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Attention all Imaging USA attendees: In the spirit of the holidays, PPA Charities will support the Dando
Amor Charity and hold a shoe drive at Imaging USA this February in Nashville! There's no better cure for those inevitable post-holiday blues than doing something to give back to communities around the world.Some of the logistics: Drop off bins will be located by the convention floor and at registration. Shoes will be collected at Imaging USA, and re-purposed for orphanages in South America and Africa.
Are you looking for ways to be more charitable? This is an opportunity to truly make a difference in people's lives. It seems small in scope from where we sit--in front of computer monitors, on a staircase changing a flash, in a car wading through rush hour traffic, but Dando Amor has a global reach and will have a positive effect on communities around the world. All it takes is five minutes and a little bit of kindness to rummage through your closet and find old shoes that you'll never use again.
Think of it this way: If everyone brought one pair of shoes, we would have 10,000 pairs of shoes to donate. That's an inspiring number and one that is totally attainable with your help.
I pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant, our carpool rendezvous point, to collect Trish for
our third wedding of the weekend. Twelve hours earlier I had dropped her off to retrieve her car, twelve hours before that, the same. The days, the weddings, the people blended into one never-ending wedding reception with the despicable Old Time Rock n Roll looping horribly in my addled mind.
"I look like crap, I have huge dark circles under my eyes," complained Trish, slumping back into the seat.
"Aww, I bet it's not that bad," I said, lifting my sunglasses to get a good look at her.
We gasped in unison at the sight of each other's faces.
"You've got them too!" she cried.
"We look like a couple of zombie photographers." I said, defeated.
It's that time of year, October, and we feel like zombies too. Big, dumb, lumbering, drooling, driven to put one step in front of the other without thought or reason zombies. We are zombies hell bent on our one desire: to finish the weddings!
It didn't take a neurotoxin, virus, brain parasite, or tainted meat to turn two relatively attractive photographers into zombies. No, all it took was some overly ambitious booking, leading to forty three weddings to execute. My bad. But hey, what's done is done, right?
So we'll go ahead and slather a little more makeup on our faces to cover the dark circles and hope we can blend in with the rest of society; much like Bill Murray in my favorite zombie movie of all time, Zombieland. (Spoiler Alert) Bill has an excellent cameo role where he makes himself up to look like a zombie in order to blend in with the zombies and survive the zombie infested world. Okay, well that's actually the opposite of what we are doing but you get the idea.
Since it's almost Halloween and we are already on the topic of that great piece of Hollywood cinema, Zombieland, I have adapted some of the rules for surviving in Zombieland as they apply to wedding photographers surviving the end of wedding season. The hero of the movie, Columbus, has 32 rules for surviving Zombieland. Before meeting his friend Tallahassee who has also survived the infestation, these rules kept Columbus alive and well. Therefore, they must be true and henceforth I shall share nine of them (and two of my own) with you to help you survive the apocalypse that is "The End of the World Wedding Season."
Meet Peter Lik. He's the most acclaimed landscape photographer in the world right now, and that's hardly an exaggeration. This high-octane Aussie and star of The Weather Channel's "From the Edge" will go far and wide and brave any elements to get the perfect shot. Peter will deliver a special keynote presentation at Imaging USA 2015 to discuss how and why he does it. He's bringing along some of his most celebrated images like "Ghost" and "One" and will share the stories behind them and more.
Peter will also be presented with PPA's Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been a PPA
photographer for nearly 10 years and is a fervent advocate for the association and its membership. Peter's accomplishments in the industry speak for themselves, and you'd think he has nothing to prove, yet he continues to enter the International Photographic Competition (IPC). One of his images made it into this year's Loan Collection.
Peter earned his master of photography (M.Photog.) degree from PPA in 2010. The degree warded for superior photographic skills--demonstrated through obtaining merits through the IPC, and by advanced education, speaking engagements and service to the industry.
A native of Melbourne, Australia, Peter has photographed the American landscape since he first arrived in the U.S. in 1984. Fifty thousand miles and 1,000 rolls of film later, he has now photographed landscapes in all 50 states. Highlights of this American odyssey can be found in his book, "Spirit of America."
