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Results tagged “PPA Member Benefits” from PPA Today

The holidays are almost upon us, and they're definitely a hot topic on theLoop! Check out the top discussions you might want to check out when you need a post-turkey break!

Do you love your studio management software? Chime in! See what people are shopping for or hot tips on what to avoid in this thread. 

The man in the red suit is back in this thread, too! How do you price for an event of 1,000 photos over three days? Chime in!

Get to know Steve Kozak, Imaging USA 2015 speaker! Read through his Ask Me Anything and see if it spurs you to register for his pre-convention class in Nashville!

Do you often ship final products to clients? Who do you use? Where do you shop? Weigh in or pick up some quick tips on saving money when shipping.

Uh-oh, hopefully you don't find yourself in this situation! What happens when you did the work, and the client won't pay? See what your fellow photographers have to say or weigh in with your own experience. 

Is a new computer and monitor on your holiday wish list? What are you looking for? Are you a Mac or a PC? See what your fellow pros are looking for in this thread. 

Don't forget, theLoop is PPA's safe and secure online community where members can discuss various photography topics! Not a PPA member? It's easy: join today!

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By Sarah Ackerman

We can all use a little extra education to stay on top of our photographic game--but where do you turn for your photography and business learning needs? PPAedu of course! PPA started this customizable program, and we hope that you'll use it in your professional development never-ending journey. 

PPAedu has over 250 HD videos that PPA members and PPAedu subscribers can access 24/7. These videos cover 8 categories - four to help with photography technique: essentials, lighting, posing, and post-capture; and four to help you with on business side: sales, finance, marketing and operations. All PPAedu classes are taught by some of the most accomplished photographers in the industry. It's a completely customizable education program, included for free with your PPA membership! All you have to do is answer a series of short questions and the system will crunch the best series of videos for you to watch, based on your answers. You can update that program at any time or come back to it when you want. It's like having a program that grows with you... because you can get new recommendations and we add new videos in the mix each month!

This month you'll find a free sample of this awesome program with Steve Kozak, CPP and a class on the "Fundamentals of Flash". 

In this video, Steve once takes a technical topic (flash lighting) and breaks it down so it's easy to understand and even better, easy to use! After all, all the techniques in the world won't matter if you can put them into practice.

Watch it and you'll learn the benefits of using your flash in manual mode. There's some math behind it all, but Steve will walk you through it, so you'll be able to make good, informed decisions on using your flash. 

Great photography may look impulsive, subjective and purely creative, but any great art is based on fundamentals. This class gives you the tools and knowledge you need to have greater control and creativity, while making it look easy!

Check out Steve's class for free, here (only this month!): ppa.com/tryedu 

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Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarah's in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs with Witless Protection around the Atlanta area and at Dad's Garage Theatre Company. When she's not tweeting/instagramming/facebooking all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.
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By Sarah Ackerman 

As a member of PPA, you know how important it is to educate your clients on seeing the difference between the value of a professional photographer and Uncle Bob with a camera. To help, we've created a few nifty tabs (and its corresponding content, of course) that you'll be able to install on your company's Facebook page. It's meant to help you convey why hiring a professional photographer (specifically: you!) makes all the difference in the world! 

There are a few options for these "See the Difference" Facebook tabs. There are tabs for wedding photographers, portrait photographers, senior photographers and even a general photography tab (not specialty-specific) if you fit all (or none) of those categories. 

We created this content and will update it periodically, but we can't install it for you. So how do you go about installing this bad boy Facebook tab? There are quite a few ways!

It costs a little bit of money, ($30/month for most everyone, but if you have more than a few thousand fans, prices increase) yet it is the easiest way to go about installation. What's the phrase? "You can have two of the three out of: good, cheap and fast". This is good and fast, it isn't expensive, but isn't super cheap. To make it as easy as possible without actually doing it for you, Shortstack walks you through the installation process screen shot by screen shot (them doing it for you isn't an option: consider it a learning opportunity). 

