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PPA Today: April 2012 Archives

April 2012 Archives

The 2013 PPA NorthCentral District Photographic Competition judging dates (February 8‐9, 2013) are very close to the Imaging USA dates (January 20‐22, 2013), which means that any print case shipping from Imaging USA to you will not make it in time.

Why Is This Important to Note?
To enter prints in district competitions like NorthCentral, you must use an approved print case. So, if you only have one such case, you need to ensure it's on hand for your NorthCentral print entries. That means you may have to make alternative arrangements for entries at the 2012 International Photographic Competition (IPC). After all, if you ship prints to the 2012 IPC in your approved print case, that case is then used to transport your images to the Imaging USA exhibit (if they do well enough). And that means it might not get back to you in time to use for your NorthCentral district competition.

So, how can you avoid being without your print case for your district?

Ship Print Entries to the 2012 IPC in Cardboard Boxes--Shipping in cardboard boxes means your IPC entries won't be returned, but you probably don't need those for the new NorthCentral competition anyway.

Enter the 2013 NorthCentral District Competition Digitally--Entering your district digitally dispels the need for any print case and shipping fee. Just remember: If you enter an image digitally in district, you need to enter that same image digitally at the next IPC (especially if it earned a Seal of Approval at the district competition).

NorthCentral Photographic Competition District includes the following states/territories

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin
  • Manitoba
  • Ontario
denise_lee_headshot.jpgMarketing is one of those skills that all business owners need to have, learn or at least outsource. Denise Lee of Hope Haven Photography in Summerville, S.C., will help you learn marketing methods that have helped her business remain strong via her "Guerrilla Marketing for Photographers" Super Monday class in Summerville, S.C. on May 14, 2012.

Success Without Specializing
Interested in photography since she was a child, Lee first got the idea to turn her hobby into a business while shooting her daughter's equestrian events. "People began asking if they could purchase my photos and so it began," she says.

"Against most logic, I have not specialized. I feel this keeps my photography fresh and exciting," Lee adds. "I love learning new things and if I saw an amazing layout for a maternity session--but only did weddings--I would be so bummed."

And since going full time in 2005, she has established a wide client base partially thanks todenise_lee_1.jpg her unique marketing and advertising ideas.

Teaching Marketing Success to You

How effective are Lee's marketing and advertising ideas? Her business has survived a move to South Carolina without struggling to stay alive!

"Since I had such a strong business model, I was able to pick it up without really missing a beat," she says. Sound like something you'd like to cultivate in your own photography?

If you're ready to have an "I never thought of that..." moment when it comes to marketing, consider attending Lee's "Guerrilla Marketing for Photographers" Super Monday class on May 14th in Summerville, S.C.

After all, as Lee says, "Do something every day to help your business grow. Marketing opportunities are everywhere." Take advantage of your next opportunity on May 14!

denise_lee_3.jpgLearn more about Lee's class and browse more Super Monday classes in more locations at Read more about Denise Lee here.

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.

deny_backdrop1_blog.jpgDenny Manufacturing Company, Inc. has introduced a new series of of HDR computer-printed backdrops.

Now's the perfect time for PPA members to use their FedEx Office benefit. Why? You can double your savings on color copies, posters, signs, banners, direct mail services, and much more through May 2013--saving 30-40%! PPA members can log in here for details.

Dahlia Lavender 726 200dpi.jpgPPA member Barry J. Taratoot of Atlanta, Ga., has been selected by the Artists in Exhibition program at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to exhibit his photographic works of fine art. His exhibit--"The Les Fleurs Collection" (French for "The Flowers")--is on display until May 16 in the airport's Atrium Gallery.

The exhibit consists of framed images ranging in size from 34" x 46" to just shy of 4ft. x 6ft. Given the fact that Barry's photographs are floral, the Atrium now bursts alive with subtle splashes of color that could not be more appropriate for an Atlanta spring showing.

Barry is one of eight Atlanta area artists invited each year to exhibit a photographic body of work at Hartsfield-Jackson. He does all of his own printing and finishing work in his home studio in Dunwoody, Ga. In fact, it's Barry's unusual way of photographing his floral subjects that makes them so very unique.

Although the images themselves are digitally captured and created, no special effects software is used to finish a photographic piece. According to Barry: "After the plants are photographed using a special lens and lighting technique, the images are imported to Adobe Photoshop to undergo color balancing, dust and dirt removal, and then positioned to create a perfectly beautiful photograph. The pictures are not digitally manipulated in Photoshop to any significant degree or any other professional application other than this."

