Ad image

PPA Today: September 2013 Archives

September 2013 Archives

theLoop, PPA's exclusive social network for professional photographers, has been busy in September! Remember, theLoop is only available to PPA members, so don't worry about asking those tough questions you wouldn't want your clients to see. The best part? Now you can stay connected on-the-go with your pro photographer community, asking (and answering) questions, share ideas and even submit images for a peer critique with theLoop's new app for Android & iPhone devices. 

For those of you who are new to theLoop, or those who haven't had a chance to check-in lately, there are some amazing threads going on as we head into October. Here are our 5 favorites:

Weigh in with the pros and cons of what happens when you're in a situation with low light and no walls or ceiling to bounce from. High ISO? Slow speed? Large aperture? Join the conversation to see how you can improve your craft. 

There was photography before PhotoShop (no really, there was!), but how in the world did they did post editing? See how the industry has changed - consider it a mini history lesson, but with terms like "nose grease".

Sometimes bartering is a part of the business, but some offers are just absurd. What's the worst proposition you've received? 

Do your friends and families try to tell you that Groupon, Living Social, ScoutMob or other deal sites are great ways to boost your business? Check out this thread to give them eloquent reasons why it might hurt more than it helps. 

If you're coming to Imaging USA (and you should!), there's no better way to save some dough than by finding a roommate. Think of it like summer camp, but with better parties, more education and less bugs. Use the Imaging USA thread on theLoop to find a suitable bunk mate and book your room at any of the three IUSA hotels! 

ppalogo.PNG
The world of photographic competitions can seem like a tricky place to navigate. How can pieces of artwork be judged? Isn't it all up to aesthetics and personal preference? On the surface it would seem so, but overall there are 12 elements that have stood the test of time to make an art piece or image successful - regardless of personal taste. We're here to give you the road map (of sorts) to create the most successful images so that you can merit at your next competition!

1.Impact:  
impact.jpg
Definition: the sense one gets upon viewing an image for the first time. Compelling images evoke laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion. There can be impact in any of these 12 elements.
What it really means: This is the eye candy, the wow factor, the reason we love it. We enjoy art because it moves us. It makes us feel something--whether it brings us joy, sadness or anger (or any other emotion aside from blasé for that matter). What emotions does your piece make people feel? This can also be described as the "wow-factor," it draws a person in and captivates their attention.

2.Technical excellence: 
Definition: the print quality of the image itself as it is presented for viewing. Retouching, manipulation, sharpness, exposure, printing, mounting and correct color are some items that speak to the qualities of the image.
What it really means: This is the nuts and bolts of photography. Exposure, focus, lighting, Photoshop skills, and so much more! It's what makes you a pro. But you can take it too far--be wary of going too far with corrections. 
Hello faithful readers! Welcome to part two of our latest blog series, What's a Pro? with Johnny O (that's me!).

If you recall, back in May Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer ruffled a few feathers when she said: 

"...there's no such thing as Flickr Pro, because today, with cameras as pervasive as they are, there is no such thing really as professional photographers, when there's everything is professional photographers [sic]. Certainly there is varying levels of skills, but we didn't want to have a Flickr Pro anymore, we wanted everyone to have professional quality photos, space, and sharing."

Oops! Her goof caused quite the backlash in the photography community, but it also got us to thinking... What is a professional photographer? Just someone who gets paid to take pictures? Or is it something more?

In this series, we'll chat about what exactly makes a professional photographer... professional. It's a pretty easy job for me, because for the most part, I'm going to let you pros do the talking.

If you participated in our Faces of PPA campaign (and MANY of you have), you saw we asked, "What's a Professional Photographer to you?" And we're going to share some of your responses here. 

Have some thoughts on the topic? Want to be a part of the series? Place your thoughts in the comment section below or contact me, John Owens, communications specialist, at jowens@ppa.com. 

So what's a pro? The answer--we hope to find--is you. 

Three-time former PPA Photographer of the Year, Mark McCall, M.Photog.Cr., CPP,  first had the desire to take photos at the ripe old age of eight. As someone who has dedicated nearly his entire life to photography, his view of a professional may differ from popular opinion. 

"A professional photographer can be a technician, but for me, it's being an artist. I don't want to just capture an image; I want to tell a story. I seek out interesting characters, incorporate them into my works, and help tell their story. 

"I once asked the greeter at WalMart to pose for a character study-type shot at my studio. I told his story of being a new groom at the age of 82. That's why professional photographers exist--to tell the stories of others."

For contrast, Pennsylvania photographer, Jennifer Oswald, started her business less than a year ago. 

"I still struggle to label myself as a professional photographer when someone asks me what I do. In my mind I'm a professional, but it means different things to different people. 

"I would say a professional photographer is someone who has a strong understanding of photography from cameras, to lenses, to composition and so on. They are someone who earns something from their photography, whether it be money or awards and someone who classifies themselves as a professional photographer. I think if someone does all three of these things, they're a professional."

Pet-photographer extraordinaire, Margaret Bryant, M.Photog.Cr. (catch her at Imaging USA!) , agrees with Oswald, but thinks they must also push themselves to be more.

"Technically, a professional photographer is someone who receives money for the work they produce. But I think it's more than that. A professional is a person who is constantly learning both about photography and the photography business. 

"They are someone who continually strives to better their work, someone who is serious about being in business and someone who is ethical and fair in their dealings with clients, employees and others they meet in their business life; and so much more."

So as you can see, there are some strong feelings on the topic! Now, do your clients need any help to See The Difference? We've got marketing resources just for that.

So what's a professional photographer to you? Let us know in the comments. 

See you in a couple weeks!

-Johnny O
ppalogo.PNG

By now you've hopefully seen a few of the Faces of PPA floating around on Facebook or Google+. We're thrilled to offer an opportunity to join this ongoing campaign to all of our members! Just visit ppa.com/faces, answer a few questions and submit an image of yourself. We've had over 200 submissions so far, but keep them coming! (Reminder: No head shots! It's you as the creative, professional photographer.)

This week we wanted to feature three of our stellar Faces of PPA to showcase the variety of the 26,000 members in the organization! 

aimee_woolverton_facesblog.jpg









































jana_buzbee_facesblog.jpg








































mark_katz_facesblog.jpg

Do you want your photography business' website to appear towards the top of Google search results? Talk about a great boost in visibility for your business! As a photographer you should consider this as a goal for your website, and this is why PPA has been hosting a webinar series to help photographers learn how to tackle SEO. 

If you missed the first two parts of the series, PPA members and PPAedu subscribers can watch the recordings now! We recommend catching up on what you've missed in the first two parts of the series before the live date for "The True Art of SEO & Online Engagement...for Photographers!". 

