PPMT President’s Message-November 2017

PPMT President’s Message-November, 2017

Pushing Through

By Donna M. Butler, PPMT President


It’s that time of the year again and the holidays are just around the corner along with the cold weather.  A brisk chill in the air invigorates some while the thought of another approaching winter puts others on hibernation alert.  Some of us look forward to this time of year with great excitement and others with great dread.  And, many of us are in desperate need of motivation to push through. We all have days where we just don’t feel like doing anything. It’s raining out, we didn’t get enough sleep, it’s cold, we’re hungry, we had an all-around crappy day, the dishwasher, car and HVAC unit all died at the same time, whatever.  We’ve gotten through stuff before and we’ll get through it again.  And the thought of adding holiday shopping to the already crazy mix, with the extra traffic and crowded stores, can bring out the Grinch in the best of us.  It’s these moments when we just want to curl up despondently on the couch and escape from reality.

Life isn’t easy…business isn’t easy……photography isn’t easy… and success isn’t easy.  It takes lots of hard work, strong determination and pushing through. How many times have you put off something you really needed or wanted to do because you just didn’t feel like doing it? Probably too many times to count. Perhaps you feel overwhelmed which can cause a physical and mental paralysis in getting anything done. Maybe you are just disorganized, mentally cluttered and need to get your act together.  We have to ditch the excuses and find solutions. We just can’t give up when things get busy or difficult. We have a living to make, pictures to take and have to push through.

And, it’s perfectly fine and, in fact, necessary to take some time off every now and again to rest up, enjoy your family and hobbies.  Give your brain a break from work, electronics and social media and build some down time into your day. Rest, recreation and recuperation are vital to a balanced, healthy life and should be incorporated into your schedule.

Maybe you need to find a way to simplify and clarify the things you need to happen in your life. I believe setting a schedule and daily routine are very powerful and necessary in the life of a creative entrepreneur.  You can’t always wait for motivation or inspiration to strike in order to produce.  And it’s not even about the hustle.  We work hard but do we work smart?  Most successful people don’t rely only on motivation or inspiration or even a random spark of genius, but rather, on a consistent mastering of daily habits to achieve creative success. If you don’t have a schedule, it’s really easy to get stuck and avoid doing any work at all.  And, it’s ok to create some junk or less than stellar work along the way.  If you show up every day, you will eventually excel which will encourage you to push through and keep moving forward.

Similar to having a set schedule, I like to make lists…they keep me on track.  (I use a small 7” x 5” notebook to journal). Here’s how: make a list of all your “to-do’s” and arrange them in order of priority (I am definitely not a great time manager or productivity expert, so I like to get the tasks that take the least amount of time out of the way first when possible). Decide on at least three things you want to accomplish that day and what actions you need to take to get them done.  Focus on one task at a time. Multi-tasking is for the birds, if you ask me.  Then, just start doing! Try not to get distracted until you finish the task.  Put on some upbeat music if you need motivation.

Getting started is everything, and once you’ve accomplished one small task, you’re ready (and excited) to tackle another…and then another. If you need to take a break in between, set a time limit and stick to it.  Sometimes you just have to step away and take a deep breath.  Do something fun or take a walk around the block.  If you just can’t muster the wherewithal to accomplish much, and we’ve all had “those days”, try and do just one thing. Commit to just ten minutes…enough time to accomplish one small task. Even if all you did was ten minutes of work you still knocked out one small task.  This really works! High motivation is a result of repeated success and low motivation is a result of prior failures. When you start to see your accomplishments, you’ll want to get more done.

Next, check the tasks you have completed off your list.  Review and update your list frequently. Each night, I take a couple of minutes to think about and reflect on the day. I’m not a morning person and don’t have the desire or discipline to get up at 4 AM to have the quiet, solitude or focus I need for effective prioritization. So, evening works good for me.

I look at the “wins” I’ve had throughout the day — these are things that I’ve done well based on my priorities. This makes me feel good about what I did that day and going to bed each night with at least one win under my belt gives me optimism for tomorrow.

I also look at the “losses” I’ve had — these are the areas where I’ve blown it or didn’t accomplish what I set out to do. This helps me recognize what I can do better and also helps me push through with a positive attitude.

Then I revise my list and set my priorities for the next day — the top three things that I want to accomplish tomorrow. I would rather do small things on a consistent basis than to try and take on too much and fail.  Small wins and little accomplishments consistently, over time, add up to big returns.

