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PPA Today: Photography Business Archives

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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!

Lightapalooza!
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 FindAPhotographer.com.
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 https://RegisterMyUAS.FAA.gov/.

  • 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:

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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. 

Question: 

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

Answer:
  • 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 theLoop.PPA.com 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!
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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 www.faa.gov/uas/ 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.


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PPA is back on Capitol Hill this week, and we have some updates on the progress of copyright small claims legislation.

Currently, there are two copyright small claims bills being worked on by members of the U.S. House of Representatives - one bill is being produced by Congresswoman Chu (D-CA) and the other by Congressman Jeffries (D-NY).  Due to recent world events, other issues have been at the forefront of Capitol Hill discussions over the past several weeks.  Consequently, the introduction of Congresswoman Chu's (D-CA) small claims legislation has been delayed, but only slightly. This slight delay is not all bad news - the more issues that can be worked out among stakeholders on the front-end, the more likely the legislation will be successful.  

We are pleased to announce that Congressman Jeffries (D-NY) and Congressman Marino (R-PA) introduced a bipartisan small claims bill today. Congresswoman Chu's bill will be introduced when Congress reconvenes after its upcoming six-week recess. The House of Representatives will be on recess from July 15th until September 6th.  PPA continues to give input as this process unfolds, and we continue to work especially closely alongside Congresswoman Chu's office as they finalize legislative language.

After both bills are introduced, PPA will review the legislation and direct members of the Grassroots Action Team to take action. Your first call to action will be to ask your representative to co-sponsor the small claims bill that we believe is most favorable for professional photographers.  This call to action will most likely begin in September.

Let's take advantage of this unexpected little bit of extra time and focus on getting more photographers and visual artists to join the Grassroots Action Team!  We are encouraged by the number of participants so far, but we still have a long way to go.  We need to be prepared to make a very loud statement on Capitol Hill.  Additional delays are always possible - especially during an election year - but that shouldn't stop us from mobilizing now.  Please continue to encourage every photographer, as well as other creators that you know to sign up at PPA.com/Grassroots.  Remember, you do not have to be a PPA member to join - this needs to be an industry-wide effort.

PPA's government affairs team will be attending important, small claims-related meetings on the Hill this week.  Be sure to stay tuned to PPA Today for updates from D.C.! 

copyrightoffice-thumb-350x466-2726.jpg5:30pm: 
We had a wonderful meeting with the Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante, and the Copyright Office's Director of Policy, Karyn Claggett. We thanked the Register for her tireless support for small creators in creating her plans for a modernized copyright office and testifying to Congress as an expert in the policy area. This meeting provided a great opportunity for us to explain the registration-related difficulties photographers face and how that effects their ability to enforce copyright. We were extremely encouraged by listening to some aspects of her vision for registration reforms which include creating a process that is not one-size-fits-all for all classes of creations. In the coming months, we will be working closely with the Office by giving input on much-needed registration improvements. The Copyright Office (at the request of Congress) has produced and published an extensive plan for modernizing their systems and processes. This plan is dependent on the policy and appropriation decisions of Congress, so PPA plans to continue to be involved in the discussion on the Hill.

We also met with a representative of the American Bar Association to discuss the progress of small claims legislation. The ABA has generally been supportive of the ideas. We will continue to be in contact as the copyright review process evolves.

Headed back to Atlanta!


1:30pm: We are pleased to announce that Congressman Jeffries (D-NY) and Congressman Marino (R-PA) introduced a bipartisan small claims bill today. We appreciate Congressman Jeffries' and Congressman Marino's support on this important small business issue. We look forward to reviewing this bill and Congresswoman Chu's bill and working with these offices and others as well as important stakeholders to make copyright small claims a reality. 


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10:00am: We are at the US Chamber of Commerce for our first meeting of the day. Here we will pitch the idea of copyright small claims to the chamber, explaining why it is such an important small business issue. We hope to have their support on this issue as the process unfolds.




