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Results tagged “PPAedu” from PPA Today

By Chris Homer

Each month, one PPAedu video is unlocked for anyone to watch (not just PPA photographers!), because PPA believes in the power of education for all. PPAedu is a library of 300+ video tutorials on photography techniques and business best practices available for PPA members 24/7 as part of their membership. And with the recent addition of PhotoVision, there are even more courses (a total of 1,100!) for PPA photographers to watch on demand at no extra cost. 

July's unlocked video is great for photographers looking to improve their marketing. One aspect of strong marketing is having a consistent brand for your photography business. If you're not sure where to start building your brand, July's video is a perfect place to start. 

In "Bring Out Your Brand," PPA's CEO and marketing pro David Trust takes you through the intricacies of what makes a brand and how you can build yours!

If you're with PPA, log in to watch the video. Non-members can access this video throughout July at PPA.com/TryEdu. If you want full access to all the PPAedu + PhotoVision on-demand videos, join PPA now!


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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.



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By Megan Mitchell

Marketing is an essential key to success for any business. You want to get those clients in the door and requesting your photography services! But marketing can be hard. It might not be your favorite thing and it even might be something you were never trained for, but it is something you must do if you want to keep your business afloat! It takes strategy, but how can you create a plan that's right for your studio?

This Thursday, June 11, watch and learn from Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API, as she teaches about the creation of a successful marketing strategy during the FREE webinar, "Studio Makeover: Creating Sustainable and Successful Marketing Strategies for Any Studio." Mary understands the value of a focused marketing strategy and she's going to make sure that you do too!

This educational opportunity is FREE for all (PPA members and non-members alike) so you can learn from the comfort of your home. All skill levels are welcome, so follow along and create your first marketing strategy ever, or fine-tune the one you've had for years. 

You'll also be able to see this process in progress at two different studios! Have you been following PPA's Studio Makeovers? Well, during this webinar, you'll get an update on their progress, specifically their developing marketing plans. If you want to see more updates from this series, check out Wes' and Krista's updates.

Create a marketing strategy that's right for your studio and attracts your ideal clients with Mary for free on June 11 at 2 PM (ET). Register now and Be More In-Demand!

If you want to watch this webinar at a later date and time, you need to be a PPA member - PPA members have hours upon hours of educational video content through both PPAedu and PhotoVision, so join today!

Megan Mitchell is an intern at PPA. Though she attends college in New York, she is originally from Georgia - most everyone she meets up north is shocked and disappointed by her lack of a southern accent. She finds great joy and comfort in copy editing and reading. She loves nothing more than words, but her family and friends take a close second. 

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By Rachel Noto

With the call for entries for PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) in full swing, it's now more important than ever to make sure your images are at the top of their game!

The work of artists can be fundamentally personal, and as such it can feel intimidating to submit work to be criticized and reviewed by masters in the field. However, absorbing a critique is one of the most important aspects of being an artist. Learning to think critically about others' work benefits you as well; in identifying the stronger and weaker parts of the work of your peers, you can turn that same discerning eye on your own work. 

All IPC jurors have earned Master of Photography degrees from PPA by submitting their images to competitions just like you, so their advice comes from a place of experience and empathy.  Hearing the thoughts of one of the jurors themselves is incredibly useful because they are not only a master in their field but have been in your shoes!

Watch Glen Mahan's merited image from the 2014 IPC, "Afrikaans Language Monument," be critiqued by Donna Goodhale, M.Photog., for some insight into what judges look for, and hone your own skills in observation and critique so you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of your own work in order to set your best foot forward in the 2015 competition!


Are your images ready for judging? Submit your work here!

Want to read more examples of critiques and other information about IPC before you submit? Read through the PPA blog's previous posts about the International Photographic Competition!

Rachel Noto is the second of two summer interns wandering around the labyrinthine offices of PPA, enthusiastically taking pictures of her cat, and occasionally getting a little writing and design done. An Atlanta native, she's learned to embrace the feeling of getting lost every now and then, though she now spends most of the year in the gridded city of Savannah, Georgia, where she attends the Savannah College of Art and Design. She has a passion for food, cute animals, and communication in all of its forms.

By Chris Homer

Have you ever thought about becoming a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) or earning a PPA degree? These official marks of recognition will help you be more in-demand as they mean more than just being able to add a string of letters to the end of your name. Becoming a CPP or earning a degree is a great way to show your potential clients that you are a true professional photographer committed to constantly improving your craft - which means they can trust you to consistently create great imagery for them! 

