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Results tagged “photography associations” from PPA Today

Check out some photos from #IUSA14 below, including the opening party, Imaging Expo trade show, classes, World Photographic Cup, the Kenny Rogers Q & A and more. We'll have many more photos to share, so be sure to check imagingusa.org for the 2014 photo gallery (coming soon) and our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for more photos! Thanks to Alex the Photo Guy for providing images. 

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Happy New Year! As you begin another year in your photography business, here are some of the top discussions on theLoop from December. Hopefully, some of these discussions will bring some inspiration for 2014!

PPA members share their photography, business and personal goals for 2014. Chime in and see what your peers are striving for this year. 

Long-time pros talk about how things used to be done before digital photography, and what techniques they miss from this age. 

PPA members discuss different hard drives they use and why they prefer them. If you're in the market for a hard drive, this is a discussion you won't want to miss. 

Imaging USA is right around the corner, and this discussion is all about first-timers attending Imaging USA and what they are looking forward to! Dive in and network with some fellow photographers before the conference. 

Sports photographers share their techniques for swim team group and individual photos. There's a lot covered here, from posing to lighting. 

Don't forget, theLoop is PPA's community where members can discuss various photography topics! Not a PPA member? Join today.
By: Booray Perry

I had just finished shooting a sunset beach wedding and was walking across the parking lot to my truck when I noticed another photographer loading her gear into her minivan. She stopped what she was doing, walked over and introduced herself. 

"I'm Carol," she said, "Have you ever heard of the Tampa Area Professional Photographers Association?"

"Sure," I said, "I've been to a couple of meetings."

"Really? I don't remember you."

"It was a while ago."

"You should come back, it's a great organization."

I had heard about TAPPA a year earlier and had gone to a couple of meetings just to check it out. It was a little awkward for me to suddenly be in a room full of people I didn't know. It was obvious that a lot of the photographers in the room had known each other for a long time. They were laughing and joking and seemed so at ease with one another. I sat by myself, pretending to be very interested in something on my phone. I felt intimidated because I didn't know anyone, didn't know if I was good enough to be there.

After running into Carol in the parking lot I thought I might give it another try. She seemed nice and really enthusiastic about the association So I went to another meeting. This time, the president of the association noticed me and came over to introduce herself. She was bubbly and engaging and she made me feel welcome. The best part was, she made me want to come back again the next month.

After a couple of more meetings I began to evaluate whether or not being in the association was worth my time. What's in it for me? I wondered. What could they teach me, what could I learn? Like a lot of photographers, I was focused on trying to grow my business and worried that someone else would take my business from me. I decided to change my approach. I wasn't going to go to the meetings anymore because I was hoping to get something out of it. What would happen if I just went to meet people and didn't care about impressing anyone or guarding my secrets (trust me, there are no secrets). What would happen if I just made friends? 

That was three years ago and I've barely missed a meeting since.

I meet a lot of photographers and every time I meet someone new I encourage them to come and join TAPPA. There are lots of great reasons to join the Professional Photographers of America and plenty more to join your local affiliate. The problem is that I think people don't talk about one of the very best reasons to join. It's not the education, it's not the competition, it's not really the networking.

It's the fellowship.

After World War II, a generation of Americans returned from the war. They had been in the military for years. They had been in regiments, battalions, units, platoons... they were always being put into groups. So, when they came home to the states, they joined groups. The Elks Lodge, the Masons, the Lions Club... after World War II there were hundreds of social clubs. Everybody was a member of at least one. Ralph Kramden of "The Honeymooners" was a member of the Raccoon Lodge. Fred Flintstone was a member of The Loyal Order of Water Buffalo.

But not anymore.

Now, we get all of our social interactions online. Facebook is the new social club. In some ways that's a good thing because it's better to have an online social club than no social club at all. But it's also a bad thing because people just don't join anymore. Especially young people. I know because I never join anything. I hate to commit.

After three years in TAPPA I have dozens of friends who are photographers. I went to Imaging USA for the first time this year and met even more photographers. Here's what I notice: My Facebook friends who I've actually met in person interact with me a lot more than the people I've never met. There's a connection. There's value in face-to-face interaction.

Now, every month when I go to a meeting, I look to see if there's anyone new sitting at a table and that's immediately the table I want to sit that. I want to meet them, I want to talk to them and I want them to feel welcome. There are photographers who have been shooting since I was in elementary school and yet there they are, every month, meeting new people. They have a fuller and richer life because of it.

So, if you haven't joined your local PPA affiliate, do it. Set a goal for yourself that you're going to meet someone new every month. Go to the meetings, go to the picnic, go to the Christmas party. Do something with people who share your interests. Do something with photographers. 

And, if you don't have a local affiliate, start one. Kevin Newsome started TAPPA in his studio back when they had this thing called, "film" and he's still there every month. When I got a chance to bid on a big event job, I called Kevin for advice. When I needed to hire some extra photographers to work the gig, Kevin told me who to call and what they would expect. When I decided to start competing, Kevin helped me pick out my images.

At Imaging USA I ran into a TAPPA member on the first day, around lunch time. When I said I was going to eat lunch by myself, Melissa said, "I've already eaten but I'll go sit with you." Suddenly I wasn't all alone in Atlanta. My affiliation was there.

When the "Photographer of the Year" asked me to lunch, I thought, This is great! I'm really making friends! Then, over bread and pasta he asked me to photograph his wedding. It's the only wedding I've ever worked where I knew a lot of the guests. They were fellow affiliate members.

When one of our members had a robbery at his studio, he had more replacement equipment than he needed within 24 hours. When a member called me from a wedding and said he was feeling sick, I volunteered to come take over. I recently called a member just to chat on a long drive back from a gig and he said, "I'm on vacation and I usually don't answer my phone but I wanted to make sure it wasn't a photography emergency."

I can pick up the phone and call any one of a dozen photographers... just to talk. I couldn't do that three years ago. I was all alone in the wilderness.

One day I turned around and realized, I have a lot of friends. That's the benefit of joining your local PPA affiliate that no one ever talks about. And for me; it's the best benefit of them all.


