PPA Today: Search Results

Results tagged “PPA Member Benefits” from PPA Today

By Bethany Clark

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PPA members know that the best way to find answers to your photography business questions is to ask it on theLoop, PPA's official, members-only social network. The discussions on theLoop are always productive and helpful, so dive right in!

Here's a recent example of a question and the first couple of responses.

Q: If you had to give a fellow photographer (new or seasoned) one piece of advice... what would it be? I'm not talking about the typical "be true to yourself" answers here. I mean the real, nitty gritty, tough love kind of advice. 
--DJ


DJ,
It would have to be two pieces. 
  1. It's not about you. It's about the client. The minute the focus shifts to your accomplishments, image quality, etc., you break the rule. Everything you do needs to be 100% client centered. If it isn't, you need to find another profession.
  2. For the fine art photographer - look at last year's work. If it looks pretty good to you, then you aren't making any progress. You should strive to be a better photographer this year than you were last year. And this will continue until you can't hold a camera up to your eye any longer.
Is that enough "tough love" for you?
--Gene L.


DJ,

There are only 3 things that matter:
  1. Vision (without it, your path follows no course)
  2. Passion (without it, you have no power on which to draw)
  3. Action (without it, your idea is just a daydream)
Eliminate any one of them, and you will fail. Have all three, and you're unstoppable.
--Pascal D.


DJ,
To succeed at this, to make photography put food on your table and a roof over your head, you have to be a business person first, a photographer second. For those of us who came at this profession because it was fun, because it involved smelly chemicals and magic in dark places, that's a hard lesson to learn. I'm still learning. That's the other thing, you'd better never stop learning, growing, changing. I watched my friend Ken Whitmire, who died tragically last weekend at 86, taking notes and asking questions and continuing to learn right up to the end.
--Mark T.


DJ,
I'd offer two pieces of advice.
  1. Find your niche: figure out what kind of photography you love and that you can sell to others and go for it.
  2. Every purchase needs to be justified: You're in a business as a pro photographer. If a piece of gear can't help you make a profit, don't buy it.
--Ned L.


Check in at theLoop to see more responses, and ask your own questions for peer-to-peer discussion and support!


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by Tristin Vaccaro
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Standing out in the sea of other photographers is so important when building a client base. Luckily, you have PPA to help you differentiate yourself in this growing photography market. 

As a part of the See The Difference® initiative, professional photographers like you get equipped with marketing resources to help explain your pricing, promote the quality of your work, and convey the worthiness of your skills. These resources are helping to reshape the public's view of professional photography. Educate your customers as to why they should only hire professional photographers.

See The Difference has many resources available to PPA members, and one of the easiest to implement are the PPA logos. Adding a logo to your website shows clients that you are backed by a well-established and trustworthy association. 

Once you log in, there are two logos to choose from, and both are available in full color or black and white, with or without transparent backgrounds. If you're a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP), you can also download a CPP logo to inform clients of your further credibility. 

So go ahead and impress your clients, because as soon as they see your PPA/CPP logo, they will also see your commitment to photography excellence! 

Check out more See The Difference marketing resources offered to PPA members. Not a PPA member? Join Today!

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by Sidra Safri 
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In the past four months, all everybody seems to be talking about are Drones. Between trying to figure out the new FAA regulations, deciding what type of drone to get, studying for the FAA certification test, and making sure you are properly insured; it can make anybody's head spin. If only there was someone who has been through the process that you could talk to! Well, guess what? There is! PPA is providing its members with two great opportunities to get all your drone questions answered. 

PPA member Eddie Tapp is hosting an "Ask Me Anything" session on November 14th and 15th, exclusively on theLoop, PPA's members-only online networking platform. An "Ask Me Anything" is like an online press conference where YOU get to ask the questions. For those two days, members can log in to theLoop and post a question for Eddie to answer. Check back frequently, as Eddie will be answering your questions throughout the 48-hour period. Eddie has always been on the cutting edge of drone photography, and has become an expert in the area. Just take a look at his recent article in Professional Photographer magazine to get a feel for how knowledgeable he is on the subject of drones. During the Ask Me Anything on November 14th and 15th, Eddie will be available for you to: 

Ask away! He will answer all your questions (that he can)
get the inside scoop on what to study for the FAA test 
go over what to look for when buying a drone, and 
get some tips and tricks on how to master flying your drone to get the best shots. 

Just remember to Save the Date(s) of November 14th & 15th, log onto theLoop, and search for the AMA thread/conversation and ask away! 

Once you have all your drone-photography-related questions answered by Eddie, make sure you save time to tune in and switch over to the Drone Insurance webinar to be hosted by Lockton Affinity on November 15th at 2:00 pm. 

