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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.
Let's talk business! We understand that you got into the business of photography because of
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:
Finding Your Missing
Pieces for Profitability in Photography
October 7, 2014 - 2 pm ET
With Jeff Lubin, M.Photog.Cr.
October 8, 2014 - 2 pm ET
to Create a Profitable Pet Photography Business
October 21, 2014 - 2 pm ET
With Kim Hartz, CPP
Origin of Style
October 23, 2014 - 2 pm ET
With Thom Rouse, M.Photog.MEI.Cr., CPP, F-ASP
November 13, 2014 - 2 pm ET
With Bridget Jackson, CPA, PPA Business Consultant
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.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Be more business savvy!
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.
Mark the Date! On October 7, 2014, at 2 p.m. world-renowned portrait photographer, Jeff Lubin,
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 email@example.com!
Some great things were happening on theLoop as temperatures soared. Check out the hottest discussions that happened in July.
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!
Just as photo editing software updates, so does bookkeeping software too! Members share their favorite programs for balancing the books.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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:
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!
• 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
• 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!
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.
Take a trip down memory lane with this thread. What was your first digital camera? How far have you come since? Ah...memories.
Do you love your speedlight system? Help this PPA member see what might work best for a beginner.
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?
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!
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!
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!
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!