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Board Members

2024 Board of Directors

Chairman of Board: John Tulipano, M.Photog.,CPP

John has been a member of PPANI since February of 2015, I served as Treasurer from October 2016 until December of 2019, and President from January 1st of 2020 until December 31st of 2022, and now currently chair of the Board effective January 1st, 2023.

JLT Photography is the creation of John Tulipano who left the corporate world 12 years ago in order to do what he loves on a full time basis.

John’s love of photography began in a high school photography class and quickly grew from a yearbook photographer into a fire photographer out of his childhood fascination with fire trucks. He feels fortunate to be able to capture intriguing and heroic moments of our first responders as well as utilize his artistry in lighting in order to create stunning portraits and headshots. Johns love of architecture and people has greatly influenced his creativity and his thoughtfulness is abundant in his eye for detail.

John is a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) and a member of Professional Photographers of America (PPA) where he continuously updates his skills and learns the latest trends and technology. JLT photography has received many prestigious honors including features in multiple publications as well as the coveted position of front cover numerous times, on Firehouse Magazine.

President: Maria Heineman MPhotog, CR, CPP

Maria began her career in photography working for a retail children’s & family studio, and then spent 20+ years in the school portrait industry as a photographer, photo manager & trainer.

After 2020’s covid shutdown, she shifted gears and began photographing boudoir and real estate as a contract photographer which has allowed her to focus more on her own studio and client work.

A “jack of all trades,” she has photographed genres including newborn, children, high school seniors, family, volume school and sports, weddings, boudoir, aerial and real estate, but mostly enjoys projects that force her to stretch her creativity and think differently.

Vice-President: Michael Lee M.Photog, CPP

Michael Lee has been a working photographer in the Chicagoland area for nearly 15 years, offering services in portrait, commercial, and event photography.  He is a Master Photographer, Certified Professional Photographer, and CPP Liaison and he has earned numerous awards both from his landscapes and client work.  From products to portraits, he has developed a full-time home-based studio that offers a diversity of services to an equally diverse clientele ranging from the average family to multinational corporations.

Secretary: Maureen Miller, CPP

Maureen’s creative journey began with drawing as a child, followed by the discovery of photography in high school. She then pursued a graphic design degree in college, but her path soon shifted towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis on photography.

Three decades later, she remains deeply entrenched in the photography industry. Her diverse experiences have spanned across retail studio management, wedding photography, high-end studio portraiture, volume photography, and even training. These experiences have all played a crucial role in the establishment and growth of her own successful photography businesses.

She credits their lifelong learning through Professional Photographers of America (PPA) as a major factor in their ability to adapt, grow, and thrive in the ever-evolving industry. They are also incredibly grateful for the supportive community and educational resources offered by the Professional Photographers Association of Northern Illinois (PPANI). They look forward to what the future holds in this ever-fascinating field.

For her, the science of photography is a beautiful blend of technical expertise and emotional connection. While she finds immense joy in creating captivating imagery, she is even more drawn to the profound impact their photographs have on their clients. After all, capturing and preserving precious moments is a truly magical experience.

Her guiding principle: "Photography IS A BIG DEAL!"

Treasurer: Carrie White CPP

As a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP), Carrie has demonstrated a commitment to excellence in their craft. This distinction signifies their completion of rigorous coursework on lighting, technique, equipment, and even unique photography situations. Furthermore, their photography has been critically evaluated and recognized as demonstrating professional quality.

Their expertise has been validated through successfully passing both a written examination and an image evaluation administered by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), the leading organization dedicated to certifying imaging professionals. This certification isn't simply a one-time achievement, but rather requires ongoing renewal, guaranteeing their continued commitment to education and upholding the highest standards within the industry.

Their dedication extends beyond individual certification, as they actively participate as a member of the Professional Photography Association of America (PPA) and currently hold a position on the Executive Board for the Northern Illinois chapter.

Driven by an insatiable passion for photography, they describe themselves as a "photographer junkie," constantly seeking new opportunities to learn and refine their skills. This unwavering dedication translates into meticulous effort poured into every shot, fueled by the understanding that each captured moment holds immense significance for their clients.