133_ZembaRG.jpgTo the Zemba family, photography is more than a passion; it's the family business. It began when Robert Charles Zemba purchased a high-volume contract studio, renamed it and started doing things his way--quality first. When his sons, Robert F. and Edward, joined forces with him, they helped keep that same high standard. Today, this commitment to excellence has paid off in record profits and consistent growth even through the recession. But they will be the first to say the journey wasn't easy.

"In the beginning, we basically worked for free," Ed recalls. "That's the growing pains of a company. But it was a tremendous opportunity, one we wouldn't have had without our father."

Read more here.

Photo credit: Robert Charles Photography

Simply put, a benchmark is a standard by which something can be measured or judged. What does that have to do with PPA benefits? Well, PPA surveys hundreds of photographers and studios across the country to establish benchmarks specifically for you! It's PPA's Financial Benchmark Survey, Analysis & Toolset.

Where They Come From
To develop these tools, we collect photographers' financial data, analyze it with accountants from our Studio Management Services (SMS) team, and then establish benchmarks (or goalposts) for different financial categories. These benchmarks are designed to help you set sales and expense targets, and then use those targets to develop goals for your business. 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).

So far, PPA has held three surveys--2005, 2008 and 2011--and the latest survey is being analyzed right now!

How They Can Help
In a sense, the Benchmark Surveys provide financial snapshots of the industry, showing what it takes to achieve specific financial results in a photography business. For example, they make the connection between your total sales and your take-home profit, so you can determine how much you need to sell to support your family. They also help you gauge expenses, like how much you're really spending to produce your products and operate your studio.

"The Benchmark Survey has been a good way to measure our costs to an industry standard," says Susan Hoermann, M.Photog., CPP, of Evergreen Studios in Texas. "It gives us an overview of where our industry is headed, what is an acceptable cost of sales and where we are in relation to other businesses."

In fact, with the Benchmark Survey findings, you'll discover not just where you should be, but where you could be profit-wise...and start learning how to get there.

Benchmark Resources
To get a sneak peek at the 2011 Benchmark Survey results, watch "How to Measure Success: Key Findings from PPA's 2011 Benchmark Survey." If you have an Online Learning Pass, you can get this and unlimited access to all live and archived webinars for just $99!

PPA's Studio Management Services team has created a suite of nifty Self-Evaluation Tools to answer some questions that members often ask about their finances and their business plans. A brand-new version is coming soon, but in the meantime, these free tools will guide you step-by-step in calculating how your studio measures up to the Benchmarks:

You can also check out free online articles,  PPA Benchmark Reports and the PPA Business Handbook for more critical insight on what it takes to run a profitable business--and how the PPA benchmarks can help.

Every profession has a dialect of its own. In fact, you could probably sit down and write a glossary of photography terms off the top of your head--terms that every photographic beginner should learn about. After all, when you're setting up shop in a particular industry, it's best to be able to speak the native tongue.

Did you know that your photography glossary should include a few vital accounting terms, too? Of course, if you're a staff photographer, you may never have to translate "charts of accounts" and "costs of goods sold" into something that makes sense to your creative brain. If you're an entrepreneur, though, all bets are off. As an entrepreneur, you need to know your numbers and how to make smart business decisions based on them.

The good news is that PPA members have tools to help: PPA's Benchmark Survey, Analysis & Toolset. With these tools, you can get a handle on your numbers and, by doing so, set key performance metrics and start regularly measuring your business against them.

But to understand the Benchmark--and be able to take advantage of it--you need to speak a little accounting. Read more here.
Do you have a storage closet? If so, do you stuff items in wherever they'll fit, or do you neatly stack the winter coats on one shelf, extra batteries and light bulbs in a labeled basket and so on? As your mother probably told you, a more organized closet means items can be found quickly. And that means they are more likely to be of use to you in the future.

Same goes for your business finances. You can't improve what you can't measure, and you can't measure what you can't find. So, let's dig into those accounting books and do a little spring cleaning--which is a whole lot easier than you think.

The first step to better understanding your numbers is a specific organization. We call it "managerial accounting."

This Organization Works

When you think of accounting, you probably think of an accountant or software like QuickBooks. Yes, they give you tax-based accounting for preparing accurate tax returns, but that will not help you manage your business more effectively on a daily basis. What you need to do is restructure that same data so it's useful to YOU--an artist and business owner, not an accountant.

