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PPA Today: PPA Communities/theLoop Archives

Recently in PPA Communities/theLoop Category

By Autumn Rice

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Have you visited theLoop lately? 

theLoop is a great way for PPA members to connect, share stories, and give advice about their experiences as professional photographers, as well as stay up-to-date on what's new at PPA. The biggest bonus to interacting on theLoop is that there are no clients! 

Have questions about photography? Post it on theLoop! It's a safe way to answer your most important photography questions from professionals just like you!

If you haven't logged on for a while, here's a recap of some of the discussion tips you've missed. Check it out!

This Looper is a wedding photographer who may have lost the files for 6 weddings, her own personal wedding, and other personal files. She wants to know what advice PPA members have to offer.  One Looper said:
 
"You say your original computer died and somewhere in the process, you backed up the data to this external drive. Perhaps it still exists on the drive in the original computer? Might depend on how it "died," but I would be pulling that drive out and looking at it.
Just a thought..."
--Tony

Here's a member who has taken on some new photography projects and needs some advice about expanding the pricing, and how to draft a contract for a vendor. This member advises:
 
"Okay - I am totally going to go out on a limb here and say you really need set some boundaries on that. I made the mistake of getting in over my head with very little Return on Investment in engaging with a boutique. I did it the wrong way of doing product shots of all their inventory consistently. It can be done well, but you need to set boundaries. I prefer to have 1 day events to do it all. For website managing that can get tricky. I usually just provide web-res ready images for them. But I would suggest maybe seeing if Sticky Apps could be an option and charging a consistent monthly fee for it all. :-) Sorry I am not much help as I am working through setting up my boundaries this year."
--Ray

The Print Movement is a great way to get involved with printed products and this Looper has some questions about motivations for clients to purchase prints.

"Touch and feel!  That's huge especially for women--which are the majority purchasers of portraits. A physical product that they can touch, feel, hold (albums, books, wall portraits) increases the perceived value of an item over a JPEG on a disc. Plus you are doing your clients a disservice by making them go out and find a lab to print and then buy a frame etc etc. If they can walk out of my studio with an archival piece of art for their walls, that has value."
--Tara

Imaging USA provided some inspiration for this photographer to venture into glamour and boudoir photography. She has questions about what questions to ask clients and how to price her products. Here's a response:

"Randall is right on track with the type of questions. Many resources for client questionnaires exist (The Boudoir Divas), Boudie Shorts, Molly Marie, Jen Rozenbaum, Christa Meola) just google and you'll find a wide variety of resources. Sue Bryce will tell you she deplores the term boudoir photography, and she isn't doing the common style boudoir most people recognize. She asks her clients a very smart question "How do you envision your photograph" - to paraphrase. What she's asking is what is their dream image - riding on a horse in the park with Victorian apparel or standing in Time Square in a red gown....
Asking the client what they envision and like combined with questions along the lines of what Randall mentioned is a winning combination."
--Mark

As a new member to PPA, this Looper has some questions about how to start a successful photography business. Here's what a Looper had to say:

"What Mark said--plus believe there may be some great videos on this in the PPAedu archives so be sure to check those out. PPA also does a Business Challenge but not sure if you have to already be in business a number of years to do that or not. Determine the type of photography you want to do--sounds like weddings and maybe portraits as well. Then you will want to get down and dirty on determining your pricing. As Mark said it's critical to understand your cost of doing business-how much do you need to make just to keep the doors open, lights on etc."
--Tara

These are just a few of the great posts made on theLoop. Hop on over to theLoop to see other posts and make some of your own! 

By Tristin Vaccaro

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January is coming to a close, but theLoop has been abuzz since New Years with PPA members posting pertinent questions to this photographer-only forum. If you're ever looking for advice from other professional photographers, post your questions on theLoop and wait for the answers to flood in. You can also provide guidance for other members, receive feedback on your images, and even enter to win awesome prizes. Here are some of the top posts from theLoop for the month of January.

Imaging USA has come and gone, but the Imaging excitement hasn't exactly worn off yet. What did you enjoy most about Imaging USA 2017 and what are you looking forward to most at Imaging 2018? Share your stories!

The PRINT movement has really been picking up steam since Imaging USA, so we want to know, do you sell prints? If so, what's your sales strategy when pitching prints to your clients? 