About the author:
Booray Perry has been a member of PPA since 2008. You can view his original story on his Google+ page and on his blog.




Here at PPA, one of the biggest challenges we hear photographers talk about is making their business stand out from all the other photography studios out there. Many of these competitors actually fall under the hobbyists' category and lack the skills and dedication of trained professional photographers. 

Showing potential clients that you have the experience, skills, and recognized status of a pro can be a huge help in setting your business apart from the competition. How can you do this? Well, becoming a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) is one sure way to show potential clients that you are a professional photographer, guaranteeing that they'll receive high quality images, unlike with a hobbyist. It also helps justify why your prices may be higher than other folks out there. 

Earning your Certification is a process that definitely will require some effort on your part. After all, you're trying to show that you are a professional photographer at the top of your game and an expert in your field! 

In order to become certified, you must pass both a written exam that covers various technical topics of photography (technical things that every serious photographer should be fluent with) and an Image Submission Review, where you'll submit your own work and show that you understand the concepts covered by the exam. 

Anyone can declare their candidacy for the CPP exam and there are no requirements to prepare for the exam. However, the technicality and depth of information covered in the exam is not for the faint of heart or beginners in photography. This is why, for those seeking to earn the CPP credential, PPA highly recommends attending the Certification Preparation Class to review these topics. That way, the topics will be fresh in your mind when you take the CPP exam! Plus, there's an optional fourth day of the class that will cover the Image Submission Review. Remember, the CPP Image Submission Review is judged differently than the International Photographic Competition. It's helpful to hear how you'll be critiqued and to learn best strategies of what work to select. 

We hosted a Certification Preparation Class at our headquarters in Atlanta from July 15 - 18 and talked to several attendees about their motivation for starting the process and how the class helped them prepare for the exam and image review.

Why Attendees Want to Be a CPP:

"Certification gives me something I've never had, and that's showing I've gone through the gauntlet learning the high standards that are required of a professional photographer. I believe that there are so many people out there today with digital cameras who call themselves photographers and I really find that it's sad because so many people are just not producing the quality of work that I feel the profession deserves." - Jim McDonald, James McDonald Photography

"When I pass the certification process, it will be a stamp of approval for my clients showing that I know what I'm doing and that's why I charge what I do. It can also help me raise the bar for photography in our area, encouraging more people to pick a real pro!" - Bonnie Jean Berg, BJB Photography

"Certification will help my marketing efforts by saying to my clients 'I can give you a great product because I spent the time and money to be certified by a panel of highly experienced and educated photographers.'" - Lisa Shorts, ImagoModo Photography

"Everyone says they are a photographer but they really aren't. Not until they know the art, they know what they are doing and they know everything about exposures and the whole gamut. That's what's going to help set my business apart and explaining that to my clients will put me over the [competitive] edge." - Daniel Douglas, Daniel Douglas Photography

What Attendees Took Away From the Class

"I can apply everything I know about shooting a picture, but trying to regurgitate it for the exam is really more complicated than people think. I know instinctively what to do, but the prep class helped me to be able to know the technical steps behind making an image, so I can take the exam and make sure that I pass." - Lisa Shorts, ImagoModo Photography

"The instructor was very thorough and covered everything in the class to help us pass the exam, and I also learned a lot of information that will help my business to be better in general." - Denise Savage, Savage Photography

"You can never know too much about photography. Even though I'm a photography instructor, the class helped keep my skills sharp and keep me aware of the 'cutting-edge' of what's going on in photography." - Jim McDonald, James McDonald Photography

"The class gave me basic information about some of the aspects of photography I've never worked with before. I was surprised to find that some of the things I didn't think I knew, I actually did. It was a neat confidence boost." - Bonnie Jean Berg, BJB Photography


So, are you ready to become certified? You can do it! Learn more about the program in the brand-new Certified section of PPA.com. You can also sign up for the next Certification Preparation Class, taking place at PPA headquarters October 21-23 (with the optional Image Submission class on October 24). 

Stay tuned to the PPA blog for videos featuring the thoughts of Certification Preparation Class attendees! 
When it comes to starting a photography business, or when shifting from a part-time to aSMS Business Basics Workshop full-time career in photography, what are the first steps you need to take? 

Don't know the answer? Fear not, you aren't alone! While many photographers have great images, they often fall short on the business side of things. You can't afford (literally!) to ignore these issues! 

PPA recently hosted a group of photographers in Atlanta on June 29-30 for the Business Basics Workshops, led by accomplished photographer Lori Nordstrom, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, and PPA mentor, Bridget Jackson, CPA. The workshop is designed to give attendees a complete background on the financial, legal and tax requirements of running a business. Attendees learn how to evaluate their business' strengths and how that relates to a pricing structure. 

All the business information in the workshop is backed up by PPA's Benchmark Survey Results (a free membership benefit!), which compares your studio averages to the industry average. This helps photographers make smarter business decisions for long-term success. Attendees even immediately walk out with tangible marketing and promotional ideas to get their business moving in the right direction! 

As June workshop attendee, Jessica Dorris, of Jessica Williams Studio, told us, "My mentor suggested the workshop. She told me it was the best next step to take from doing photography as a part-time job to a full-time job.

"I learned things I wouldn't have understood without the help of PPA, like understanding the Benchmark Survey and how I can use it to determine my cost of sales."

The main goal of PPA's Business Basics Workshop is to help you form a sustainable business plan that will allow you to run a profitable studio for many years. According to recent attendee Ernie Strickland, this goal is definitely accomplished!

"Having an art background, I've learned how to create beautiful photography, but in order to sell that photography I had to understand the business side of things too," Strickland said. 

"The workshop overwhelmed me with information about being business-minded. It showed me that to get the financial end result I want; I have to have a plan. Which seems obvious, but in real life, who really follows through? The class has helped me build that backbone plan that I can actually follow and use, not just for the short term, but also for my whole career," he added. 

