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Results tagged “techniques for photographers” from PPA Today

At PPA, we're constantly paying attention to the fears and concerns of photographers. One of the worries of professional photographers that we hear consistently is struggling to make those big sales. We hear you! Chances are you became a photographer because you love creating beautiful imagery, not because you wanted to be a salesperson. However, to have a successful business you need to be skilled at both!

Selling your photography doesn't have to be frightening. Many photographers hate the feeling of putting some sort of pressure on their clients to buy packages. That's why this four-part webinar series will help! "Soft Selling with Intense Results" will show you that the uncomfortable high-pressure strategy isn't necessary to make great sales. Soft sales methods focus on using casual, friendly messages to drive sales. Instructor Kristin Privette is very skilled at this and she will share different soft sales methods for photography that have helped her to quadruple (more, actually!) her income within the last five years. Take a look at what you'll learn in each part: 

Soft Selling with Intense Results  - Webinar Series 

August 7, 2014 - 2 pm ET

In this first part, Kristin walks you through the 10-step process she uses to gain five-figure wedding sales. Hear the language they use, the specific steps they take their couples through, and selling techniques that anyone can learn and be comfortable using.

August 21, 2014 - 2 pm ET

In part 2, Kristin's covers the '7 P's of Portrait Selling.' You'll learn how to start selling from the very first time you speak with a potential client in a way that excites them and prepares them for a big purchase. This simple process has proven to bring her average sales higher than where she started.

September 4, 2014 - 2 pm ET

During Part 3, you'll get the specific phrases Kristin uses to encourage upgrades, wall collections, add-ons and big investments. You'll learn how to prepare your brides from the very beginning to upgrade after the wedding. Plus, you'll hear the language you can use to guide your portrait clients toward wall collections and future sessions. She'll also share how she handles the common objections that every photographer gets.

September 18, 2014 - 2 pm ET

In the final part of the series, you'll go through a live ProSelect demo, showing exactly how Kristin would present to a portrait client using this software. From the moment the client walks in the door to writing a four figure check, you'll hear Kristin guiding and exciting her client about wall collections and making a big investment.

If you need help with sales, you won't want to miss this series of webinars! As always, both PPA members and non-members can attend the live webinars for FREE. However, if you want to be able to replay the recordings on demand (along with another 250+ videos on different techniques for photographers and business practices), you'll need to be a PPA member (join right here!) or just subscribe to PPAedu. Sign up today and let PPA help you be more! 
In today's photography world, it seems like everyone knows a "photographer". But, much like owning a knife doesn't make you a chef, owning a DSLR doesn't make you a professional photographer. So, how do you explain to potential clients the difference between your work and that of Uncle Phil's down the street? One easy way you can set yourself apart from the competition is by becoming a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP). 

PPA started the CPP program to assure consumers that a certified photographer is an experienced professional with the knowledge to create, consistently, the best images possible. Becoming a CPP takes several steps on a photographer's part. First, you must take (and pass!) a written exam that covers the photography techniques used by pros. Finally, you must submit a portfolio of your images to a panel of judges, showing that you can indeed apply all of the techniques covered by the exam. Once you've passed both steps, you'll earn your CPP designation! You'll need to re-certify every 3 years, a process that is by design meant to ensure that CPP holders are always at the top of their craft. Learn more about the steps to becoming a CPP here.

Once you've earned your certification, it's time to start marketing it to possible customers! Keep in mind these 3 points when marketing your CPP designation:

1. Image & Advertising Edge

The fact that you are a CPP is an immediate huge trust indicator for clients and potential clients alike. By showing that you are certified on all of your advertising, you are telling them that they can rely on you to consistently produce high-quality images. 

As Gregg Martin, CPP, says, "Photographers are coming out of the woodwork in every town in America, and being a CPP places you in a much different category than the average photographer. Being a CPP has opened doors to numerous corporate jobs, magazine work, sports contracts and several other opportunities in my career. It makes that instant difference between a hobbyist (even good ones) and a pro. And in a split second only."

2. Pricing Justification

As you know, the digital era has made it easier for inexperienced and fly-by-night photographers to enter the industry. Often, they undercut the profession by charging extremely low rates. Your CPP designation helps clients justify your higher asking prices. After all, don't they want the best photos possible for once-in-a-lifetime events like weddings and graduations? The inexperienced guy may be cheaper, but they'll get what they pay for when it comes to quality of images!

3. Peer Validation

Make sure your clients know that your certification is granted to you by Professional Photographers of America. It is the world's largest non-profit association for professional photographers and that alone is added credibility for your work. Before you can get certified, or even renew your certification, other photographers who have also earned the designation review your skills via the exam and the image submission. That process shows that you are knowledgeable and dedicated to your craft. And the fact that you must re-certify every 3 years shows that you are keeping up with the latest skills and techniques in photography. That should help put clients' minds at ease when hiring you. 

