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by James Yates
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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 roadmap that will take them where they want to go so they don't end up somewhere else completely. 

"Something I hear often," says Angela Kurkian, Education Director and moderator of the Business Challenge, "is this concept that helps people dismiss the idea that they should be profitable...the concept that success and money don't go hand-in-hand, as if accepting money for your craft were a bad thing. Should artists only make enough to pay the bills'? I don't think that's true."

Here's an example comment from a participant:

"I feel that many tie success with money.  There are so many other facets to success.  Don't get me wrong - I am not anti-money, I just want to make enough to pay my bills.  I want to be able to have a balanced work/personal life balance.  I shoot lots of events and sports.  One of my schools is one that has been ignored by many because it is a lower income school.  The impact that I have on these students make it all worth it.  They are so excited that someone will take the time to really care about them."

And here was Kurkian's response:

"Right on! I appreciate that sentiment completely; we can't be so focused on our wallets that we lose sight of how it feels to give of our gift.  I also appreciate that you choose to give to a lower income school. You're right; those schools don't get enough attention from local businesses because they become known as 'lower income schools'.  I have also learned that the more profitable I am, the more room I have in my schedule to give to those who would benefit from what I can offer.  It's a two sided coin.  It's that concept of putting the oxygen mask on yourself first, before attending to those you're helping.  I admire you greatly and hope we can help you to develop and sustain an even more profitable level so that you can continue to give as you do."

For some, success is having the agency to be able to give back to others. For others, success may be the ability to take that yearly vacation. And for some, it may be a more existential definition. The concept of "defining success" leads to many great discussions on the PPA Business Challenge (like this great answer we shared last week). 

YOU should sign up now for April 1st's Business Challenge group. Consider it the next, big step toward success for your business! 

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by Sidra Safri 

Drone_Alert_StateBill9.pngOn February 8th, the West Virginia Senate introduced a "Drone Bill" that effectively makes it difficult for photographers to continue to use drones for aerial photography. 

Senate Bill 9 contains two harmful provisions. As it currently stands, the legislation states:

  1. If you are operating a drone within 100 feet of a structure, you must have prior consent of all owners or occupants of any pictured structures. 
  2. In order to intentionally take a photograph of another person, you must have prior permission. This also applies to large group photographs taken at weddings, fairs, etc. 

Both provisions make it extremely difficult for commercial/real estate, wedding and event photographers, making it not only impossible, but impractical, to get consent from all owners or people pictured. 

Further, these provisions are so overreaching and do not consider the actual unintended effects on consumers. Photographers will not be able to fulfill consumer expectations due to the limitations placed on them from this arbitrary law.

This bill has already passed the Senate and is currently be reviewed by the House Judiciary Committee, with it possibly going to a vote in the next few days.

West Virginia PPA members and those who care about visual artists and small business rights need to take action now! 

Reach out to your representative here and tell them that Senate Bill 9 is unfair to Drone Photographers! We've already done all the work for you. Reach out to your representative here and tell them Senate Bill 9 is unfair to photographers!*** West Virginia ONLY, please!

Everyone else, take note: This could be the first step in several states attempting to adopt similar legislation. PPA and your Grassroots Action Team will keep you informed so we can all stand together and fight this impediment to your small business. 

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by Sidra Safri 
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Do you ever wonder if your client fully understands their contract--especially the portions dealing with copyright or the usage rights? Some clients are so focused on the end product they completely forget that they may have to ask permission to use their new images for something other than personal use.
 
PPA has a small fix for that. Included in your membership kit (and renewal kit) is a stack of copyright inserts. These inserts can be stapled to your contract or be included in all the materials you provide to your client. The copyright inserts explain copyright law in a nutshell, and urge the clients to ask you, the photographer, for any additional information. Sometimes a gentle reminder or simple education can go a long way. 

These copyright inserts can be downloaded and printed anytime you need them here. 

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by Sidra Safri
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For a long time, wanting to take photos on train tracks has been extremely popular. What better way to celebrate a milestone and show that you are "heading somewhere in life" while getting some phenomenal shots? As great as this sounds, PPA has news for you: TAKING IMAGES ON TRAIN TRACKS IS TRESPASSING, THEREFORE IT'S ILLEGAL! 

