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By Lisa Sharer

People came from far and wide to San Antonio for the annual professional photographers' conference, Imaging USA 2017, to hear amazing speakers, and absorb their wisdom. Of all the educational series featured at the event, the PRINT program talks emphasize print product sales as a core component of your photography business. Now, you can get an exclusive look at the live recording of this inspiring program. Watch Photographers and Print Artists Tim Walden, Allison Tyler Jones, and the world-renowned photographer, Sue Bryce, as they walk you through their processes. Each speaker has unique experiences that you can apply in your everyday business to help you sell more prints.



When you're done hanging on their every word, join the PRINT movement! Once you sign up, you'll get monthly tips, info, tools, videos, etc. to help you grow as a Print Artist and help you grow your photography business. (By the way, these resources will be completely FREE to you!)

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2017. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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By James Yates
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You can't go it alone and be successful in your business (well, you can...but it's much harder...and did we mention lonely?) You need the support of your peers and, when it comes to connecting professional photographers, PPA offers a lot of opportunities.

PPA has amazing online education available to its members, of course, but sometimes it's best to get out from behind the computer! Take advantage of opportunities to Be More Connected that involve directly interacting with an instructor and/or fellow photographers live and in person. If face-to-face, in-person learning works better for you, then PPA has you covered!

  • Super 1 Day Events: Super 1 Day events occur bi-annually for two weeks and are facilitated by professional photographers looking to share their knowledge and experience with others. During Super 1 Day events, you get the opportunity to take part in day-long workshops covering a huge cross-section of topics. These are fantastic opportunities to hone your skills in addition to networking with your peers! Register now for Super 1 Day!

  • PPA Affiliate Schools: PPA has partnered with photography schools all over the country-and even in others- to provide professionals with in-person educational opportunities for one week each year. And like Super 1 Day, taking advantage of classes offered in these Affiliate Schools is not only a great way to become a better photographer, but also a great way to meet other pros just like you!

  • Photographic Competitions: All artists need to feel a sense of belonging and, according to Anne Geddes, PPA gave her "the fellowship and opportunities for my work to be reviewed and judged by my peers through photographic competitions, and it helped build my confidence and credibility as a photographer." Anne says, "There is a camaraderie that comes from entering your best images in print competitions. The judges are all walking up and 'sniffing' your print, as we used to joke. A judge says, 'You know, I don't think it's good enough for...' It's character building." PPA competitions begin at the start of the year at the district level and continue to the International Photographic Competition every summer.

  • Imaging USA: The world's largest, strongest and longest-running photography expo and convention continues to get bigger and better! 2018 is set to be no exception. Imaging USA will set up shop in Nashville, Tennessee. That's right. We'll be invading the Music City for three amazing days (six with pre-con!) of Imaging USA, January 14-16, 2018. You can't help but Be More Connected with a trip to Imaging USA! 

So get up, get out and get to learning! PPA is always adding ways to Be More Connected as a member. Learn more now at PPA.com/Connected. 


By Lisa Sharer

In 30 or 40 years, how will you remember the most important moments of your life? It's a question that the print industry is asking during this technological age. According to a nationwide survey conducted by Professional Photographers of America (PPA), consumers are printing significantly less than the generations before them.

In some homes, photo albums do not exist. For some people, printing photos is not even on their radar. People are leaving everything in the cloud, and assuming their coveted images will be safe forever there. But if there's anything we know, it's that technology has the potential to crash, delete images and possibly even wipe files off the face of the earth.

This infographic illustrates the very scary truth about consumers' relationship with printing photography products. While we would like to believe that everything will be fine on a computer or in the cloud, we can never really be sure. Even if they are safe, are consumers planning to share their family photos from a desktop? Will people walk into each other's homes and bypass blank walls to head directly to the computer?

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Tangible, visible, printed images are the only thing that can really tell the story of our most precious moments. Generally speaking, don't you see children more fascinated by the family photos throughout the home folders on a computer screen? And as adults, will they wonder why their parents aren't proudly displaying their special moments? Will that one photo make as much of an impact to the newlyweds that choose only to share via their social media?

