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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.

By Danielle Brooks

I seriously think PPA hit the jackpot when they asked me to guest blog for them. I'm not saying I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread, rather so much has happened to me in the past year that I am running the gamut of all things newsworthy. It started with Imaging USA, me losing my job, jumping head first into full-time photography, and literally applying everything I learned at Imaging USA as a business owner. I am so honored to be sharing my ups and downs with you all, and this post is certainly no different. 

This past month I had the most horrific thing that could ever happen to a photographer happen to me. I broke my camera and lens. I still wince even when I type the words. 

I was at Harley Davidson in Daytona Beach when it happened. My husband's company sold them some LED lights for their showroom. I was tasked with taking the before and after photos. My tripod had been acting up lately and I should have taken that as a sign. Sometimes one of the leg joints would give out--the latch wasn't tight enough to keep the leg extended, and because my tripod was cheap there was no way to tighten them. Although at the time, I didn't know that's what was happening. I just thought I was being careless and didn't latch my tripod leg all the way, so sometimes when I was taking a long exposure, it would start to tilt.

Well, this time I left my tripod unmanned to remove some stuff from view. Don't judge. You know we ALL do it. The leg gave way. I didn't see it happen fortunately, or else I might have passed out. All I heard was the crash and the slew of profanities that left my mouth. I ran over to my camera and saw that the lens essentially broke off at the mount. The mount for the lens was still attached to the ring. Luckily no glass was broken. I didn't notice it at the time, but the top of my camera body was cracked. It still seemed to function normally, but we needed to get that fixed too. The only thing I can compare the feeling of breaking your camera to would be accidentally slamming a child's finger in the car door. It probably hurts you more than it hurts them. Plus you're left with the residual guilt.

Fortunately, as a PPA photographer, my gear is covered. I called the insurance company and immediately spoke with a representative. No automated service. I was impressed. 
The woman I spoke with was so calm and reassuring. I'm sure she went home that day and had a good laugh with her family about my quivering, nervous voice on the verge of a breakdown. They emailed me the packet of info I would need to start a claim that day. They told me I could take my gear anywhere to get it fixed and get a quote. My husband and I were already headed to Orlando for our anniversary trip. It just so happened that the biggest Canon representative in the state of Florida is in Orlando. So we swung by. 

They quoted me for the work and then pointed me in the direction of the nearest camera rental facility, which just so happened to be right down the street. We went over there and were able to get a rental. They aren't open on weekends and I had a shoot scheduled for Monday. So I HAD to get a camera. All the while I had two clients call back and book sessions. I was beyond relieved that things worked out for me what would have otherwise been a stressful situation. 

Needless to say, I threw away my tripod and bought a legit one. Never use subpar equipment when it comes to cameras. Unfortunately it was a lesson I had to learn the hard way. 

So if there is any takeaway from this, it's GET INSURANCE ON YOUR GEAR! You can't afford not to. Just by being a PPA member, you have up to $15,000 of PhotoCare Equipment Insurance. You'll be thankful you have it when you need it!

Photographers who belong to PPA get many benefits, like the free print and digital versions ofthe award-winning Professional Photographer magazine so you can keep up with the latest photography techniques, products, and business advice, and also perks and discounts on photography products and services. There's 15 families of tangible benefits for photographers to be more profitable, more protected, more prepared, more inspired, more connected and more productive. 

You surely have access to some of these benefits on your own, but they'll cost you more! How come? Because PPA is a non-profit in the business of helping photographers, not stockholders. Plus, we're the only one able to negotiate rates for 27,000 people at once, and therefore, able to transfer the drastic savings down directly to you.

One of these benefits is PhotoCare Equipment Insurance. The next time your camera or lens breaks, you'll be thankful for your membership. The insurance won't avoid the stress, fear or the frustration an accident or a theft can cause, but knowing that this insurance is there should give you pure peace of mind. Price tag? $300+ to PPA, but nothing to you! Isn't that priceless?

Here's what makes PhotoCare so awesome: You get up to $15,000 worth of coverage on photography and video equipment due to theft, breakage or fire. This comes at no cost to you! You read that right! PPA pays the entire insurance premium, so other than the deductible, you'll pay nothing out of pocket as long as you're a PPA member (valid for U.S. and Puerto Rico-based Professional Active or Life members). 

Replacing broken equipment can break the bank, but with PhotoCare Equipment Insurance you won't have to stress nearly as much next time your camera, lens or other piece of photography equipment gets wet, dinged, dropped, cracked, smacked, frozen or stolen! 

What if you already have an insurance you're happy with, you ask? Simple: PhotoCare will act as a secondary insurance, filling the gaps where your insurance will leave you hanging!

And what if you want MORE than the $15,000 PPA PhotoCare coverage? There's an option for that too! PhotoCare Plus offers up to $100,000 of coverage and extends to theft of equipment in unlocked vehicles (yep!), mysterious disappearances (yep again!), and non-PPA member employee coverage (up to $1,000). That option isn't included with the PPA membership, but it's well worth it. Learn more about PhotoCare Plus here

Either way, we highly encourage you to read more about Photocare and check the FAQs. It will help you get the coverage you need and avoid any surprises down the road.

