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PPA Today: February 2016 Archives

February 2016 Archives

By Sarah Ackerman

As a photographer and small business owner, you know the value of a dollar. But are you wasting your hard earned money on something as simple as credit card processing fees? As a PPA photographer, you can stop over spending! 

PPA has newly members-only discounted rates through Bank of America Merchant Services. Those who have already made the switch are reporting hundreds of dollars in savings!

Think of it this way: this benefit could pay for your PPA membership itself! 


The new and simplified rates for credit card processing are:

Mobile and Virtual Terminal:

Swiped: 2.31%

Non-Qualified (non-swiped): 2.91%

No per item, no set up fees

No monthly fees through Bank of America's virtual terminals.
Should you go through a third party such as PayPal, etc. additional fees may apply.

 

Terminal Pricing:

Swiped: 1.80%

Non-Qualified (non-swiped): 1.95%

No per item, no set up fees and no monthly fees.

 


That simple.

As a comparison, Square charges a flat 2.75% per transaction. So this is as simple as Square, but a lot more economical!

There are no (zip, zilch, nada) pesky monthly fees for the regular transaction processing and the table below should help you see the immediate savings:

Monthly Credit Card Transactions

PPA Members

Square Users

Monthly Savings

Annual Savings

$300

$5.40

$8.25

$2.85

$34.20

$1,000

$18

$27.50

$9.50

$114

$2,500

$45

$68.75

$23.75

$285

$5,000

$90

$137.50

$47.50

$570


Bigger and more savings are even possible with an interchange rate setup. It's more complicated, but if you process a lot of transactions each month, it will save you even more!

See for yourself! Bank of America Merchant Services is offering free statement comparisons - just call them at 888-317-5402 (7am-7pm CST) or email TellMeMore@BankofAmericaMerchant.com to see how much you could save. 

Make the switch to Be More Profitable.

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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 



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By Sarah Ackerman

Each month, one PPAedu video is unlocked for everyone to enjoy, because we believe in the power of education for all (it's normally reserved only for PPA members)! The PPAedu library has a lot to help you sharpen your photography techniques, marketing strategies, sales techniques and business operations. These tutorials and educational videos are available 24/7 to PPA members.  Between PPAedu and PhotoVision, as  a PPA member, you can tap into over 1,000 online programs to help you Be More! If you haven't checked out PhotoVision (PPA's newest member benefit), take a look, there's a brand new website with a lot of new episodes!

For the month of March, the video "Romantic Posing in an Architectural Setting" with Hanson Fong, M.Photog.Cr., has been unlocked.  It's available for anyone who wants to learn how  to marry the beauty of your surroundings with the beauty of your wedding couple.  Hanson discusses the lighting, lens and camera equipment needed, and then he goes into detailed posing techniques for your bride. You'll learn how to position her, both individually and with her groom for the most flattering shots.

Hanson focuses on the variety of photos you want to create -- changing the lighting, lens, camera angle, position and posing.   Only 10 minutes of your time will add to your skill set, teaching you how to expertly and efficiently capture beautiful memories.  

If you're a member of PPA, just log in to watch the video anytime. Non-members will have access to this video this month only at PPA.com/TryEdu. For full access to all the PPAedu and PhotoVision videos, join PPA today!

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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 



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By Chris Homer

Happy Friday! Take some time to end your week with a little advice and inspiration from our top
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 ten blog posts of the week.

COPYRIGHT ADVOCACY: This week, PPA was in Washington D.C. meeting with lawmakers to help strengthen photography copyright. Read all about PPA's goals for this visit, as well as the day one and day two recaps of meetings with members of Congress!

BUSINESS: This post from the Story of Telling provides some questions to ask yourself about your photography business to help you focus on creating value for your clients! After all, the more valuable clients find your work, the more likely they are to make big purchases or become a repeat customer.

CONTRACTS: Are you including Terms & Conditions in your photography contracts and estimates? Read this post from Photoshelter to find out why you should be, and to see a few examples from professional photography contracts. Don't forget that PPA has a whole host of sample contracts you can use to help build your own contract! Members can access the sample contracts here.

PHOTOGRAPHY NEWS: Here's a piece of news that all photographers will be interested in, especially those that photograph police at work as part of their job. A recent court ruling states that photographing police officers is not always protected by the First Amendment. Read PetaPixel's breakdown to see what this means for you.

PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY: Are you interested in creating portraits of strangers you meet on the street? This interview with photographer Iwona Pinkowicz on The Phoblographer is for you! Read all about Pinkowicz's process for capturing compelling portraits of complete strangers and see some of her work!
by Lindsey Forson

More progress is being made in the fight for copyright small claims this week thanks to your PPA Copyright and Government Affairs team, led by CEO David Trust! While in Washington, D.C. we garnered support for our most important issue, copyright small claims, among other copyright stakeholders. Capitol_Copyright_Blog.jpg

We discussed how to make a copyright small claims process work best for professional photographers with several supportive members of Congress and their staffers, who may eventually be the drafters and sponsors of small claims legislation. The final meeting of the trip took place at the United States Copyright Office yesterday, where we discussed our recommendations for small claims.

It is no surprise that the top legislative priority of the Copyright Office is the modernization of their own office (this is one of PPA's top three priorities!). The Copyright Office is also very active in lobbying for the creation of copyright small claims and published its own proposal to Congress outlining specific recommendations for small claims.

