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PPA Today: Photography Business Archives

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By James Yates

PPA's Business Challenge was born nearly one year ago, at Imaging USA 2016 in Atlanta. It was during the Studio Makeover class, dedicated to unveiling the results two studio owners had by implementing PPA's business advice, when Education Director Angela Kurkian began to realize the program could be scaled up. By adding the Challenge as a group on theLoop, all PPA members would have the chance to join and begin their 12-month, step-by-step program to profitability and sustainability for their photography businesses. 

It's been a huge success. There are now nine different Challenge Groups on theLoop, with over 900 members taking advice, implementing changes, sharing wisdom and holding each other accountable as they make the steps toward their studios becoming more financially sound! 

Two new announcements have been made in preparation for the program's anniversary: 1) a class at Imaging USA 2017, and 2) a new join-schedule for upcoming Challenge Groups.

First, instead of offering the challenge each and every month, the groups will be starting during the months of February, March, April, May, August, September, October and November. This means there won't be any new groups forming in December, January, June or July. This will allow more time to dig even deeper in the groups that are currently running and no one has to worry about signing up during the holidays or summer vacation!

Second, Business Challenge mentors Gregory Daniel, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, F-ASP, Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API and Angela Kurkian, M.Photog.Cr., CPP will be presenting the platform program "4 Things You Need to Know to be Successful"  at Imaging USA 2017 in San Antonio, TX. 

The class will be held on January 8 and  asks the question,  "iI you could make four changes to your business and your way of thinking that would help you be more profitable, add time to your day and move your life in the direction you dream of, would you do it?"  Full of great takeaways and business strategies you can start implementing right away, this class is the perfect introduction to the Business Challenge program, which can help you build your business on a strong foundation in 2017.

If you're not already using the Business Challenge to own your place in the photography industry and be more profitable, what are you waiting for?! Sign up now at

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James Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL.

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Need inspiration? PhotoVision has everything you're looking for and more! This great resource provides an all-access, behind-the-scenes look at the techniques used by some of the biggest-named professionals in the world of photography. These videos cover a wide range of best practices to inspire every element of your business. The best part about PhotoVision is that it's free to PPA members!

Check out this month's free video!

In "$20,000 Holiday Promotion", Beth Forester sits down with PhotoVision correspondent, Angela Kurkian, to discuss her holiday photography specials. Beth talks about how she offers discounts for pre-existing clients on holiday items, giving people incentive to book during the year and rewarding those who already have. She discusses how she books around 24 sessions a day for the holiday sales to capitalize on the increased interest, and how she optimizes her workflow. Finally, Beth shares how these holiday sales lead to her business being 50% pre-booked for the entire following year.

Want to see more? Head on over to and begin exploring all the website has to offer. Don't forget that PPA members get access to all the PhotoVision photography courses for free with their membership, so join today!

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October is the month of PRINT, and we're celebrating by bringing you some great content. If you weren't sure how to present print art to your clients, then we have a few items that will help you...and your sales.

Head to our new Resources page on the Print.The Movement website, and you'll find a few things: 

Elegant, customizable brochures to showcase your print art. Simply add your photos and studio information. They also include a section to add your price list, so the brochure can do the selling for you! They're super easy to use, and a great way to help you be more profitable.

Outreach content with information that you can repurpose and use as needed. Adjust the message for your clients and use it in your studio. You can also use it as sample copy to customize and send to your local publications along with your photography.

PRINT.The Movement logos. Use them on any of your branding materials to let clients know that you are a print artist. These logos will help set you apart from the shoot-and-stash competition. 

All of these items are meant to spark a dialogue with your clients about why print is so important. Let's build a movement, and let's get people printing again!

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PPA is pleased to introduce a new General Liability Endorsement exclusively made for 
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UAS/Drone operators! 

PPA's General Liability Insurance has coverage of $1 million per occurrence, or up to $2 million total. If you want to cover your drone under the same terms, it is recommended for you to purchase Drone endorsement insurance as well. Please note that this coverage is sold separately from the PhotoCare Equipment Insurance that is provided with your PPA membership. 