Speaker Chair/Marketing ChairCarol DeAnda CPP

Since childhood, Carol had always been drawn to art, often seen with a camera in hand even during their school days. Their love for creativity extended to intricately posing Beanie Babies against various backdrops around their house. Encouraged by her supportive grandfather, who readily accommodated her requests for multiple print copies of her beloved Benie Babies.

Upon entering high school, they explored various artistic mediums, yet it was photography that captured their heart. She attended Harrington College of Design's Digital Photography program in 2008 marked the beginning of their professional journey. Initially employed by a start-up named Bella Baby, they flourished, eventually founding their own venture, DeAnda Photography, shortly thereafter in 2010. By 2019, their business had soared, culminating in the establishment of their own studio space.

Rejecting the notion that success lies solely in specialization, their clientele spanned headshots, family portraits, and weddings, ensuring a dynamic and evolving career. Additionally, they ventured into aerial photography for commercial listings and real estate.

Their involvement with Professional Photographers of America (PPA) commenced in 2012, yet it wasn't until 2019, when they crossed paths with Beth and Maria, that they discovered PPANI and immersed themselves in its vibrant community. Certified as a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) and a Master Wedding Photographer Degree, they actively pursued further accreditation, aiming for Craftsman and Master of Photography Degrees. Their commitment to their craft and community was evident in their roles on the PPA Council for Illinois and as a committee member for the online content advisory committee, fulfilling them with joy as they serve their fellow photographers.

Host Chair: Julie Monacella CPP

Julie has always had a desire to create beauty. However, their analytical side initially steered them towards an eight-year career in engineering as a Systems Engineer in the telecommunications industry. Following a break to focus on their young children, a prior certification in facilitating corporate training programs, acquired before starting a family, reignited a passion for understanding people and their professional journeys. This experience involved facilitating programs in communication skills, public speaking, leadership, and human relations for a leading company in the professional development industry. They deeply enjoyed learning about people, companies, and their respective industries, while assisting them in achieving their goals.

Upon launching a photography business in 2006, it quickly flourished, becoming their sole career path, a decision they have never regretted. Photography has provided the remarkable opportunity for both the logical and creative sides of their mind to work in harmony, fulfilling a lifelong desire. This perfect marriage of art and science, infused with a profound sense of passion, has fueled their continuous pursuit of excellence.

They firmly believe that surrounding oneself with talented individuals is paramount to growth. This conviction is one of the reasons they deeply value the esteemed Northern community. The remarkable photographers within this group, along with the unparalleled local connections fostered, provide an invaluable network that continues to nurture their artistic journey.

Membership Chair: Becka McKiness

Becka's journey into the world of photography started with a love of movies. Unexpectedly she found a profound passion for capturing emotions that lead her to specialize in freezing moments that tell powerful stories.

While weddings occupy a significant portion of Becka’s schedule, she extends her artistry to include family portraits and branding sessions. Becka also takes on opportunities to immerse herself in the vibrant world of music. She occasionally captures live concerts of bands and musical artists she adores.   

Becka attributes her growth and willingness to embrace new challenges to her involvement with PPANI. This community of like-minded creatives has been a wellspring of inspiration, pushing her to expand her horizons and refine her skills.      

Godfather: Bruce Van Pelt

Bruce, affectionately known as "The Godfather" within the PPANI community, stands as the unassuming maestro behind Brighter Visions Photography since 1994. His quiet dedication led him to join PPANI and PPA, where he skillfully captured the nuances of weddings, families, children, seniors, and diverse commercial projects. Bruce's journey took on a distinctive note as he served on print committees for both PPANI and APPI, ultimately earning the title of Print Chairman at PPANI from 2005 to 2022. Fondly bestowed with the moniker "the godfather" due to his longstanding history on the PPANI board, Bruce's impact resonates far beyond his lens. Modesty and wisdom define his legacy, making him a revered figure in the world of photography.

Member Benefits

 - Members only programs

 - Exceptional Education from the nations finest photographic educators

 - Network of active professionals in the industry offering guidance and support

 - Print Competition to aid your growth as an artist

 - Discounts with photographic retailers

 - Scholarship programs to fund further photographic excellence

 - ImagingUSA  Scholarship

 - PPA Membership Scholarship

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