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PPA Today: December 2011 Archives

December 2011 Archives

Ever feel like the year went by too fast? Seems like that happens every year! To help you get ready for 2012, PPA would like to give you a moment--or perhaps two--to reflect on some past Vital Signs articles.  Maybe you didn't get a chance to read through all of them, or maybe something new has come up in your business since you did. Regardless, here's a few that might be worthy of a second look.

Remember: Whether you need a refresher on marketing and sales strategies or have questions related to copyright infringement, PPA's comprehensive list of resources can help as you build an even better business. So, read on and have a happy New Year!

Robin Long Photography has announced she will be launching her newest book titled, purebaby® Newborn Photography Guide, a Comprehensive Guide to Posing and Business, at Imaging USA in New Orleans, January 15-17, 2012.

Specializing in Newborn Portraiture, Robin sees the Imaging EXPO as an excellent opportunity to make face-to-face contact with fellow photographers in the industry showcasing not only the release of her newest book, but live newborn wrapping demonstrations using her purebaby® nest wraps, and presentations on the purebaby® newborn workshops being held around the world.

If Professional Photographers want to be the first to get their hands on one of Robin's books for the very first time and a chance to talk with her about the workshops, stop by booth #143. Robin will be offering a Digital download of her book with each hard copy purchased at the show only. There will also be Giveaways throughout the 3-day event!

Read the full release here.

What separates a professional photographer from an amateur? Knowledge and Skill. One of the biggest marks of professionalism is continuing your education. Keeping up with the latest technologies, trends and techniques will help you stay competitive in your market. PPA is the authority on education for the photography industry. PPA offers a variety of educational resources and programs as part of your membership, which will give you the business and artistic knowledge you need to succeed in this industry.

Online Education
PPA's collection of business and artistic education courses includes topics from advertising to workflow and continues to grow every week. Live, online courses can be purchased individually ($39 per) or through an Online Learning Pass ($99). "PPA's Online Learning Pass is like having a membership to the PPA webinar library."1 With an Online Learning Pass you will have access to the full webinar archive and to all live webinars, for six months. Read more about the online courses here.

Local Education
PPA members can also register for Super Monday classes, a peer-led educational initiative organized by PPA. Twice a year in the spring and fall, studios from coast to coast offer photography education on a variety of subjects. It's a great chance for you to receive face-to-face education from a photographer in your area...and build up your networks! Plus, if you're working toward a PPA degree, teaching a Super Monday class can earn you two speaking merits toward it. Read more about Super Monday here.

Business Education Tools (via the Benchmark)
On top of these great educational offerings, PPA also publishes the Financial Benchmark Survey, Analysis and Toolset (or, simply, the Benchmark) exclusively for members. To develop the Benchmark, PPA surveyed hundreds of studios (like yours) across the country. The end result is a unique set of tools to help you set goals and measure your studio against many others in key financial areas (cost of sales, revenue, expenses, net profit, and so on). Read more about the Benchmark here.

And don't forget...PPA members have access to all the educational articles in the Resources section of and receive discounts to other educational events like Imaging USA, our convention and trade show for pro photographers. So as we head into 2012, don't let these opportunities go to waste. Use these PPA benefits to keep learning and growing!

PPA members also can sign up for business workshops and consultations from PPA's Studio Management Services. Find more information on Studio Management Services in this article.

1 McDowell, TJ. "PPA Online Learning Pass Review." Larissa Photography Blog. December 13, 2011. <>

PPA is excited to let you know that the 2012 PPA Western District Photographic Competition judging is coming up (hosted by Professional Photographers of California). And you know what that's time to get your images ready! You can submit your entries online: February 2 - 23, 2012 (online entry closes at 5:00pm EST).

This district competition is a great opportunity for photographers like you to learn and grow since your work is judged by international jurors. Get your images ready and go to to find the forms, rules and entry information for the competition.

