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You've got a pumpkin spice latte in one hand and a folder full of images you need to review in the other. People walk with their hands in their pockets; everyone talks fantasy football and Halloween. It's then you realize that fall has arrived, and with it, the responsibility of making sure your business is in in order for the New Year! Breathe that crisp, cool autumn air deeply, and fret not because PPA has your back.

This fall we have several upcoming educational opportunities for members to take advantage of. Here is a rundown of some of our free, live-learning events that can help you maximize your business and start the New Year off right:

Free webinars!

Finding Your Missing Pieces for Profitability in Photography
October 7, 2014 - 2 pm ET
With Jeff Lubin, M.Photog.Cr.

New Member Orientation
October 8, 2014 - 2 pm ET

How to Create a Profitable Pet Photography Business
October 21, 2014 - 2 pm ET
With Kim Hartz, CPP

The Origin of Style
October 23, 2014 - 2 pm ET
With Thom Rouse, M.Photog.MEI.Cr., CPP, F-ASP

Income Tax Strategies
November 13, 2014 - 2 pm ET
With Bridget Jackson, CPA, PPA Business Consultant

Creating Your Social Media Plan
November 18, 2014 - 2 pm ET
With John Pyle

In addition to our webinars, don't forget that Super 1 Day Photo Workshops start next week! For two weeks (10/6-10/20), dozens of studios will open their doors and host classes on a vast array of subjects, from posing and lighting to effective business practices. Don't miss out on this awesome opportunity to learn from some of the best photographers in the world!

PPA closes out its "school year" with the final CPP Prep Class and Business Workshop of 2014. There's still time to register for both and end your year with a bang.

Business Basics Workshop
November 15-16, 2014 in Atlanta

In this two day business workshop for portrait and senior photographers, Jen Basford, Cr.Photog., gives hands on advice on how evaluate your business strengths, develop a profitable pricing structure and use proven marketing ideas to bring more clients to your door.

Upcoming Certification Prep Classes
November 3-5, 2014 in Atlanta

Thinking about taking the Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) exam? We're offering this class to help you pass the exam and learn tons of additional information about the how to effectively run a photography business.

By Mariah Ashley

cakeaustrophic.jpgWhen my daughter was two and having a bad day because she was asked to eat her vegetables, told it was time to go to bed or scolded for coloring on the kitchen wall, she didn't get sad and cry. Instead she got mad. She'd clench her fists and grit her little Chiclet teeth. Looking up at from me from behind her bowl cut she'd snarl, "You're the one what did it! You're the one what made me sad!" It was hilarious and disturbing all at the same time. She's twelve now. We're still working on it. But that's another story.

The story I want to tell today is a cautionary tale of how NOT to be The One What Did It, The One What Made Your Clients Sad, because it's always a good day when you aren't ruining your clients wedding. I've had cause to ponder this question lately as I've helplessly watched a few fellow wedding vendors wreaking havoc on my clients.

Take the case of the overly dramatic/distracted justice of the peace. I've been working with Fred the JP for years and without fail, I hear him before I see him. Fred shouts my name when he sees me regardless of the distance between us, the setting we are in, or the inappropriateness of shouting at a wedding. Fred also stands right behind me and breathes what's left of his lunch at the back of my neck. He likes to make small talk during the ceremony processional, which is of course a causal moment where we both have free time and no job to do. I awkwardly bob my head to avoid being rude to Fred while trying to nail my shot of the bride and her father coming down the aisle toward their bobble-headed photographer.

A few weeks ago I worked with Fred again. It was status quo; shouting across the lawn, small talk and bobble-heading. But wait, this day had a twist! Moments before the ceremony, Fred beckoned me to photograph the signing of the marriage license. The mother of the groom was about to sign as the first witness. Fred as chatty as ever, hurriedly explained to her to "sign here" and "print here" and then waived his finger over the area for her signature. He turned to me and continued his blah-blah-ing, leaving her to her own devices. You can see where this is going. Yes, she signed in the wrong spot.

"Oh no! Oh my! I've signed in the wrong spot!" she gasped, squinting at the document.

"What?!" he shouted, jerking his attention from me back to her.

"What do we do now?" she asked.

"Nothing, now! It's not like I have another copy!"

That's when the groom walked over.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"Well your mother has just ruined this legal document by signing on the wrong line. It's invalid and you can't be legally married without it."