In part 1 of this series, "The Pitfalls of SEO", we cover the basics of SEO and how you can get started, as well as some mistakes to avoid. Meanwhile, part 2 of the series goes over "Leveraging Local" and is all about how to make sure your business ranks in local searches. That way, when someone searches-for instance-for a wedding photographer in your town, you'll be sure to rank towards the very top in the results! You can download the slide decks for part 1 and part 2 of Brett's presentations now so that you'll always have a copy to reference later. 

We've received rave reviews about this series thus far and hope you too will start leveraging it as a useful learning tool and resource. The instructor, Brett Snyder, is the Director of Search Engine Optimization at Nebo--a web design and interactive marketing agency. Brett is a true expert in the field, and his webinars are packed with tangible SEO techniques and tips that he and PPA developed for photographers. You can also follow Brett on Twitter for advanced SEO updates and tips.

These webinars will give you ideas to create new connections with your audience and how this can boost your search engine rankings while giving your SEO a much needed human factor! PPA members and non-members alike can register to attend part 3 of this series, "Audience Engagement: The True Art of SEO"! The best part: the live presentation is free and open to anyone, so feel free to share the info with your friends and colleagues!

Part 3, "The True Art of SEO & Online Engagement...for Photographers!", will take place on October 8 at 2 p.m. ET. This time, Brett will show you ways to authentically engage with your audience online, and how this can help increase your rankings in search! It may not sound like much, but it makes a huge difference in search results!

People indeed often mistakenly think that SEO is all about stuffing keywords into the copy of your website, but you do need to prove to Google (or Bing!) that you aren't a spam bot randomly inserting keywords on a site to artificially boost your SEO. That's right, as Brett likes to say "Google is smarter than you" and when working with SEO you should "always remember to be (very) human."

If you're ready to dive in to SEO, this series is the perfect place to help you figure things out and take your online presence efforts to the next level! Register online now, all it takes is filling out a quick, basic registration form! PPA members and PPAedu subscribers can also replay the first two parts of this series online: Replay Part 1 and Replay part 2

Don't forget to check PPAedu's webinar schedule and mark your calendars for the upcoming parts 4, 5 and 6 as well!

Not a PPA member? You can register for this webinar and watch it live for free. All you need to do is create a basic account on PPA.com and you'll be able to register. To replay it, watch the entire series, or access any other on-demand PPAedu courses, simply join now or subscribe to PPAedu. You'll get full access to over 170 HD videos on the latest business and creative techniques for photographers! 
ppalogo.PNG
You know how we keep saying PPA has your back? Well we mean it. And our Copyright & Government Affairs department advocates for you members and professional photographers everywhere at the top--on Capitol Hill! Here is an update on what was learned from their latest visit, courtesy of Maria Matthews, department manager.

Copyright Talks Continue on Capitol Hill
Photographers and photography were at the center of a discussion by the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on our most recent visit to Capitol Hill. Just before Congress broke for their August recess, talks focused on the courts, intellectual property and the internet. While not photography-centric, the copyright debate is at the center of the subcommittee's September agenda, with three additional copyright hearings on everything from satellite regulations (i.e. the laws that allow networks to continue to broadcast your favorite shows) to highly specialized hearings on role of voluntary agreements.

During this time, PPA met with the Register of Copyrights as well as key Congressional leaders to stress the importance of strong copyright laws, and the need for accessible enforcement tools in order to protect your livelihood. Our message was received positively by every office we encountered. While we are encouraged by the efforts both the Copyright Office and the Subcommittee are taking to examine copyright statute as it currently exists, we are keeping a watchful eye on the unfolding debate to ensure that photographers are not forgotten.  

Although the date has not yet been set, the Committee Chair has committed to hosting additional copyright-themed hearings prior to their December recess. In addition to the subcommittee's copyright-intensive schedule, we are also expecting the release of the Copyright Office's study on the Copyright Small Claims Process and possible improvements to the registration process.


National Park Service Releases Updated Rules & Fees
While Congress is plugging away at copyright, elsewhere on Capitol Hill the Department of the Interior (DOI) released updated "Special Use Permit" rules for still photography. The rules, which have been five years in the making, offer clarity on when a photographer would be required to seek a permit from a park superintendent prior to arriving for a session on park or other federal land. (Note: These rules also apply to areas managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service.)

Thanks to these revisions, photographers now have the benefit of knowing the rules no matter which type of federal land they visit. While a basic set of requirements have been streamlined across these agencies, photographers will need to contact the specific property (or visit its website) to find out if there are certain seasonal restrictions (i.e. winter road closures or peak traffic periods) that might require additional clearance and/or fees.

The revised permit guidelines now say still photographers do not require a permit unless they're using a model, props, or if there are additional circumstances that require the use of park resources. For example, the location is off limits to the general public or resources to minimize the effect of the shoot on general visitors. This means that if you're entering the park and intend to stay "on the beaten path" chances are you won't need a permit and shouldn't be stopped and asked for one.

When it comes to models, props, and sets, DOI also provided photographer-friendly definitions to these once confusing terms. "Models" are no longer considered portrait subjects like members of a wedding party or high school graduates. "Props and Sets" are now specifically defined as "items constructed or place on agency lands" and extends to backdrops, lights and tracks. Tripods, something previously included in this list are no longer deemed a "prop" if they are not used with any other equipment.

While we expect many photographers will now be exempt from permits because of the new definition of "model," we continue to have great concerns over the newly proposed fee structure. The addition of a $250 monthly permit for 1-3 (including the photographer) should prove helpful to those who frequently use National Parks in small groups. However, photographers must still contend with any "locations fees" that are required by the individual park. Again these fees are calculated based on the specific agency resources you'll need to complete the assignment as well as any seasonal restrictions that might be in place.

We are keeping an eye out for any additional fee studies and opportunities to offer input on the rulemaking process on behalf of the photographic industry. Given the improvements to the law made to date, we are hopeful DOI will implement additional photographer friendly measures as they solidify the updated rules.


Healthcare Rates Released October 1
Although the www.healthcare.gov website has been up and running for some time now, Oct. 1, 2013, will be the first time it will be 100% populated with the rate information for your state. 

Check to see if your state has established its very own "healthcare marketplace." Many states are even already allowing those who could potentially qualify to be insured to shop policies and determine whether they're eligible for coverage. Simply visit the "Get Insurance" tab at www.healthcare.gov site and select your state to get started.

In addition to exploring your options October 1, you can also choose to purchase insurance. However, it is important to note that the policy will not take effect until January 1, 2014. During this initial implementation period, enrollment will extend through March 31, 2014. Even though the March 31, 2014, enrollment deadline has been set, there are certain special circumstances (i.e. marriage, relocation, birth of a child, etc.) that will allow you to modify your coverage or enroll for the very first time. 