4. Boost Your Confidence

Once you've earned your certification, you should be proud of what you've accomplished! After all, you are now one of the few Certified Professional Photographers, meaning that you can be confident that your work is top-notch. This confidence will come through when you are speaking with clients and help put them at ease with hiring you. 

There you have it! We hope that the edge you can gain over the competition has inspired you to become a CPP. Just remember, you've got to be a PPA member to earn your certification. Join today! 

Watch this video for more on the CPP program, and you can read all about it at ppa.com/cpp.

If you're looking for a great live, in-person learning experience, consider a Super 1 Day photography workshop in your area! PPAedu helps photographers be more through live programming and classes, as well as a comprehensive (and ever-growing) video library on techniques for photographers and business practices.

During Super 1 Day (formerly known as Super Monday), photography studios from coast to coast and a few internationally (we're looking at you Turkey, Korea and Mexico), will open their doors to host classes on a variety of photography techniques and business practices. Whatever you need help with, there's sure to be a workshop to help you be more. Super 1 Day programs will span portrait and wedding photography, posing and lighting, digital retouching and workflow, and sales and marketing strategies.

In the past, these workshops were all held on one day. But we're changing  things up this year. There are going to be more than 110 classes, all to be held on multiple days between May 5 - 19, 2014 to give you an opportunity to find a workshop that fits best with your schedule. 

Beginning March 5th, PPA members and non-members alike will be able to browse the list of workshops and register for the one of their choice for $99. Be sure to register by April 30th to get the lowest price. Starting May 1, registration goes up to $120 and will only be processed on-location and space permitting. So sign up by or before the end of April to be able to register online while keeping money in your pocket!

After signing up, you will get the Bonus Pack (electronic gift goodie bag) with deals and discounts from several photographic companies. PPA members will also receive one service merit for each class. Great learning opportunity, merits towards a PPA degree AND a bunch of discount coupons? Sounds like a deal to us! 

Super 1 Day participants vary in their specialties and locations, but they all seem to agree on one thing: Super 1 Day is one of the best and easiest ways to mingle with your photography friends while experiencing excellent learning! 

Find out for yourself! Visit the Super 1 Day page on PPA's website, starting March 5th, locate the workshops taking place in your area and register for the class of your choice. 
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PPAedu strives to give photographers the best educational courses on photography techniques and business practices. Many members have already started exploring PPA's online education platform, watching videos and building a personalized program of business and photography courses. And that's just the tip of the iceberg: in addition to the on-demand programming, PPAedu offers live webinars and workshops! PP''s got several live webinars coming up in December and January, read on for all the details:

Live Webinars:

In December and January, we'll be covering a wide-range of topics including marketing, SEO and health insurance reform. You can watch these webinars from your own computer (or tablet!) and have an opportunity to ask questions. Better yet, if you're not a PPA member, you can get a taste of PPAedu by attending any live webinar for free. PPA members can access all recordings of the classes, but if you aren't a member, this is a great opportunity to learn a thing or two, on us (and maybe down the road you'll finally see why 26,500 photographers chose to operate with PPA)! So here's the upcoming schedule of live and (free!) webinars, open to all:

December 12, 2013 - 2 pm ET
With Angela Pointon

Do you have a great studio but need a little help marketing yourself? Pennsylvania photographer and marketing expert, Angela Pointon, will walk you through how to set up a marketing plan for your business. She'll discuss the elements of a killer marketing plan, how to build a plan and how to stick to the plan.
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We can all use a little extra education to keep on top of our photographic game--but where do you turn for your educational needs? PPAedu of course! PPA started the PPAedu program, and we hope that you'll turn to us for your educational needs. 

PPAedu has over 170 HD videos (and counting) that PPA members and PPAedu subscribers can access on-demand. These videos cover techniques for photographers like lighting, posing and post capture, as well as the business topics sales, finance, marketing and operations. All taught by some of the most accomplished photographers in the industry. It's a complete education program, included for free with your PPA membership! 

What really makes PPAedu stand out is the Assessment. You can answer a brief series of questions in several areas which will give you personalized class recommendations based on where your photography and business skill are now. Find out more about the Assessment in the "Be More Educated: Take the PPAedu Assessment" post. 

As we alluded to earlier, new PPAedu courses are constantly being added. Take a peek at some of our most recently added courses below:

Beth Taubner


Brands are about the marriage of fact and narrative. It's important to convey your special capabilities and traits so that potential customers can easily understand what sets you, your photographs, and your business apart from the competition. Photographers tend to be focused on technical and problem-solving capabilities rather than the emotional content of what makes their brands unique, so learning to operate from a brand perspective can make a real difference in your satisfaction and career.