On a side note, sometimes “life” gets in the way…circumstances happen, and we have to be flexible but pushing through doesn’t mean pushing to exhaustion.  It doesn’t mean getting on the preverbal hamster wheel of life, not getting any rest or getting sucked into the rat race.  It doesn’t mean working 18-hour days…day in and day out, ignoring your family or neglecting your needs.  And, it doesn’t mean not giving yourself grace during difficult times.  It does mean doing your best, defining your purpose, overcoming laziness, getting motivated, challenging yourself, using success systems and resources, and having the discipline to plan and stick to a schedule or, at least, make a list.

I hope these tips help you.  You know, you can get more great tips and free education from the top photographers and business professionals in the industry when you join the Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee. We are committed to your success. If you would like to become a PPMT member, we’d love to have you join us.  Our memberships are extremely affordable, and the value far outweighs your membership dues.  Visit our website and sign up here.

Our next opportunity to mingle and learn this month is at our regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, November 14th featuring Al Gordon.  His program is “Marketing Your Personal Projects to Build Your Wedding Business”.  I hope to see you there.

In the mean time, here’s to “Pushing Through”


Donna Butler, PPMT President


PPMT President’s Message-July 2017

PPMT President’s Message-July, 2017

The Possibilities are Endless

By Donna M. Butler, PPMT President


What a pleasure it has been to be a part of the Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee and to serve as President this year. I am so thrilled to see our association grow and succeed. We have welcomed 9 new members this year and encourage local photographers to be a part of PPMT.  The association has always emphasized growth in photography and fostered comradery.  We have everyone from beginners to seasoned pros…from amateurs to professionals with a love for photography.

Who ever anticipated the remarkable changes that photography would undergo over the years?  With the digital age and the ability to view and adjust on the spot, photography is easier…at least on the surface.

Photography is still a complex art/science with so many variables and ways of capturing an image but the basic principles still apply. Composition and exposure are paramount to photography. You must have the skills and technical knowledge and the ability to “see” a scene and photograph it in a way no one has. You must know the dials and buttons on your camera. To take it a step further, you must be able to edit images in computer software to create exceptional art that achieves your ultimate vision. There thousands of ways to take a picture and even thousands more to edit it.  The possibilities are endless!

As an art, photography is the “why”.  It is a means of visual expression used to interpret nature and the human condition.  It’s the ability to see, plan and visually compose an image, to find a unique message or something visually enticing to the viewer.  It’s the embodiment of the personality, the emotion, the talent, the imagination, the inspiration…the very soul of the image maker.

As a science, photography is the “how”.  It is a tool of measurement, calculation, and recording. It requires technical skill to understand the mathematical rules, the aesthetic geometry, the physics of light, the mechanics and engineering of the gear, the system of optics and to utilize the camera well to achieve what the art calls for.

The photographers in PPMT are exceptional and skilled photographers who work hard, seek to learn, strive to improve and they take pride in their images. To our gifted PPMT members, photography is not necessarily just an “art” or “science”.  It’s a life-long personal pursuit, a lifestyle.  It’s their “craft”.

Who knows what the future holds for PPMT?  With its rich past and strong membership, the potential for momentum and growth is there. The possibilities are endless. The needs of the membership will help guide the direction of PPMT. With member input and participation, the leadership will continue to work hard to keep the momentum moving forward. The organization will continue to provide learning opportunities and activities so members can continue to make their photographs exceptional and improve their craft!  Whether photography is for business or pleasure we are all here to help each other and to learn from each other.

Thanks for your continued support and hard work.  We rely heavily on volunteers to keep PPMT going and anything you can do to help the organization is good for everyone.  You can fill out our volunteer form and let us know about which opportunities you are interested in.  The Board of Directors is working hard on some great ideas and events for the rest of the year but even with all these great ideas, we REALLY need your help to make them come to life!

Our next opportunity to mingle and learn this month is our regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, July 11th  at Dury’s with Genna Sellers.  We will learn about food photography, including some of the tips and tricks that will take your imagery to the next level. (Details can be found HERE).

