Ad image

PPA Today

By Sarah Ackerman

Happy Halloween! We'll cut to the chase - there's candy to eat! Check out our top ten favorite blogs from the week! 

LOOKING BACK: Whether you've been in business for decades or you're just starting out, there are some things nobody teaches in photography school and... Ummm, that's what PPA's here for, but that's not the point: check out these great pieces of advice seven professional photographers WISH they would have learned earlier in their career from PetaPixel.

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS: The Law Tog is back with some great advice inspired by her kids - manage your clients with your words. Here are her three tips on how to manage expectations, guide them in the process and keep everyone happy!

BUILDING YOUR DATABASE: How do you build your client base? Here are some great tips from Contrastly that go above and beyond relying on word-of-mouth advertising. 

CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE: No matter how long you've been in this business, you should never-ever stop learning. This blog from PhotolisticLife shows how even the smallest of changes can make a huge impact on your perspective. What have you tried lately to jazz things up and improve your craft?

GOOD FOR BUSINESS: We know you're past the point of working as an assistant photographer, but check out this article from Light Stalking and get inspired to possibly take on your own. Bring up a new talent in the business and show them how to do it right, not how to do it cheap.

PACKING CHEAT SHEET: So you're going to a remote atoll? What do you bring? Check out this great timelapse video and blog from National Geographic photographer Corbun Dukehart on his trip working on Aldabra atoll. It's a great lesson on learning your environment regardless of where you are and knowing how to best protect your equipment. 

EXTRACTING STILLS: Learn from PPA photographer Michele Clentano how to take stills from high quality video, and why that might be a great option for capturing once-in-a-lifetime portraits on this great blog from PetaPixel.

WORKFLOW: Want to optimize your workflow? Customize your workspace in Lightroom! It's really simple with these tips from Photofocus and can help streamline all of the tools you need regularly, versus the ones you use once in a blue moon. 

BEHIND BARS: You? Get arrested? Not since that one time on spring break in college*! In any case, as a professional photographer, you should know your rights. Check out this great interview with Mickey Osterreicher from the National Press Photographers Association to make sure you have your facts straight.

*Authors note: I've never been arrested, but have had more than my fair share of speeding tickets. Oops.

REALITY TV: Our favorite photography reality show is back with Part II of its San Diego Challenge! Catch Levy Moroshan and Dan Hughes go head to head (lens to lens?). Voting ends November 2nd, so take 20 minutes, watch the show and vote!



Thumbnail image for SarahA-2763.jpg
Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarah's in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs with Witless Protection around the Atlanta area and at Dad's Garage Theatre Company. When she's not tweeting/instagramming/facebooking all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.

stdfbtab.JPG
By Sarah Ackerman 

As a member of PPA, you know how important it is to educate your clients on seeing the difference between the value of a professional photographer and Uncle Bob with a camera. To help, we've created a few nifty tabs (and its corresponding content, of course) that you'll be able to install on your company's Facebook page. It's meant to help you convey why hiring a professional photographer (specifically: you!) makes all the difference in the world! 

There are a few options for these "See the Difference" Facebook tabs. There are tabs for wedding photographers, portrait photographers, senior photographers and even a general photography tab (not specialty-specific) if you fit all (or none) of those categories. 

We created this content and will update it periodically, but we can't install it for you. So how do you go about installing this bad boy Facebook tab? There are quite a few ways!

It costs a little bit of money, ($30/month for most everyone, but if you have more than a few thousand fans, prices increase) yet it is the easiest way to go about installation. What's the phrase? "You can have two of the three out of: good, cheap and fast". This is good and fast, it isn't expensive, but isn't super cheap. To make it as easy as possible without actually doing it for you, Shortstack walks you through the installation process screen shot by screen shot (them doing it for you isn't an option: consider it a learning opportunity). 

It is a cheaper version at $15 for up to 1,000 fans (or only a buck for up to 100 fans). It won't walk you through the installation process in as detailed of a way as Shortstack, but it'll be still pretty easy to get it up and running if you indeed do it step by step. If you can handle $15/month, this is a great way to get this information out on your page and in your fans' feeds. 

Sounds redundant, right? Use Facebook to put something on Facebook? We list it third because it's a wee bit complicated, but... FREE! First you'll have to sign up for an App Developers Account (pretty simple - just click here and you'll be all set). The next part is where it gets tricky - the best way is to watch some great YouTube videos. Make sure the videos are recent as Facebook has being giving the apps some facelifts as of late. Here's one that might work for you!