It is a cheaper version at $15 for up to 1,000 fans (or only a buck for up to 100 fans). It won't walk you through the installation process in as detailed of a way as Shortstack, but it'll be still pretty easy to get it up and running if you indeed do it step by step. If you can handle $15/month, this is a great way to get this information out on your page and in your fans' feeds. 

Sounds redundant, right? Use Facebook to put something on Facebook? We list it third because it's a wee bit complicated, but... FREE! First you'll have to sign up for an App Developers Account (pretty simple - just click here and you'll be all set). The next part is where it gets tricky - the best way is to watch some great YouTube videos. Make sure the videos are recent as Facebook has being giving the apps some facelifts as of late. Here's one that might work for you!

It might take a few minutes, but once you've installed the tab, share it on your timeline to show clients why it's important for them to see the difference hiring a professional photographer makes. If you run into any issues, contact the Facebook App hosting service directly, they are the experts in this case.

You can download the tab graphics and html code here! 
If you want to make edits to the tab graphic itself, always remember the image needs to be 111 x 74 pixels and you'll have to pack a punch in that little space.)

Here you go! These are just three ways to install the tab - if you simply Google "Facebook App Installation" you'll discover a world of options, these are just the ones we are pretty familiar with. If you find another option you enjoy, please let us know! Email Sarah at sackerman (at) ppa (dot) com.

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Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarah's in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs with Witless Protection around the Atlanta area and at Dad's Garage Theatre Company. When she's not tweeting/instagramming/facebooking all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.




By Chris Homer

With Halloween coming up tomorrow, the PPA staff and I want to encourage you to get in the spirit! With that in mind, we've started a thread on theLoop where we'd love to hear some of your spookiest moments as a photographer. To get you started, here are two photography horror stories posted to the thread already that are truly Goosebumps-worthy material: 

"I had an appointment to take a family portrait at an out of town church. Nothing new there, I figured it would be the typical family reunion, anniversary, whatever. But, when I got there the whole family gathered around Grandpa Jim who was lying in his casket at his own funeral. They even propped him up so he could be seen better. WEIRD FAMILY." - David Nelson, King Photography Studio, Jamestown, ND

"While working for a local newspaper I had to cover a Native American prayer event. Just as they began to pray I raised my camera to take just one image and one of the tribe's elders looked right at me and shook his head in disagreement to me taking any images during the prayer. I took that one shot anyway (it was my job) and by the time I walked back to my car and checked the images on the camera monitor they were gone! I couldn't see them on the rearview monitor of the camera and when I got back to the newsroom I couldn't open the files. Was I spooked? You bet I was." - Paul Robinson, Paul S. Robinson Photography, Uxbridge, MA

Can you add to or maybe even top these stories? Head on over to this thread on theLoop and share your spooky photographer story! Your experience may even appear in a future PPA Today newsletter.
 
Don't forget - theLoop is the online community just for PPA photographers! Here you can share ideas and worries, and discuss sensitive topics like customer service, demanding clients and more, all without the fear of a client looking over your shoulder. Want to be part of theLoop? Join PPA today! 


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About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages. 
Here's your latest guest column from none other than Bridget Jackson, resident guru for all things numbers and profitability. Bridget is the manager of PPA Business (formerly known as SMS) and also a CPA. She's helped hundreds of photography studios owners be more profitable and will address some common questions each month. Heed her advice folks--this lady knows her stuff!

Do the Work...
By Bridget Jackson

Educating yourself is only half the battle. You have to actually roll up your sleeves and do the work. 

I'm not talking about taking pictures (although you have to do that too). I'm talking about coming up with the elements of a marketing plan, a sales strategy, a documented workflow and a financial management plan. 

That's right. It's not enough for you to just understand what they are. You need to have them well documented so you not only have a strategy to guide you, but so you can update those strategies based on your strengths and weaknesses. Successful studios assess what worked, what didn't work and what needs to be changed so they can continue to stay on a path to reach their goals. 

Let's talk business! We understand that you got into the business of photography because of

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 the pictures. You're an artist, and that's what you want to focus on. We also understand that dealing with the daily minutiae of running a business can be time consuming and take away from what you're truly passionate about. To remedy those business blues, PPA would like to remind you that there are tons of discounts and perks to being a part of our 27,000 member family!

