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PPA Today

By John Owens


Greetings photography community! Hope you've all had a wonderful start to summer. To cap things off, here are our favorite 10 blog posts from the week. Dig in!


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1. Have or Want To Open Your Own Studio? Read This

STUDIO ADVICE: This post from Million Dollar Photographer shares common pitfalls that you'll want to avoid if you have or are considering opening your own studio. Author Bradford Rowley offers 9 things to keep out of your studio space. Take a look around and see if they apply to you!

2. Why Compete? Photographers Weigh In

BE MORE INVOLVED: First, some good news: The deadline for submissions to the International Photographic Competition (IPC) has been extended to July 10! Why should you enter? We asked photographers just that on theLoop. Check out their responses in this post. Hopefully they inspire you to compete too!

3. People Skills? Yeah, You Need Those Too

NEGLECTED NECESSITIES: Here's a trick of the trade that's not often talked about but generally assumed we all have: people skills. The word 'skill' is there for a reason--it's a talent! This post discusses their importance and asks three insightful questions for you to consider. Take a look!

4. Skin Retouching: What To Do (And What Not To Do)

POST-PRODUCTION: Here's a post from Lindsay Adler, all about skin retouching. (did you know she's speaking at Imaging USA in 2016?!). I this post, she discusses five things that ruin skin in your photos. Are you guilt of any of these photography sins? Lindsay tells you how to fix them.

By Megan Mitchell

Have you been on the fence about entering PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC)? 

If you're simply not entering because you are afraid of not scoring well enough, you might be missing a huge learning opportunity! What did you learn the last time you took a risk and tried to step up your work? What else could you learn? If you want to become a better photographer, these are probably the real questions! 

Entering the IPC and choosing to have your image critiqued is a great way to improve your photography skills. IPC jurors are accomplished photographers who have entered their images into the IPC many times before. Their eyes are trained to see things in your photos you might miss.

Now's the time to decide! If you enter before midnight on June 25th, you'll avoid a late fee - but no worries if you need a little bit longer to put things together, as late entries close July 10th. 

Curious about what sort of things the judges will be looking for? Watch a critique video here! Andrew Jenkins M.Photog.Cr., CPP, critiques Michael Patch's merited image, "Woodland Faces." 


Need a little more help before you take the plunge? See what other photographers have gotten out of entering their images in IPC and what they learnt from their critiques here! Ready to compete in the IPC? Enter the IPC today and Be More Competitive!

Megan Mitchell is an intern at PPA. Though she attends college in New York, she is originally from Georgia - most everyone she meets up north is shocked and disappointed by her lack of a southern accent. She finds great joy and comfort in copy editing and reading. She loves nothing more than words, but her family and friends take a close second.

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PPA instructor and sales guru Jeff Dachowski, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, is dropping some free advice this Thursday, June 25, 2pm ET, and if you want to Be More Profitable, don't miss it! The webinar is all about Selling to Out-of-Town Clients.

Jeff will discuss all aspects of long-distance sales, from how to set the stage with the first phone call to the final delivery of portraits! You'll learn how to set and manage client expectations, maintain control of the session and use technology to your advantage.

Check out the full class description and Jeff's bio then register! It's FREE and open to both PPA photographers and nonmembers alike. If you're looking to become a master of the sale--this is the class for you!

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By Chris Homer

If you're thinking about entering the International Photographic Competition (IPC), make sure to get your images entered by Midnight ET, June 25! After that date, there's a $35 late entry surcharge! You'll still be able to enter until July 10, but why waste $35? 

If you've never entered the IPC before, don't fear having your images judged. The process can be intimidating, but entering the competition really is one of the best ways to improve your technique as a photographer. Read all about why PPA members enter the IPC and how it can help your career in this post. 

When you enter, you'll also have the option to request your images critiqued by an IPC judge. Go for it! The judges have entered the competition in the past and have achieved success, so they know exactly what to look for in an image. They'll point out ways to improve your photography that you may not have considered before. Check out a critique from last year's IPC. 

Are you ready to Be More Confident in your images? Remember to enter the IPC by June 25 and avoid the late fee! 

