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PPA Today: April 2011 Archives

April 2011 Archives

Dear PPA Member,

What do unicorns, short DMV lines and copyright ninjas have in common? They don't exist.

Copyright ninjas, clad in black and rappelling from the ceiling of your nearest retailer to defend your images from being illegally reproduced, are (sadly) a myth. If truth be told, you are the closest thing to being a copyright ninja. I don't suggest rappelling from the ceiling or taking throwing star classes, but armed with the right education and the right attitude, you can help prevent your images (and your peers' images) from being copied.

How do you do this? This week's Vital Signs talks about how you can approach retailers to develop beneficial relationships and share important information on the do's and don'ts of copyright. While you may never be as stealthy as the guy on Ask-A-Ninja, you'll gain more by educating your clients and retailers. You can even do it in a ninja costume...just leave the nunchaku at home.

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience
Corsentino_Michael.jpg"Every photographer needs a system in place to help manage the digital files they produce (aka asset management)," notes Michael Corsentino of Petaluma, CA. And he's a big believer in the power of Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® 3--the answer to his own asset management and the subject of his upcoming PPA webinar on May 3.

"This system makes organizing, storing, cataloging, processing and archiving tens of thousands of images (that quickly add up) into a manageable and even enjoyable process," he adds. "Merging both creative and workflow management tools under one roof makes Lightroom a must-have for today's working photographer."

Corsentino knows that for a fact. Using Lightroom helped him save time, which is as good as money to a professional photographer! "Through the use of presets, keyboard shortcuts and third-party plugins/tools, Lightroom has helped streamline my workflow and save tons of time," he explains. "With it, I was able to turn what was once a hard-to-manage mess into a smooth, organized system."

And he's ready to show you how you can do the same, including how to make your own presets and use a brand-new layer tool that was just introduced. Join Corsentino for "Lightroom Automation: Power Session" (May 3, 2:00pm Eastern) to learn how to master this software's powerful presets and automation features. 

Chicks Who ClickThe early registration deadline for the upcoming Chicks Who Click Conference is extended to April 30! Don't miss your last chance to save $50 on a great learning (and relaxing) experience, one that will help you help others via PPA Charities and Operation Smile. Here's a peek at some more exciting Chicks Who Click news:

  • PPA has added a "Business Basics" Studio Management Services Workshop prior to the main conference.
  • The Boutique Trade Show has sold out, promising great opportunities for you to meet with top industry reps in an intimate setting.
  • PPA members receive a merit for attending.
  • The gift bags are worth as much as the registration fee.
  • Rooms at the fabulous Firesky Resort are only $100.
  • And you can see the complete schedule online!

Are you interested in learning what goes on behind the scenes during PPA's Photographic Competition? Now is the perfect time to learn!

Join PPA-approved jury chairmen Helen Yancy and Dave Huntsman as they demystify the world of image judging. Held June 12-15, in conjunction with the International Photographic Competition in Atlanta, Georgia, this class will explore the ins and outs of what makes a print "merit worthy" and will provide students with the opportunity to observe the competition process and protocol. You'll leave this course feeling confident in your ability to identify merit images.

PPA members with ten print exhibition merits will receive PEC credit for attending the workshop. This workshop fulfills one of the requirements for becoming a PPA Approved Affiliate Juror.

Get complete details and register online here.

fran_reisner_headshot.jpgPhotography is a visual way of communicating everything from memories to emotions. Fran Reisner, M.Photog.Cr., API, of Fran Reisner Photography is also using her photography to speak for those who don't have a voice in upcoming weeks.

During her "The Dogs of Central Park" book signings, this Texas resident will be donating money to local dog rescue and animal care facilities. For example, the April 28 signing in the Frisco, Texas area will benefit Mazie's Mission, a local no-kill rescue organization that will also be in attendance at her event with adoptable dogs. (A portion of the proceeds from the book sales there will also be donated to Mazie's Mission.)

And at future book events (like the May 14 event in New York's Central Park), Reisner plansdogs_cover.jpg to raise money for similar local organizations. Why? Well as Reisner developed her book and talked to the dogs' owners, she was moved. "The community and relationships amongst all those dogs and their owners is amazing," she says. Even more so are the dogs' individual stories, which is one more reason why Reisner (who is not a dog photographer per say) took on this "pet" project.

"I have always felt strongly about giving back to the community, and I've always been a big fan of rescues," says Reisner, the owner of two rescue dogs herself. "And as I was gathering the dogs' stories--from proud bloodlines to emergency rescues--so many owners told me the same thing: 'I thought I was rescuing the dog, but he rescued me.'"

Inspired, Reisner dedicated her book to the numerous rescue organizations who "give so selflessly of their time and efforts on behalf of the millions of helpless animals around the globe."