Members, click here for the full article
Are you ready to elect your representatives to the 2012-2015 PPA Council? PPA members and PPA Affiliates (affiliated photography associations) have until May 1 to nominate their Council picks! It's easier than ever this year to get involved, too:

Don't forget these important PPA Council Elections dates:

  • April 15 - May 1: Nominations
  • May 15 - June 15: Voting
  • July 1: Councilors take office
To learn more about PPA Council itself, visit
forester_headshot_blog.jpgDo you want to attract the big spenders in the high school senior market? Then you might want to consider product-driven marketing and "luxury wording," as Beth Forester, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, does.

"Seniors are very brand-oriented," Beth explains. "They want the Coach purse, the designer clothes, etc. So if I can put photography products in their hands that their peers will want, it will drive more clients to me."

From web-related products to tangible mini albums, video podcasts to graduation announcements, Beth's product-driven marketing helps funnel her clients into the sales process. For example, she just ordered 3,000 graduation announcements from her lab--"that's 3,000 pieces of direct mail that I'm not paying the postage for!"

But Beth says you also have to keep those products hot and new because the styles and trends that seniors want change every year. "I don't just have to be better than the photographer down the street; I have to be better than Beth Forester last year," she notes. "Seniors are all about new, new, new." That's why she updates and adds new product lines every year...just like her clients update their racks of clothes.

Along with that, Beth says she constantly educates and reminds clients (the parents, especially) that her photography is just like the designer bags and shoes they have. She does so in everything that comes from her studio. "I market to the high-end senior," says Beth. "So I'm always reiterating the luxury wording, communicating the investment. It's an educational process."

Want more tips in appealing to and driving sales with the high-end client? Tune in for Beth Forester's advice next week: "Marketing to A-List Seniors" (April 24, 2:00pm EST). 
Want to see yourself or one of your images in upcoming PPA materials? We certainly want our members to grace the pages! That's why PPA is looking for images of our members doing what you do best--shooting on assignment.

In other words, we're looking for behind-the-scenes shots of you, not the typical headshot or portrait session done by a peer. Ever look through session photos and notice that your second shooter caught you on the ground capturing a unique image of the bride and groom...or making silly faces to get a child to smile? These are exactly the images PPA is looking for. We want images of our members actively engaged in photography and the following specialties: weddings, portraits (includes family and children), special events, sports photography, aerial photography and nature and underwater photography.

PPA is also looking for images of members using their member benefits. Got an image with a broken camera and a phone to your ear, contacting Lockton Affinity to make an equipment insurance claim? Send it in. Got an image of you at your desk, working tirelessly to apply the Benchmark Analysis & Tools to your everyday bookkeeping? Just be creative and use your imagination...and you could be featured in an upcoming PPA marketing piece! (Visit for the extended list of your benefits.)

There is no deadline--just click here to upload your image. We can't wait to see you in your element and showcasing your fun, creative mind!
PPA's got what you need to help make sense (and more than cents) out of your photography business, thanks to the remaining business workshops coming in 2012. Need guidance with essential business and marketing questions? Want to increase your sales, keep more money and take back your life? Want to become financially stronger and more profitable? See the remaining 2012 business workshops below and register for the class that's right for you!

Business Basics Workshops
  • April 28-29 - Cincinnati, OH
  • June 9-10 - Atlanta, GA
  • June 25-26 - Ann Arbor, MI
  • November 3-4 - Atlanta, GA

Business Breakthroughs Workshops
  • July 15-19 - Shawnigan Lake, BC
  • July 16 - 18 - Memphis, TN
  • November 5-7 - Atlanta, GA
The 2012 International Photographic Competition starts soon! Are your images polished? Have any last-minute questions? Here are some resources and important dates:

It's almost time for PPA members to elect their representatives to the 2012-2015 PPA Council! You can get all the details you need here.

