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PPA Today

By Chris Homer

As we head into the weekend, take a minute to enjoy our favorite photography blog posts
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 from around the web!

PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS TIPS: Whether you've been in the professional photography business for a while or are brand new, this post from PetaPixel provides useful business advice. In it, several photographers are interviewed about changes in the photography industry that have impacted their business and how they have adapted!

COMPOSITE PHOTOGRAPHY: With Halloween right around the corner, you may be looking for some inspiration for photos. This video from PhotoForge demonstrates how you can create some unique Halloween composites in Photoshop. 

LARGE FORMAT CAMERAS/TUTORIAL: In this video, photographer Irene Rudnyk demonstrates how she set up a portrait shoot using large format cameras. If you're interested in using this type of camera, check it out! You'll pick up some good tips to get you ready. 

PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNOLOGY: This Fstoppers post poses the question, with all the advances in camera technology, is it still you taking the picture or are you just carrying around a computer that takes the picture for you? Take a look and see what you think of the points made in the post. 

DRONE PHOTOGRAPHY: A drone recently struck a passenger plane in Canada, while the owner was flying illegally in a no-fly zone. Read the news on PetaPixel. This is just another reminder of the importance of understanding and following all regulations when using a drone for photography! Check out PPA's Drone Knowledge Center to learn more about flying your drone safely and legally. 
by Sidra Safri

PPA's second day on Capitol Hill has come to an end. This was our first trip up to D.C since the introduction of the small-claims bill, H.R 3945; it couldn't have gone any better. 

During the second half of the day we met with Representative Ted Lieu's office (D-CA). This was our opportunity to thank him for co-signing on to H.R 3945! Representative Lieu's office assured us that they would continue to support small creators and small claims as long as they can. 

Representative Lieu's office highlighted the importance to push for more co-sponsors. We sincerely thank Representative Lieu for supporting photographers and will continue to work with them to rally additional co-sponsors and provide any support we can. 

After Representative Lieu's office, we visited Representative Pramila Jayapal's (D-WA) office. We have met with Representative Jayapal's office a few times before, but felt it was important to visit again. During this opportunity, we updated the office on H.R. 3945, and highlighted once again why a copyright small claims bill is so important. We were happy to hear that her office is actively tracking the bill and is versed in the area of small claims. We hope with additional research and additional meetings we will be able to add Representative Jayapal to the list of co-sponsors. 

This wraps up our second day in D.C we are headed to the airport back to Atlanta. One sure thing that came from this trip... we need to send letters and get small claims on the radars of all representatives! So keep sending your letters and making your calls at!

By Bethany Clark

Imaging USA 2018 is only 84 days away! (Time is flying!) Be sure to download the new Imaging USA mobile app today (it's free!) so you can start building your own program and be more prepared for all the good stuff coming your way in Nashville. It's the best way to be connected with all the latest news and updates while you're there! 

With the Imaging USA app, you'll be able to:

  • View and favorite all the details on classes, sessions, speakers, special events and even the exhibitors at the Imaging Expo
  • Build your own schedule by simply adding the sessions or events you want to your agenda
  • Message and arrange private meetings with other attendees (even if you have all their contact info: the app will connect you!)
  • See what other attendees are saying on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (and add to the conversation!)
  • Give feedback and help make this a better conference by taking the in-app session surveys after each class
  • Use the maps to find your way around the convention center and throughout the Imaging Expo
  • And more!

If you're going to Imaging USA, this app will be your best friend during the convention. It's available now for iPhone, Android, and iPad devices and there's also a web version for those of you that don't own an Apple or Android phone or tablet. 

Find all the information on how to download for your device here. And stay tuned to PPA's blog or Imaging USA's Facebook page for videos demonstrating how to use the different features of the app.
Of course, if you haven't registered for Imaging USA yet, do it today! Find all the different options on the registration page.

See you in Nashville!  

Greetings from Washington D.C.! 

We started the day with two great meetings! Our first meeting was with Karen Bass's office(CA-D). It's been some time since we met with her office and wanted to take the time to bring them up to speed and see how much they knew about H.R. 3945. We were extremely happy to touch base and appreciate how supportive Representative Bass is of small businesses. We are optimistic and we hope that Representative Bass will go on to support small claims. 

After Representative Bass, we met with Representative Martha Roby of Alabama (R). We first met with Roby when she was appointed to the IP subcommittee. This committee looks at intellectual-propriety-related bills, such as copyright, and makes the determination on if the bill will go further. Since H.R. 3945 was just introduced, the office is still getting familiar with it and will eventually make a determination on the bill. We hope Representative Roby will join us in supporting small claim and go on to co-sponsor the bill. 

We are off to lunch with the CEO of the Copyright Alliance to talk about small claims and then we've got more great meetings! 

