Here's what photographers who work with the SMS support team on an ongoing basis have to say:
Emily J. Engelhardt - Emily Jane Photography
"Since starting with PPA's SMS less than a year ago, I've already come to realize the long list of benefits the program has to offer. I used to be a photographer who knew nothing about running a business, but now with their help, I feel so much more at ease and in control of my business. I love the peace of mind that safety net gives me."
Meghan Poort, CPP - Portraits by Meghan Poort
"My 2010 goal was to learn my numbers, and SMS helped me do just that. I will always know what is going on with my business from here on out. Now, I don't have to guess if I can afford a new backdrop or hire a new employee. The numbers tell me. It is so comforting to have a game plan and to really understand how my business works. For the first time, I was able to set real goals and make business plans. Thank you, SMS, for helping me to see the studio I want to be and for giving me the tools to achieve it!"
Molly Purvines - Purvines Photography
"I'd increased my sales and business was improving, but I didn't know where to go from there. After working with PPA's Studio Management Services group, I have learned to accurately forecast business flow, manage costs, and more effectively interact with clients. Now that I have confidence in my business management skills, I have the freedom to grow artistically and be a more relaxed person."
Graham Wilson - Vision Photography
"With the help and support of SMS, I began to realize where I needed improvements in my studio accounting. This clarity became my POWER. My studio has grown at a tremendous pace, and SMS has been right alongside of us. The support I receive from the staff and my mentor has been nothing short of amazing. The SMS team has definitely become an integral part of my studio."
Julia Woods - Portrait Life
"We joined SMS in 2002. Our business had already greatly improved due to the business education that we had been getting through PPA; however, SMS has kept the momentum going. They have become a lot like a big brother to me. I know they are always watching out for our business and giving me wonderful information when we hit uncharted territories. In the midst of the chaos of taking care of clients, it can be easy to forget about the numbers. But SMS helps me to stay accountable. They are a huge part of our continued success." www.jwweddinglife.com
Carrie & Phillip Viohl - Studio Viohl
"After 5 years as business owners, Studio Management Services helped us to finally take control of our business through education and accountability. We now have the tools necessary for a successful and profitable studio."
Chanel M. Parrott - Your Reflection My Style Photography
"SMS has been an essential part of my business. If I hadn't started with them 4 years ago, I would no longer be in the photography business. Showing me where my numbers were and where they should be was a turning point in my career, I can not thank them enough for their help in making my business a success!"
Eric & Shawna Anundi - Eric John Photography
"SMS has transformed our business and put us on the road to success."
Rebecca and Michael Zoumberos - Limelight Photography
"We literally saw results in our bottom line overnight. This team of professionals has had a huge impact on our success, and they have helped us each step of the way as we continue to grow our business. I recommend every professional photographer operate their business only with the core principles taught in the SMS class soundly in place."
Corri & Kevin Robinson - Corr Images, Inc.
"SMS gave us the opportunity to analyze our current financial situation and create a plan to reach our future goals. We were given quantitative standards to measure against while consulting one-on-one with industry experts (arguably the best, I might add). Corri and I feel blessed to have worked with such a dedicated and helpful group."
Ryan & Carrie Phillips - Ryan Phillips Photography
"Joining SMS has been one of the best things we have done for our business. SMS helped us go from a sole proprietorship to an S-Corporation. By analyzing our financial records more closely, we made changes, like removing certain products from our price list and raising prices for others. Our income more than doubled in one year and our business records are in perfect order."
Kimberly Wylie - Kimberly Wylie Photography
"Each quarter, we are able to ask some of the most pressing questions that we are facing in our business and have a wealth of knowledge and contacts at our fingertips to help us get these questions resolved. SMS helped us get us where we are today, and is instrumental in creating the path to follow to get where we want to be in the future. We love SMS!"
Amber McAdoo - McAdoo Photo Artistry
"Studio Management Services has, without a doubt, changed both the quality of my business and the quality of my life. With SMS I have learned how to make smarter business decisions that have resulted in fewer sessions but higher sales, translating into more time with my family. Thanks SMS, I wouldn't have been able to do it without you!"
Jennifer Brum - Photography by Jennifer Brum
"My accountant was amazed that I was able to achieve a 50% increase in net income while keeping my expenses and cost-of-sales down. He said that he had never seen a small business achieve such great strides in a small amount of time. He asked me for my "secret to success" and I told him about my participation in PPA's SMS program and how much you guys helped me gain control of my business from a financial standpoint as well as Jen Roggi's guidance in helping me expand my reach and sales in my main market of weddings."