  • April 15: Council nominations open
  • May 1: Deadline for Council nominations
  • May 15 - June 15: Voting
  • July 1: Councilors take office
X-Rite, Incorporated has announced its new portfolio of i1 Professional Color Management Solutions which now include a newly redesigned i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer.
Built upon the success of X-Rite's i1Pro spectrophotometer as the de facto industry standard for more than a decade, the newly enhanced i1Pro 2 device has been redesigned to provide an even higher level of accuracy, versatility, ergonomics, functionality and value. Combined with the recently released i1Profiler software v1.3, which accommodates all levels of proficiency and expertise, the new i1Pro 2 portfolio of four different products is specifically targeted to meet the unique needs of photo, pre-press, digital print and publishing professionals, providing exceptional value at very attractive price points.
This new portfolio, comprised of X-Rite's i1Basic Pro 2, i1Photo Pro 2, i1Publish Pro 2 and i1Publish products feature groundbreaking new technology and applications. Each Pro solution includes the new i1Pro 2 second generation spectrophotometer - the most accurate and forward thinking device available today accommodating three measurement modes in one single device. These modes include the most commonly used M0 (Standard Illuminant A), the emerging M1 (illuminant D50) and M2 (known as UV-cut). Also included are i1Profiler, X-Rite's entirely new next generation color profiling software, PANTONE Color Manager color swatch bridging software and ColorChecker Camera Calibration software.

About Next Generation i1Pro Spectrophotometer

The i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer introduces a new level of color accuracy, delivering increased ease of use and an expanded professional level feature set, including supporting the latest developments in industry measurement standards. i1Pro 2 solutions are sure to maximize profitability and minimize wasted time, ink and paper, while delivering the confidence that the user's digital workflow is perfectly and professionally calibrated and profiled.

About i1Profiler Software

With the latest release of i1Profiler software v1.3, X-Rite has further enhanced this next generation professional color management software. i1Profiler offers an unprecedented level of flexibility and features a number of unique color management capabilities such as optimizing profiles, creating profiles with ambient light measurements, compensating for optical brighteners in papers, and utilizing simple yet advanced controls for black separation and significant ink savings, adding to users' power and control in creating professional quality profiles. Users can choose between a 'basic', wizard-driven interface; or an 'advanced', user-driven interface to create high quality, precise, custom color profiles for monitors, projectors, printers, and presses.

About X-Rite i1 Professional Color Management Solutions

i1Basic Pro 2 is a fundamental solution for high-end monitor profiling, monitor and printing quality verification, and spot color measurement. Designed for an imaging professional's unique needs, i1Basic Pro is ideal for an effective workflow in a color-managed ecosystem. i1Basic Pro includes i1Profiler software, PANTONE Color Manager software and an i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer.
i1Photo Pro 2 is specifically designed for discerning photo professionals to manage their RGB workflow from camera to display and projector to print. Thanks to the iterative profiling capability of the i1Profiler software, professional photo users will enjoy the highest quality color results that especially target highlight and shadow details and delivers greater color accuracy for more neutral grays and natural skin tones.  With the new Optical Brightener Compensation capability, photographers can even optimize their prints by taking into account optical brightening agents often found in photo papers and create output profiles for specific lighting conditions in studios or galleries, or wherever the print will be displayed.

i1Publish Pro 2 is the ultimate, fully-featured ICC profiling solutions for imaging professionals that need to organize and manage their complete RGB, CMYK and CMYK+ (CMYK plus any 4) prepress workflows, complete with new assurance validation and verification functions using digital standards. This includes a display QA function to check soft proofing for ISO (G7, SWOP, PSO, Japan Color) and a printer QA function to check print quality using ISO media wedges (IDEAlliance ISO Control Wedge or Fogra Media Wedge). With the emerging M1 measurement capability, imaging pros can rely on consistent measurement for visual match under industry standard viewing conditions, including the ability to appropriately account for paper Optical Brightening Agents (OBA).

i1Photo Pro 2 and i1Publish Pro 2 include i1Profiler software, an i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer, PANTONE Color Manager software, ColorChecker Proof target (for direct viewing analysis of ColorChecker target compared to customer's printed target), mini ColorChecker Classic target, and ColorChecker camera calibration software. i1Publish (a standalone software package) includes all of the above except for the spectrophotometer.

Availability and Upgrades

The new i1Pro 2 Professional Color Management Solutions are immediately available from X-Rite's online store, and also from the company's worldwide network of resellers. i1Publish Pro 2 will also be offered with two upgrade options based on original solution purchased.  For more information, visit or
Unified Color Technologies has announced that its range of HDR software offerings now support the recently-released Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® 4. Users of the existing lineup of Unified Color Technologies' true-color HDR solutions can now download the free updates ensuring a seamless roundtrip workflow from Lightroom® 4 to HDR Expose 2 and HDR Express. To download the free updates, users of the respective applications can simply choose the, "Check for updates," option under the in-program, "Help," menu.