The next webinar on this topic is FREE! On June 9 at 2 pm EST Christine Walsh-Newton, M.Photog.Cr., CPP,  goes over each step of the process in an online session called: "Certification, Competition, and Credentials: The Course for Continued Success". Christine will walk you through certification, photographic competition and degree programs and how they make a big difference in attaining various career and personal goals. Christine also de-mystifies each process and presents them in understandable terms so that you may incorporate one or more of them into your own goals.

It's a good way to get the low-down on PPA's Certification as well as the Master of Photography, Photographic Craftsman and Artist degrees, what it takes to add each of them to your resume and how they will help you become a better photographer. Prepare to be inspired and... amused!

Speaking of photographic competition, PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) is currently accepting entries, so if you're thinking of entering IPC this summer, this webinar couldn't come at a better time! 

The webinar is free to both PPA members and non-members to stream live, so sign up today. If you want to access the recorded version of this webinar (and more than 1,100 other PPAedu classes and PhotoVision videos), you've got to be with PPA. So join today! And don't forget to enter your images in the IPC!


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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.


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By Megan Mitchell

Entries for PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) are now open, so this critique comes at a great time, because IPC is a great opportunity to improve your craft so you can offer your clients even better images.

How can watching someone else's critique help YOU? The IPC critiques provide feedback from one of the competition's jurors and such critiques are directly meant to help the image maker! All IPC jurors have Master of Photography (M.Photog.) degrees from PPA, meaning they have submitted their own images to IPC to gain merits - they've been in your exact position before and they take into serious consideration the image critiquing as a way of coaching you. So any feedback, good and bad, is meant to be constructive and to help the listener SEE what it takes to take an image to the next (competition) level. 

See for yourself! In the video below, you'll see an example of a critique from last year's IPC . Glen Mahan's image, "Solomon," is being critiqued by Jeff Dachowski, M.Photog., Cr., CPP. This image was accepted into PPA's general collection and Glen earned an exhibition merit! You can learn what put this  work over the top!



Ready to submit some of your work to this year's IPC? Do it here!
If you're still feeling a little unsure, check out some helpful PPAedu videos on photographic competition!
It's time to Be More Creative.

Megan Mitchell is one of two summer interns running around at PPA. Though she attends college in New York, she is originally from Georgia - most everyone she meets up north is shocked and disappointed by her lack of a southern accent. She finds great joy and comfort in copy editing and reading. She loves nothing more than words, but her family and friends take a close second. 

By Chris Homer

Have you ever wanted to host a photography workshop? Well, if you have, your chance is here: Consider applying to be an instructor for PPA's Super 1 Day photography workshops this fall. It's a great chance to give back to the photography community by sharing your knowledge. 

What does your class need to be about? Anything photography or photography business related! In the past, instructors have taught classes featuring portrait and wedding photography techniques, posing and lighting, digital retouching and workflow, and sales and marketing strategies - so if you've got some special insight into a particular photography technique or business practice Super 1 Day is a great chance to bring fellow photographers into your studio, broaden your network or your reach and help raise the bar in the industry by sharing your knowledge. 

Better yet, if you're working towards earning a PPA degree, you'll get 2 speaking merits for hosting a Super 1 Day class. You can even earn some extra cash - Photographic Craftsman and Master Photographer instructors receive $50 per student after the 7th paid attendee.

The dates for the upcoming Super 1 Day are October 5-19, and you can host your class anytime during this range. Check out the FAQs for more information.

Super 1 Day instructor applications are due by June 29, so go ahead, Be More Adventurous and apply 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.


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By Chris Homer

Each month, one PPAedu video is unlocked for anyone to watch (not just PPA photographers!), because we believe in the power of education for all at PPA. PPAedu is a library of 300+ videos full of advice on photography techniques and business practices available for PPA members 24/7 as part of their membership! And with the recent addition of PhotoVision, there are even more courses (a total of 1,100!) for PPA photographers to stream on demand at no cost. 

This month's unlocked video is perfect for photographers thinking about entering the International Photographic Competition (IPC) - especially if you've never entered a professional photographic competition before! 

The idea of having your images judged can seem intimidating. Don't fret! June's unlocked (yes, it's free!) video will help remove some of that fear: "Photographic Competition: How Images Are Judged".