Meghan & Matt Feyerabend - Aus10 Photography
"I was surprised by how far off we really were from the benchmark. Now we know how to fix it … and that we really have to pay attention to that."
James & Meridith Walters - Photography by Walters & Walters
"We thought we knew enough to manage to our business finances ourselves, but SMS showed us the power of really knowing our numbers and how that leads to increased profits. The SMS accountants and mentors truly understand photographers and their needs as a small business – we are a powerful team!"
Photographers who've attended SMS Business Workshops talk about the value of their experience:
Callie Page - Callie Page Photography
"I attended the SMS Business Breakthroughs workshop. After the class and the guidance I received from my one-on-one consultations, I am recording record monthly sales! I would have never guessed that I would be able to say I brought in over $18,000 in one month, but I did! AWESOME! We wouldn't have been able to progress this much without what we learned with SMS!"
Emily Mulkey - Emily Mulkey Photography
"Attending PPA's Studio Management Services 2-Day Business Basics Workshop will be, by far, the best decision I make in 2011. The information and advice I received is essential for taking a photography business from the hobby level to the next level. The instructors are wonderful teachers—they have incredible passion for the industry and have truly walked the walk. I only wish I had attended this workshop 2 or 3 years ago, as it would have saved me many tiresome nights of frustration! Thank you so much SMS!"
Allison & Matt Ragsdale - Allison Ragsdale Photography
"We attended the 3-Day SMS Business Breakthroughs Workshop and were so impressed with the instructors and information! The information was so practical and relevant that we were able to put it into use immediately. In under a year, our studio went from breaking even to record profits that have changed our lives and allowed us to do things we had only dreamed of doing. We recommend SMS to every photographer, starting out or established. It will improve your business as well as your life."
Debbie Riggs - Pure-Photography
"The 3-Day SMS Business Breakthroughs Workshop was a huge help to our business—I can't say enough about how important it was. And it just made sense to attend a one-on-one consultation to make sure we were on the right track. I will be talking with my PPA accountant every year for her wise advice; and hopefully, I'll still be learning and changing and growing!"
Carrie Wildes - Carrie Wildes Photography
"The SMS workshop totally rocked what I knew about the business aspect of photography. I walked away with so many practical concepts that are putting me on my way to not just doubling my sales and income in 2010, but always having more time to enjoy life. This workshop is a must for any photographer who wants to grow and have continued success year after year."
Teri Mason - Teri Mason Photography
"Taking the SMS class really opened my eyes to many aspects of my business that I had not previously focused on. Upon returning, we made major changes to our studio building plans, our pricing, and branding. I'm happy to report that as of November, our sales are up 50% from last year! Thanks, SMS!"
Gary Crofford - Cindy Crofford Photography
"I liked that this seminar consists of a small group-not a big lecture. It allows for more cross-pollination of ideas, questions, and interaction. Before I even came, the preparation we went through for the seminar was so helpful. It forced us to take a look at our business in a way we never had before. I would absolutely recommend this seminar to other photographers. I almost bet that most photographers are like my wife and I...in that they never really analyze their business the way you learn to in the SMS workshop."
Deborah Sussex - Deborah Sussex Photography
"This was a huge reality check for me. This workshop showed me very clearly how disconnected I was from my bottom line. The good news is that I can still do what I love – fine art photography."
Lisa Valley - Jesse Valley Photography, Inc.
"I just wanted to say BIG thanks for everything at the SMS seminar. It was awesome. We are stoked (and a little scared) to put into practice everything we learned. I think it is okay to have a little fear, because out of fear comes courage."
Karen Lippowiths - Urban Kids Photography
"The SMS workshop was nothing short of amazing! Unlike many photographers, I actually love the business side of things, but I still needed "nuts and bolts" help to make sense of it all. I've attended many seminars before but none really took the time to look at me and my business. The SMS workshop was all about me. I was amazed at the time they took with me and depth of knowledge they had about my business before even walking the door. Ann Monteith and Lori Nordstrom were fabulous! They brought two completely different perspectives but delivered a unified message. They were both warm, honest, direct, and encouraging. My dreams are reinvented and renewed. The program was flawless and everyone at the PPA terrific. I always counted on the PPA as a resource and now I consider it a 'home.'"