View more of Beth's PPAedu courses.

Lori Nordstrom, M.Photog.Cr., CPP


You know you best. Lori will share a quick way to identify your target market and brand (so simple, you might never think to try it!)

You don't have to break the bank: Lori will walk you through some low- and no-cost marketing ideas to enhance awareness, from creating a customer database to e-marketing, rewards programs and more.

The devil is in the details: Lori will share ideas right and left as she discusses how displays and network marketing can work, which products she has found can increase sales for these particular clients, and the services that create loyalty and repeat business. We're talking VIP programs, charitable events, portrait installations and more.

So join Lori and take your marketing education and idea bank up a notch. After all, it's not just who you know or what you know--it's how you promote it!


For some photographers, creating a price list is like throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks. That process, however, leaves you with inaccurate prices and messy walls! So take a smarter approach and watch this video class where instructor Lori Nordstrom walks you through creating a price list that works for you and your business.

A price list that helps you walk clients through what you want them to buy isn't built in a day, but how can you get started? With real-life examples from her own studio, Lori takes you through the process and what to consider.


Whether your motivation is sowing good seeds, creating good Karma or developing good relationships, involvement in charitable organizations is good for the soul...and for your business. But before you over-commit your time and money, develop a plan. In good works, just like good business, there should be method to the madness!

Lucky for you, instructor Lori Nordstrom is here to discuss just that topic: how to make a charitable marketing plan using a few of the 5 W's (and an H). She'll show you how answering the following questions can help you create a special campaign, product line and even a pricing structure for your charitable work:

What can you give of your time and your talents?
Who do you want to share this with - what charity?
What is your product offering?
When do you want to do this?
How do want to do this?

You'll also learn more ways to get creative with your charitable involvement, like partnering with other vendors to expand on the offering. And since nothing happens without publicity, Lori will explain how you can play up the buzz with local media, email, Facebook and blogs. Put it all together and you could be presenting your charity with an oversized check, something you'll love whether you started for fun or business or both!


No matter your professional aspirations, this class is a must-have. After all, you can be the best photographer in town, but if you can't sell your business, does it really matter?

What do you say the first time a prospect calls or contacts you? For real, what do you tell them? What message does your studio convey? Are your clients right for YOU? After Handling the Inquiry, you'll skillfully and expertly answer these questions and more!

View more of Lori's PPAedu courses.
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There's always plenty going on here at PPA. So how about a monthly blog to keep you up to date?

At the start of each month, we'll give you an update on what workshops and live webinars are coming up! There's no excuse to miss out now!

Without further ado, let's take a look.

PPAedu's live webinars are offered FREE to members and non-members alike, but only available on-demand to PPA professional active members and PPAedu subscribers.

Here are this month's live webinars:

November 12, 2 p.m. ET

Income Tax Strategies w/ Bridget Jackson, CPA & PPA's Studio Management Services Manager

Learn strategies that can potentially lower your taxes and more with THE expert--PPA's resident CPA, Bridget Jackson!

 

November 19, 2 p.m. ET

SEO & Social for Photographers: A Match Made in Heaven

Don't miss part four of SEO expert Brett Snyder's series on... you guessed it... SEO! Read our blog post from last week for more info.

 

And look out for part 5 in early December!

December 3, 2 p.m. ET

SEO & Web Content Are Evolving, Even for Photographers: What to Expect in 2014 and Beyond

In this installment, Brett will cover web content--and goes in depth on the difference between fresh and static content and how both can boost your SEO!

 

And make arrangements for PPA's upcoming workshops!

 

PPA's Studio Management Services are hosting a few workshops at Imaging USA in Phoenix to help you be more in 2014. If you really want to get the most out of your Imaging experience, head out a few days early for these great pre-convention workshops!


Thursday - Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

$944

Business Breakthroughs

with Carrie Wildes, CPP & Allison Tyler Jones

 

Register for Business Breakthroughs and we'll throw in a FULL Imaging USA registration for free! Don't miss out on this exclusive deal to get a comprehensive and intimate workshop on your business followed by three days of Imaging USA to give you all the inspiration you need to put your new business plan to action!


And TWO Certification Prep Classes


$299

Certification Prep Class A

With Gary Meek, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API, A- ASP, EA-ASP

& Kathy Meek, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API

 

Or

 

$299

Certification Prep Class B

with Al Audleman, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API 

 

Friday - Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.


PPA is also offering two SMS Business Basics workshops in Phoenix.


$379 $279 (Save $100!)

Business Basics for Portrait Photographers

with Ann Monteith, M.Photog.Cr.Hon.M.Photog., CPP, ABI, API, A-ASP

 

$379 $279 (Save $100!)