These are all valid concerns, and they start with the photographer. As photography professionals, it is our obligation to give the full scope of a photo session, including the printed works that follow. This infographic shows the awe-inducing effects of the technological age as well as the importance of bringing home a printed image that will let the subjects beam with love and pride, and that they will be able to share with generations to come.

To learn more about The Print Movement and how printing can help reinforce the photographic industry, visit PRINTmovement.org. You'll find an array of statistics, valuable information, as well as resources to help you sell print products from your own studio. It's time to start the (re)evolution of print!

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About the author:
Lisa Sharer is the Marketing Campaign Manager at Professional Photographers of America. As a Creative Writing graduate, she loves any chance at getting pen to paper. When she's not being creative in the workplace, she can be found skating with the Atlanta Rollergirls or volunteering with the Weloveatl Project. Or really - snuggling with the dogs.
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By Lisa Sharer

It's happened to all of us. Probably more than once. Someone asks you what your rate is, and when they hear it, they are appalled. You start to feel a little flush. You start to think, maybe I went too high. You start to want to back into the nearest bush.

We're here to tell you to kick that bush to the curb! Part of becoming a professional photographer starts with confidence. If every photographer folds, then no one gets paid. By demanding a solid rate, you're not only helping yourself, you're helping all the photographers that come after you.

Here's a recent, completely real, interaction that we applaud:

A photographer is out and about taking pictures. He is approached by a gentleman who notices him.

Gentleman: You take pictures?

Photographer: Yes.

Gentleman: How much do you charge?

Photographer: It really depends on what you want.

Gentleman: Just walking around downtown with you taking pictures of me.

Photographer: My portrait sessions start at $$.

Gentleman: (Laughs) Oh, come on, man.

Photographer: (Without hesitation) This is my full-time job, and I'm really good at it. Here's my card. Check out my portfolio, and let me know if you're interested.

If you believe in yourself, your clients will believe in you. Set your prices, stick by them, and above all, do NOT be embarrassed by them. Remember that you spend many hours--collective portions of your life--perfecting your craft and building a business. You have every right to charge fairly for your service, and you should never be ashamed of it.

"Listen up photographers. Know what you're worth. State it with conviction. Know when to bend, but know that bending should be the exception. There will be clients that will see your worth and pay your fee." 
                     - Aaron Coury, Photographer.

If you would like more help on how to sell yourself and your service, check out PPA's See The Difference® resources. PPA members have access to a plethora of sales and marketing tools to assist in promotion and in-person sales. If you're not a member, you should join today!

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2017. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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By Lisa Sharer


If you've read our previous article Marketing 101 for Photographers, you may have a general idea of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Now, let's break it down to exactly how it works, and what you can do to optimize your websites for search engines... and ultimately get more clients from improved search results.

Top Level Search Engine Marketing Factors

You probably know of some widely used search engines like Google.com, Yahoo.com, or Bing.com. These sites decide what rank to give to your website amongst the other photography businesses out there in the world and this directly impacts how far up your studio's name appears in a search results page. How they do that raking is a more involved process that you might want to learn to help you improve your own SEO ranking.

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Search engines sort the search results they serve based off a few different factors:

  • Content - Does your content match the search of your potential client?

  • Site Structure and Internal Links - Is it user friendly, and do all your links work?

  • Geographical Location - Are you in or nearby the city where the client is looking for photography?

  • Mobile Optimization - Is your site easy to use on a mobile device (phone, tablet, e-reader, etc.)?

  • Loading Time - How long does it take for your site to load its content (photos, videos, etc.)?

  • Social Signals - Are you getting traffic from social media platforms?

Search engines have "bots" or "crawlers" that visit websites and check each of the items above. Once they have tested those items they then compare your website to other similar websites. Your ranking will depend on how you fare against those sites, which is why it's imperative that you make sure each item is performing at its best.