Stay tuned and don't forget to send letters at

If you are a professional photographer, you are a business owner, and as such you need to protect your work, and also ensure your clients are getting what they need. Here are 10 'need to know' guidelines to think about specifically for contracts between a client and a professional photographer. 

1. Have One! Always Sign a Contract!


The first rule of thumb for protecting your work is, have a contract, and have it signed.  You may think that you don't have to worry about contracts--that stating everything clearly and upfront is enough. Unfortunately, that's  never enough. People will forget what you say, and some people can even be unscrupulous when it comes to things like this. You need to protect yourself and your work. The best way is to get it all down in writing. This might seem like a daunting task, but don't worry! There are many options as to contract templates for any type of event or situation, you just need to choose the one that best works for you.

Professional Photographers of America provides lots of useful contract and model release templates for free! Consider joining today for a lot more resources that will help you be more protected and more profitable. 

2. Keep Your Contract Simple and Clear!

If you can't find a template that has everything you need on it, or you're just not satisfied with the wording, you can always edit them or create your own. If you create your own, it's always good practice to have a licensed attorney take a look, especially since laws differ from state to state. When you do this, make things as simple and clear as you can. It can seem a bit intimidating, but it doesn't need to be. Start by making a list of everything you need to include, like pricing, timeframes, revisions, and payment methods. You can add other things depending on the situation or event, just cover all the pertinent information, and make sure that both you and your client are covered. The best contracts cover all the bases clearly so that the artist and the client both feel comfortable with signing it.

3. Make it Easy to Read

Your contract doesn't need to be a convoluted mess of big words and phrases. You shouldn't need to include a dictionary when you present it to prospective clients. Don't get too wordy with legal jargon, and make sure that the people signing it understand exactly what you are proposing for the potential job. It's always a good idea to be mindful of the fact that if you aren't a lawyer, and you can read it and understand what it's saying, then the client probably can, too. Still, make sure they know it's okay to clarify things if they need to. Just make it easy for them to ask you.

4. Make it Yours - Adapt the Language to Your Services 

Your work is unique and stands out; that's why you are marketable. Your contracts should be as uniquely yours as your work is. There are several ways to make a contract "yours." Here are a few:

  • Create a unique letterhead
  • Include your pricing, payment options and timeframes
  • Make your own schedule and timeline based on your work habits
  • Create different contracts based on events or client needs
All of these things, when added in, will help make the contract unique to you and your client's requirements.

5. Document Changes (Make Sure You Have a Paper/Email Trail)

No matter how thorough you are about writing your contract, there will be times when the unexpected happens. Life, nature, and even equipment can all be a factor in things changing at a moment's notice. When these things affect you to the point that changes need to be made in the contract, things can get tricky. But you can still keep everything under control if you just document every change that has been made. Changes that should be well documented include:

  • Changes in deadlines
  • Pay schedules
  • Any modifications made to the original contract
Avoid unnecessary stress by keeping things organized from the start. For example, there are times when changes have to be made and agreed upon via email. When this happens, keep all emails relating to revisions in a unique, label each client's folder clearly so they can be accessed easily, and not accidently deleted. If possible, also have your client sign off on changes (electronic signatures will suffice).

6. Discuss Payment/Pricing and Terms of Your Services

Pricing and payment can be a difficult subject, especially if you haven't clearly defined your brand's worth, but it is one of the most important parts of the con It can't be overlooked, or glossed over. Pricing and payment terms need to be laid out clearly. Once you have decided how much your work and particular brand is worth, you need to cover how you will get paid in the contract. It can be broken down so you get a percentage of the payment up front, and some full payment after all work is completed, or in steps throughout the process. It's up to you, but make sure it is stated clearly. Some things to consider when covering pricing are:

  • How much is to be paid
  • When it is to be paid (include the terms and payment over time options, if applicable)
  • How payment will be accepted
  • If there is a grace period on any payment due date
  • Consider if money paid upfront is a retainer or a deposit (varies by state, most are retainer)

7. Have a Model Release


Often times, photographers work with models. This adds an entirely different element to the process. Whenever you are photographing a live subject, have them sign a release. If you don't, it may come back and bite you in the end. People can be very particular about having their images or likeness spread around. But if you have a model release clearly stating that you own the copyright for your work, also include purposes the image may be used for (marketing/social media/competitions, etc.). Phrases like "including, but not limited to" also help, within reason.

For customizable model releases and access to plenty of copyright resources, consider becoming a member of Professional Photographers of America (PPA).

8. Copyright and Release

When covering copyright and licensing laws it can be confusing, and a little tricky to navigate. This is where it would be prudent for you to do some research. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you want to be able to do with your art, and what you will allow others to do with it. It's important to establish that you own the copyright for your work, and that you decide how it will be shared. There are many resources published by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) where copyright laws are covered. Knowing and understanding the laws will ensure that you and your work are covered as well. A quick visit to PPA's copyright resources can be helpful (and free!), but when it doubt, it's always prudent to check with a local copyright attorney for a contract review. 

