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PPA Today: April 2008 Archives

April 2008 Archives

To stay in business, you need customers. Too often, though, people focus only on bringing in the new customer—marketing and communicating to those with whom they’ve never done business. While that’s essential, it is equally important to retain existing clients.

Acquisition of a new customer can cost you up to five times more than keeping your existing ones happy and coming back. Granted, if you’re in wedding photography, you might not have a returning customer…but a referral has much more weight than any number of full-page ads.

The U.S. Copyright Office is once again encouraging creators to become beta testers to avoid long delays in recieving a registration certificate.  The Copyright Office has indicated that it may take up to 8 months to process and send certificates to registrants submitting registration and deposit materials in paper format.  In addition to a speedier turn around, beta testers also save $10 off the standard registration fee.

Despite any delays, remember that your registration takes effect once your application, deposit and payment have been recieved and deemed complete by the office.  For more information on the e-Copyright Office beta test or updates on the processing of paper registrations, visit the U.S. Copyright Office website.

SMS teaches great photographers how to be successful businesspeople

3-day Business  Workshop
with Carol Andrews, Ann Monteith and Sarah Petty
June 9-11, 2008
Atlanta, Georgia

Put your studio on the road to increased profitability. Receive practical, down-to-earth instruction on essential elements for business success in both a group setting and in one-on-one consultations. This workshop is designed for studios with an annual gross income of 50k or more.

SMS Basic Training: The Business of Photography
July 19-20, 2008
PPA Headquarters, Atlanta, Georgia

This course addresses the marketing and management fundamentals that are central to operating a financially successful professional photography business. Topics include:

  • Financial and legal requirements for starting a photography business
  • Building a business image
  • Understanding the “marketing mix”
  • Pricing for profitability
  • Creating a selling plan
  • Understanding managerial accounting
  • Developing a workflow plan, and more

For complete details on these SMS seminars, visit

Certification Image Review


The deadline for the next Certified Professional Photographer image review is May 9, 2008.  Prints, as well as uploaded images (preferred), will be accepted for this review.  Please visit for complete information and forms.

PPA member-only offer

PPA and Bridal Guide magazine’s All-Inclusive Print & Internet Listing Program was a huge success in 2007, giving PPA photographers the opportunity to list their company in a national magazine and on the internet for 6 months at value-driven prices (less than $50 a month)! The program is back for 2008—Don't  miss out—deadline April 30! Download and complete the contract and start reaching engaged couples today. PPA members can login here for complete information.

Participate in the online seminar on Monday, April 21

Presented by Ryan and Carrie Phillips; Jeff and Carolle Dachowski; Todd and Jaime Reichman; and Jeff and Allison Rodgers; moderated by Scott Kurkian
12:00pm-1:30pm EST
$49 PPA members/ $249 non-members
Register online or call 800-786-6277

Hear firsthand how these successful photographers turned their businesses into incredible profit centers in 2007. From doubling sales to tripling net profits and reclaiming lost personal lives, these studios each have tremendous success stories to share. Listen for ideas and strategies on how to take your business to the next level of financial success!

Upcoming Webinars:

  • May 8: The Portrait Sales Presentation
    with Ron Nichols
  • May 19: A Baby Plan: How to Turn Diapers into Dollars
    with Frank Donnino

Super Monday: Instructors needed


Volunteer to share your knowledge at one of PPA's most successful education initiatives. Proceeds from Super Monday support PPA's education programs, and instructors earn two speaking merits toward a PPA degree. Complete the application form by May 2, 2008 for inclusion in the October 27, 2008  Super Monday Program. Get complete details on

Maximize your Benefits


The price of gas is up, the news is filled with gloomy economics, and consumers are holding tight to their wallets. No, it isn’t time to panic, but it might be time to hunker down—to dig in and ride out the storm.

When money gets tight, it is important to examine your expenses, keeping them as low as possible without hurting your ability to attract business. One way to help is by maximizing your use of PPA benefits.

Consider the following:

  • Take credit card payments (at a low cost) – Your clients are likely trying to spread out expenses. So offering them the opportunity to pay on a credit card is valuable to your business (they can even gain reward points with many cards). At the same time, you need to do this at the lowest possible expense. How does 1.55% and only 20 cents per transaction sound to you? As a member, you can get this competitive rate for processing payments through Midwest Transaction Group. 
  • Get insurance – Working without insurance on your equipment and your business (general business liability coverage) is like a trapeze artist working without a net. We work hard to make sure you have a good net available at a low cost. It just makes good sense to compare the insurance plans available to members only.
  • Access the Allied Business Network discount programs – Because you made a smart decision in joining PPA, you can use these various discounts. From car rental discounts to promotional items, you can keep your necessary expenses low.
  • Take advantage of your huge educational discount for our new webinars (online seminars) – All you need is a computer with Internet connection, and you have a first-row seat to excellent business education. The next upcoming webinar is April 21, on 2007 Financial Success Stories. Listen and learn how photographers like you turned their businesses into profit centers.

Ok, these benefits sound good. But you may ask yourself, “Do member discounts really work?”  Here is what Debra Gaines of Edgartown, Mass. recently told us:      

“My local quote for liability insurance was over $1,000, but I was able to secure a policy through PPA for $250.  I kid you not. And their freight account via Roadway has already saved me over $1,000 in freight costs. The dues are so minimal for the benefits!”

What you can save on specific items will vary based on geography and your particular situation. But with the long list of discount programs, you can find ways to keep your expenses as low as possible.

You owe to yourself and your business to maximize your benefits, and it is easy to check them out: Visit the Members Only area at (use your last name and PPA ID number to gain access). Then click the Benefits of Membership tab on the left. It is your gateway to learning how to lower your expenses.

We will keep working hard to bring  you savings and opportunities, for we are in this together.


