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PPA Today: PPA Communities/theLoop Archives

Recently in PPA Communities/theLoop Category

By Tristin Vaccaro

Have you checked out theLoop recently?

theLoop is an exclusive photographer-only forum where PPA members can connect, ask questions, and their share stories with other members.  It's a great way to get the advice you've been looking for or even offer up some advice of your own.  Loopers have been abuzz throughout March, so here are this month's top posts from theLoop. Check them out, provide some feedback, and perhaps even learn something new!

This Looper is looking to purchase a new 6-8 foot modifier to add a soft light source to his collection.  More specifically, he wants one that is durable, easy to set up, and budget friendly. If you know of or use a light source similar to the one requested, head on over to this Loop post to make your recommendation. 

After receiving her prints back from the photo lab, one Looper noticed that they came out much darker than she expected. She was instructed that she probably needed to calibrate her monitor in order to remedy the issue. Problem is, she's unsure how to do so. If you've ever had a similar problem, or know how to calibrate a monitor, you'll want to check out this post in particular. 

This photographer is having an issue using her Canon 5D Markiii in tandem with her newly upgraded pocketwizard. The lights fire but the photos come out black or with no flash at all.  If you have a solution for this issue in mind, head over to theLoop to provide some assistance.

theLoop isn't just all photography talk all the time. When asked what was the best decade for music was, photographers came out of the woodwork to put in their two cents. It seems like everyone has an opinion when it comes to music, but what's yours? Head over to theLoop to get in on this fun debate!

And there you have 'em, the top posts from theLoop this month! 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 James Yates

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.

The next Business Challenge starts April 1st and you don't want to miss it! Be sure to sign up for your year of fun, interactive inspiration for you to integrate as much business acumen as you can in one year's time. 

The first assignment is all about defining YOUR idea of success.  It's vital that photographers begin creating a road map that will take them where they want to go so they don't end up somewhere else completely. This was one challenger's answer - one of many great ones--from Lindsay Syme, owner of Lindsay Syme Photography in Spring Creek NV. She also just so happens to be the winner of the 2017 Dream Studio Giveaway at Imaging USA (see photo)! 

"Success is that fabulous thing you achieve when you set a goal and do the work it takes to reach that goal.

My Business Goals:  

• I want to contribute financially for my family: This starts with pricing for profit and having solid business foundations. I need to get over myself and see my worth. I see it in others but fail to see it in myself. I am making progress but still have much to do!

• I want to be 100% present in everything I do: I need to focus all of my attention on whatever it is that I am working on because I tend to be distracted, lack focus, or procrastinate.

• I want to give back to the community and others: Being able to give to others feels so dang good. There are so many areas in our community that I could make a difference. Having the financial means would be awesome as well as the time to volunteer. Again, goes back to pricing for profit so I can have the money and time.

• I want to educate and share with others: I know how grateful I am when others share their time and talent. I want to give back to my photography community. Teaching runs through my veins so I look forward to the day that I can contribute.

• I want to strive to be better and improve my craft: My last step to earning my CPP is the image submission. My eyes have been opened to a whole new perspective! I always want to be better and push for the next step, whatever that might be.

• I want to show others how valuable they are: It amazes me how many times I get put off as a customer by various businesses and business owners. I find it shocking! I want people to feel important. I want people to feel special. I want them to feel communicated to and valuable. I want to go above and beyond so others know how important they are. I feel like achieving these goals will result in success!"

It's going to be an exciting year for Lindsay and her fellow Challengers..including, hopefully, you! We'll check back in with Lindsay and see how things have progressed. YOU should sign up now for April 1st's Business Challenge group. Consider it next, big step toward success for your business

theLoop, an exclusive photographer-only forum, has been abuzz lately with PPA members posting pertinent questions. 

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 February.

This photographer will be photographing an event, and attendees can purchase the photos from her website afterwards.  She seeks recommendations on the best software to sell photos for this one-time event (without locking herself into a long-term commitment with the software). 

What tripod head do you prefer to use for portraiture? 

Scroll through this list of business tips and add a few of your own! From under-promising and over-delivering, to the importance of always having business cards at the ready (even at the gym!), there are some gems here.

A sports photography newbie seeks recommendations on lenses for action shots. Got any tips?

This photographer is ready to invest in an L zoom lens, but is torn between the 25-70 2.4 or the 70-200. She likes being closer to the client in order to interact with them, and she also does lifestyle newborn shoots frequently, so she's leaning towards the wider end. But the long lens portrait look of her 85 is one of her favorites. Can you help her decide?

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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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..."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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

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 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!


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. 

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.


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.

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.

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.


By James Yates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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