Interested in attending a Business Basics Workshop? View the upcoming schedule in the PPAedu section. Or, if your business is a little further along, check out the upcoming Business Breakthroughs Workshops. You've got to be a PPA member to participate in one of these workshops, so consider joining PPA now. And stay tuned to our blog for a video featuring a-ha moments and feedback from recent Business Basics Workshop attendees!
Copiers, scanners, screenshots and printers...oh MY! These days it's all too easy for your clients to use the available technology to reproduce your work. It may feel like you're fighting a losing battle, but you're not alone. You're a member of PPA, and we are staunchly in your corner with all the copyright information you need to protect your images. We're here to educate, advocate and, if necessary, help you litigate.

What Can You Do?
Remember: Copyright is a property right. Under the Federal Copyright Act of 1976 (effective January 1, 1978 and amended when the U.S. joined the Berne Convention in 1989), your photographs are protected by copyright from the moment of creation. 

You are the first line of defense in your copyright protection. We are here to support you, but we also encourage you to take some simple steps to strengthen your position. We asked Maria Mathews, Manager of Copyright and Government Affairs at PPA, to help explain 10 ways you can protect your copyright:

1. Mark your images as copyrighted
This can be done on the front or back of a print, and you can either watermark a digital image or embed your copyright in the metadata. While it is not required by law (your images are protected from the moment of creation), it is a wise step.

Even though it's no longer required by law, don't risk "orphaning" your images for the sake of aesthetics. One of the best copyright reminders to clients and retailers alike is seeing your name or studio logo.

2. Let people know how to contact you
PPA Members may use their Member ID number and PPA's number, 800-786-6277. We regularly help consumers find the creator of an image.

No matter how rooted your business is, making yourself as accessible as possible will always play in your favor when time comes for people to look for copyright permissions.

Make our Member Care Professionals (MCPs) part of your customer service team. Even if you think you'll never relocate, you can make sure clients or potential image users can always find you through PPA's call center or Find-A-Photographer search tool. Our MCPs regularly bring together copyright owners and prospective licensees.

3. Educate and inform your customers 
Your images are protected by Federal Copyright Law.

Bottom line, you're the only person who can decide who, when, and how your images are used. This means you have just as much of a right to say "no" to a client and third-party requests to use your copyrighted content as you do to license your work.

4. Use PPA's "Copyright Insert" 
You can download the Copyright Insert. These can be posted in your studio and inserted into each print order. (You can also call 800-786-6277 to purchase printed packs of 50 inserts.)

Let PPA bear some of the burden of enforcing/explaining copyright law. Use our short and easy to understand statement to support your studio's copyright policy.

5. Include a statement about copyright in your contract or other sales agreements
Infringements can then be dealt with as a contract violation, not just as a Federal Copyright case.

You never want to have to sue a client. Make sure they understand the law and their commitment to you as a client. This means putting a copyright clause in your agreements. It's often much easier for a client to understand they've broken a promise to you as opposed to a law they're somewhat removed from. If you need examples or a second pair of eyes on your clause, PPA's Copyright and Government Affairs will help you out at no cost (that's a PPA-membership benefit)! 

6. Consider including a statement with every order
The statement should remind clients that photographs are protected by copyright and that they (the customers) agree that reprints will only be ordered from the original photographer or with the photographer's permission.

If you don't put a copyright statement in your contract, you should at minimum put it on the order form or invoice. Depending on your state's laws this may not have the same weight as the actual contract but, it will indeed serve as a reminder to your client.
Again, one of the advantages of your membership is that PPA's Copyright and Government Affairs can help you with samples and basic advice there.

7. Establish contacts at local photo retailers
Visit with local store managers and urge them to keep an eye out for your and other professionally created images. They may get their feathers ruffled if they aren't well-informed about copyright laws, so approach them in a very friendly manner and open a casual, non-confrontational conversation. Often times, people just don't know. Plus, in the longer run, good relationships foster the best advocates!  

The Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau may also be helpful allies, and local media is often willing to print press releases focused on consumer education. Grassroots efforts such as these CAN make a difference. Your images are your property, so assert yourself and take the bull by the horns!

A lot of photographers have found that informing others is a great way to protect yourself!

Letting retailers know that they can easily pick up the phone to call you, or PPA, with questions is a good way to extend your sphere of protection. Make sure that store and/or photo center managers are familiar with your studio's policies. It's an important boost to their general understanding of the law and their own corporate policy. Most people will be thankful for this information.
 
8. Register your images
We hope you never experience an infringement but, why not give yourself a better bargaining position by ensuring your images are fully protected under the law.

Photographers often postpone or choose not to register images thinking they'll never need to defend their work, but less than 1% of photographers actually register their work. Even though registration isn't always known (unless of course you indicate as much on the print or to the client), making sure you can take full advantage of the law tells infringers (or potential infringers) you're serious about your intellectual property rights.

9. Don't close the door to licensing requests
In addition to offering up basic copyright education, remain open to your client's usage requests. Extending usage rights could be an upsell or an additional sale.

When it comes to your client's usage needs, copyright education is never ending. Make sure your clients know they can come back to you with their questions at any time. And even if you plan on saying "no," hear them out! Who knows? You might be open to the additional revenue that comes with image licensing.

10. Get Your Licenses/Permissions in writing
That old adage of putting it in writing. Aside from being the law it's good for your own record keeping purposes and a reminder to clients of what types of uses are off limits.

A lot of photographers think in good faith that 'verbal agreements are worth their weight in paper'. But while you might feel comfortable doing certain things on a handshake, copyright protections should not be one of them. The law requires you to put in writing any transfer of rights, no matter how big or small they might be. Remember, no one is above the law, so be sure you take the time to do so. PPA even makes it easy for you by making samples available.

So there you have it! Make sure you visit the Copyright Resources section of PPA.com for more useful downloads and copyright information.
We're past the halfway point on the calendar to Imaging USA 2014 in Phoenix!!! Since we already showed you some of the fun Phoenix has to offer, we figured we should probably tell you where to stay, how to get there, and before you do any of that, how to register. You know--the details! 

So let's dive right in.