Business Basics for Wedding Photographers

with Carrie Wildes, CPP

 

These experts and PPA's Benchmark Survey will help you understand your numbers and be more profitable in 2014!

 

 Make sure to follow PPA on Facebook and stay tuned into PPAedu's events calendar for the latest.

 

 

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Do you want your photography business' website to appear towards the top of Google search results? Talk about a great boost in visibility for your business! As a photographer you should consider this as a goal for your website, and this is why PPA has been hosting a webinar series to help photographers learn how to tackle SEO. 

 

If you missed the first three parts of the series, PPA members and PPAedu subscribers can watch the recordings now! We recommend catching up on what you've missed before the live date for "SEO & Social for Photographers: A Match Made in Heaven"

 

In part 1 of this series, "The Pitfalls of SEO", we cover the basics of SEO and how you can get started, as well as some mistakes to avoid. Meanwhile, part 2 goes over "Leveraging Local" and is all about how to make sure your business ranks in local searches. Part 3, "The True Art of SEO & Online Engagement...for Photographers!", showed you the ways to authentically engage with your audience online, and how this can help increase your rankings in search

 

We've received rave reviews about this series thus far and hope you too will start leveraging it as a useful learning tool and resource. The instructor, Brett Snyder, is the Director of Search Engine Optimization at Nebo--a web design and interactive marketing agency. Brett is a true expert in the field, and his webinars are packed with tangible SEO techniques and tips that he and PPA developed for photographers. You can also follow Brett on Twitter for advanced SEO updates and tips.

 

These webinars will give you ideas to create new connections with your audience and how this can boost your search engine rankings while giving your SEO a much needed human factor! PPA members and non-members alike can register to attend part 4, "SEO & Social for Photographers: A Match Made in Heaven." The best part: the live presentation is free and open to anyone, so feel free to share the info with your friends and colleagues!

 

Part 4, "SEO & Social for Photographers: A Match Made in Heaven," will take place November 19 at 2 p.m. ET. This time, Brett will show help you understand the relationship between SEO and social media and how to tie your social activity back to your website.

 

If you're ready to dive in to SEO, this series is the perfect place to help you figure things out and take your online presence efforts to the next level! Register online now, all it takes is filling out a quick, basic registration form! PPA members and PPAedu subscribers can also replay the first three parts of this series online: 

 

Replay Part 1 

Replay Part 2

Replay Part 3 

 

Don't forget to check PPAedu's webinar schedule and mark your calendars for the upcoming parts 5 and 6 as well!

 

Not a PPA member? You can register for this webinar and watch it live for free. All you need to do is create a basic account on PPA.com and you'll be able to register. To replay it, watch the entire series, or access any other on-demand PPAedu courses, simply join now orsubscribe to PPAedu. You'll get full access to over 170 HD videos on the latest business and creative techniques for photographers! 

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Every year, PPA strives to bring education on the latest photography and business techniques to
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Imaging USA. We believe that there's great education for any type of photographer at Imaging USA--from wedding to commercial photography, the class tracks cover it all!

If you've got a certain photographic specialty you know you want to learn more in, you can easily sort the Imaging USA schedule by class track to be sure not to miss anything during the convention. It's a great way to plan your education schedule for Imaging USA 2014 in Phoenix. 

One such track is School, Sport & Events. True to its name, this track is built specially for photographers who work in the school, sport and event market and will continue to advance your knowledge in these areas. 

For instance, if you do youth sports photography you won't want to miss the "From the Ballfield to the Bank - Big Money in Youth Sports" session with John Pittman on Sunday. He'll share tips that can make this market very profitable. Plus, if you're thinking about entering the youth sports market, Pittman says that you'll walk away from the session with great ideas that can help you as you venture out into this market.

For those sports photographers looking to add a new product offering for their clients, Richard Sturdevant's "Take The Gloves Off! Delivering a Knock-Out Blow with Creativity is Sports Volume Photography" session will teach you how this Grand Imaging Award-winning photographer creates unique composite sports posters that his clients love!

If you specialize in school portraits, check out "The Artona Group Inc. - School Pictures and Seniors" session with Michael Rak. His presentation combines the collective knowledge of a family who has been shooting special moments for almost forty years! Sit back and soak it all in as Michael and company share their family history, as well as their transition from a mom-and-pop shop to a high-volume school picture, senior portrait, and wedding photography studio.

These are just a few of the great classes you'll find in Imaging USA's School, Sport & Event track. Be sure to check the Imaging USA schedule as we're still adding classes for all tracks! If you haven't registered yet, view all the Imaging USA registration options and pick the one that's right for you.