It was quite the busy day at the Copyright Office, as the President of the United States made his nomination for the new Librarian of Congress minutes before our meeting. We really appreciate the Copyright Office staff still making the time to meet with us, as they allowed us to discuss our recommendations for how to make the small claims process most effective for PPA members. In most cases, our recommendations are very similar to the proposal of the Copyright Office, so we are hopeful for the future. Another discussion in this meeting was how PPA and the U.S. Copyright Office can help each other advocate for the advancement of copyright-related legislation on the Hill.

Here you can read a statement from the Copyright Alliance, of which PPA is a founding member, on the Librarian of Congress nomination.

Our efforts don't stop with this trip: PPA has several phone calls scheduled with key offices in DC during the next week to follow-up on these discussions and your PPA Copyright & Government Affaires team makes its next trip to our nation's capital to continue this work in just three weeks! Stay up-to-date with all of our advocacy headway at PPA.com/Advocacy!

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Coordinator. She works with members on a daily basis addressing copyright questions and works closely with our CEO to advocate for  professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep members informed on the issues that affect their businesses. She's new to Atlanta and spends most of her free time exploring the city (restaurants, markets, parks); spends three nights a week playing soccer and is a huge Auburn fan.

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Today is day 2 of PPA's Copyright and Government Affairs team's business visit in our nation's capital discussing copyright and the protection of professional photography.
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First up today, the team, lead by PPA CEO David Trust, had an extremely encouraging meeting with Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA), Member of the House Judiciary Committee and Linda Shim, Chief of Staff to the Congresswoman.

Congresswoman Chu, who is already working with Congressman Marino to advance Copyright Office Modernization legislation, is incredibly supportive of our number one goal: copyright small claims. She even said that she would be willing to sponsor legislation that achieves that goal. We are so thankful for her tireless support for independent creators and plan to continue to work in close collaboration with her office to achieve both copyright small claims and copyright office modernization.

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We then met with Chief Counsels to the Judiciary Committee, Joe Keeley, Majority Counsel and Jason Everett, Minority Counsel. There we discussed the details of copyright small claims and how to make sure the system that is being created will be effective and efficient for professional photographers. This meeting allowed us to confirm that it is now very clear to the policy makers on both sides of the aisle that the creation of copyright small claims is one of the primary end-goals of this copyright review process. 






This paradigm shift will be a very positive game changer for small business creators. Now it is only a matter of when! We expect the issue to be addressed within the next two years and, of course, every time we get the opportunity, we urge lawmakers to act quickly because time is of the essence for small business creators like professional photographers throughout the U.S.
There's one more meeting for today with Catherine Rowland, Senior Advisor to the Register of Copyrights at the U.S. Copyright Office. Check back here or on PPA.com/Advocacy tomorrow for more information and for a recap of this week's Copyright Advocacy trip to D.C.!

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By Sarah Ackerman

As 2016 kicks off, PhotoVision is excited to share their travels and experiences with you. They've visited some of the greatest photographers around the country, filmed them in their personal spaces and created all new episodes featuring in-depth studio tours, creative inspiration, technical knowledge and great business advice. 

Check out some of our favorites that are coming down the line!

In this already released video, Beth shows how to make a cinemagraph! What's a cinemagraph? It's a combination of still images with video that creates a fascinating visual. Beth talks about how they can be used as incentives for clients at a higher investment. Plus, they work great as social media marketing material.

Downtown Girl with Amy Doerring
Watch as Amy photographs a young ballerina in a gorgeous downtown environment! Amy demonstrates how to make a shy child feel at home in order to capture the best expressions, and how to utilize interesting architecture to create leading lines and a visually appealing backdrop.  Amy shows you how to capture the spirit and emotions of her subject with every shot, through authentic engagement and captivating framing. 

Living the Dream with Dan McClanahan, M.Photog. and Alex McClanahan
Alex and Dan McClanahan sat down with PhotoVision correspondent, Lori Nordstrom to discuss their recent studio developments and how they balance commercial and portraiture work. They talk about how buying out a building complex and renting space to tenants allows them more freedom in their photography business.  They also share how creating sports posters for Iowa State basketball has affected their portraiture inquiries, as it draws in a more diverse clientele. Join in as the three also discuss the importance of taking on fun, personal projects to satiate your creative side and keep your passion for photography strong.

Foundational Lighting with Beth Forester, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Join in as Beth photographs a high school senior in her spacious studio. She breaks down her in-studio lighting setup and shows the difference each light makes in an image. Learn how to use a softball as a background to achieve an ethereal and editorial look and get some tips on how to avoid having your model squint when using a fan and directly hitting them with light. 

Children's Portrait Garden with Jamie Hayes, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API
Watch as Jamie Hayes photographs a young boy in his gorgeous outdoor studio garden. Jamie shares tricks for easily posing children's hands in a way that looks natural and demonstrates why using a remote control camera trigger is very beneficial when photographing young children. He also explains the consequence and reward system he uses with kids to give them incentives to behave and enjoy themselves. 

Fashion Magic with Parker Pfister,  Cr.Photog.
Join Parker and his model as they use a digital camera to experiment with light, motion, and angle to create stunningly artistic portraits. Parker shares his philosophy of always challenging himself and going the hard way in order to keep growing as a photographer and explains the benefits of using a mirrorless camera and why it's his camera type of choice for digital cameras.

$20,000 Holiday Promotion with Beth Forester, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Beth sits down with PhotoVision correspondent, Angela Kurkian, to discuss her holiday photography specials. See how offering discounts to current clients on holiday items gives them an incentive to book during the year and rewards those who already have. Beth reveals how she books on average 24 sessions a day, for three days, and how she capitalizes on the increased interest.   Finally Beth shares how these holiday sales lead to her business being 50% pre-booked for the following year. 

