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PPA Today: March 2013 Archives

March 2013 Archives

Colorado photographer Tara C. Patty has accomplished what most photographers would giveSticky Albums example album.jpg their right arm--or eye--to achieve: she has convinced several of her clients to carry around albums of her images wherever they go.

Moms heading to the playground have them in their diaper bags. Grandmas cart them to their weekly Bridge game. High school seniors have them on their bodies every waking moment. Literally. What's Tara's secret, you ask? Could it be blackmail? Large pay-offs? An abnormal number of freakishly strong clients? Or could it just be your basic - albeit brilliant - marketing savvy?

Lucky for all other photographers, it's the latter, and PPA members are enjoying this insider's scoop--a Sticky Album's Pro Annual Membership Plan--at a fabulous discount. All active PPA members will be eligible to receive a $60 discount on StickyAlbum's Pro Annual Membership Plan. The Sticky Albums plan allows professional photographers to create custom photo apps for every client complete with their branding, contact information and special promotions to live on clients' personal smart phones or tablets and to be easily shared with others. Simply go to to upload and customize your images, add your contact info and logo, and launch your album to be enjoyed by your clients and all those they come into contact with.

"I would definitely recommend Sticky Albums to other photographers," explains Tara. "The albums I create are great marketing tools and an extra perk for my clients. Clients love them and they've definitely resulted in new business."

Tara finds that her high school senior clients - rarely seen without smart phones and tablets in hand - are an excellent target market for this new tool.

"Seniors like it because they don't have to get on Facebook to show their friends their images," she says. "Moms like them, too, because it's one less thing they have to carry around."

Tara loves them because she's found she can create a gorgeous album for every client in mere minutes. "Once you've done your first album, your logo is in the system. From then on it's just a matter of choosing the images to create a 12-image digital album with my custom templates." She also appreciates the Sticky Album excellent customer service. "I love the sales and marketing suggestions they provide and the online tutorials. It's obvious they definitely understand the photography business."

So, Tara's secret is out. Now it's your turn to create an army of album-toting clients with help from Sticky Albums. PPA members can log on to learn more about Sticky Albums and this exclusive PPA member discount.

Summer school? It's cooler than it sounds, we promise! Prepare to take the next step with our upcoming Certification Preparation Class and Judges Workshop in July. Want more? Starting in June, we've also got SMS Business Workshops coming at you all over the country to help you refine your brand and mold your business model.

Time is running out! You only have a few days left to enter the 2013 PPA Southeastern District Photographic Competition. Online registration is only open until 5:00 p.m. ET, April 1. And remember: everyone must register and upload their images online by April 1 to be eligible, even if you want to ship or hand-deliver a case of prints. Register now!

IPC_Facebook_1.jpgAre you ready to push yourself to the next level? Then get your images ready and enter PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC). The IPC will help you refine every photograph you produce and as an added bonus, images selected for PPA's General Collection earn a merit and will be displayed at Imaging USA. They'll also have the opportunity to be selected for the PPA Loan Collection, earning an additional merit and getting published in the annual Loan Collection book. Polish those images and get the rules now--online registration opens April 15!

by Mariah Ashley, Snap! Photography Hallucination, hares, and hallelujah.jpg

When last we left our heroes they were crawling side-by-side in a desert wasteland of slow business. The buzzards were circling above them and they were getting pretty darned thirsty. The promised-land-piña-colada-oasis of plentiful clients and booming business is still nothing but a hazy mirage in their distant futures. I have to be honest here; it's not looking good for our duo. At this point in the story if you are squeamish about hallucinations brought on by extreme dehydration, lizards, broken spirits, or drinking one's own urine for survival, I suggest you put this story down and wait until next week's less perilous installment.

Since committing ourselves to an absolutely no discounts under any circumstances policy, emails from potential clients have gone something like exactly like this:

Dear Snap!,

We are super excited to be planning our wedding for next July 13th. We've seen your work everywhere and several of our friends have used you as their wedding photographer.  We LOVE your photographs and are interested in learning more about your pricing & packages. We really hope that we can work together!

The Bride and Groom

Our reply is a very enthusiastic email about how we'd love to be there, details about how fabulous our albums and products are, and an explanation of our minimum investment of $6875. This is the email that generally always follows:

Dear Snap!,

Oh my! That's like triple what we want to spend on photography. Do you have any recommendations of photographers whose style is exactly like yours but who charge like a third of what you charge? Oh, and we don't care about an album we just want the digital files. I'm pretty crafty so I am going to make my own album on Shutterfly.