The groom's face drained of all color. The groom's mother started ringing her hands and apologizing.

"I love you mom but I can't look at you or talk to you right now." said the dismayed groom.

The wedding planner was the next on the scene of the disaster.

"What's going on?" she asked. "I heard raised voices."

"I'll tell you what's going on, this is all garbage," announced Fred brandishing the ruined document and waiving his hand over the lawn indicating that the $100K wedding was now trash.

"Don't say that!" said the horrified wedding planner coming to the defense of the stricken groom. "You cannot tell my clients that their beautiful wedding is garbage!"

"Can you believe these people Mariah?!" asked Fred a few moments later behind the backs of the wedding planner and the nauseous groom. I just bobbled my head and walked away but what I wanted to do was clench my fists and grit my Chiclets and snarl. "Fred! You're the one what did it! You're the one what made them sad!"

September was a busy month on theLoop! Check out some of our favorite discussions below:

When you finish a photo shoot, how do you know which photos to keep, and which ones to delete? Members share various tactics they use to tackle this tricky situation. 

If you're thinking of offering metal prints to your clients, be sure to check out this thread first! Members share their favorite companies for metal print production. 

Being out on a photo shoot can take a toll on your body! Check out these tips on keeping healthy and injury-free while you're on the job. 

If you're looking for a good print lab, or thinking of switching to a new one, you'll find lots of useful advice and points you should consider when choosing a print lab in this discussion!

Do you define your photography by a certain style? Members share their thoughts on developing style and what they think their own personal style is. Don't miss this interesting thread! 

If you photograph handicapped children, or have been offered this type of work, you'll find some fantastic advice for how to handle posing. You'll get lots of great ideas and advice in this post. 

This discussion deals with a common problem photographers face: getting prints back from the lab that look dramatically different than they did on your computer screen. Your monitor calibration could be the problem. If you have this problem, take a look. Your fellow photographers have great tips for calibrating different monitors, and if you can't find yours being discussed, there's a good chance you can post the make and model and find an answer! 

If you've ever dealt with someone wanting rights to an image that wasn't initially included in your agreement with them, this is the discussion for you! Find out how to draft an agreement that meets both of your needs through this post, and don't forget that you always have access to PPA's Copyright Resources for more advice. 

If you shoot on location, you know that transporting your gear can be a pain. Learn different methods that have worked for other PPA members in this discussion. 

Don't forget, theLoop is PPA's safe and secure online community where members can discuss various photography topics! Not a PPA member? It's easy: join today!

A New Era for Credit Card Processing Rates and a Reality for PPA Photographers

BOA-email graphic_v2.jpgBuckle up for some big news everyone: PPA has joined forces with Bank of America to offer what is potentially your most money-saving benefit yet. Get ready to be even more profitable!

This new benefit means massively discounted rates on credit card processing for all PPA photographers. If you sell prints online, accept credit card payments at your studio or process mobile transactions, this could mean huge, tangible, cost-of-doing-business savings.

Now, you're probably thinking, Sounds good, but how does it save me money?

Here's the breakdown:  PPA is able to offer these deeply discounted rates because we use Bank of America (BOA) Merchant Services too! Like, a lot (several thousand transactions each month). Since there are 27,000+ PPA photographers and most of you renew each year, Bank of America agreed to extend our volume discount to all of you.

That's right, this means that PPA photographers will be able to get the same low credit card transaction processing rate that's normally reserved to very-large size businesses! That's the benefit you reap from belonging to the world's largest photography nonprofit!

That incredibly low rate should help you save a good bit by reducing the so-called interchange fees you end up paying anytime you use a credit card processing service. These are the pesky fees you pay to a bank when you accept a credit card payment.

Bank of America's reduced pricing for PPA photographers puts your interchange rate (if you make the switch ;-) at a crazy low 0.07 percent with a flat hard-to-beat $0.07 per transaction fee. It's easy to do the math and figure out you've got big savings headed your way.

At the end of the day, photographers always end up eating the cost of these pesky fees. With that in mind, and to give you an example of just how much cash savings this can represent, we asked two PPA photographers to send us a month's credit card processing statement with their current service provider. Kelly Sullivan, the point of contact for all PPA-related business at Bank of America, then plugged the numbers in and the comparative results blew us away.

