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We're back with an update on Krista Newbill's Studio Makeover. Check out the previous post on the project overview if you need a refresher, and take a look at Wes Roberts' first update from last month.
Below is an update on what Krista has been doing with her team of PPA mentors, the early progress she's made along with some of the obstacles she's facing. Some of it surely applies to some of you and your business... maybe you can consider applying similar changes to Be More Profitable too?
Krista first came to PPA for help with her business back in 2012. At that time her studio's gross sales were down 21% from 2011 and what was more telling, expenses were up and her bottom line suffered, going down 52% during that time.
In 2013 Krista focused on cutting costs. Her sales that year increased and her bottom line recovered. Then in 2014 the stress of running and paying for a retail location caused Krista to rethink her location. She opted to co-lease a space with another photographer. With sales up 14% and her expenses once again down, Krista was keeping almost 61% of every dollar she grossed. According to PPA's Benchmark, top-preforming retail studios keep about 39% of each dollar, proving that Krista was doing a great job keeping her expenses in check.
As she started planning for 2015, Krista was feeling that she was working too hard, too many hours, and not spending enough quality time with her family. "How long can I keep up this pace?" is a question most business owners ask themselves at some point during their careers. That's why the concept of sustainability is one of the most important things to consider when you're planning each year.
What affects your business sustainability? The number of hours worked, stress levels, income, family life balance, and pretty much anything else that affects you as the business owner. Simply ask yourself, can your business continue on the same track it's currently on with you, as the business owner, doing everything as-is? Sometimes it simply comes down to time (or lack thereof). In the long run, can you realistically continue to put in the hours/week that you are currently spending and be achieving your life goals?
Krista realized that she's too busy and is now looking for ways to work smarter, not harder. Her main product lines include weddings, portraits and headshots. She lives near Nashville and has a very large clientele. Up until 2014, Krista created albums and sold prints to her wedding clients, but she only sold digital files to her portrait clients.
By Lindsey Forson
Commercial use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly known as drones, continues to be a hot issue on Capitol Hill.
While we anxiously await the FAA's approval on new regulations for small UAS operations, things continue to move forward. Last week, Senator Cory Booker (New Jersey) and Senator John Hoeven (North Dakota) introduced the Commercial UAS Modernization Act (download it here: 265083514-UAS-Modernization-Act-of-2015.pdf) to the U.S. Senate. This legislation has not yet become law and would not replace the forthcoming rule from the FAA, but it could serve in the interim.
If the Commercial UAS Modernization Act becomes law, it would make it legal to use UAS for commercial purposes within specified regulations. The Act would also accelerate the process of incorporating commercial UAS use into the current framework. If passed, the FAA would be required to act very quickly to establish the knowledge test and certification process for commercial UAS operators.
For an update on the FAA
rulemaking process, check out PPA's past coverage of the issue. We will keep
you updated on the progress of the Commercial UAS Modernization Act on the
Lindsey Forson is PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Coordinator. She works with members on a daily basis addressing copyright questions and works closely with our CEO to advocate for professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep members informed on the issues that affect their businesses. She's new to Atlanta and spends most of her free time exploring the city (restaurants, markets, parks); spends three nights a week playing soccer and is a huge Auburn fan.
PPA's Southeast District Competition has come to an end and the results are online. Congratulations to all who earned a seal of approval and will move on to this year's International Photographic Competition (IPC). Don't forget, even if you didn't merit this round, you can still rework your images and enter the IPC!
In addition to earning merits, the top scoring image in each of the 12 judging categories is selected to receive a PPA Southeast District Competition Award.
This year's category winners are:
By John Owens
Another week, another critique for your to Be More Competitive! And further reminder that entering the International Photographic Competition (IPC) is the best way to improve as an artist and photographer.
It can also help boost your profits. How? Better images = happier clients = more money for you!
To make the most of the IPC, we recommend you sign up (it's free) to have your images critiqued by one of PPA's International Jurors, who are themselves accomplished photographers. We understand that if you've never entered the IPC and had your images being critiqued the whole process can seem overwhelming. To ease your anxiety, take a look at an actual critique from last year. Below you'll see Ellen LeRoy's image "Lakeside Love" being reviewed by IPC juror Mark Garber, M.Photog.Cr., CPP.
Ready to enter the IPC and improve your photography game? It's coming up so soon! Entries for this year's competition open May 26. Take the plunge and Be More Competitive.
Like every month, PPA is back on Washington to advocate with legislators for your photography rights! Small business owners are often overlooked by the law, but PPA is on the Hill to make sure photographers are accounted for in the upcoming new copyright legislation.