If you need more information about what's to come or if you're curious how the new laws apply to you, we encourage you to watch the three part healthcare webinar series hosted by Ross Pallay, of Pallay Insurance Agency, Inc., PPA's medical and dental insurance partner.

That's all for now! As soon as any new information regarding copyright becomes available we will be the first to let you know. We've said it before and we'll say it again--we've got your back!
ppalogo.PNG
Guest blogger, Mariah Ashley, presents the second of her three-part series, "THE TRIFECTA OF TROUBLE - How Three Big Mistakes Created the 'Perfect Storm' and Almost Sank the Snap! Weddings Ship." Make sure you read part one, The Tale of the Tin Pig, A Cautionary Anecdote first!

Part Two: Guts: Hate 'em, Spill 'em, Trust 'em.

My son is a freshman in high school this year, which is weird because it feels like just yesterday I was the one in high school. Maybe that's because last night I was in high school... my son's high school... for parent's orientation. Whomp.

A throng of anxious parents, including yours truly, all got our children's schedules. Then we proceeded to wander the halls like thoroughly disoriented, frightened tourists looking for Period A class. I finally found Biology I, Room 451, though not in the allotted four minutes because I took a wrong turn at the cafeteria and ended up in the janitor's broom closet. 

Finding my seat as the bell rang, I noticed myself breathing a little irregularly (and not just because I was sprinting away from an angry janitor). It seems like I was having some kind of I'm-back-in-high school-and-it's-not- a-terrible-reoccurring-dream-it's-actually-happening anxious episode.

As you may have guessed, I did not peak in high school. I was not homecoming queen. I was not the most popular girl. I was not friends with the most popular girl. I did however have the unfortunate privilege of sitting next to the most popular girl in home room for four years. We'll call her Shauna Dee.

For me, every morning subjected to the luminescent wonder of Shauna Dee was a depressing downward spiral of impossible comparison followed by dark self-loathing. Okay, maybe it wasn't really that bad, it was only 720 days of cheerless despondency but who's counting?
In those days, a.k.a. the stone ages, a.k.a. 1986, when I was in high school and no one really cared about a child's self esteem, the PTO would offer carnations for sale on Valentine's Day. Student's (the expectation here being the boys) could purchase red carnations to be delivered to the girl of their dreams in homeroom. Yes, you know what's coming next. 

Every year some poor volunteer would have to lug a wheel barrel full of red carnations into my homeroom and empty them adoringly on Shauna Dee's desk. Every year like a dope I would hope that one of those scraggly red blossoms would have my name on it. Every year it didn't. Double Whomp. One year Shauna Dee took pity on me and gave me one of her flowers (because she's an angel) and it promptly snapped leaving me with a long stem in one hand and a stubby bloom in the other. Whompity whomp whomp.

red carnation.jpg
Don't be too sad for me, wipe those tears! This tale has a happy ending. Senior year Shauna Dee, beloved by faculty and students alike, was caught cheating on a History exam! Gasp! Her fall from grace was a sound heard round the world (although it just sounded like tinkling bells because she's an angel, remember?). Now, now, don't get all, "That's not nice to revel in Shauna Dee's misfortune on me." That's not the happy ending, I haven't gotten to it yet. 

One day soon after the fall of Shauna Dee I was walking along in the hallway minding my own business and guess who said hello to me? That's right! Shauna Dee! Not only did she say hello but she also asked me a question. It was the strangest and saddest question that anyone has ever asked me. A question that completely changed my perception of myself, Shauna Dee, and the value I had placed on the social ladder of high school.

She asked, "Mariah, do your parents hug you?" just as matter-of-factly as you can imagine!

Awkward.

I said, "Yeah, they do. All the time. It's kind of annoying." Very cool.

Shauna Dee just looked at me and nodded a little nod and turned down another hallway. 

What a monster you are thinking! Mariah rejoices in this poor girl's lack of intimacy with her parents. Calm down, that's not the happy part either. The happy ending is the lesson that Shauna Dee taught me which is this, If you think the grass is always greener on the other side, maybe you just need to water your own lawn.

You may be asking yourself what does watering one's lawn and the tale of an angel fallen from grace have to do with a mistake that almost sank the Snap! Weddings ship, Part Deux? Well I'll tell you.

GUTS, more specifically hating other people's (Haters Gotta Hate) and not trusting my own.
There have been times this year when much like sitting next to Shauna Dee in homeroom all those years ago, I have felt envious of other's photographer's (fill in the blank here with any of these words; success, skill, talent, popularity, shoes)... you get the green eyed picture.

Sometimes it is hard to watch others seemingly rocket to the top while you are left plodding along. What I found was that the more time I spent looking over the fence at what my neighbors were doing, the less time I spent creating my own brand, cultivating my own style, and watering my own lawn. I'm never going to have Shauna Dee's awesomely bad 80's wardrobe. I'm just not that girl, but I am a girl who has guts.

From fear and desperation I recently pulled a Shauna Dee, i.e. copied off another photographer's paper. I'm not proud of it, but fear can do crazy things to a photographer. The cheating incident involved a seminar with a photographer who offered their price list for sale. I had been reworking and struggling with my pricing recently. I felt in my gut that it was cheating to purchase the pricing and I debated it for oh... about one second before I shelled out the $200. 

Excitedly (the kind of excited where you are getting away with something you shouldn't) I opened the PDF document to discover the secret pricing magic recipe of the Shauna Dee of wedding photography. What I found was shocking. The pricey pricelist was exactly the same as my newly reworked price list. Not kidding. The philosophy, the structure, the actual prices...the same! Almost to the penny. Except I just flushed $200 down the drain because I didn't trust my gut. Whomp.

Moral of the story? Stop comparing yourself to others and don't look at your neighbor's paper for the answers. Do these two things and you too can have G.U.T.S. (Gigantic Unbelievable Total Success). I no longer waste my time stalking other photographer's blogs, I spend that time crafting my own. I'm not paying anyone for their cheat sheets either. I studied the material myself and I'm confident I know what's best for my business. 

A side note: I didn't have to go as far back in the time machine to learn a little about guts. I could have learned something about guts this very morning when my naive freshman son went off to school wearing a cowboy hat. We live in Massachusetts. Not Montana. Now that's some guts.

Epilogue/ A Future Screenplay

A high school hallway circa 2013. The camera pans past a closet and a trash can to a lone janitor, broom in hand sweeping up the scattered shards of self esteem left behind by some naive teenage boy. The janitor adds the debris to the contents of the trash can, one newly purchased yet recently discarded cowboy hat. 

