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PPA Today: Photography Business Archives

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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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By Lisa Sharer

We've all heard that printing is more profitable than handing over digital files. We've all seen photographers with great galleries of printed photos. We all know the benefits our clients receive with tangible products. So, "where do I start?" you might ask. We've found five products that you and your clients will love.

Prints: First, consider basic prints. This option is for the clients that want to spend only a little extra money to hold the image in their hands but are trying to stay budget-conscious. Prints of photographs will make the perfect addition to your clients' homemade photo albums, an addition to their budget-conscious gifts, or self-framing displays.

Print Packages: Perfect for the graduating students! These days, high school seniors are getting some amazing and phenomenal photos. Images of this caliber cannot (rather should not) be contained to one small format. These clients are likely to want digital files, buttons, etc., but your biggest impact will always be through a larger framed piece. Think about offering this pack to your graduate's parents.

Mounted Photos: Mounting prints is a sleek and modern way to display photos. Many clients find that these types of photographic work not only enhance their home with timeless memories, but they also add a stylish element to any wall... and boost everyone's ego, which is always a valued yet not-spoken-about benefit. Consider making this part of your offering when pitching your services to your clients.

Booklets: This is a fun way to put a collection of photos together. Whether it's for the graduate or the family reunion, an array of pictures come together to make the perfect viewing experience. Consider including this in your studio to offer to any type of client!

Matted Albums: They're just like the albums a client would buy from a supercenter and stick their own photos inside. Except 100x better! These will catch the eye of any client that's looking to include a grand array of photos. Think about offering this after a family photo session, or to the client that is looking to include a lifetime of memories in one place.

These are just a few of the many ways that you can start positioning yourself as a print artist today and start making more money. Once your clients see the range of products you offer, they'll be inclined to learn more about your craft, and they'll respect you as a printmaker. At that point, you're likely to see a higher level of print sales, and a higher number of happy clients.

Learn more about bringing print back to the foreground of photography. Join the PRINT Movement today!


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Aout 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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One of the best ways to enhance your skills as a photographer is by viewing the more than 500 video tutorials available on PhotoVisionVideo.com from top photographers in the business. Don't believe it? Check out the newest video titled "Finding Your Voice as an Artist, Pt. 1" with Anne Geddes!

In this video, Anne Geddes shares the thoughtful process that coincides with being creative. She explains that images should come from your heart, and the camera is simply the vehicle in which you capture it. She also shares how newborns became her inspiration and the story she hopes to tell by capturing images of them. Join us for Part 2 on August 7th!

PhotoVision is included for FREE with your PPA membership. So, what are you waiting for? Head over to PhotoVisionVideo.com to begin streaming classes today! Not a member? Join PPA today and get FREE access to all the videos!



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by Trent Schick
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PPA is always looking for bigger and better ways to save you money, and we're thrilled to introduce you to our new Vantiv Credit Card Program. This new partnership is meant to bring you smarter, faster and easier credit-card processing along with cost savings that put money back in your pockets.

Vantiv is offering a new EMV offer for you members, through the mobile pay system "SwipeSimple", and PPA has done the negotiating with Vantiv to get you much lower processing rates. The EMV device is only $60 with a one-time set up fee of $7.95, but the best part is your $60 device charge will be completely refunded after your first $20 in credit card transactions/sales.* 

Other great features? You can include up to 5 users on your account at no extra cost and there is no monthly product or usage fee! Processing fees are 2.48% (terminal or device) or 3.48% + $0.15 per item (keyed entry)

The SwipeSimple EMV device is "jacked" only, so you can plug it into your phone and be ready to go (those with iPhone 7s will need to use a jack adapter). Also, the device accepts both magnetic stripe and EMV chip cards. The whole system works simply through a setup account on SwipeSimple's mobile application, and you can keep track of everything on there.

Switch over and try PPA's new Vantiv Credit Card Program and see how much money you can save. Members are already saving hundreds a month!

*You will receive a statement credit for the cost of the mobile card reader when you sign up and begin processing transactions. Credit will be applied to your first billing statement and any unused portion of the statement credit will be applied to the subsequent month's processing statement until the credit is fully redeemed.


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by Bethany Clark
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Have you checked the Perks & Savings page on PPA.com lately? It's bursting with deals from popular brands like Apple, Dell, and more - with discounts, deadline extensions, exclusive offers, add-ons, and more! 

Be sure to check the page frequently for new deals (or keep an eye out on Facebook or in your inbox). Here are 5 that immediately stand out:

  1. Dell: There are several deals from Dell, including year-round savings of 5%-10% every day on selected products, as well as special monthly savings of 20% on specially-selected products, like servers, workstations, laptops, accessories, and more!
  2. Apple: PPA members get preferred pricing products, special promotions, free shipping, free engraving on iPads and iPods, customizations, and more!
  3. ProMediaGear: enjoy 10% instant savings on all gear!
  4. DriveSavers: get hundreds in savings for professional data recovery services!
  5. Richmond Pro Lab: save 25% on print products!
These discounts are for PPA members only, so log in today to see what other perks and savings you have available. If you aren't with PPA yet, join today! 


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By Lisa Sharer

You can't just get out of bed in the morning, decide you're going to sell prints, and then become a millionaire. (If you have done that, send us a message; we have some questions!) For the rest of us, we could use some tools to help us learn how to sell more prints, as well as educate our clients; so they are the ones asking for these products. And these days, video is king.

That's why PRINT. The Movement has created an entire section on their website dedicated to video resources. Currently, you will find an assortment of content that helps photographers with some essential skills for in-person sales. You'll also find some videos that will educate your clients, and there's even a quick message from world-renowned photographer Anne Geddes!


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Check out these videos to help you increase and maintain your business as a print artist. Not only will you be helping yourself, you'll be helping the world...one beautiful image at a time. Join us, and become a part of the movement today at PrintMovement.org.


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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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If you're interested in In-Person Sales (IPS), but feel overwhelmed or confused by the process, this webinar is for you! Instructors Rachael Boer and Dorie Howell break down this topic into simple, easy-to-understand steps, and help you learn how to find success with this business model. They will cover topics like:

  • What is IPS?
  • Common fears and hesitations
  • How do I start?
  • Overcoming objections
  • The transition
  • Purchasing samples, software, and other tools
  • How to prepare your clients
  • Avoiding sticker shock
  • Setting and enforcing policies
  • Helping indecisive clients
  • Running the sale
  • and more!
This webinar is FREE and open to both PPA members and non-members alike, so register now and tune in tomorrow, June 15, 2017, at 2:00 pm ET!


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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!
By James Yates

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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 they 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. 

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 next Challenge Group, 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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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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