It might take a few minutes, but once you've installed the tab, share it on your timeline to show clients why it's important for them to see the difference hiring a professional photographer makes. If you run into any issues, contact the Facebook App hosting service directly, they are the experts in this case.

You can download the tab graphics and html code here! 
If you want to make edits to the tab graphic itself, always remember the image needs to be 111 x 74 pixels and you'll have to pack a punch in that little space.)

Here you go! These are just three ways to install the tab - if you simply Google "Facebook App Installation" you'll discover a world of options, these are just the ones we are pretty familiar with. If you find another option you enjoy, please let us know! Email Sarah at sackerman (at) ppa (dot) com.

Thumbnail image for SarahA-2763.jpg

Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarah's in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs with Witless Protection around the Atlanta area and at Dad's Garage Theatre Company. When she's not tweeting/instagramming/facebooking all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.




By Chris Homer

With Halloween coming up tomorrow, the PPA staff and I want to encourage you to get in the spirit! With that in mind, we've started a thread on theLoop where we'd love to hear some of your spookiest moments as a photographer. To get you started, here are two photography horror stories posted to the thread already that are truly Goosebumps-worthy material: 

"I had an appointment to take a family portrait at an out of town church. Nothing new there, I figured it would be the typical family reunion, anniversary, whatever. But, when I got there the whole family gathered around Grandpa Jim who was lying in his casket at his own funeral. They even propped him up so he could be seen better. WEIRD FAMILY." - David Nelson, King Photography Studio, Jamestown, ND

"While working for a local newspaper I had to cover a Native American prayer event. Just as they began to pray I raised my camera to take just one image and one of the tribe's elders looked right at me and shook his head in disagreement to me taking any images during the prayer. I took that one shot anyway (it was my job) and by the time I walked back to my car and checked the images on the camera monitor they were gone! I couldn't see them on the rearview monitor of the camera and when I got back to the newsroom I couldn't open the files. Was I spooked? You bet I was." - Paul Robinson, Paul S. Robinson Photography, Uxbridge, MA

Can you add to or maybe even top these stories? Head on over to this thread on theLoop and share your spooky photographer story! Your experience may even appear in a future PPA Today newsletter.
 
Don't forget - theLoop is the online community just for PPA photographers! Here you can share ideas and worries, and discuss sensitive topics like customer service, demanding clients and more, all without the fear of a client looking over your shoulder. Want to be part of theLoop? Join PPA today! 


ch_headshot_100x100.jpg
About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages. 
By Sarah Ackerman

October was spooky busy on theLoop! Here are some of the most popular discussions you might want to check out!

If you're interested in getting into the world of wildlife and landscape prints - this is a great first stop. You'll learn what size prints are popular and what to avoid.

Remember purchasing your first lighting kit? Or maybe you're a new photographer in the market? This is a great thread about what is a necessity and what's just nice to have. 

Have you considered offering mini sessions? Get in on this discussion on the pros and cons of offering short 15 minute theme sessions and see if it might be a good fit for your business. 

This is a great thread - what's the best way to learn how to pose? Books? Online classes? Seminars and workshops? Get the pros and cons of each here!

If you're in the market for a new computer, this is a great thread! See how much RAM you need to run Photoshop and Lightroom, along with a few other factors. 

We know that big weddings can mean big dollars, but what does that mean for small weddings? See how you can still turn a profit without emptying your client's bank account in this thread. 

Credit card processing can be a hassle and take a chunk of your profits. Who do you use? Did you know as a PPA member you have access to a discounted program with Bank of America Merchant Services? Get all of the details here. 

Imaging USA is less than 100 days away (yay!) - so who is coming? Get on this thread to find a roommate, a car pool buddy or a study partner! Connect with your fellow attendees long before we hit Opryland!

Pricing yourself into a new market is always an adventure. If you have experience with headshots, weigh in on what you think is appropriate. Charge by the hour or by the person?

Don't forget, theLoop is PPA's safe and secure online community where members can discuss various photography topics! Not a PPA member? It's easy: join today!

SarahA-2763.jpg
Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs with Witless Protection around the Atlanta area and at Dad's Garage Theatre Company. When she's not tweeting/instagramming/facebooking all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.

By Chris Homer

We're back at it again with our favorite photography blog posts from around the web! Check
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for top10blogroundup.jpg
 them out:

PHOTO COMPETITION MENTORING: PPA member Christine Walsh-Newton, M.Photog.Cr.,CPP, is back in the roundup this week with an article in Southern Exposure. This time, Christine recounts her experience mentoring new photographers at the 2014 International Photographic Competition. Christine talks about how being a mentor is not nearly as difficult as you might think, and how even doing something small to help another photographer can make a big difference. With District Photographic Competitions coming up, take a look and see if it inspires you to become a mentor!