Do her efforts inspire you? Would you like to use your photography to help out a cause near and dear to your own heart? "There are plenty of opportunities for photographers to do that," says Reisner.

DogsofCentralPark_p070.jpgIn fact, she's taken part in many other charitable efforts with her photography, including photographing children at Bryan's House, an organization that cares for kids affected by HIV. Reisner also organized a group of her fellow Dallas Professional Photographers Association (DPPA) members to set up photo studios for Boys & Girls Clubs. With film donated by Kodak and prints donated by a local lab, those children all received two 5x7 prints for their families. As a group, DPPA also photographed the Dallas-area National Adoption Day families, along with raising funds for other worthy organizations.

"Whether alone or as a group, there is much we can do to make a difference...and I think it's important that we do.  All you have to do is be creative and follow your passion," urges Reisner. "And if you really want to make a change, just keep your mind, heart and eyes open to new possibilities. That's how I was able to see the opportunity in this book."

Visit "The Dogs of Central Park" website to learn more about Reisner's book (part of the book sales proceeds from the site will go to animal rescue organizations).

FRAN REISNER HEADSHOT © BRANDI CARRERA
ALL OTHER IMAGES © FRAN REISNER

In the ever-changing world of photography, studios are evolving rapidly to stay ahead of the curve. Do you have the knowledge you need to stay on the edge of technology and, more importantly, USE that technology to its fullest potential? You will with the upcoming May webinars, all of which will focus on post-production, including retouching, workflow, and using editing software like Adobe® Photoshop® and Corel® Painter™.

"I'm definitely addicted to competing," says Suzy Roberts of Suzy Min Photography and TriCoast Photography. And if she doesn't get the scores she wants, she knows she'll be heartbroken, "but I'll take it, learn from it and do better next time!"

Do you have the courage of Suzy Roberts--or any of the thousands of photographers who enter PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) every year? These photographers use competition to push themselves and better their art (among other reasons). April 27 is your day to join their ranks, for that's the 2011 IPC deadline! Register now for the competition of excellence.

*NOTE TO ALL DISTRICT COMPETITORS: If you earned a Seal of Approval on any image, you must enter that "sealed" image in this upcoming IPC before you can earn the merit.

Tana_Lemay_headshot.jpgTana LeMay of Florence, Ala., may not be a photographer by trade, but she did develop a business that caters directly to photographers (and thus, photographers' clients). So, if you want to see how designing for clients can only help your bottom line, there's no one better!

Originally a nurse, LeMay entered the interior design market about 10 years ago when she was asked to helped design rooms in a local long-term care facility. But it was in trying to find a photo frame for her daughter's room that she found her calling seven years ago. She knew what she liked, but couldn't find it anywhere...so she decided to build it herself. A photographer friend thought the end result was very good and suggested that she make more to sell to photographers.

Soon afterward, LeMay opened Wild Sorbet Framing Company with a focus on producing unique frames for children and baby photography. "But I quickly realized that frames were a very good source of extra income for photographers, so I expanded our colors and designs," she says. Now, her business includes frames for every type of photography.

Her success isn't a fluke. She believes it's the result of listening to what photographers need when it comes to design...and supplying it. "I feel that my biggest accomplishments are actually HEARING what photographers tell me every day and doing something about it," LeMay explains.

Her experience in working with photographers has even encouraged LeMay to begin thelemay1.jpg process of becoming a certified PPA speaker. And she has a lot to offer.

"My purpose is to educate photographers not only on design, but also on why and how design can help them sell more, easily increasing their perceived value," she says. "Whether you sell gallery wraps, traditional frames, our frames or only prints, knowing color and balance and how to use them are all true keys to many parts of the photography business."

Your chance to hear LeMay and see designs that appeal to photography clients is coming May 16 during her "Designing To Sell" Super Monday class in Florence, Ala.

"I truly believe that when photographers know why they are designing a certain way--or why people are buying--they will be very successful," LeMay adds. And her class may give photographers the new insight they need on the subject.

Super Monday is an educational program sponsored by PPA every spring and fall. These daylong, interactive workshops are conducted in locations around the country, allowing PPA members to earn merits for sharing their craft and enabling all photographers to learn new skills and develop professional networking contacts.

Read more about Tana LeMay here
onOne Software, Inc., has introduced the Perfect Layers Public Preview. Perfect Layers gives photographers the ability to easily create and work with layered files in their workflow application of choice. Perfect Layers supports the creation of layered files that can be opened and edited by Adobe® Photoshop® software and can be used directly from within Adobe Photoshop Lightroom® software, Adobe Bridge and, with the shipping version, Apple Aperture.