Where Should I Stay?

Save yourself the trouble of searching for a lower rate! PPA's already done the work and negotiated discounted rates for you during Imaging USA. And we've got three options for you!


PPA's headquarters for Imaging USA 2014. Located just minutes from Sky Harbor International Airport and adjacent to the Phoenix Convention Center, this hotel is at the center of everything. This is also Phoenix's largest hotel and will place you just minutes away (walking!) from ample dining and entertainment options. Or if you're tired from so much conference activities, you can kick back on the pool deck or in their inviting lobby bar. Three blocks from the convention center, this hotel is ideally located between everything Imaging USA and the revitalized downtown Phoenix!


The Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel is an artful urban retreat, combining the comfort and convenience of a full-service business and convention hotel. It's a big hotel with a big brand name but with the soul of a boutique hotel. You're in for a treat! The Renaissance is even closer to the Convention Center than the Sheraton (1.5 blocks!), plus, it sports a rooftop pool and is within blocks of CityScape entertainment and dining district.


Location, location, location! The Hyatt is the CLOSEST of the three hotels. You can walk from all three, but this one is about 50 steps from the convention center. You just can't beat that! Like the other hotels, it has an outdoor pool, but where the Hyatt really stands out is up top, in the Compass Arizona Grill. This rotating restaurant will give you an unparalleled 360-degree view of Phoenix. Pretty cool!

We have a block of rooms already booked at each of these three hotels to guarantee you the Imaging USA discounted rates, so be sure you tell the hotel you're part of Imaging USA to get these great rates! Plus, most everyone prefers to be where the action is, right?! By staying at the Imaging USA hotels, you'll save money, have an incredibly short walk to the conference, and best of all, you'll have a better opportunity to network with your photography friends and remain at the center of all of the activities. That's why you're going to Phoenix after all, isn't it?

Besides, even if you find a cheaper hotel option, when you factor in time and travel fees associated with staying further away (let's not even get started on parking fees!), you won't benefit as much financially as you had planned. So why miss out on the action? Imaging USA is truly made and organized for you. PPA is not making anything on hotels. Instead, savings are passed directly on to you. So make the best of this experience and stay at a host hotel!

How Should I Get There?

All Imaging USA hotels are located within 0.25 to 3 blocks of the Phoenix Convention Center and convenient to several Valley Metro Light Rail stops. You can take the light rail from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to downtown Phoenix (approximately 4 miles) for just $2.00. If you're driving in, there are several city parking garages in the area as well (but remember, those garages are run by the city and they can adjust prices as they please).

Flying to Imaging USA
The Phoenix Convention Center is located just 4 miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and several transportation options are available. The Convention Center has provided a Transportation Guide for getting to and from the airport via Phoenix's METRO light rail. However, other options are available.

Taxi, Limousine & Shuttle Service
Taxi rates remain the same regardless of company, number of passengers and number of bags. The first mile is $5. Each additional mile is $2.30. Each hour of a traffic delay is $23. The minimum fare is $15. Each per trip airport surcharge is $1.
Limousine rates to the Convention Center are $35.

Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport also runs a shuttle service. The shuttle is $14 for the first passenger. Each additional passenger per reservation is $7.00 regardless of zone.

Visit the Imaging USA Hotel & Travel page for more taxi, limousine and shuttle service information.

Rental Cars
Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport offers service from 12 rental car agencies which are housed in their own building. A shuttle runs from the curb of each terminal's baggage claim area every 5-10 minutes. Check with each company for rates. Find more information on the Imaging USA Hotel & Travel Page. 

Public Transit
As outlined in the Phoenix Convention Center Transportation Guide, using public transit is an easy and inexpensive way to travel to and from the airport. A full-trip from the airport to the Convention Center takes roughly 43 minutes and costs a whopping $2.00. It's only four miles, so it's not super fast, but you can't beat that price! For more information, visit http://www.valleymetro.org/

Driving to Imaging USA
If you're driving to Imaging USA, download the Convention Center's driving directions as well as a map and parking guide.

How do I Register for Imaging USA?
Easy! There are several ways to experience Imaging USA 2014. Head to the Imaging USA registration page and find the best option for you! Remember, if you join PPA as a new Professional Active member, we waive the registration fee for your first Imaging USA. That's your #IUSA14 full-conference pass completely FREE! 

Now you've got some joining/registering/booking to do! See you in Phoenix!

Head to the Imaging USA Hotel & Travel page for more info.

PPA member D. Brent Walton, Cr.Photog., CPP, recently wrote and published 25 Things Business Owners Do To Undermine Their Business and how to avoid and correct them. 

This is a common sense book for business owners and people planning to start their own business. If you already own a business, this book can help you remedy a myriad of common errors. It's a must-read for anyone who wants to avoid making big mistakes that can put them out of business in an alarmingly short time. 

The book is intended to be used as a workbook to help you establish business goals and to follow up on them. Each chapter has action items and it is recommended you use the space in the book to record your action items, target dates and completion dates. 
Walton wrote the book for all business owners, but his experiences as owner of photography by db walton comes through in many of the book's examples.

"This book is a wonderful guide for the small business owner, easy to understand, easy to follow and it provides specific details on how to use the Internet to establish your business as one that is honest, competent, committed and professional," said Elizabeth Walton. "It helps small business owners recognize several common mistakes early in the game, and hopefully avoid the consequences of many errors that inhibit business growth. It is written clearly, compactly, with numerous examples (some of them quite funny!) I highly recommend it!"

Last week, we published a blog on the importance of getting involved in mobile marketing and some quick tips for how you can start out. Did that leave you hungry for more ideas? Well, you're in luck because this post will discuss another important facet of mobile marketing -- email optimization.

Chances are you're already using email as part of your marketing plan. But are you designing these emails with viewers who may read them on a smart phone or a tablet in mind? If you're not, you may be missing out on some valuable click-throughs for your email plan.

Why Optimize for Mobile?

The importance of having mobile-friendly emails has skyrocketed in the past few months. According to research by GetResponse, mobile email opens increased by more than 30% in the nine months between June 2012 and March 2013.