The Allied Business Network (ABN) benefit can help you save huge on everything from office supplies, travel and promo products, printing and more. ABN negotiates discounts (from 5% - 85%) with vendors you actually WANT to do business with, including:

Hertz - Up to 20% off
Hit the road, Jack! Take your business where it needs to go and get up to a 20% discount off every rental, free enrollment in the Business Rewards program and access to even more discounts.

Hotels - Up to 20% off
Save 10% on your Motel 6 reservation with your member code, 10% off Red Roof Inn hotel rooms, and up to 20% off the best available rate on every hotel stay in Wyndham Hotels (from Days Inn to Ramada)...all as a member of ABN through PPA!

Office Depot - Up to 85% off
Save up to 85% on office supplies and more, get special coupons and discounts, and enjoy free next-day delivery on orders of $50 or more. There's no better time to stock up!

4imprint - 10% off
Save on client gifts, jackets for your staff, or pens to rep your business name or logo. Heck, go ahead and get all three. You can afford to, since PPA members get a 10% discount on everything--even what's on sale.

Don't delay your business' success any longer! Find out how to use these discounts (and more), and become an Allied Business Network member for free.

You've got a pumpkin spice latte in one hand and a folder full of images you need to review in the other. People walk with their hands in their pockets; everyone talks fantasy football and Halloween. It's then you realize that fall has arrived, and with it, the responsibility of making sure your business is in in order for the New Year! Breathe that crisp, cool autumn air deeply, and fret not because PPA has your back.

This fall we have several upcoming educational opportunities for members to take advantage of. Here is a rundown of some of our free, live-learning events that can help you maximize your business and start the New Year off right:

Free webinars!

Finding Your Missing Pieces for Profitability in Photography
October 7, 2014 - 2 pm ET
With Jeff Lubin, M.Photog.Cr.

New Member Orientation
October 8, 2014 - 2 pm ET

How to Create a Profitable Pet Photography Business
October 21, 2014 - 2 pm ET
With Kim Hartz, CPP

The Origin of Style
October 23, 2014 - 2 pm ET
With Thom Rouse, M.Photog.MEI.Cr., CPP, F-ASP

Income Tax Strategies
November 13, 2014 - 2 pm ET
With Bridget Jackson, CPA, PPA Business Consultant

Creating Your Social Media Plan
November 18, 2014 - 2 pm ET
With John Pyle

In addition to our webinars, don't forget that Super 1 Day Photo Workshops start next week! For two weeks (10/6-10/20), dozens of studios will open their doors and host classes on a vast array of subjects, from posing and lighting to effective business practices. Don't miss out on this awesome opportunity to learn from some of the best photographers in the world!

PPA closes out its "school year" with the final CPP Prep Class and Business Workshop of 2014. There's still time to register for both and end your year with a bang.

Business Basics Workshop
November 15-16, 2014 in Atlanta

In this two day business workshop for portrait and senior photographers, Jen Basford, Cr.Photog., gives hands on advice on how evaluate your business strengths, develop a profitable pricing structure and use proven marketing ideas to bring more clients to your door.

Upcoming Certification Prep Classes
November 3-5, 2014 in Atlanta

Thinking about taking the Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) exam? We're offering this class to help you pass the exam and learn tons of additional information about the how to effectively run a photography business.

September was a busy month on theLoop! Check out some of our favorite discussions below:

When you finish a photo shoot, how do you know which photos to keep, and which ones to delete? Members share various tactics they use to tackle this tricky situation. 

If you're thinking of offering metal prints to your clients, be sure to check out this thread first! Members share their favorite companies for metal print production. 

Being out on a photo shoot can take a toll on your body! Check out these tips on keeping healthy and injury-free while you're on the job. 

If you're looking for a good print lab, or thinking of switching to a new one, you'll find lots of useful advice and points you should consider when choosing a print lab in this discussion!

Do you define your photography by a certain style? Members share their thoughts on developing style and what they think their own personal style is. Don't miss this interesting thread! 