Have a great day!
The Bride

P.S. Two words ladies: Lip...Balm...your lips are looking pretty chapped. You should hydrate. Good luck with your trip through the desert!

chapelo1.jpgAndrea Chapelo, of Chapelo Photography in Lebanon, Ohio, says that the greatest compliment she gets as a high school senior photographer is when she gets a call from a parent thanking them for making their teenager's session so fun and making them feel so confident.

For professional photographers in the high school senior market, your ability to give them this confidence is crucial to your business. That's why during Super Monday on May 13, Andrea will teach you some posing and lighting techniques that can create a great senior session in her "Posing and Lighting Seniors" class in Lebanon, Ohio

Why Seniors?

Chapelo says that she grew up with a camera in her hand and was always taking photographs of her family and friends.

After serving in the Air Force, Chapelo decided to use her GI Bill to pursue her love of photography and begin her business.

Chapelo has been in business for nine years now, and during that time she's become known in her area for her senior photography.

Part of her decision to specialize in this area was her ability to relate well to this age group,chapelo2.jpg as she has two high school-aged children of her own. However, it goes beyond just relating well to her clients.

"I love photographing that age because they are excited about their session and they inspire me with their excitement," Chapelo explained.

For Chapelo, the biggest challenge she feels that she faces is staying organized. To overcome this, she recently hired an office manager.

"I think in business we have to recognize our weak points and either overcome them or bring someone in to take care of that part of the business for you. I can't overcome it so I will bring in reinforcements." Chapelo said.

Sharing Knowledge With You

If you're in need of help with senior posing and lighting, don't miss Chapelo's "Posing & Lighting For Seniors" Super Monday class in Lebanon, Ohio on May 13.

During the class, you'll cover all the basics of senior lighting and posing for both in the studio and on location.

chapelo3.jpg"Photographers who come to the course will leave with a good understanding of basic studio and location lighting and also the importance of posing your seniors so they can feel confident and excited about their session," Chapelo said of her class.

So, if this class sounds like what you need, register for Super Monday today!

Read more about Andrea Chapelo at

View more Super Monday classes in other locations.

Super Monday is an educational program, sponsored by PPA, every spring and fall. These day-long, 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.


Sticky Albums example album.jpgWhen's the last time you heard of a client that carried around an album you expertly crafted on their behalf to show to everyone they come in contact with? Sure, we hear the occasional urban legend about fanatic clients--and love each and every one of them. But what if every single one of your clients could carry around an album of your images to show to friends, families and the strangers in the endless coffee house line with ease? There should be an app for that--right?

Right! Introducing Sticky Albums, the smartest marriage of the mobile revolution and word-of-mouth referrals, resulting in the ability to offer a custom photo app to every client complete with your branding, contact information and special promotions to live on their individual smart phones or tablets and to be easily shared with others. Simply go to to upload and customize your images, add your contact info and logo, and launch your album to be enjoyed by your clients and all the people they just can't help sharing it with. Fantastic--right?

Right! But wait, there's more! PPA Members can now enjoy $60 off Sticky Album's Pro Annual Membership Plan, designed for professional photographers to create an unlimited number of albums each year to give away to your best clients to increase referrals or add as an investment incentive to increase print sales. PPA members can log in to learn more here.

board_2013.jpgWhat do you get when you bring together a group of successful, active, talented and business-savvy photographers? You get the PPA Board of Directors. This esteemed ensemble is here to help guide you through the daily challenges of being a photographer, as well as educate you on all the valuable resources available through PPA. Their goal is to help YOU be successful. Go ahead...get to know them!

Don't miss two fabulous online classes coming your way this month.
  • 3 Fabulous Ideas to Elevate Your Wedding Photography
    Tuesday, March 19, at 2pm with Elizabeth Homan, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
    Elizabeth will share her most unique and compelling ideas to help separate YOU from the sea of wedding photographers out there.

  • Overcoming Obstacles in Beach Portraiture
    Thursday, March 28, at 2pm with Ellen LeRoy, M.Photog.
    Warmer temperatures mean beach portrait requests are on the rise. Ellen will help you deal with the unpredictability of Mother Nature and still get brilliant beach photos!