This Looper is looking for some recommendations when it comes to purchasing a Wacom tablet for editing. She's had some great suggestions, including where to buy them and how much she can expect to spend. 

As a "newbie" photographer, one member is left wondering if partnering up with another newbie is a good decision. Many Loopers provided some advantages and disadvantages to joining forces, but what do you think?

Do you offer thumb drives to clients who don't want DVDs or digital downloads? If so, maybe you can help this Looper decide what size flash drive to offer her clients.

One Looper is having some difficulty optimizing her photos for Google Images. It seems as though she's not the first to encounter this issue, but luckily tons of Loopers offered up their solutions. 

Prints seem to already be a hot topic of 2017, and this Looper wants to jump on board with the trend. He asks, "What are the advantages of a print for a customer?" There are tons of responses, and we love that so many Loopers want to help their customers see these advantages too!

Remember to check out theLoop frequently as new discussions are posted daily. It's a great way to catch up with fellow PPA members! Not a PPA member? Join today!

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By Autumn Rice

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theLoop is a fun and interactive way for PPA photographers to build their network, get industry advice, and learn some good business practices .
 
Need to know about lighting and posing? Post it on theLoop! Interested in new technology? Post it on theLoop! Questions about pricing? You guessed it, post it on theLoop! Your peers can give advice about all of your pressing industry questions, and the best part is they're professionals just like you. 

theLoop is also a great way to connect with PPA. There are always competitions, giveaways, prizes, and photography information posted by PPA to get members involved in the network. You can also post questions to PPA on theLoop, and get an official answer from a PPA team member.

Navigating your way around theLoop can be intimidating, but we've got a few tips to help you join theLoop's community. 

1. Introduce Yourself. Introducing yourself and your business is a great way to connect with photographers from around the world, or even a few in your own backyard! 

2. Be interactive. theLoop community is filled with photographers asking questions and giving advice. In order for you to be a part of the community, you must be involved. Post your questions and comments, and respond to others. Before you know it, you've added several photographers to your network!

3. Talk to PPA. There are several member-only competitions, prizes, and giveaways on theLoop. When you get involved, make posts, and respond to PPA messages, you make yourself eligible to win free goodies from PPA!

4. Check theLoop often. There are loads of new posts on theLoop every day, and the more you check the network, the more you'll find posts to respond to or even get ideas about posts that you want to make.

5. Don't be afraid to post. If you have a question, comment, or concern about your photography business or the industry as a whole, theLoop is the perfect place to post it. theLoop is a safe, photographer-only forum for you to express your concerns. The photography community is very welcoming and we want to hear what you have to say, so don't be afraid to post!

These tips are sure to have your notifications off the charts. Check in at theLoop.PPA.com to see more tips, discussions, recommendations, and to ask your peers questions you need answered! Remember, theLoop is a safe and protected online community where PPA members can discuss a range of photography topics. Not a PPA member? Join here!

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By Bethany Clark

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PPA members 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.

Q: If you had to give a fellow photographer (new or seasoned) one piece of advice... what would it be? I'm not talking about the typical "be true to yourself" answers here. I mean the real, nitty gritty, tough love kind of advice. 
--DJ


DJ,
It would have to be two pieces. 
  1. It's not about you. It's about the client. The minute the focus shifts to your accomplishments, image quality, etc., you break the rule. Everything you do needs to be 100% client centered. If it isn't, you need to find another profession.
  2. For the fine art photographer - look at last year's work. If it looks pretty good to you, then you aren't making any progress. You should strive to be a better photographer this year than you were last year. And this will continue until you can't hold a camera up to your eye any longer.
Is that enough "tough love" for you?
--Gene L.


DJ,

There are only 3 things that matter:
  1. Vision (without it, your path follows no course)
  2. Passion (without it, you have no power on which to draw)
  3. Action (without it, your idea is just a daydream)
Eliminate any one of them, and you will fail. Have all three, and you're unstoppable.
--Pascal D.


DJ,
To succeed at this, to make photography put food on your table and a roof over your head, you have to be a business person first, a photographer second. For those of us who came at this profession because it was fun, because it involved smelly chemicals and magic in dark places, that's a hard lesson to learn. I'm still learning. That's the other thing, you'd better never stop learning, growing, changing. I watched my friend Ken Whitmire, who died tragically last weekend at 86, taking notes and asking questions and continuing to learn right up to the end.
--Mark T.