Top Features in Perfect Layers:

Add Layered File Functionality to Lightroom: The ability to have multiple layers in a single file is a great benefit and provides unlimited creative options when enhancing an image. With the Perfect Layers Public Preview, from directly within Lightroom, photographers can create or open layered files. This means photographers can combine multiple images from Lightroom into a single image. They can also open existing Photoshop documents from within Lightroom. Uses of Perfect Layers include merging two or more exposures of the same scene into a single image and masking in the desired portion of each exposure. Compositing multiple images, such as action shots, becomes a simple task with Perfect Layers. Also with Perfect Layers, Lightroom users can now have access to the power of blending images together with blending modes. Blending layers together is a great way to stylize and
enhance a photo as well as to retouch a portrait. Files created with Perfect Layers can be opened by Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements later for additional editing if desired.

Masking Brushes: Control how much of each layer is visible by using the Masking Brush created originally for PhotoTools 2.6 and FocalPoint 2. Similar to using a layer mask, the Masking Brush can be used to reveal or hide selected areas of a layer. The Masking Brush is non-destructive and can even be re-edited with Photoshop.

Blending Modes: Perfect Layers brings the power and creativity of blending modes to Lightroom! Blending modes determine how two layers interact with each other. For example, you can blend a black and white version of an image with a color version to get a very dramatic and stylized look. Perfect Layers includes the following blending modes: Normal; Lighten; Darken; Screen; Multiply; Overlay; Soft Light; Hard Light and Color.

Adjust Layers: The streamlined interface in Perfect Layers contains all the controls needed to size, align and reorder layers. A number of useful blending modes offer the ability to dramatically alter images by changing the brightness, altering the color or even creating special effects. All the adjustments can be easily modified.

The Perfect Layers Public Preview allows photographers to start experimenting now with a subset of the features that the complete, shipping version of Perfect Layers will provide. The complete shipping version of Perfect Layers will add more features including:

  • Support for Apple Aperture
  • The ability to adjust the image/canvas size
  • The MaskingBug control from PhotoTools 2.6 to create smooth gradient masks
  • Color fill layers and several other new features

As a public preview release, similar to a beta release, the Perfect Layers Public Preview is not indicative of the final performance and quality of the forthcoming complete shipping version. Technical support is not available for the preview release. Users can submit their feedback on this public preview from within the application.

Availability


The Perfect Layers Public Preview release is available immediately at http://www.ononesoftware.com/perfectlayers/. The shipping version will be available, with additional features, by mid 2011 as a standalone product for $159.95 and as part of the Perfect Photo Suite 5.5. Owners of Plug-In Suite 5 can upgrade to Perfect Photo Suite 5.5, which will include Perfect Layers, at no additional cost. The Perfect Layers Public Preview is a time limited release and will expire on June 30, 2011.

Dear PPA Member,

I dig everything digital. It should come as no surprise that I was one of the first people to buy a Kindle. I've got an iPhone. GPS has saved me more than once. I love streaming movies on Netflix, downloading music off of iTunes, and getting my news on the go.

Don't get me wrong--I still love the feel of a hardcover book and going to the movies. However, the digital world has opened up a lot of options, including many in photography.

For example, the International Photographic Competition (IPC) now allows for both digital files and print submissions, so you can choose whatever tickles your fancy. Dig into this week's article for more information to help you decide which type of submission is best for you: digital or print (or even a combination!). But no matter what you choose--enter the IPC!

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

chris_cummins_headshot.jpg"Photography allows a photographer to record the world in a way that can make the extraordinary seem ordinary and the ordinary seem extraordinary," says Chris Cummins of Glow Imagery in Kansas City, Mo. That's one of the reasons he chose this career, for it forces him to "pause, study and record the things that might not otherwise be noticed to have value."

And he has been recording the world for 15 years now.

After graduating with a degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri, Cummins spent seven years as a photographer for a local newspaper. He eventually became dispirited with the newspaper industry and opened Glow Imagery eight years ago.

"Reinventing my skills, personality and life approach from a dispirited newspaper photographercummins1.jpg to that of a small-business entrepreneurial artist has been one of my biggest accomplishments," adds Cummins about his career shift.

Today, he does many types of portrait work, but his specialty is wedding photography. The skills he learned as a photojournalist have helped him create unique wedding images. "I love discovering relationships, emotions and expressions without posing or prompting my subjects to do anything," explains Cummins. "Wedding photography was a natural fit for those skills."

Like many photographers, Cummins faces the challenge of an over-saturated market full of cheap competitors. One way he overcomes this challenge is by considering sales appointments to be educational sessions, too. "Selling is educating," he adds. "It isn't sleazy--it's a means to help a client make an informed decision."

cummins2.jpgIn addition, Cummins believes that the education he has received since joining PPA in late 2009 has greatly helped his business. "After joining PPA, I took it upon myself to relearn the business of photography and have made so many new discoveries," he says.