Yesterday, PPA's advocacy team met with Corey Cooke and Joe Hartz who both serve on the Hill as Counsel to the House Small Business Committee.
"We discussed various issues affecting small photography businesses including copyright issues, health care concerns, and drone photography," said Lindsey Forson, PPA's copyright & government affairs coordinator. "This introductory meeting made sure these important people on the Hill know who PPA is and what issues are important to the 28,000+ photographers and small business owners PPA represents. The goal is to forge positive relationships with those looking out for the concerns of small business owners like photographers."
Today's agenda includes meetings with:
"There is a new coordinator in place and we want to establish a relationship with the office and make sure they are thinking about small business copyright issues," said Forson.
To discuss the Copyright review process.
CONTINUE READING FOR UPDATES
By: Lauren Walters
If you're looking to make a bigger profit, PPA's Benchmark Resources are here to help revise your budget. A small change can make a huge difference in your business. In fact, a 1% decrease in your cost of sales and overhead expenses can save you as much as $50,000 by the end of the year.
For a retail studio, overhead expenses should estimate to about 40% and cost of sales at about 25%. Keep in mind that your profit depends upon the amount of sales for that fiscal year. For example, you need about $143,000 in sales to earn a $50,000 profit. Make sure to use PPA's Square One tool to see the change 1% makes to your bottom line.
The video below stresses the importance of creating a strategic budget and sticking to it! Watch and learn more about how to keep your sales and expenses in line with your new 1% budget.
For more information, visit PPA.com/Benchmark. Be More Profitable.
By Mariah Ashley
De-cluttering Your Message
I've been avoiding my bedroom lately. I only go in there at night. I don't turn on the light and just kind of hop from the door into bed. I definitely DO NOT look around. I'm afraid if I do I might see something really horrible. Something embarrassing. I'm ashamed of...
I've been meaning to spring clean my closet for a while now; I just haven't been able to get motivated to do it. I sort of started, which yielded a bag of donation clothes but I never finished the job. I left it, door open, shoes spilling out onto the floor. It's been that way for weeks.
I thought, I'll just get rid of everything that isn't totally me. The problem is, I'm not sure exactly what that means. Is me a black pencil skirt or a ruffled bohemian blouse? Cause I've got both... Gah! Who am I? What do I like? How am I perceived? Classic or Artsy? Fun or Functional?
It was time to call in an expert, a straight shooter, someone who thinks my feelings are of no consequence--my 13-year-old daughter.
"What about this one?" I asked holding up a plaid shirt dress.
"Are you kidding? Frump Town."
"Ohhh-kaaay how about this shirt?" I ventured, showing her a turquoise and gold leopard print tank top. (I swear, it wasn't as ugly as it sounds).
"It looks like something a tacky granny would wear. And what is this material? It feels greasy." She replies tossing it in disgust.
James Williams, the Federal Aviation Administration's Chief of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration, announced during a panel discussion Monday, May 4, that a final rule on the new regulations for small drone operation will most likely be made within the next 16 months.
Of course 16 months might not sound ideal, as we would like for drone regulations to be improved now. However, the announcement of a time frame is a positive development. Additionally, given the complexity of the FAA as a federal agency and that just last month they received thousands of comments on their proposed regulations, 16 months or less is probably a better than what we could hope for in terms of a timeline. At PPA, we are confident that the new rule will make drone photography a feasible option for professional photographers.
Here is Williams' full statement:
"The standard timeline from the completion of a comment period to federal rule is 16 months. I believe that the FAA will do everything within its power to meet that timeline or beat it. It is a fairly complex rule and there are a lot of comments that have to be resolved, and it will take some time to do it. But it's an administrator-level priority to get this done, and I believe this interest is shared all the way up the chain inside the executive branch. I'm confident it will move forward as fast as humanly possible."
This statement follows last month's progress on new drone regulations. We will continue to keep you up to date as the situation develops!
With PPA, Be More In The Know.
PPA and partner Lockton Affinity, LLC, have reduced liability insurance rates for PPA photographers from $289 a year down to $236.
"This new rate is a huge deal for PPA photographers," said Kristen Hartman, PPA director of member value and experience. "It makes our liability insurance one of the most affordable out there for small businesses. We recommend all of our members get this extra coverage. In fact, many venues will require that photographers have it."
PPA's general liability policy is there for photographers in case a client or anyone is injured or if any property is damaged while on a shoot. In these instances--the photographer could be held responsible for damages and that means thousands of dollars in reparation or worse, legal battles. Some examples include if a client trips over a light and injures their arm, or the photographer backs up too far a knocks over a vase. That's where the liability insurance comes in.
"If something bad happens and the photographer is held responsible, it could be financially crippling," said Hartman. "This insurance is another way PPA protects photographers. Liability insurance is a great thing to have in your back pocket, as bad things do happen.