The engineers at Unified Color have updated HDR Expose 2 and HDR Express to support Lightroom® 4 and tested for full compatibility. HDR Expose 2, a fully-featured 32-bit color editing HDR solution offers batch processing capabilities, user definable presets, and color neutral dodge and burn tools. The entry-level HDR Express automates key aspects of the HDR production process, such as automatic tone mapping and halo elimination to provide a streamlined and very easy-to-follow workflow.

Both HDR Expose 2 and HDR Express also offer complete functionality with Apple's Aperture software. For more information on Unified Color offerings, to download a trial version or purchase any of the applications, visit
Andrea (Andie) Goodman, Cr.Photog., of Lancaster, PA, passed away April  7 at the age of 67. The wife of F. Edward McCue for 26 years, she was also a well-known photographer, jewelry maker and owner of Goodman & Associates. She was very active in the professional photography community with memberships in PPA and more local associations like the Delaware Professional Photographers. In fact, she and her husband were the 14th husband-and-wife team to become Certified Professional Photographers. Our hearts go out to her family, friends and all the lives she has touched.

Andie's memorial service will take place on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. at Temple Shaarai Shomayim (75 E. James St., Lancaster, PA). The family will receive friends at the Temple from 2:30 p.m. until the time of the service.

In lieu of flowers, people can make a donation to any photography-related scholarship fund in her name.

Online condolences may be posted here:
onOne Software, Inc. has announced the availability of Perfect Photo Suite 6.1, along with updates to Perfect Portrait,Perfect Effects and Perfect Mask.

Perfect Photo Suite 6.1 has been updated to give photographers a faster, leaner, and easier-to-use experience while they add creative effects, resize images, replace backgrounds, and retouch portraits. The updates include enhanced brushing functionality in Perfect Mask, faster
performance in Perfect Portrait, customizable performance preferences, compatibility with Lightroom 4 and the Adobe Creative Suite 6 Beta, and more.

Perfect Portrait, Perfect Effects and Perfect Mask have also been updated to include the Perfect Layers module for free, giving every photographer the ability to work with layers with their images directly from Lightroom and Aperture. This offers photographers a streamlined workflow to solve their specific photography problems and gives them creative image editing power without the complexity or overhead of Photoshop. Perfect Layers is now also available as a free standalone application.

Perfect Photo Suite 6.1 is now available at Registered owners of Perfect Photo Suite 6 may download the update to version 6.1 for free at Owners for Perfect Photo Suite 5.5, Plug-In Suite 5 or earlier versions, may upgrade to Perfect Photo Suite 6.1 for $149.95. New users may purchase Perfect Photo Suite 6.1 for the everyday low price of $299.95. For more information on Perfect Photo Suite 6.1, visit

Along with this release, onOne Software has also announced the availability of Perfect Effects 3 Free Edition. Based on the award-winning Perfect Effects 3 engine, Perfect Effects 3 Free is a robust photography effects software program for image enhancement and creative stylization. It may be used as a standalone application, as an external editor for Apple Aperture, Adobe Lightroom or as a Photoshop plug-in, including the new Lightroom 4 and Adobe Creative Suite 6 Beta.

Perfect Effects 3 Free provides photographers with select content and capabilities from the full-featured edition, while maintaining core functionality and without restrictions of a traditional 30-day timed trial or the addition of watermarks to images. Perfect Effects 3 Free also includes onOne Software's Perfect Layers module that photographers can use to create and edit multilayered files directly from Lightroom or Aperture.

Perfect Effects 3 Free is now available at no cost as a download from onOne Software. It may be downloaded from Owners of Perfect Effects 3 or Perfect Photo Suite 6 already have the full functionality of Perfect Effects 3 Free and should not install this free edition.

A new fee is coming very soon from Visa that has industry experts scratching their heads.

In April of this year, Visa will be adding a Fixed Acquirer Network Fee (FANF) for all merchants. Simply put, it is a monthly, fixed fee for the right to do business with them and will vary based on a number of criteria: how many locations a merchant has, gross sales volumes and whether the card/customer are present for swiping.

