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PPA Today: November 2012 Archives

November 2012 Archives

Congratulations to all the recipients of the 2012 International Photographic Competition Awards. These individuals demonstrated excellence in their craft and earned tremendous achievements in PPA's 2012 International Photographic Competition.

Awards were given out for the following accomplishments:

  • Diamond Photographers of the Year - All four competition images accepted into the PPA Loan Collection.
  • Diamond Photographers of the Year - Master Artist - All four competition images from the Master Artist category accepted into the PPA Loan Collection.
  • Platinum Medalists - Three images included in the PPA Loan Collection and one image in PPA's General Collection.
  • Platinum Medalists - Master Artist - Three images from the Master Artist category included in the PPA Loan Collection and one image in PPA's General Collection.
  • Gold Medalists - Two images included in the PPA Loan Collection and two images in PPA's General Collection.
  • Gold Medalists - Master Artist - Two images from the Master Artist category included in the PPA Loan Collection and two images in PPA's General Collection.
  • Silver Medalists - One image into PPA's Loan Collection and three images into PPA's General Collection.
  • Silver Medalists - Master Artist - One image from the Master Artist category included in the PPA Loan Collection and three images in PPA's General Collection.
  • Bronze Medalists - All four images accepted into PPA's General Collection.
  • Bronze Medalists - Master Artist - All four images from the Master Artist category accepted into PPA's General Collection.
View the full list of award recipients here.

Once again, congratulations to all the photographers who earned awards for this year's entries in the International Photographic Competition! Recipients will be mailed a certificate as well as a sample press release you can use to publicize your award. 

loop_slider_2012.pngHow do you handle clients who shake their fists and demand copyright ownership? Is there a "right" way to watermark a digital file? Should you register the baby portraits from your last session with the Copyright Office?

If questions like these keep you tossing and turning late at night, theLoop has just the thing for you. Join the new Copyright Community (launched this very day) and learn how your colleagues protect and defend their rights. This Community will also offer a robust library of resources to help you manage any copyright or legal issue, no matter how big or small.

And don't worry, friends. Discussions here will be moderated by PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs staff. They'll make sure you get the right resources so you can finally get some shut-eye.

Join the Copyright Community today!
Here's a subject near and dear to all our hearts: health insurance. Ever had to look for coverage on your own? It's confusing, frustrating and just plain un-fun. Plus, how do you know the plan is right for you? Well, PPA is pleased to announce that PALLAY INSURANCE AGENCY is our new medical and dental insurance plan partner!

Pallay Insurance Agency is independent and represents a number of leading medical and dental insurance companies. That means they're able to assist PPA members and their families in choosing a plan* from a number of insurance companies--they'll help you find the best fit for your coverage and budget needs in the following areas:

  • Medical Insurance
  • Short Term Medical Insurance
  • Limited Medical Insurance
  • International Travel Medical Insurance
  • Medicare Supplement Insurance
  • Prescription Drug Plan
  • Dental Insurance
But the benefit doesn't stop there. After a plan is purchased, Pallay is there to assist you with any premium, coverage or claims assistance you may require from your new insurance company! (Are you getting the warm-fuzzies right now? We are.)

Oh, and get this: Pallay Insurance Agency also offers members a FREE Discount Prescription Drug Card! Members and their families can begin using this free mail order discount prescription drug card immediately, meaning you could get your prescriptions at 30-80% lower than retail!

Intrigued? Want to find out more or get a quote? Members can get the lowdown here.

*Coverage not available in all states.
In the competitive world of professional photography, successful pros use every opportunity to separate themselves from the competition. Often, it's those small extra touches that demonstrate that you really care about your client's business, that you want to build a lasting relationship, and that you offer something different compared to every other studio on the block. To gather ideas for small touches that have worked, we queried PPA members Zach & Jody Gray, Marie Labbancz, M.Photog., Marianne Drenthe and Angela Weedon on what has been successful for their businesses.

Members, read the full article.

We'll be honest: This isn't "fun" reading, but pay attention to this post... if you want to avoid having 28% of every credit card transaction you process go directly to the federal government, not you.

Recently a new draft of section 6050W of the IRS Code stated that processors are obligated to report all companies' annual credit and debit card processing activity. In order to do so accurately, processors like MTG powered by Veracity (Midwest Transaction Group) have to acquire the most current tax ID name and number for all clients. Since the code was changed, MTG has contacted and corrected the information of roughly 1,500 businesses.

Some businesses, however, have not updated their information...and the deadline to do so is quickly approaching. The deadline for processors to enforce a penalty for merchants operating under an outdated tax ID name and/or number is January 2013.