"It's important to note that liability insurance is not what most photographers currently think they have. It's different than home owners insurance, business insurance, or even equipment insurance, but it is much needed protection, especially for event photographers."
Lockton Affinity, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lockton Companies (the world's largest privately held insurance brokerage firm) and is dedicated exclusively to the administration of insurance programs for associations, franchises, professional organizations and other affinity groups. Lockton Affinity designed for PPA a unique insurance program to meet the insurance needs of PPA photographers.
PPA's general liability insurance covers PPA photographers for up to $1 million per occurrence with a $2 million aggregate limit. For more information visit PPA.LocktonAffinity.com/BusinessLiability.htm.
PPA's copyright team is back in Atlanta after spending the past few days in our nation's capital, advocating for the issues that matter most to professional photographers. Catch up on Tuesday and Wednesday's events, and then read the recap below for more details! Things are REALLY moving in the right direction on the copyright front!
By Lindsey Forson
This is an exciting time in the world of copyright policy. We're expecting to see proposed legislation, as early as this legislative session, which could result in the first changes to the Copyright Act in over four decades! This trip was effective in terms of our lobbying efforts and extremely educational in our understanding of what changes might be forthcoming.
One of the highlights of the visit was attending a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee during which Maria Pallante, the Register of the U.S. Copyright Office testified. This was the last hearing of a copyright review process that has been going on for more than two years. In 2013, Pallante was the first to call for the review of Copyright Law and administration. Since then, the Committee has held 20 hearings and heard 100 testimonies on the topic. It was only fitting for Pallante to testify again in the final hearing.
Pallante gave her perspective on what should be the Committee's priorities moving forward. She called for a modernization of the U.S. Copyright Office, addressing concerns with its organizational structure, I.T. capacity, budgeting, and staffing. She also presented items she believes are ready for legislative action. We were most excited to hear that a small claims process for addressing copyright infringements is (finally) on the top of that list. Pallante urged members of the Committee to take action now. Additionally, she presented issues in need of further investigation and analysis such as Section 512 of the Act and mass digitization. You can access her full testimony here.
The rest of our trip focused on lobbying appointments with members of the House Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee will be the group to propose new copyright legislation. We met with several freshman members of Congress who sit on the Committee or their staff members, to introduce them to who PPA is and the issues that are important to us.
PPA is back in Washington advocating for photographers! CEO David Trust, Director of Member Value and Experience, Kristen Hartman and Copyright and Government Affairs Coordinator, Lindsey Forson, are there meeting with staffers and congressmen and women before they attend tomorrow's House Judiciary Committee Hearing.
Look for updates here on this post they report back!
Update #1: Tuesday, April 28, 3:48pm
This afternoon, we met with Linda Shim, staffer of California Congresswoman Judy Chu's office. Congresswoman Chu is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and co-chairman of the Creative Rights Caucus. The meeting was productive as we talked about projects we can work on together to spread the word on the Hill about copyright from a small business perspective.
We also met with Austin Smithson of Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert's (also on the House Judiciary Committee) office and talked about the copyright registration process itself. We showed him how this cannot be a one-size-fits-all process, which he was very receptive to. There are many different business models represented among copyright owners and the current approach is not working for everyone.
We are looking forward to two more meetings today before attending the House Judiciary Committee Hearing tomorrow morning where the actual U.S. Copyright Office will present "The Register's Perspective on Copyright Review." We will have three additional meetings after the hearing.
READ PAST THE JUMP FOR MORE UPDATES
By: Lauren Walters
Accidents happen -sometimes you may drop your camera or break a lens on the job. But what happens next? You have to pay out of pocket to fix or replace your gear and ultimately return to work. What if you didn't have to rely on your own savings account as an insurance policy? PPA can protect your photo gear with PhotoCare Equipment Insurance.
Why PhotoCare? Other insurance companies offer insurance policies that may fit your budget, but this one was crated for PPA, specifically to fit photographers' needs. Instead of going to a one-stop-shop general insurance company, PhotoCare Equipment Insurance will give you peace of mind; it's been created for photographers like you.
All PPA photographers receive up to $15,000 of equipment coverage as part of their membership--They just have to activate it (it's free) and PPA pays the insurance premiums! Best of all, it covers loss or damage of your professional equipment due to fire, theft or damage.
Don't risk your business or facing big out-of-pocket
expenses. In the professional world it's not a matter of if but when, because
things will happen! So if you're already with PPA, make sure you have activated
your PhotoCare Equipment Insurance! To do so, go to My PPA and activate your
Not yet a member? Join now and Be More Protected. It's that plain simple.