Fade to black.

Tiffany&Keith...no, really! It's already happened once. As you may have seen on social media, two of our wonderful members found each other on theLoop by sharing a passion for landscape photography. They took the conversation offline and the rest is history. We are thrilled that Tiffany (Reed) and Keith Briley tied the knot in late August on the beach in Charleston, South Carolina! Check out some of these adorable pictures from their wedding and honeymoon! (Want to wish them congrats in person? Tiffany is speaking at Imaging USA!)


We know theLoop isn't designed as a matchmaking service; it is the unique, exclusive online community for members of PPA. You can use theLoop to connect and network with other professional photographers, ask questions and seek advice, and share your knowledge and work with others. theLoop is a safe place for photographers to chat, share ideas and worries, and discuss sensitive topics like customer service, demanding clients, and more. All while being able to rest easy knowing any potential customers will not see what you post.


It's more than a website, it's a place to connect with fellow photographers and friends! The community is welcoming of all PPA members--regardless of years in the business or types of photography.


"I came into PPA as a complete stranger [to people on theLoop], a 

Tiffany&Keith2

newcomer with very little professional experience when measured against so many of you, and you have mentored me, made amazingly accurate and insightful suggestions, offered help or advice, listened to me vent - you have made me feel like a part of the PPA family. And I didn't expect that," said Carolyn Witherspoon, a new Looper.


So what makes theLoop so special and different than networking sites like LinkedIn? The connections you get with other professional photographers (and only professional photographers) that are in your exact same position! Compare work, business best practices and so much more! 


"Where to start?  My absolute favorite thing is having the privilege of seeing some of your work.  I'm always astounded by it.  It gives me so much to strive toward, "said Carolyn. "And reading through as many posts on varying topics as I can possibly fit into every one of my already over-jammed days!  And especially the childlike thrill that floods through me when I see that I have a message! Right now I cannot imagine a time when I'd no longer want to be a part of this community."


So why wait? Get in on theLoop and join the conversations already happening, or start your own! And with Imaging USA right around the corner, get in on the Imaging USA community.


Lasting structures are built on great foundations.

PPA was created way back in the 1800's, and you, our members, have been pushing yourselves to be more ever since. One of the big ways to do so and to create an ever-lasting impact on your business is to pursue professional merits and degrees in photography!

Created in 1937, PPA's Merit & Degree program (this is PPA's longest-standing educational program) works hand-in-hand with other educational events and competitions, helping you earn a photographic degree that recognizes your achievements in the profession. It means you have met PPA's standards of excellence and service. More importantly, it provides you with another tool for telling the world--and all those potential clients--why they should call you, rather than the competitor down the street.

Chasing a photography degree is one of the best ways to boost your confidence (and your clients' too!) and rub elbows with the best in the business. If you're a PPA member, you're in the right place to seek these marks of competence and excellence. You can earn many credentials through PPA, including becoming a Photographic Craftsman and even a Master Photographer. 

But how do you earn them? The International Photographic Competition (IPC) is a good start!
Entering photographic competitions like the IPC is one of the best ways to earn merits toward your degrees. I wrote in length about the experience itself  from a spectator's perspective, but the growth potential for a photographer is huge. And on top of just the potential merits, we're talking skill AND dollars here. Have I already mentioned that the growth potential for a photographer is huge?

It's easy enough to enter; you just need to push yourself just that little bit more. You must want to achieve a certain standard of artistry that will set you apart from the rest. You'll grow your skillset, you'll meet fellow photographers and even mentors, and the best part? You and your clients will notice your work improve.  

And odd as it may seem very few photographers currently hold degrees. By urging yourself to be more and entering those competitions, once you earn enough merits for a degree, you will simply and truly be joining the elite.

As I mentioned, this year's IPC just took place, but it is never too early to start preparing your images for next year! Be on the lookout for district competitions opening in the Spring! And come to Imaging USA in Phoenix this January to see for yourself all those images that merited and went Loan.

And if you need any more inspiration, make sure you read longtime member Dave Huntsman's essay on why he earned his degrees.

Be more accomplished! Go after a PPA degree.


Have you heard? The Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) program was recently given a massive makeover--and it looks GOOD! The new CPP-only website provides CPPs with more resources than ever, including a Certification See the Difference video, a CPP-only marketing toolkit and so much more.

Before we get too far into this, we need to share some good news! If you previously held the CPP designation, you can be grandfathered back in AT NO COST. All you have to do is maintain your PPA membership. In three years, you'll have the opportunity to recertify and continue on as a CPP for years to come. Pretty good deal, huh? Okay, now back to it.

The revamped Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) program's goal is to acknowledge and validate a consistent photography standard by which professional photographers can achieve and maintain a recognizable mark of excellence.

PPA's CPP program assures others of a photographer's knowledge, experience and continuance to develop new skills and techniques. It is a declaration of your professional competence! The certification program assures the general public that you, as a Certified Professional Photographer, are a quality professional. It's like quality assurance because certification is a credential that consumers and businesses understand. 

More importantly, it provides you with a tool for telling the world--and all those potential clients--why they should call you rather than the competitor down the street. Because earning your designation isn't just for you--it's for your clients too! 

Earning your CPP will give you an advertising edge, pricing justification and peer validation! And talk about a confidence boost! Clients in every industry seek out credentialed professionals, as the public recognizes certification as a sign that one is an authority in the field. A CPP designation offers potential clients an assurance, not just of quality, but of professionalism, technical skill and artistic expertise.

We'll let PPA member, Dave Goldman, CPP, have a crack at this one:

"Would you use a first-year resident as a doctor because you can save a few dollars on an operation or use a specialist recognized by his peers in a particular profession? Certification shows that you took the time to learn about what you are doing and how you perform to a higher standard. Each client that comes to my studio asks me about the very visible certificate on the wall. I explain the difference between CPPs and everyday photographers and educate them on the investment they are about to make. Certification makes it a critical difference."

The new Certification microsite gives you everything you need to know about the program, from in-depth explanation on what a certification is and means, to the CPP pathway for those who have yet to certify! If you fall into the latter, consider the CPP Prep class taking place next month here at PPA HQ in Atlanta!

Be on the lookout for the new CPP newsletters, the CPP Liaison newsletters and enjoy the many benefits offered in the Certification updated program. 