Lockton and PPA are long time partners, but what's new is that the team is now providing some of the most comprehensive and affordable drone photography insurance coverage out there and only available to PPA members. During the November 15th presentation, a Lockton representative will go over all the details of the policy, what it covers, and how to make sure you and your investment are always protected.
 
This upcoming information-packed live online presentation is free and open to the public, but it does require signing up. To secure your spot today, simply go to the Drone Photography Insurance Options webinar sign-up page!

If you're preparing to start adding drone photography into your business or just want more information because your interest is piqued...check out these two great opportunities next week and take "drone-ership" of your photography business! 

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By Bethany Clark

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While many people enjoy flying drones for personal use, when it comes to flying for commercial photography purposes, you've got to really dot your i's and cross your t's to make sure you start off (and stay) on the right foot. 2016 has been an exciting year in the world of commercial drone use, what with the new FAA regulations, the steps to becoming a small drone pilot, and lots of buzz about new equipment, and with all of that going on, PPA is committed to providing you with the most up-to-date information and resources, so that adding a drone component to your business is as seamless - and profitable - as possible.

If you plan to add a drone to your photography business, you'll definitely want to bookmark the PPAedu drone track, which, like all of the other topics and tutorials packed into the PPAedu library, that help you sharpen your photography techniques, marketing strategies, sales techniques, and business operations, is free for PPA members to access at any time, 24/7.

Check out some of the topics available already, taught by Randy Braun, Director of Product Experience with DJI, and Stacy Garlington, Product Specialist with DJI:

Instructors: Randy Braun, Stacy Garlington
Randy and Stacy cover the basics of drones, from guidelines to etiquette to how to incorporate drones to leverage your photography business.

Instructors: Randy Braun, Stacy Garlington
Randy and Stacy respond to the most frequently asked questions about drone photography. Now is the time to become involved, as this new technology will soon have you soaring above the competition in your marketplace.

Instructors: Randy Braun, Stacy Garlington
Buying a drone? Watch the video and learn which features you should be looking for when buying your first drone and how to choose a drone that fits your needs. Key features to look for: price, camera, lens quality, and much more.

Instructors: Randy Braun, Stacy Garlington
So you want to fly a drone? First learn the safety, rules, and proper flying etiquette before you take flight. Randy and Stacy will discuss the basic safety procedures that go into flying a drone, as well as the FAA flight rules and regulations. 

Instructors: Randy Braun, Stacy Garlington
Randy and Stacy give a brief overview of the DJI drone hardware components, as well as give a quick tour of the DJI Go App.

Instructors: Randy Braun, Stacy Garlington
Curious about what goes into flying a drone? Watch this episode as Stacy shows you a basic overview of flying a drone from the pre-flight checklist to take-off and landing, as well as basic drone flight terminology. 

Instructors: Randy Braun, Stacy Garlington
Join Randy and Stacy as they discuss the added value drones can generate to your photography business. Learn how to broaden your client base and expand your line of services. 

If you're a member of PPA, just log in to watch PPAedu at any time. If you're not a member yet, you can experience one PPAedu video a month at PPA.com/TryEdu, and if that's not enough, join PPA today for full access to all the PPAedu videos! (When you join, you'll also benefit from the dedicated drone community on theLoop! Join today!) 

And if you want an up-close and in-person experience with a drone, be sure to attend Imaging USA 2017! There will be a range of drone classes and exhibitors ready and willing to talk to you about all things drone. So what are you waiting for? Register today

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By Autumn Rice
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ACHOO! That's the first sneeze of cold and flu season, but you don't have time to go to the doctor. With all the traveling and waiting around for prescriptions, you'd never get anything done. But, wait!, here's some help!

Call A Doctor Plus (CADR+) is PPA's telemedicine health and wellness program, designed to save you time and money when you're not feeling well. The program is intended to provide medical assistance to you via the phone, including diagnosis, answers to questions, and prescriptions. Although Call a Doctor Plus is not a replacement for healthcare insurance plans, it can be used as a means to address basic health concerns. With zero co-pays and 24/7 service at your fingertips, this program is perfect for photographers whose business hours don't always match doctor's office hours!

PPA members get $10 OFF PER MONTH for this handy service at only $14.95/month, with the ability to add up to five dependents for no extra fee. Non-PPA members are also offered the service at $24.95. See what Call A Doctor Plus users (and PPA members) have to say about the program: 

"A doctor called within 10 minutes. After providing a brief description of my symptoms, the doctor sent a prescription to my pharmacy, and I had the medicine in less than an hour." 

"I had a crazy allergy attack at work. I broke out in hives and my hands swelled up. Call A Doctor Plus had a steroid ready for me at the CVS down the street from my office in under an hour. I can't believe how fast and easy it was!"