Speaking of fun…who doesn’t love a fun and friendly competition?  It’s good for the soul and gets the creative juices flowing.  We will have our Peers’ Choice Competition at our next regular monthly meeting in July, so get those images ready!***

If you would like to become a PPMT member, we’d love to have you join us.  Our memberships are extremely affordable and the value far outweighs your membership dues.  Visit our website and sign up here.

***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 July 11th.






Donna Butler,

PPMT President

PPMT President’s Message-June 2017


PPMT President’s Message-June, 2017

It’s All About Balance

By Donna M. Butler, PPMT President


It’s summertime!  And you know what that means: backyard barbecues, swimming, sunning, surfing, biking, hiking, road trips and spending time with family and friends. Fun, fun, fun!  It is a special time of year where we get to relax a bit more, get out in the sunshine and spend time with our families and friends.  (If you’re looking for fun, free things to do in Nashville, check out Ms. Cheap’s 2017 Guide to Summer)

When I look back over my life I realize it’s the little things that meant the most and there is nothing more important than the loved ones in our lives.  Every minute we get to spend with our family and friends is precious.  We have to take time from our busy schedules to “stop and smell the roses”; to take care of ourselves and those we love; to carve out meaningful lives outside of the demands of the world.  When we live frantic lives, we end up stressed out, moving from one thing to the next without pausing to enjoy the most important things in life.  We hit the fast-forward button and do not stop until it’s too late.  Which really isn’t much of a life at all.  And, add to that, we live in really tough times.  The world feels very unstable, our futures undermined, and everyone is feeling the impact of that instability.  People today are incredibly politically charged and hypersensitive, with vastly differing opinions and voices; we’re exposed to “fake” news, violence and incredible turmoil.  Happiness and peace seem elusive and unattainable in our world today.  Much of this chaos is a waste of time and energy…burdensome and unnecessary.  Who can possibly maintain any semblance of sanity in all this insanity or achieve any type of balance?

Despite these realities, we can create a satisfying and meaningful life.  We can take the time to enjoy the journey and appreciate life and those we are blessed to enjoy life with.  And, it’s all about balance.

Instead of just letting life happen, make deliberate choices about what is most important, what you want from life and how you want to spend your time.  Write your goals and priorities down on a sticky note and place it where you can see it throughout the day.  (Or make it your desktop wallpaper).  Make a priority list and stick to it.  Don’t just wait to see what time is left over in your day.  Make your life and family a priority.  If a task can wait, let it go.  If you have 20 tasks on your list you need to do everyday, how effective do you think your ability to focus will be?  Terrible, right?  You can’t expect to do all those things effectively if you’re too scatterbrained to focus.  You need to break it down to the essentials only.  Focus on only doing 2-3 important tasks a day but no more than that if you value family time.  While emergencies happen and situations come up, resist any temptation to get off track.  Many people go through life and get caught up in situations and circumstances that end up controlling them and find themselves in a place they really don’t want to be.  Learn to say NO when necessary and value your own time.  Sometimes you have to turn down jobs, especially if they aren’t really profitable.  You can’t do everything and you can’t please everyone.  You must pick and choose.  Perhaps you’re in a life-sucking job that you need to quit.  Find a life-giving, time sparing, uplifting job or career you’re passionate about.  Or perhaps you just need pare down the number of hours you are working.  It’s ok to slow down!  It’s ok to get out of the rat race.  It’s ok to explore different avenues and opportunities that give you more time for your life and your family.  You can also learn to live on less and cut the cable if need be.  If your goal is peace, sanity and more time for your life and family, you must evaluate what you must do to achieve these goals.  Acquiring more stuff and achieving more success is not the answer.  Like the old adage says, “You can’t take it with you”.  Here’s another good one, “I’ve never seen a hearse towing a u-haul”.

If you want to focus on the important things in life, turn off distractions!  Make it a priority to spend quality, uninterrupted time doing things you enjoy.  Be honest with yourself, do you ever just take time to be still and quiet?  Do you seek out things that are fun and allow you to get away from the pressures of everyday life?  Or, do you have some electronic device in your hands at all times?   Do you allow people to text or email you at all hours of the night and respond immediately?  How much tv do you watch every day?  Do you work beyond a normal 8-9 hour day?  When is the last time you took a family vacation? Do you attempt to multitask when, in reality, you’re just spinning your wheels?  Did you know that 80% of smartphone users check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up and the average user checks their phone 150 times a day?  This addiction must stop!  Limit your time on electronic devices, social media and email and spend more time on what matters most.  You’ll get more stuff done, too. Turn off the news!  Get out from in front of the computer, turn off the tv and take a walk…with your family.  Read a “real” book.  Invite some friends over for dinner or a card game or go out for coffee.  And, get some physical activity every day!  Summer is a great time for fun activities.  Even if you’re on a budget, you can have the time of your life this summer (check out Ms. Cheap’s 2017 Guide to Summer).