DJ,
I'd offer two pieces of advice.
  1. Find your niche: figure out what kind of photography you love and that you can sell to others and go for it.
  2. Every purchase needs to be justified: You're in a business as a pro photographer. If a piece of gear can't help you make a profit, don't buy it.
--Ned L.


Check in at theLoop to see more responses, and ask your own questions for peer-to-peer discussion and support!


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By Chris Homer

You've got photography questions, and your fellow PPA members have the answers. Post
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your questions on theLoop and watch the answers flood in! This photographer-only forum for PPA members is the perfect way to give and receive help on all of your photography questions. Don't be shy! Head on over to the theLoop, and get answers to some of your most pressing questions.

Check out some of the Hot Topics from November on theLoop below.

With the growth in popularity of drone photography, many photographers have been considering offering it to their clients. If you're one of those photographers, here's your chance to get your questions answered on anything drone photography related from an expert in the field, Eddie Tapp, M.Photog.MEI.Cr., CPP, API. 

In this discussion, photographers discuss the best procedures for wiping memory cards after downloading. See what they have to say and chime in with your opinion. 

One photographer has run into an issue with Lightroom automatically opening any time a memory card is inserted into his computer, whether he wants it to or not! If you're having the same issue, this is a post you'll want to read. 

This photographer has a problem with a hobbyist in her town violating her contract with a local school. What should she do about it? Find out in this discussion! 

Unfortunately, the holidays always bring in a new batch of scams targeted at photographers. In this thread, one photographer shares a scam offer that was recently presented to him. Read up and protect your business! 

These are just a few of the many discussions on theLoop! Remember that you've got to be a PPA member to take part in theLoop, so join today! 


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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 James Yates
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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 PPA.com/Challenge

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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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By Autumn Rice

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Fall is upon us and business is about to boom, but you still have some pertinent questions about clients, pricing, equipment and more.  Don't fret, just post your questions on theLoop and watch the answers flood in! This photographer-only forum for PPA members is the perfect way to give and receive help on all of your photography questions. Don't be shy! Head on over to the theLoop, and get answers to some of your most pressing questions.

Are you a first-time Imaging USA attendee looking for advice? Join this discussion on theLoop to get advice from photographers who have previously been to Imaging USA. Learn what to expect, how to get the best experience, and the best outfits for the occasion. Find out all you need to know about Imaging USA from your fellow photographers!

This photographer is changing her strategy when it comes to a client's wardrobe, but she's a little nervous. The client wants to wear black clothes, and other dark colors, which could affect the photos.  Give her advice about lighting techniques that may make her session a little easier.

One Looper is looking to combine his passions for photography and food, but he needs some help. If you have any advice about the craft, classes, or books that he could use, post it in this discussion post on theLoop!

This Looper has problems shooting large ethnically diverse groups and getting inconsistent colors. She's tried several different methods, but none get the job done. Have any advice? Share it in this post, and see what others recommend.

The speaker schedule for Imaging USA 2017 has been released, and there's a thread on theLoop dedicated to discussing what you're most excited about attending. Join the conversation and network with fellow photographers who want to attend the same events as you!

A Looper has a question about the difference between formatting memory cards and wiping them. Which one is better? If you have any advice or education about the topic, post what you know in the discussion thread.

One photographer has questions about her vision, and which lenses to buy after having her cataracts removed.  If you've been through the same situation or have any advice, lend it to the discussion!

See The Difference has many resources available to help photographers Be More. Check out this discussion thread on theLoop about what See The Difference can do for you, and how to get the most of this PPA member benefit that's included in your membership.

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By Autumn Rice

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theLoop is the photographer-only forum for PPA members. It's a perfect way to network, and get photography advice from your peers. Have a photography question? Post it on theLoop and watch the answers flood in! PPA photographers want to get to know and help each other, so don't be shy. Head on over to the theLoop and connect with your fellow photographers, and get answers to some of your most pressing questions. 

Here's an example of one of this week's questions!