Remember that you can now enter either prints or digital files, and image formats are no longer restricted to 16 x 20. Plus, images receiving a score of 80 or above in district competitions (like the one coming up in your area) will automatically earn an exhibition merit when submitted to the 2012 PPA International Photographic Competition. That means you'll be one step (one merit) closer to PPA's Master of Photography degree.

Start or continue your journey today to earn a degree recognized throughout the world. This PPA District Photographic Competition is the first step--get your images ready to submit!

See the full list of PPA District Competition dates and details online.

Did you know that you could soak up three extra days of art and business education before Imaging USA officially begins? We're talking pre-convention--those all-day, more in-depth, often hands-on classes that can really boost your skill level in a certain area and help you squeeze the last drop of value out of your travel dollars. And there's still time to sign up for some of the classes!

Held January 12-14 for an additional fee, these pre-convention options can help you:

  • Learn by doing with one of five "Hands-On Photography" classes on Saturday (max of only 30 attendees per class).
  • Get growing this year with "Business Basics for Wedding Photographers," "Business Basics for Portrait Photographers" or "Business Breakthroughs."
  • Improve your lighting, posing, sales, and post-processing for any number of specialties.
  • Give yourself (and your business) a gift this holiday season--big ideas from Imaging USA's pre-convention classes.

"By the afternoon of the first pre-convention day, I had earned my money's worth with the amount of knowledge and clarity that I gained toward my new business."
-Imaging USA attendee

AMERICAN SOCIETY OF PHOTOGRAPHERS (ASP)Once again the American Society of Photographers (ASP) will be joining us at Imaging USA. If you're an ASP member you won't want to miss these special events to catch up with your fellow members. And remember, if you're coming to the black-tie optional ASP Banquet, you need to get your tickets early (it's sold out each of the last six years)!

All ASP events will be held in the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel

Hilton Hotel, Jasperwood, Third Floor
Sunday, January 15, 8:00am - 9:00am

Hilton Hotel, Jasperwood, Third Floor
Sunday, January 15, 9:00am - 12:00pm

Hilton Hotel, Versailles Ballroom, Third Floor
Monday, January 16, 7:00pm - 9:30pm

Hilton Hotel, Jefferson Ballroom, Third Floor
Monday, January 16, 9:30pm - Midnight

Purchasing ASP Banquet tickets  (everyone is welcome)
ASP members should purchase banquet tickets directly on your ASP renewal notices. Non-members should contact Jon Allyn (, 800-638-9609) to purchase. Remember...order early!

  • $55 if purchased by January 2, 2012
  • $65 if purchased after January 2, 2012
  • $75 at the ASP Booth at Imaging USA

Picking up tickets
Beginning Sunday, January 15, at 2:00pm you may pick up your tickets and select your seating (first-come, first-served) at the ASP Booth (located near Imaging USA registration).

Are you ready for a business breakthrough in your life? Well, get ready. PPA's Business Breakthroughs Workshop, presented by Allison Rodgers, Cr.Photog. and Bridget Jackson, CPA and PPA's Studio Management Services manager, is headed to Texas School (April 30 - May 3, 2012). Why are we mentioning this now? Well, Texas School classes tend to fill up within just a few hours (or less!) of registration opening, and that's happening January 3! 

This workshop is known to help attendees grow their client bases, raise sales averages and be more profitable. It offers you intense education, hands-on interactive worksheets, and one-hour private consultation with both an SMS mentor and Bridget Jackson, CPA. It's something you don't want to miss if you're ready to take your photography business to the next level!

Sound like the perfect class? Keep watch at, and the minute registration is open, do it! And remember, for questions about the workshop itself, please contact PPA at 888-851-0405.

It's the holidays, and you know what that means, right? For starters, it means scarfing down those delectable comfort foods you salivate over year after year. (Pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, eggnog, candy canes and more!) There's also comfort to be had in knowing that December is the culmination of a year's hard work. You've served your clients faithfully, produced amazing images...and are gearing up to do even better in 2012. But hopefully, the holidays will give you some much-needed rest and relaxation first.