9. Get. Your. Contract. Signed!

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We cannot emphasize enough how pointless it is to have a contract if it is not signed. Until you have signatures from your clients showing they agree to the terms and conditions, your contract is just a piece of paper. A signature from your client shows you are hired, and a signature from you commits you to the job, and confirms that you are the righteous copyright owner. So... GET. IT. SIGNED!

10. Jointly Review the Contract, and Update It as Needed

As a final step, make sure you review all the important details of the contract with your clients, and update anything that needs to be updated. Make sure that all the bases are covered to avoid any conflicts or confusion later. For any updates that need to be made, refer back to point number 5, document them, and keep those updates well organized and accessible.

Having a contract does not just protect you and your work. It is every bit as important to your clients, making them feel that their investments are well protected. Your clients should be just as happy and comfortable with the arrangements as you are. Keep these 10 guidelines in mind to keep happy clients, while protecting yourself and your work as well.

Looking for a contract or model release template? PPA has created the basics to start you off. Give it a try! Interested in finding out about all the other benefits that PPA has to offer its members? Check out the photographers' bullet list of benefits, perks, and savings that come with being a part of Professional Photographers of America, and then consider joining today!

by Sidra Safri
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This was a great first day on Capitol Hill, with three very productive meetings!

We started our day in Representative Brad Schneider's office (D-IL).  We have met with his office before, but wanted to take the time to update them about H.R. 3924's (the small-claims bill) introduction and how important it would be for many photographers, not only in his state but also in his district. Representative Schneider was very open to the idea of Small Claims and wanted to take some time to look further into the bill. He's going to stay in contact with us. We hope that Representative Schneider will join us in supporting Small Claims and the fight for artists' rights! 

After meeting with Representative Schneider, we made our way to Representative Ted Poe's office (R-TX). During this meeting, we took the time to bring them up to speed on how H.R 3945 will be a great asset for many small businesses in his district, especially photographers. Representative Poe's office stated that he would love to see some movement in general on legislation that would help small-business owners and will continue to look into H.R 3945.  

After meeting with Representative Poe's office, we made our way to a small-claims ally, Georgia's Representative Doug Collins (R-GA). During this meeting, we took the time to thank Representative Collins for signing on to H.R. 3945 as a co-sponsor and always being on the front line, advocating for small creators and demanding artist's rights! His office also went on to say that it is more important than ever before to make sure we have members contacting their representative and sharing why Small Claims is so important to them! 

PPA is very happy with the meetings today and we look forward to even more productive meetings tomorrow, when we are meeting with Representatives from California, Alabama, and Washington, to not only thank them but also encourage them to sign on as co-sponsors. 

In the meantime, continue to contact your representative! Send letters, make phone calls, and share with everyone you know! Visit and demand artists' rights!


Imaging USA is THE place to kick off a successful new year with 10,000 of your best friends as you party like rock stars alongside fellow photographers. Make new connections, rekindle old friendships and don't forget to bring your camera! 

Saturday, January 13, 8-10pm
Governor's Ballroom C, Level 2
Please join us to celebrate PPA Charities 20th Anniversary at the Roaring 20s Casino Night!
VIP & Awards Reception from 6:30-8pm ($100/person)
General Admission 8-10pm ($25/person)
Advanced tickets available at and at the door.

Imaging USA Welcome Party
Sponsored by Canon
Sunday, 8 - 11pm
Delta Ballroom A, Level 2
Kick things off in style with your photography friends. Eat, drink & make Music City memories with your fellow Imaging USA-ers. Just remember to bring or wear your full convention badge so you can get in! Those with EXPO ONLY badges or who are guests of attendees may purchase tickets to the parties at Imaging USA Registration or at the door. Oh, and bring your camera for unique photo ops!

Tuesday, Jan. 16, 7-10pm
Delta Atrium 
The perfect cap to your Imaging USA experience! Music, dancing, delicious food and drinks...and don't forget those business cards so you and your new friends can stay in touch!

These are just some of the fun times that await you at Imaging USA 2018! Registration is open now so take advantage of the Early Bird rates for passes and your hotel!

By Chris Homer

In-Person sales can be a huge boost to your photography business if done correctly,
 especially when you're aware of the most common pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Check out "3 In-Person Sales Mistakes You Don't Have to Make" on to learn some common mistakes photographers make when doing in-person sales. 

ch_headshot_100x100.jpgAbout 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 Mayo Lawal

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When was the last time you were on theLoop? If you are trying to remember, you should probably head over to see what everyone's buzzing about.