And remember - the IPC judging will take place August 3-6 at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, GA. Judging is open to the public, so feel free to attend and watch the judging. If you can't make it to the IPC to see the judging live, it will also be streamed online! This year there will even be a live broadcast, twice a day, to answer judging questions and go over some of the image reviews and challenges that will be happening during judging.


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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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By Rachel Noto

The latest round of PhotoVision videos are here! Check out the list of new videos below, and if you're a PPA member, you can go ahead and dig in!

And don't forget, through the end of June, anyone can sample PhotoVision for free during PhotoVision EXPOsed. Sign up or spread the word to your photography friends to get access to the PhotoVision library and be entered into a raffle to win $20,000 worth of prizes!

The lineup of new PhotoVision videos that have just been added includes:

  • "Senior Photography: Including the Family" shows how Melanie Anderson Cr.Photog., CPP, includes an entire family in her senior family photo shoots and includes helpful tips on everything from aperture settings for group shots to how to get everyone in the group to behave and look their best.
  • "Lighting for the Urban Environment" is an excellent tutorial for anyone interested in learning more about lighting tips. Ed Pierce, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, shares his expertise on the matter as he takes you through one shoot in the beautiful Wilmington area.
  • "Start Up to Success" features Jill Austin, the woman who has it all, sharing tips on how she manages to keep her business running smoothly while also maintaining a healthy family life. 
  • "Window Lighting for Newborns" takes you through Jill Austin's process of capturing the tender, warm imagery that sets her newborn shoots apart from the rest. 
  • "Iconik Studio Techniques" demonstrates how Iconik studio photographers Jeremy Witter and Brent Legg combine youthful but stylish and current elements to their senior photographs to create an end result that pleases both the senior and their parents. 
  • "Increasing Value with Senior Video Fusion" features Jen Basford, Cr.Photog., describing how she offers videos as an option for senior photography and how it both enhances the client experience and raises the caliber of her studio.
  • "Secrets to Make You Blush" focuses on Blush Boudoir's Tracy Malott, who lets you in on how she makes her clients feel special and then sits down with her husband to discuss cross-market potential between photography and local businesses!
  • "Extreme Sports" joins Melanie Anderson, Cr.Photog., CPP, as she continues a senior photography session with her "Extreme Senior" add-on. She shares tips on capturing lively images of sports-themed shoots, recommending everything from using a spray bottle to simulate sweat, to having the senior take a swing to get those lively, action-filled shots. 

If you're not already with PPA , join and gain immediate access to PhotoVision's entire library plus tons of other advantages that help PPA photographers Be More Inspired, Profitable, and In-Demand!

Rachel Noto is one of the summer interns wandering around the labyrinthine offices of PPA, enthusiastically taking pictures of her cat, and occasionally getting a little writing and design done. An Atlanta native, she's learned to embrace the feeling of getting lost every now and then, though she now spends most of the year in the gridded city of Savannah, Georgia, where she attends the Savannah College of Art and Design. She has a passion for food, cute animals, and communication in all of its forms.


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By Sarah Ackerman

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Happy Friday!  Need a little pick me up heading into the weekend? Sit back, relax and enjoy the top 10 blog posts from around the interwebs!

FREE EDUCATION: As a PPA photographer, you already have access to the 800+ videos that PhotoVision offers, but we've opened up the doors to a select 50 hours of content until June 30th. Spread the word and let your non-PPA photographer friends know they can check it out for free!

SCAM ALERT: If you ever search for deals on memory cards and other equipment, read this first! The "savings" may cost you!

LEGALESE: Client Service Agreements (or CSAs for short) are awesome agreements you should take in to account with every one of your client interactions! Read up on them with Digital Photography School here!
 
TRAVEL BUG: Are you hitting the road on some epic adventures this summer? Check out these great photography tips from The Cooperative of Photography! 

DIGITAL PRESENCE: Take advantage of all of your online marketing options in a smart way with this article from Digital Photography School. They have some great information on staying focused on what you can manage and how to target your specific audience

WEDDING TIPS: Sometimes we photographers can be totally oblivious to how our behavior impacts others. A few wedding industry pros got together and listed their top 7 things they find photographers guilty of. Read it with an open mind and see if you might be guilty of any of these bad boys.