If you photograph handicapped children, or have been offered this type of work, you'll find some fantastic advice for how to handle posing. You'll get lots of great ideas and advice in this post. 

This discussion deals with a common problem photographers face: getting prints back from the lab that look dramatically different than they did on your computer screen. Your monitor calibration could be the problem. If you have this problem, take a look. Your fellow photographers have great tips for calibrating different monitors, and if you can't find yours being discussed, there's a good chance you can post the make and model and find an answer! 

If you've ever dealt with someone wanting rights to an image that wasn't initially included in your agreement with them, this is the discussion for you! Find out how to draft an agreement that meets both of your needs through this post, and don't forget that you always have access to PPA's Copyright Resources for more advice. 

If you shoot on location, you know that transporting your gear can be a pain. Learn different methods that have worked for other PPA members in this discussion. 

Don't forget, theLoop is PPA's safe and secure online community where members can discuss various photography topics! Not a PPA member? It's easy: join today!

A New Era for Credit Card Processing Rates and a Reality for PPA Photographers

Buckle up for some big news everyone: PPA has joined forces with Bank of America to offer

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 what is potentially your most money-saving benefit yet. Get ready to be even more profitable!

This new benefit means massively discounted rates on credit card processing for all PPA photographers. If you sell prints online, accept credit card payments at your studio or process mobile transactions, this could mean huge, tangible, cost-of-doing-business savings.

Now, you're probably thinking, Sounds good, but how does it save me money?

Here's the breakdown:  PPA is able to offer these deeply discounted rates because we use Bank of America (BOA) Merchant Services too! Like, a lot (several thousand transactions each month). Since there are 27,000+ PPA photographers and most of you renew each year, Bank of America agreed to extend our volume discount to all of you.

That's right, this means that PPA photographers will be able to get the same low credit card transaction processing rate that's normally reserved to very-large size businesses! That's the benefit you reap from belonging to the world's largest photography nonprofit!

That incredibly low rate should help you save a good bit by reducing the so-called interchange fees you end up paying anytime you use a credit card processing service. These are the pesky fees you pay to a bank when you accept a credit card payment.

Bank of America's reduced pricing for PPA photographers puts your interchange rate (if you make the switch ;-) at a crazy low 0.07 percent with a flat hard-to-beat $0.07 per transaction fee. It's easy to do the math and figure out you've got big savings headed your way.

At the end of the day, photographers always end up eating the cost of these pesky fees. With that in mind, and to give you an example of just how much cash savings this can represent, we asked two PPA photographers to send us a month's credit card processing statement with their current service provider. Kelly Sullivan, the point of contact for all PPA-related business at Bank of America, then plugged the numbers in and the comparative results blew us away.

The first photographer's previous merchant charged a converted interchange rate of 0.73%. With the new PPA discounted rate of 0.07% (see the difference?), that studio shaves off about $2,500 per year in credit card processing fees. That alone would pay for your PPA membership for the next 7 consecutive years! (or some new gear, I know, I know...)

"This first studio is on tiered pricing for their credit card transaction fees and their pricing structure is interchange plus, so the savings is going to be approximate and not exact. With that said, our [BOA] pricing model is showing that if this studio was on the new PPA program, they would save $2,500 per year (based on their current credit card transaction volume). For this PPA member, that amount represents 3 months of free credit card processing services!"

The second PPA photographer would save even more: $3,000!

"This Square* user would save about $3,000 per year with the new PPA discount. Since Square charges 2.75% for all card types, no matter what interchange level they fall to, BOA's discount will represent significant savings to any photography studio that uses Square. To give you an idea, the wholesale cost of a regulated debit card is 0.05% and $0.22 per transaction. Since PPA's preferred pricing is interchange plus 0.07% and $0.07, we would charge 0.12% and $0.29 on this same transaction. Take, for example, an average sale of $500. With Square, that would cost $13.75 (or 2.75%). With the BOA PPA discount, the photographer would only play $0.89 on that same transaction. That's a difference of $12.86 on this one example alone!"

[* - For those unfamiliar, Square is a popular, easy-to-use credit card processor, but they charge a very high 2.75% processing rate.]