Improve Your Ranking with Authority & Relevance

Google.com, Yahoo.com, or Bing.com all use two common criteria within the algorithm used to produce search results. And while they all evaluate them differently, there are two key factors for you to understand as they will help with your optimization: 

Authority- A website shows its level of credibility based off how many links tie it to other websites. This is what search engines call the level of 'online authority' and this is where you look to other sites and influencers to help raise your site's authority. When a search engine finds your site through an outside link, it's showing it that you have enough authority that other people/sites trust your content. Beware though, it's not the quantity of links that helps you but their quality. For example, a direct link from PPmag.com would fare better than JoeSchmoPhotography.net.

Relevance-  The content on your site must be relevant to photography or some version of your expertise (portraiture, wedding, etc.) in order to rank higher. That means you'll need to use keywords that speak directly to what your photography business offers to your prospective clients. It's not just the words on your landing pages that you'll need to keep an eye on, though. You'll also want to make sure that your URLs and text formatting are shouting about your business. For example, when PPA wanted to tell you how insurance could help protect photographers, then we created the link PPA.com/BeMoreProtected. Likewise, to emphasize the content relevance of a blog post, it earn will you more SEO brownie point if you embed keywords in the headlines of your blog post, and it is even better yet if you bold keyword-related phrases. Make sure to keep those small things in mind when creating any kind of content, as they make a large difference to the search engines that crawl your site.

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Keywords

When someone does a search online, they generally type in a few keywords. For instance, photographer or family portraits in [location]. These keywords are important to make sure you are attracting quality leads. Of course, it would be amazing to rank #1 for photographer, but if you're not Wikipedia, that's not likely to happen. That's why long tail keywords have become more important than ever to your SEO strategy. You'll need keyword lists in order to run search ads, but it's also important to think about these keywords when creating content for your site.

Remember, those search engine results pages are looking for relevant and authoritative information to improve your ranking. So you will want to include information and keywords that are specific to your specialty and locale. Rather than just "portrait studio," maybe you'll want to include things like "outdoor family photography in [city]" or "high school senior photography in [area]," etc.

Most photographers overlook the power and importance of long tail keywords. Getting by on the basic short tail keyword is fast and takes little to no research. So, of course, we want to get things done quick and easy. However, if you take that route you're missing out on a huge opportunity. Optimizing for long tail keywords will make your site stand out over the quick solution photographers.

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By Lisa Sharer

You may have noticed a few updates to the Print Movement website. We've made a few improvements, added some new visuals, and made it easier to view on mobile. The one thing that may stand out though, is a BRAND NEW PRINT MOVEMENT VIDEO.

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One of the members of the PPA board of directors and established photographer, Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API, shows the journey from photo session to print. The story clearly shows the impact that a print can have on a client's home and delves into the feeling it brings to the family.

This video beautifully shows the value of printing. It exemplifies how offering printed products can truly delight and evoke powerful emotions from your clients. At the same time, you can see the monetary value these products can add to your business. "I choose to offer and sell products that are not readily available in the marketplace," says Fisk-Taylor. These products give her an edge through unique materials that set her apart.

Watch the video and share it with fellow photographers. Nothing can get us back to printing but us. So it's time to start getting the word out there. "We need to print, people."
If you're not already a part of the PRINT movement, join today!
By Lisa Sharer

With PPA's See The Difference toolbox, you'll find tools, resources, tips and examples to help photographers work on marketing, branding, and sales! These tools include everything from enlightening videos to photo-style quizzes that are fun and informative for photography consumers and prospects alike. The variety of resources you'll find is to help you show potential clients why hiring a professional photographer is smarter and more cost effective than hiring an amateur. It's all about upping the value of your offering and positioning so you can stand out from the crowd. PPA continuously adds new tools for PPA member to easily add to their marketing collateral pieces, website, social media, sales presentation, etc. This month you will find a brand new resource to further enforce that concept.

In this effort, a contest was held on theLoop (PPA's members-only social network) to find some fun images that may remind you a bit of your childhood ventures into Highlights magazine. The idea is for your potential clients to see two side-by-side photos, and see if they can pick out all the differences between a photography snapshot and a professional portrait. Studies have proven that games like this one, as simple as it may seem, help people integrate concepts in a deeper and faster way. As the saying goes, a picture (or two, in this case!) is worth a thousand words. Simply put: let them play a little and they will see the difference between a pro and an amateur shot.