"Getting sick used to mean using up time from work, paying a co-pay and waiting around a doctor's office. Now, I get to bypass all of that and still get the exact same quality of care!" 

Joining this program is a great option for on-the-go photographers that need basic medical assistance and above all, want to save time and money. No more appointment scheduling hassle or never-ending wait in the waiting room! Escape the down-days of cold and flu season with CADR+! For more about the program or to sign up, visit PPA.com/CADR+.

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October is the month of PRINT, and we're celebrating by bringing you some great content. If you weren't sure how to present print art to your clients, then we have a few items that will help you...and your sales.

Head to our new Resources page on the Print.The Movement website, and you'll find a few things: 

Elegant, customizable brochures to showcase your print art. Simply add your photos and studio information. They also include a section to add your price list, so the brochure can do the selling for you! They're super easy to use, and a great way to help you be more profitable.

Outreach content with information that you can repurpose and use as needed. Adjust the message for your clients and use it in your studio. You can also use it as sample copy to customize and send to your local publications along with your photography.

PRINT.The Movement logos. Use them on any of your branding materials to let clients know that you are a print artist. These logos will help set you apart from the shoot-and-stash competition. 

All of these items are meant to spark a dialogue with your clients about why print is so important. Let's build a movement, and let's get people printing again!

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By James Yates

PPA photographers are a very diverse group of people, but one common thread is their passion for the support that their peers provide. PPA's YouTube video series, Behind The Camera, features professional photographers who share their trials and tribulations, and their relationship with their PPA community. Today it's Trish Logan, Cr.Photog, who pitches in!

None of these interviews are scripted or paid for. These are real photographers, members of PPA, who value and share the power of their PPA community.

The world of professional photography spreads far and wide, which makes it easy to feel that you have to "go at it alone". PPA's goal is to link professional photographers together, providing a support system and business backbone that helps photographers grow, sustainably. 

In the video below, Trish talks about how she became interested in photography and why she loves shooting portraits, as well as the important role PPA's See The Difference® campaign plays in showing her clients why they should choose her over cheaper, hobbyist photographers.



Help your photography friends and share this video. The power of being involved and deeply connected goes beyond professional development. It's a support system no one should be left without. You can also view a full playlist of the Behind The Camera Video series on PPA's YouTube channel and learn more about the See The Difference campaign here.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for James.JPGJames Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL. Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for pvblogfooter0716.jpg
How and Why the Business Challenge started.
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In 2015, PPA had an idea for a case study. A group of five photography mentors and I took on the challenge of working with two studio owners to help them transform their businesses. We not only wanted to help these two entrepreneurs, we also wanted to learn from them by documenting the challenges they faced, the changes they underwent and how both they and their businesses thrived. The "Studio Makeover" was initiated and our goal was to take all the information we were using to help our makeover participants and bring it to PPA members to learn from as well. 

We did this through the entire year of 2015 with live webinars, blog posts and even personal video updates. Then, at Imaging USA 2016, all eight of us took the stage and revealed each studio's final numbers, shared their biggest "a-ha" moments and discussed their transformation from both a business and personal perspective.  

Leading up to Imaging USA, as I was putting together the program for the rest of the team, I had my own "a-ha" moment. We were about to share some extraordinary moments and information as both studios made amazing leaps forward...but we didn't have anything in place for the attendees who might want to do their own "studio makeover." 

Well, I shouldn't say we didn't have anything because PPA has a plethora of educational tools available to members: the Benchmark Study, PPAedu's online education platform with more than 350 video classes, PhotoVision with over 800 episodes, Square One, downloads, Professional Photographer magazine, specialty courses for CPP and IPC, etc. As you can see, we have quite a lot of knowledge to offer and perhaps that works against us a bit. It can be a little overwhelming. Which brings me to my point...we didn't have anything/anyone tying it all together, giving it to photographers in an order that could easily be digested, and helping you as you needed it. 

So the idea for the Business Challenge was born.

Literally, right before Imaging USA, at our busiest time of the year, I was asking other departments to help me implement a brand new concept. And everyone here jumped in to help make it a reality, so that by Imaging USA itself we were able to let people know they could sign up for their very own studio makeover through PPA's Business Challenge. (Huge thank you's to our Marketing, Membership and I.T. teams for all of their hard work.)

I had an idea. I had the recently completed PPA Business Guide to use as an outline. I had the Square One tool to share. I had amazing friends and mentors who were willing to be part of this project. I had (and have) a strong desire to help photographers as entrepreneurs learn how to build profitable and sustainable businesses so they can live their dream. That was it. 