These aren't shrug-your-shoulder savings, this is big time. We hope you'll consider learning more about the program and checking out how much money you could save. Kelly Sullivan at Bank of America is offering free statement comparisons. That 0.07 rate plus $0.07 per transaction is so hard to beat; they will most likely save you a large about of cash each month.

Connect with Kelly at BOA at (678) 540-7558 or kelly.sullivan@bankofamericamerchant.com
Be more business savvy!

For even more reasons to get in on this new service, head to PPA.com/BAMS, or jump on in and make the switch now!

And if all that sounds too good to be true, ask your credit card company to match that rate and see what they say. Trust us, it's not. It's your newest PPA member benefit. We've told you before and we won't stop: PPA has your back.

Dr. Lynda Falkenstein, the Niche Doctor, is joining us September 23 to help you distinguish yourlynda_ppaeduinstructor.png business from the rest of the pack in her webinar--Claim Your Niche: Nine Steps to a World-Class Business in Any Economy. This exclusive (and free!) introduction to Lynda's Nine-Step Process is guaranteed to help you build your business successfully through even the worst economic downturn. This is a rare opportunity to get valuable information on everything from marketing to sales tactics.

Here at PPA we realize that while you love the art of photography and the process of taking beautiful pictures, and there are probably certain aspects of your business that you do not enjoy. The selling and marketing process, the uncertainty in discovering your niche as a photographer--the list goes on. This webinar is here to tell you that everything is going to be okay! We feel that the best way to learn is by doing and the only thing we can do is confront those doubts and formulate a practical solution to our problems. Take the next step today and register for this impactful class!

Take control of your business with Lynda and improve your bottom line, for free, on September 23 at 2 PM (ET). Register Now!

Mark the Date! On October 7, 2014, at 2 p.m. world-renowned portrait photographer, Jeff Lubin,

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 M.Photog.Cr., will present a FREE live webinar, Finding Your Missing Pieces for Profitability in Photography, during which he will review actual studios and provide tangible methods through which they can be more successful. And guess what? Yours could be one of them!

Looking to upgrade your offerings? Improve your lighting capacity? EARN MORE MONEY?! Then get involved.

If you are interested in having your studio featured in the webinar, please complete these questions and forward them to lubin.jeff@gmail.com!

  1. How long have you been a professional photographer?
  2. Do you consider yourself new, proficient or advanced?
  3. Do you have an additional source of income beyond photography (another job, savings, working partner, etc.)?
  4. How would you categorize your business (portraits, weddings, commercial)?
  5. Which styles of photography are most appealing to you?
  6. Do you have trouble making your overhead most months?
  7. What has been your most successful form of income from your studio?
  8. Have you noticed big changes in your business recently, and what do you attribute that to?
  9. How do most of your clients view you? (top pro, new photographer, etc.)
  10. What do you think is your biggest weakness that you need to overcome?
  11. What would you like to focus on changing this year?
  12. In which areas would you like to learn most?
  13. Would you prefer a one, two or three day workshop?
  14. Which camera system do you use?    
  15. What type of lighting equipment do you own?
  16. If you don't currently do studio lighting, would you be interested in learning?  
  17. Do you have a studio and if so, is it commercial or in your home?
  18. What are your goals in photography for your future?
By Danielle Brooks

I seriously think PPA hit the jackpot when they asked me to guest blog for them. I'm not saying I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread, rather so much has happened to me in the past year that I am running the gamut of all things newsworthy. It started with Imaging USA, me losing my job, jumping head first into full-time photography, and literally applying everything I learned at Imaging USA as a business owner. I am so honored to be sharing my ups and downs with you all, and this post is certainly no different. 

This past month I had the most horrific thing that could ever happen to a photographer happen to me. I broke my camera and lens. I still wince even when I type the words. 