While penalties for operating under outdated information may not begin until January, the tax reporting from your processor has occurred all year long. 1099-K reports must still be filed by your processor, which will report all your business transactions from 2012. And if your 1099-K form has missing or incorrect information, it will be rejected by the IRS! Merchants who do not work with processors to correct it will then be subject to withholdings--by IRS mandate--beginning in 2013.

So start 2013 off right by paying close attention to the following formation:

  • Your tax ID name and number must match exactly with what the IRS has on file.
  • If the name and number do not match, the processor will be required to withhold a merchant's funds at a rate of 28% of the gross monthly transactions until the proper information is secured--not to be refunded until the following year as a tax credit. (In other words, 28% of every transaction you process in 2013 will go directly to the federal government and not to you.)
  • Closely read all correspondence on this matter from your processor. Merchants should be prepared to cooperate with processors by responding quickly to such correspondence to ensure that the information in their files matches the federal government's files.
  • Haven't heard from your processor? Want to double-check your information? Just give them a call. Better safe than sorry!

  • Again, the deadline for changes is January 1, 2013. Don't be late! If your tax ID name and number are not updated with the IRS by January 1, processors will be forced to begin withholding funds.

    Questions about the new IRS Code? Please use MTG as a resource: 1.888.599.2209.

    Allied Business Network (ABN) Deals


    Special #1: Save $5 per day up to $35 off when you include PC# 168210 in your reservation of an Economy through Full-Size on your next Weekly or Weekend rental at a Hertz Airport of Neighborhood location + save up to 20% off with CDP 1261109, now through 3/31/2013.

    Special #2: Save $40 when you include PC# 176492 in your reservation of any car class on your next Weekly Rental at Hertz Airport locations + save up to 20% off with CDP 1261109, now through 1/31/13.

    Special #3: Weekend Special: Reserve an Economy or a Compact Car for only $14.99 a day on a weekend rental with RQ Code XCT1 + save up to 20% off with CDP 1261109. Available at participating airport or in your neighborhood locations, now through 1/31/2013.


    Ongoing special: Business' can now earn up to 4.5¢ per gallon in rebate with the BP Business Solutions Universal Fuel Program, use ABN Alliance Program 78 when signing up:


    November 21 through Tuesday December 4: save 25% off (that's an extra 10%) on Able Planet headphones with discount code abn25.


    Black Friday & Cyber Monday Technology Specials: save an extra 10% off already low technology prices with discount code ABN10off.


    Save up to 28% off on shipping expenses through UPS when you create an account linked with ABN's discount program:


    Save an average of 10% off of your holiday card printing expenses when you create an Office Depot online account linked with ABN's discount program.

    Members, learn more about the Allied Business Network and the deals you get year round with your membership.

    collages_fb_giveway.jpgVisit the PPA Facebook page and enter our giveaway by November 27th to win a Seamless Bind Book from - a $130 value!

    Printed using the latest technological advancements in photographic paper, the Seamless Bind Book guarantees that you will never lose an important design element in the gutter again. Seamless Bind Books use the same spread templates as's Albums, so creating companion books for parents, senior packages, portrait sessions, and boudoir clients takes just a few clicks!

    Don't forget to enter by November 27th to win!

    The winners of the first annual PPA Charities Portrait Awards, which honors images made as part of the Celebration of Smiles Day nationwide fundraiser, have been announced. PPA mmebers Barbara Bovat, Cr.Photog, Deb Woodard, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, and Owen Kassimir, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, judged the awards.

    View the grand prize winning image, as well as the second and third place images below. Visit the PPA Charities site to view the babies, children, teens, adults and pet category winners. Congratulations to all the winners!

    GRAND PRIZE WINNER - Penny Heath, Heath Photography, Redwood, New Yorkppacharities_grandprize_2012.jpgIMAGE © HEATH PHOTOGRAPHY

    SECOND PLACE - Tara Rochelle, Tara Rochelle Photography, Santa Clarita, California

    ppacharities_secondplace_2012.jpgIMAGE © TARA ROCHELLE PHOTOGRAPHY

    THIRD PLACE - Tara Rochelle, Tara Rochelle Photography, Santa Clarita, California

    ppacharities_thirdplace_2012.jpgIMAGE © TARA ROCHELLE PHOTOGRAPHY

    fulton_clinton_headshot_ppatoday.JPGPhotographing a wedding usually means you're on the go almost the whole day. And that adds a whole new level of difficulty to lighting your subjects and scenes, let alone doing so creatively. Take a gander at the lighting system PPA members Mike Fulton, Cr.Photog., and Cody Clinton, Cr.Photog., of TriCoast Photography, use for their work, and you may just be swept off your feet.