All of us understand the value of comfort (whatever form it takes). That's why we're serving up our tried-and-true "best dishes" of 2011--PPA benefits that give you peace of mind by helping you succeed in business.

Spider Holster has announced it has started shipping its Spider Holster Black Widow Kit which offers a comfortable and secure carrying solution for entry-level DSLRs and other small-body cameras such as point-and-shoot, micro four thirds, and compact system camera models. Packaging the heavy-duty resin and stainless steel Black Widow Holster unit with all the basic accessories, such as the Black Widow Belt and just updated Black Widow Pad, ensures the optimal carrying comfort for consumer and prosumer photographers. The new and improved Black Widow Pad now includes an additional stabilizing feature to snug the camera's lens to the Pad for added stability.

The Black Widow Camera Holster secures the camera firmly to the photographer's hip and eliminates the neck, shoulder and back strain caused by cameras dangling from traditional neck straps or shoulder bags, and is perfect for shooters who want to keep their hands free at all times. The Black Widow easily threads onto any standard leather belt or can be worn on the included Black Widow Belt, which complements the holster's light-weight design to sit comfortably on the hips, and is perfect for use with slightly heavier cameras or when shooting for extended periods of time. Also included in the Kit is the latest evolution of the Black Widow Pad, a comfortable, cushioned extension of the belt that provides a resting place for the camera against the user's body. This latest version of the Pad also includes an elastic and Velcro lens strap that, when locked in place, prevents the camera from jostling on the hip.

The Spider Holster Black Widow Kit will retail at $65.99. For current Black Widow users, the latest version of the Spider Holster Pad featuring the added lens strap, is also available for individual purchase for $15.99. Visit for more information.  
Tucci_Damon_headshotblog.jpg"I must embrace, adapt and constantly push myself as an artist to be relevant," says Damon Tucci, Cr.Photog. And it must be working, judging by the style that has helped him succeed in wedding and portrait photography.

Since opening his business in the Orlando, Florida area in 1992, Tucci's wedding clients have grown to love his stylized fashion/documentary approach to wedding photography. The method combines the elements of guided fashion posing with photojournalism documentation, allowing his clients to look their best while still capturing the special moments of their wedding day.

In fact, Tucci recently released a DVD called "VisualThumbnail image for tucci1.JPG Pimping" that documents him in the field and showcases how he makes his images from beginning to end, including post-production. "It's cool because unlike DVDs that showcase splendid locations, our locations are backyards, neighborhood streets and industrial parks," adds Tucci. "It is the reality of what we all have to deal with--having to make something out of nothing, anywhere, anytime."

That creative ability takes a certain mindset. Luckily, Tucci is getting ready to share it with you at Imaging USA! Don't miss his "In My Head: Tapping Into the Photographer's Mindset" Imaging USA class, sponsored by Miller's Professional Imaging, on January 17, 2012.  

Tucci will show you the methodology and mindset you must have to produce exceptional images on demand. He'll also touch on modern posing and lighting techniques, including off-camera speed lights, available lighting, strobe and video. Best of all, Tucci will show you that creating unique images doesn't have to be complicated!

"I think students tend to believe they need to use a lot of gear tucci3.JPGwith elaborate setups to achieve great images," Tucci explains. "Instead, I try to instill the KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) method. I teach pre-visualization and effective run-and-gun capture methods with a sound technical foundation."

Sound like what you wish Santa would bring you? Then get ready to enter Damon's mindset and plan to attend his Imaging USA class!

tucci2.JPGRead more about Damon Tucci here. Read more about Imaging USA here


PPA is excited to let you know that the 2012 PPA Northcentral District Photographic Competition judging is coming up (hosted at Green Bay, WI). And you know what that's time to get your images ready! You can submit your entries online: January 26 - February 16, 2012 (online entry closes at 5:00pm EST).