I was at Harley Davidson in Daytona Beach when it happened. My husband's company sold them some LED lights for their showroom. I was tasked with taking the before and after photos. My tripod had been acting up lately and I should have taken that as a sign. Sometimes one of the leg joints would give out--the latch wasn't tight enough to keep the leg extended, and because my tripod was cheap there was no way to tighten them. Although at the time, I didn't know that's what was happening. I just thought I was being careless and didn't latch my tripod leg all the way, so sometimes when I was taking a long exposure, it would start to tilt.

Well, this time I left my tripod unmanned to remove some stuff from view. Don't judge. You know we ALL do it. The leg gave way. I didn't see it happen fortunately, or else I might have passed out. All I heard was the crash and the slew of profanities that left my mouth. I ran over to my camera and saw that the lens essentially broke off at the mount. The mount for the lens was still attached to the ring. Luckily no glass was broken. I didn't notice it at the time, but the top of my camera body was cracked. It still seemed to function normally, but we needed to get that fixed too. The only thing I can compare the feeling of breaking your camera to would be accidentally slamming a child's finger in the car door. It probably hurts you more than it hurts them. Plus you're left with the residual guilt.

Fortunately, as a PPA photographer, my gear is covered. I called the insurance company and immediately spoke with a representative. No automated service. I was impressed. 
The woman I spoke with was so calm and reassuring. I'm sure she went home that day and had a good laugh with her family about my quivering, nervous voice on the verge of a breakdown. They emailed me the packet of info I would need to start a claim that day. They told me I could take my gear anywhere to get it fixed and get a quote. My husband and I were already headed to Orlando for our anniversary trip. It just so happened that the biggest Canon representative in the state of Florida is in Orlando. So we swung by. 

They quoted me for the work and then pointed me in the direction of the nearest camera rental facility, which just so happened to be right down the street. We went over there and were able to get a rental. They aren't open on weekends and I had a shoot scheduled for Monday. So I HAD to get a camera. All the while I had two clients call back and book sessions. I was beyond relieved that things worked out for me what would have otherwise been a stressful situation. 

Needless to say, I threw away my tripod and bought a legit one. Never use subpar equipment when it comes to cameras. Unfortunately it was a lesson I had to learn the hard way. 

So if there is any takeaway from this, it's GET INSURANCE ON YOUR GEAR! You can't afford not to. Just by being a PPA member, you have up to $15,000 of PhotoCare Equipment Insurance. You'll be thankful you have it when you need it!

Some great things were happening on theLoop as temperatures soared. Check out the hottest discussions that happened in July.

[PPA Members Discussion] Offline data storage

What are you using to back up your files? PPA members discuss their methods for protecting their images and the pros and cons of offline and online storage. Even if you've got a system in place, it's worth checking out what others are doing!

[Finance Discussion] What bookkeeping software do you use?

Just as photo editing software updates, so does bookkeeping software too! Members share their favorite programs for balancing the books.

[Commercial Photography Discussion] Pricing executive portraits

Doing executive portraiture for the first time? Get some firsthand accounts from photographers who've done it before and are sharing their tips for doing the job right.

[PPA Members Discussion] Getting a credit line in the newspaper

A PPA member's image is printed on the front page of the newspaper - but they refuse to give him credit. Now what? Weigh in on the discussions for and against getting a credit line in publication.                                       

[PPA Members Discussion] Moving studio

If you're thinking about moving your business from home to a retail studio, or vice versa, read this discussion! Members talk about their experiences working in different locations and how it affected their business.


Don't forget, theLoop is PPA's safe and secure online community where members can discuss various photography topics! Not a PPA member? It's easy: join today!

 

Think about it: how useful has filling out a survey ever been to you? Well, for Heather Sams, CPP, from Fountain, CO, not only has it helped her business be more profitable, but she also won an iPad mini. How?

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PPA's Benchmark Survey, of course. The industry's only complete financial snapshot, it's been helping businesses get a better idea of where they stand and how they can improve their bottom line. Survey participants get a free side-by-side comparison of the results to their financial data. With that kind of valuable info, the monthly giveaways for survey participants only seem like an added bonus!

Sams has been in the photography industry for over a decade, and previously used the Benchmark to put together a business plan when starting her portrait studio seven years ago. "What's great about Benchmark is that it puts all the industry information in one location that businesses can easily use," she said.