Also, check out the video below that explains more about how this equipment insurance works.


What if you've already joined PPA but not activated your insurance? Easy! Log in to PPA.com and opt-in through the My PPA section. Boom, $15,000 of equipment insurance just like that! The video below will walk you through how to opt-in; it's a really quick process that will only take a moment of your time. 


Stop stressing about your expensive gear or the risks associated with owning and hiding your stuff! We want you to be more protected, so that you can do more of what you love!

Join PPA today to opt-in or activate your coverage now if you haven't! It costs you nothing and it's a great safety net! Stay tuned to the PPA blog, as in upcoming weeks we'll be explaining even more of the benefits your PPA membership gives you, why they are here and what you're missing out on by not leveraging them!

The healthcare insurance open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act closes March 31. That means you only have a couple weeks to enroll in a qualified health insurance plan and avoid tax penalties!  After March 31, everyone will have to wait until 2015 to enroll in a qualified health plan. You don't want to have to wait a whole year!

Read more about the plans offered by Pallay Insurance Agency below:

 

Are you familiar with the health insurance options available to you as a PPA member? That's right! PPA can help you and your family find the best medical and dental insurance in your area, with several different plans available.

PPA partners with Pallay Insurance Agency, Inc., to assist members in securing affordable and quality medical and dental coverage.

Ross and Scott Pallay are both very knowledgeable about all the options available to you and are very open to speaking with you. They can answer any questions about the new healthcare structure, open enrollment, fines for not having coverage (you read right, you can be fined for not having coverage) and more. They are also able to quote members on policies if you live in any of the 50 states except the ones listed below.*

Make sure you check out all of the insurance options available to you and reach out to Pallay Insurance Agency with any questions or to receive a quote.  

*coverage not available in AK, HI, ID, MA, ME, MT, NJ, NM, NY, RI, SD, VT

P.S. After open enrollment ends, Pallay can still offer Limited Benefit Fixed Indemnity AND Short Term Medical Insurance Plans to members looking for some form of health coverage. While these plans are not qualified health plans, they do provide members and their families with benefits to assist them with medical expenses which can help them get by until the next open enrollment.

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At PPA, we're always striving to help you be more as a professional photographer. There's many ways we do this, but just one of those ways is offering PPA members deals and discounts on products you use in your photography business! 

PPA members already get unbelievable discounts on products and services that they use on a daily basis, but occasionally PPA negotiates something extra special with top photo companies. We call these Extreme Deals. Extreme Deals are short-term discounts and offers, only for PPA members. This March, we've got an extreme deal for PPA members on Accucolor albums. 

Here's the offer: Get one 10x10, 15 side/30 page album and two 8x8, 15 side/30 page albums with the "Elite Collection" or "Leatherette" cover material for only $300! Plus save 50% off any album upgrade options. 

Sounds pretty good, right? Just be sure to log-in to the member only Extreme Deal page by March 31 to get all the information on how to take advantage of this deal. 

Of course, being a PPA member gets you access to more than just the Extreme Deals and other discounts. You'll also get full access to PPAedu, our collection of live workshops and webinars and on-demand videos on various techniques for photographers and business practices. You can even take the PPAedu Assessment to get recommendations for the courses you should attend or watch to help you be more as a photographer!  

Along with PPAedu, members can also access theLoop, our online community just for PPA members! Here, you can discuss various topics that impact the photography business, all without fear of having potential customers see what you've been posting. 

These are just a few of the benefits of PPA membership. Browse the benefits section to see even more perks of joining our photography association. And remember, to access the Extreme Deal, PPAedu or theLoop you've got to be a PPA member, so join today!
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Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, meaning six more weeks of winter. To make those six weeks fly by, check out the top discussions on theLoop from January. Hopefully, some of these discussions will bring some inspiration, education and networking!

After three days of education, your brain can be jam packed with information, ideas and changes you want to make to your business. What will you implement first? 

Want to bust into the world of commercial or food photography, but don't know how? This thread is for you! Get advice on where to start, what to read, and what to avoid. 

Do you love wall portraits? Hate them? They have turned into a polarizing topic amongst portrait photographers. Weigh in with your opinion here!

Your hard drive's getting full. What's your process for storing images of days (and clients) gone by?  Dump them? Spend the money for additional storage? Know your options!

Great models are hard to come by. How do you help them get out there, without throwing them to the wolves? 

When you frame your wall portraits - do you do so with our without glass? Without glass cuts down on glare, but leaves your image open to the elements. What are your options? 


Don't forget, theLoop is PPA's safe and secure online community where members PPA photographers can discuss various photography topics! Not a PPA member? Join today .

Are you familiar with the health insurance options available to you as a PPA member? That's right! PPA can help you and your family find the best medical and dental insurance in your area, with several different plans available. 

PPA partners with Pallay Insurance Agency, Inc., to assist members in securing affordable and quality medical and dental coverage.