This district competition is a great opportunity for photographers like you to learn and grow since your work is judged by international jurors. Get your images ready and go to to find the forms, rules and entry information for the competition.

Remember that you can now enter either prints or digital files, and image formats are no longer restricted to 16 x 20. Plus, images receiving a score of 80 or above in district competitions (like the one coming up in your area) will automatically earn an exhibition merit when submitted to the 2012 PPA International Photographic Competition. That means you'll be one step (one merit) closer to PPA's Master of Photography degree.

Start or continue your journey today to earn a degree recognized throughout the world. This PPA District Photographic Competition is the first step--get your images ready to submit!

See the full list of PPA District Competition dates and details online.
JenBasfordheadshot_blog.jpgWant to tap an underserved market? How about building relationships with future senior portrait clients early on...and increasing your profits in the interim? Jen Basford figured out a way to do just that by focusing on the 'tween years: Learn how via her online class today at 2:00pm EST, "The 'Tween Years: Creating a New Market."

While many studios regularly photograph newborns, toddlers, small children, seniors and families, there is a huge gap that exists between the years of photographing small children and high school seniors. Jen sought out and is building an entirely new market for this group of 'tweens, using a lot of the same techniques that helped her build her thriving senior portrait business. Come learn how to break into this market, including ideas for shooting, marketing, relationships, and events that can help build and grow a completely new area for your portrait business.
dnp_boothflyer.jpgDNP (booth #1441), the world's leading innovator of dye-sublimation photo printing products, will be showcasing its new line of photo printers at the 2012 Imaging USA show. DNP is focused on solutions for the professional photo markets with a full line of dye-sublimation photo printers. Our flexible approach and technologies has revolutionized dye-sublimation printing via the DS Seriesâ„¢ printers. These high-speed, high-quality photo printers are perfect for use in commercial applications and have garnered industry recognition, winning the DIMA Digital Printer Shoot-Out three years consecutively. DNP offers a full-line of reliable professional digital photo printers focused on versatility and revenue generation.

DNP debuts the SnapLab® portable dye-sublimation photo printer at Imaging USA this year. This revenue-generating printer is an all-in-one printer capable of producing photo-lab quality glossy and matte surface 4"x6", 5"x7", 4"x8", and two--2"x8" prints. This popular printer is the choice for thousands of event photographers due to all-in-one design featuring an 8-inch touch-sensitive color LCD and user-friendly GUI. Easy to operate, with no PC required, the SnapLab® allows for creation of custom borders for events, cards, and announcements. Take the SnapLab® to your next event for even more revenue-generating possibilities.

Read the full release here.
Creating family portraits in any shape is a big responsibility. The images you create will become part of the family's collective memory. They'll remember the funny sounds you used to make the little ones laugh, the special moment between the bride and her father, or how you made mom look like she belongs on the cover of a magazine.

But are you ready for an even bigger responsibility? Multi-generationally bigger?

It's one thing to go on location for a few hours with four members of the Smith family. It's an entirely different story when you start adding in members of their extended family. Think of the potential disorder that could ensue with grandparents, parents and grandkids in the same place for several hours. Just think about your own large family gathering...then add a photographer to the mix trying to keep everything and everyone organized. It could be chaos. Done right, though, it can be a great experience for all.

Here are some ideas to help you stay afloat as you wade into the waters of multi-generational portraiture.

Unified Color Technologies has announced the latest upgrade to its popular HDR image editing software offerings, HDR Expose 2, the standalone HDR software, and 32 Float v2, a 32-bit HDR image editing plug-in for Adobe® Photoshop®.

Built upon Unified Color's Beyond RGBTM color technology platform, both HDR Expose 2 and 32 Float v2 separate an image's color component from its luminosity component, enabling photographers to adjust each independently; thereby preventing the tell-tale color shifts often associated with HDR photography and producing much more natural-looking tone mapped results. HDR Expose 2 and 32 Float v2 are also true 32-bit color editing tools that take full advantage of all the available shades of color and tone in a 32-bit HDR image for the smoothest, halo-free results.