"What's more, PPA has helped my career by putting me in touch with a more select group of individuals...individuals who are a little more battle-tested than those I was finding other places," Cummins notes. "I really needed to plug into what Napoleon Hill called a 'Master Mind,' a group of people carefully chosen for their accomplishments, abilities, habits and attitudes.  Surrounding myself with these types of people has helped in my general thought processes and the regular challenges of doing modern photography."

Read more about Chris Cummins here
cummins3.jpg

ALL IMAGES © CHRIS CUMMINS

Keith_Mills_headshot.jpgPhotography is an expression, an emotion, a captured moment. It is art. And for Keith Mills, M.Photog.MEI.Cr., of Spring Lake, N.J., photography was the perfect way to expose his artistic ability to more people. With a background in visual art (and a degree in Illustration from the Newark School of Fine Art), Mills describes his transition from working on canvas to working with camera and film as a natural one.

"I realized that photography was the way to go to open my work to a public venue," Mills remembers about his decision to start in photography.

And it was a smart decision for Mills...one that has lasted for almost 40 years! By 1972, he opened Keith Mills Photography, specializing in wedding and portrait photography with an artistic approach garnered from his background. Today, his business has also expanded to include fine art photography.

Mills credits his ability to constantly evolve as an image maker and photographic artist as the reason he has been able to stay in business for so long. For example, when the shift to digital photography occurred, Mills was quick to jump on the transition and offer full digital services. In addition, he is able to stand out from his competition with his ability to digitally create fine art watercolor prints that rival those created by traditional brushes and paint.

"If you strive to be unique and different in your work, you will be set apart from the competition, and clients do notice the difference," adds Mills about how he has stayed successful.

Sharing Successes
Mills knows that evolving as an artist is important for successful longevity in this industry, andkeith_mills3.jpg one way to evolve is to learn. He does so in his own career, and he's ready to help you do so as well.

Get ready to learn one of the techniques Mills uses to create fine art images digitally when he hosts his "So You Want to Be a Stripper: Photoshop & Painter" Super Monday class on May 16 in Spring Lake, N.J. In this class, he will teach you the ins and outs of removing and replacing pieces of your images ("stripping in or out") with Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter to give your images and composites more power.  

"Those who attend this class will leave with a new appreciation of what they will be able to accomplish with the applications available in today's imaging world," adds Mills.

Learn more about his class and browse more Super Monday classes in more locations at http://www.ppa.com/education-events/sm_new.php.

keith_mills4.jpgSuper Monday is an educational program sponsored by PPA every spring and fall. These daylong, interactive workshops are conducted in locations around the country, allowing PPA members to earn merits for sharing their craft and enabling all photographers to learn new skills and develop professional networking contacts.


Read more about Keith Mills here.

ALL IMAGES © KEITH MILLS 


Join PPA-approved jury chairmen Helen Yancy and Dave Huntsman as they demystify the world of image judging. Held in conjunction with the International Print Competition in Atlanta, Georgia, this class will explore the ins and outs of what makes a print "merit worthy" and will provide students with the opportunity to observe the competition process and protocol. You'll leave this course feeling confident in your ability to identify merit images. Learn more here.

Are you ready to compete in PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC)? Don't wait too much longer because the entry deadline is April 27!

Entering IPC is easy--just click here for rules, entry forms and tutorials: www.ppa.com/competitions/international.php.

A few things to remember:

  • The entry deadline is April 27, and the entry fee is $95. The late entry fee for submissions between April 28 and May 10 will be $155.
  • Both digital images and prints are accepted. Get more details in this week's Vital Signs email.
  • Be sure to choose your Grand Imaging Awards (GIA) entry category when you register. Last year's GIA winners were recognized at the Grand Imaging Awards celebration at Imaging USA and earned trophies and cash prizes!
  • Earn Exhibition Merits for your winning images and start your path to earning a PPA degree. If your image received a Seal of Approval at your District Competition, you must enter it into the IPC to earn your PPA merit.

Enter and continue your journey toward image excellence. Rules, entry forms and tutorials can all be found here: www.ppa.com/competitions/international.php.

Dear PPA Member,

Twice this week, I was reminded of how having a certification makes a difference to consumers.

First reminder: It's tax time. (Your taxes are done, right?) Rather than have my taxes done by Bob's neighbor's cousin who works at a car dealership but once took a tax course and does tax returns on the side, I made a conscious choice to have a CPA look at my return. I trust the CPA, because they're certified.

My second reminder? The dreaded "find a doctor" game. I'm in the market for a new one, and in the process of making my decision, one of the deciding factors is certification. My doctor must be board certified. Why? There are a lot of great doctors out there who went to great schools and have thriving practices. However, being "board certified" is voluntary and shows that these doctors are committed to continuing to educate themselves in their field, which is frankly, an assurance that I'm getting the best care possible.