Ross and Scott Pallay are both very knowledgeable about all the options available to you and are very open to speaking with you. They can answer any questions about the new healthcare structure, open enrollment, fines for not having coverage (you read right, you can be fined for not having coverage) and more. They are also able to quote members on policies if you live in any of the 50 states except the ones listed below.*

Make sure you check out all of the insurance options available to you and reach out to Pallay Insurance Agency with any questions or to receive a quote.   

*coverage not available in AK, HI, ID, MA, ME, MT, NJ, NM, NY, RI, SD, VT 

P.S. Are you familiar with how healthcare reform affects you and your business? Pallay has also assisted PPA in explaining the changes involved with the Affordable Care Act by hosting a series of webinars on the topic of health coverage.

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We can all use a little extra education to keep on top of our photographic game--but where do you turn for your educational needs? PPAedu of course! PPA started the PPAedu program, and we hope that you'll turn to us for your educational needs. 

PPAedu has over 170 HD videos (and counting) that PPA members and PPAedu subscribers can access on-demand. These videos cover techniques for photographers like lighting, posing and post capture, as well as the business topics sales, finance, marketing and operations. All taught by some of the most accomplished photographers in the industry. It's a complete education program, included for free with your PPA membership! 

What really makes PPAedu stand out is the Assessment. You can answer a brief series of questions in several areas which will give you personalized class recommendations based on where your photography and business skill are now. Find out more about the Assessment in the "Be More Educated: Take the PPAedu Assessment" post. 

As we alluded to earlier, new PPAedu courses are constantly being added. Take a peek at some of our most recently added courses below:

Beth Taubner


Brands are about the marriage of fact and narrative. It's important to convey your special capabilities and traits so that potential customers can easily understand what sets you, your photographs, and your business apart from the competition. Photographers tend to be focused on technical and problem-solving capabilities rather than the emotional content of what makes their brands unique, so learning to operate from a brand perspective can make a real difference in your satisfaction and career.

View more of Beth's PPAedu courses.

Lori Nordstrom, M.Photog.Cr., CPP


You know you best. Lori will share a quick way to identify your target market and brand (so simple, you might never think to try it!)

You don't have to break the bank: Lori will walk you through some low- and no-cost marketing ideas to enhance awareness, from creating a customer database to e-marketing, rewards programs and more.

The devil is in the details: Lori will share ideas right and left as she discusses how displays and network marketing can work, which products she has found can increase sales for these particular clients, and the services that create loyalty and repeat business. We're talking VIP programs, charitable events, portrait installations and more.

So join Lori and take your marketing education and idea bank up a notch. After all, it's not just who you know or what you know--it's how you promote it!


For some photographers, creating a price list is like throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks. That process, however, leaves you with inaccurate prices and messy walls! So take a smarter approach and watch this video class where instructor Lori Nordstrom walks you through creating a price list that works for you and your business.

A price list that helps you walk clients through what you want them to buy isn't built in a day, but how can you get started? With real-life examples from her own studio, Lori takes you through the process and what to consider.


Whether your motivation is sowing good seeds, creating good Karma or developing good relationships, involvement in charitable organizations is good for the soul...and for your business. But before you over-commit your time and money, develop a plan. In good works, just like good business, there should be method to the madness!

Lucky for you, instructor Lori Nordstrom is here to discuss just that topic: how to make a charitable marketing plan using a few of the 5 W's (and an H). She'll show you how answering the following questions can help you create a special campaign, product line and even a pricing structure for your charitable work:

What can you give of your time and your talents?
Who do you want to share this with - what charity?
What is your product offering?
When do you want to do this?
How do want to do this?

You'll also learn more ways to get creative with your charitable involvement, like partnering with other vendors to expand on the offering. And since nothing happens without publicity, Lori will explain how you can play up the buzz with local media, email, Facebook and blogs. Put it all together and you could be presenting your charity with an oversized check, something you'll love whether you started for fun or business or both!


No matter your professional aspirations, this class is a must-have. After all, you can be the best photographer in town, but if you can't sell your business, does it really matter?

What do you say the first time a prospect calls or contacts you? For real, what do you tell them? What message does your studio convey? Are your clients right for YOU? After Handling the Inquiry, you'll skillfully and expertly answer these questions and more!

View more of Lori's PPAedu courses.
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We're thrilled to announce a new member benefit coming your way! Effective November 1, PPA will be making the switch from FedEx to UPS®.

Shipping & logistics are a vital component to every business, so we know this discount is important to you. Rest assured, the new discount from UPS is the best we have ever been able to offer. As a PPA member, you'll save up to 34% on a broad portfolio of services, including air, international and ground services. Plus, savings begin at 70% on UPS Freight® shipments over 150 lbs. UPS understands how important reliability, speed and cost are to meeting your business goals and your customers' needs. Put the power of logistics to work for you. (For the details, log into PPA.com!)

What makes these even better - the discount with UPS will not only offer great rates, but also host a user-friendly interface, saving you money and time. 

Remember to visit the Year-Round Discounts page to see other companies PPA has partnered with to help lower your costs of doing business! 

Not a PPA member? Join today to take advantage of this discount, along with the rest of the PPA member benefits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the PPA Benefits category.

PPA Affiliates is the previous category.

PPA Charities is the next category.

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