Creative Journey with Jen Hillenga, ,M.Photog.Cr.
Watch as Jen demonstrates makeup application that works great for photography and  constructs a dress out of garbage bags for this fun fashion shoot. She talks about all the various inspirations that go into her work and how she plans days where she simply goes out looking for things that inspire her.  Her background as a painter helps her when applying makeup and she shares ways to  enhance your lighting by accentuating contours of the face. 

This is just a small sampling of what you'll receive as a PhotoVision subscriber! Remember, PhotoVision is free as a PPA photographer - dive in and Be More Educated! Not a PPA member? Join today! 

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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 



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This week, PPA CEO David Trust, leading your PPA Copyright and Government Affairs team, is back in our nation's capital discussing copyright and the protection of professional photography.HiRes.jpg

Yesterday was spent meeting with the recording and publishing industry, the stakeholders who, like PPA, have a vested interest in the issue of copyright protection. PPA is working hard to gain wide support for small claims throughout the copyright industries to advance photographers' rights and better protect their livelihood. Having a unified voice goes a very long way on the Hill. The PPA team had two meetings with representatives from the recording industry and one with a representative from the publishing industry to discuss potential small claims legislation. The discussions continue to be very positive and the issue had great cooperation overall. We are on the right track!

The Copyright team also had a meeting with Congressman Doug Collins (GA) and Senior Legislative Assistant to the Congressman, Sally Rose Larson, to discuss the copyright review and get the Congressman's insight on how legislation may move forward. Though it's too soon to tell if legislation will advance this year or next, it is increasingly apparent that members of the Committee will strive to achieve some of PPA's three priorities: small claims, modernization of the Copyright office, and modifications to the registration process. We will continue to lobby for action to be taken on these priorities sooner rather than later.

Congressman Collins is extremely supportive of our issues overall, and is eager to help achieve our legislative goals. This meeting also allowed us an opportunity to present the congressman and his staff with some of our more specific recommendations for small claims legislation.  

Last fall, Congressman Collins sat down with us to speak on the issue of copyright security. Check out the video here!

Looking forward to today's meetings scheduled with members of the Judiciary Committee, Chief Counsel to the Judiciary Committee for Intellectual Property issues, and Senior Advisor to the Register of Copyrights. We'll post updates to the blog and PPA.com/Advocacy as they come in, so stay tuned!

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by Lindsey Forson
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This week, PPA CEO David Trust and your PPA Copyright and Government Affairs team are back in our nation's capital discussing copyright and the protection of professional photography. PPA continues in its pursuit of key improvements to the copyright system in the United States.

The focus of this trip is on two very important issues:
(1) Modernization of the US Copyright Office and
(2) the Creation of Copyright Small Claims

Both of these issues have vast support within Congress and among stakeholders, and even more-importantly, these are arguably the two most profoundly-needed improvements for copyright holders in the photographic industry.

The scheduled meetings this week include one with the United States Copyright Office and some with stakeholders within the copyright industries (recording and publishing) and several key lawmakers, some of whom are the sponsors and strongest advocates of legislation addressing these issues. The meetings with lawmakers include Congressman Doug Collins of Georgia, Congresswoman Judy Chu of California, and Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas. They all serve on the ever-important House Judiciary Committee and are huge supporters of creator's rights, which is a huge plus in helping advance our cause!

Stay tuned to PPA's blog or check PPA.com/Advocacy over the next few days for updates from Washington, D.C. about YOUR rights when it comes to copyright protection!

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Coordinator. She works with members on a daily basis addressing copyright questions and works closely with our CEO to advocate for  professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep members informed on the issues that affect their businesses. She's new to Atlanta and spends most of her free time exploring the city (restaurants, markets, parks); spends three nights a week playing soccer and is a huge Auburn fan.

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You never know who you may meet or what fun you might have on theLoop, PPA's online community reserved just for our members. Discuss, ask, learn, network...theLoop is there to strengthen your business by leveraging the power of community!Thumbnail image for theloop_128.jpg

Valentine's Day recently came and went and lots of people got engaged, which got us thinking: what are some quick tips on bringing out the big L.O.V.E in couples during engagement sessions? We put the question out on theLoop and here are a few things we learned from you, our valued members...

"I look for the moments right before the kiss, and in between, the way they look at each other and interact. I want portraits of the relationship not the act. A sure sell is one looking at the camera with the smallest hint of a smile and the other gazing at them... I will often say "I need to check light in this new location just relax a minute", and I get some of my best shots when they think I am not shooting. I also see how they really are as a couple in that moment."-- Joanne Fabian, Photographer/Owner, J Gray Fabian Photography, Souderton, PA

"I prefer to reserve the questions about their life and relationships for during the session because I can get lots of great shots with spontaneous reactions when they answer my questions, together... It's always a little harder in the beginning to get them to relax with each other and with me so I do a lot more talking in the beginning of a session to get them to feel more comfortable... Just remember that these couples are in love, we don't need to ask them to act it! It's just a matter of making them comfortable with you and the love will show!"--- Orita Issartel, Orita Issartel Photography, PPA member from Miami, FL

"I usually ask them to kiss and smile, kiss and smile. The more they do it, the more they begin to giggle together and relax, and I get some great body language in their images this way. It helps that I also tell a lot of corny jokes and have the couple laughing with me for the majority of their session!... I always save the more serious poses for the end of the session. By then, the lighting is more dramatic and the couple is comfortable enough with me to do whatever I ask of them. These are some of my favorite images, where they are focused on their love and each other, and I can get a more dramatic shot. This one ends up being ordered as a large print almost every time!"--- Melissa Brewer, Wedding Photographer and PPA member from Columbia, SC

"I like to set couples up and then ask them to tell me about the first time they met, now look at each other and remember how you felt then. It creates more of a moment to capture instead of just a look."--- Elizabeth Kilgour, Echt Photography, PPA member from Calgary AB

Be sure to stay "engaged" (get it?) in theLoop all year long and don't be shy: ask questions! It's only through sharing with your peers and gaining feedback that you can grow as an artist. www.theLoop.ppa.com



By Aleighia Rouse

As you come down from Mardi Gras and Valentine's Day it is important to remain in the mood for learning new and innovative things that are happening in the photography industry. Here are our top 10 blogs of the week!

