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Board Members

Chairman of Board: John Tulipano, 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: Kathryn Northcott MPhotog, CR, CPP

Started my interest in photography at age 8 with a polaroid camera given to me by my grandmother. Used it at about age 10 photographing some Revel brand  plastic model Animals for a national contest. I won 3rd place - a bright shiny new bicycle!  Then went full force by age 12 learning how to develop B&W film from my mom’s discarded Kodak home film developing kit. There were horses kept across the street, and as any 12 year old girl, I loved them.  So photographing them was my way of getting to spend time with them. By my 8th grade graduation, I asked for an enlarger, as making contact prints from Brownie sized film as getting boring. Mom’s answer was “No, this is just a phase you are going through.”  So I bought my own Bessler 26a enlarger with 2 lenses with my 8th grade graduation gift money - a whole $106. I used it til age 30. 

     Started my studio in the parent’s home at 18,  where I stayed until the house next door became available, when again - mom urged - “Buy that house and move your crap out of here.” My studio still resides there. As you see, my Mother was a strong driving influence in my photography career. Took my first real portrait photography classes at the original Winona School, in Winona Lake, Indiana at age 20.  I’ve continually tried to take a 1 week class as often as I can. There’s always something new to learn.

    Got married at 27. Husband (now Ex), said I was too stupid to figure out his DOS computer that I was trying to use in the early 90’s, so he found me a Mac Classic.   The Macintosh operating system I could understand, that was back in the Pre-Windows days, and I’ve been a fan ever since.  Thankfully we got divorced shortly afterwards, and during those boring evenings, I stated teaching myself this interesting little program called Photoshop, version 2.  

   It was about that time frame that I became involved with PPANI, an all APPI (associated Professional Photographers of Illinois). After getting wrangled onto the boards of both, I eventually made it through the chairs and became president of both. The same year as I got both my Master & Craftsman degrees from PPA. 

   Fast forward to now, my favorite style of photography is Light Painting, followed closely by animal photography. Some school contracts and most of my area sports leagues keep me getting out of bed in the morning. Actually it is the dogs wanting out. Currently I am owned by 4 small dogs, 4 cats and some saltwater fish. 

Treasurer: Carrie White CPP

 I am a certified professional photographer (CPP).  That means I have completed required education on lighting, technique, equipment and unique photography scenarios.  My photography has also been evaluated and rated as professional quality.  I have successfully completed a written examination and image evaluation by Professional Photographers of America (PPA).  PPA is the leading body for certifying imaging professionals.  Certification must be renewed on a periodic basis, ensuring continued education and excellence in the profession of photography.  I am a very active member of Professional Photography Association of America (PPA).  And currently serve on the Executive Board for the Northern Illinois chapter of PPA. 

I consider myself a "photographer junkie" and can't wait until the next moment!  I work very hard to refine my photography skills and put my best into every shot because that shot may be the one that means the most to you.

Speaker Chair/Marketing ChairCarol DeAnda CPP

I have always been into art since a child and was often the one who always brought a camera with me to school. I would also intricately pose my Beanie Babies on different backdrops I could find around the house. My grandpa who was fully supportive of my artistic endeavors didn't even flinch when I requested we had to make at least two copies of the prints. Going into high school I dabbled in other mediums, but photography had won my heart.

I have been a professional photographer since 2008 after attending Harrington College of Design Digital photography program for a year. I started my career working for a start-up company at the time named Bella Baby. With them, I grew. Then shortly thereafter started my own business DeAnda Photography. My own business has taken off and I was able to open my own studio space in 2019. I know people always say the riches are in the niches, but I never took that to heart. My business is pretty evenly spread between headshots, families and weddings which keeps me on my toes and constantly growing as a photographer. I also am part 107 certified and do aerial photography for commercial listings as well as a little bit of real estate.

I joined PPA in 2012 but it wasn't until 2019 when I met Beth and Maria that I found out about PPANI and became a part of our amazing community. I am CPP certified and currently working towards my Craftsman, Wedding, and Master of Photography Degrees. I became a part of the PPA Council for Illinois in 2022 as well as PPA committee member for the online content advisory committee and couldn't be happier to serve my photographic community.