I didn't have a long syllabus. I didn't have a very exact plan for how to execute all of it. I was still learning how best to use theLoop platform as our means of communication. But I knew that if I waited to put it all together first, things would be missing anyway. You would be missing. All that I've learned from you, each and every group, would not have happened. And your questions and ideas and support are the actions that propel the Business Challenge forward.

PPA's Business Challenge is, by design, a living thing. 

No two groups are alike. The February 2016 group is very different from the June 2016 group. The curriculum, while similar, is not identical because conversations sway the topics and move them in a variety of directions. Questions are asked and answered. Friendships are born. Mentors are invited who generously share their experience and knowledge. While the foundation of knowledge of the Business Challenge is all the same, and it is scalable to a large group, the unique experience of each group is shaped by those who are involved.

I've written in a few different places that it's important to show up and be present in the conversations that take place in this 12-month program. It was not intended to simply be a place where information and assignments are posted. It can be, if that's what you want, but I want to give you so much more. I want you to feel part of something bigger; I want to give you accountability; I want you to meet and be inspired by some of the smartest people out there; I want to give you the opportunity to share your knowledge; I want you to remember why YOU are doing all this hard work in the first place; and I want you to build a body of knowledge that will propel you so much further.


I'm so glad you're here,
Angela


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Angela Kurkian is PPA's Director of Education







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By James Yates
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Loopers know that the best way to find answers to your photography business questions is to ask it on theLoop, PPA's official, members-only social network. The discussions on theLoop are always productive and helpful, so dive right in!

Here's a recent example of a question and the first couple of responses. 

Q: Is the use of a UV filter standard? If so, which do I need and what is a good brand to purchase?
--Andre R.

Andre,
You are going to get a lot of opinions on this.
Some for and some against using a UV filter, and then on which one to buy.
I'll just tell you my experience and you can decide for yourself. There is a belief that the more you spend on one the better it will be. 
I use them. I have had at least 6 incidents where I've dropped or bumped a lens (no lens hood attached), and the filter was trashed. But the lens was fine. Two incidents where I did not have a filter on the lens but I did have a lens hood - and the lens hood was destroyed, leaving the lens intact. I have had one incident where the integrated lens hood on a 14-24 zoom, a lens that does not lend itself to a convenient filter arrangement, did not save the lens and the front element was trashed.
There is an article that you might find helpful if you decide to use the filter.
www.lenstip.com/113.4-article-UV_filters_test_Description_of_the_results_and_summary.html
The cheaper filters have non-metal mounts, where the more costly ones use brass. At one point in the past when lens barrels were made of metal, I would prefer to have a filter that was made of brass. These days, many lenses have hard plastic filter threads, which in the past have cross threaded when using metal filters. I have yet to have that happen with the non-metal filter mounts.
-Eugene L.

Andre,
The argument for and against UV filters (like Eugene says) is as follows:
Fact 1: Every UV filter will degrade your image (even the most expensive ones).
Fact 2: Every UV filter will protect the front element of your lens (even the cheapest filters).
The decision you have to make is, in my opinion, if negligible degradation of the image with a good UV filter is worth the protection it offers your equipment. 
Every one of my lenses has a UV filter on the constantly. When I worked full time in an indoor photo studio, none of my lenses had UV filters. 
I'm with Eugene on this one. I'd rather have a protected lens, then a lens with a damaged front element, because the degradation of your image with a shattered front element is definitely noticeable.
I like B+W filters. They are made by Schneider one of the best optical manufactures in the world. While you're checking out filters, they make an amazing Circular Polarizing filter, which is the second filter I'd buy. For the UV filter, just buy the largest lens diameter you have (77mm or similar) and get a bunch of Step-up rings to make it fit on the different lenses.
-Pascal D.

Check in at theLoop.PPA.com to see more responses and ask your own questions for peer-to-peer discussion and support!


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James Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL.

by James Yates

Here comes summer! Before you head out to the beach, have you made sure you're still on track with your business and creative goals for the year? Take a moment to check in on theLoop for some education and inspiration from your fellow photographers! Here's a roundup of the top theLoop discussions from the month of May. 

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Advice on Nikon F/4 zoom lens vs F/2.8

A new member wants advice on which lens to use. Are the heavier, more expensive options the way to go? Lots of advice given on this thread!

More Lens Advice: Sigma or Nikon?

A wedding and portrait photographer needs advice on lens options. Let's see what the Loopers had to say in this thread. 

Fast Recycle Flash/Strobe for Portable Use

A mountain biking-event photographer wants Loopers thoughts on options for something small and quick enough to pack into the woods. Lots of good advice here! 

Thumbtack? 

There's another long thread discussing the merits (or lack thereof) of Thumbtack. See what your fellow Loopers have to say about the consumer service website. 

Windows 10 Upgrade

Did anyone experience compatibility issues when upgrading to Windows 10? Long discussion on the subject found here! 