    Members, read the full article.
    tess_johnson_ppatoday3.JPGBefore becoming a professional photographer, Tess Johnson spent years as a professional makeup artist. She worked with a wide range of commercial and private clients, including many brides on their wedding days. Even today, though she's a full-time photographer, Tess does much of the makeup for portrait sessions at her Tess J Photography studio in Portland, Maine, as well as for some of her wedding photography clients. With this type of experience, we couldn't think of anyone better to offer a few wedding day beauty tips that photographers can use to help brides look their absolute best. 

    As the year draws to a close, United Funding, LLC, one of PPA's benefit partners, has some sound financial advice--advice that could make your holidays even sweeter. For instance, did you know you can expense new equipment purchases made in the previous year, as in DEDUCT those purchases from your current 2012 taxable income?*

    That new camera, lens or even software may qualify under IRS Section 179 if bought and installed by December 31, 2012. And that means you could lower what you owe in taxes just by getting the goodies you already wanted and needed for your business!

    Take a look at how United Funding's "Tax-Cutter Program" can help you save thousands of dollars on new equipment expenses:

    Without Using Section 179

    Example 1

    Example 2

    Original Taxable Income




    Equipment Cost   



    New Taxable Income




    Marginal Tax (Assumed)   




    Tax Savings




    That may already be music to your ears, and we haven't even gotten to the finale yet! Remember: PPA members also get a rebate on the equipment cost on all leases and loans funded through United Funding, LLC (maximum rebate is $1,000). Their convenient online payment calculator and online credit application make it easy to apply for that financing, too. In fact, United Funding will work with you to finance under the standard $5,000 minimum!

    Ready to fill out your business wish list with a purchase before the year ends? To apply for financing, visit PPA's online Benefit page. For even more information, speak with your tax advisor or call Bob Bell of United Funding, LLC: 800-685-7571

    *Limited to taxable income. (If you don't have taxable income, you can't take this deduction.)
    **This example is only intended to explain the tax benefits under this provision. This benefit is available to businesses regardless of their structure. Please consult with your tax professional to determine the accuracy of the calculations and the best structure for you.
    shirk_headshot.jpgBen Shirk of Shirk Photography in Wilton, Iowa, has become recognized for his creative high school senior portraits. In fact, the sports posters that he creates for his senior athletes have helped increase his average sale from $600 to $3,000 in just a few years! Sound like an increase you'd like to see in your business?

    Well, aren't you in luck. Ben's going to be at Imaging USA on January 20, 2013, teaching you how to create those unique photographic products for high school seniors, including composites and posters! Just mark your calendar for his "Become an Image Warrior" class. In the meantime, check out the adventures he had on his own path toward becoming an image warrior...

    Throwing Down the Gauntlet of Inspiration
    Like many a photographer, Ben's photographic journey was inspired by the birth of his son. In fact, when Ben's wife took their son to a mall photographer for portraits, he was disappointed that he wasn't the one to take his son's first portraits.

    shirk1.JPG"My wife simply laughed at me and told me that I couldn't take as good of portraits as they did (and back then, I probably couldn't have). But the gauntlet had been thrown," Ben recalls. "I borrowed a friend's digital camera and that began my adventure into photography." It's been seven years since then, and he's been a full-time photographer for the last five years. (And it's probably safe to say his wife lets him photograph his son now.)

    Facing Those Pricing Challenges
    Like many photographers new to the business, Ben at first struggled with pricing his work correctly. "I was giving away everything for nearly nothing and was basically happy that people liked what I was doing," he remembers.  

    After attending several business workshops, though, Ben faced the hard truth that he needed to change some things.

    shirk6.JPG"We raised our prices quite drastically and found out quickly that the key was making sure your clients were well-educated in everything that was going to happen," says Ben. "If they know exactly how everything works and what to expect, then nearly all the objections and complaints are addressed beforehand." And the unique portraits he delivers to his clients help justify those prices, too!

    "Creativity is my specialty," he adds. "I have become known for my sports and senior composites, but I think that's simply because I have more chances to make those kinds of portraits. I enjoy just about anything as long as I can have fun and be creative."

    Teaching You How to Become an Image Warrior
    Take a page from Ben's book of inspiration, and don't let anyone tell you it can't be done. If you're ready to boost your creativity, elevate your senior photography business, and learn to make those creative composites and posters (especially those for senior athletes), be sure to attend Ben's "Become an Image Warrior" class at Imaging USA.

    shirk3.JPGAfter all, as Ben says, "Creating something unique can be a lot easier than you think!"

    Ben Shirk was named Top Non-Master Photographer for Iowa in 2011 and 2012. He was also a 2011 Diamond Photographer of the Year in the Master Artist category of PPA's International Photographic Competition, and he placed third at the 2012 Grand Imaging Awards. Learn more about Ben here.

    Get the full scoop on Imaging USA and all the other classes and inspiration for the taking.


    About this Archive

    This page is an archive of entries from November 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

    October 2012 is the previous archive.

    December 2012 is the next archive.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

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