Summer always seems to pass by so quickly.  So today, my friends, remember life is too short…live it to the full now!  Lighten up, have some fun, laugh often, live big, love large and make as many memories as possible!  Don’t end up in your golden years with regrets of not having lived an enriched life; instead having wasted it on meaningless, unimportant things that drained your energy and sucked the very life right out of you.

While, we cannot control the things that are out of our control, we can achieve balance in a chaotic world by prioritizing our time and tasks.  And, with a strong support network, we can also thrive in difficult times. The key to everything in life is consistency and moderation.  It’s all about balance.  So, organize your time, make some fun summer plans with family and friends and seek out opportunities to simply enjoy experiences, make memories and savor life.

Thanks for your continued support and hard work.  We rely heavily on volunteers to keep PPMT going and anything you can do to help the organization is good for everyone.  You can fill out our volunteer form and let us know about which opportunities you are interested in.  The Board of Directors is working hard on some great ideas and events for the rest of the year but even with all these great ideas, we REALLY need your help to make them come to life!

Our next opportunity to mingle and learn this month is our regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, July 11th with Genna Sellers (location to be determined).  We will learn about food photography, including some of the tips and tricks that will take your imagery to the next level.

Speaking of fun…who doesn’t love a fun and friendly competition?  It’s good for the soul and gets the creative juices flowing.  We will have our Peers’ Choice Competition at our next regular monthly meeting in July, so get those images ready!***

If you would like to become a PPMT member, we’d love to have you join us.  Our memberships are extremely affordable and the value far outweighs your membership dues.  Visit our website and sign up here.



***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 July 11th.






Donna Butler,

PPMT President



PPMT Summer Picnic Potluck-June, 2017

Food, Fellowship and Fun!  What could be better?

You’re invited to our PPMT Summer Picnic on June 13th at 4pm at Two Rivers Park, 3150 McGavock Pike, Nashville, TN 37214

Bring a dish and join the fun!

For details, visit the PPMT website calendar


You must RSVP and let us know what you will bring.

RSVP and potluck sign up here

This is an “open” event and you may bring family members or a guest. We look forward to seeing you there!

You don’t want to miss our next monthly meeting with Genna Sellers on July 11, 2017.   Genna Sellers will be sharing her enthusiasm for food photography including some of the tips and tricks that will take your imagery to the next level. Visit our website calendar for more information.

If you would like to become a PPMT member click HERE.  We’d love to have you join us!

PPMT President’s Message-May 2017

PPMT President’s Message- May, 2017

View from the Top

By Donna M. Butler, PPMT President



I hope you have enjoyed the first quarter of 2017! The excitement at PPMT continues to build as our membership grows and we continue to work toward our goals. I am excited about our new committees and encourage each of you to serve in some capacity on a PPMT committee.  We rely heavily on volunteers to keep PPMT going and anything you can do to help the organization is good for everyone.  You can fill out our volunteer form and let us know about which opportunities you are interested in.  The Board of Directors is working hard on some great ideas and events for the rest of the year but even with all these great ideas, we REALLY need your help to make them come to life!

Our next opportunity to mingle and learn this month is our regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 9th.  We will be learn about “Bold Business Strategies”, presented by Trish Logan. We will meet at Golden Corral at 315 Old Lebanon Dirt Rd, Hermitage, TN 37076

Additionally, I want to say congratulations to the winner of last month’s Peers’ Choice competition:  Dorma Tabisz. You can read more about the story behind her winning image “Ruffle My Feathers” on our website blog.  All the images were fantastic and I want to encourage you to get your images prepared for our next Peers’ Choice Competition at our next monthly meeting on May 9th.