Be More... Certified!
Start Imaging USA off with a bang (for your buck!) with the 2014 PPA Kickstart Scholarship. For the first time ever, PPAedu is sponsoring four scholarships for Imaging USA pre-convention classes, just because we want your Imaging USA experience to be more! You'll get that extra education boost you need, completely on us! Check out the rules and submission criteria to see if you qualify!
Each year at the International Photographic Competition (IPC), a panel of jurors votes on whether or not an entry will earn a merit based on the 12 elements of a merit image (read more about the elements on PPA.com). Why are merits important? Well, they're needed for you to earn your PPA degree, showing your dedication to professional photography. Beyond that, earning a merit at IPC is a sign that your image-making skills are improving, which can only help to improve your business! 

Once the jurors determine if an image deserves a merit, the next step is to take any merited images and decide if they become part of PPA's loan collection. Only a small percentage of all the entries to the IPC become part of the loan collection, so it's definitely a big achievement! Loan collection images are exhibited at Imaging USA in the International Photographic Exhibit. The Photographer of the Year awards are also determined by the IPC results, and the winners are recognized at the Award & Degree ceremony held during Imaging USA.

To show you how some past loan images were created, we'll be sharing some images from PPA's loan collection and how the photographer created them. This is "Bandit" by Mona Sadler. M.Photog., CPP, owner of Coastal Pet Portraits in Alliance, N.C. (coastalpetportraits.com)


Mona created "Bandit" during a pet photo special on behalf of Spay Today, an organization that provides free pet spaying. 

"The look on the dog's face was as special as he is," says Sadler. "His owner suffers from MS, and he is a certified service dog. Although living with pain and disability, she and Bandit
give to others." 

1066-1.jpgCAMERA & LENS: Canon EOS 5D camera; Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L
USM lens shot at 100mm
EXPOSURE: 1/200 second at f/8, ISO 200.
LIGHTING: Two Photogenic PowerLights, a 2500DR and a 1500SL, modified
by a 3x4 Aurora soft box and an Aurora Lite Bank; a Larson reflector
bounced in fill light
POST-CAPTURE: Says Mona, "Bandit was being held by his owner when I took
the photo. I painted her out and let the background go white. The painting was
done first in Photoshop then finished in Corel Painter to add texture and brush
strokes. It was my goal to make the portrait look very classical, soft and tender."

Stay tuned for more loan images and the stories behind them. In the meantime, you can view the 2013 results on PPA.com. Plus, look for an online gallery of IPC images coming to PPA.com soon! 

And don't forget to stop by the International Photographic Exhibit at Imaging USA in Phoenix January 12 - 14, 2014 to see loan images from this year's IPC in person. 

IMAGE © Mona Sadler

Heading to Phoenix for Imaging USA? Let's talk about how to get around town.

If you need an easy, economical way to get from Sky Harbor Airport to downtown Phoenix, and even around the city while you're there, consider the METRO Light Rail. For just $2 a ride, you can get to within walking distance of pretty much anywhere in Phoenix.
 
The Phoenix Convention Center has provided this handy Transportation Guide to help you get from the airport to the convention center. Looks pretty easy, doesn't it? Also check out the Imaging USA map that gives you step-by-step information for getting from the airport to the station, to the hotels.

Also, the easy-to-navigate Valley Metro website will answer any of the questions you may have regarding locations, frequency and cost. But we can do the last--$2 a ride, no matter your destination! You can even get a $4 day pass if you plan on riding more than twice, talk about value! If that doesn't convince you, remember that the City of Phoenix controls the rates of all the parking decks in the Downtown area. When a large conference like Imaging USA comes to town, they generally increase them to $20+ per day, with no in and out privileges. 

Wherever you need to go, try planning your trip on Valley Metro's website and see if the Light Rail is the best option. They offer a "Transit Trip Planner" feature, so you can map out the train schedules and getting to where you need to go. 

Renting a car can be expensive, and might not even be necessary in Phoenix. Plus, trying to drive around in a new city is just a flat-out pain in the butt. Make sure you give the Light Rail consideration when looking into your transportation options. Just look at those reviews on Yelp!
Check out all of your transportation options (and hotels too) in the Imaging USA travel page. 

Ride the Rail!

BONUS!
The last time Imaging USA was in Phoenix in 2009, Improv Everywhere hosted their first Light Rail No Pants Ride. Rumor has is that the 2014 version will be the Sunday of Imaging USA! So look out for casual, pantless Light Rail riders, don't be scared, and if you're brave, join in! An official announcement of the date should come in December, so we'll make sure to share it with everyone. 

If you're heading to Phoenix for Imaging USA (and you better be!), consider stopping by the Grand Imaging Awards to find out who will be crowned the Photographer of the Year!

Created by a group of your peers and members of the Photographic Exhibitions Committee
 (PEC), the Grand Imaging Awards was designed to promote the best of the best from the International Photographic Competition (IPC). It's all about the images from the most prolific, quality photographers in the industry... and that's why YOU are invited to this fourth annual celebration just for our PPA Diamond Photographers of the Year, IPC Medalists and the soon-to-be-announced Grand Imaging Award winners!

Trophies and cash prizes will be presented to the first-, second- and third-place photographers in six categories: Portrait, Illustrative, Commercial, Electronic Imaging, Albums and Wedding. The six first-place winners will walk away with $500 each. On top of that, one of those winners will be selected for the biggest award of the night: The PPA International Photographic Competition Grand Imaging Award (which comes with a sweet trophy and an additional $500). The ceremony will be held Monday night from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in room 301A of the Phoenix Convention Center. 

Images from all of the distinguished winners will be displayed on large screens during the celebration. In addition, the top 10 images in each Grand Imaging Awards category will be prominently displayed when the respective top photographers are celebrated on stage. We want everyone at Imaging USA to come celebrate them and find the inspiration you need to enter competitions! 

If you're considering entering future competitions and chasing merits and degrees, this is a great opportunity to rub elbows with the best in the business. These are people who take images specifically with competitions in mind to better themselves as photographers. You can chat with the winners and learn more about the competition process from real people. You can even snap a photo with the winners, you know, if you're into that sort of thing.

It's a big deal! Better yourself and in doing so help better the photography industry.

You can view a gallery of last year's GIA winners here. Until then, see you in Phoenix!

barton_gia2013_blog.jpg
Want to get to know the people who make up the staff of PPA? Check out this fun infographic below. You'll gain intimate knowledge of the people that are helping you to BE MORE!

Don't bother squinting! Click the image to view a full-size version.
PPA_Infographic4.jpg

Hello faithful readers! Welcome to our latest blog series, What's a Pro? with Johnny O (that's me!).

If you recall, back in May Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer ruffled a few feathers when she said: 

"...there's no such thing as Flickr Pro, because today, with cameras as pervasive as they are, there is no such thing really as professional photographers, when there's everything is professional photographers [sic]. Certainly there is varying levels of skills, but we didn't want to have a Flickr Pro anymore, we wanted everyone to have professional quality photos, space, and sharing."