Don't miss your chance to learn from these photographers--register today!

sm_blog_square.pngDo you dread Mondays? Well dread no more. With our Super Monday Photo Workshops, you get peer-to-peer education at its finest. PPA offers all-day photo workshops created by photographers, for photographers.  With so many interesting topics to cover, we wish it was Monday every day!

  • Ever wanted to try equine photography? Experience it in Illinois.
  • Want to learn the secrets of classic Hollywood glamour lighting? Learn hands-on in New Hampshire.
  • Want a stronger grasp on your marketing plan? Get the lowdown in North Dakota.
  • Ready to make your images pop with Lightroom 4® and Photoshop®? Get hands-on training in California.

And that's just the beginning. You'll find workshops on distinctive lighting and posing techniques, getting the best pet, senior, wedding and child portraits, and how to better use your editing software. There are so many opportunities to learn about the subjects that interest you most- and maybe some you didn't even KNOW appealed to you!
So, go on--browse the class lists and register!

Be sure to check the date of your preferred class, as some are held before or after the main May 13 date. PPA members earn one service merit for paid attendance.

by Mariah Ashley, Snap! Photographygreg gorman and the grand graham slap.jpg

I've had three celebrity photography encounters in my 14 years as a professional photographer. The first was at a wedding in the late 90's and the celebrity was Anthony Michael Hall. Being a child of the 80's myself, Anthony Michael is a MAJOR celebrity in my book.  He starred in such timeless movies as Sixteen Candles, Weird Science and The Breakfast Club (only the best movie of all time). Unfortunately a tall, thin, rather snooty looking woman broke my fog of celebrity adoration by tapping me sharply on the shoulder and saying "Yes, I AM Anthony Michael's mother, Mercedes and you MAY take our photo." To which I curtly replied, "How interesting, I am Karl and Wendy's daughter, and no thanks."  I spent the rest of the night irritating her by purposely NOT photographing her and her famous son.

My second encounter was a few years later with Katie Couric. I was stepping up a bit in the celebrity world. Katie was an "unofficial" bridesmaid at this wedding I was shooting . She felt comfortable enough to divulge three things to me in our strange and short encounter. First, Anne Curry is totally annoying and made a lousy Peter Pan at Halloween. Secondly, she bought her boyfriend the same camera for his birthday that I was using for this shoot. And lastly, she can't "use the bathroom" while on vacation with her boyfriend so she frequently uses the hotel lobby bathroom. T.M.I Katie!

My third celebrity encounter wasn't with actual celebrities per se, but rather with future two socialite/diva/reality TV stars-- two and five year old sisters, Lily and Rose (names changed to protect the not-so innocent). A few years prior, we had photographed their parents' lavish wedding at a fabulous Newport mansion. The family was back in town and thought it would be fun to have a portrait done at the beach. Lily and Rose arrived fresh and clean, wearing posh summer dresses and shiny bows atop their perfectly coiffed heads.

It was a lovely summer night with a pink pastel sky and calm blue sea. Trish and I perched the family pristinely on a large rock. I raised the camera to my eye. And then, all hell broke loose. Before I could take one shot, Rose let out an alarming shriek. She had seen (gasp) a bug! Despite explanations of bugs being commonplace at the beach and surely not harmful, the shrieking continued for the remaining ninety minutes of the shoot at increasing decibels. With every outburst, Trish and I became more and more desperate to capture one (dear God please just one) decent photograph.

I was the designated photographer so I crawled, rolled and scrambled through the sand, chasing Lily and Rose to obtain just one shot that could pass as a "natural" portrait. Trish was on child-wrangling. At one desperate point she attempted to elicit a smile from the girls by hopping up and down, waving her arms frantically exclaiming, "Look at my jiggly arm fat, isn't it funny?!" 