Now let’s talk about motivation.  We all want more of it.  But just what exactly is it? A mystical force that some people naturally possess and others can only hope for?  A mix of discipline and desire where we must create the necessary impetus? A light-bulb moment we wait for or draw upon whenever needed? Motivation is defined as the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.  It’s what compels us to take action.  It’s energy for motion that propels us forward.  It is a commitment to doing what is worthwhile and keeps us out of a spiral of procrastination.  We know what we “need” to do but we often don’t “want” to do it.  Nearly anything worthwhile in life is uphill and requires work on our part to attain it. We just have to put in the effort to get what to where we want to go.  But how if you lack motivation?

Motivation waxes and wane. Some days we have more and other days, it seems we’re on the struggle-bus without a single spark in sight.  Everything seems like an arduous climb up a mountain with unforgiving turns, steep inclines and fierce, unpredictable weather.  Life is often like that:  unpredictable…fierce…up-hill.   It is an easy deterrent to motivation, for sure.  It’s easy to get discouraged and tired…and, well, UN-motivated.  In fact, many people are so discouraged, they don’t want to climb the mountain at all. They don’t care about the view from the top.  They choose to wait at the bottom and let whatever is at the top roll down on them! Maybe they are afraid of the climb. Maybe they don’t think they can make it to the top. Maybe they don’t have the energy or stamina necessary to go up the hill. Maybe they lack the discipline. Or maybe they are unsure if what’s the at the top is worth the climb? Does it ever get easier?  Oh, what is life, if not the sum of a thousand daily battles and a thousand more tiny decisions to either gut it out or give up? And, just when it looks like a breakthrough is near, another challenge presents itself; another setback, another brutal, rocky path.  How do you scale that mountain of doubt, hardship and struggle and get motivated?  Obviously, it makes sense to plan ahead and be as prepared for obstacles as you can in advance.  Sometimes it’s difficult to overcome some of the biggest boulders you’ll find along the way and you need to get help from others.  Sometimes a helping hand is all you need to get going.  Or perhaps you just need to remove smaller things that are blocking your path…Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or whatever other social procrastination network you’re part of.  Take one step at a time.  Re-evaluate and adapt, if need be. You simply do what you are able to do and keep in mind what the view from the top will look like. There is no need to over-do it and risk injury.  Keep everything in perspective and in balance.  And don’t look back…it’s counter-productive.  Dwelling on the past or the “woulda, coulda, shoulda’s” only fuels fear and will never get you to the top.  Focus on the next destination, then the next.  A series of “nexts” along your journey…not the summit…not the final destination. Get your next foothold or set up the next base camp…enjoy it, celebrate it, rest up and then get going again.  It’s discipline; it’s hard work and consistency.  And, you will need rest stops along the way; time to catch your breath, refuel and recover.

The key is to be specific about how much time you will take to rest.  Scheduling tasks and breaks is a great way to automate motivation and get things done.  It puts your decision-making on auto-pilot.

Another way to muster motivation is to work on tasks that are achievable yet challenging; not too hard and not too easy. This is known as the “The Goldilocks Rule”, a phenomenon James Clear named after the fairy tale, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. It states that “humans experience peak motivation and happiness when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right”.  If you’re feeling unmotivated to work, it is often because the task has drifted into an area of boredom or into an area of great difficulty. Work on tasks that follow the Goldilocks Rule to maintain motivation.  Outsource when necessary.

Write stuff down and make a plan that will help you navigate the mountainous terrain. Try the “The Ivy Lee Method” Charles M. Schwab used to increase productivity at his company. At the end of each day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks. Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance. When tomorrow arrives, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day. Repeat this process every day. It helps you stay focused, prevents indecision and removes the friction of starting, which is just as important as succeeding at all.

I always say, though, if you are in a real funk, feeling under the weather and completely unmotivated to do anything, do something productive for 10 minutes.  Give yourself 10 minutes.  This is often enough of a start to get you “in the zone” and generate even more motivation.  The idea is to make it as easy as possible to get started and then trust that momentum will carry you further into the task after you begin. Once you start doing something, it’s easier to continue doing it.  On particularly challenging days, sometimes the simple act of just showing up itself is a victory.  So, show up for 10 minutes if that is all you can muster.  If you have the ability to finish one small 10-minute task, even when you don’t feel like, you have the victory.  Chances are you will feel better about yourself for the accomplishment and, well…motivated.

Thanks for your continued support and hard work.  Here’s to a great second quarter, to an extraordinary view from the top and to motivation!!!


Donna Butler, President

Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee

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.