year and change for the better.

What challenges will you overcome and what new growth will you focus on this Spring? It starts with your mindset and attitude, and then carries over in your work ethic, your actions and your choices. Understand that transformation is not easy and storms in life will come. You must be prepared for unexpected events and adapt as life dictates. And, it’s not all or nothing…life ebbs and flows just as seasons do. Spring is a great time to evaluate your choices so far, learn from any setbacks and revise your plan as needed. What worked, what didn’t? Write it down. Create a plan. What did you learn and what will you do differently in the weeks and months to come?

Entrepreneurship is an adventure, a journey, and like any great story, it has peaks and valleys. It also has great rewards. There will be good days as well as bad days. Some of the days will have you feeling like you’re defeated and other days, on top of the world, but press on, adjust and innovate. If you don’t innovate, you will die in a sea of competition. When you do have those bad days, don’t lose hope. Don’t give up. In just a few weeks, you’ll be weeding your newly planted garden and anticipating the harvest. It’s not always easy. It’s hard work but remember your “why”…why you do what you do. Believe in yourself! Take one day at a time, one step at a time. Keep moving forward, put in the work and keep growing. Do something every single day to improve yourself and your business. Do what you can, in faith and confidence, that wherever the journey leads you, it will be for your greatest good. At the end of the day, success is up to you. You can choose to accept things the way they are, or you can “Spring forward and spring into action”.  It’s your choice.


Donna M. Butler, President

The Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee


Click HERE to join PPMT today!

President’s Message-January, 2017

As PPMT President for the 2017 year, I am honored to serve this organization and its members. I look forward to an exciting year working on your behalf with a great board of directors. PPMT has meant so much to me over the years both personally and professionally.

As we reflect on the past year, I believe that we have many reasons to be proud of our accomplishments. In 2016, we brought numerous experts and industry leaders to our monthly meetings who inspired us and taught us so many wonderful things. Our sponsors generously provided hundreds of products and services for our monthly door prize drawings.

We launched our new website in October to better serve our association’s membership. With a clean, fresh and more modern design, our website is easier to navigate and much more functional in communicating with our members and community of professional photographers. As a result, a new member benefit has been added in 2016: an advanced customizable membership profile and directory system.

These accomplishments would not have been possible without the continued commitment and service of our leadership, our valued members and sponsors. It truly was a great year for PPMT.
With that, I ask you to join me in thanking the 2016 PPMT Board of Directors and our immediate past president, Dana Lunden, for their dedication to making our association a success.

We have an exceptional legacy as our foundation as we work together to build a better association and a better community. With the start of the new year, your board of directors is working diligently behind the scenes to provide the education, support, and activities that you want.

Our 2017 goals are to improve member benefits, to grow our membership, to form specialized committees, to organize new events, activities and opportunities for professional camaraderie and growth. However, maintaining a great organization requires the dedication and hard work of many. Every member can make a difference and I urge each of you to continue your active participation and ardent support. Make it a goal to attend as many meetings this year as you can and encourage other photographers you know to join PPMT.

Often, we do not realize how important we are to each other and to the community we serve. Our everyday routines may seem mundane and miniscule, but what we do profoundly impacts the lives of so many around us. What we can accomplish together as a team, as The Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee, is also extremely important and full of potential. We have to be the spark in our community. We must never let the fire of our passion for the people we serve and for the industry grow dim. If we build a fire, then merely sit and watch it, it will burn out. We need to feed it fresh tinder and stoke the ash. Every fire needs fuel: the flames of our passion, inspiration, knowledge and creativity. Together, we can build a big fire.

I look forward to fanning the flames of our creativity together, to share inspiration, ideas and to help each other as we continue our journey along the path we have chosen for ourselves – to be the best professional photographers that we can be. At PPMT we strive to be the local organization that does this, through our monthly meetings with guest speakers, mentoring, photography critiques and competitions, fellowship opportunities and networking. as well as opportunities to strengthen and grow our organization.

Thank you for your continued support and your friendship. Let’s make this a great 2017 for the Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee.

Donna Butler
PPMT President