In the video, Michael Timmons, M.Photog.M.Artist.Cr., CPP, F-ASP., covers the technical aspects of entering the competition (file size, calibration, etc.). He also explains how images are actually scored by the judges at IPC. From start to finish, you'll get a complete view of how the IPC works.

If you're a PPA member, log in to watch the video. Non-members can access the video during June at PPA.com/TryEdu. If you want full access to all the PPAedu courses and PhotoVision streaming videos, join PPA now! 

And don't forget that the IPC is currently accepting entries (through June 25 to avoid a late fee). We hope Michael Timmons' course will inspire you to Be More Creative and enter now!


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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.


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By Chris Homer

PPA's Super 1 Day Photography Workshops are returning May 4 - 18, 2015. During this time, dozens of studios across the country will invite attendees to join daily workshops featuring portrait and wedding photography, posing and lighting, digital retouching and workflow, and sales and marketing strategies. It's a chance you won't want to miss--a full day of photography education brought to you by fellow professional photographers.

This year, there's more than 100 workshops being offered on various techniques for photographers and business practices, so there's bound to be something that interests you... and hopefully not far from you! Online registration is open until April 28, 2015 for $99 per class. Make sure to register by that date, because after the 28th registration will be on-site only (at the class and space permitting) for $120 per class. So register early, allow the instructors to organize their groups properly with an advance headcount and save some good money! 

If you need more incentives besides the great photography education, keep in mind that PPA members that attend Super 1 Day classes will receive one service merit towards their degree for each class they attend. Plus, you also get the Bonus Pack, with offers and discounts from top photographic companies that will help you save more! 

Be More Inspired. Find a class near you today, and remember to register by April 28, 2015 for the lowest price! 


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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. 



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By Chris Homer

PPA photographers have photography and business learning opportunities, educational programs and best practices through PPAedu and PhotoVision at their fingertips. But there are also a bunch of live webinars coming up in April and May, and these are OPEN TO ALL photographers, no PPA membership required! Check them out below:

April 16, 2015 - 2 pm EST
With Ashley Brooke
Skill Level(s): ALL

The first webinar in the Studio Makeover series is here! This year PPA is working with two lucky studios in all areas of their business, to give them a total "makeover". Follow their progress, challenges and changes. Updates will be posted right here on the blog and you will be able to watch monthly webinar updates to track this year-long process. It's a series worth paying attention to, as there will be strategies and business tactics you can apply to your business too.

With the nature of business changing as rapidly as it is, it's no wonder we consider Social Media our Business BFF. Having grown up in the photography industry, Ashley Brooke knows first-hand what works best and what doesn't! During this webinar, Ashley Brooke will share her tips and tricks for social media and branding, discovered in large part thanks to building a business from the ground up.

April 23, 2015 - 3 pm EST
With Lindsey Forson, PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Coordinator
Skill Level(s): ALL

Copyright infringement is an important and often complicated issue for professional photographers. This webinar will help you understand what your intellectual property rights are as a photographer, how to protect your images from copyright infringements, and what to do when infringements occur. Join us on World Copyright Day for this webinar, free and open to ALL photographers to help you be more in control of your copyright and be more protected!

April 28, 2015 - 2 pm EST
With Clay Eads
Skill Level(s): ALL

This is a two-part series on outsourcing. In part I, Clay Eads will provide an in-depth look at the process and benefits of outsourcing your post-production workflow. You'll learn when it makes sense to outsource so that you're maximizing your time and finances! Clay will also cover what to expect when working with an editor during the outsourcing process. If you feel overwhelmed with all the tasks you need to accomplish, outsourcing may be a solution for you, so learn the basics during this webinar.
By Chris Homer

At PPA, one of our goals is to constantly provide benefits that help photographers Be More
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 as business owners and as artists. With that in mind, we're excited to introduce the newest benefit of being with the largest and strongest photography association - PhotoVision! 

PhotoVision is a premier online library of cinematic HD videos where photographers can learn, be inspired and find solutions from some of the biggest names in the industry. Now that PhotoVision is a part of PPA, members can stream more than 800 videos for FREE! Or if you're more of the DVD type (some of us really like to hold onto DVDs), if you're with PPA you'll also receive 50% off the PhotoVision DVDs. When adding PhotoVision to the existing PPAedu videos, you now have more than 1,100 educational videos at your fingertips to help you work on photography technique and develop your business and business skills... all INCLUDED with your PPA membership! 