According to Visa, the fixed fee for merchant acquirers is expected to be $2 per month for about 60% of merchants and $5 or less per month for about 80% of merchants. Merchants with several locations and/or high volume will be harder hit, but Visa did say it will be waiving the fee for acquirers that work with "qualifying charitable organizations."

MasterCard® is not far behind, planning to introduce a new annual fee sometime in July 2012.

Unfortunately, there is little anyone can do to buffer the effects of new fee compliances set by Visa or MasterCard. Having gone from a single interchange rate to more than 500, it's not surprising businesses struggle navigating information and the myriad of fee configurations that exist today. That's why it is as important as ever to work with a processing company you trust.

Call Midwest Transaction Group (MTG) at 1.888.599.2209 with any questions you might have in regards to this new fee or for clarification. MTG is a PPA Member Benefit Provider, and they will continue to keep you informed on industry changes and do their best to guide you through complex interchange pricing. They know how important it is to understand what the fee structures mean for you and your business.

bartoloozi_headshot_blog.JPGJust as launching a professional photography studio need not break the bank, neither does marketing said studio. Photographer after photographer has said that the most effective forms of marketing tend to be related to building relationships (and the resulting referrals). Problem is, it is sometimes hard to find networking opportunities depending on where you live.

If that's the case, you may want to try what PPA member Nicole Bartolozzi of Moments by Cole does--host your own networking event. Called Networking in a Flash, her event is now bi-monthly, open to all professionals and is free to attend. And her small studio is rapidly expanding!

Members, read the full article here.
Launching a professional photography studio need not break the bank. Many successful icons of the industry started modestly and eventually built gangbuster businesses. Here are a few tips to get you on your way.

Start from home.
You don't need a large commercial studio to be taken seriously as a professional photographer; your home may offer everything you need. What's more, overwhelming data from the PPA Financial Benchmark Surveys shows that home-based studios enjoy a financial advantage over studios located in retail studio spaces due to lower overhead.

Read the full article here.

wildes_carrie_2012.JPGOn a 2004 mission trip to the Philippines, Carrie Wildes was dubbed the "official photographer" because she was the only one with a nice camera. But she had skills, as her fellow travelers soon saw. Back in Chicago, Carrie Wildes struck up a conversation with a studio owner about an apprenticeship. She started assisting at weddings on weekends, while sticking with her "real" job--an industrial engineer in the pharmaceutical industry--as her passion for photography grew.

Building It the SMS Way
Carrie was still doing wedding photography part time when her husband was transferred to Florida in 2007. The move was the catalyst for asking herself if she could make a decent living as a photographer.

"Then, one of my friends gave me the Professional Photographer magazine subscription as a gift, and I was hooked," Carrie notes, saying she joined PPA shortly afterwards. She knew there were (and are!) so many photography businesses out there--some successful, some not so much--and she wanted to avoid the pitfalls and learn from best practices.

She was hard-nosed about the money, too. "Being a photographer is wonderful, but I was making good money already and didn't want to go backward financially."

So, she talked her way into PPA's Studio Management Services (SMS) Business Breakthroughs workshop to figure out her plan. "I didn't meet one of the qualifications for the class, but they made an exception for my work experience and it was exactly what I needed. SMS helped me apply all the things I already knew about business to studio management, and they taught me everything I didn't know about wedding photography."

Most importantly, SMS mentors helped Carrie build a sales and financial plan that convinced her she could make a go of it as a full-time photographer. 

Read the full article here.
There are many, many reasons photographers choose to be PPA members--just ask our over 24,000 members!--but today we'll just be discussing two of them: software and equipment discounts. Not only can you save on items you might use in your business every day, but these benefits are easy to use. As a member, all you need to do is enter PPA's coupon code at checkout.

Ron Kolias of Ron Kolias Photography in New Hampshire loves finding new ways to take advantage of his PPA discounts. For instance, he used PPA's special pricing to purchase Adobe® Lightroom® 4 and songs from Triple Scoop Music. That's why a good rule of thumb is to check the Benefits page at before you go shopping for almost anything related to your business.

Software Discounts
If you're a member, don't forget that you can save 15% on all Adobe products in the North American online Adobe Store.  By following this simple step, you can save $30 on $200 worth of software, which definitely adds up. Members, see how to use this benefit here.

Graphic Authority, LLC, is another software savings mecca for PPA members. This leading manufacturer of Photoshop tools for professional photographers has design elements, backgrounds and templates that offer unique and innovative layouts and designs. PPA members receive exclusive discounts on all Graphic Authority products. Members: see how to use this benefit here.