With these upgrades, Unified Color has reengineered its base architecture to significantly improve performance and expand the programs' tool sets to offer additional fine control over global and local tonal adjustments. This new architecture powers a real-time processing engine that enables image adjustments to be visualized immediately while applied to the full image, not just a proxy or scaled down preview version. Additionally, new color-safe Dodge & Burn Brush and Tone Curve tools supply unprecedented 32-bit local control, enabling photographers to selectively lighten or darken specific areas without inducing color shifts, gradients or posterization.

Additional new features include:

  • Batch Merge and Batch Processing tools: Commercial and high volume photographers will save valuable time with the new automatic batch merging process which automatically groups and previews images from exposure brackets of any size and then merges them to 32-bit HDR files. After the merge, 32-bit images can be batch processed for final TIFF or JPEG output by applying user presets. Users can even choose to process the same image up to 5 different ways by selecting multiple presets. All batch merge and processing can be applied as a background task to further enhance workflow efficiencies.
  • User-Definable Global Presets: Providing a one-click starting point, the presets can be completely customized to personal preferences.
  • Restructured User Interface: Users are seamlessly guided through the ideal order of operations that ensures each available adjustment is applied at the recommended step in a methodical workflow.

About HDR Expose 2
HDR Expose 2 is a powerful stand-alone application. The entirely new tone mapping and halo elimination algorithms in HDR Expose 2 handle the most complicated HDR Images. HDR Expose also includes export plug-ins providing photographers full access to these powerful HDR tools from an existing Lightroom® or Aperture® workflow.

About 32 Float v2
For photographers who prefer to maintain a Photoshop-centric workflow, Unified Color's new 32 Float v2 provides all the same image adjustment tools of its stand-alone brother, but as a Photoshop filter plug-in. Ideal for users that prefer to work on layered images, where Photoshop only allows limited adjustment tools when working on 32-bit images, 32-Float unlocks the true potential for 32-bit true color HDR editing functionality in Photoshop CS3 Extended, CS4 Extended and CS5.

HDR Expose 2 and 32 Float v2 are available for direct purchase through the company website at:, and a 30-day free trial is available for each. Several pricing options are available:

HDR Expose 2
  • $149 regular price
  • $129 special introductory price through December 31, 2011
32 Float v2
  • $99 regular price
  • $89 special introductory price through December 31, 2011

HDR Expose 2/ 32 Float v2 Combo Pack
  • $199 regular price
  • $169 special introductory price through December 31, 2011

Additional discounts for customers upgrading from a previous version or other Unified Color products are also available. See for more details.
Congratulations to PPA Member Mimika Cooney on the publication of her new book "Boutique Baby Photography". The book was published by Amherst Media.

As a specialist in maternity and baby photography in Charlotte, NC, Mimika shares tips and practical advice to photographers seeking to enter the baby and maternity market in her book.

Read more about Mimika and her new book here.
PPA member Jeremy Cowart was recently featured in an article on The article focuses on Cowart's non-profit, Help-Portrait.

Help-Portrait provides professional quality portrait photographs to people who otherwise could not afford them. Read the full article here.

Cowart was also recently featured in the July 2011 issue of Professional Photographer magazine.
Everyone needs a business plan. It's your road map to success, helping you clearly state your goals and the steps you will take to get there. In fact, running a business without such a plan is like trying to get to a destination without knowing where you are, or in which direction to start!
Now, that's all well and good...but what's included in such business plans? How do you follow them? And why? Join Tracy on Thursday (Dec. 15 at 2:00pm EST) as she guides you through what a business plan really is AND how you use it in your business on a daily basis to keep on the right track. 
Don't be too distracted with those visions of sugar plums dancing in your head this holiday season--start preparing your competition entries! The dates and deadlines for the 2012 PPA District Photographic Competitions have been announced, and they are creeping up on us:

  • Northcentral Entry Deadline: Feb. 16
  • Western Entry Deadline: Feb. 23
  • Northeast Entry Deadline: March 8
  • Southeast Entry Deadline: March 22
Want some help getting your images as perfect as possible for those district competitions? Take advantage of the free PPA Photographic Competition Mentor program at Imaging USA. (But you better act fast--these mentor sessions fill up fast.) 
Photographers, mark your calendars because Photo Pie has announced that it will be exhibiting again at the Imaging USA expo in New Orleans (booth #137) January 15-17, 2012. Since last year's show, Photo Pie has introduced two new washable, wrinkle-free backdrop lines - InspiraCloth and JerseyCloth -- in addition to their economical CreativeCloth. They have added hundreds of new images to their repertoire as well, from popular damask patterns and grunge backdrops to regal European and rustic rural scenes. Along with backdrops Photo Pie now offers supplies and more "sweet pieces" to help photographers "indulge their creativity".

Specializing in distinctive, realistic backdrops, Photo Pie sees the Imaging EXPO as an excellent opportunity to make face-to-face contact with customers and show how they can help photographers distinguish themselves from their competition. "We have new products that we are excited to share with photographers and imaging professionals," says Jeremy Smith, Owner and CEO of Photo Pie, "And Imaging USA is one of the best places to reach them."

They will be offering a show special for attendees of 20% off backdrops purchased at the show -- one of the best discounts of the year.  If professional photographers want the first chance at snatching up some great show specials and the chance to ask Photo Pie's specialists their questions about their distinctive products, join them at the upcoming Imaging USA in January.

Read the rest of this release here.
The words "charge it" could soon take on a new meaning if you're a business owner. If you take even a single credit card payment for your photography services, consider giving your payment processor a call during this next year.

Why? Let's take a trip through the perfect client session and sale. A family books their annual portrait session. The session goes wonderfully and not only do they purchase a group shot, but they also love all of the other images you captured and want gallery wraps, albums and more! When it's time to pay, they pull out a credit card. You happily accept their card because even though you are subject to the normal monthly or annual fee assessed by your credit card processor, it's worth it!

But what if you encounter a speed bump? What if you later receive notification from your credit card processing company that they are required to hold 28% of your gross monthly transactions? What went wrong?

It's possible that your tax ID name and number don't match exactly with what the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has on file. It does happen! And if that is the case starting January 1, 2013, the processor will have to hold that percentage for the IRS until the proper information is secured. On top of that, the 28% of your hard-earned session or print fees will not be refunded until the following year as a tax credit.

Read the complete article here.
tamron_nex.jpgTamron Co., Ltd., has announced the introduction of a new lens, the 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 Di III VC (Model B011). The new high-power all-in-one zoom lens is designed for the Sony NEX (E-mount) series of interchangeable-lens, lightweight and compact digital cameras.The lens will begin shipping in the U.S. December 15, 2011.

With the 18-200mm Di III VC (Model B011), Tamron has created a high-power all-in-one zoom lens that is compact and lightweight, featuring a 62mm filter and weighing only 16.2 oz., while at the same time delivering superlative image quality. This compact size lets users easily shoot across an extended range - from wide-angle to full telephoto - with just one lens. The focal length coverage is 18-200mm. Converted to the coverage of the 35mm format, this is equivalent to a range of 27mm wide-angle up to 300mm full telephoto. This allows the user to easily take wide-angle shots of expansive landscapes and powerful telephoto images that enlarge the details of distant subjects-all with one lens. In addition, by setting the lens at the telephoto end (200mm) and moving in to the minimum focus distance of 19.6", flower petals, jewelry and other small objects can be shot as expanded close-ups.