This week's Vital Signs talks about the Certified Professional Photographer program. Like being a "board certified" physician, it's voluntary and shows that a professional photographer is committed to providing the best care possible to a client--and that can only be a win for your business.

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

P.S. While we hope that you're done with your taxes, PPA has some great last minute tips (and even a webinar to help you!).

keely_headshot.jpgKeely Deuschle, CPP, of Mikkean Photography in Orange Park, Florida, had her love for photography sparked at the young age of eight when she received her first camera.

Despite this early introduction to photography, Deuschle would not consider photography as a career until 2006 when a diagnosis of cancer shifted her priorities. Prior to 2006, Deuschle had spent many years working in the corporate world. However, receiving her diagnosis caused her to "re-evaluate everything."

"I chose to leave the corporate world so that I could spend as much time with my children as possible. I had known I wanted to start my own photography business and this news I had received made me realize that it was important to me to be able to work doing something I loved and was passionate about," says Deuschle.

After beating cancer, Keely spent a year attending seminars, guild meetings, classes and conventions to learn what she needed to start her business. By 2008, she opened Mikkean Photography in the Jacksonville area.

Today, Deuschle's business focuses on maternity, newborn and children's photography.

"It brings me great joy to photograph the beauty of a woman during her pregnancy and capture images of her child from the earliest days so that the tiny details - first glances, the tiny fingers and toes, etc. - can be remembered," Deuschle explains.

Like many photographers, Deuschle says that her biggest challenge is standing out amongdeuschle1.jpg the sea of photographers in her community and, also like others, she credits her website with helping her stand out from the competition.

Of course, Deuschle has an advantage when it comes to web marketing.  Before opening Mikkean Photography, she spent seven years as the Webmaster/Internet Marketing Manager for a Fortune 500 company and has over 18 years of experience with web design.  Deuschle will share her knowledge and how you can apply her tips and tricks in an upcoming Super Monday class "Optimizing Your Website for Clients & Search Engines" May 16 in Orange Park, FL.

Deuschle will also show you how you can get more visibility in search engines, without any knowledge of HTML or paying someone to do it for you.

"While my career has changed, I often work one-on-one with photographers on what they can do to improve their website not only for search engines but for a potential client's viewing experience, too." Deuschle added.

Learn more about Deuschle's class and browse more Super Monday classes in more locations at http://www.ppa.com/education-events/sm_new.php.

deuschle2.jpgSuper Monday is an educational program sponsored by PPA every spring and fall. These daylong, interactive workshops are conducted in locations around the country, allowing PPA members to earn merits for sharing their craft and enabling all photographers to learn new skills and develop professional networking contacts.

Read more about Deuschle, the 2010 Jacksonville Photographer of the Year, here.

ALL IMAGES © KEELY DEUSCHLE
Behnke.jpgMany times photographers think of workflow as only the steps in post-production. But Bert Behnke, M.Photog.Cr.Hon.M.Photog., also focuses on the workflow needed to create a great client experience...an essential part of any studio that wants referrals and repeat customers!

"It's about the subject, not the photographer," he states. And you'll get the chance to learn how he makes that philosophy a reality in his own studio with the upcoming online class "Family & Children's Portrait Session Workflow" (April 19, 2:00pm ET).

During this online class, Behnke will show you how to fine-tune that client experience in every form of interaction, from consultation to portrait session, sales session, production and delivery!  One of the most important things he says you need to remember is to keep the clients comfortable. "When working with children and/or families, you really need to keep them engaged," he adds. "If you spend all your time moving lights, arranging props and such, you lose their attention and it reflects in their expressions."

Get ready to build that great client experience step by step, starting with Behnke's online class on April 19!
Gregg Martin, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, of South Carolina feels like a new man every day. "Competition has changed my photographic life," he says.

It started when he went to his first convention and realized he wasn't the great photographermartin1.jpg he thought he was. "It was eye-opening," he adds. "I realized then that I would never ever stop learning in this profession."  Competing drives that message home for him even more, but it took him about 10 years to get up the nerve to enter!

Educating for Competition
It was education that helped Martin get to the point of entering. He went to competitions and listened to the judges, asking them questions about why they scored images a certain way after the judging. "It's extremely educational...and that's how I learned in the beginning."  He also suggests finding classes on competition, which many affiliates have during the year, and reading PPA's online articles on competition and the 12 elements of a merit image.

Why? "By learning those 12 elements and watching the judging, my photography grew so much," Martin explains. "For example, I photographed a pro bike race recently where I put myself in a position to see the 12 elements before I even shot a single image."