The first photographer's previous merchant charged a converted interchange rate of 0.73%. With the new PPA discounted rate of 0.07% (see the difference?), that studio shaves off about $2,500 per year in credit card processing fees. That alone would pay for your PPA membership for the next 7 consecutive years! (or some new gear, I know, I know...)

"This first studio is on tiered pricing for their credit card transaction fees and their pricing structure is interchange plus, so the savings is going to be approximate and not exact. With that said, our [BOA] pricing model is showing that if this studio was on the new PPA program, they would save $2,500 per year (based on their current credit card transaction volume). For this PPA member, that amount represents 3 months of free credit card processing services!"

The second PPA photographer would save even more: $3,000!

"This Square* user would save about $3,000 per year with the new PPA discount. Since Square charges 2.75% for all card types, no matter what interchange level they fall to, BOA's discount will represent significant savings to any photography studio that uses Square. To give you an idea, the wholesale cost of a regulated debit card is 0.05% and $0.22 per transaction. Since PPA's preferred pricing is interchange plus 0.07% and $0.07, we would charge 0.12% and $0.29 on this same transaction. Take, for example, an average sale of $500. With Square, that would cost $13.75 (or 2.75%). With the BOA PPA discount, the photographer would only play $0.89 on that same transaction. That's a difference of $12.86 on this one example alone!"

[* - For those unfamiliar, Square is a popular, easy-to-use credit card processor, but they charge a very high 2.75% processing rate.]

These aren't shrug-your-shoulder savings, this is big time. We hope you'll consider learning more about the program and checking out how much money you could save. Kelly Sullivan at Bank of America is offering free statement comparisons. That 0.07 rate plus $0.07 per transaction is so hard to beat; they will most likely save you a large about of cash each month.

Connect with Kelly at BOA at (678) 540-7558 or kelly.sullivan@bankofamericamerchant.com
Be more business savvy!

For even more reasons to get in on this new service, head to PPA.com/BAMS, or jump on in and make the switch now!

And if all that sounds too good to be true, ask your credit card company to match that rate and see what they say. Trust us, it's not. It's your newest PPA member benefit. We've told you before and we won't stop: PPA has your back.

Welcome to the end of your week! Hooray! You did it! Since you were probably out running around, being extremely productive and profitable, we wanted to round up our favorite photography-related posts from around the internet for you! 

COMPETITION: Photo Throwdown is an online series that pitches two pros against each other with photo challenges. It's education, entertaining and you get to see some of the industry's best in some weird situations. Check out this week's episode with Jen Rozenbaum versus Chris Fain (and cast your vote for who you think did the best job)!

INSPIRATION: If you love nature photography, you will enjoy the top 10 photographs from the Zoological Society of London's annual competition. The winning images will be on display in a special exhibit in the London Zoo! It might even inspire you to go explore this weekend and see what you can find!

BAD BUSINESS: File this one under "bad business practices" - see how this California Attorney made it seem like she was hob-knobbing with the likes of Morgan Freeman, Donald Trump, Ellen DeGeneres and so many more with the help of Photoshop! There hasn't been any news of copyright infringement on this case yet, but we wouldn't be surprised if that was coming down the line. Lesson learned: Photoshop can be used for both good & evil.

JUST FOR FUN: American photographer Sandro Miller partnered with John Malkovich to recreate some of the most famous portraits captured throughout history. The project is aptly titled, "Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to photographic masters." Check out some of the highlights here. 

COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT: Get a first-hand take on how copyright infringement impacts photographers on a day to day basis. Alex Wild walks you through the battle between copyright and the internet and why the thinks the internet won. (Don't let this article get you down - review your copyright resources here!)

SAY WHAT?: The US Forest Service wants you to pay to play when taking photographs or videos on their 36 million acres - up to $1,000 (no, that's not a typo). Read up on both sides of the story here, and we'll keep you updated on what comes of this. 

PRO TIP: The folks over at PhotoFocus have some hot tips on using Lightroom collections to organize your photos. Organization? Streamlining your workflow? You can't miss it. 

SAVVY GEAR SHOPPING: Leave it to the folks at Photography Concentrate and their top 10 ways to save big on photography gear. We'd like to add an eleventh tip: Join us at the Imaging USA Expo[LINK]. There are deals on deals for new gear and you get to try before you buy. 

TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE: Many photographers get their start in nature or landscape photography, in many cases because it's easy to experiment and the subject doesn't talk back about how their hair looks. Here are 21 tips to get experimental with your flower power photography!

GEAR HEADS: Strobist is here to save the day with some things to consider when investing in a new tripod. This piece of equipment holds your most valuable pieces of equipment, so it should go without saying that you shouldn't skimp on the funding. See what else they have to say here. 

There it is! Your top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!




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This week on theLoop, PPA played host to Mary Fisk-Taylor, the second photographer in our ongoing Ask Me Anything (AMA) series. Inspired by Reddit, an AMA is a free flowing online conversation that gives you (the photographers) a chance to ask Mary anything you want about photography. It's an awesome way to get inside information from an incredibly thoughtful and talented photographer, and this week was certainly no exception. Check out Mary Fisk-Taylor's AMA here!

If you missed out on the live AMA session it's okay! We've got you covered with our five favorite highlights:

1. "I only share my failure with you because it is okay to fail, as long as you pick yourself up and move forward. "
2. "In order to maintain my work/life balance I am a nut about boundaries and setting them and sticking to them. I don't think that any of us are super humans but for some reason as photographers we expect ourselves to wear one million different hats and do it all well. This will not happen. We have to take care of ourselves first."
3. "My favorite images are the ones that my clients embrace and cherish and I know that every single time they look at that image they are brought back to that very moment in time and feel the pangs of emotion that memories often do."
4. "Movies! Oh how I love excellent movies and over the top cinematography. That can really get me super excited to create."
5. "Regardless of where the inspiration comes from, as long as your eyes are open you will probably find it." 

Check out the full conversation on theLoop if you'd like to learn the pros and cons of starting your own photography business, what it takes to create unique images, and how to come by inspiration with Mary Fisk-Taylor. And join Mary, live and in person at Imaging USA 2015 in Nashville for her presentation on #BeMoreSuccessful!

Registration information available here: ImagingUSA.org/register

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It all started on Feb. 4, 2005, when Maddux Achilles Haggard was born with a condition called myotubular myopathy. He couldn't breathe, swallow or move on his own. On his sixth day, his parents, Mike and Cheryl, made the decision to take him off life support. But first, they asked photographer, and then PPA board member, Sandy Puc', to take black-and-white portraits of them with their son before and after they took him off life support.

Four months later, Puc' received a call from a client's sister who was having a baby under similar circumstances. However in this instance, the hospital didn't tell the family their baby wasn't going to make it. Puc' talked with Cheryl Haggard afterword and expressed her guilt that she wasn't able to give this family her best and most professional images because the family wasn't told. It turned out that Haggard too felt guilt--that she had these professional images and other families had a Polaroid or cell phone image at best.

And it clicked--they decided to turn grief into passion and love and formed Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS), named after the children's bedtime prayer. Within six months the PPA affiliate had over 2,000 volunteers. Now as it approaches its tenth year, NILMDTS annually serves tens of thousands of families, providing over $5 million in services per year. What started as a grassroots movement in Colorado now reaches every state in the U.S. and is present in 42 countries worldwide.

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At first weary that the photographers were taking advantage of grieving parents, hospitals now refer to NILMDTS volunteers as "the angels" because of the work they provide. Staff at partnered hospitals is trained to mention NILDMTS if a situation arises where the infant isn't expected to survive, and in other cases, the families themselves will reach out. According to co-founder, Sandy Puc', 60 percent of requests come from hospitals while the other 40 come directly from the families. The work is done completely on a volunteer basis.

"Our photographers pack their bags and go to the hospitals for free," said Puc'. "They don't promote their own business--they represent the organization. There's no money exchanged, but the value to these families and the world is tremendous."

As the organization has grown, NILMDTS has become a recognized part of the grieving process.

"These families go to the hospital super excited with a diaper bag and painted nursery back home, and they leave with "how to grieve" literature--that's it," said Puc'. "They don't know how to prepare or how to grieve."