Product Features
Compact and Lightweight
The high-power 18-200mm all-in-one lens is a lightweight and compact zoom weighing 16.2oz. with a 62mm filter, designed for exclusive use on the E-mount lens system on Sony's NEX series mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras.
Built-in stabilization enables easy handheld shooting from 18mm wide angle to 200mm full telephoto
Equipped with Tamron's acclaimed VC (Vibration Compensation), and thanks to its light weight and compact size, this lens allows easy handheld shooting of sharp images with no camera shake over a wide range of settings, from everyday snapshots to memorable travel scenes.
Stepping motor adopted for the AF drive, a construction that accommodates contrast-detection AF and shooting video
The AF drive has a stepping motor that is optimal for the Contrast-detection AF system employed by NEX series cameras. This also gives the drive a quieter operation, which is ideal for shooting video in which voices are recorded. In addition, ease of operation is enhanced with the Direct Manual Focus (DMF) function, which allows the user to make fine manual adjustments after initially focusing by AF.
About the stepping motor
The B011's autofocus mechanism uses a stepping motor that is an ideal match for the Contrast-detection AF system used in Sony's NEX series cameras. The stepping motor's actuator allows finely tuned control of angular rotation, and since it drives the focusing mechanism directly without an intermediate reduction gear, it also provides superbly quiet performance.

About the VC (Vibration Compensation) system
Tamron's VC mechanism employs a three-coil system, where by three driving coils activate the shake-compensating VC lens group electromagnetically via three steel balls. The VC lens elements are held in place only by contact with the steep balls, achieving smooth movement with little friction. This provides a stable view finder image with excellent tracking performance that eliminates the blur from handheld shots for cleaner, crisper shots.

About the new VC mechanism (moving coil system)
Tamron's conventional VC (Vibration Compensation) unit has a moving magnet system with heavy magnets in the vibration-compensating lens. However, the new VC mechanism adopts a lightweight moving coil system that reduces the load on the drive system. This allows the drive to be operated with smaller coils and magnets, reducing the weight and size for the entire VC unit, In addition, improvements to software and other elements of the VC mechanism used in the 18-200mm Di III VC have made the mechanism even quieter.

It's time to finalize your Imaging USA travel plans if you haven't already! Visit our online Hotels & Travel page for the latest information on hotels, maps, driving directions with helpful parking maps and more. For example, there are a few rooms left at the headquarters hotel (Hilton New Orleans Riverside), and we've added a few overflow hotels to the website to help you in your search. (Remember, though, that we don't have special room rates at these additional hotels.) We'll see you in New Orleans soon!

Lisa-Crayford-headshot.jpgHow do you build great client loyalty? "The most important thing is to honestly and whole-heartedly care," advises Lisa Crayford, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI. "Your clients will know if you do."

Of course, it helps to have a few strategies up your sleeve to go with that caring! So, tune in December 13 to learn some of the tactics that have helped Lisa build up to 1,000 sessions annually (with many, many returning clients)--via her PPA online class, "The Building Blocks of Client Relationships."

It all starts with prospecting for new clients. For example, one thing Lisa has done since Day One of her business is to be at her four local county fairs (all within a half-hour from her studio). She has fair attendees fill out a survey to win a session and 16x20 portrait. On the survey, they fill in their names, addresses, emails and phone number.

But prospecting can be kind of tricky, as Lisa says. "You want to get good, paying clients in your door, not the bottom feeders if you know what I mean!" That's why--to bring the best prospects to the top--she also has those who fill out her survey indicate their level of interest in her studio (1-5, with 5 being the most interested). She even offers them a choice of winning the portrait or the cash equivalent--"that rules out a lot of people," she explains.

Ready for more detailed tips, advice and techniques on prospecting and what really works to build those client relationships (like charity, sales incentives and customer service)? Join Lisa online December 13 and start building!

We've mentioned previously that one of the benefits of being a PPA member is that you receive discounts on many products and services that photographers use every day. From computer software to office supplies, many of these useful discounts are available to you on a daily basis. But here's even more great news: The deals don't stop there. Pay special attention to those times when PPA negotiates extra-special discounts called Extreme Deals (like the one going on right now for PhotoShelter)!