During this time, iPhone email opens increased from 3.88% to 17.50% while iPad email opens increased from 2.99% to 8.93%. Meanwhile, Android device email opens increased from 5.04% to 8.46%. Although these numbers are impressive, they aren't surprising. The study also discovered that 3 out of every 4 people use their smartphone to view emails.

Think about your typical morning routine -- what's the first thing you do? More than likely, it's grab your phone and glance at your email and social networking sites. If you schedule your emails to release early in the morning, you have a captive audience looking at your work before their feet hit the floor.

These numbers show that mobile viewing of email is on the rise, so now is the time to start considering how the emails you send look on a mobile device.

Keep It Simple


When designing emails so that they are easy to view on a mobile device it's important to infographic_mobile_email_optimization.jpg realize that your potential client will be viewing it on a screen that's much smaller than a desktop or laptop computer.

That means that cluttered subject lines, unfriendly copy and buried links will likely keep a client on a mobile device from actually reading the message in your email due to frustration with the viewing experience.

The best ways to avoid these issues are to keep your headlines and content as simple as possible. Consider keeping your subject line under 60 characters so users on mobile devices can quickly gather  what the email is about. Follow the general rule that the shorter an email is, the more return you can expect from it.

Infographic by GetResponse

Click Space

Have you ever been on a mobile website, and left because you couldn't easily tap on a link with your finger? The same thing will happen to your emails unless you make your links easily tapable. And if PPA's website comes to mind for that mobile experience hoopla, it's in our roadmap for changes (-;

Apple recommends using a target area size of at least 44x44 pixels for any links on an email to be easily tapped on a mobile device. That means you need to keep your call to actions clear and obvious, and you'll definitely want to keep them above the screen scroll point.

Apple mobile devices automatically resize emails to fit the size of the screen, but Android and non-Apple devices will break the page at 320 pixels, forcing the user to scroll down to continue reading. So, you'll want to keep your "Calls to Action" above the 320 pixel point to ensure an optimal view for all users across a variety of devices.

Font Size  

It's also important to consider your font size when building an email for mobile. Apple devices automatically re-size all text to 13 pixels, so be sure that your content is still easily read at this size. Meanwhile, Android and other non-Apple devices will size headlines at 22 pixels and all body content to 14 pixels. It's a great idea to make sure  the text of your email works for both mobile formats!

Test, and Then Test Again!

Once you've designed an email that you feel will work well with mobile, don't forget to test how it looks. Send it to your own phone or tablet and find a friend with a different type of phone or tablet than your own so you can see how it looks on several different mobile devices.

Keep these tips in mind for your next email campaign, and above all, remember to be engaging. Email only takes up 5.3% of the time a user spends on their mobile device, so you'll need to grab their attention quickly.

Mobile devices are here to stay, and optimizing your email for them may help you draw in even more business!

Looking for more mobile marketing advice? Read the "Reach More (Photography) Clients with Some Mobile Marketing" blog post and stay tuned to the PPA Today blog for more marketing tips! 


This is post two of two of the Mobile Marketing for Photographers series. Use the link below to read the other post in the series.

One of the top reasons many professional photographers join PPA, aside from the great educational and business benefits, is PhotoCare equipment insurance. PhotoCare offers up to $15,000 of photographic equipment insurance coverage, the premium  has been  paid for by PPA. PhotoCare covers loss due to fire, theft, water damage and breakage for U.S. and Puerto Rico-based Professional Active and Life members. This great member benefit protects you from the unexpected, but not the avoidable. And with summer in full swing, it seems like the prime time to share some theft prevention tips so you're not caught paying out of pocket for some pricey equipment.

Tip #1: Don't leave your windows open. That means your car, your office or your home. Seriously. We understand a cool breeze feels great on a warm afternoon and it's cheaper than air conditioning, but PhotoCare doesn't cover negligence.. Take preventative measures, such as closing (and locking) your windows to ensure your gear doesn't have an impromptu or mysterious disappearance. 

Tip #2: Lock your doors. Whether it's your studio, vehicle or house, locking your doors is imperative to keeping thieves at bay. Even if you're gone for a minute, your thousands of dollars' worth of equipment can walk off and you'll be left footing the hefty bill. 

Tip #3: Bring a trusted friend. Never leave your equipment out in the open, or with a stranger. If you're on location for an assignment, try leaving any piece of equipment you don't need right away in your (locked) vehicle or find a secure room on the property to leave your things. 

What's the big picture? Don't tempt thieves. Take all the preventative measures you can to ensure you have the strongest case, should anything happen. 

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What happens if despite your best efforts, the unfortunate does happen? Remember to keep a running list of your equipment (complete with serial numbers) and proof of purchase. Insurance claims will move much quicker if you're prepared with the necessary paperwork. 

If you've damaged your gear and have potentially lost data, file a claim with the Indemnification Trust. What's that? It's like malpractice insurance that will save you (potentially) thousands of dollars (check out our post about it here!) 

PhotoCare covers the most common things, over the broadest spectrum that can happen to a photographer. If you feel like your business needs more coverage, Lockton Affinity also offers PhotoCare Plus which includes up to a whopping $100,000 worth of insurance, PLUS mysterious disappearance and unlocked-door theft (yep!). See our handy-dandy chart for a side-by-side comparison to see which policy might be right for you! 

If you have any questions or comments about PhotoCare or PhotoCare Plus, do not hesitate to contact PPA! We are your advocates in this process and bear no judgment in the decisions made by Lockton Affinity (the brokers of the PhotoCare policy). Drop us an email at csc@ppa.com or call at 800.786.6277.

1. Dive deep & reinforce your photography specialty

You're good at what you do -- that's why you're a pro. But we all know the moment you stop challenging yourself is the moment business starts passing you by. Imaging USA offers tracks on everything from weddings and portraits to sports and software keep you on your game. Explore the latest posing and lighting techniques, update your post-processing routine, and save time and money. Your clients will love your evolving craft and keep coming back.