INSPIRATION: As a pro, sometimes it takes more work to create a simple photograph. Check out this gallery from National Geographic, paired with their tips on how to use beautiful palettes in your next works of art.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Have you ever experienced an artist wanting to reproduce your work? If you agree, what are your rights and negotiating points? Check out this great post from the Law Tog on how to make this profitable and beneficial for both parties!

BUY ALL THE THINGS: Are you just starting out? You might be suffering from Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Read this excellent blog from Contrastly to see if you need to seek treatment.

FOR FUN: Just for a giggle, check out the 9 types of amateur photographers from Digital Rev. Know anyone that falls into these categories?

There you have it - our favorite posts of the week! What photography blogs or podcasts do you follow? Post your favorites on theLoop or email them to us at OnlineContentCommittee (at) PPA (dot) com.


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Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarahs in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.

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By Megan Mitchell

You might have noticed us post about the International Photographic Competition (IPC) quite a bit recently. That's because registration is now open! 

We could talk about the value of competing until our faces turn blue, but why not let other photographers do the talking? We asked IPC competitors to share their thoughts on theLoop here. Here's what they had to say!

Why should I compete?

"To grow beyond from merely being a photographer to becoming an artist. That's why a total immersion in the crucible of competition is what I suggest."
-Jerry Venz, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, Idaho

"It has given me something to send out press releases about and that helps keep my name in front of potential clients. I share credit with clients whose images have done well in competition and they get excited about it also. As you earn enough merits and receive your degree that gives you more talking points when selling clients that your skills are top notch."
-Bob Coates, M.Photog.M.Artist.Cr., CPP, Arizona

"Working on your own work shows and tells clients you believe in your own work."
-Joanne Fabian, Pennsylvania

Great, so a critique will help me "improve." How?

"I often learn more from those critiques than any other education resource. While I may not always agree with the critique, there is still validity and things to be learned. As a result, I see my work constantly improving."
-D. Brent Walton Cr.Photog., CPP, New York
 
"It takes much longer to progress in a vacuum. By that, I mean the usual praise you may receive from family and friends. So, go for it! Even if you don't earn merits or Loan Prints right away your client images WILL improve because you will be getting UNBIASED, HONEST feedback on your work--and that is PRICELESS!"
-Jerry Venz, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, Idaho

"You start to look for possible competition images in every session that you shoot--consciously, and subconsciously. In every portrait session that you do, you start looking at things just a bit differently. You start looking to see if you can possibly create a competition image from just about each and every session that you do. You find yourself taking just a second or so before tripping the shutter to really look at your subject like it was a competition image and you end up finding yourself correcting those things that would keep that image you see in front of you from scoring well... and in the process, the quality of your day-to-day work just automatically gets better and your clients get a better product. 

Without even noticing it, you look back a year or two and are amazed about how much your work has improved with what seems like no effort at all. Just because you started to take just those few extra seconds to do the steps that you need to do to change an ordinary image into a competition image."
-Rick Massarini, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, Lousiana

"Almost all the critiques pointed at things I did not see at first and helped me get even better. After your first critiques you will view your images differently. You are not looking for a sellable image or a showcase of your work. You are objectively looking for the 12 Elements of a Merit Image they list as you pick your images. It is an enlightening journey, so welcome aboard."
-Joanne Fabian, Pennsylvania

I don't think I can do this. 

"It's obtainable to all those folks who are naysayers - find your inner artist, turn it loose, find mentors whose work you admire and ask for constructive feedback. Most of the best people out there are willing to help others raise their bar because in the end, it makes our industry better for everyone!"
-Gena Tussey, CPP, Tennessee

They said it best! Ready to step up your game and compete with your images? Register now!
And check out the full conversation on theLoop. Have something to add? Jump on in! 

Megan Mitchell is an intern at PPA. Though she attends college in New York, she is originally from Georgia - most everyone she meets up north is shocked and disappointed by her lack of a southern accent. She finds great joy and comfort in copy editing and reading. She loves nothing more than words, but her family and friends take a close second.

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By Chris Homer

PPA's annual International Photographic Competition (IPC) is right around the corner! Are you planning on taking the plunge and entering this year? 