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FULL REPLAY:  So many people are moving their photography businesses to be totally digital, but there are so many more benefits to using prints. They can boost the success of your business! This article includes a video that shows how to make your business a successful and possibly six figure one!

BUSINESS: Are you wondering what you can do to make sure you get the sale, especially when selling your portraits and justifying the quality that comes with your prices? So many photography businesses make a lot of mistakes in the sales room that can slip potential customers right from their fingers. Check out this article to find some helpful tips on how to get the sale every time. 

INSPIRATION: Are you feeling burnt out in your photography? Here are some fun and innovative ways from Fstoppers to revive the energy and creativity of your images when you feel you have run out of ideas. 

MARKETING HELP: When thinking of the marketing of your business there are a lot of crucial things to consider so that your business is being represented in the right light. This is also important so that you gain new customers that will become faithful ones. In this article by MediaNovak learn helpful resources and strategies to use to engage your current and potential clients. 

PORTRAITURE AESTHETIC: When posing men and women you never want the subject to look uncomfortable or static, it is important to diversify the shots as much as you can. PPA member Jeff Rojas gets spotlighted in this Phoblographer article, where he explains some cool ways to pose men and women in different positions to make them feel comfortable in front of the camera. 

ONLINE RE-PLAY: If you were not able to make this year's Imaging USA in Atlanta, you missed a real treat. In this article you will get an up close and personal look at the Awards and Degree ceremony. Gain the motivation to achieve your goals, not only with trying to get a degree, but improving the success of your business.

MORE PERSPECTIVE: Looking in the mirror at your business can be a tough thing to do, especially when you have invested a lot of money and time in making it complete. In this podcast by Sprouting Photographer, learn how to ask those tough questions, gain new and innovative perspectives, streamline your systems, and remain objective when it comes to your business.

SALES: This week on the PhotoBomb podcast they sit down with their fellow PPA peer Hannah Marie, a Canadian photographer that captures powerful and creative wedding photography and special portraits. Hannah discusses the importance of making in person sales and how she makes big sales through this process. You're in for a useful treat!

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW: Being a professional photographer you know that copyright infringements are not only a huge headache for you, but also for your business. You don't want to be the person that happens to reverse image search and find your images on some e-commerce site, find out the ways PPA is trying to help you keep the rights to your images. 

COMPOSITION: As a professional photographer you know that subjects are all different and it is important to capture each individual person's personality so that you can bring out who they are authentically as a person. Learn from PPA member Fritz Liedtke how he composes some of his strongest images through his style of fine art portraiture. 

There you have it, our weekly blog post roundup! What photography blogs or podcasts do YOU follow? Post your favorite on theLoop or email them to us at OnlineContentCommittee @PPA.com.


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Aleighia Rouse is a graduating senior at Spelman College and PPA's Marketing and Communications intern. She aspires to hold a position just like the amazing people she works around. Aleighia is known by her happy personality and bubbly voice, and with over 6 years of film and photography experience, she can relate to and understand most of the issues faced by PPA photographers.


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By Aleighia Rouse

With so many videos to choose from, why wouldn't anyone want to be a part of PhotoVision? PhotoVision is a photography learning program that provides bi-monthly DVD and streaming tutorials, founded by PPA member Ed Pierce, M.Photog.Cr., CPP. The PhotoVision series provides a range of educational information from tips to processes that photographers can use when considering every element of their business. The videos range from helpful information in green screen techniques to constructing a social media and digital marketing plan. PhotoVision videos include some of the biggest names in the professional photography industry such as the pro featured in the video below, Gary Hughes, M.Photog.Cr., CPP.

Gary discusses how he started his photography business and how, being a product of PPA-member parents, he knew the incredible benefits that came along with membership. He says, "The coolest part is that [PhotoVision] is a benefit of PPA... it comes with your membership."

  

To find out more about the different classes offered through PhotoVision go to PhotoVisionVideo.com. When you join PPA you get a free subscription to PhotoVision, Join Today


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Aleighia Rouse is a graduating senior at Spelman College and PPA's Marketing and Communications intern. She aspires to hold a position just like the amazing people she works around. Aleighia is known by her happy personality and bubbly voice, and with over 6 years of film and photography experience, she can relate to and understand most of the issues faced by PPA photographers.


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By Aleighia Rouse

Do you have a brochure for your studio? If you don't, consider using one of PPA's customizable brochures which are free to PPA members. Challenge yourself and your business to Be More. These brochures are professionally designed so you can show your clients and potential clients the difference a professional photographer makes in terms of technical skills, artistry and professionalism. 




There are four brochure templates for you to choose from- wedding, family, senior and Certified Professional Photography (for CPPs only). All brochures are editable. To personalize them, simply select the template that matches your specialty, then download it to your computer. Then, insert your own images and studio information. You are now ready to print! Once they have been printed, display the brochures in your studio and hand them out at expos and shows.




