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PPA Today

by Sidra Safri 

Drone_Alert_StateBill9.pngOn February 8th, the West Virginia Senate introduced a "Drone Bill" that effectively makes it difficult for photographers to continue to use drones for aerial photography. 

Senate Bill 9 contains two harmful provisions. As it currently stands, the legislation states:

  1. If you are operating a drone within 100 feet of a structure, you must have prior consent of all owners or occupants of any pictured structures. 
  2. In order to intentionally take a photograph of another person, you must have prior permission. This also applies to large group photographs taken at weddings, fairs, etc. 

Both provisions make it extremely difficult for commercial/real estate, wedding and event photographers, making it not only impossible, but impractical, to get consent from all owners or people pictured. 

Further, these provisions are so overreaching and do not consider the actual unintended effects on consumers. Photographers will not be able to fulfill consumer expectations due to the limitations placed on them from this arbitrary law.

This bill has already passed the Senate and is currently be reviewed by the House Judiciary Committee, with it possibly going to a vote in the next few days.

West Virginia PPA members and those who care about visual artists and small business rights need to take action now! 

Reach out to your representative here and tell them that Senate Bill 9 is unfair to Drone Photographers! We've already done all the work for you. Reach out to your representative here and tell them Senate Bill 9 is unfair to photographers!*** West Virginia ONLY, please!

Everyone else, take note: This could be the first step in several states attempting to adopt similar legislation. PPA and your Grassroots Action Team will keep you informed so we can all stand together and fight this impediment to your small business. 

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by James Yates

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Becoming a CPP is a big step in your development as a professional photographer, as it gives you an advertising edge, pricing justification and peer validation. PPA recently received an email from Chris Paulis, M.Photog.,Cr., MDPPA-F.Ph, CPP from Chris Paulis Photography in Ellicott City, Maryland. Chris is a CPP Liaison, getting people involved in certification through the Maryland PPA. 

Chris writes:

"From what I can tell, with the latest two [CPP candidates] passing their image submission, Maryland PPA now has 31 active members who are CPPs, of about 100 total; and we have 8-10 who are candidates (five of whom took and passed the exam I proctored two weeks ago). As you know, we've worked very hard on promoting CPP among our membership, and it's finally feeling like there is a feeling among us that if you are a professional, then you should become certified. It's not a pressure from above, but a ground-swell from within."

Chris (pictured above with MDPPA Board Chair Lidia Miller; photo by Steve Clark) has made a career out of being a resource and mentor to others. He was surprised at this year's annual MDPPA banquet when he was presented with the Ron Coss Memorial Award, given by the Board to members who have made significant contributions to the profession and to MDPPA. 

Congratulations, Chris! And a big congratulations also to all the Maryland CPPS and those on their way to becoming one. PPA thanks you for helping to elevate the craft of photography in your community.

YOU can get involved in your local affiliate and get prepared to earn your CPP. Learn more at PPA.com/CPP 

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by Sidra Safri 
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Do you ever wonder if your client fully understands their contract--especially the portions dealing with copyright or the usage rights? Some clients are so focused on the end product they completely forget that they may have to ask permission to use their new images for something other than personal use.
 
PPA has a small fix for that. Included in your membership kit (and renewal kit) is a stack of copyright inserts. These inserts can be stapled to your contract or be included in all the materials you provide to your client. The copyright inserts explain copyright law in a nutshell, and urge the clients to ask you, the photographer, for any additional information. Sometimes a gentle reminder or simple education can go a long way. 

These copyright inserts can be downloaded and printed anytime you need them here. 

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by Sidra Safri
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For a long time, wanting to take photos on train tracks has been extremely popular. What better way to celebrate a milestone and show that you are "heading somewhere in life" while getting some phenomenal shots? As great as this sounds, PPA has news for you: TAKING IMAGES ON TRAIN TRACKS IS TRESPASSING, THEREFORE IT'S ILLEGAL! 

Recently, this has become such a big deal that Union Pacific (second largest railroad company in the U.S) will seek removal of any photos that violate this policy

This may sound unnecessary, but safety is a huge concern around train tracks. While taking pictures on tracks, it is extremely easy to get stuck, not see or hear the train coming, or simply step in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Many people have heard about the recent story out of Navasota, Texas about a young athlete, mother-to-be, and aspiring model. Her death could have been easily prevented. 

As photographers, it is our duty to inform our clients about what can or cannot be done. If a client is adamant about taking photos on train tracks, many states have train museums or "false" tracks that allow you to do so. 

Keep in mind: SAFETY should always be the number one priority!

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By Autumn Rice
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Spring is in the air, and so is the chill of winter... BRRR, it's cold in a lot of places right now! Until the temperatures rise and you're able to head out for some springtime fun, snuggle up with some of the most informative and interesting blog posts in the photography industry this week!

EQUIPMENT HELP: When your photography equipment is clean and well-kept it can make your sessions run much smoother, but if not, it could be a disaster. Don't let dirt and grime rear its ugly head during your shoot! Check out this step-by-step, how-to video on cleaning your tripod. Some of these methods can also be applied to some of your other equipment! 