Al Hopper
Director of Membership, Copyright  & Government Affairs

PPA recently held its 2008 Affiliate Communications Competition. Designed to improve affiliate publications and Web sites, and recognize those involved in producing these communication tools, the competition awards every eligible entrant one PPA merit per entry. Those who place or earn an honorable mention receive an additional merit for each winning entry.

Four qualified judges were brought together from the communications field, specializing in different segments—from public relations and consulting to Web communication. They scored the newsletters and Web sites in the following three areas:

  • editorial content
  • overall appearance
  • service to members

Congratulations to the 2008 Affiliate Communications Competition winners!

Business is getting tougher


The photography business is getting tougher. It was never easy being a small business owner, but when the economy is slowing—or if your customers think it is slowing—business  gets even more daunting.

Overcoming the periods of economic uncertainty is difficult, but we want you to know that PPA is always on your side and working to help you and your business. Now is not the time to be working without the protection of PPA’s unmatched Malpractice Protection program (the Indemnification Trust), without PPA’s numerous discount programs, or without important information like marketing trends.

And membership in PPA is easier than ever…giving you access  to such benefits.

Did you know you can pay PPA dues in small, monthly payments? It’s easy, convenient, and doesn’t take a chunk out of your checking account! PPA simply charges a credit card number each month for a small portion of your dues. Many members who use the monthly installment plan—about 20% of PPA’s total membership—tell us that the convenience is as important as the small payments.

For most members, this installment plan equates to just $23.75* each month.  For members in the Aspiring category, the cost is only $13* per month!

When it is time to renew, you can easily switch to the  monthly plan by contacting PPA’s Service   Center (800-786-6277 or

In addition, keep your eyes on these weekly e-mails. In the upcoming months, we will change the focus to bring you more specific information on how to weather the economic storm. During tough times, we turn to our friends and family for support. And as a member, you are part of the PPA family.


Al Hopper
Director of Membership, Copyright & Government Affairs

* Please note that the $50 Malpractice Protection Fee is paid along with the first month’s payment for a total of $73.75 (or $63 in the Aspiring category) for the first month only. From then on, Professional Active members pay just $23.75 per month ($13 for Aspiring) with the monthly plan.


Take Your Best Shot at a $20,000 Grand Prize and an amazing digital prize package!

The inaugural Microsoft Future Pro Photographers Photography Contest is the most lucrative contest of its kind and provides a unique opportunity for college and university student photographers from around the world to showcase their artistic talent and photographic style.  Microsoft is committed to carrying the art of digital photography forward by encouraging new and emerging talent at the student level to learn, utilize, and implement state-of-the-art equipment, software, and techniques to produce the finest images possible.

For student photographers, this is an opportunity to Kick Start Your Career as a future professional photographer. The exciting prize packages include a Grand Prize of US$20,000 cash and a digital workflow prize package. There will also be three First Place winners in the following categories: Nature & Landscape; People & Portraits; and Sports & Photojournalism who will each win US$3000 cash and a digital workflow prize package as well.

The submission period is March 1 through April 30.  Visit for details.

craft_dennis.jpgAs we come into spring, I hope that you were able to renew yourself and your studio and prepare for another busy photographic season. I always look forward to this time of year after the conventions and seminars that renew my passion for photography...and my friendships. 

One of my passions is competition, which I have used as a learning tool for over twenty years. I still remember the first time I entered four prints in the Professional Photographers of Michigan print competition: I was so happy to receive two red ribbons and two yellow ribbons...without any thrown out! Each year I am inspired by the creativity and quality of others' works and am committed to create my own best image. At Michigan's competition some new photographers did very well alongside the "veterans." One of those veterans was well-known lecturer and mentor Barry Rankin. Barry received the Photographer of the Year for PPM--congratulations Barry! I hope everyone is planning on entering PPA's International Print Competition (June 6, 2008). Let's get our images ready and make this International Judging the biggest ever.

Speaking of international, I will be representing PPA this month in Korea. This is the fifth year that PPA has held an Asian Pacific Affiliated Judging at Professional Photographers of Korea's convention (at Seoul's COEX Center). It has been nice to see the benefits of this relationship each year, as we present the Master of Photography degrees to PPA members from this region. 

Thank you again for allowing me to share this time with you. And start working on those competition prints!


Friends Met Along the Way
This month I would like to introduce you to three people who taught me about photography. When I bought my studio in Marshall, Michigan in 1979, I had no real training in photography. In fact, I had only owned a 35mm camera for a few years.

Taking the advice of a lab rep, I started attending our local PPA affiliate in Michigan (Triangle). After a couple years, I knew I was in over my head. So I paid attention to the others who attended, soon identifying three photographers I admired for their businesses, friendship, and photography. One you might know: Ron Nichols, current Vice President of PPA. The other two might be new to many outside Michigan: Rod Gleason and Duaine Brenner. To these three I owe most of my success.

At one Triangle meeting, I suggested that we start a focus group and meet once a month for breakfast. I lived about an hour away from them, so I offered to do most of the driving. I'm sure it didn't take them long to realize my real reason for the group, as I brought stacks of proofs each month for them to critique...but they were very patient. They introduced me to many photographic fundamentals over pancakes and eggs.

Ron, Rod, and Duaine became my first mentors within this profession--a gift I will never be able to repay. Never did they make me feel inferior or stupid for asking hundreds of questions.

When you read this, I hope you call or e-mail the person who was your first mentor. Chances are, they might not realize the influence they had on your life. From the bottom of my heart, thanks Ron, Rod and Duaine. Thanks for everything you did for me.

Dennis Craft, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API, F-ASP
2008-2009 PPA President

image copyright Rod Gleason

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2008 is the previous archive.

May 2008 is the next archive.

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