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Dear PPA Member,

A few months ago, I listened to a conversation between my father and one of our graphic designers here at PPA. Dad used his GI Bill after the Korean War to study graphic design; and in over fifty years, he has developed an opinion on what constitutes "clean design" and what just doesn't appeal to an audience. (He's developed a lot of other opinions, but that's for another Vital Signs...)

Despite the half-century gap in formal education between Dad and Mark, the PPA designer, it was interesting to note that their views were the same on how to create compelling pieces that inspire people. Colors, readability, spacing...all of this and more play an important visual role in a marketing campaign's success.

As a photographer, I'm sure you can relate to what makes a "quality image" versus what doesn't appeal to your target market. Similar attention needs to be given to selecting the elements of graphic design that will influence your ability to effectively reach clients. This week's Vital Signs gives you some ideas about such design and the important role it plays in your business...and what you can do right now to step up your own game.

Cheers,

Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

Several years ago, most didn't think twice about burning a copy of a CD or downloading songs off peer-to-peer file sharing sites. Then, the artists and music industry spoke out. More importantly, they increased public education about breaking copyright laws. Now, even DVDs tend to have a "commercial" before the movie that refers to such actions as stealing.

That kind of combined education sends a loud message...and that's the kind of education that can help protect your images from client copyright infringement. This week's article touches on how to begin such copyright education yourself (to both clients and photo retailers). Next week, you'll learn about PPA's shiny new Retail Compliance Network (RECON Program) and how you can be a part of that education.

PPA is always searching for the best way to help you protect your copyrights. Infringements won't disappear instantly, but each educational step can help strengthen your rights and your clients' awareness of them.

Cheers,
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Membership

P.S. Stay tuned for next week's Vital Signs article (May 14). You'll learn more about the revamped Retail Compliance Network--our RECON program--where you can help investigate photo retailers to improve their compliance with copyright laws.

Dear PPA Member,

One of the things I love about PPA members is their willingness to share their thoughts and ideas.

I see it every day on the OurPPA Forums, hear it in conversations during classes, and watch the Twitter posts fly with questions about what works...and what doesn't. Idea-sharing between professional photographers helps not only the businesses whose owners and employees listen and share, but the industry as a whole. Wouldn't you hate to spend a lot of money on a marketing campaign, only to find out later that you could have implemented it for less money with better results? If there was a great idea out there that someone else has already successfully done, wouldn't you want to know how they did it?

That's why we're listening to PPA members...and sharing their knowledge. Whether you're new to the business of photography or have been running a studio for years, it's never the wrong time to look at what someone else is doing with their marketing. Take what will work for you, and share the rest. Read this week's Vital Signs article, "Marketing for the New (and Not So New) Kid on the Block" here.

We want you to continue to be successful, and we don't want you to have to do it alone. We're doing what we can to give you what you need--just let us know how we can help. 

Cheers,
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Membership

P.S. You've got a new member benefit - Precision Camera. Click here to find out more!

Dear PPA Member,

Utter the words "business planning" in a conversation with friends, and you might find blank stares or worse...your friends' eyes glazing over. The topics of business planning and business goals just don't sound exciting. But when you listen to renowned professional photographers, many of them believe they wouldn't have made it to the top of their field without such planning and goals.

If being wildly successful in the business of photography consisted only of producing amazing images, there would be a lot of rich photographers. However, it's the marriage of art and business planning that creates a profitable business. Look at it this way: while business planning may not be exciting, it is necessary.

Luckily, PPA has tools and resources to help you determine what your goals are and how business plans can help you get there. This week's article--an overview of business plans--may help point you in the right direction.

Cheers,

Christel Aprigliano
Director of Membership

Dear PPA Member,

We don't need to tell you how the global economy impacts our daily lives and businesses. You already know what's going on; in fact, you're living through it right now.

Here's the reality we sometimes forget when the media is screaming about how bad things are: the world still turns, the sun still comes up, and we still go to work every day. We are all trying to focus on today and our future plans to stay in business. And your future plans, believe it or not, involve debt.

Debt. The word alone tends to churn the average business owner's stomach (and let's be honest-these days, our stomachs don't need any help in that department). But debt comes with business, and understanding how it works can help keep your business on track.

That's what this week's article covers: good debt, bad debt, and what we need to know to make the most of our current financial situations. We hope this helps you discover something new about your business, which is why we offer you Vital Signs each week. A strong foundation of business knowledge can help you avoid the "bad debt" that plagues many.

Here's hoping that better economic news is in our future. But no matter what the future holds, rest assured that PPA will be doing everything we can to help you weather any situation.

Sincerely,

Al Hopper, Director of Membership



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