Virginia L.S. Freire - Virginia L.S. Freire Photography
"The SMS 2-Day Business Workshop was well worth every penny. I was amazed - and thrilled - that Ann Monteith covered so much and answered all of my questions in such a short time. The program was inspirational and energizing and armed me with the critical tools, perspective, and business savvy I needed to set my studio apart and start on the road to profitability immediately. Thank you SMS and Ann!"
Mark & Jeannie Broadway - Mark Broadway Photography
"We were so nervous about attending SMS last fall because our business side was not reflective of our work. After our first consult, we were so relieved to have spoken with experts who understood our business and really cared about helping us.
SMS taught us how to not only understand our numbers, but how to manage them and develop a plan for sales and workflow…and they are holding us accountable for it. We cannot stress enough how valuable the SMS workshop has been in gaining control of our business, getting our life back and reaching our goals. We are looking forward to a long-term partnership."
Jamie Waldrep - Your Story Captured
"While my studio was steadily growing and increasing in sales and clients, I still felt as though I was in over my head. After my initial accounting consult, I knew I had made the right decision in choosing PPA's Studio Management Services. Just those few hours on the phone were worth the money I had spent, and I hadn't even made it to the workshop yet! I didn't know how to budget—I didn't know where to even begin. SMS showed me how to spend money, where to spend money and why. I learned to set up myself and my studio for success. My studio is on track for 2011, and I am excited about what the future holds. If you have one shadow of a doubt about enrolling in this workshop, don't. Just do it!"
Members Talk About Their Experience with PPA Education, Studio Management Services, Financial Benchmark & Degrees:
Amy Hall - Photography by Amy Hall
"I love PPA and joining is the best thing I've done for my career. The Online Learning Pass has been such a great resource for me. When I first got it, I scoured the archives and listened to several webinars a day. I couldn't get enough! And the PPA Business Handbook combined with the webinars about marketing and pricing helped me determine my own pricing strategy and way forward in this competitive business. Being a photographer is a business after all, and it was exciting for me to have so much information on the business and financial side at my fingertips. I know that I still have a lot to learn but now I feel confident going forward that I have a solid foundation under me and the resources of PPA at my fingertips anytime I need them."
Megan Anderson - Graphique Fine Art Photography
"PPA's Benchmark Survey resources are incredible information, put in a format that my creative (not analytic) mind can truly comprehend. I was lucky enough to attend the Business Breakthroughs Workshop in August, which gave me truly usable information, and this is the icing on the cake. It is benefits like this that makes PPA so completely worth the dues."
Cindy Christante - Natural Impressions Photography
"I just don't know how to stress what a comforting and pleased feeling I have in knowing PPA is there to help, if we only reach out and take a serious hold onto what's being offered. I've always felt proud to be a member, loved attending Imaging in its own mind boggling fashion, but since our commitment to attend the 3 day SMS workshop in Dallas almost 3 years ago, following through with what we've learned I've come to realize how truly lucky professional photographers are to have such a strong, empathetic organization it truly is! Thanks for all the time you commit to helping PPA remain strong, and a HUGE thanks for the individual time you've spent with us."
Amy Vining - Amy Vining Photography
"I want to thank you for helping me to make my business such a success in 2010. Thanks to all I've learned through online learning and PPA newsletters, Professional Photography Magazine, and ESPECIALLY through my SMS learning with Melissa Kriest and Allison Rogers Photography.
Because of all of this, I found the guts to raise my prices, buy a projector, and learn how to sell my art more effectively. I've more than DOUBLED my billing over 2009, (from $45,000 to over $100,000)and moved into a bigger, nicer studio. Because of my hike in income, my husband was finally able to leave his miserable job and pursue his own creative business! Now, because of your recommendations I've purchased Successware and know that 2011 is going to be an even bigger year for me. Just having used it for only a few days, I've already learned things about my COGS that I didn't understand before, and am able to organize my clients and promotions into a way that I've never been able to before.
I'm so glad I found you and look forward to many years of being a PPA member! Thank you for everything you do to help us hacks become real businesspeople!"
Prem Mukherjee - Arising Images, Inc.
"The concepts I've learned from SMS have made a huge impact on both my business and, ultimately, my family."
"One important thing I learned from SMS was how to decide my family's priorities and analyze the numbers for a plan of action. I'm now able to use my business as a tool to achieve personal goals!"