Read more about Imaging USA:


Do you want your photography business' website to appear towards the top of Google search results? Talk about a great boost in visibility for your business! As a photographer you should consider this as a goal for your website, and this is why PPA has been hosting a webinar series to help photographers learn how to tackle SEO. 

If you missed the first two parts of the series, PPA members and PPAedu subscribers can watch the recordings now! We recommend catching up on what you've missed in the first two parts of the series before the live date for "The True Art of SEO & Online Engagement...for Photographers!". 

In part 1 of this series, "The Pitfalls of SEO", we cover the basics of SEO and how you can get started, as well as some mistakes to avoid. Meanwhile, part 2 of the series goes over "Leveraging Local" and is all about how to make sure your business ranks in local searches. That way, when someone searches-for instance-for a wedding photographer in your town, you'll be sure to rank towards the very top in the results! You can download the slide decks for part 1 and part 2 of Brett's presentations now so that you'll always have a copy to reference later. 

We've received rave reviews about this series thus far and hope you too will start leveraging it as a useful learning tool and resource. The instructor, Brett Snyder, is the Director of Search Engine Optimization at Nebo--a web design and interactive marketing agency. Brett is a true expert in the field, and his webinars are packed with tangible SEO techniques and tips that he and PPA developed for photographers. You can also follow Brett on Twitter for advanced SEO updates and tips.

These webinars will give you ideas to create new connections with your audience and how this can boost your search engine rankings while giving your SEO a much needed human factor! PPA members and non-members alike can register to attend part 3 of this series, "Audience Engagement: The True Art of SEO"! The best part: the live presentation is free and open to anyone, so feel free to share the info with your friends and colleagues!

Part 3, "The True Art of SEO & Online Engagement...for Photographers!", will take place on October 8 at 2 p.m. ET. This time, Brett will show you ways to authentically engage with your audience online, and how this can help increase your rankings in search! It may not sound like much, but it makes a huge difference in search results!

People indeed often mistakenly think that SEO is all about stuffing keywords into the copy of your website, but you do need to prove to Google (or Bing!) that you aren't a spam bot randomly inserting keywords on a site to artificially boost your SEO. That's right, as Brett likes to say "Google is smarter than you" and when working with SEO you should "always remember to be (very) human."

If you're ready to dive in to SEO, this series is the perfect place to help you figure things out and take your online presence efforts to the next level! Register online now, all it takes is filling out a quick, basic registration form! PPA members and PPAedu subscribers can also replay the first two parts of this series online: Replay Part 1 and Replay part 2

Don't forget to check PPAedu's webinar schedule and mark your calendars for the upcoming parts 4, 5 and 6 as well!

Not a PPA member? You can register for this webinar and watch it live for free. All you need to do is create a basic account on PPA.com and you'll be able to register. To replay it, watch the entire series, or access any other on-demand PPAedu courses, simply join now or subscribe to PPAedu. You'll get full access to over 170 HD videos on the latest business and creative techniques for photographers! 
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By now you've heard--Super Monday is just around the corner, and with that comes nearly 100 classes in cities across the United States (and three in Korea) focused on live, local education. It's your opportunity to earn service merits, network and meet some new friendly faces!

farren_peggy_maternity.jpgThis fall, we are thrilled to offer quite a few seasoned instructors teaching across a wide range of topics including Peggy Farren and her "Maternity Portraiture--Preparation, Selling, Lighting & Posting" and Kevin Floyd, CPP with his two courses "Portrait Retouching with Photoshop" and "Studio Lighting 101: Indoors & Out". These veteran Super Monday pros make learning feel like a day at the beach--which they both could be since they are based along the beautiful shores of Florida.

As volunteer instructors, what keeps them coming back to teach time and time again?

"I had such a great experience the last time," said Peggy. "Many photographers drove from two to three hours away to our workshop. One thing I've learned through running the Understand Photography Training Center is that educated competition is better for the business of photography. We have very few of the bargain basement photographers in this area since most of the new photographers train with us. We teach them how to price correctly and learn the business side of photography as well as the technical and creative side."

floyd_kevin_supermonday2013.jpgKevin, a former board chair at the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, knows that it takes special skills to lead in the classroom. "I love to teach, it is a part of me and I feel like it's my duty to give back. Since I was a high school teacher that was graded on how much my students retained, I like to cover how to remember and apply what was shown in class too!"

So, what will be covered in their classes?

In Peggy's maternity class, you'll walk away knowing the right questions to ask in the beginning, poses that flatter and sell, pricing, lighting and with beautiful portfolio images since it is a hands-on workshop!

"Attendees will leave with a new confidence. They'll learn enough lighting and posing to make any pregnant woman beautiful--okay, maybe using a little Photoshop, too. Attendees will have sample pricing plans that they can tailor to their own businesses and earn more money per session," said Peggy. "A maternity session should be the beginning of a lifelong relationship with your client. Learn how to make your client beautiful by proper lighting and posing."