Need Recommendations for Anti-Theft Camera Straps

theLoop is a much better place to get product advice than those random Amazon reviews! This photographer is traveling to Italy and needs to know which camera strap will keep her protected. 

Variable ND Filter

One Looper asks: "Here's the conundrum: is there a well built, good quality and pretty accurate ND filter (preferably variable) that doesn't sacrifice image quality?" Read the feedback on this thread. 

Remember to check out theLoop, a safe and protected online community where PPA members can discuss a range of photography topics. Not a PPA member? Join here!


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James Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL.

Thumbnail image for iStock_money bag.jpgJust a friendly reminder! PPA members get amazing discounts and special offers from a slew of companies. It's all meant to save you money on the products and services you use most.

Hurry! There are offers from DriveSavers, Manfrotto, Profoto, H&H Color Labs and Pounds Labs that are expiring soon! Be sure to use them while you can and keep the Special Offers page bookmarked so you don't forget the deals.

Member Perks & Savings are just more of the ways PPA helps you Be More Savvy. 


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By Sarah Ackerman

Have you caught spring fever yet? Take some time to relax with our favorite photography blog posts of the week!

HUMAN INTEREST:  Follow PPA photographer Sheri Kendrick as she captures memories for families with young children with life threatening illnesses. It's a heartwarming story - go ahead and grab the tissues. 

LEGAL BATTLE: You may remember the photographer who was publically accused of not releasing wedding images until the clients paid $150 for an album cover. Now instead of the clients suing the photographer, the photographer has taken a $1 million suit against the couple. See how it all plays out (and be happy this isn't you)!

HERITAGE: Ali Alamedy spent 9 months creating a miniature photography studio, complete with over 100 different objects, to honor photographers of yesteryear. Check out his work in DIY Photography. 

INSPIRATION: If taking to the high seas is in your future, this is an excellent inspiration piece from Feature Shoot of stunning images of the ocean. Dive in!

CREATIVITY: Benjamin Shine has started creating phenomenal portraits with tulle in Canberra, Australia. Check out his larger than life series here.   

MICROSCULPTURE: Levon Biss has spent weeks perfecting images of a single insect and his results are incredible. Watch the video to see how he did it and marvel in his final works in this great read!

SHADOWING: Popular Photography spent a day following music and concert photographer, Gretchen Robinette. See how she works on set, finds inspiration and creates moving images from a wide range of music styles.

DRONES: Some photographers like hooking up a camera to their drone, but Jeffrey Moustache set his up to be a source of light. Explore his technique and the after-dark images he was able to capture with this new use of drones. 

WIDE OPEN SPACES: Calling all studio photographers: get outside! Join photographer Sean Tucker on an excursion to refuel your inspiration and get out of your rut. 

EFFICIENCY: If photographing a wedding gives you a panic attack, this is a great read from Photography Talk on creating a timeline and making sure you're ahead of schedule.

There you have it, our weekly blog post roundup! What photography blogs or podcasts do YOU follow? Post your favorites on theLoop or email them to us at OnlineContentCommittee @PPA.com.

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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 



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By James Yates
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As a member of PPA, you've got a virtual suit-of-armor surrounding you. It's the PPA Shield, and it has you covered on all sides.

That's (one of the) the advantages of belonging to an organization that's had photographers backs and that helps you be more profitable. PPA's protection benefits include various forms of insurance, advocacy and education:

•    Up to $15,000 of PhotoCare Equipment Insurance

•    Malpractice, Negligence & Data Loss Protection (PPA's Indemnification Trust)

•    Up to $2 million in General Liability Coverage

•    Copyright Kit, Copyright Infringement Tool, & Advocacy Updates 

•    Drone (UAS) News & Updates

When stuff hits the fan, and it always, inevitably does, professional photographers know that they have a strong shield protecting them with their PPA membership. The three forms of photographic insurance combine to keep you fully protected no matter what the situation. If you break your camera or it's stolen from your car? Be sure you've activated your PhotoCare! Have an unsatisfied client or did you lose all the data on your hard drive? PPA's Indemnification Trust is like malpractice protection for professional photographers. Did someone get hurt or something get destroyed on your shoot? General Liability Coverage can handle that.

You also need a way to cut through the clutter surrounding legal issues and PPA has positioned itself as the top authority on all things Drone and Copyright-related. For instance, did you know that it is only currently legal to operate a drone as a hobbyist? If you're using your drone for commercial or civil use, you must have an FAA exemption and a pilot's license. Didn't know that? It's just one more way PPA wants to keep you informed, in order to keep you legally protected. PPA consistently brings you updates from the FAA, and lobbies for the relaxing of commercial-drone-use. This summer should bring the changes we've been waiting for. Head over to PPA.com/Drones for all the latest details.

