Long Beach Fine Art Photographer Named Silver Medalist at International Photographic Competition • Long Beach Post

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PPA winning portaitures by Kristi Elias from left to right: “Solitude”, “Friends”, “Best Friends” and “Anastasia”. Photos by Gisela Merino.


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A golden sash is wrapped carefully around the corner of a young girl’s haunting portrait, her large pigtails exploding beside her fair skin. Kristi Elias moved the portrait beside four others with matching bands, her black nail polish reflecting against the dark frames.

The portrait “AnasKristi Sutton Elias Photography top 10 awardtasia,” along with many others, line the white walls of the photographer’s Shoreline Village studio. The small gallery is not only a sample for her local clients to gauge what they want, but it is a symbol of her latest accomplishment: Professional Photographers of America‘s (PPA) Silver Medalist.

Elias, who has been a professional photographer for 15 years, was awarded sixth place out of the Top 10 Photographers in California by PPA for the Western District with four pieces of her portraiture. Photographs are judged by PPA on their own virtues, rather than compared against competitors. Her works were then judged at the International Print Competition, where Elias was named Silver Medalist.

Silver Medalists are named by the inclusion of one photographic image into PPA’s Loan Collection and three images into PPA’s General Collection. Elias will receive an onstage honor at PPA’s annual convention Imaging USA, which will be held on Jan. 12-14, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Every fine art photo in Elias’s studio tells a romantic, dramatic story, from adventurous toddlers to waiting lovers. Many photos sessions begin on the beach in Long Beach, where clients and their families smile under the pier or stroll besides evening waves. From her Shoreline Village studio, Elias has the view of the Queen Mary to help set the mood during indoor sessions.

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After a week, clients return to discuss which professionally edited photographs to order as their timeless heirloom portraits. A corner of complementary beer, wine and champagne is provided to clients during their “date-night” order sessions.

While we discussed her clients and success, Elias sat at a plush stool–a typical photography prop–unbuckling a dark briefcase.

“These are the 2014 picks.” Elias said as she flipped through the enclosed portraits. “All four of these merited, so next year I’ll be up for the same awards.”

Elias3PPA members receive medalist designations by earning a merit, or mark of quality and honor, for each of four pieces entered, qualifying for the International Photographic Competition.

“I love competitions; I’m a competitive person in general.” Elias said. “The reason the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) and PPA are invaluable is because it forces you to push your work to higher level.”

A portrait of a soot-covered toddler playing atop a trunk hung by the black velvet and props used to create an indoor scene. “A Traveler’s Son” is one of Elias’ favorite pieces.

“I put more than 100 percent into each client I photograph,” Elias said. “You never know which client will end up as an award winning image.”

The fine art portraits are meant to capture a moment and should be cherished for generations to come.

More information on portraitures and charity discounts can be found at kristielias.com.

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