In Kevin's first class on studio lighting, attendees will walk away with the foundational knowledge of five lighting patterns, achieving studio lighting outside with or without lights, capturing a 3D image through highlights and shadows and how everything revolves around 18% gray.

Kevin's second class will focus on Photoshop. Attendees will learn how to wield the mighty power of Photoshop with a restraint.

"We will over how to use Photoshop for retouching, but not over doing it. It still needs to look like your client when you're done. We'll also cover how to analyze what needs to be done and how to use quick fixes for common problems. The class will use problem images students bring in and as a class work on as many as we can!"

With any Super Monday class, you're bound to walk away with endless amounts of new ideas for your art and your business.

"I'm always more inspired when I'm confident in my technical skills. The technical part of photography has never come easy for me, so hands-on practice works as the best learning system for me. I want to inspire the attendees," said Peggy.

Head over to the Super Monday page to find a course chock full of inspiration and networking near you, or check out Peggy's "Maternity Portraiture - Preparation, Selling, Lighting, Posing and Editing" in Naples, or Kevin's "Portrait Retouching with Photoshop or "Studio Lighting 101: Indoors and Out.

And check out Farren's website at naplesportraits.com, and Floyd's at kevinfloyd.com.

To be the best photographer possible, it's important to continually educate yourself about the latest techniques for photographers as well as business practices. But where can you find the education you need? And once you find it, how do you know that it will meet your needs? 

To help you be more educated, PPA recently launched PPAedu as part of PPA's member benefits. There's currently over 170 HD videos available (and we're constantly adding more) on demand as well as live webinars in both creative photography techniques and business practices. Better yet, it's all included at no extra cost with your PPA membership!

What really separates PPAedu from the myriad of photography education is the ability to create a personalized program of classes. How do we do it? Through PPAedu's Assessment Tool. 

PPA members can take the assessment at no extra cost. You'll be asked a few painless questions about things like the state of your business, marketing plan, sales and finance. You'll also be asked questions about techniques for photographers like lighting, posing and post-capture. If that sounds daunting, don't panic! Each section moves pretty quickly, and you can always go one section at a time, saving your progress as you go. 

Once you've completed the assessment, you'll be ranked as beginner, beginner /intermediate, or intermediate/advanced in each category based on your answers to the questions. PPAedu then uses these rankings to provide recommendations of videos to watch from our course library that will help advance your photography knowledge. Talk about taking the guess work out of the equation! 

You can also reassess (either a single section or all of them at once) at any time as your skills progress to get fresh course recommendations. While it's not required for PPA members to take the assessment before watching videos, we recommend you do so that you can build your own educational guide! 

So, get started on the assessment and get your PPAedu recommendations today! Or, browse the online video library and upcoming live webinars. Not a PPA member? Join today for full-access to PPAedu, or you can purchase a 3 month subscription and try it out.
Your to-do list is a mile long, and that's only getting the things done necessary to run your business - not including the things it takes to push it to the next level. Where can photographers find easy-to-access classes to help them in both the art and business of photography?

If you're a PPA member, you're in luck! You have the opportunity to take advantage of exclusive live webinars. These classes are excellent chances to learn from professionals both in the photographic and business communities covering a range of topics from "The Portrait Photographer's Guide to Commercial Photography" to new health insurance reform that any business owner needs to be aware of and so much more! Join in on the webinars and ask questions during the live Q & A sessions to clear things up that might be specific to your business.

The best part about these webinars (aside from the fact they are included with your PPA membership) is even if you can't make it to watch live, they are posted in the PPAedu course library so you can watch them any time--24/7, as many times as you'd like! 

So what's coming up?

On Thursday, August 29th at 2 PM (ET), Cris Duncan, M.Photog.CR., CPP will walk you through "The Portrait Photographer's Guide to Commercial Photography." As in any photography specialty, commercial business comes with its own set of rules to abide by - Cris is here to help you navigate the waters of this great way to expand your product offerings! Join this one hour webinar and learn all the right questions to ask your new clients, and see where your new product offerings can lead you into 2014!

And coming up in the fall, Brett Snyder of Nebo is continuing his series on SEO (search engine optimization). His first webinar, "The Pitfalls of SEO," was such a huge success that we're bringing him back for "Leveraging Local" on September 10th, "Audience Engagement: The True Art of SEO" on October 8th, "SEO & Social: A Match Made in Heaven" November 19, and "Web Content: What to Expect in 2014 and Beyond" in December. We even have him booked up in January for more (but we'll get to that later, you have Imaging USA to attend first!) 