Below you'll find previews for the 2015 PhotoVision releases. There's certain to be something for every photographer! Learn all about this new benefit at PPA.com/PhotoVision. Remember, you've got to be with PPA to get the free streaming, but you can also get a PhotoVision-only subscription. It's your choice... Join 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. 

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By: Lauren Walters

 

Prom season is coming up! For a photographer, prom can be a tricky setting to work in - not to mention the formality of the portraits. So how do you survive a prom photo session? Read up on these tips from theLoop! Don't wait; it's just around the corner.

 

1.     Make sure you communicate with the coordinator often to ensure you both are on the same page. You will want to discuss backgrounds, props, times, etc. Prior to the prom, drop off advertisements for the school to distribute to the students including prepayment information, brochures, samples, etc. This will let students know of your services, pre-pay, or ask questions. Also, bring extras to the event.

 

2.     Arrive early to allow plenty of time to set up. Odds are the venue won't have all the supplies you need like a nearby wall outlet. Bring extension cords, pens, paperclips, a stapler, change, and a secure place to store money. If you can, bring along an assistant to help process the paperwork and payments. Make sure to let your assistant know the image number for each couple, so he/she can write it on their paperwork. High school is full of awkward moments, which may make for awkward photos. If possible, bring sample photos of poses.

 

3.     Make sure to clarify for each shot if the participating students are just friends or are a romantic couple. It's not uncommon to see a few same-sex couples come up for photos. Some of the time, they are just friends, but others may be an actual couple. If it is a same sex couple, pose them just as you would a heterosexual couple. This can be a sensitive subject, but if you're open and accepting about it, the students are much more comfortable. Considering you're a professional, it is most appropriate to keep your personal beliefs to yourself when on the job.

 

4.     It is important to have a reasonable turnaround time. It shouldn't take more than a few weeks max to get back to photos returned to the school. Notify the school and students of your estimated turnaround time ensuring your quality work.

Thank you to Crystal Prahl at Forever Me Photography for your contributions on theLoop. Have any further tips or opinion about prom photography? Check out the thread on theLoop.

By Chris Homer

If you're just starting a photography business, or have recently moved from part-time to full-time photographer, you probably feel a little bit overwhelmed by all the different things you must implement to have a successful business. Don't panic! PPA's Business Basics Workshop WILL help get you over the hump and set your studio up for success 

This workshop answers all those questions you might have - everything from legal and financial aspects of running a studio to picking a business model and developing a pricing strategy that works for you! Better yet, this Business Basics workshop utilizes PPA's Benchmark Survey results by directly comparing your studio's numbers with high-performing studios to help you identify real tangible areas of opportunities or needed changes. It's a 2 day business jolt that will empower you to make smarter business decisions.

You have to be with PPA to attend and there is a fee, but the knowledge and confidence to run your business successfully is such that almost all past attendees recognize it was a turning point for their studios and well worth the $199 cost. 

Emily Mulkey from Dallas, TX (who already attended this program) told us, "Doing the Business Basics Workshop was, by far, the best decision I made last year. The information and advice I received is still, to date, essential for taking my photography business from the hobby level to full time professional. The instructors are wonderful--they have incredible passion for the industry and have truly walked the walk. I only wish I had attended this workshop 2 or 3 years ago, as it would have saved me many tiresome nights of frustration!"

If you're looking for a photography business guide to avoid the frustration Emily mentioned, consider attending the next Business Basics Workshop at PPA headquarters in Atlanta, April 25-26. Those who register by March 25 will even get the early bird rate of $199! That and...you'll be able to bring someone else from your studio for free! 

The April class will be taught by Ann Monteith, M.Photog.Hon.M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI,API,A-ASP, who's among the best in teaching photographers how to run a business. 

Past attendee Virginia L.S. Freire of Brooklyn, NY said, "The Business Basics Workshop was worth every penny and every minute of it. I was amazed - and thrilled - that Ann Monteith covered so much and answered all of my questions in such a short amount of time. The program was inspirational and energizing and armed me with the critical tools, perspective, and business savviness I needed to set my studio apart and start on the road to profitability immediately. Thank you PPA and Ann!"

So, if you want to Be More as a photography business owner, get over your fears and sign-up for this April 25-26 Business Basics Workshop today! The workshop is only for PPA members, so you'll need to join before you can register. See you in Atlanta! 


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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. 



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By Sarah Ackerman

With more and more advanced technology, the art of skin retouching has become extremely refined. As we all know, out with the old, in with the new! Gaussian blur and high pass retouching are now passé. 