2. Challenge & expose yourself to something new

It's always good to break your routine. Attend a class or two (or more!) outside your specialtyiusatop10_blog.jpg area as a way to explore new horizons (and revenue sources), experiment with new products and check out some tools of the trade you might have never utilized before. Sitting in on sessions outside your comfort zone will force you to look at things differently and might create some unexpected a-ha moments. It's always a great way to expand your creativity and comfort your choices.

3. It's always easier with a little help (of your friends) -- network & enrich your connections

It's hard to make new friends when you're in your own studio all of the time! This is the perfect environment to meet lots of fellow photographers who care and are or have been on the same boat. Getting help from others is priceless and a natural way to get help with tough business decisions, challenge you creatively, or keep you focused on why you love doing what you do! Everyone has rough days in any profession, but it makes it a lot easier when you have other supportive photographers ready, willing and able to talk it out.

4. Try, compare & snatch photo gadgets & gizmos deals (while saving big bucks!)


The Imaging Expo is like the Mall of America for photography equipment. Lenses, props,iusatop10_blog1.jpg accessories, editing programs and more -- you'll find everything you wanted (and some stuff you didn't know you needed!) from hundreds of vendors. Try or test products in all the demo booths and ask the million and a half questions that you can't ask when shopping online. It's like your own testing grounds - everything is set up to help you explore all the options. If you need some instant gratification, in most cases, you can walk away with your purchases in hand. For the bigger orders, there are plenty of FedEx and UPS stops around the area to ship home your new found toys. AND last but not least: on Tuesday, the last day of the conference, there are always mind-boggling deals for those who stick around the tradeshow floor!  

5. Reconnect with your passion & get inspired

The exhibit for winning images of the International Photographic Competition (IPC) is held during Imaging USA. This competition is open to all professional photographers until July 12th (late fee required) and the top scoring images will be included in the PPA Loan collection. Interested in competing? Get all the details! You'll want to schedule a bit of time to view the images of those who have taken it to the next level and will have been awarded recognition for their entries. It's key to (re)connect with the Arts component of Photography. We all get pulled away running our business and not always finding time to create for ourselves, so in the middle of all the learning and shopping hustle and bustle, it's nice find a photographers' haven. That's why you have to take some time to experience what the best of the best are doing across the globe in photography. Who knows, you might even pick up some new inspiration along the way.

6. Boost your business & get ready for a mega jolt of ideas to kick off the year

Even in the long history if Imaging USA, it's safe to say that no one has left the conference less motivated than when they came. You'll leave energized, filled with great ideas and ready to utilize new skills and put those new thoughts into action! Your business will feel the boost in creative juices you've gained over the three days (or more if you register for pre-con classes)! There is no better way to start the year and put your business on a path to success. Continuing to connect with the instructors and connections you will have made will also keep you on cloud nine for the longest time. It's oh-so-worth it!

7. Earn your Merits

If you're pursuing a Master of Photography, Master of Artist or Photographic Craftsman degree, it's important to earn you Merits! There is no easier time than at Imaging USA! For attending the conference, any PPA member in good standing will earn one Service Merit. Interested in pre-con classes? A one-day session will earn you one additional Service Merit (for a total of two) or a multi-day session will earn you two Service Merits (for a total of three)! These Service Merits go towards the additional credits you need to earn any of your degrees - and earning three in one week is a sure fire way to keep on track!

8. 10,000 pros under one roof means someone's been there & done that. Don't be shy -- ask away!

With hands-on classes, live demos with small groups and instructors eager to share whatiusatop10_blog2.jpg they love, you'll have more resources than you'll know what to do with! If you need specific advice, there are portfolio reviews and the coach's corner to offer honest and transparent feedback. It's also easy to connect online - join the Imaging USA community on theLoop, Twitter or Facebook, and start the conversation with fellow attendees before your flight touches down in the desert!

9. No matter how successful or famous you are, we all need to fuel our passion & inspiration

There is an unmatched passion and intensity of everything-photo-related that goes on at Imaging USA. The amount of energy from attendees, speakers and vendors make it mind boggling place for inspiration, creativity and motivation. There are so many options with ten tracks, the IPC, Coach's Corner, hands-on sessions and Pre-Con classes (and more)! It's impossible to miss your quota of creative and business learning.  

10. Get a full dose of Vitamin D (sun!) & explore the new Phoenix

It's been five years since Imaging USA was held in Phoenix, and my oh my, has the city changed! There are dozens of new restaurants and attractions mixed in with your favorites of years' past. The new highlights include CityScape -- a mixed use development located only one block south of the Renaissance Hotel. CityScape offers a dozen restaurants, night life, live music, a bowling alley, comedy club and a CVS for sunscreen, ice cream and band aids! A few blocks from there, the Phoenix City Market has taken off, spurning a café and weekly food truck round-ups for your ever-changing tastes. Another project that was recently completed was the Phoenix Civic Space Park, including a modern art piece that lights up the night and moves with the breeze. Last but not least, it's now easier than ever (and super affordable) to get around town with the LightRail. At PPA, we're so excited to be going to Phoenix, we will be posting videos, photos and a bunch of tips to show how much the city has changed. Stay tuned!

There you have it! If you have more reasons why going to Imaging USA is the easiest decision of your year, please share these us! In the meantime, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (@ImagingUSA) to share your insight, ask questions, get great tips and tricks, or simply see behind the scenes action. 

For more information on the specifics of Imaging USA 2014 or to register, simply visit www.imagingUSA.org. PPA's here to help you be more in photography, so don't be shy and reach out. 

First things first! Register for Imaging USA 2014! Done? Okay, keep reading.

Gearing up for the desert heat yet? Well no need! We're going in January so it will be pleasantly in the low 70s--comfortable enough for you to explore Phoenix and the surrounding area. We recently sent a few staff out to Phoenix to sniff out some of the best local sights, sounds and snacks and will have a video coming soon with what they found.

But for now, here are a few options for your precious spare time at Imaging USA 2014. Keep reading to find some of the more fun and unique Phoenix-offerings.