PERSPECTIVE: Changing your perspective can change your photography, leading to more creative and challenging shoots. Light Stalking has an article up with four reasons you should try taking low-angle photos. The article features examples and may just help you stretch yourself in a direction you haven't thought of before.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: More than likely, your website is your initial consultation...the first thing your potential client sees. But if you're using flash or aren't mobile-responsive, you're rapidly being left in the dark ages. FStoppers has "Eight Reasons Why Your Photography Website Sucks". From grammar to design, there's a lot to make sure you're doing right. 

OLD BECOMES NEW: The progression of technology has made today's photography universal, instant and easily accessible, but the resurgence of Tintype counters this trend. Tintype photography takes much more time, involves chemicals and metals, and a little chemistry. Read this article about the rebirth of these vintage photographs, and see if it's right for you!

COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY:  Photographers have always documented the evolution of fashion for magazines and billboards, and as fashion changes so should photography. Watch this up to date video with Clay Cook about shooting fashion and editorial portrait photography that fits today's landscape.

COLOR CORRECTION: When shooting close-up portraits on clients it's easy to see imperfections in their skin. As a professional, you must correct these issues before presenting the photographs to the clients. Go through some of the steps and corrections notated in this post to see if you've missed anything in your editing session!

ADD TO YOUR WATCH LIST: Wedding season is approaching and for wedding photographers that means business will be booming! To put your best foot forward and giver your clients the best finished product, brush up on your photography skills with a few of the newest wedding and engagement inspiration videos from PhotoVision!

CYA & WORKFLOW: Many photographers have questions about the best way to back up their photos. The problem is, they seek this information after they've run into trouble. They either thought their plan was good enough, or they didn't have one at all. Get ahead of the pack and figure out an accident-proof backup strategy for your photos with tips from this article! 

ONLINE MARKETING: As a professional photographer you must focus on more than just your craft; there's a business aspect too and SEO plays a big part in that. Some photographers don't know what SEO is, or how to optimize it. Here's an article about how to optimize and interpret SEO for photographers!

There you have 'em, our weekly blog post roundup! What photography blogs or podcasts do YOU follow? Post your favorites on theLoop or email them to us at OnlineContentCommittee @ PPA.com.

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By James Yates
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The Business Challenge provides photography business owners with the information and tools they need to develop the foundation for a more profitable business over the course of one year. Not only do they receive the tools required to make changes to their business, but also step-by-step instruction and support from PPA mentors as they implement these changes.

The next Business Challenge starts April 1st and you don't want to miss it! Be sure to sign up for your year of fun, interactive inspiration for you to integrate as much business acumen as you can in one year's time. 

The first assignment is all about defining YOUR idea of success.  It's vital that photographers begin creating a road map that will take them where they want to go so they don't end up somewhere else completely. This was one challenger's answer - one of many great ones--from Lindsay Syme, owner of Lindsay Syme Photography in Spring Creek NV. She also just so happens to be the winner of the 2017 Dream Studio Giveaway at Imaging USA (see photo)! 

"Success is that fabulous thing you achieve when you set a goal and do the work it takes to reach that goal.

My Business Goals:  

• I want to contribute financially for my family: This starts with pricing for profit and having solid business foundations. I need to get over myself and see my worth. I see it in others but fail to see it in myself. I am making progress but still have much to do!

• I want to be 100% present in everything I do: I need to focus all of my attention on whatever it is that I am working on because I tend to be distracted, lack focus, or procrastinate.

• I want to give back to the community and others: Being able to give to others feels so dang good. There are so many areas in our community that I could make a difference. Having the financial means would be awesome as well as the time to volunteer. Again, goes back to pricing for profit so I can have the money and time.

• I want to educate and share with others: I know how grateful I am when others share their time and talent. I want to give back to my photography community. Teaching runs through my veins so I look forward to the day that I can contribute.

• I want to strive to be better and improve my craft: My last step to earning my CPP is the image submission. My eyes have been opened to a whole new perspective! I always want to be better and push for the next step, whatever that might be.

• I want to show others how valuable they are: It amazes me how many times I get put off as a customer by various businesses and business owners. I find it shocking! I want people to feel important. I want people to feel special. I want them to feel communicated to and valuable. I want to go above and beyond so others know how important they are. I feel like achieving these goals will result in success!"

It's going to be an exciting year for Lindsay and her fellow Challengers..including, hopefully, you! We'll check back in with Lindsay and see how things have progressed. YOU should sign up now for April 1st's Business Challenge group. Consider it next, big step toward success for your business


By Bethany Clark

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Mistakes in drone safety could result in destroyed equipment, injuries, fines, and possibly even jail time. The BBC reported on the case of Paul Skinner, the 38-year-old owner of an aerial photography business in Washington state. Skinner was recently found guilty in Seattle Municipal Court of reckless endangerment and handed a $500 fine, plus 30 days in jail, after an incident during Seattle's Pride Parade in 2015.