Stay up-to-date on all the progress PPA is making on Copyright issues and the implementation of new copyright law at PPA.com/Advocacy. Feel like you've been infringed upon or had your works of art stolen? PPA will protect you with our Copyright Kit and new self-assessment tool at PPA.com/Copyright. The new tool is a great way to learn how to proceed if you feel your photos have been lifted. It's easy to use, quick and painless...because having your work stolen is painful enough!

The next time you're feeling vulnerable or overwhelmed by everything life can throw at a small business owner, lean on your PPA membership and feel secure. Let PPA Be Your Shield! Find out how you and your photography business can Be More Protected with PPA! PPA.com/Protection.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for James.JPGJames Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL.


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By Autumn Rice

Professional Photographer magazine's website is a great source for all educational and inspirational. For example, the article "Wild Thing" explores how photographer Brad Wilson used the widely unpredictable nature of zoo animals to make stunning portraits with his Hasselblad H1. 
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In addition to remarkable photographs and plenty of behind-the-photo insights, the new PPmag.com offers contests like the 30 Days of Giveaways promotion and monthly prize drawing.

Enjoy "Wild Thing," and don't forget to enter 30 Days of Giveaways every day through May 4 for a chance to win a special prize.

Find all this and more on PPmag.com now.

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By Sarah Ackerman

Regulations surrounding drone operations are on the verge of major changes as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues to make the integration of drones or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) top priority. PPA is here to help you understand the changes. 

We've published two resources at PPA.com/Drones to help you navigate the legal mumbo jumbo surrounding the world of professional photography and drone usage. 

This article walks you through current regulations and what to expect once more changes from the FAA come to fruition. Think you're operating legally? Give it a read and make sure. The last things you want are fines or make it more difficult to become certified because you weren't aware of the rules and regulations. 

Choose your own adventure! Answer questions and follow the path to your answer of "Can I legally fly my drone?" Remember that changes are on the way! Just because you may not be able to legally operate a drone now, doesn't mean that will always be the case. New regulations are expected within the next couple of months!

PPA's goal is to keep you legal and informed as these rules change. We're back in Washington, D.C. this week working with legislators on drones and copyright issues. Stay up-to-date at PPA.com/Advocacy and Be More Protected. 

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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 



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By Sarah Ackerman

As you expand your photography business, you don't know what you don't know. Asking questions on theLoop to expand your knowledge is a great place to start to learn about any area of photography! With 29,000+ PPA members behind you, there's bound to be someone who has been in your shoes and can offer a word of support or advice. 

This month, we're highlighting the thread concerning skyline images, specifically how to reduce the noise in them. Check out what your fellow Loopers had to say and the beautiful images their advice helped create (complete with before and after shots): 

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Jonathan Andreas: Hello! I currently travel for work and aside from my day job I make it a point to get out and shoot skylines when I am in bigger cities. Most of the time I shoot around dusk and during the night. Typically I am shooting with a ISO of 100 and as slow of a shutter as I can with a f/22 (canon 5d mark III, 24-70 f/2.8) I just started using live view and manually focusing as well- I am just looking for some tips for how to reduce my noise during the low light shots as well as some post production tips. Thanks! -Jon 

Thomas Viceconte: Are you using long exposure noise reduction in-camera? Is there a specific reason you're using f/22 for all the images? How are you processing the files in post?

Jonathan Andreas: Thanks for responding Thomas, I did not know there was an option for noise reduction in camera. I will apply that and check it out the results. I have been shooting f/22 just so I could use a long exposer. Are there negatives to using f/22? 

Eugene Lugo: Shooting at F22 will cost you some sharpness due to diffraction. I would suggest using a neutral density filter and a larger aperture if you can do that and still have enough depth of field.

Jonathan Andreas: Got it, I didn't know that. I'll try the larger aperture and look into the filter. I have been using iPhoto to process my images. Once I get home in May, I will be able to use CS6 to process my images.

Leroy Moore: Jonathan, in-camera noise reduction takes two photos. It takes your photo, then closes the shutter and takes another.  So, if you are shooting a 3 minute shot, you lose another 3 minutes while the camera takes a dark frame.  It then subtracts the noise produced in the dark frame from your original image.  It's slower and sometimes works well, depending...  You set this up in your camera's menu system.

Suggestions:  DXO Viewpoint 2 is not very expensive and can be used to correct the optical distortion you are getting. 

Fair noise reduction software includes Lightroom and some techniques with Photoshop.  Topaz labs makes a great and inexpensive de-noising software called DeNoise.