Drone Liability Coverage terms and conditions: 

  • You must be a member of PPA
  • Coverage must e purchased in conjunction with PPA's General Liability coverage
  • Limit options of $50,000 and $25,000 
  • Annual premiums of $150 and $100
  • Must be compliant with Part 107 Federal Aviation Regulations, and also state and local regulations
  • Operation of drone must be in connection with a paid assignment for your business
  • Defense coverage is included inside the limit of liability
  • Coverage extends to bodily injury and property damage of others

Ready to purchase coverage? Call our team at 888-202-1526 to secure your coverage today!

Not sure what the new FAA drones rules are? Visit
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Are you looking to take in some live demonstrations at Imaging USA? The Demo Class Track is guaranteed to give you a jolt of inspiration as you witness live demonstrations by top instructors. 

As you prepare for the world's largest pro-photography convention, keep these Demo Track classes in mind to catapult your business!

Take a behind-the-scenes look at the creation process from legend Tim Kelly. Experience a live demo as you discuss compositional dynamics and explore the challenges of posing techniques. Tim teaches you how to flatter a face, light your subject and create the right composition for amazing images. Composition, posing, lighting - it's all in here! Learn from the best!

Lighting With Conviction
Scott Detweiler
January 8
5:00 PM - 6:15 PM

Known as the only lighting course you will ever need, this class teaches how to create the look you envision and see in your mind. Stop worrying about what modifier you need and how many lights are required. Don't stress about how far away the subject is from the light and what you need to adjust. The answers to these and many more questions are at your fingertips. Learn how to think with light and capture the results you want. Scott Detweiler delivers an info-packed yet easily understood workshop that makes this one of his most popular subjects. This is a crowd you'll definitely want to join!

The Fine Art Composite Portrait
Mark Bryant, M.Photog., M.Artist.Cr.
January 8
6:45 PM - 8:00 PM

This class is about more than just taking good pictures. It's about the art, science and skill behind composite portraiture. You'll study the elements of lighting and discover how to use, manipulate and apply principles to achieve expert lighting. Discuss perspective and learn how to use your talent and your equipment for great shots. Then, delve into details like posing and props so that you bring detail and emotion into your portraits. Lastly, Instructor Mark Bryant walks you through the all-important postproduction processes. Explore color harmony, masking, sharpening and more as you learn how to bring all your hard work together for a fine art masterpiece!

Seniors... Think Differently...
Dan Rowe
January 8
6:45 PM - 8:00 PM

It seems every studio in town does senior portraits. This is your opportunity to learn how to do them better! Learn these simple, but effective ways to change it up as you explore lighting and posing techniques that are NOT what everyone else is doing. You'll even delve into some marketing techniques that will attract and keep new customers. Dan and Adrienne Rowe know senior photography and have built a career on not only doing it differently but doing it better. Learn how they do it and how you can too!

Boudoir photography isn't just about pictures. It's about finding your own confidence and courage and instilling the same in your clients. In this class, you'll delve into the power of this genre and how you can help change the lives of your clients as they discover their own power and beauty. Jen Rozenbaum finds inspiration from other powerful women, and uses this to help you grow your skills and your courage. As a photographer, you have the power to not only create an image of your client but to help define how they see themselves!

John Hartman, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, A-ASP,EA-ASP
January 9
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Discover what these cutting edge lighting techniques can do for your creativity, your talent and your business! John Hartman teaches you how to not only enhance your style but also how to separate yourself from your competitors. Cover topics like multiple-flash burst imagery for fast moving subjects, overpowering ambient light to create subject separation, and how to use light painting to create stunning images - and that's not all! Not only will you learn the concepts but explore how to add and incorporate them into your own distinctive style. Techniques, toolsets and implementation - it's all here, delivered in Hartman's unique, expert and engaging style.