To help you out in March, PPAedu is offering for free to all photographers "Skin Retouching" with Joel Grimes, Cr.Photog. In this class, you'll learn frequency separation in Photoshop, foundation, high texture later and the lasso tool! Grab the video now, it's free on www.PPA.com/edu through the end of March!

PPAedu is the online education platform for PPA photographers. There you'll find more than 300 videos on both photography technique and business practices to help you grow your studio, be more profitable and  inspired!

You will also find nifty tool that allows you to build your very own custom-fit learning program based on your level of proficiency in your photography technique and your business skills. And the best part of all is that as you watch more and more PPAedu classes, you'll be able adjust that program so that it evolves with you as you continue to grow in photography!
 
Give it a try! Use it as a refresher course or learn something new. PPAedu is included with the PPA membership, so watch Joel Grimes's program for free today or become a PPA member to access the entire video library. Try it now for free! Go ahead and dive in! It's your time to be more inspired.


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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 around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming 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 Sarah Ackerman

Your educational opportunities are endless at PPA! Here's an update on what to expect from PPAedu's live webinars and workshops in the upcoming months. Good learning opportunities ahead...Mark your calendars!

Remember: PPAedu's live webinars are FREE to anyone (PPA members and non-members alike). PPA photographers also get 24/7 access with free on-demand replays + all that is on PPAedu's platform!

Here are the upcoming live webinars:

March 3, 2 pm ET
Marketers tell you to be different in order to succeed - but what does that really mean? Join Angela Pointon on an exploration of differentiation and common pitfalls of marketing your business.
 
March 12, 2 pm ET
Whether it's simply adding a pet to the family portrait or exploring pet photography as a new line of business, this webinar with Angela Lawson is a great jumping off point! Go beyond the technical aspects and learn how to get comfortable with some of our four-legged friends!

March 17, 2 pm ET
Explore the world of headshots for actors and talent! These aren't your standard corporate portraits - Tracy will show you the requirements for different types of headshots, things you should do (and avoid) and industry lingo! 

March 31, 2 pm ET
Stir up your senses when creating captivating portraits! Francie is here to help you create impactful images by finding the emotion with your subjects. It's a must-watch for any portrait photographer!
 
Make sure to follow PPA on Facebook and stay tuned into PPAedu's events calendar for the latest.


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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 around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming 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

The portrait photographers out there would agree that there's a huge difference between posing
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 and lighting women and men. Try to find a woman who genuinely never cringes before seeing herself in photos, and you understand your challenge as the photographer.

To help you out, in January PPAedu is offering for free to all photographers "Lighting and Posing Women"! In this class by Jen Hillenga, M.Photog.Cr, you'll see posing and lighting techniques that will ensure your female clients fall in love with their photos! Grab the video now, it's free on PPAedu through the end of January!

PPAedu is the online education platform for PPA photographers. There you'll find more than 300 videos on both photography technique and business practices to help you grow your studio, be more profitable and be more inspired!

You will also find a quick and easy self-assessment tool that allows you to build your own custom-fit learning program. And the best part of all is that as you take more and more PPAedu classes, you'll be able adjust that program so that it evolves with you as you continue to grow in photography!
 
Give it a try! This is a way for photographers to find videos on areas of photography where you could use a refresher course or learn something new. PPAedu comes as part of the PPA membership, so join today to access the 300+ video library. Try it now for free! Go ahead and dive in! It's your time to be more inspired.


ch_headshot_100x100.jpgAbout 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. 


Taking great photographs is just one part of running a successful photography business. You
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 also need to be able to sell those images! That process starts with the consultation with your client before a single photo is taken.

In December, PPAedu is offering "The Portrait Consultation" with Allison Rodgers, CPP for free to all photographers. Allison will help you understand why the consultation is important and how it helps you and your client. So, if you're looking for tips to make your pre-shoot consultations as strong as possible, grab the video today!

Through PPAedu, the online education platform for PPA photographers, you'll find more than 250 videos on both photography technique and business practices to help you grow your studio, be more profitable and be more inspired!

You will also find a quick and easy to use self-assessment tool that will allow you to build a custom-fit learning program. And the best part of all is that as you take more and more classes, you'll be able adjust your program so that you can continue to grow in photography! 