If you've never entered the IPC before, you might feel a little nervous about having your work judged. It's understandable, but know that entering a photographic competition and having your work judged by other professional photographers is one of the best ways to improve your photography technique! 

How?! When entering the IPC, you can select to have your images professionally critiqued. PPA's IPC jurors are accomplished photographers themselves who have successfully participated in the competition, numerous times, and know what makes a great image. As a result of their experience with the competition itself as image makers, but also, as they underwent a long training to become IPC jurors, opting to get an image critique with their candid viewpoint can greatly help you improve your work. That's the reason why they do it! Help photographers Be More Successful at competing. 

Check out the critique below. It is from last year's IPC and is by Andrew Jenkins, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, critiquing Mario Munoz's, M.Photog.Cr., "Reservoir Dogs". Mario's image was accepted into PPA's loan collection and while Mario often enters the IPC, he keeps ordering critiques, because they help him Be More Successful at IPC. 




Are you ready to enter your images in the IPC? Make sure to do so by June 25 to save money (after that date there's an added late fee!) Go ahead and enter today and see how scoring at competition can help you Be More Confident! 


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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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By John Owens

You might have heard, PhotoVision now comes as part of the PPA membership. The benefit gives photographers full access to PhotoVision's entire library of 800+ videos, 24/7 via web streaming. PPA members even get 50% off the DVDs and DVD sets!

And in fact, anyone can currently sample what the amazing educational program has to offer through PhotoVision Exposed, running now through June 30. 

To learn a little bit more about PhotoVision's origins, its mission and goals for the future, we chatted with founder, producer and longtime PPA photographer, Ed Pierce, M.Photog.Cr., CPP.

How did you come up with the idea for PhotoVision?

I had been a photographer for about 20 years prior to PhotoVision, and was pretty actively involved in education for at least 15 of those years. I was one of the earlier people to hit the road speaking and doing photographic education seminars. All education was platform at the time. A photographer would get on stage and present a slideshow. That was considered hands on teaching.

I came up with a concept of going on the road and filming photographers in their studios or on locations they would actually work in. Really it was just to give a truer, more realistic view of how people were conducting their businesses. It was a fly-on-the-wall experience that they couldn't otherwise get. I wanted it to be somewhat unvarnished. In a platform setting, you can pick your very best images and tell the story a little glossed over.

In the beginning, PhotoVision was a one day satellite uplink event called Portrait 2000. It was essentially a real-time Q&A, broadcast by teleconference to 80 venues across the country. We would deliver 1-hour VHS tapes of the recording every month. But it was very expensive to produce and we barely broke even; the last time we actually lost money.  

As a result, I hung up my hat on that and got back into my photography, but continued to receive great reviews from people on the events and tapes. People loved seeing actual working photographers in their real environments. And that's basically from where PhotoVision originated.

How has the video production changed?

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Like any small business, most photographers are always looking for ways to save. PPA photographers can now stop wasting money on unnecessarily high credit card processing fees. All that cash can (and should) go straight to your bottom line! 

PPA negotiated deeply discounted rates for PPA photographers through Bank of America Merchant Services. Members who have made the switch have saved hundreds (at times more, depending on the volume you process each year!). 

Here's some fun math! We compared the negotiated PPA rate using Bank of America's standard terminal against a standard mobile processor from the well-known company Square. 

For regulated debit card (legalese for credit card) rates:   
Bank of America: Current interchange (0.05% + $0.22) plus 0.07% plus $0.07 = 0.12% + $0.29 per transaction 

Square: Flat 2.75% per transaction

Monthly Credit Card Processing Amount

PPA Member Fee

Regular Fee with Square

Monthly Savings

Annual Savings

$300

$0.65

$8.25

$7.60 / month

$91.20 / year

$1,000

$1.49

$27.50

$26.01 / month

$312.12 / year

$2,500

$3.29

$68.75

$65.46 / month

$785.52 / year

$5,000

$6.29

$137.50

$131.21/ month

$1,574.52 / year


There are no (zip, zilch, nada) pesky monthly fees for the regular transaction processing. And if you add the option to process mobile transactions, that's only a flat $9.95 add-on per month.

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 today and Be More Profitable today!

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Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarah's in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.

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