Maternity Inspiration and Beyond
Dani Miller
January 9
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

This class isn't just about taking maternity photos; it's about creating timeless classics that mothers will treasure for years to come. Dani Miller shares her innovative, creative ideas for setups that will make memories, not just photos. You'll explore both natural light and studio lighting in action and learn posing techniques that inspire awesome images. Delve into how to build that bond between you and your client and how to cultivate that relationship for future sessions. It's not just about one client session, it's not just about a photograph - it's a complete artistic experience that Dani creates and delivers for her clients! Listen, learn and then do it yourself!

Beyond The Speed Light...New Sources, New Look, New Light
Russ Harrington
January 9
5:00 PM - 6:15 PM

For over 25 years, Russ Harrington has been THE Photographer for Country Music's biggest stars. In an everyday session, he has a very narrow timeframe to photograph a world-famous personality, including sets, makeup, wardrobe and location. Yet every shot is unique, dramatic and powerful. Spend some time with Russ and discover how he does what he does - and how you can too! Learn how your choice and use of lighting sources can define your distinct style. Delve into and really understand the nuances of strobes, ambient light, softboxes and more. During this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Russ shares his secrets, lighting techniques and tips. You'll witness the impact that various sources can have and best of all, how to do it yourself. Enjoy Russ' expertise, his lighthearted style and his experience as he teaches you to do what he does - in your own way.

Simple Techniques for Posing People in Groups of 2 to 100...
Michele Celentano , Cr.Photog., CPP
January 9
5:00 PM - 6:15 PM

Whether you're working with a group of 2 or 100, posing is a key to any portrait's success. And while posing a group of people puts fear in most photographers, Michele is here to show you how it's done! If you work with weddings, families, corporate events, teams or schools, this class will give you the insight and the ability to pose all groups of all sizes, easily and efficiently for amazing images! Stop stressing as Michele demonstrates her techniques, live on stage. Learn how to make people look younger, thinner and other characteristics that will wow your clients. You'll discover how to identify various body shapes and sizes and put them together for poses that work. Your best images start with you and what you create in the camera - walk away with new ideas you can use immediately!

Note: If you want to be included in the live demonstration, wear a black shirt.

Stylized Family and Children Photography
Kia Bondurant, M.Photog.Cr.
January 10
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Come and experience the style and skills that Kia Bondurant brings to her family and children portraiture. From providing creative sets and concepts, wardrobe ideas and innovative products, Kia does it like no other, and her clients love her for it! Take a glimpse into what you can really do for your business as Kia shares her style, her concepts, her innovation and yes, her competitive advantage.

Photographing Architecture - Taking Your Images to the Next Level!
Randy Van Duinen, M.Photog., M.Artist.Cr., CPP
January 10
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Architectural photography isn't like everything else. It takes a different perspective and vision to capture stunning images and breath-taking buildings. In this class, Randy Duinen shows you how to bring your architectural skills to a completely new level. Explore the differences in lighting residential and commercial buildings, and discuss the equipment you need to do both. Discuss how to shoot both interiors and exteriors, and the aspects that make the shot. Take advantage of Randy's insight and expertise as you discuss working with and marketing to this client base and discover how to earn more and more assignments. From the basics of lighting to Lightroom and Photoshop post-processing, it's all in here. Learn from one of the world's best!

Simple and Creative Ways to Work with Children
Alicia Adamopoulos
January 10
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM

Little humans, aka children, can often present more challenges than any other subject! They say big things come in small packages and children's portraiture is no different! In this course, learn from photographer Alicia Adamopoulos, who not only knows photography but she knows kids! Throughout her career, she's learned many easy methods for engaging her younger clients - as well as their parents - to present award-winning, creative images. She'll share how she prepares for a session, the tools she uses and the little tweaks and tips that can be the difference between a delight and a disaster!

Headshots 360
Jim Ferrara, M.Photog., CPP
January 10
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM

For this class at Imaging USA, Jim developed a whole new platform for shooting headshots from the ground up! Shooting within a rather small space, Jim will demonstrate how you can get multiple looks with a three-light set up moving just one light- keeping the model within his or her footprint. The 360 is derived from the camera revolving 360 degrees around the person, while your main lights remain static. With adjusting the output power on each light, and other slight variations, the differences between each look can be as dramatic as you like. This class will be all demonstrated via live demo, and it will be Jim's debut with Headshots 360!