Q: I hope to have my web site finalized in the next month but have been going back and forth about pricing structure.  Part of me wants to Not be a discount service. I want to do more boutique is the plan.  -Ryan Berman

Hi Ryan, 
I think the answer to your question really depends on what you're basing your pricing on. Speaking from personal experience, giving all those photos edited to the client is a nice gesture, but it's not worth the time unless you're getting paid for each one. Looking at the competition's prices definitely has its place in marketing, but if it's the only thing you look at your business probably won't succeed. Here's a link that I found to be very helpful when setting my own prices: How much should photographers charge in 2016?. The article also has a link to a calculator that was very useful to me in figuring out my expenses. I hope that helps!  -Christopher Harrison 

Hey Ryan, 
Have you checked out the PPA business challenge? Angela Kurkian (Director of the PPA education department) actually has a section in the challenge where she goes over pricing. She'll be starting a new one in September, and I think having a question like this makes you a great candidate for the challenge.
Check out the Pricing Strategy Webinar we have out on PPAedu and the Self Assessment tool which will ask a series of questions, and make recommendations. If you would like to be added to the September Business Challenge, let me know and we will take care of it.  -DJ Adams

Ryan,
You have to look at your cost of doing business when you're setting your portrait prices. The PPA Benchmark Survey summary is a very good place to start in understanding your business and how you should be pricing for profit.
Business portraits (headshots) are a very different market from high school seniors and families. In my business, there's a flat fee for business headshots ($149) that includes one finished image and a broad package of usage rights, with the image delivered as a digital file in sizes for print and web. If the client wants more than one finished image there's an additional charge of $30 to cover the retouch and finishing time.
I don't understand the business model for seniors and families that you're considering: flat fee that includes a lot of retouched images. It's very appealing to clients, but doesn't serve you very well as a business person. Think carefully about how much time you'll spend retouching each image. Even if you can do a nice job in 7 minutes, multiply that by 60 images and you've got 420 minutes of intense retouching time in the job. That's 7 hours of work on top of your session time. If you need to earn $50/hour then that's $350 just for your time. Follow the PPA benchmark guidelines for a 25% cost of goods, and you've marked up your time by a factor of four to get $1400 you need to be charging your client, plus your session fee.
Personally, I couldn't stand spending 7 hours retouching one client's images. I'd go mentally bonkers and destroy my body from sitting at a computer that long.
When I started down the path to portrait photography I spent 3 days in PPA's SMS Business Workshop. It was well worth the trip to Atlanta. We spent a full day on pricing. I haven't looked recently, but I presume those classes are still being offered. -Mark Turner

Check in with theLoop to see what other photographers are posting, and how you may be able to help them!

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by James Yates
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It was one hot month! Have you been checking theLoop while inside in your A/C? Cool off and have some of your potential photography concerns alleviated with the top posts culled from theLoop over the month of July.
 
It may seem off topic, but this post about favorite dishes to share proved pretty popular (yeah, yeah, it WAS tied to a Giveaway). If you're planning a late-summer pool or dinner party, check out what your peers are cooking up!

Is "wiping" your memory card periodically necessary to avoid corruption? One Looper wants to know and around 30 of you have an opinion! 

A Looper wants some advice on how to remove intrusive background detail on an intimate family moment. Several tips here on how to edit images if you're not necessarily the most experienced Photoshopper!

What books or study guides should one use if preparing to take the CPP exam? Tons of good, supportive ideas here from Loopers who want to help elevate their peers and profession. 

This Looper has been experiencing major issues while processing files in Lightroom and Photoshop since upgrading to Windows 10. Fellow Loopers are ON IT, offering lots of ideas for solutions. Check in to see if the problem gets solved.

A Looper working as a second-shooter for someone posted her own pics (similar in style but from a different shoot) and may have offended the photographer she was working with. Several fantastic and heartwarming responses on here about owning one's mistakes, making amends, and learning/teaching based on our similar experiences.
 
It's the age-old question: Who do you use to print your business cards?

One Looper asks, "Does anyone have a good filter they can recommend to help reduce the window glow that can be produced from some angles when shooting inside a home?"

Now that PPA has officially launched the Print Movement, Loopers are already comparing stories and offering advice on how to incorporate the selling of prints into one's business. Be on the lookout for resources and help from PPA in the coming months! (October is Print Movement month, btw!)

Remember to check out theLoop, a safe and protected online community where PPA members can discuss a range of photography topics. Not a PPA member? Join here!


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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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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!


About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the PPA Communities/theLoop category.

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