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You will find one spot-the-difference postcard for each photography specialty: Wedding, Family, Newborn, Seniors, and Pets. Simply print out, and keep them in your studio or share them on your website. Your potential clients will find themselves enjoying a little puzzle, while also learning the talents that a professional has to create beautiful photos.

Use this or one of the many other See The Difference resources to help market your brand and sell your services and products. It's just one of the many ways that being a member of PPA can help you Be More. If you're not a PPA member, check out all the benefits you could be receiving and then join today!


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About the author:
Lisa Sharer is the Marketing Campaign Manager at Professional Photographers of America. As a Creative Writing graduate, she loves any chance at getting pen to paper. When she's not being creative in the workplace, she can be found skating with the Atlanta Rollergirls or volunteering with the Weloveatl Project. Or really - snuggling with the dogs.

By Lisa Sharer

First, let's define exactly what brand means. According to Wikipedia, "A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or other feature that distinguishes an organization or product from its rivals in the eyes of the customer." Simply put, it's the 'je ne sais quoi' that consumers perceive about you and your business and make them turn to you before your competitors.

Since that 'je ne sais quoi' is by definition, undefinable, you'll need to try out different strategies to see what will make you stand out. If you're new to the marketing game, try starting with the basics. After many tests, you'll eventually figure out how to reach your target market, and exactly what is bringing in the clients.

So why is branding beneficial to all this when you're busy trying to get more clients? Well, once you have a style, a unique customer service experience, a familiar name - you'll be the go-to photographer for your brilliant kind of images and the experience you offer. For example, you are looking for a certain home product and you want it to be mailed to you as quickly as possible, what's the first company you might go to look for that product? Did someone say Amazon? They have built their brand over many years to coincide with those exact thoughts that you might have as a consumer. Now, it's time for you to be that special photographer.

Here's what you can expect with a great, stand-out brand:

  1. You Will Be More Visible. Your logo or your name will become familiar to the potential clients in your area. They will already know who you are before they are even looking to hire a photographer. They'll even compare others to you, and in the end, come back to you because it's your brand that attracts them.
  2. Trigger Referrals. Once you've dazzled one or two clients with your unique customer service experience, captivated them with your beautiful images, and delighted them with the quality of your products, you'll have already started your branding. Getting referrals is like going viral - except it's offline and brings in more credibility and...real cash.
  3. Be More Profitable. It goes without saying that once you have more clients, you'll make more money. But you should also note that once you are displaying amazing products, your sales will soar as well. And photographers with an established, strong brand will all tell you: the sale happens most often when people are attached to your brand and come in with a pre-existing understanding of the larger scope your artistry offers.

So, invest in developing your brand. Are you the quirky high school senior photographer? Or are you the incredibly laid-back family photographer that can make anyone feel comfortable? Wherever your brand fits, stick with it, develop it, and let your photography flag fly!

Next month we will be featuring See The Difference and the PRINT Movement as they are two very useful benefits for PPA member to grow their business. We have some very exciting things to help you build your brand and sell more products. So be on the lookout!

Not yet a PPA member? Find out about the amazing benefits PPA has to offer, and join today!


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About the author:
Lisa Sharer is the Marketing Campaign Manager at Professional Photographers of America. As a Creative Writing graduate, she loves any chance at getting pen to paper. When she's not being creative in the workplace, she can be found skating with the Atlanta Rollergirls or volunteering with the Weloveatl Project. Or really - snuggling with the dogs.



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You may already have the art of photography down, but is your business where you'd like it to be? If you find yourself wanting to learn how to boost your bottom line, the PPA Business Challenge is for you! 

The Business Challenge provides photography business owners with the information and tools they need to develop the foundation for a more profitable business over the course of one year. Not only do participants receive the tools required to make changes to their business, but also step-by-step instruction and support from PPA mentors as they implement these changes. The very last Business Challenge group of the year starts August 1, so enroll today!