In fact, he's such a believer in the 12 elements  now (and how they can impact imagery) that he gives his intern "homework" on them.  "I challenge her to give me images that feature one of the 12 elements in each. I want her to master them individually before combining them into one."

Overcoming the Fear
Back in 2007, Martin stared down his fears and entered his first photographic competition. The judges tore his images apart, pointing to flaws in stroke size, cropping, etc.

That's never easy to hear.

martin2.jpgBut Martin explains it this way: "We are artists. We have egos. We are so close to our images because they are like our babies. That's why I think people are scared to enter and be critiqued. But you have to separate yourself from the prints and say: 'This is a learning experience.'"

That's what helped Martin use competition to his advantage. After that first one, he took it as a challenge. He realized the judges weren't saying that he was not a good photographer; they were just saying he maybe wasn't technically great or a great competitor...yet. But he was determined to do better and pay attention to all the details the judges saw.

"There's always room for improvement," he says. "There are flaws that we, as the image creators, can't always see." 

Dear PPA Member ,

Is it just me, or is 2011 flying by? It is already the first week of April, which means that the first quarter has come and gone. For many of you, the summer busy season is just around the corner. To help recap what we have covered since January, this Vital Signs offers a quick review of the articles that act as a resource on a variety of business topics. Whether you are looking to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) or exhibit at a local trade show, these articles are here to help you expand your business and better cater to your clients. Maybe it's time to make plans and implement some of these ideas in the second quarter!

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

P.S. You spoke and Congress listened! Nearly a year in the making, Congress successfully overturned Section 9006 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which would have required extensive Form 1099 reporting for all business-to-business transactions that exceeded $600. Learn more here.

covercontest_FINAL.pngImagine Your Work on the Cover of a Magazine
Here's your chance to make it happen! Professional Photographer magazine invites you to submit photographs for a chance to have your image featured on a cover.

In addition to landing the cover of a 2011 edition of Professional Photographer, the winner will also be awarded a selection of prizes from our generous sponsors: Tamron, Photobiz, Manfrotto Distribution and WHCC.

Enter now at www.ppmag.com!
Choose your best example of an image that is representative of the work you sell your clients: portraits, weddings, commercial, sports, events, etc. The submission deadline is Tuesday, May 31, 2011. (Only one image per entrant.)

Don't miss your chance to show the world your talent!

X-Rite Incorporated has announced that its new portfolio of i1 Professional Color Management Solutions is now available from X-Rite's online store (North America), and from the company's worldwide network of resellers.  Designed to accommodate all levels of proficiency and expertise, these high performance solutions consisting of a combination of hardware, software and comparative color targets are specifically focused on meeting the unique needs of photo, pre-press, and publishing professionals, providing exceptional value at very attractive price points.   

The new portfolio is comprised of i1Basic Pro, i1Photo Pro, i1Publish Pro and i1Publish (software and target suite).  All four feature groundbreaking new i1Profiler software technology designed to accommodate all skill levels, and provide the power and control needed to create the highest quality color profiles, as well as the new PANTONE Color Manager color swatch bridging software. ColorChecker Proof, a new ColorChecker target for direct viewing analysis against a printed target and ColorChecker camera calibration system are also featured.
 
Congratulations to all of you for taking the time to get involved in our efforts to pass H.R. 4!

Your voices were heard loudly and clearly today by the Senate. They responded by repealing the burdensome tax reporting requirement included in last year's health care bill. The vote was 87-12, with only one senator not voting on this important measure. To see how your senator voted, click here.

The bill is currently on its way to the White House for signature by President Obama. To read more about the repeal, click here.

Again, thank you for your hard work--and congratulations on making a difference in the outcome of this vote!

First, some good news: This year's tax deadlines are unusually late. Because April 15 coincided with a District of Columbia holiday, 2010 tax payments and tax returns are due Monday, April 18. The deadline for those with six-month filing extensions is October 17. We hope you're already finishing up your taxes, though!

As we head toward the deadline, here are some last-minute tax filing tips and reminders:

  • For 2010 only, people who are self-employed and have deductible health-insurance payments may deduct the payments against Social Security taxes on their Tax Form 1040 Schedule SE. Also, for years 2010 and after, taxpayers may deduct premiums paid for a child under the age of 27 at the end of the year, even if the child isn't a dependent for tax purposes.   
  • The bonus deduction for capital expenditures (that went into effect in September 2010) will remain in effect through 2011. Normally, you can write off 100 percent of the cost of certain types of fixed assets purchased in the year by making a Section 179 election and writing off the cost...but you can only write off up to the amount of your taxable income. Under the bonus deduction now in effect, you can write off 100 percent of certain assets, even if it creates a loss. So, if your spouse earns income and you are filing jointly, you can reduce your [joint] tax bill by taking advantage of the bonus depreciation deduction.  
  • You may deduct contributions to a regular IRA made by April 18, the tax filing and payment deadline.  However, contributions to SEP IRAs and other pension plans may be made until October 17 for those with individual income tax return filing extensions( as long as the plan was established before December 31, 2010).
  • You may also deduct up to $6,150 per family ($3,050 single) for a Health Savings Account (HSA) if you had a qualifying high-deductible health plan in 2010. Contributions are due by April 18.
  • After 2009, anyone can convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. And unless you elect otherwise, 50 percent of the income from the 2010 conversion is included in income in both 2011 and 2012.  
  • Long-term capital losses (those on investments held longer than a year) can be used to shelter an equal amount of gains. Up to $3,000 of excess can then be deducted against ordinary income per year, and what's left can carry forward indefinitely.
  • The home office deduction is available to people who utilize a part of their home 100 percent for business. Form 8829 walks you through the calculation, which is usually based on the ratio of square footage of the business space to the total square footage of the home. Contact your CPA or tax preparer to discuss the tax implications of the home office deduction.

You should consult with your CPA or tax preparer to see if any of the above tips can help you.

PPA members with questions can contact Bridget Jackson, (800-339-5451 ext. 277) PPA's SMS Manager

Find out how the tax decisions you make affect the amount you'll pay the government, and learn more about retirement, home office deductions, and other crucial information for small businesses owners like photographers. Most importantly, you'll discover whether or not your accountant is doing what he/she should be doing for you--and know what to ask them to do.


Topics covered: Types of legal entities, How different entities are taxed, Advantages and disadvantages of each entity, Sec. 179 deduction, Salary vs. Distribution allocation, Year- End tax planning, Retirement planning. Free for PPA members through April 18--log in here.

Did you know that entering photographic competitions can help you market your services, too?  It's all in how you handle the competition...and your results.

For example, Indigo Photographic's Michael Barton, M.Photog.MEI.Cr., CPP, of Illinois believes in using the International Photographic Competition (IPC) to better your skills and, thus, your marketability. "I say you can't afford not to participate in competition because the best way to stand out in the market today is to build an identity that's uniquely yours. Photographic competition will help you do that."  

Along with helping you fine-tune your eye and your techniques, the IPC can actually help you promote your studio to clients. Both Jessica Edwards of Missouri and Michigan's Betsy Finn, Cr.Photog., CPP, have experienced this personally.

"My clients love it when I enter their images--they tell all their friends and family members, especially when their image wins an award," explains Edwards, the owner of Jessica Edwards Photography. She uses only client work for her competition entries, so the resulting client chatter keeps building. "It creates amazing buzz about my work, which leads to word-of-mouth referrals."

And Finn has an answer for those who don't believe that clients can understand such competition: "When your images win awards, merits and ribbons, you will be able to promote yourself in the community as an award-winning photographer and that does mean something to clients--people naturally recognize certifications and awards as universal symbols of quality."

Entering photographic competition can reap rewards in your art, marketing and career...and your next chance to enter is now!

The 2011 International Photographic Competition entry deadline is April 27, so don't wait: www.ppa.com/competitions/international.php 
craft_lori_board.jpg"It all starts and ends with family." That's Lori and Dennis Craft's belief, and Lori is willing to show how she shares this belief with the public, turning them into clients. To her, family portraits are about relationships--the relationships within the family and the relationship that you, the photographer, make with the family. And you can't forget that your marketing is part of that relationship-building process.

In fact, Lori will discuss how she uses the marketing and promotions of their studio to feed those client relationships in her online class "Marketing for Children & Family Photography" (April 12, 2:00pm Eastern).

During that webinar, Lori will share some of her top-performing promotions, including her favorites: Simply Kids and Simply Kids for Big Kids. They are her favorite promotions for the simple fact that they bring clients in on a consistent basis. "With these promos, we offer something different like our baby ducks in April," explains Lori. "They are a little less expensive than a regular session and give clients extra reasons to come in. And seeing clients more often helps us build those good relationships."

Consistency is another key element in building any good relationship, and Lori notes that it is one of the most important "rules" of marketing to remember. Think of it this way: You know that a professional photographer should be consistent in image quality. Well, the same goes for your marketing outreach.

"You can't do something once and then ignore your clients for six months. Get your name out there," adds Lori.  "Be consistent in your timing and all the channels you use to promote--website, blog, Facebook, etc."

Every experience clients have with you builds their relationship with you. Don't let your marketing be the fatal flaw in those relationships!  Learn more about creating consistency and smart promotions by attending Lori's "Marketing for Children & Family Photography" online class on April 12. 

james_whigham_headshot.jpgJames Whigham, CPP, of JWP Studio in the New Orleans area says that his beginning in photography was a "divine accident."