On-The-Go Lighting
Daniel Doke, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
January 10
5:15 PM - 6:30 PM

Learn the lighting technique that Wedding Photographer Extraordinaire, Dan Doke, uses in his portraits and events. Dan's expertise lies not just in his photography but in his desire to take his work to the next level. He's always thinking five steps ahead and in this class, he shares that process and his techniques with you! He'll demonstrate his lighting techniques for on-the-go weddings and portraits; he'll share his tool kit of lighting sources as you discover how he creates the dramatic, one-of-a-kind images his clients crave. In a live demonstration, see how he quickly poses and lights a couple under any time constraint. Discover how to be three dimensional and incorporate texture, drama and contrast. Learn how to make your images come alive - and all this can happen through easy light setups, both in the studio and on location. Create images that make you stand out from your competition!

Getting, Creating and Selling Families
Gary Box, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Pam Box, M.Photog.Cr.
January 10
5:15 PM - 6:30 PM

Family photography can be one of your most sustainable and profitable segments - easier and more profitable than even senior portraits! Discover what Gary and Pamela Box do to create amazing shoots - everything from their lighting and shooting techniques to how to convert it all into incredible sales. Learn how to capitalize on senior shoots and turn them into family orders. Discuss marketing techniques that get more families through your door. You'll even explore techniques for selling wall portraits that your clients will love. Capture the image, wow the customer, increase your sales - this is the way!

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There's an old joke about how a single roll of film - holding just 36 images - if used correctly, could capture an entire childhood from first grade through college graduation. Years ago, rolls of film were perceived as expensive, precious and not to be wasted on frivolous shots. But with digital photos becoming the new norm, both amateur and professional photographers alike, are taking thousands of additional photos to capture the moment - be it a styled studio shot, a simple selfie or a reminder pic of what's currently in the refrigerator.

InfoTrends 2015 Professional Photographer Survey indicates that the average pro currently takes approximately 4,160 photos per month just for business. That's nearly 960 photos per week! The number reflects significant growth, as 2014 respondents took only 3,660 per month. Why the jump? Experts believe it not only indicates a healthy economy for the photo industry, but always improving technology to store and save photos as well.

InfoTrends consumer studies also speaks to an eye-opening trend discovered by PPA: after surveying nearly 1,500 PPA members about photo printing, PPA's results showed 40% of photographers' customers no longer print photos. This dangerous trend could result in a lost generation of photos without education and action to save them.

Here are some simple steps to share with your clients to help them avoid falling into a digital void and losing precious memories:
Entrust capturing once-in-a-lifetime moments like a wedding, high school graduation, newborns, birthdays and special occasions through the work of a professional photographer. To find a PPA professional photographer near you, go to
Ask your photographer about his/her options of printed work and have them print photos for you in order to get quality, archival products that you will be able to keep for years to come.
If you are not ready to print just yet, ensure you back-up all digital photos onto a separate drive so they're aren't lost if your phone or laptop is!
Buy albums and frames when you see them on sale so it reminds you to fill them with photos.
When using a professional photographer, work with them to ensure you leave with printed photos-- not just a disc.
Let your clients know that, as a professional, you are going to take advantage of technology and your professional lighting and posing skills to capture the perfect shot. Just be sure you encourage them to take that last step and safely store and print their photos so they can be enjoyed for years to come.

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With the new FAA regulations regarding drones going into effect August 29th, you need to have the most up-to-date information to fly and use a drone for business or work purposes. Bottom line: you MUST take the aeronautical knowledge test (the "Drone Test") and have your drone registered. Here are important links and guidelines that will be helpful while navigating through the process.

  • In order to sit for the "Drone test", and be able to apply for the remote pilot certification, the applicant must be at least 16 years old, be fluent in English, be in good physical and mental condition to operate a drone, and take the test at an approved FAA knowledge testing center. Step by step guidelines are posted on the FAA website under requirements and process for becoming a pilot.