Photographic Image Competition Chair: Michael Novo

Michael is an international and multiverse award winning photographer of such highly super prestigious awards as:

2024 // “Lifetime Achievement Smartass Award”

2012-2022 // “Best Photographer Ever” (mom award)

2018 // “Very Cute But Often Goofy Husband”

2015 // “Best Cat Belly Rub”

Michael first purchased a camera circa 2004 and realized shortly there after that he knew absolutely nothing about photography. He spent the next 5 years studying the captivating world of landscape photography before realizing that none of the trees which he photographed ever paid him so his focus shifted to people.

In 2009 he began working as an associate wedding photographer for a local studio and in 2012 he opened his Chicago based studio full-time because his previous full-time job no longer appreciated him editing images during work hours. Michael strives to always do “something new” and adapt to each client that walks in the door which results in many of his sessions having very different looks from one another. He also
enjoys writing about himself in the third person.

Host Chair: Julie Monacella CPP

I have always had a desire to be create things of beauty.  However, my analytical side led me to a career in engineering. After eight years as a Systems Engineer in the telecommunications industry, I left to spend more time with my young children. Also, before kids, I became certified to facilitate corporate training programs in the areas of communication skills, public speaking, leadership, and human relations for a leading company in the professional development industry. I loved learning about people, companies, and their industries, and helping them to reach their goals. 

Within a short time of launching my photography business in 2006, it grew to become my only career and I’ve never looked back. Photography has given me the wonderful opportunity for the left and right side of my brain to harmoniously work together. It's the perfect combination of art and science... with a whole lot of heart.  

I am always challenging myself towards becoming the best I can be. I believe the best way to get better is to surround oneself with amazing people, and that’s one of the reasons that I truly value the Northern community.  There are so many amazing photographers in our group, and the connections to be made locally cannot be replicated anywhere else.

Technology Chair: Alejandro Mimo CPP

Alejandro Mimo started his journey in photography as a child, inspired by his dad’s camera collection, basement darkroom, and the photography magazines scattered across the coffee table. His early inspiration was further augmented by the many European fashion magazines to which his mom subscribed. Though his early subjects were his schoolmates, family and landscapes, those fashion editorials planted seeds in his soul that continue to grow and inspire him to this day.

Following a successful career in computer and business consulting, Alejandro has turned once again to his lifelong passion for photography. He draws on years of visual inspiration, modern fashion trends, and knowledge of lighting to create the unique style he brings to every session.

Alejandro strives to make every photo session fun, relaxed, creative and collaborative. He takes the time to understand your needs and desires, and answer your questions or concerns throughout the process – from your initial meeting to delivery of the finished product. Whether you’re looking for a simple head shot, full portrait session, or elaborate editorial concept, Alejandro will bring his passion to capture images you’ll cherish for generations to come.

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

IUSA Schloarship

PPA Membership Schloarship

Degree Program

The Northern Degree Program recognizes exemplary PPANI members on an individual basis. These members have:

  • Given freely of their time and talents in service to the association and its members.
  • Shared their knowledge of photography continuously with other Northern members and the profession by delivering seminar programs and writing educational articles for the Northern Hi-Lites publication.
  • Exhibited professional and technical proficiency through continued education, photographic competitions at the association, state and national levels, and in earning PPA Degrees.

The Northern Degree Program will confer degrees on three different levels. See the point catagories.

  • Service Degree (Bronze) – Awarded to the spouse of an active member, or any non-photographer employees of an Active Voting Member, and Sustaining Members providing the individual accumulates 35 points from point categories 1, 2, 3, 7 and 16 as noted below. Points for this degree can be earned from these point categories only.
  • Associate Degree (Silver) – Awarded to any member who accumulates 50 points from any of the point categories listed below, or a combination thereof.
  • Fellowship Degree (Gold) – Awarded to any Active Voting Member who accumulates 75 points from any of the point categories listed below, or a combination thereof. A minimum of 30 points must be for “hanging” print in competition as described in point category 9.
  • Plus 50 Bars – After earning one of the above degrees, degree holders may earn additional points toward ‘Plus 50’ bars, showing continued service to the association and the profession. One gold bar will be awarded for each additional 50 points earned.

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