We all know that photographers are entrepreneurs, small business owners with a passion for their craft. We also know that, more often than not, many photographers open their studios as artists, not having gone to business school, nor carrying a finance background. It is part of PPA's mission, as a nonprofit, to help our members understand and implement the basic business principles needed to maintain a sustainable studio. 

The Business Challenge is meant to be a fun, interactive way for PPA members to integrate as much business acumen as they can in one year's time. There is work involved, as this "challenge" is meant for photographers who are serious about wanting to take their business to the next level. Participants will have tasks to complete and the opportunity to be active members of accountability groups and peer-to-peer mentoring. 

"PPA's business advice is based on years of experience and successful business mentoring," says Angela Kurkian, M.Photog.Cr., CPP and Director of Education at PPA. "The Business Challenge helps our members be more business-confident. It helps them think and strategize as a savvy business person." 

Kurkian led a presentation on the Business Challenge (pictured above) and its first year at this year's Imaging USA in San Antonio. Titled "4 Things You Need to Know to Be Successful", the group panel included Gregory Daniel, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, F-ASP; Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API; and participants from the previous year's Business Challenge. 

As an example of the kinds of takeaways you'll gain from the Challenge, they presented these four steps to success... 

  1. #CreateABusinessModelThatWorks: Their first word of advice, and the guiding plan for the upcoming Business Challenge, is to define success for YOU. Making a business plan that works for you and your needs is step one on the road to a successful photography business. Separate qualitative and quantitative goals. Use the Square One tool available through PPA to figure out what your pricing needs are going to be for profitability and sustainability. Remember: the goal is to pay yourself. You are not your business!
  2. Use Your Time Wisely: Your time is limited. There are only so many hours in the day. Know how much time you need and respect it because it's precious. Use PPA's Benchmarks to track where your studio is and trust them to help you prioritize and understand your needs. 
  3. Understand Your Customer's Needs: Begin with the end in mind. Photography is not about the image, it's about what you're going to do with the image. Develop products to sell to your clients that have a purpose. Products that will surprise and delight them. And, finally...
  4. Do the Work: Sounds easiest of all, right? Wrong. You'd be surprised how many people fall down on this sword. But you can stay accountable and get the support you need through PPA's Business Challenge. 

The Business Challenge is free to PPA members and includes tools to understand and develop the foundations of a profitable business with:

  • A step-by-step support system 
  • Answers to the most vital business questions 
  • A personalized success and business plans
  • Lists and guidelines to help prioritize 
  • Inspiration and help to stay focused 
  • A framework to avoid getting overwhelmed 
  • Accountability partners with other photographers with the same challenges 

Want to join the Challenge? Sign up today at PPA.com/Challenge to enroll in the last Challenge Group of 2017, which begins in August, and spend the next 12 months working on your personalized success path. Sign up today to begin your Challenge Group and Be More Business Savvy!

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By Chris Homer

Do you feel like your photography business isn't as profitable as it could be? If you're looking
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 for business advice, PPA's Business Challenge may be just the solution you need! 

The Business Challenge helps members reach their business goals and overall become more profitable. It's a free, year-long program that is supported by mentors who are here to guide you, step-by-step, on how to take your business to the next level.

The Business Challenge is a fun, interactive way for PPA members to integrate as much business acumen as they can in one year's time. There is work involved, as this "challenge" is meant for photographers who are serious about taking their business to the next level. Participants will have tasks to complete and the opportunity to be active members of accountability groups and peer-to-peer mentoring.

Many photographers are self-made, so they never had the chance to get proper training and education on the business side of how to be a successful and profitable photographer. PPA has filled in that knowledge gap with the Business Challenge.

One of the participants, Alison Satterfield, had this to say about the program: "This challenge is so awesome! I'm so happy that there is actual math that can put a real-life value on a hard-to-measure workload! I can now make sense of my numbers and it's useful and fun!" 

Want to join PPA's Business Challenge? Sign up today at PPA.com/Challenge to enroll in the next group, which begins August 1st, and spend the next 12 months working on your personalized success path. It's FREE! Sign up today! This is the help you needed to Be More Business Savvy!


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

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About this Archive

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

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