  • All applicants need to take and pass the Drone Test in order to apply for their remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating. The cost of taking the test is $150 and, once certified, the certification will be valid for two years. Taking the test and getting certified allows photographers to use drones during photo sessions in accordance with FAA guidelines. To ensure that everyone has the knowledge necessary to pass the drone test, the FAA has posted various study guides and sample test questions for applicants to study. These materials can be found under the FAA's suggested study materials

  • Once an applicant has passed the drone test, applied for and received their remote pilot certification, they MUST register their drone. The drone must be registered if it is over .55 pounds, up to a maximum weight of 55 pounds. The 55 pound limit includes any equipment you attach to the drone, such as your camera. Registration cost is only $5 and will be valid for three years. All drones need to be registered at

  • Your drone must also undergo a pre-flight check to ensure it is in proper condition to be operated. This link has a .pdf of the FAA's pre-flight checklist. 

The FAA has addressed some Drone Regulations frequently asked questions here. Here is also an easy-to-read recap chart with all the necessary information regarding both pilot and drone requirements:

You can find even more information in the FAA's Getting Started guide. We hope you're as excited and ready to fly your drone as we are! Share your (legal) drone photography with us on theLoop, Facebook or Twitter! Now, get out there, take some amazing photos and share them with the world!

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With so many resources available online, you may be asking whether it's worth your time and money to attend Imaging USA. Especially if you are a member of PPA, you already have access to online networking and education with theLoop, PhotoVision and PPAedu. So what makes Imaging USA so special?

There's literally a bajillion reasons to go to Imaging USA, but here are 10 you can't ignore:

Sharpen Your Saw
Stephen Covey talks about this in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It's the idea that if you don't step away from your daily grind to take care of life's other needs, you won't be doing your best work. It's a simple fact that the dull saw cuts less wood.

When you socialize, learn and network with your peers at Imaging USA, you are "sharpening your saw." When you return to your studio, you'll have new ideas, inspiration and connections that will help you work more creatively and efficiently.

Your Next "Ah-Ha" Moment
You never know where your next "ah-ha" moment is going to come from. But when you're surrounded by 10,000 photographers it could come from a new friend, the keynote speaker (this year it's Mel Robbins!), a tradeshow vendor, or the photographer sitting next to you in a session. One thing for sure, you will have several of these each day, and it's all worth it!

The Value of Face-to-Face Connections
Social media has its place in keeping you connected and forums like theLoop are great if you need a quick answer. But it's hard to make a strong, lasting personal connection when you aren't meeting face-to-face. At Imaging USA you get the face time you need to make connections that will last a lifetime with speakers, vendors, other photographers, or all of the above! People do business with people they like. And when you spend several consecutive days under the same roof, strong connections are bound to happen. The benefits of your networking at Imaging USA will serve you long past the end of the conference.

That Thing You Didn't Know You Needed
You never know what you'll find on the Imaging USA EXPO tradeshow floor, but you can be sure it's the latest and greatest. After all, these vendors are in the business of providing photographers with the equipment and services they need to thrive.

And the Expo is more than just a shopping mall for photographers. It's your opportunity to get hands-on demos of the products you need, check out the winners of the International Photographic Competition and take the opportunity to discuss your specific business challenges with the vendors that can help. Oh, and the discounts that you'll find on the tradeshow floor are well worth delaying your Christmas shopping for your studio until Imaging USA! 

Get Out of the Studio
Being in the same studio or sitting in front of the same computer monitor day after day is a sure way to find yourself in a rut. A change of scenery always leads to a fresh perspective, and Imaging USA is the perfect setting to spark new ideas... photography speaking, business speaking and for your creativity in general!

Business Solutions That Work
Sometimes the problem with having the Internet at your fingertips is that there is simply too much information. How do you find the exact solution to your problem and how do you know that it will work for you.