Learn more about See The Difference® resources here. See The Difference® resources are free to PPA photographers, so don't be left out! Learn more at PPA.com/Join


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Aleighia Rouse is a graduating senior at Spelman College and PPA's Marketing and Communications intern. She aspires to hold a position just like the amazing people she works around. Aleighia is known by her happy personality and bubbly voice, and with over 6 years of film and photography experience, she can relate to and understand most of the issues faced by PPA photographers.


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By Chris Homer

The Northcentral and Western Districts are currently accepting entries for PPA's District Photographic Competitions, and the Southwest District Competition will open February 22. You can even take a look at how District Photographic Competition works with the live stream of the Southeast District judging, live February 19 from 9am - 6 pm Eastern. Yes, it's free to watch!

To further encourage you to enter some of your photographic work in the District Competitions and PPA's International Photographic Competition, here's an actual critique from PPA's 2015 International Photographic Competition. This image, called "Bliss" by Gina Gardner, is critiqued by PPA International Juror Mary Fisk Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API. It's a great way to learn! Take a look and see how entering a District Competition or the International Photographic Competition can improve your own work as a photographer through constructive feedback like you'll hear in this critique.




We hope this critique can help you get a better understanding of what the International Photographic Competition judges are looking for when scoring your images. Head to the District Competition section of PPA's website to see when your area is accepting entries, and be sure to get a critique so you can receive some personalized feedback on your works of art! And if you want to see a District Competition judging happen live, tune in to the Southeast District Photographic Competition stream at: Stream.theIPC.org. 



  ch_headshot_100x100.jpgAbout the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.


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by Lindsey Forson

Copyright Infringements = A Huge Problem For Professional Photographers copyrighticon.png

You know how it goes... You conduct a reverse image search and find your images on an e-commerce site; you're window shopping and see your photo on a business sign; you offer an exclusive license to a commercial client only to have the angry client call you after finding the images on his competitor's website; or you license images for website use to then have your own client violate your rights by using your image on a magazine cover. These are real stories of copyright infringements from PPA members. And, chances are, you have experienced something similar.

Now it's time to enforce your rights. What do you do? You call an expert for advice or consult with colleagues or even an attorney only to discover that your options are extremely limited. You can certainly try to recover damages on your own or with the help of PPA or an attorney, but you always face a very real chance that the infringer will simply turn up their nose and tell you to take them to court. Then you're left with only one option that in most cases is really no option at all.

The truth is that the current copyright system in the United States excludes the vast majority of creators. Yes, you read that right. Most creators have very little protection under the law because those without a massive income or corporate support have no real option for enforcement - and what good are rights when you can't actually enforce them?

Here's the problem - the only option for enforcement of copyright is to sue infringers in federal court. A survey of intellectual property (IP) attorneys conducted by the American Bar Association (ABA) revealed that most IP attorneys will not even consider taking on a copyright case unless the creator is likely to recover more than $30,000 in damages. Over 70% of PPA members report having dealt with infringements, but almost all of those members estimated the value of their infringements at less than $3,000. That amount of money makes a big difference to a small business and can even be enough to determine whether or not a studio can keep its doors open, but going to federal court to recover $3,000 is simply a non-starter.

The survey from the American Bar Association also exposed that the total estimated cost of a copyright lawsuit is more than $350,000. Even if you have a registered image and may recover some of those fees, what small business owner is willing to risk that amount of money? Who has the resources to pay that amount of legal fees upfront?


by James Yates

You didn't miss Imaging USA 2016, did you? Well, just in case, here on the PPA Today blog you will find exclusive videos from Imaging USA 2016 for your daily dose of motivation. Check out the video recording of this Imaging USA program in its entirety here!

Grand Imaging Awards
Imaging USA 2016 in Atlanta



Take a look at the Grand Imaging Awards at Imaging USA 2016! The 2015 Medalists, Diamond Photographers of the Year, and all the Loan Collection artists from the most recent International Photographic Competition (IPC) were honored. You can also see who was crowned champion, earning the Grand Imaging Award!

And don't even think about missing next year's Imaging USA. It will be in San Antonio, TX, January 8-10, 2017, so save the date!

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by James Yates

You didn't miss Imaging USA 2016, did you? Well, just in case, here on the PPA Today blog you will find exclusive videos from Imaging USA 2016 for your daily dose of motivation. Check out the video recording of this Imaging USA program in its entirety here!

Award + Degree Ceremony
Imaging USA 2016 in Atlanta


In this video, check out the 2016 Award & Degree Ceremony at Imaging! Congratulations to all the photographers that earned their PPA Degree or got an award, including the Lifetime Achievement Winner, Kenneth L. Whitmire, M.Photog.Cr., F-ASP.

Ken is such an inspiration and his joy is infectious. Watch and learn how a true legend accepts acclaim with grace and gratitude.

And don't even think about missing next year's Imaging USA. It will be in San Antonio, TX, January 8-10, 2017, so save the date!


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Live_Stream_Districts_1200x1200_SE.jpgby James Yates

This just in! You can stream the judging of the Southeast District Photographic Competition this week, February 18 & 19, from 9am-6pm EST on Stream.theIPC.org

If you've ever wanted to take a peek at what the judges are looking for during the Photographic Open or Artistic competition, or learn more about PPA's 12 Elements of a Merit Image, we invite you to tune in and get inspired. Who knows? Maybe you'll be entering next year!


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by James Yates

Learn how to use PRINTS to boost your studio's success! Over the next several days, you will find exclusive videos from Imaging USA 2016 for your daily dose of motivation. Check out the video recording of this Imaging USA program in its entirety here!