1.) Be a Zookeeper for a Day

Zoos are pretty rad, but they're all pretty much the same, right? Well, the Phoenix Zoo is a pretty hip place. They host cool events like Rock 'n' Brew and even got their animals in on their version of the Harlem Shake. Plus, they're a non-profit just like PPA!

Also, we know you've walked around and seen someone feeding a baby penguin and thought, dang, what a cool job! Well apparently, at the Phoenix Zoo, you can do that (not the penguin part, but fingers crossed). No information is currently available on their website, but here's to hoping they bring it back!

2.)  Take a Hike!

Ditch the valley for a bit and climb around the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. The Phoenix Mountain's offer enjoyable day hikes without even having to leave the city limits.

First there's Papago Park. The park features the aforementioned zoo, the Desert Botanical Garden, giant saguaro cacti, ponds, and geological formations like the Hole in the Rock.

There's South Mountain Park, the largest city park in the U.S., which features Mount Suppoa and Dobbins Lookout and houses an impressive chuckwalla population.

If you're looking for more of a challenge, give Camelback Mountain a try. Two trails over a mile long ascend 1,280 feet to the peak of the mountain, the highest in the region. Give yourselves a good 2-3 hours for this one.

Lastly, there's Piestewa Peak, formerly known as Squaw Mountain. The second-highest mountain in the range takes its name from SPC Lori Piestewa, the first woman to be killed during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq and the first-ever Native American woman in history to die while serving in the U.S. military. Take in views of the Phoenix valley and the surrounding mountains from the peak.

3.)  Shoot From Above

As photographers, you've probably all had days where you struggle to find a higher vantage point to shoot from. And if you're trying to shoot something as expansive as the Sonoran Desert, you'll want to get nice and high. But don't try to climb a cactus, we're talking higher. Like hot air balloon high.

Get carried away with Hot Air Balloon Expeditions, America's best and largest hot air balloon tour operation. We recommend taking a sunrise or sunset ride. Make it as romantic as you like, but, you know, bring your camera.

4.)  Bring Out Your Inner Cowboy

Are you after a true Wild West experience? Look no further than Western Destinations, located north of Phoenix at Canyon Creek Ranch. You can go horseback riding, stroll an authentic old western town, try the tomahawk toss and even duel the Governor for his daughter. No, seriously.

Just read this excerpt from their website:

At Western Destinations we represent a time when people were free, self-reliant and connected to nature. A time when the brave and adventurous left the humdrum of life in settled society behind and set off for the unexplored western frontier. As our guest, you too can experience the thrill of nature and the rugged beauty of the Sonoran Southwest the same way the original cowboys did.


Yep, we're in!

5.)  Take a Desert Tour...Day or Night...in a Hummer


So maybe hiking or horseback riding isn't your thing. All good. You can still ride around the desert like a boss in a military vehicle at Desert Storm Hummer Tours.

Once voted one of the Top 100 Adventure Tours in America by National Georgraphic, DSHT have provided exciting off-road tours through the Sonoran Desert since 1995. There are several different options to explore the desert. Daytime tours can include shooting off some AK-47 rounds or even a stop at Four Peaks Brewery to wash down the dust. Actually, you can even ditch the hummers and go straight for the guns and beer!

But for the REALLY adventurous, there's the Night Storm Tour. That's right, ride out and experience the desert at twilight with night vision goggles. Don't forget, most of desert wildlife is nocturnal! Sorry, no assault rifles or beer after dark.

6.)  Relax in a Pool & Spa...in the Outfield

By the time January rolls around, the Arizona Diamondbacks season will be long over whether they make the playoffs or not. But you can still experience Chase Field in a way no other baseball park can offer--in the pool.

No, you won't get to catch a home run ball, but the pool is available for rent year-round, it's the perfect way to cool-off after a long day at Imaging.

7.) Attend a Phoenix Coyotes Game

Did you watch this year's playoffs?! They were insane! No sport can match the intensity of hockey, a game in which players willingly lay their body in front of 100 mph slap shots, break their leg, and FINISH THE PLAY, have names as cool as Cal Clutterbuck and oh yeah, occasionally drop the gloves and fight.

The Phoenix Coyotes (yes, there's hockey in the desert) narrowly missed the playoffs this year, but boast one of the NHL's most exciting young rosters, led by all-star defenseman Keith Yandle. The Coyotes play at Jobing.com arena in nearby Glendale. The 2013-14 NHL schedule hasn't been released yet, but if the Coyotes are in town during Imaging, try to head on over for a game.

8.)  Find a New Instrument or Two, or 15,000

Museums are cool to see and all, but Phoenix has the most extraordinary museum you'll ever hear™. The Musical Instrument Museum is a bright and open space and home to 15,000+ instruments from around the world. Since photographers and musicians go together like peas and carrots, it's the perfect place to find some added inspiration while on your Imaging journey.

Obviously, music isn't just a visual experience, so you can hear them all too! But before you get a headache thinking about that many instruments playing at once, luckily that's not the case. The museum will provide you with a wireless headset (or you can bring your own) to take in the sounds of the museum. As you approach an instrument, you will enter a wireless hotspot which plays a solo or ensemble loop of music from that instrument accompanied with video.

It creates a unique experience that's personal and shared at the same time. So learn the history of the instruments you already love, educate yourself in the musical culture of other countries and who knows, maybe even find a new instrument that moves you. And yes, you can bang the gong.

9.)  Downtown Starts Here


Shop, eat, laugh, drink, dance, heck even bowl your way through CityScape Phoenix--the central hub of downtown.

There's Copper Blues rock pub & kitchen, heave your best gutter ball at Lucky Strike, work on your abs at Stand Up Live and grab some sushi at Squid Ink. Plus there are about 20 shops and restaurants to pick your way through. Best of all? It's right down the road from the Convention Center! Just use your feet.

10.)  Wherever You Go, Take 007 With You

Listen, we're big fans of everything listed above, but there's always a way to make it a bit better. And what better way than to take 007 himself, James Bond, out on the town with you?