But if you want to sell large copies of these great photos, your best noise reduction that can be had is by DXO Optics Pro labs.  It also converts raw files and is a stand-alone program.  The Prime de-noising algorithms of this software are currently the best available at removing noise, but leaving detail.  I am not sure, but I think buying the bigger program may come with the Viewpoint software included.

Have fun shooting...

Jonathan Andreas: Leroy, I appreciate the feedback, I'll take a look at the programs. For future photographs do you think the neutral density filter is the way to go? Thanks!

Kevin OConnell: I shoot mostly all long exposure and paint with light. I would suggest you try shooting different f-stops as well. See how more brilliant the light is at say f13. You will see a difference in the two scapes. Also find the sweet spot of your lens for optimum detail. Very easy to do with tutorials on youtube. You probably already know to shoot during the Blue hour for the best looking skyline shots, if not try that as well. 

Tim Gray: Another thing to consider is the higher aperture numbers create the nice star-burst flare effects from direct lights (ex: the streetlights on the bridge). The trade-off is that your lens provides sharper focus and less edge distortions at the middle f-stops (f/8 - f/13).

As for the noise reduction, are you shooting RAW or JPEG? If you are shooting in RAW, then noise reduction is not applied in camera. I have not done comparisons shooting RAW with long exposure NR setting but my guess is that would only be applied for JPEG. Has anyone else tested this for RAW images?

Thomas Viceconte: You're welcome, Jonathan. In addition to all the excellent recommendations from others, you can try applying the digital lens optimizer (DLO) in Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software that comes with your camera. You can download the software from the Canon web site. DLO reduces lens aberrations and diffraction. It would be interesting to see what it does with the images that you posted. If I apply DLO to an image in DPP, I set the sharpness/unsharp mask to 0 before using DLO and make no other adjustments in DPP. I then export the file as a 16 bit TIFF and process the file in Lightroom/Photoshop. It's not needed for every image, but if you're using the extremes of a lens, it might help improve the image quality. I used this process on the attached image that I took handheld at ISO 1600. It's not perfect, but if you look in the dark areas of the image I think the noise is minimal.

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Jonathan Andreas: I attached the before and after canon photo professional, just from tweaking it really quick it is a huge difference! 

What would you add to this conversation? Chime in on theLoop or ask your own question! If you're thinking it, chances are so are your peers! Not a PPA  member, join today at ppa.com/join and access the thriving community of theLoop.



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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 



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By Sarah Ackerman

Second quarter is off to a roaring start! Are you still on track with your business and creative goals for the year? Take a moment to check in on theLoop for some education and inspiration from your fellow photographers!

Drones are all the rage, but did you know if you're using it for more than just hobbyist use, it's probably illegal? Take a moment and catch up with the current FAA recommendations and PPA's take on them.

Are you in the market of senior photography? What are your favorite and most profitable products? Whether you have years of experience or you're just looking to expand into this market, this is a great read!

If you're a photographer on the go, portable backdrops give you a great way to take your studio on the move! But with so many options, where should you invest your money? See what your fellow Loopers had to say!

As a new business owner, there are a lot of questions that pop up and getting advice from experts is always great. But do you need to consult a lawyer and pay pricey fees before you get started? Weigh in to help this new business owner out!

First, no need to apologize for asking questions on theLoop! That's what it's there for! In this thread, help your fellow photographer on common questions on flash. 

Location photography means needing to have the majority of your resources at your fingertips. What hardware and software do you consider must-haves in this situation? Weigh in on this thread!

Most photographers are comfortable printing their work to a reasonable size, but billboards? That's a new animal! Help this photographer with what size image she'll need to make it happen!

Calling all search engine optimization (SEO) pros! If you redo your website, does it undo all of your past SEO? Demystify the world of Google and other search engines in this active thread!

When photographing outdoors, you're battling a pretty powerful light source with the sun. What are some great lights to combat the sun? 

Remember to check out theLoop, a safe and protected online community where PPA members can discuss a range of photography topics. Not a PPA member? Join here!

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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 



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By Aleighia Rouse

Looking for some inspiration to bring to your next session? Look no further than PhotoVision! This amazing PPA resource has released even more photography courses to add to their ever-growing collection. They are continuing to inspire photographers just like you while also providing the information you need to improve to improve your skills and techniques! Here are PhotoVision's newest photography tutorials, giving you the solutions you need. Check out the latest releases below. 

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Beth Forester, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Join Beth as she discusses lighting technique and what she does every time to create that perfect studio lighting.  

Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API 
Running your own business can bring with it unexpected challenges and sometimes you just need advice from another professional.   Check out this episode for great business advice, whether you are a newcomer or seasoned professional. 

Parker Pfister, Cr.Photog. 
Parker offers pure inspiration in this episode.  Using a large format camera and then taking us into his darkroom, Parker is truly at home and you're inspired to think more like an artist. This is all about "creating the image" and purposefully making photographs. 

Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API 
Jamie Hayes, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API
We love studio tours! Come along as we journey through these well-thought-out spaces.  Learn some great outdoor photography tips to take with you on your next session even if you don't own a garden studio.  Listen in to hear how to create the ultimate experience for your client. 

Iconik Studio
Get your younger clients to break out of their shell with a change in scenery. In this episode we follow Iconik Studio as they do a high fashion shoot for a little girl. Create a new experience for your young client every time and learn how to keep them engaged throughout the entire session. 

Find any of these videos relating to your specialty? Well, this is just the beginning. Head on over to PhotoVisionVideo.com and explore the range of videos offered! Right now, you can use promo code PPA49 and get an entire year of access to PhotoVision for only $49.  And when you become a PPA member you can get 50% off DVDs, so consider joining PPA today, here, or sign up for your own PhotoVision Subscription.  


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Aleighia Rouse is a graduating senior at Spelman College and PPA's Marketing and Communications intern. She aspires to hold a position just like the amazing people she works around. Aleighia is known by her happy personality and bubbly voice, and with over 6 years of film and photography experience, she can relate to and understand most of the issues faced by PPA photographers.


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by Lindsey ForsonThumbnail image for Capitol_Copyright_Blog.jpg

Copyright protection is vital to professional photographers. It is what preserves the value of your creations and, without it, a photography business could be very difficult to maintain. Many people think of copyright as something that only really affects rich and famous, Hollywood creators. But we know better!

We know that, more than anything else, copyright is a small business issue.  PPA works year-round to spread this message and to fight for vital improvements to America's copyright system. In honor of April's World Copyright Day, we have gone the extra mile this month - but we need your help!

What is PPA doing?

As always, we are advocating on Capitol Hill for copyright improvements that are essential to professional photographers. At the center of our advocacy is the creation of a copyright small claims option for infringement claims.  We are also sending the message to the public that copyright protects small businesses across the country, and therefore, respecting copyright law is essential to our economy. PPA circulates copyright-related press releases to the media and welcomes copyright-related inquiries from consumers and photo retailers. Through this process, we provide resources which educate the public on copyright law and connect consumers with copyright owners of images they wish to have reproduced.

What's new?

Just this month, PPA launched our new Copyright Infringement Help Tool - an interactive resource available to PPA members 24/7 to help you deal with the unauthorized uses of your work. We released a Copyright FAQ section on the website which gives you simple answers to your most common copyright questions. Also launched this month is a new website, CopyrightDefense.com, which provides resources to policy-makers and other interested parties related to top advocacy priorities for the visual arts community. On this website you will find a video entitled, "Who is the Copyright Holder Next Door?" The video provides compelling insight into copyright as a small business issue.





How can you help?

The most important thing you can do is protect your own copyright. Begin with your PPA Copyright Kit to reinforce your copyright knowledge. Be sure to educate your clients about copyright and how it relates to the products they purchase. Keep up with PPA's advocacy efforts at PPA.com/Advocacy, and be sure your voice is heard when the time is right. In honor of World Copyright Day, take it a step or two further! Have a conversation about how copyright protects your business with at least one friend, family member, or person you come in contact with. Share PPA's new video with your social media networks with your own copyright story or personal message.

Copyright protection is important today and every day. PPA's voice is 29,000 strong - so let's work together to create awareness!  And don't forget to take advantage of your PPA copyright resources which can all be accessed at PPA.com/Copyright.


Lindsey_9955e_bw_cr.jpgLindsey Forson is PPA's Manager of Government Affairs. She works alongside our CEO to fight for the rights of professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep PPA members informed on the issues that affect your businesses. Lindsey helps PPA advocate for stronger copyright protection, improved drone regulations, and other small-business issues affecting the industry. When not on Capitol Hill or at PPA headquarters, you can typically find Lindsey on a soccer field, at an Atlanta restaurant or market, or cheering on the Auburn Tigers!
By Sarah Ackerman

The International Photographic Competition (IPC) opens in just over a month. Are your images ready? IPC offers photographers a chance to get objective critiques of their work and areas where they excel, as well as areas that could use some improvement. Photographers who compete get to cash in on the following benefits: 

Engage with the passionate and supportive photographic competition community
Improve upon their finest work 
Earn recognition and admiration from their peers
...And as a result, improve their business

Just ask Randy Van Duinen, M.Photog.M.Artist.Cr., CPP. Watch as he discusses how he got involved with photography, PPA and competitions. 


IPC entries open May 23. Familiarize yourself with the rules for the Photographic Open and Photographic Artist categories today and Be More Competitive in 2016!

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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 



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