PRINT. The Movement: Success Secrets of a Six Figure Studio
Class taught at Imaging USA 2016 in Atlanta
by Allison Tyler Jones, CPP



In this video, Allison Tyler Jones shares her tips on creating products and using in-person sales strategies that have helped her create a successful and sustainable business. This interactive class was guided by questions from attendees, so watch to learn the answers to some of your biggest business and sales questions.
Be on the lookout for more Imaging USA 2016 videos coming your way next week!
And don't even think about missing out on next year's Imaging USA. It will be in San Antonio, TX, January 8-10, 2017, so save the date!

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by Lindsey Forson

Professional photography is undoubtedly an art form. But the images you create are so much more than your art - they are your meal ticket... your livelihood... your blood, sweat, and tears. This is why copyright protection is so important to photographers, and this is why PPA works so hard to fight for strong and effective copyright laws.
 
Based on the level of importance for small-business copyright owners along with considerations of feasibility, PPA has narrowed down three primary priorities for legislative action:

1.  The creation of a small claims option for copyright enforcement

2.  Modifications to the current copyright registration process to improve functionality and have more photographers register their work

3.  Modernization of the United States Copyright Office

If you have kept up with our advocacy updates throughout the past year, you have heard about these priorities before. It is increasingly apparent that updates are underway. There is a real possibility that legislation will advance as soon as this year! Therefore, the time has also come for all photographers to form a (much) deeper insight into what each of these issues could mean for their businesses and why they are worthy of your support.
 
So why modernize the United States Copyright Office? Technological advancements have occurred at a much quicker rate than the federal government has been able to keep up with. This has become a big issue and greatly affects creators like you. As incredible as it seems, the U.S. Copyright Office is simply not properly equipped to operate in today's world and effectively meet your copyright needs. Its main three needs are: adequate administrative capacity, authority, and accountability. All of which are currently lacking, at least to a certain degree.

As is, the U.S. Copyright Office is not a federal agency. It is an office situated within the Library of Congress (LOC) and is really more like one department within a larger agency. This means that the Copyright Office's systems and processes are tied to the LOC's. Most people understand that the needs of the millions of creators throughout our nation who deal with copyright issues are very different than the needs of a library (a very important library, but a library nonetheless). We are talking about IT needs, staffing needs, and budgeting needs - just to name a few.
 



By Sarah Ackerman

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Happy Valentine's Weekend! We hope you spend the weekend with your loves, but if you find a few moments, here are our top ten blogs on photography from around the internet!

PRINT: Are you a print artist? Watch as Tim Walden talks about the importance of printing in photography and, more importantly, how it plays in positions you in a unique position of raising the value of your imagery. 

COPYRIGHT: Hip, hip, hooray! Our friendly neighbors to the North are finally getting some recognition! They were just awarded the rights to their images, regardless if it was commissioned. Whether you live in Canada, travel there or just want to support your fellow photographers, this is a great quick read. 

BUSINESS BASICS: As a photographer on the move, you know that tracking your mileage can help you get a bigger refund on your taxes (or at the very least, not owe as much). But how do you keep track of all of those trips? PhotoFocus has you covered! Check out their quick and easy way to make sure you don't miss a mile!

TALKING BUSINESS: Perfecting your elevator speech is important in any company, but making it memorable can be difficult! Take some direction from Inc. and switch up how you talk about your work with their easy formula. It's worth the read!

HELP IN TRAINING: Have or training a new assistant? Have them read this! Fstoppers breaks down the five key things they can do to be the best assistant they can be! Take a look  and see if you agree!

HANDY CHEAT SHEET: Whether you're just starting out, or want to show a new mentee the ropes about ISO, shutter speed and aperture, this is a perfect infographic that visually represents what's going on in your camera. 

HISTORY REFRESHER: Know where your industry came from - complete with plenty of puns. Watch this quick 5 minute video to see how you ended up in the field you're in today! 

FOUR LEGGED PHOTOGRAPHY: Whether you just use your pets as the occasional model or if you're seriously pursuing pet photography as a business line, this is a great article from Jason Checkla. Get some tips and tricks to not only photographing your furry friends, but maybe some with human's that pay! 

WORKFLOW: Imaging USA speaker Jeff Rojas breaks down proper color management so you know your colors match from the time you shoot to when you deliver final images. It's an information-packed 6 minutes! 

SPORTSBALL: Did you get inspired by the hard hitting action of the Super Bowl to want to start expanding into sports photography? Here are 11 easy (we mean e-a-s-y) tips from Fstoppers that can get you started in the right direction!

There you have it, our Weekly Roundup of our top 10 blog posts! What photography blogs or podcasts do you follow? Post your favorite on theLoop or email them to us at OnlineContentCommitee @ PPA.com.


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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 



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If you've never seen or heard the great Tim Walden speak, you are in for a huge (and inspiring) treat! In the next few days, you will find several videos from Imaging USA 2016 for your daily dose of motivation. Check out the first video recording of this Imaging USA program in its entirety here!

PRINT. The Movement: Being A Print Artist
Class taught at Imaging USA 2016 in Atlanta
By Tim Walden, M.Photog.Hon.M.Photog.Cr., CPP, F-ASP


In this program, you'll be part of a conversation on the importance of printing in photography and the role it plays in positioning you uniquely and making "the crowded market" a subjective argument. You will hear how to be a "Print Artist" in your community and how that can raise the value of your imagery and of you as an artist.