Give it a try! This is a way for photographers to find videos on areas of photography where you could use a refresher course or learn something new. PPAedu is included as part of your PPA membership, so join today to access all the videos. Or, subscribe to PPAedu without becoming a member... you won't get all the membership benefits, but you'll get access to the complete customizable PPAedu library! Go ahead and dive in! It's your time to shine. 
By Bridget Jackson, CPA, PPA Business manager

Have you ever read something and thought to yourself, I could have written that! Today is that day for me. In fact, the entire article could have been my quotes.

The article was 7 Ways to Help Ensure Your Business Succeeds by Donald Todrin. He points out business fundamentals have not changed, but new strategies are required in light of the changing economic conditions. The information is poignant when applied to photography business owners, so I decided to do just that! Here are his seven ways to succeed in business tweaked for what I believe to be strategies for the photography industry.  

1) Have a written plan that should include the following:
 a. A financial plan detailing how many sessions you plan to conduct at a certain sales average, an estimate of how much it will take to produce your products (cost of sales), and an estimate of what your fixed expenses will be.
 b. A source of initial financing until the business is self-sufficient. On average, per the SBA, it takes some businesses 3-5 years until they are sustainably self-sufficient. Knowing this, if you plan to use your personal resources, go at it fully understanding that it will take time to replenish.
 c. A sales plan to achieve your sales average goal. The plan should include a strategy and a price list set up to achieve the goal.
 d. A marketing plan to attract the amount of sessions you need to satisfy your financial plan. The plan should identify your ideal paying client and the appropriate strategy to attract such defined target clientele. Also develop your marketing calendar, detailing the tools to be used, when to use them, and how you will measure your results. (PPA's Square One tool is a great place to start developing your plan.)
 e. Detailed workflow from the initial phone call to the delivery of the products. Outlining each step of your process doesn't only help identify the time required for each session, but it will also help you define outsourcing/employee opportunities.

2) Don't marry your plan. Even the best laid-out plans can eventually go awry. Think of it this way; it's not necessarily the plan that is important, but what we learn from the planning process and how it shapes and guides our future actions.

3) Keep your ego in check and listen to others. The photography industry is unique in some ways in that there are plenty of mentors out there to help guide you. Find one whose business is a reflection of what YOU would like your business to be. Look past the "flashy stuff" towards finding a mentor who is dedicated to their craft and their photography business.

4) Keep track of everything, and manage your numbers. In order to be successful, it is imperative as a studio that you know how many sessions you need to hold in order to reach your goals. The results of this analysis can tell you if your sales and marketing plans are working. It's that plain simple. And if they are not working, it may be time to reassess. PPA has made it easy for you to evaluate your numbers. Just go check the online tools, Square One in particular, that will help you establish the basis of managerial accounting.

5) Delegate and avoid micromanaging. This is where your detailed workflow (see 1e) comes into play. It is important for you to remember that you don't have to do everything. In the beginning, it might make sense, but as your business grows, carve out specific outsourcing opportunities using your detailed workflow. The photography business tends to be seasonal so keep that in mind as well when you are creating your plan. If you find yourself needing help year round, then it is time to take the steps needed to hire on an additional employee.

6) Use the internet! Social media is one marketing tool that is inexpensive but vitally important to building your business. It takes time and effort but if you schedule it ahead of time and take advantage of off-season opportunities to pre-post, it will become easier.  More importantly, it is pertinent that you do it consistently in order to be effective. Look outside of our industry to see how profitable companies take advantage of free marketing tools.

7) Reinvent your business. Seriously. If you don't like what your numbers are telling you, make a change. Of course, map out your change, but always remember that it is ok to take calculated risks. It's not about what you gross, but what you keep in our pockets. Assess your business from a different perspective. Ask yourself what your competitive advantage is. What niche could you carve out of your competitive market, and how could you provide better customer service to elevate your value? Discounting brings down your market's perception of your value so instead of playing the pricing war, exceed your clients' expectations by delivering more!

You have made a conscious choice to be a photographer, one that requires time and money. Always give yourself the best chance to succeed in this ever-changing profession. Knowledge is power--and as an entrepreneur, you are on an endless path to discover what you don't know. This is what PPA is here for: to help you be more profitable by continuing to learn about the photography business!

jacksonbridget_blog.jpgAbout the author:
Bridget Jackson is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and PPA Business manager. Over the years, Bridget has helped hundreds of photography studios become more profitable. 

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.

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,

lubin_jeff_headshot.jpg

 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?


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