Skinner's drone flew into a building, then dropped onto a crowd of people below, knocking a woman unconscious and leaving her with a concussion, reports the Seattle Times. A man also suffered minor bruises. 

This is believed to be the first time a drone pilot has been given a jail sentence. Read more of this story on the BBC's website and remember to keep public safely paramount when operating your drone! 

To be sure you're following best drone practices, head to PPA.com/Drones and read up on all the rules, get registered, and learn about adding drone coverage to your PhotoCare and General Liability insurance... all designed to keep you informed, empowered, and protected! 

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By Sidra Safri 
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Photographers BEWARE! Google's new imaging software, RAISR,  is every photographer's worst nightmare. RAISR stands for "Rapid and Accurate Image Super Resolution". This software, like many others on the market, is able to take a low-quality image and turn it into a larger, and slightly better, image.

RAISR poses a bigger threat because this software is able to improve the image to make it look almost identical to the original! Even more worrisome is that this software is able to do this 10 to 100 times faster than most, and also works on mobile devices. With access to higher quality images on all devices, the door is now open for even more infringement opportunities without any remedy for photographers, perpetuating the unfair copyright-infringement cycle! As software continues to advance, it has become more important than ever to have a copyright-infringement remedy available for photographers and creative artists. 

With the passage of Small Claims legislation in the (relatively near) future, photographers will have the ability to prevent infringers from stealing their work. In order to make this a reality we need your support! Sign your name to the Grassroots Action Team at ppa.com/grassroots. We're trying to get 30,000+ names to show Congress how important this issue is for our members and their communities. For more information about small claims please visit ppa.com/advocacy or contact the Government Affairs Manager at ssafri@ppa.com.  

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By Tristin Vaccaro

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Having to justify your prices to clients is always nerve wracking, but why should it be? You work tirelessly to ensure quality service and you already know your worth, so don't be afraid to help others see the value in what you do as well! Yes, it's unfortunate that you should have to justify yourself in the first place, but when the inevitable conversation comes up, remind clients of these very valid reasons for your pricing structure. 

1. The Quality of Your Work: Your photos speak for themselves, and the quality of your photos should be the number one factor clients consider before even thinking about price. Your portfolio is the purest reflection of you and how you, specifically, capture people's fondest memories. This is really your chance to show off and explain to clients what you can do for them. Showing clients your previous works and describing their quality should be your go-to example of the value you bring to the table.  

2. Testimonials: Word of mouth and customer referrals can play a huge role when validating your pricing to a potential client. If every one of your customers enjoys working with you and loves the photos you've provided, why not brag about it? Consider adding a "Testimonials" page to your website or ask satisfied clients to leave a five-star review on your Facebook page.

3. Education: There's nothing wrong with being a self-taught photographer, but there is something to be said for an individual who continues their education in the photography industry. Whether you have a Bachelor's degree in photography or participated in PPA's Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) program, higher photography education shows clients your dedication to the craft. Let your clients know about your photography background and how those experiences have made you a better photographer. 

4. Personal Investments: Those questioning your pricing probably don't think about all the investments you've made yourself. The expensive camera equipment, editing software, and gas to and from locations probably cost you a pretty penny. Not to mention all the time you've spent researching the client, replying to inquiries, creating the images, and meticulously editing the final photographs. Your time and money are valuable too, which may help you explain just some of the costs of doing business. 

5. Differentiate Yourself:  It's easier to justify your prices if you can explain why, exactly, you're different from your competitors. Perhaps it's a fresh perspective or your use of exclusive equipment that other competitors simply don't have. Whatever it may be, find out what makes you different from others and effectively communicate this with your clients

6. Final Products: It's a basic economic fact that people will pay more for something that looks expensive. If you have nicely matted, high-quality prints or beautifully bound albums to physically show potential clients, the products will speak highly for themselves. Also, consider taking a second look at your website and ask yourself if there is anything you could do to make it more professional, elegant, clean, etc. The quality of the little details in all aspects of your business could make the largest difference. 

7. Confidence: All of the above methods to justify your pricing don't really mean anything if you don't believe in your pricing in the first place. You know that you are worth the money because of your skills, dedication, and personal investments. The key here is getting others to see your worth. Communicate your value effectively, politely, and with confidence. Never settle for less than you are worth just because someone wasn't able to see your value. Not everyone is your "ideal" client and it's ok that price turns some people away.  YOU ARE WORTH IT! 

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By Autumn Rice

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Interested in formulating an infant photography business that keeps your customers coming back? Register for today's webinar with Olivia Grey Prichard where she tells you all about cultivating repeat clients with a successful "baby's first year" plan.

During this webinar you'll learn what ages/stages to shoot, how to shoot them, and when to incorporate family members. You'll also develop methods for communicating and setting expectations with clients. Finally, you'll set your sales goals and learn what products to sell, all setting yourself up to be more profitable!

This webinar has it all, and you don't want to miss it. Click here to register and don't forget to tune in at 2 pm ET, today!



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