To start with, "Leverage Local" is all about utilizing SEO for your local region. Your clients look for photographers on the local level, not all across the globe. Use Brett's knowledge to your advantage and beat your competitors to the punch in search results. 

And it's not too early to start planning your holiday business! Beth Forester, M.Photog.Cr., CPP will show you her "Secrets to a Successful Holiday Portrait Event" on Thursday, September 19th. See how Beth has used profitable "mini portrait events" to up her holiday business to the tune of over $20,000 in three days (but you can't start planning at Thanksgiving)!

Last but not least, get the next rounds of details on health insurance reform with Ross Pallay, Executive Vice President at Pallay Insurance Agency (the exclusive provider of PPA equipment insurance). If you missed his first webinar--Before & After Implementation, you can access it here.  It might not be the sexiest of topics, but every business owner needs to know what options exist in terms of plan designs and premium subsidies. Ross will be back with us in January to discuss important deadlines, but again, we'll get to that later. Just know insurance can be one of those places photographers waste precious dollars, so Ross is here to make sure you're covered, and at the right price. 

What else can you expect from PPAedu Live Webinars? Just about anything! Check the Live Webinar's page often or visit the Webinar FAQs to answer any questions you might have. Make sure you follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for last minute offerings! Have a special request? Leave topics in the comments section and we'll see what we can get in the works!

Labor Day is on its way and along with it the unofficial close of summer.

So are you ready for fall?! The colorful foliage, the BEST seasonal brews (inarguable) and of course, FOOTBALL! What's not to love?

And as far as your profession goes, we're not going to let you get soft on us. But how can you push yourself to the next level with less sunshine to work with?
Super Monday is a good start.

On and around October 14, 2013, dozens of studios from coast to coast (and Korea!) will open their doors and offer insights to their fellow photographers (that's you!). Whatever you need help with, there's sure to be a workshop for you. Super Monday will span portrait and wedding photography, posing and lighting, digital retouching and workflow, and sales and marketing strategies.

If you're in the California/Nevada area, instructor Laurie Warta, CPP, will bring her passion and expertise to offer a unique, hands-on learning opportunity.

She's heading out to Sparks, Nev., just east of Reno, for a Super Monday Shoot Out on
warta_blog.jpg
 Sunday, Oct. 13. There's no need to worry about being bored in a classroom for this one! Laurie's taking it outside for an on-location, learn-as-you-shoot experience, where she's hoping students will get outside their visual box and try something new. 

"I've wanted to do this for a few years. I love a good challenge, and I love getting inside the heads of other professionals and watching how other photographers do things." 

Warta says there's not usually a lot of 'why' behind the 'what,' but that's the focus here.

"'Why did you pose your subject that way? Why did you use this lighting? Why did you use these settings?' Everyone has a reason for the way they light things, but I want to know why. These are some of the questions we're going to explore. It's about challenging ourselves to expand our thinking."

Here's a glimpse into Laurie's plan for the October 13 program:

You'll meet Laurie at a location (to be confirmed, most likely her daughter's home near Reno), and briefly get to know the other students. You'll discuss the plan for the day and go over your lighting options.

After you get acquainted and gear up, you'll head to the shoot location (stay tuned for details). Waiting for you on site will be models--a senior boy, a senior girl and a couple--and a few props. You'll shoot one model and break for lunch before you photograph the others. Make no mistake, it's more than a simple photo shoot. Like Laurie said--it's a lighting-posing-coaching photography challenge!

Each student will get a turn posing, lighting and shooting the models individually; no shooting over the shoulder allowed! And this is where the props come in. When Laurie decides to throw the prop into the mix, you must somehow incorporate it into your creation with the model. The choices are yours and yours alone, Laurie and the other students will watch and learn as you explain why you're doing what you're doing. Then the roles will switch! 

"It's about taking ingredients and making something that will come out totally different from anyone else. It's amazing what you can do with a chair.

"Our personalities are all different, we communicate differently, but we can all learn from each other. It's all about creating a space for other photographers to learn, learn, learn; it's all about observing, learning and having fun."

If all works according to plan, the class will be setup with CamRanger to send selected images directly to an iPad for each photographer to further explain their tactics and for everyone else to critique the images--right there on site! The instant critiques will be more impactful because you will be able to learn from details you might have missed while being caught in the action, and the group feedback will help you improve right away. 

This class certainly isn't for the faint of heart, nor for the beginner photographer. You must have knowledge of your camera and light and how to control it. You'll need to use your creative vision in a challenging way. But the worst that can happen is you'll get better!
A dedicated photographer, Laurie has deeply loved photography for 35 years, and her focus has only sharpened in recent years. Her passion and enthusiasm for photography comes through while talking about the class. 