Established in 1995, Nik Software has become the recognized leader in digital photographic filter development and produces award-winning technology and software products for digital photography and imaging professionals. Would this software be a good fit for your business? If so, you're in luck because PPA members save on all Nik products. Members: see how to use this benefit here.

onOne Software's Photoshop plug-ins are created to help photographers create high quality, distinctive images in less time and with fewer steps so that they can spend more time shooting. And PPA has exclusive discounts to help you save on all of onOne's software products. Members: see how to use this benefit here.

If you want great photographic and Photoshop training on DVD and through online workshops on demand, Software Cinema might be a great choice. Plus, you can save with your PPA exclusive discount on all training titles from industry experts like Jack Reznicki, Jim DiVitale, Eddie Tapp, Jane Conner-Ziser, and many others. Members: see how to use this benefit here.

Equipment Deals
Don't forget that you can also save on certain equipment and equipment services via PPA. For instance, who doesn't love Apple® products? As a PPA member, you can access the special Association Member Purchase Program--netting preferred pricing for a company that doesn't really discount! Members: see how to use this benefit here.

Want to protect your valuable cameras and other gear? Try the PPA discount for Tenba® products: 25% off already specially priced purchases. Tenba introduced the world to soft-sided, professional camera bags in 1977, and they have been an innovation and quality leader in the decades since. Members: see how to use this benefit here.

If your camera does get damaged, though, Precision Camera (Precision Camera & Video Repair) might be able to help...and hopefully get your camera back to you in less than three business days. PPA members can take advantage of two special discount programs here, with discounted outbound shipping, discounted flat-rate repair pricing, free estimates and more. (There's even a discounted rate for infrared conversions!) Members: see how to use this benefit here.

Last but definitely not least, PPA members can also get help financing their equipment, thanks to our benefit partner, United Funding. This benefit provides a 2% rebate on the equipment cost (max rebate is $1,000) for all leases and loans...which also aren't reported to the credit bureaus. Interested? Members: see how to use this benefit here.

These discounts are just scratching the surface of what PPA offers its members, so remember to check PPA before you buy! 
tonsmeire_blog.JPGThe International Photographic Council (IPC), a non-governmental organization (NGO) of the United Nations, announced the eight recipients of its 2012 IPC Professional Photographer Leadership Awards. A good number of PPA members made the mark! The award recipients will be honored at the 14th Annual IPC Pro Award Luncheon, which will be held at the United Nations in New York City on May 17.

As it does each year, the IPC Awards Luncheon kicks off International Professional Photographers Month, saluting professionals around the globe. "The winners, nominated by professional photography organizations, are chosen for best representing the groups' criteria and ideals," says IPC President James Chung.

Congratulations to the 2012 IPC Professional Photographer Leadership Award recipients (especially our PPA members!):

  • Professional Photographers of America (PPA): Louis Tonsmeire
  • Professional School Photographers Association (PSPA): Ralph Romaguera (also a PPA member)
  • Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI): Jennifer Hudson (also a PPA member)
  • American Photographic Artists (APA):  Michael Grecco
  • American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP): James Cavanaugh
  • Federation of European Photographers (FEP): Bernd Gassner 
  • National Press Photographers Association (NPPA): Yunghi Kim
  • White House News Photographers Association (WHNPA): Chip Somodevilla
basford_headshot_blog.jpgDo you photograph high school seniors (or want to)? Do you want to make this specialty even more profitable? Listen up April 10 at 2:00pm ET as Jen Basford discusses her senior model program, one of the key factors in her studio's growth and success with senior portraits: "Building a SUCCESSFUL Senior Model Program."

"The traditional senior ambassador program doesn't work for me--my clients don't care about passing out cards," explains Basford. "They just want to be famous." So, Basford's senior models are treated as star clients with special perks. They invest in different levels of the program for different benefits, from getting free sessions to being entered into the national Seniors Ignite ( model contest. The kids who choose the highest levels of the program are invited to model in her annual fashion show and help market it--and they LOVE it. And that's just the beginning.

How does it work so well? Jen will take you through everything, from how she gets her studio models, what she offers to get them excited, and how she uses them for marketing. You'll learn how to generate cash flow in the SPRING with your models and how to make them work for you (even if they don't actually do anything!).

Tune in next week to discover this new, exciting way to engage your senior clients.

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