PLAIN FUN: Our new favorite reality show is back with their next episode! Photo Throwdown pits 2 photographers against each other in a series of challenges. We find it quite entertaining! In this episode, photographer Dan Hughes and Levy Moroshon go head to head in San Diego. And check out the first episode, featuring PPA photographer (and PPAedu instructor!) Jennifer Rozenbaum, too.
 
GEAR N' STUFF: If you're in need of an IR remote for your DSLR, you'll want to read this post from PetaPixel before you go out and buy one. ShutterBOT is a free app for Android phones that turns your phone into a universal IR DSLR Remote that works with most of the DSLR cameras out there. 

INSPIRATION: Photographer and past Imaging USA instructor Benjamin Von Wong recently did a photo shoot for SmugMug where he turned the company's employees into pro athletes for inspiring photos hung around the company's gym. The results are impressive, even more so when you consider Benjamin did it all with a $20 budget and just a few lights. It just goes to show how far creativity can take you. Check out the video and get inspired! 

PORTRAIT TIPS: In this post for PhotoFocus, Scott Bourne shares his tips for creating great headshots. If you do portrait photography, you may find some best practices to utilize here! It might even inspire you to write your own tips... share them with us!

INSPIRATION: Each year, Nikon hosts the Small World Micrography Competition, where photographers submit images of things only visible under a microscope. In Focus has a collection of photos from this year's competition. If you do this type of photography, you won't want to miss these photos!
 
SHOT LIST TIPS: If you're thinking of getting into the corporate event market, check out this post from Digital Photography School. You'll find some good tips for building a shot list, as well as some advice on the types of photographs to avoid. 

PSD TUTORIAL: With the holidays rapidly approaching, chances are you're starting to get requests for family photos for Christmas cards. If you'd like to give your clients a winter backdrop, but don't have any snow, this tutorial from the Photography and Video blog can give you some advice on how to create a winter scene using Photoshop.
 
TIPS & INSPIRATION: Renowned photographer David Ziser shares five of his favorite photography techniques in this post on his Digital Pro Talk blog, complete with examples from a recent trip to Valencia, Spain. You may be inspired to grab your camera and try out these techniques yourself!

NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY: If you photograph babies, you know how stressful these sessions can be. Virtual Photography Studio provides some advice for keeping both babies and moms relaxed for the best photo session possible.

There it is! Your top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!

ch_headshot_100x100.jpg
About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages. 
Ana Brandt, newborn and maternity photographer extraordinaire, stopped by theLoop this weekbrandt_ana_ama.jpg for an AMA! Quickly becoming a fan favorite, PPA's AMA series allows photographers the chance to engage with Imaging USA speakers in conversation and literally ask them anything. Some of the topics covered in this AMA include Ana's origins in the industry, what inspires her, and how she manages to work with newborns so effectively. If you missed out on the full conversation, you can check out her full AMA on theLoop

If you missed out on the live AMA it's all good! Here are a few of our favorite highlights:

1. "Once I pass the two hour mark, newborns start another cycle of feeding, pooping and peeing, which goes on to 3 hours, etc. etc." 
2. "Growing up, my Mom used to come home with bags of things to make wreaths or other items. Time after time I would see her empty a craft bag of random things and whip out a handmade wreath or flower arrangement. Now I find myself doing the same thing." 
3. "I love to create things I can't see. All too often we get wrapped up in our own expectations. The best inspiration is to release your own expectation and let the creativity flow."

Don't forget to register for Imaging USA and stop by for Ana's class--The Art and Business of Pregnancy and Newborn Photography! Registration information for Imaging USA is available at imagingusa.org/register.

Here's your latest guest column from none other than Bridget Jackson, resident guru for all things numbers and profitability. Bridget is the manager of PPA Business (formerly known as SMS) and also a CPA. She's helped hundreds of photography studios owners be more profitable and will address some common questions each month. Heed her advice folks--this lady knows her stuff!

Do the Work...
By Bridget Jackson

Educating yourself is only half the battle. You have to actually roll up your sleeves and do the work. 

I'm not talking about taking pictures (although you have to do that too). I'm talking about coming up with the elements of a marketing plan, a sales strategy, a documented workflow and a financial management plan. 