Since building up her business, Sams knew the importance of the survey to her success. "I was excited just to have been able to participate in the Benchmark Survey this year! It's such an extensive tool that the industry has access to that it just made sense for me to take the time to do it."

She never considered the fact that she could win the monthly giveaway. "When I found out that I won, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. It was super easy to participate, but winning an iPad really takes the cake. I was on cloud nine!"

And as a true dedicated professional, Sams already has plans to incorporate the iPad mini into her business. "I photograph executives, and they like seeing portraits and galleries immediately. Having a device that can make this happen will be great for my business," she said. "I'm grateful that I had the chance to participate in the survey."

Want to get in on all the Benchmark awesomeness? Check out PPA.com/benchmark and enter for your chance to win this month's prize. And don't fret! There will be more through the end of the year!

At PPA, we're constantly paying attention to the fears and concerns of photographers. One of the worries of professional photographers that we hear consistently is struggling to make those big sales. We hear you! Chances are you became a photographer because you love creating beautiful imagery, not because you wanted to be a salesperson. However, to have a successful business you need to be skilled at both!

Selling your photography doesn't have to be frightening. Many photographers hate the feeling

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 of putting some sort of pressure on their clients to buy packages. That's why this four-part webinar series will help! "Soft Selling with Intense Results" will show you that the uncomfortable high-pressure strategy isn't necessary to make great sales. Soft sales methods focus on using casual, friendly messages to drive sales. Instructor Kristin Privette is very skilled at this and she will share different soft sales methods for photography that have helped her to quadruple (more, actually!) her income within the last five years. Take a look at what you'll learn in each part:

Soft Selling with Intense Results--Webinar Series

Part 1: Soft Sales System for Weddings (view recording)
In this first part, Kristin walks you through the 10-step process she uses to gain five-figure wedding sales. Hear the language they use, the specific steps they take their couples through, and selling techniques that anyone can learn and be comfortable using.

Part 2: 7 P's of Portrait Selling (view recording)
In part 2, Kristin's covers the '7 P's of Portrait Selling.' You'll learn how to start selling from the very first time you speak with a potential client in a way that excites them and prepares them for a big purchase. This simple process has proven to bring her average sales higher than where she started.

Part 3: Your Arsenal of Answers & Increases (view recording)
During Part 3, you'll get the specific phrases Kristin uses to encourage upgrades, wall collections, add-ons and big investments. You'll learn how to prepare your brides from the very beginning to upgrade after the wedding. Plus, you'll hear the language you can use to guide your portrait clients toward wall collections and future sessions. She'll also share how she handles the common objections that every photographer gets.

Part 4: Live ProSelect Demo
September 18, 2014 - 2 pm ET
In the final part of the series, you'll go through a live ProSelect demo, showing exactly how Kristin would present to a portrait client using this software. From the moment the client walks in the door to writing a four figure check, you'll hear Kristin guiding and exciting her client about wall collections and making a big investment.

If you need help with sales, you won't want to miss this series of webinars! As always, both PPA members and non-members can attend the live webinars for FREE. However, if you want to be able to replay the recordings on demand (along with another 250+ videos on different techniques for photographers and business practices), you'll need to be a PPA member (join right here!) or just subscribe to PPAedu. Sign up today and let PPA help you be more!

PPA's Benchmark Survey can seem like a bit of an abstract concept. How in the world can sharing some of your financial information with PPA help you make more money? 

When you participate in the survey, your information gets (anonymously) combined with hundreds of other profitable photography studios from around the country. Professional studios that have: 

• Grossed a minimum of $25,000 in sales in 2013

• Received at least 50% of their business from portraits (including high school seniors) or from weddings

By comparing how the top businesses (in the same boat you are in) perform, PPA's Benchmark helps you easily understand why some studios are so successful, why others fall short on profitability, and what pitfalls you should avoid. It is the one and only comprehensive financial analysis available that helps study profitable professional photography businesses. 

You already work in a very specialized field, so this is good information and financial guidance that takes your specialty into consideration. Use it! When you participate in PPA's Benchmark Survey, there are a ton of benefits too! 