Even though he was fascinated by Polaroid cameras as a child, Whigham never considered a career in photography. In fact, after high school, he joined the Marines. Strangely enough, it was the Marine Corps that would give him his start in photography...leading him to become the Marine Combat Photographic Specialist.

"Who knew there was such a job as Marine Photographer?" says Whigham, remembering what he thought when he received the position. "But it only took seeing my first print going through development to get me hooked on the idea of being a photographer." And that idea stuck.

After leaving the Marine Corps in 1997, Whigham established his studio and was working full time as a portrait and wedding photographer by January 1998. Today, his specialty has become a combination of wedding and high school senior portraits.

"I believe I chose these specialties because I truly enjoy the interaction with the families,"whigham1.jpg adds Whigham. "The brides, the seniors, the moms, the planning--I love listening to clients as they talk with us about these two very important milestones in their lives. Maybe it's selfish on my part, but being allowed to photographically capture these clients' visions of their big day gives me such personal gratitude."

But just because you love what you do doesn't mean there aren't challenges to face. One of Whigham's biggest challenges is finding the balance between being a businessman and an artist. He credits PPA with helping him do this.

"Being involved in PPA and PPA Affiliates like Professional Photographers of Louisiana and the Greater New Orleans Professional Photographers Guild has given me the opportunity to discuss business issues with fellow photographers who have gone through the same challenges," explains Whigham. "I learned early in life that experience is the best teacher; however, I don't believe it has to be my personal experience. I believe I can learn as much if not more from someone else's experiences."

And now, Whigham will help you learn from his experiences when he hosts "The ABCs & 123s of Successful Mini Sessions," a Super Monday class on May 16 in Gretna, La.

whigham3.jpgDuring his Super Monday class, Whigham will share one of the ways he brings in new clients: mini sessions. He'll teach you the steps that have allowed him to plan mini sessions, create their promotions, and execute for successful results.

"Attendees will not only be able to plan, promote and execute their yearly promotions, but they'll also walk away with tools to determine if those promotions are profitable to their studios," adds Whigham. "Take the guesswork out of your promotions and make the decisions that correctly affect your bottom line!"

Learn more about Whigham's class and browse more Super Monday classes in more locations at http://www.ppa.com/education-events/sm_new.php.

Super Monday is an educational program sponsored by PPA every spring and fall. These daylong, interactive workshops are conducted in locations around the country, allowing PPA members to earn merits for sharing their craft and enabling all photographers to learn new skills and develop professional networking contacts.

Read more about Whigham, the current president of the Greater New Orleans Professional Photographers Guild, here.whigham4.JPG

ALL IMAGES © JAMES WHIGHAM

If you're planning on taking the Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) exam, you should consider taking the three-day intensive Certification Preparation class coming up August 8-10, 2011, in Atlanta, Georgia:

Dates:
August 8-10 , 2011
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Course Hours: 9:00am - 5:00pm (Instruction ends at 2:00pm on the third day, and the exam will be offered from 3:00pm to 5:00pm that day)
Instructor: Eric Richards, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Cost: $299

This in-depth study of photography's technical side could almost be considered to equivalent to a semester of college...so be prepared to study! Topics include the following:

  • The Inverse Square Law, Filter Factors, Bellows Factor
  • Lenses and Filters
  • Color Theory and H&D Curves
  • Lighting Ratios, Corrective Lighting and Posing, Depth of Field, Angle of View
  • The Zone System (and how it helps you understand the digital histogram)
  • Difference between a Bit, a Byte and Bit Depth
  • And much more!
 
Click here to read more about the Certification Preparation class.

Click here to read more about the CPP program. 
After the Senate's efforts failed to queue up a vote on repeal bill S.Amdt.161 on Tuesday, March 30, they have now committed to a series of votes on Monday.  We expect their vote will lead to the reversal of this harmful tax reporting requirement.

To hurry along the possibility of this key piece of legislation becoming law, the Senate has consented to debate and vote on H.R. 4--the exact same language you succeeded in getting the House to pass--instead of S.Admt.161 as proposed by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE).

Remember: The movement to overturn Section 9006 of the new health care law (mandating small-business owners to file a 1099 form for every business-to-business transaction over $600) began last Congress and is now inches from the finish line. Reversing this burdensome tax requirement will allow photographers like you to spend more time investing in their business and focusing on clients--not completing a mountain of tax paperwork.

Write, email or call your Senators to tell them to vote "yes" on H.R. 4 to ensure this bill becomes a law. Visit the Contact Congress page to act now.

To read more about the importance of eliminating this tax provision, click here.
If you're interested in learning how your congressman voted on H.R. 4, click here.


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