Imaging USA can help cut through the clutter. Bring a list of your business challenges and discuss them with your fellow photographers. You're likely to find others who have successfully overcome similar challenges and you can put their ideas to work for you. Plus, all speakers are available at the end of their sessions for questions. Those of you who sign up early enough to get a portfolio review are in for a treat! And there will be even more speakers on the tradeshow floor, with mini sessions and demos, and at the IPC Merit Café on photographic competition.
The Energy of Like-Minded Individuals
At Imaging USA you will be surrounded by like-minded people who are there to learn, share and teach. It brings a new level of energy of motivation to the learning that you can never get anyplace else. You WILL end up making (new) friends for life and this WILL boost your motivation and inspiration... perfect timing to start 2017!

The Power of the Random Workshop
Attend one class outside of your specialty and find one thing from that session that you can take back for your business. It could be a new product line, a new workflow method, a bit of marketing genius or a new way to sell prints. Imaging USA has 10 educational tracks so there is bound to be something new for you. Often times we have heard of exploring classes in a track outside your day-to-day practice as becoming a game changer. News ideas, new approaches, new techniques, new best practices, all make for more inspiration, more motivation and more power to you!

Invest In Yourself
Attending Imaging USA is a small investment in yourself, and you're worth it 20 times over! Constantly learning and growing is vital to your bottom line and essential to keeping you one step ahead of your competitors. Imaging USA is organized by PPA and because PPA is a non-profit, it is able to keep the registration cost so much lower than any other conference of this caliber, that it would be a mistake not to leverage it! Don't spend top dollars with fauxtographers! Come where the real pros come year after year to learn, grow, connect and have fun! There's no way you'll regret it ? 

Photography is Your Passion
Like with any great love, you must nurture it to sustain it. Your life can get so full and hectic with all the things you have to do throughout the year. You most likely need a jolt to recharge your passion after the busy holiday season. So come join us at Imaging USA and re-discover your love of photography.

By Bethany Clark

theloop_networking.jpgLoopers know that the best way to find answers to your photography business questions is to ask it on theLoop, PPA's official, members-only social network. The discussions on theLoop are always productive and helpful, so dive right in!

Here's a recent example of a question and the first couple of responses. 


Hi, I just opened my photography business a year ago and am looking for good business books. Any recommendations? Thanks!

  • Be Your Own Sales Manager: Strategies And Tactics For Managing Your Accounts, Your Territory, And Yourself by Tony Alessandra Ph.D., Jim Cathcart, & John Monoky Ph.D. 
  • Best Business Practices for Photographers (second edition) by John Harrington 
  • The Complete Photography Careers Handbook (second edition) by George Gilbert 
  • The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday 
  • Go for No! by Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz
  • The Photographer's MBA, Everything You Need to Know for Your Photography Business by Sal Cincotta
  • Start with Why by Simon Sinek 
  • The E-Myth by Michael Gerber 
  • Youtility by Jay Baer 
  • Worth Every Penny by Michael Port 
  • Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port 
  • Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

Check in at to see more tips, discussions, recommendations, and to ask your peers questions you need answered! And find even more Quick Tips from your fellow Loopers here!
This has been a HUGE week for Drones! The FAA finally released their new regulations covering UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) and PPA has read all 600 pages to help YOU better understand how to (legally) incorporate drones into your business. 

You can head over to to get all the latest information, but we've got a summary for you to get you started and answer your most basic questions.

So...You Want to Be a Small Drone Pilot...

To become a pilot you must: 

Be at least 16 years old
Be able to read, speak, write and understand English (exceptions may be made if the person is unable to meet this requirement for a medical reason, such as hearing impairment)
Be in a physical and mental condition to safely operate a small UAS
Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center

How Do I Apply for a Remote Pilot Certificate?

1. Schedule an appointment with a Knowledge Testing Center (there are over 700 locations in the U.S).
2. Pass the Aeronautical Knowledge Test. 
3. Complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a Remote Pilot Certificate.
4. Pass the TSA security background check. You will then receive a confirmation email containing instructions for printing a temporary remote pilot certificate from IACRA (Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application). 
5. Receive a permanent remote pilot certificate via mail once all other FAA-internal processing is complete. 

Once certified, your certification must be easily accessible by the remote pilot during all UAS operations. It is valid for two years, after which you must pass a recurrent knowledge test to renew your certification.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Photography Business category.

Inspiration is the previous category.

PPA Advocacy is the next category.

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