You might recognize Dennis Keogh, and that's because he holds a striking resemblance to actor, Sean Connery. So much so in fact, that Keogh has made a career of impersonating Connery in his most famous role, as James Bond. You can hire him to bring some class to your evening, maybe even play a round of celebrity jeopardy.  

Just make sure the martini is shaken and not stirred.

So there it is, our little preview of some of Phoenix's hidden and not-so-hidden gems. Make sure you make the best of your spare time, and whenever you can, use the Light Rail to get around. It's quick, easy, and cheap!

See you at Imaging USA 2014! 


Use the links below to read other #IUSA14 posts:

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Since you're making the trip to Imaging USA, why not take things a step further? Enhance your photography business and broaden your scope and take some classes outside of your focus to learn new techniques and be more. Each track comes complete with live hands-on and demo sessions to see the skills you'll be learning in action!

People often describe Imaging USA as the Mall of America for photographers. This great mix of attendees, exhibitors and connected (well-respected) speakers from around the country forms the backbone of an expanding and evolving photographic industry and we're proud to be a part of it with you!

Mixing and matching is a great way to find new approaches, uncover some easy solutions and get beyond inspired. Many people tend to stick to what's familiar when operating a business. The conference is your platform to safely learn and explore new opportunities, options, products and solutions to take your photography business (and your craft as a whole) to the next level.

Here are the nine distinct areas to explore while at Imaging USA:

Portrait: Tips to skillfully capture the essence of an individual, young and old, male or female. There are different strategies for everyone! Get tips on workflow, post production, editing, client management, posing, lighting and how small tweaks in your process can relate to a big bump in your bottom line.

Senior Portrait: Get the latest posing, marketing and sales techniques in this ever-changing specialty. Get creative tips on working with your clients (and their parents) to boost your buzz and increase sales.

Family/Children Portrait: If newborns, baby packages, children and family portraits are an area you'd like to discover, these courses are right up your alley! Finding quality maternity clients and working with them through the stages of newborns, baby packages, childhood milestones and then start the process all over again. You'll have clients for life!

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Wedding: What are the images, albums and products that today's brides are demanding? Learn how to make your brides feel beautiful, maximize your profits, streamline workflows and create the memories for a perfect day!

Business: Pricing, sales, brand and marketing are all essential to making your business soar. Engage with speakers to see how they took their studios to the next level and see how their successes (and failures) can help you up your studio.

Technique: Refresh your fundamentals and gain new skills that will take your images and business to the next level. Watch live shoots, get in depth knowledge about lighting and get the inside track on creating your most dynamic images yet.

Inspiration: Reinvigorate your passion for photography and find new direction for your art and business. It's always important to take time to fall (back) in love with your work--so take the opportunity to kick start your motivation, feed your creative soul and watch how the rest falls into place.

Schools, Sports & Events: See techniques for posing, lighting and workflow for teams and individuals, sports action, dances or events. These are all great opportunities to expand your business, create additional lines of revenue and make customers for life.

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Hash It Out: Share your questions, ideas and solutions during these daily, interactive smart talks via tweet, text or in person. Think of it as a group brainstorming where you can be a part of all of the solutions! Commiserate over problems all studios face, find creative solutions and make new friends in the process!

Become an expert in what you do best, but also treat yourself to the opportunity of exploring new terrains. This is the safest place to experiment; approach new techniques and test drive some new ideas! All of this (plus the networking, parties and awards) is only $129 for current PPA Members. Not a Member yet? You can "Join N' Go"- meaning you join PPA and get to attend Imaging USA your first year for free!

For more information on Imaging USA or to register, visit www.imagingusa.org! Early bird pricing is through December 4, 2013. 


Use the links below to read other #IUSA14 posts in this series:

By Mariah Ashley

ashley_charity_2.jpg"You can't put the dollars before the heart. The heart has to come first and then the dollars come later." - Ziggy Marley

Trish and I were tired when we stumbled into the PPA Charities event at Imaging USA. We wanted to hunker down in our hotel room that first night but the excitement to meet our SMS mentor, Mary Fiske Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API, was enough motivation to get us out the door and downstairs to the party. Well, that and Trish insisting I get my lazy butt out from under the covers.

We arrived just before Ann Monteith, M.Photog.Cr.Hon.M.Photog., CPP, ABI, API, A-ASP took the podium to talk about PPA's involvement with Operation Smile. Although we didn't know a thing about Operation Smile before her talk, it took only a few minutes for her to move us to tears. As she spoke about the lives of all the children that had been helped, Trish turned to me and said, "You know we're here for a reason don't you?" I smiled and nodded at her uncanny ability to read my mind. There was no question that we would be involved with PPA Charities, the only question remaining was how.

PPA Charity's Operation Smile is a fabulous idea, but seemed more suited for portrait photographers with studios. How could we as wedding photographers tweak the idea to work for our business model? Trish and I wracked our brains, but nothing seemed to quite make sense; kids, dogs, families? None of these traditional ideas fit our brand or, for that matter, our expertise. One of the wonderful things about Operation Smile is that it creates buzz and attracts potential future clients for the portrait photographer as well as contributing a nice donation for Operation Smile. We needed to figure out a way to make it work for us too. And then as usual being the idea girl, Trish came up with a brilliant plan.

ashley_charity_1.jpgInstead of children's portraits, we would offer professional headshots for...wait for it...all the other wedding professionals in our market! That's right, florists, caterers, wedding planners, etc, etc. Who doesn't need a fabulous headshot for their website, Facebook page, or heck... even dating site? In another stroke of genius, she decided we should host the event at one of the high-end venues in our area, and they happily and generously agreed to do it. Not stopping there, Trish asked some of the vendors to donate floral arrangements, sweet treats, and stationary to our "Smile Shop," hoping that participants might pick up a "goody to go" as a way of generating more money for the event. She even asked a friend and local videographer to film the event and make us a little documentary (below) to share with other photographers in the future. Trish was off and running with her idea, and I steered clear of her brainchild given that after my fear of heights, my second biggest fear is that I will throw a party and no one will show up.


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