Keynote Speaker: Mel Robbins
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Mel Robbins has worn many hats: criminal defense attorney, entrepreneur, life coach, CNN host...Now she's wearing her 10-gallon hat and joining us in Texas for Imaging USA 2017's Keynote Speech. Mel has picked up valuable life-lessons from her experiences and crafted a dynamic way to share them with an audience. She's the author of Stop Saying You're Fine and has a top-viewed TedTalk, "How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over". Mel's going to jumpstart Imaging USA 2017 in her signature, pants-kicking way Sunday morning, January 8, in San Antonio.  


Other Imaging USA Speakers Include:
 

How and Why the Business Challenge started.
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In 2015, PPA had an idea for a case study. A group of five photography mentors and I took on the challenge of working with two studio owners to help them transform their businesses. We not only wanted to help these two entrepreneurs, we also wanted to learn from them by documenting the challenges they faced, the changes they underwent and how both they and their businesses thrived. The "Studio Makeover" was initiated and our goal was to take all the information we were using to help our makeover participants and bring it to PPA members to learn from as well. 

We did this through the entire year of 2015 with live webinars, blog posts and even personal video updates. Then, at Imaging USA 2016, all eight of us took the stage and revealed each studio's final numbers, shared their biggest "a-ha" moments and discussed their transformation from both a business and personal perspective.  

Leading up to Imaging USA, as I was putting together the program for the rest of the team, I had my own "a-ha" moment. We were about to share some extraordinary moments and information as both studios made amazing leaps forward...but we didn't have anything in place for the attendees who might want to do their own "studio makeover." 

Well, I shouldn't say we didn't have anything because PPA has a plethora of educational tools available to members: the Benchmark Study, PPAedu's online education platform with more than 350 video classes, PhotoVision with over 800 episodes, Square One, downloads, Professional Photographer magazine, specialty courses for CPP and IPC, etc. As you can see, we have quite a lot of knowledge to offer and perhaps that works against us a bit. It can be a little overwhelming. Which brings me to my point...we didn't have anything/anyone tying it all together, giving it to photographers in an order that could easily be digested, and helping you as you needed it. 

So the idea for the Business Challenge was born.

Literally, right before Imaging USA, at our busiest time of the year, I was asking other departments to help me implement a brand new concept. And everyone here jumped in to help make it a reality, so that by Imaging USA itself we were able to let people know they could sign up for their very own studio makeover through PPA's Business Challenge. (Huge thank you's to our Marketing, Membership and I.T. teams for all of their hard work.)

I had an idea. I had the recently completed PPA Business Guide to use as an outline. I had the Square One tool to share. I had amazing friends and mentors who were willing to be part of this project. I had (and have) a strong desire to help photographers as entrepreneurs learn how to build profitable and sustainable businesses so they can live their dream. That was it. 

I didn't have a long syllabus. I didn't have a very exact plan for how to execute all of it. I was still learning how best to use theLoop platform as our means of communication. But I knew that if I waited to put it all together first, things would be missing anyway. You would be missing. All that I've learned from you, each and every group, would not have happened. And your questions and ideas and support are the actions that propel the Business Challenge forward.

PPA's Business Challenge is, by design, a living thing. 

No two groups are alike. The February 2016 group is very different from the June 2016 group. The curriculum, while similar, is not identical because conversations sway the topics and move them in a variety of directions. Questions are asked and answered. Friendships are born. Mentors are invited who generously share their experience and knowledge. While the foundation of knowledge of the Business Challenge is all the same, and it is scalable to a large group, the unique experience of each group is shaped by those who are involved.

I've written in a few different places that it's important to show up and be present in the conversations that take place in this 12-month program. It was not intended to simply be a place where information and assignments are posted. It can be, if that's what you want, but I want to give you so much more. I want you to feel part of something bigger; I want to give you accountability; I want you to meet and be inspired by some of the smartest people out there; I want to give you the opportunity to share your knowledge; I want you to remember why YOU are doing all this hard work in the first place; and I want you to build a body of knowledge that will propel you so much further.


I'm so glad you're here,
Angela


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Angela Kurkian is PPA's Director of Education







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