Be on the lookout for another PRINT. The Movement video coming your way tomorrow!
And don't even think about missing out on next year's Imaging USA. It will be in San Antonio, TX, January 8-10, 2017, so save the date!




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By Aleighia Rouse

The month brings many loving and historical holidays and it also supplies new information on helpful and exciting happenings going on within the photography community.  Here are our top 10 blog posts of the week!

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RIGHTS AND REGULATIONS: PPA's government affairs team has hit the New Year running, running for your rights as photographer, that is! This year will bring great happenings for professional photographers that own small business copyrights. The three primary priorities and most vital copyright concerns have been (1) creation of a small claims option for copyright enforcement; (2) modifications to copyright registration process to improve participation and functionality; and (3) modernization of the United States copyright office. 

IPC 2016: If you are thinking of entering the 2016 International Photographic Competition here is a informative article on the recent changes in the judging process. Don't be the one photographer left out of the loop and check out this article by Christine Walsh- Newton, M.Photog.Cr., CPP. 

COMPETITIVE EDGE: Learn an interesting perspective on new competition in the photography industry, a terrific podcast by international award winning photographer and PPA member Ben Hartley. He focuses on why being in a cluttered market can be a good thing and how to get out a scarcity mindset for the success of your photography business. 

IUSA 2016: If you missed this year's Imaging USA in Atlanta, you missed out on some incredible new experiences in photography and great inspiration from our keynote speaker. Check out this post and amazed by the splendor and magnificence that is Amy Purdy. 

AESTHETICS: Personal style is so important to have when owning your own photography business. It is your signature, what you will be known for. In this article by the Exposure School, learn how to adapt and define your personal style as a professional photographer and "unleash your inner creativity." 

MARKETING WISELY: One of the big keys to having a successful photography business is making sure you take in consideration the concerns, needs, and wants of your clientele. Check out this article to find ways to promote your business and great techniques on approaching your marketing plan for your photography business.

PRO TIPS: Are you having trouble showing people the difference it can make by hiring you as a professional photographer? Here are some helpful approaches to use from PPA member Jeff Rojas on how to capture the potential clientele your business needs. 

CONNECT: As a professional photographer you know that you have to pull the best out of your subject and make them feel so comfortable that they don't know the lens is even in front of them. Check out this article by Fstoppers and learn how to break the barrier between you and your subject. 

PHOTOVISION: This month PhotoVision has released a wide variety of videos with many different topics to help you become better photographers. Remember that as a PPA member you have access to over 800 videos from PhotoVision, head on over to their recently redesigned website!

ZENSPIRATION: It can be difficult to separate your work life from your personal life, thanks to a few new TED talks it just got a little easier. Learn a few tips on how to develop a balance between your work environment and your personal life. 

There you have it, our Weekly Roundup of our top 10 blog post! What photography blogs or podcasts do you follow? Post your favorite on theLoop or email them to us at OnlineContentCommitee @ PPA.com.


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Aleighia Rouse is a graduating senior at Spelman College and PPA's Marketing and Communications intern. She aspires to hold a position just like the amazing people she works around. Aleighia is known by her happy personality and bubbly voice, and with over 6 years of film and photography experience, she can relate to and understand most of the issues faced by PPA photographers.


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By Sarah Ackerman

The Southeast, Northeast and Western District Competitions have opened for entries (don't worry, North Central and Southwestern Districts, we're coming to you in the next few weeks)! Don't wait another day. Push yourself to be more creative in 2016. To get you prepared for competition, we're showcasing the critique of "Bacatia dal Sole" created by Richard Breshears, critiqued by Jamie Hayes,M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API from PPA's International Photographic Competition. 

In this critique, Jamie compares the work to the 12 Elements of a Merit Image. See what can apply to your work or identify areas you might want to focus on!



We hope this critique can help you get a better understanding of what the International Photographic Competition judges are looking for when scoring your images. Head to the District Competition section of PPA's website to see when your area is accepting entries, and be sure to get a critique so you can receive some personalized feedback on your works of art! 


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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 



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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 980791_10153524820929051_3053145740937398337_o.jpgImaging USA 2016 was a resounding success all around and one of the most noteworthy takeaways was the keynote speech by Amy Purdy. Even those who were unfamiliar with Amy and her inspiring story found themselves blown away by her larger-than-life personality and charm. Now we want you to experience it too!
 
Paralympic medalist/motivational speaker/New York Times best-selling author/Adaptive Action Sports co-founder/Amazing Race and Dancing With The Stars runner-up Amy Purdy gave the inspirational keynote presentation to thousands of photographers on the first morning of Imaging USA 2016. A lot of photographers work alone and can be discouraged when trying to "make it". Amy offered a fresh perspective and showed everyone that it's all a matter of putting your heart and soul into something bigger than yourself. She shared her triumphant tale of overcoming the loss of her legs to go places she never thought she could. From nearly losing her life to being able to buy feet to match her favorite shoes, Amy's story is both thought-provoking and uplifting. Get some motivation and take your business to new heights by checking out the recording from her speech!

Want more info on Amy? Check out our previous blog posts to get more of her amazing life story.

By Sarah Ackerman

PhotoVision's February release has a wide range of photography topics to help you become a better photographer! In addition to the over 800 videos already available to PPA photographers, we're adding the following in the next few weeks:

Creating Cinemagraphs: Beth Forester, M.Photog., Cr, CPP
Beth Forester shows how to make a cinemagraph, which is a combination of still images with video that creates a fascinating visual. Beth talks about how they can be used as incentives for clients to order packages by including them free of charge. They also work great as social media marketing material.