"I love teaching and I love photography. With this small, intimate setting, we can do so much more, especially since it's hands-on. The personal benefits are remarkable. It forces me to really know my content and learn more. I have to consider 'What can I bring to expand my horizon?'"

Laurie's not stopping there either. Two days after her Super Monday Shoot Out, she's heading an hour up the road to Kings Beach, Calif., near Lake Tahoe, to teach an additional class. 

In her second class, Laurie will partner with friend and fellow photographer, Danielle Hankinson, for Extreme Lighting at the Lake. In this course, you'll discover how to deal with harsh and challenging lighting situations, such as the beautiful Lake Tahoe area. How do you manage light when it's reflecting so harshly off of the water? You'll practice techniques to manipulate light and create cool and edgy or soft pretty lighting. 

The goal is for you  to leave Laurie and Danielle's class not only a better technical photographer, but a more confident one as well.

"When you know something and when you believe in something, you can be confident. The rest is easy--just shoot."

Head over to the Super Monday page for more information on Laurie's two classes:
Super Monday Shoot Out, in Sparks/Reno, Nevada
Extreme Lighting at the Lake, in Kings Beach,California 

And check out Laurie's website at lauriewartaphotography.com

IMAGE © LAURIE WARTA
Imagine there was an educational program built just to you. It had everything you needed on both the skill and business of photography. It was completely online and available to you 24/7. There was no pressure involved--your personalized curriculum was there for you whenever you needed it, as many times as you wanted. And somehow, some way, it was free.

Does it sound too good to be true? It's not. That's PPAedu! And guess what? It's completely free for PPA members (Professional Active).

That's because PPAedu is PPA's newest membership benefit. 

With PPAedu, you get a personalized, online education platform that provides you with a full buffet of resources suited to your needs. Each program delivers great information clearly outlined with key takeaways to help you hone your craft and strengthen your business immediately.

PPAedu offers 8 categories (4 business + 4 creative) to tailor a program that suits your business growth. How do we do that? We provide these customized recommendations thanks to the self-assessment tool.  

Through a series of business and photo technique questions PPAedu first determines your skill levels in a variety of areas important to photographic and financial success (e.g. lighting, post capture, and business operations). Then, based on your answers, PPAedu pulls from its library of online courses to build your customized plan, available to you through online videos and webinars and available 24/7 to any PPA member. As you get better (and you will!) PPAedu will adjust this plan based on your learning progress, so after taking several courses, you can reassess any specific area of interest to get a new set of recommendations. With over 150+ HD videos, you won't run out of content any time soon!
  
PPAedu's Self-Assessment Tool is THE place to gauge your business and photographic skills at your own pace. The questions in the assessment span photographic and business topics and are designed to deliver personalized curriculum to fit your specific needs, skills, interests and business profile. After the initial assessment, you can choose to re-assess all or select topics, at any time, and receive a new set of recommendations.

And we didn't just throw these videos together with a random narrator or presenter. We've got some of the industry's finest dishing out their secrets to success. They volunteered their time to be PPAedu instructors and help you BE MORE! You'll learn lighting techniques, business strategies, marketing tactics and so much more. Again--whatever you need, we've got it!

PPAedu also includes live webinars. However, don't fret if you miss one, they'll all be available 24/7 with the rest of the videos after they air. It's like a built-in DVR! You can view the PPAedu live webinar schedule here

Last but not least, new videos will be added every month. This comes as part of your PPA membership (Professional Active). That's right! PPAedu puts a personalized education program (a $600/year value!) at members' fingertips, 24/7, at no extra cost. 

Need any more convincing to dive in? Just take a look at some of these early reviews:

"I am sending a big thanks to PPA for the new PPAedu.  PPAedu totally rocks with HD quality and great audio."
- Jerry Watson, CPP

"There is no service I've ever even heard of that gives you a survey, builds a list of your weaknesses and strengths and then delivers dynamic video training content. This is simple but unheard of in the photography industry. And it's free for PPA members. The survey and content has one goal in mind, making me a better professional photographer. WOW!"
- Mark Treen

"I know this sounds like a PPAEdu add but I am really just so excited that PPA has provided this for us just for being members.  You could almost go there knowing next to nothing except how to turn on the camera and PPAEdu will teach you the rest."
- Jason Grass

"PPAedu is an amazing resource. I have been watching videos in a bunch of the different categories and finding them very helpful. Even if it is something that I have learned before it's a great way to brush up on everything."
- Lauren Lambeth


And we're just getting started! The best photographers never stop learning, so give PPAedu a try and BE MORE!


*What's that you say? You're not a PPA Member? No problem! Try a three-month subscription to access all the PPAedu programming. A one-time fee of $150 puts all of PPAedu's online courses at the tip of your fingers!  


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