Oops! Her goof caused quite the backlash in the photography community, but it also got us to thinking... What is a professional photographer? Just someone who gets paid to take pictures? Or is it something more?

In this series, we'll chat about what exactly makes a professional photographer... professional. It's a pretty easy job for me, because for the most part, I'm going to let you pros do the talking.

If you participated in our Faces of PPA campaign (and MANY of you have), you saw we asked, "What's a Professional Photographer to you?" And we're going to share some of your responses here. 

Have some thoughts on the topic? Want to be a part of the series? Place your thoughts in the comment section below or contact me, John Owens, communications specialist, at jowens@ppa.com. 

So what's a pro? The answer--we hope to find--is you. 

Heather Chinn, M.Photog.Cr., owns and operates her portrait studio, Heather the Painter, in Fort Mill, S.C. Heather is THE name to know in the world of painting (and she'll be speaking at Imaging USA!), and works for clients all over the world. As a Corel Training Partner and Corel Painter Master as well as a PPA Master Artist photographer, Heather pulls from years of well-rounded experience to form her opinion.

"To me, a professional photographer is an artist that can see a unique story in a split second in everyday life. They can then capture that moment with all of the creative elements (composition, lighting, exposure, color harmony, balance, design, etc.) in place as if it were second nature."

Eva Creel, hailing from Kaiserslautern, Germany, is a self-proclaimed photography addict. Her eponymous studio offers photography "underwater, above and somewhere in between." Eva considers herself an artist first and professional second, and offered an example on why a mix of both is important. 

"Want to light the fire under a photo group's proverbial bottoms? Ask them what a professional photographer is and stand back as the thread explodes! To me, ya gotta make money honey if you want to be considered a professional. However money does not mean quality. 

"For example many people can charge you to fix your car but that doesn't mean they are going to do a good job. You will most likely get what you pay for. If the mechanic does a bad job does that mean he's not a professional? Does he/she have a license and a registered business? Can they tell the difference between a carburetor and an alternator? We have a good idea of who a professional is when it comes to taking care of our car needs, so why don't we have a clear understanding of who a professional is when it comes to taking our portrait?"

Michigan photographer Jennifer Praniewicz, CPP, owner of Jenuine Creations, LLC, breathes creating a slice in time for history and placement. Her work has been featured in international magazines, yet she gets a greater sense of satisfaction from clients who have fun on a shoot with her and then love their images.

"A professional photographer is one that respects the foundation, heritage and lineage of those who made the industry in days gone by. In so doing, they are continually honing their skills and craft, reaching for the next level of excellence. 

"They strike a delicate balance between reaching their clients' goals, dreams and desires while growing and maintaining a business. They run a business and do not denigrate the industry by giving their time or product away unless for a legitimate charity. They utilize all the components of great photography, including lighting, posing, composition, etc. and don't settle for trendy, over-exposed and characterless photography."

So as you can see, there are some strong feelings on the topic! Now, do your clients need any help to See The Difference? We've got marketing resources just for that.

So what's a professional photographer to you? Let us know in the comments. 

See you in a couple weeks!

-Johnny O

By now you've hopefully seen a few of the Faces of PPA floating around on Facebook or Google+. We're thrilled to offer an opportunity to join this ongoing campaign to all of our members! Just visit ppa.com/faces, answer a few questions and submit an image of yourself. (Reminder: No head shots! It's you as the creative, professional photographer.)

This week we wanted to feature three of our stellar Faces of PPA to showcase the variety of the 26,000 members in the organization! 

Andrea_Taylor.jpg


Fuller_Carly.jpg


Tucci_Damon.jpg

Sometimes when you're out photographing, the unexpected happens. Hopefully, it's usually a
Photocare_Logo.jpg
good surprise, like catching a perfect moment during a wedding totally unplanned or posed. However, we know that there are also surprises that you don't want to happen--like equipment breaking during a photo shoot! 

Replacing broken equipment isn't always economically feasible, and equipment insurance can also be expensive. So where do you turn?

Luckily, PPA members (U.S. and Puerto Rico-based Professional Active or Life members) can get up to $15,000 of equipment coverage paid for by PPA. You read that right--it's all included with your membership fee and you pay no additional premium to receive this coverage. Sounds pretty sweet, right?

PhotoCare Equipment Insurance will cover loss of equipment due to fire, theft or breakage. There's only one thing you have to do to be covered! Log in to PPA.com and visit the MyPPA section. If you're eligible, you'll see "Your current PhotoCare equipment insurance status" with a "Activate my PhotoCare" link to click. Once you've opted in, you're covered! 

photocare_myppa_activation.jpg







Do it today! You'll be thanking yourself for opting in if you end up with a broken camera, broken lens or other broken equipment at a photo shoot. PPA is proud to offer this program so that you can be more and continue to do what you love even if the unexpected happens! 

Questions? You can read up on all the PhotoCare details and FAQs. Or, contact our customer service department at 800-786-6277 and they'll answer any questions you have. You can also check out tips for protecting your equipment on the PPA Today blog.

So, opt in now  (right now--we'll wait)... so you're not caught by surprise and left with a sore wallet if you suffer broken photography equipment or loss due to theft or fire. 

Not a PPA member? Join today to get access to PhotoCare Equipment Insurance. 

Over the course of the last few months, we've covered the bare basics of social media. In a field that's constantly evolving, your education shouldn't stop here! What are some easy places to get your social media quick fixes as you continue on this journey? Well, we have a few recommendations to keep you on your path to enlightenment.

Mashable: Get your geek on with daily social stories. Some are fluff (like the "The 10 Most Epic Celebrity Twitter Fights"), but there's a lot of quality information at your fingertips to gain inspiration and knowledge from. Like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter to get your daily dose in small portions (and like their "Watercooler" for silly posts, many times involving cute cat videos). 

SmartBlog: Smart Blog is another wonderful source for a social media blog. It'll talk about great topics like "Why you should plan like your life depends on it" or "Grading retailers's social back-to-school promotions." Just because they aren't in photography, that doesn't mean you won't learn something awesome!

PhotoShelter: Photoshelter is the bombdiggity for free guides on photography specific social media. We love their free guides! Check in with them often to see their latest and greatest white paper on the topics (always good to like them on Facebook too!)

HubSpot: These guys are social media pros! They have fixes for everything, from boring cover photos to improving your social work flow or making sure your emails get opened by your clients. They also sell software to help manage social media--so there may be the occasional plug--but overall they are a really stellar source for great content.