Extreme Deals are amazingly good bargains on products photographers need, with savings exclusive to PPA members. The key here is to act quickly when an Extreme Deal comes around that you are interested in. They are short-term discounts, so time is of the essence. That's why, when one is being offered, PPA members are notified via member emails and blog posts. (Members can also find information about any current Extreme Deals on the PPA website at any time.)

What could you get? Past Extreme Deals have included slideshow services from Animoto, discounted services from (on top of the discount PPA members already receive), Photobiz website services and more!

Remember: You have to be a PPA member to take advantage of these extreme savings. Join today and start getting better resources for less!
Being in the holiday season doesn't mean your business needs have stopped. Many photographers find themselves shipping both gifts and orders this time of year, so don't forget your PPA member benefit with FedEx!

Whether you have gifts to send, orders to fulfill or materials to print, FedEx has the solutions to help you get it done on time. Plus, PPA members can get discounts on select shipping and business services through our special FedEx Advantage® Program.
  • Deliver On Time: Specify time-definite delivery in the U.S. and around the world with FedEx Express®, or choose FedEx Ground® for delivery in 1 to 5 business days within the contiguous U.S., based on the distance to the destination.
  • Home Delivery: FedEx Home Delivery® is the only service of its kind dedicated to residential customers and is faster to more residential locations than UPS Ground.
  • Hold at Location: FedEx Express, FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery packages can now be delivered--or even redirected in-transit--and held for pickup at the recipient's convenience. Packages may be held at to up to 2,400 FedEx locations, including many FedEx Office® centers.
  • Print at FedEx Office: Save up to 20%* on select FedEx Office copy and print services and up to 10% on other select services, including custom-made posters, signs, banners, newsletters, flyers, brochures and postcards.

Ready to take advantage of your PPA discounts with FedEx and save on your holiday needs--for your business and personal life? Get your special link, promo code and phone number here.

*FedEx Office discount does not apply to outsourced products or services, office supplies, shipping services, inkjet cartridges, videoconferencing services, equipment rental, conference room rental, high-speed wireless access, Sony® PictureStationTM purchase, gift certificates, custom calendars, holiday promotion greeting cards or postage. This discount cannot be used in combination with volume pricing, custom-bid orders, sale items, coupons or other discount offers. Discounts and availability are subject to change. Not valid for services provided at FedEx Office Print and Ship Center locations in hotels, convention centers and other non-retail locations. Products, services and hours vary by location.
photoshelter_websites_graphic.jpgStart 2012 off with a website that works for your business! PhotoShelter, the leader in websites and marketing tools for photographers is pleased to offer an extreme deal to PPA members. Sign up for PhotoShelter before December 31, 2011 and get 2-months of service completely free! That's a $60 value.

With a PhotoShelter website, you get 10 professional website design themes or the ability to customize your own look. Plus, you get powerful tools to support your photo business, including:

  • A robust shopping cart for selling prints, products & image downloads
  • Powerful marketing tools to attract clients with social media and search engine optimization
  • Client management tools like password protected galleries, proofing & online image delivery
  • A true archive for storing JPG, RAW, TIFF, and PSD images online
  • Plus so much more

Members can read more about this extreme deal and how to signup for it here.

You wake up and your head is swirling and your fever could fry an egg. You get halfway to your on-location session, only to get caught behind a 10-car pileup. You get a calendar reminder at 3:00 p.m. that you missed a 10:00 a.m. session. What do all of these situations have in common?

Aside from being just plain bad luck, they're all reasons you might have to back out of previously scheduled photography sessions or events. Even though we all hope to avoid such situations, it's important to know what to do should the need arise.  And it's equally important for you to communicate this procedure to your clients.

Canceling the Appointment
Whether you're sick, sidetracked or experience a last-minute emergency, know ahead of time what you can do to still satisfy your contract. Planning for a last-minute emergency may sound odd (you can't anticipate everything!), but it will help you put your best foot forward and keep your client's interests at heart.

Read the complete article: Canceling on Your Client...Last Minute

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