Throughout his career, Peter has sold hundreds of millions of dollars of his artwork (again, not an exaggeration). Two of his iconic images, "Ghost" and "Inner Peace," were exhibited in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. Peter also has 13 galleries of his own and counts presidents of countries and big celebrities among his many collectors. His aforementioned Weather Channel show has made Peter Lik a household name.
Want a preview? Go behind the scenes with Peter in New York City and the Pacific Northwest. In fact, you might just want to watch everything on his YouTube channel. And be sure to follow Peter Lik on Facebook and Twitter and check out his website.
Lik's keynote presentation at Imaging USA 2015 will be Monday, Feb. 2, 8-9 p.m. The program is open to anyone with an Imaging USA badge, including all-access and expo-only passes. Trust us, a program from a guy with this much talent, passion and energy is one you don't want to miss. It's first-come, first-served so you will probably want to get there early! And don't forget, you have to register for Imaging USA and come out to Nashville to see him.
Want to be more? Be there.
After all, how far are you willing to go for the perfect shot?
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.
By Mariah Ashley
When my daughter was two and having a bad day because she was asked to eat her
vegetables, told it was time to go to bed or scolded for coloring on the kitchen wall, she didn't get sad and cry. Instead she got mad. She'd clench her fists and grit her little Chiclet teeth. Looking up at from me from behind her bowl cut she'd snarl, "You're the one what did it! You're the one what made me sad!" It was hilarious and disturbing all at the same time. She's twelve now. We're still working on it. But that's another story.
The story I want to tell today is a cautionary tale of how NOT to be The One What Did It, The One What Made Your Clients Sad, because it's always a good day when you aren't ruining your clients wedding. I've had cause to ponder this question lately as I've helplessly watched a few fellow wedding vendors wreaking havoc on my clients.
Take the case of the overly dramatic/distracted justice of the peace. I've been working with Fred the JP for years and without fail, I hear him before I see him. Fred shouts my name when he sees me regardless of the distance between us, the setting we are in, or the inappropriateness of shouting at a wedding. Fred also stands right behind me and breathes what's left of his lunch at the back of my neck. He likes to make small talk during the ceremony processional, which is of course a causal moment where we both have free time and no job to do. I awkwardly bob my head to avoid being rude to Fred while trying to nail my shot of the bride and her father coming down the aisle toward their bobble-headed photographer.
A few weeks ago I worked with Fred again. It was status quo; shouting across the lawn, small talk and bobble-heading. But wait, this day had a twist! Moments before the ceremony, Fred beckoned me to photograph the signing of the marriage license. The mother of the groom was about to sign as the first witness. Fred as chatty as ever, hurriedly explained to her to "sign here" and "print here" and then waived his finger over the area for her signature. He turned to me and continued his blah-blah-ing, leaving her to her own devices. You can see where this is going. Yes, she signed in the wrong spot.
"Oh no! Oh my! I've signed in the wrong spot!" she gasped, squinting at the document.
"What?!" he shouted, jerking his attention from me back to her.
"What do we do now?" she asked.
"Nothing, now! It's not like I have another copy!"
That's when the groom walked over.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"Well your mother has just ruined this legal document by signing on the wrong line. It's invalid and you can't be legally married without it."
The groom's face drained of all color. The groom's mother started ringing her hands and apologizing.
"I love you mom but I can't look at you or talk to you right now." said the dismayed groom.
The wedding planner was the next on the scene of the disaster.
"What's going on?" she asked. "I heard raised voices."
"I'll tell you what's going on, this is all garbage," announced Fred brandishing the ruined document and waiving his hand over the lawn indicating that the $100K wedding was now trash.
"Don't say that!" said the horrified wedding planner coming to the defense of the stricken groom. "You cannot tell my clients that their beautiful wedding is garbage!"
"Can you believe these people Mariah?!" asked Fred a few moments later behind the backs of the wedding planner and the nauseous groom. I just bobbled my head and walked away but what I wanted to do was clench my fists and grit my Chiclets and snarl. "Fred! You're the one what did it! You're the one what made them sad!"
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.