Lily soon joined in with her sister. Sensitive to the plight of hungry children at dinnertime, Trish sweetly offered a graham cracker, only to have it slapped violently out of her hand by the surprisingly quick-reflexed toddler. I looked at my poor partner who stood there in slapped silence and I pronounced, "It's a wrap."  That was the last children's portrait we ever shot. Thank you rotten baby for slapping the sense into us and single handedly changing the direction of our business.  For some time we had wondered how we could specialize in weddings, babies, pets, AND seniors. To specialize is to concentrate one's efforts in a particular activity. Or more simply, it's not a speciality if you're doing it ALL. So, with a little help from a maniacal baby we picked what we loved the most-- weddings.

jan13_ppmag_cover.jpgDespite all of my failed brushes with celebrity, one of the speakers I was most excited to see at Imaging was celebrity photographer Greg Gorman, 2013 PPA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner. While on the plane to Atlanta I read an article about him in Professional Photographer. I was immediately attracted to the simple beauty and consistent quality of his celebrity portraits. It's remarkable that his photographic voice remains virtually unchanged over the course of four decades.  His simple black and white portraits of the 1970's blend effortlessly with his most recent portraits, illustrating his distinct vision. I am sure I would be able identify a Greg Gorman portrait if I happened upon one.

Hearing Greg Gorman got me wondering about my own longevity in the business. Trish and I won't win any lifetime achievement awards but that doesn't mean we can't build our own instantly recognizable style and legacy. For us, specializing in one thing and doing it really well seems to be the right path to photo-excellence.  Every day there's a new post-processing effect you can add to your photos and it's tempting to jump on the bandwagon. But how does that affect your continuity? From what I see, the only major change Gorman has made in his work is moving from film to digital. I want to follow suit and avoid the trappings of trendy ideas, ensuring that our work can stand on its own even 40 years from now.  

Part of Gorman's success may be attributed to being in the right place at the right time. Gorman himself acknowledges that today's celebrity climate is vastly different and he is fortunate to have built his career during another era. However, I think what Gorman has achieved and inspired in us is to create images that can stand the test of time. We will create timeless, memorable wedding portraits because no matter the decade, human emotion is unchangeable and classic never goes out of style.

Thank you Greg Gorman, I raise my hands not to slap you... but to applaud. Bravo! Graham cracker?

On January 27, 2013, Visa and MasterCard responded to a class settlement agreement from November of last year by modifying their rules, allowing merchants to charge an extra fee to customers who pay with their credit cards. It is left to the discretion of each merchant as to whether their business will implement it.

This surcharge has some limitations that are important to know. In fact, ten states have decided not to allow the charges at all:  California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas. If you do business in one of these locations, you may not add a surcharge.

charities_2012report_blog.JPGPPA Charities presented a check for $70,000 to Operation Smile at Imaging USA this year, bringing their total donation to almost $600,000 which equates to almost 2500 children's lives being changed with the gift of a smile.

Here are some of the individuals, groups and programs that made helped PPA Charities make a difference in 2013:


Mike & Diana Hanline, Ann & Jim Monteith, Mary Fisk-Taylor, Ryan & Erica Manthey, Angie & Matt Weedon, Jeff Ebert, Susan Hoermann, Vicki Hultsman, Mark & Krish Kiefer, Zaida Parkes, Laurie Weaver, Meredith Wilcke, Twin Cities PPA, Kentucky PPA, Arrowhead PPA, Northern Lights PP, Rice Studio Supply, WHCC, Marathon Press, Texas School


Wild Sorbet
Rice Studio Supply
Marathon Press


Texas School
Dallas PPA
Twin Cities PPA
Florida Professional Photographers
Kentucky PPA/PhotoProNetwork
New Hampshire PPA


Grand Winner: Penny Heath; New York
Runner-Up: Tara Rochelle; California
1st Place Pets: Tara Rochelle California
1st Place Babies: Andrea MacKenzie; Michigan
1st Place Adults: Ryan Manthey; Florida
1st Place Teens: Taras Rochelle; California
1st Place Children: Penny Heath; New York

Celebration of Smiles
Family Portrait Month
Texas School Challenge

If you want to start making difference now in the lives of children, you've got until April 6 to sign up for this year's Celebration of Smiles program. Get the scoop at

Cash Flow Solutions - the leading payment services provider for photographers - is slashing all set-up fees by 50% for PPA members until April 30, 2013! These services include:
BounceBack check recovery eliminates the headaches of chasing down bounced payments. For the past 15 years, BounceBack has collected hundreds of thousands of returned checks for photographers without alienating their customers.  
LeapDeposit remote check deposit streamlines deposits and reduces bank fees. Make your life easier with a check scanner instead of stamping each checks and driving to the bank.

PPA Members can save up to $225 with this Extreme Deal from Cash Flow Solutions. Learn more by visiting or contact (800)-736-5123.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2013 is the previous archive.

April 2013 is the next archive.

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