SmartBrief: Get geeky with all of the big picture stuff on SmartBrief. These guys won't tell you how to improve your tweet-game, but they will tell you all the news about mobile marketing for the Asia-Pacific region (and other really cool topics). If you're a social media nerd--this is an excellent spot to spend some time each day. 

theLoop: Join theLoop's Marketing community to see what your fellow photographers are up to. Discuss ideas, talk about successes and learn from each other's mistakes! Remember--this is an exclusive benefit for only PPA members, so you'll have some wonderful photographers to learn from!

LinkedIn: Join some LinkedIn groups that are focused on social media/marketing! Subscribe to their daily digest and review it (yes, every day) to see if any topics pop out as something that would be interesting for your business! Just because it's not about photography doesn't mean there aren't key parallels to pull from.

So subscribe away! Join their email lists, like them on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter! Keep up your social media education--it's evolving daily and many of these changes can alter how your posts are distributed. 

Have other social media sources you love? Leave them in the comments! 

This is post 7 of 7 in the Be More...Social series. Read the other posts in the series using the links below:

By now you've heard--Super Monday is just around the corner, and with that comes nearly 100 classes in cities across the United States (and three in Korea) focused on live, local education. It's your opportunity to earn service merits, network and meet some new friendly faces!

farren_peggy_maternity.jpgThis fall, we are thrilled to offer quite a few seasoned instructors teaching across a wide range of topics including Peggy Farren and her "Maternity Portraiture--Preparation, Selling, Lighting & Posting" and Kevin Floyd, CPP with his two courses "Portrait Retouching with Photoshop" and "Studio Lighting 101: Indoors & Out". These veteran Super Monday pros make learning feel like a day at the beach--which they both could be since they are based along the beautiful shores of Florida.

As volunteer instructors, what keeps them coming back to teach time and time again?

"I had such a great experience the last time," said Peggy. "Many photographers drove from two to three hours away to our workshop. One thing I've learned through running the Understand Photography Training Center is that educated competition is better for the business of photography. We have very few of the bargain basement photographers in this area since most of the new photographers train with us. We teach them how to price correctly and learn the business side of photography as well as the technical and creative side."

floyd_kevin_supermonday2013.jpgKevin, a former board chair at the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, knows that it takes special skills to lead in the classroom. "I love to teach, it is a part of me and I feel like it's my duty to give back. Since I was a high school teacher that was graded on how much my students retained, I like to cover how to remember and apply what was shown in class too!"

So, what will be covered in their classes?

In Peggy's maternity class, you'll walk away knowing the right questions to ask in the beginning, poses that flatter and sell, pricing, lighting and with beautiful portfolio images since it is a hands-on workshop!

"Attendees will leave with a new confidence. They'll learn enough lighting and posing to make any pregnant woman beautiful--okay, maybe using a little Photoshop, too. Attendees will have sample pricing plans that they can tailor to their own businesses and earn more money per session," said Peggy. "A maternity session should be the beginning of a lifelong relationship with your client. Learn how to make your client beautiful by proper lighting and posing."

In Kevin's first class on studio lighting, attendees will walk away with the foundational knowledge of five lighting patterns, achieving studio lighting outside with or without lights, capturing a 3D image through highlights and shadows and how everything revolves around 18% gray.

Kevin's second class will focus on Photoshop. Attendees will learn how to wield the mighty power of Photoshop with a restraint.

"We will over how to use Photoshop for retouching, but not over doing it. It still needs to look like your client when you're done. We'll also cover how to analyze what needs to be done and how to use quick fixes for common problems. The class will use problem images students bring in and as a class work on as many as we can!"

With any Super Monday class, you're bound to walk away with endless amounts of new ideas for your art and your business.

"I'm always more inspired when I'm confident in my technical skills. The technical part of photography has never come easy for me, so hands-on practice works as the best learning system for me. I want to inspire the attendees," said Peggy.

Head over to the Super Monday page to find a course chock full of inspiration and networking near you, or check out Peggy's "Maternity Portraiture - Preparation, Selling, Lighting, Posing and Editing" in Naples, or Kevin's "Portrait Retouching with Photoshop or "Studio Lighting 101: Indoors and Out.

And check out Farren's website at naplesportraits.com, and Floyd's at kevinfloyd.com.

This is the first entry in a three-part series, THE TRIFECTA OF TROUBLE - How Three Big Mistakes Created the "Perfect Storm" and Almost Sank the Snap! Weddings Ship, by guest blogger, Mariah Ashley.

bouncy pig.jpgThere's a few things you should know about my husband. He drove the same car for 17 years, we called it "The Rattler" because of the tortured noises it made on the highway. Every week or so, it would have a new rattle. One day it sputtered a symphony of rattles and then promptly died. 

My husband doesn't go to the eye doctor and get proper prescription glasses, instead when things start to get fuzzy(er) he buys a new four pack of reading glasses from BJ's for $19.99. He just can't see spending the money on prescription glasses. I say he just can't see, period. 

My husband has a favorite pair of "hang around the house" shorts. He got them at a folk-music festival. They are corduroy with an embroidered star on the back pocket. He wore them every night for six years until they finally disintegrated and then he bought an identical replacement pair. The second pair is still going strong after four years. 
My husband would argue that he is not cheap. We have settled on the word frugal to describe his spending style.

So imagine my surprise when returning home one evening I was greeted by a cartoonish tin pig inhabiting our flower garden.

"Where'd the tin pig come from?" I asked half expecting him to say, "the neighbor's dumpster."

"I bought it," said my husband happily. 

"You what?!" (my shock and disbelief masked by a nervous smile)

"I bought it at the antique store. I love it."

"You love a tin pig?" 

"Yes. I love a tin pig. And his name is Bouncy Pig. He bounces when you push on his hat."

"What did Bouncy Pig cost?"

"Thirty eight dollars."

I don't remember the rest of the conversation because at the divulgement that my cheap frugal husband had spent $38 on a tin pig I fainted and hit my head on the kitchen table. When I came to, I decided to do the dishes. Standing at our kitchen sink looking out the window affords me a nice view of the flower garden and Bouncy Pig. Watching Bouncy Pig springing happily in his new home, I decided I didn't like him much. He's too cheery and he's tacky. He looks junky in the flower garden. Yucky pig.

Strangely, I was alone in my hatred of Bouncy Pig. My teenage son likes to bounce him, my pre-teen daughter likes to bounce him, nieces and nephews love to bounce him, random neighborhood children adore bouncing him, and of course there's my husband who never fails to give him a loving little bounce as he passes by. People see something in Bouncy Pig that I did not see. Bouncy Pig gives them joy and that naturally got me thinking about wedding albums. Naturally.
To be the best photographer possible, it's important to continually educate yourself about the latest techniques for photographers as well as business practices. But where can you find the education you need? And once you find it, how do you know that it will meet your needs? 