That's right. It's not enough for you to just understand what they are. You need to have them well documented so you not only have a strategy to guide you, but so you can update those strategies based on your strengths and weaknesses. Successful studios assess what worked, what didn't work and what needs to be changed so they can continue to stay on a path to reach their goals. 
Written by guest blogger, Booray Perry, CPP

We just got a new coffee maker.

It's one of those Keurig coffee makers that are really just the best thing ever invented. I really admire the whole idea behind the new coffee makers, especially when you consider that coffee makers have been pretty much unchanged for 50 years and then someone comes along and totally turns that industry on its head. Like the way ketchup bottles were unchanged for 50 years until some genius figured out they should stand on their head so the ketchup is always ready.

Anyway, we just got a new one and it's our third one. We have to buy a new one every year or so because we have "hard water" and it eventually breaks the machine.

Now, the manual tells you that you can prevent the machine from breaking by using distilled water. We did that at first until I started "doing the math." When you subtract the cost of a year's worth of distilled water from the cost of a new machine, you end up with a savings of less than $20. Since I'm the one who usually has to buy the distilled water and carry it to the car (and carry it into the house and put the empty into the recycle bin...) I decided that $20 a year was a fair price to pay to not have to deal with the distilled water anymore. A bargain, really.

It seems excessive when you are buying a new, expensive coffee maker every year or so but it's not if you remember that you aren't buying (and carrying) jugs of distilled water every week (or skipping coffee because you forgot the water, which really increases the value of using tap water.)

This is the way my mind works. As opposed to my wife, who would have reached the same conclusion but without the math. For her, not having to carry the water is all the incentive she needs, regardless of the cost. She never asks, "How much is the valet parking?"

So, you're probably thinking, "This is all very interesting but why is it on the PPA blog, which is really about photography?"

Good question!
Thumbnail image for top10blogroundup.jpg
Check out 10 of our favorite photography articles from across the web in this week's edition of the Round Up. (Star Wars is mentioned twice, it's a special week).

INSPIRATION:  Sometimes it is what we can't see that separates us from the rest. In this article about famous French photographer Marc Riboud, we gain access to a sliver of insight into the amazing career of one of history's greatest cataloguers.

GEAR: It's okay to occasionally bust out that old SLR film camera! There is something very romantic and satisfying about shooting film. In this video the folks over at DigitalRevTV count down their picks for the five best film cameras money can buy for under $1000.

FOR FUN: Soooo this is one of the coolest things we've seen in a while. What happens when you stick a bunch of Star Wars geeks in the woods with some drones and cameras? Pod racing of course!

TUTORIAL: In this article, photographer Joe McNally talks about how he chooses what light to use on different faces. From aggressive, weather torn looks, to younger, softer faces-- this is a great one for all the portrait photographers out there.

VACATION ADVICE: Getting away from the office is often times crucial to both the success of your company and to your sanity. This article breaks down a great plan for how you can vacation without feeling guilty and without letting your business deteriorate while you're gone. 

WORKFLOW: If you're like us you use social media a lot. Like a lot, a lot. As a photographer it's become a necessity to maintain your business' presence online. So if you're as big of nerds as we are, (and we know you are) you're going to love this--you can now schedule Instagram posts with Latergramme! Check it out at the jump.

FOR FUN: Two Star Wars posts in one day! They must have put something in the coffee over here at PPA headquarters. Remember when I said that the Star Wars pod racing drones were the coolest things I'd seen in a long time? Yeah I changed my mind. THIS IS AMAZING! Thomas Dagg makes creative use of Photoshop, everyday locations, and Star Wars to amazing effect. 

WORKSHOP: Still on the fence about PPA's Super 1 Day? PPA photographer Susan Gertz wrote a brief synopsis on how awesome her experience with Christine Walsh-Newton was. Be sure to check it out!

INSPIRATION: Jenna Garrett captured her mother, who suffers from mental illness, in stark (and often brutal) detail throughout this five year photo-shoot. It's an honest and beautiful look at a relationship filled with as much love as there is volatility. 

BUSINESS: The LawTog makes another appearance this week as Rachel breaks down some of the big mistakes a lot of photographers make that are easily avoidable. Check the jump to find out how you can improve your business in just a few simple steps!

There it is! Your top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!

So you're coming to Imaging USA? Awesome! (What? You haven't registered? Click here!) It's the best decision you'll make for your business, your creative juices, and just yourself all year! We're thrilled to be taking over the Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center in Nashville and wanted to share a few tips with you before we get onsite!



Have any tips for newbies? Head over to the Imaging USA community on theLoop to share! It's also a great place to find a roommate or a study buddy!


Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Live Chat is closed