• You get your very own, personal, tailored copy of the Survey results and how they compare to your business. 

• You'll see in plain English where you're falling short and where you are kicking business butt. 

• You'll be able to fix the items that need a little love and you'll be sure to be raking in the profits! 

"I was so excited and proud to participate in the Benchmark Survey, as it meant my business was at the level of other participating studios! It was super easy to enter my information, and I am glad I could contribute to something that I have used in my business," said Heather Sams from Fountain, CO who participated in June this year. 

Not only did Heather get her data in, she also walked away with an iPad mini! - did we forget to mention that? Every month there are some crazy awesome drawings! If you submit your information by July 30th, you'll be entered to win a $500 American Express gift card! 500 bucks! That's some serious dough for a little bit of work. Oh, and those who participate will automatically be entered in the drawings each month!  

Are you ready to create a stronger and healthier business? Start here! 



Hello July! Holy smokes--where has this year gone? It's already half over! How is your business shaping up? Check out these top discussions on theLoop to see how you can always improve your skills, your business and your bottom line.


What Was Your First Digital Camera? [PPA members community]

Take a trip down memory lane with this thread. What was your first digital camera? How far have you come since? Ah...memories. 


Starter Speedlight [lighting community]

Do you love your speedlight system? Help this PPA member see what might work best for a beginner. 


Photographing in Public Areas [PPA members community]

We get this question ALL the time! What are your area's policies for having sessions in public? Do you like them? What would you like to see changed? 


Shooting My First Wedding Today [PPA members community]

If you have a wedding story that'll make you cringe, this thread is for you! Crazy (unsolicited) 2nd shooters and how to handle them appropriately are covered here!


RC Aerial Photography [commercial photography community]

Learn the laws, ins and outs of the blossoming field of RC aerial photography! There are laws on the books, but can be difficult to decipher. Get the details and join the discussion here!


If You Could Photograph Any Event, What Would You Choose? [PPA members community]

No time machines allowed- but if you could photograph any current event, what would you do? There are some interesting and inspiring responses on this bad boy!


Everyone Wants A Discount! [finance community]

Where do you stand on the slippery slope of offering discounts? Does everyone get one? Are you 100% against them? Join the conversation and help this photographer get out of a sticky situation! 


Don't forget, theLoop is YOUR safe and secure online community where PPA members can discuss various photography topics... away from the public eye! 

You don't belong to PPA? Don't be left out! It's so easy to join, do it today!


Sometimes when you're out photographing, the unexpected happens. Hopefully, it's usually a
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good surprise, like catching a perfect moment during a wedding totally unplanned or posed. However, we know that there are also surprises that you don't want to happen--like equipment breaking during a photo shoot! 

Replacing broken equipment isn't always economically feasible, and equipment insurance can also be expensive. So where do you turn?

Luckily, PPA members (U.S. and Puerto Rico-based Professional Active or Life members) can get up to $15,000 of equipment coverage paid for by PPA. You read that right--it's all included with your membership fee and you pay no additional premium to receive this coverage. Sounds pretty sweet, right?

PhotoCare Equipment Insurance will cover loss of equipment due to fire, theft or breakage. There's only one thing you have to do to be covered! Log in to PPA.com and visit the MyPPA section. If you're eligible, you'll see "Your current PhotoCare equipment insurance status" with a "Activate my PhotoCare" link to click. Once you've opted in, you're covered! 

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Do it today! You'll be thanking yourself for opting in if you end up with a broken camera, broken lens or other broken equipment at a photo shoot. PPA is proud to offer this program so that you can be more and continue to do what you love even if the unexpected happens! 

Questions? You can read up on all the PhotoCare details and FAQs. Or, contact our customer service department at 800-786-6277 and they'll answer any questions you have. You can also check out tips for protecting your equipment on the PPA Today blog.

So, opt in now  (right now--we'll wait)... so you're not caught by surprise and left with a sore wallet if you suffer broken photography equipment or loss due to theft or fire. 

Not a PPA member? Join today to get access to PhotoCare Equipment Insurance. 



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