To help you be more educated, PPA recently launched PPAedu as part of PPA's member benefits. There's currently over 170 HD videos available (and we're constantly adding more) on demand as well as live webinars in both creative photography techniques and business practices. Better yet, it's all included at no extra cost with your PPA membership!

What really separates PPAedu from the myriad of photography education is the ability to create a personalized program of classes. How do we do it? Through PPAedu's Assessment Tool. 

PPA members can take the assessment at no extra cost. You'll be asked a few painless questions about things like the state of your business, marketing plan, sales and finance. You'll also be asked questions about techniques for photographers like lighting, posing and post-capture. If that sounds daunting, don't panic! Each section moves pretty quickly, and you can always go one section at a time, saving your progress as you go. 

Once you've completed the assessment, you'll be ranked as beginner, beginner /intermediate, or intermediate/advanced in each category based on your answers to the questions. PPAedu then uses these rankings to provide recommendations of videos to watch from our course library that will help advance your photography knowledge. Talk about taking the guess work out of the equation! 

You can also reassess (either a single section or all of them at once) at any time as your skills progress to get fresh course recommendations. While it's not required for PPA members to take the assessment before watching videos, we recommend you do so that you can build your own educational guide! 

So, get started on the assessment and get your PPAedu recommendations today! Or, browse the online video library and upcoming live webinars. Not a PPA member? Join today for full-access to PPAedu, or you can purchase a 3 month subscription and try it out.
What did you do over Labor Day weekend? These faithful igers were out and about using the #ppagram to track their adventures! 
Capture.PNG
Congratulations to @monicamcgivern, @tvphotos, @jmspitzer, @mdispenza and @nwaphoto for making it to the blog! Our next insta-adventure will be for Halloween, but in the mean time, keep those #ppagrams coming!
Each year at the International Photographic Competition (IPC), a panel of jurors votes on whether or not an entry will earn a merit based on the 12 elements of a merit image (read more about the elements on PPA.com). Why are merits important? Well, they're needed for you to earn your PPA degree, showing your dedication to professional photography. Beyond that, earning a merit at IPC is a sign that your image-making skills are improving, which can only help to improve your business! 

Once the jurors determine if an image deserves a merit, the next step is to take any merited images and decide if they become part of PPA's loan collection. Only a small percentage of all the entries to the IPC become part of the loan collection, so it's definitely a big achievement! Loan collection images are exhibited at Imaging USA in the International Photographic Exhibit. The Photographer of the Year awards are also determined by the IPC results, and the winners are recognized at the Award & Degree ceremony held during Imaging USA.

To show you how some past loan images were created, we'll be sharing some images from PPA's loan collection and how the photographer created them. This is "Moon Light Dance" by Frank Salas, M.Photog.Cr., A-ASP, of Frank Salas Photography in Irvine, California.

franksalas_moonlightdance_blog.jpg

"Moon Light Dance" was taken minutes before the end of the wedding couple's reception at the St. Regis Hotel, Monarch Beach Resort, in Southern California. Wedding day time constraints typically test the photographer's creativity, Salas says. "By offering to stay until the end of most events, I'm able to spend a few more minutes looking for new scenic spots where I can create something unique not only for the couple but for myself as well."

CAMERA & LENS: Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens
SETTINGS & EXPOSURE: f/2.8 for 1/80 second, ISO 1600
LIGHTING: Available light only
POST CAPTURE: Processed and retouched in Adobe CS6 and Lightroom 4; enhanced with filters in Nik software


Stay tuned for more loan images and the stories behind them. In the meantime, you can view the 2013 results on PPA.com. Plus, look for an online gallery of IPC images coming to PPA.com soon! 

And don't forget to stop by the International Photographic Exhibit at Imaging USA in Phoenix January 12 - 14, 2014 to see loan images from this year's IPC in person. 

IMAGE © FRANK SALAS

David Grupa, President of PPA Charities (PPACH), has announced that for the ninth consecutive year, PPACH will sponsor Family Portrait Month in October and November. This popular charitable marketing promotion provides PPA members with an opportunity to participate in a nationwide promotion that benefits Operation Smile and elevates the business image of participating studios.

"Family Portrait Month allows PPA members to take part in a high-profile promotion to build family portrait business in October and November, the perfect time to remind families to have their portrait made in time for the year-end gift-giving season," Grupa said.
"Few gifts are appreciated as much as portraits of family members. And when they participate in this promotion, families are making it possible to truly change the lives of children who would otherwise face a lifetime of pain and rejection."

Participating studios are asked to donate at least $30 to PPA Charities for each family portrait session occurring during October or November. Other than this guideline, members are free to decide how much to contribute -- an entire session fee, part of a session fee, a percentage of each sale, or a specified amount of $30 or more. To date, PPA Charities has donated more than $570,000 to Operation Smile, the highly regarded International charity, which is the charitable partner of PPACH.

Interested PPA members can register for the promotion by making a $30 minimum donation for which they will be provided with the following marketing resources:

A 4-color printed Family Portrait Month Marketing Guide, pre-designed marketing resources, and promotional downloads provided by WHCC and Beth Forester of photoDUDS.
Access to a private Facebook Group, where members can ask questions and share ideas with other promotion participants.
Access to a library of promotional suggestions on the PPACH website: www.ppacharities.com.
A listing, by state and city, on the promotion's consumer website, www.familyportraitmonth.com, which allows consumers to find participating studios in their area.

For each $240 donation that a participant makes to PPA Charities on behalf of Operation Smile in 2013, the photographer's name will be entered into a drawing for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to photograph an Operation Smile mission. This drawing will take place at the PPA Charities Celebration on January 11, 2014, the evening before the opening of Imaging USA in Phoenix.

Founded in 1982, Operation Smile is a worldwide children's medical charity dedicated to helping children and young adults born with facial deformities. In as little as 45 minutes, one cleft lip surgery can change a child's life forever at the cost of only $240. Each year, more than 100,000 children are born with a facial deformity in Operation Smile's 26 partner countries. Tens of thousands remain untreated, and at least 10% of these children will die from malnutrition or bacterial infections.

"Recording the smiles of children and their families is what photographers do," says Richmond, Virginia, photographer Mary Fisk-Taylor, fundraising chairman for PPACH, who was instrumental in developing the Family Portrait Month promotion. "It's hard to imagine a more appropriate charity for our members to support. And when parents participate in Family Portrait Month, it's a wonderful way to teach children the value of reaching out to others. Even small children can understand the importance of Operation Smile's work, and they are eager to help these needy children."




About this Archive

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

August 2013 is the previous archive.

October 2013 is the next archive.

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

Live Chat is closed