Another Friday, another roundup! We're back with our weekly collection of our favorite
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photography blog posts around the web. Here's the top 10:

SAFE & LEGAL: We've said it before, and we'll say it again, please don't hold photo shoots on train tracks! This article from MetroNews Canada details the close call one photographer and a newlywed couple had while shooting on train tracks. If you think it's not dangerous or that nothing will happen to you, take a look at this post. It'll make you think again! And if that's not enough, just know that every 3 hours, a person or a vehicle is actually hit by a train! For more information, check out OLI.org

GEAR: Phase One has released a new version of their popular Capture One Pro software. If you use this software, you'll want to check-out this post on PetaPixel, where the new features are detailed. 

BUSINESS: Many photographers feel anxiety when it comes to making changes to our business. This article on Fstoppers does a great job of discussing the cause of these fears, and how you can overcome them! 

FUN: Photo Throwdown is a brand new photography reality show where two photographers are pitted against each other in a series of challenges. The first episode takes place in New York City, and features PPA photographer and PPAedu instructor Jennifer Rozenbaum taking on Chris Fain. It's a fun show that we think all photographers can enjoy - you can watch the first episode online now... we're ready for the next one already!

NEWS: Many of you are probably familiar with the work of amazing landscape photographer Peter Lik. He had a show on the Weather Channel and once sold a photograph for a million bucks! And yes, he's also a PPA M.Photog. photographer! You'll get a chance to know him better at Imaging USA 2015 in Nashville, where he'll be hosting a keynote program. In the meantime, check out the news of his latest gallery opening in San Diego. 

PRO TIPS: PhotoFocus details four shots every photographer should be doing during a photo session for greater success with your clients, as well as for building your own portfolio. 

WORKFLOW: If you use Lightroom 5, are you familiar with the Smart Previews feature? If you answered 'no', you'll want to check out this tutorial from Photography Concentrate. The post details how you can use this feature to help with your workflow. 

BUSINESS: If you're thinking of getting into stock photography, this post on The Creative's Corner is for you. It provides some useful tips for getting started in this market.

LIGHTING: Are you confused about when to use flash to supplement ambient light? Well, here's a post to help you figure out when to use flash. Neil Van Niekerk provides some quick tips for when he uses flash to supplement ambient light. 

INSPIRATION: Is there anything cooler than space photography? We wrap up this week's roundup with a collection of images on InFocus from the European Space Agency's Rosetta satellite, which has been traveling through space for more than a decade. Enjoy! 

There it is! Your top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!
Lynda150.pngDr. Lynda Falkenstein, the Niche Doctor, is joining us September 23 to help you distinguish your business from the rest of the pack in her webinar--Claim Your Niche: Nine Steps to a World-Class Business in Any Economy. This exclusive (and free!) introduction to Lynda's Nine-Step Process is guaranteed to help you build your business successfully through even the worst economic downturn. This is a rare opportunity to get valuable information on everything from marketing to sales tactics.

Here at PPA we realize that while you love the art of photography and the process of taking beautiful pictures, and there are probably certain aspects of your business that you do not enjoy. The selling and marketing process, the uncertainty in discovering your niche as a photographer--the list goes on. This webinar is here to tell you that everything is going to be okay! We feel that the best way to learn is by doing and the only thing we can do is confront those doubts and formulate a practical solution to our problems. Take the next step today and register for this impactful class!

Take control of your business with Lynda and improve your bottom line, for free, on September 23 at 2 PM (ET). Register Now!

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World-renowned studio photographer, Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API, is set to be the second host of theLoop's Ask Me Anything Series on September 22 & 23! We couldn't be more thrilled to have Mary on board to follow up to Booray Perry's inaugural eccentric and informative AMA

Mary Fisk-Taylor has been with PPA since 1998 and has been the recipient of numerous awards including Photographer of the Year in 2007, Best in Show, Kodak Gallery, and Fuji Masterpiece awards.

Mary will deliver her #BeMoreSuccessful program at ImagingUSA 2015, where she'll illuminate us on her effective marketing, sales and public relations practices. Consider this AMA as a chance to get to know an IUSA speaker before you get to the big show.

For the uninitiated, an AMA is a simple online conversation where you will have the opportunity to ask Mary anything you'd like (mostly photography stuff) and she'll be able to respond at her own pace! It's an awesome way to really get a sense of who someone is, and an even better way to ask a true professional anything your heart desires (mostly photography stuff). After the success of Booray's AMA we're extremely excited to see where this one goes!

On September 22, just start asking your questions, and let the conversation begin!



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