As an exclusive PPA member-only forum, theLoop is a great place for photographers to connect with each other, share information/advice, get image feedback, and overall - a place to go if you need help. This is one of the many great reasons to join PPA today!

Lots of great discussions have been happening, so here are a few of the top posts from the first half of October.

Watermark Complaint

This Looper wants to know if there's anything wrong with putting your logo or watermark on a purchased image. Apparently, a customer expressed his displeasure with the photographer's logo being on the images he paid for.  Even if you don't have an opinion on this, you have got to check out the interesting and insightful feedback from fellow photographers so far!

Finding Headshot Clients

Who would you contact to find out if a company needs headshots of their staff? This Looper is asking if the Human Resources or PR departments are appropriate contacts for this cause. What do you think?

The Trick No One Tells You to Get Through Airport Security with Your Gear - Fast!

If you are thinking of travelling with your gear anytime soon, this Looper has some tips for you based on personal experience - and coming from someone who flew over 50 hours through 8 airports in 6 countries on 3 different continents, you may not want to ignore this one!

Website Company

This Looper wants to change their website, but isn't sure what website company to go with. Do you know any? If not, you can certainly find some in the responses given so far.

Celebrity Protocol

Have you photographed a celebrity before? If so, this Looper is wondering if accepting a "trade" to use her images,with due credit, on their website and social media with thousands of followers, instead of payment is a great idea. Is it?

And there you have 'em, the top posts from theLoop! Check them out, provide some feedback, and perhaps even learn something new! Be sure to visit theLoop frequently as new discussions are posted daily.

by Steve Furlong 

For me, Imaging 2017 was equal parts intensive introduction to an exciting new area of photography, a fabulous refresher on a wide variety of established photographic techniques and a very satisfying coalescence of my passions and the continuing themes in my life. To provide a little background, I've spent most of my career as a basic research scientist in the life sciences. However, I knew I wanted to be a scientist on the day a junior high school science teacher introduced my class to developing film in the darkroom. I will never forget watching as that first image magically appeared in the developing bath! As I progressed through my undergraduate and graduate degrees in the life sciences, I always found ways to include my passion for photography. Sometimes I used photography to document research projects. Other times I explored photographic techniques through the microscope. In a few cases, I was even lucky enough to get cover images published along with our publications in scientific journals. (pictured, Harrier Jet Demonstration at Airventure 2015 in Oskkosh, WI)

Fast forward many years (I won't tell you how many), I found myself working in R&D for a pharmaceutical company. By this time, I was mainly sitting in meetings all day and knew that I needed other avenues to explore my creative side. The advent of digital photography provided the perfect outlet and I dove in with both feet. One of my favorite topics as I worked on my digital photography skills was airshow photography. My adult children claim to have been traumatized by the many times I dragged them along to airshows with me! Since I was a child, I was always fascinated with airplanes and doing airshow photography seemed like about the most fun thing I could imagine - until I was offered a training opportunity to become a pilot myself. I took it!          

Here's where it comes back to Imaging 2017. In 2014, I left the pharmaceutical industry and in 2016 we moved from Wilmington, Delaware back to my wife's childhood home on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. "The Cape" is a fabulous place to do landscape photography and I've done some of that. However, I wanted to again combine my passions and scientific training, so I contacted a local non-profit that works on whale conservation. My offer to them was to help with aerial surveys and photography. To my surprise, they were more interested in me helping them set up a drone program than with anything I could do for them in an airplane.

After purchasing a drone in December, 2016 and becoming FAA certified to fly it, I still had many questions about how best to use this new "camera platform" so I was thrilled to learn about the "Drone Zone" track at Imaging 2017 in San Antonio. I can't say enough about how useful I found the drone presentations. In addition to seeing stunning images produced with this relatively new type of aerial photography, the information provided by the presenters has helped immeasurably as we set up the drone program for this non-profit organization. Almost a year after the San Antonio meeting I am still in touch with some of the presenters to get their suggestions. Incredibly helpful!

(pictured, left, Image of Humpback whales feeding off the coast  of Cape Cod, October 2017. In this feeding behavior whales create a net from bubbles that corrals the baitfish. The image was captured with a Phantom 4 Pro drone.) 
Beyond the drone presentations, the bonus for me at Imaging 2017 was the opportunity to hear so many great presentations on more traditional types of photography and (to my wife's consternation) to be able to add to my photography wish list based on what I saw at the exhibits. I can honestly say that my learning from the San Antonio meeting didn't end there but has really carried throughout the year. Access to Photovision and the other great learning tools online through PPA, which I learned about at the meeting, are particularly valuable.  In short, we are already making our plans to attend Imaging 2018. See you all in Nashville!


Steve Furlong is a scientist, pilot & photographer and lives on Cape Cod. 


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