Couples Posing Part 1: Jen Hillenga, M.Photog. Cr. 
Jen Hillenga photographs a young couple in their hip, open Brooklyn apartment. Jen challenges herself by using no equipment besides her camera to capture gorgeous, slice-of-life couple photos. She talks about how she started her photography business by exclusively shooting in people's homes and how she spun that as a benefit to her clients. She also discusses clothing choices and how she chooses the right coordinating outfits for the right shots.

The Fred Marcus Story: Andy Marcus, M.Photog., Cr. 
Photographer Andy Marcus sits down with PhotoVision correspondent Melanie Anderson to discuss the history of Fred Marcus Studio and what led them to their place of current prestige. Andy talks about the transition from film to digital and how he maintains a film sensibility in the age of digital. He shares how he runs a studio with numerous full time employees and freelancers in a way that maintains a high caliber of consistency.

Portraits of the Groom: Gary Hughes, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Gary Hughes photographs a groom in a billiards room. Gary composes masculine, film-noir type images that would be worthy of the Rat Pack's portraits. He utilizes unconventional lighting methods, such as a powerful hand light diffused by an umbrella, that work perfectly for the run-and-gun nature of wedding photography. Gary teaches how to get stylized detail shots that look like they're straight out of a fashion magazine. Gary's thematic groom preparation shots will be sure to inspire creativity in your next wedding shoot.

As a PPA photographer, you have immediate access to 24/7 streaming of PhotoVision and PPAedu content (combined, it's over 1,300 tutorials and videos)! Not a member, join today! Check out the latest from PhotoVision on the newly redesigned website at photovisionvideo.com. Be More Educated!

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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 



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by Lindsey Forson

Last week, PPA CEO David Trust, made his first trip of 2016 to Capitol Hill to continue PPA's advocacy for the rights of professional photographers. PPA's government affairs team is already hard at work preparing for the next trip later this month.  As you may have read in last week's copyright update, 2016 could be a very big year for small business copyright owners such as professional photographers! PPA is fighting for three primary priorities that have been identified as the most vital copyright concerns for the photographic industry which could be addressed through the current Congressional Copyright Review:

1.    The Creation of a Small Claims Option for Copyright Enforcement
2.    Modifications to the Copyright Registration process to improve participation and functionality
3.    Modernization of the United States Copyright Office

As the House Judiciary Committee winds down on their formal review of Copyright Law, the exciting thing is that some of their priorities are the same as ours! Several lawmakers who serve on this committee have identified Copyright Office Modernization and Copyright Small Claims as their desired accomplishments of the Copyright Review. Copyright registration issues could very well be addressed along with these topics as all three relate to copyright processes.
 
This means that actual legislation which specifically accomplishes PPA's priorities may make progress in Congress as early as this year and definitely within the next couple of years! In other words - over the past few years, there has been a whole lot of copyright talk on the Hill, and now is the time for some copyright action!

During last week's trip to DC, PPA's CEO met with key stakeholders from other copyright industries, including motion picture and music groups, to discuss copyright issues from the small business perspective. We are very excited to report that there is a great deal of cooperation and support of these priority issues within the entire copyright community. Through the Copyright Alliance, an association of copyright stakeholders which PPA belongs to, we will continue to band together to create the strongest and most unified voice possible.

Trust also met with offices of House Judiciary Committee members, including Congresswoman Chu, Congressman Collins, and Congressman Marino, who are all strong and outright advocates for improving the copyright system for small business creators through key legislative changes such as those PPA has prioritized. We thank these lawmakers for their strong support of creator's rights and will continue to work with these offices and others to help to advance legislation that would accomplish our goals.

It is vital to PPA's cause that each and every member becomes educated on our advocacy priorities because, before long, we hope to be calling on you for help. When a bill on any key copyright issue(s) is scheduled for a vote in committee and especially once legislation moves to the House floor, we will call on members to contact your representatives. Because we think that may happen soon, but cannot know exactly when, we are beginning the education process now.

During the next several weeks, you will find on this blog detailed educational pieces on each one of our priorities, beginning next week with "Why Modernize the Copyright Office?" Stay tuned to Be More Informed to Be More Protected at PPA.com/Advocacy!

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Coordinator. She works with members on a daily basis addressing copyright questions and works closely with our CEO to advocate for  professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep members informed on the issues that affect their businesses. She's new to Atlanta and spends most of her free time exploring the city (restaurants, markets, parks); spends three nights a week playing soccer and is a huge Auburn fan.

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By Chris Homer

Each month, one PPAedu video is unlocked for everyone to enjoy, because we believe in the power of education for all (it's normally reserved only for PPA members)! The PPAedu library has a lot to help you sharpen your photography techniques, marketing strategies, sales techniques, regular business operations and more! These tutorials and educational videos are available 24/7 to PPA members. And between PPAedu and PhotoVision, if you are with PPA, you can tap into over 1,300 online programs to help you Be More! If you haven't checked out PhotoVision in a little while, go back now: there's a brand new website with a lot of new videos!

For the month of February, the video "Environmental Lighting: The Basics" with Jamie Hayes, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API, has been unlocked and is available for anyone who wants to learn how to photograph outdoors using natural light. Shooting outdoors using natural light can be challenging--clouds, too much sun or a strong wind, and your moment is gone. In this class, Jamie gives you the fundamentals you need to successfully use natural light and make the most of your outdoor opportunities.

If you're a member of PPA, just log in to watch the video anytime. Non-members will have access to this video this month only at PPA.com/TryEdu. For full access to all the PPAedu and PhotoVision videos, join PPA today!


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About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.


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