Recently, this has become such a big deal that Union Pacific (second largest railroad company in the U.S) will seek removal of any photos that violate this policy

This may sound unnecessary, but safety is a huge concern around train tracks. While taking pictures on tracks, it is extremely easy to get stuck, not see or hear the train coming, or simply step in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Many people have heard about the recent story out of Navasota, Texas about a young athlete, mother-to-be, and aspiring model. Her death could have been easily prevented. 

As photographers, it is our duty to inform our clients about what can or cannot be done. If a client is adamant about taking photos on train tracks, many states have train museums or "false" tracks that allow you to do so. 

Keep in mind: SAFETY should always be the number one priority!

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By Sidra Safri 
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Photographers BEWARE! Google's new imaging software, RAISR, is every photographer's worst nightmare. RAISR stands for "Rapid and Accurate Image Super Resolution". This software, like many others on the market, is able to take a low-quality image and turn it into a larger, and slightly better, image.

RAISR poses a bigger threat because this software is able to improve the image to make it look almost identical to the original! Even more worrisome is that this software is able to do this 10 to 100 times faster than most, and also works on mobile devices. With access to higher quality images on all devices, the door is now open for even more infringement opportunities without any remedy for photographers, perpetuating the unfair copyright-infringement cycle! As software continues to advance, it has become more important than ever to have a copyright-infringement remedy available for photographers and creative artists. 

With the passage of Small Claims legislation in the (relatively near) future, photographers will have the ability to prevent infringers from stealing their work. In order to make this a reality we need your support! Sign your name to the Grassroots Action Team at ppa.com/grassroots. We're trying to get 30,000+ names to show Congress how important this issue is for our members and their communities. For more information about small claims please visit ppa.com/advocacy or contact the Government Affairs Manager at ssafri@ppa.com.  

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PhotoVision has everything you're looking for and more! This great resource provides an all-access, behind the scenes look at the techniques used by some of the biggest named professionals in the world of photography. These videos cover a wide range of best practices to inspire every element of your business. The best part about PhotoVision is that it's free to PPA members. 

PhotoVision's Year of Inspiration continues with the release of "You as an Artist" with Anne Geddes on Monday, February 13. 

Anne inspires us with her take on being an artist, truly owning your work and giving it a sense of importance.  She disputes the idea that "everyone's a photographer" and encourages you to see past such a simplified concept so that you are inspired to, in her words, "rise above that vacuous imagery and create a timeless piece." 

You can look forward to her passionate conversation on PRINT. The Movement with PPA's Director of Education, Angela Kurkian. The two discuss the importance of printing in photography and the role it plays in valuing your imagery and yourself as an artist. To learn more about PRINT. The Movement, visit our website.

Anne Geddes, one of the world's most respected photographers, creates images that are iconic, multi-award winning, internationally acclaimed, and beloved. 

A global ambassador for children, Anne, as well as having her own Philanthropic Trust, is proud to be the Global Advocate for the UN Foundation's Shot@Life campaign, an Ambassador Volunteer for the March of Dimes and an Ambassador for the GSK global awareness campaign for meningococcal disease.  

Anne's imagery has been published in over 84 countries, and in 24 languages. Anne has recently released a new series of photographs based on the signs of the Western Zodiac. 2017 will see the release of a comprehensive retrospective of her work, published by Taschen. 

For more information on Anne, please visit www.annegeddes.com.  Follow Anne on Facebook to see inside the studio, and stay up to date with her latest work.

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! 

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Your PPA family is getting bigger: the New York Institute of Photography is now offering their students certification through PPA's CPP program! This is a big deal and serves to expand and deepen both organization's missions to elevate the craft of photography and provide support to professionals. Check out the press release, reprinted below.

NYIP Adds Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) Designation to Online Photography Course Offerings    

The New York Institute of Photography (NYIP) has partnered with the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) to offer their students and graduates a widely recognized industry certification. The CPP (Certified Professional Photographer) designation is the official credential for photographers that want to set themselves apart within the highly competitive creative industry.

NEW YORK, NY-JANUARY 17, 2017
The New York Institute of Photography (NYIP) has partnered with the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) to offer their students and graduates a widely recognized industry certification. The CPP (Certified Professional Photographer) designation is the official credential for photographers that want to set themselves apart within the highly competitive creative industry.

The Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) program from PPA assures potential clients of a photographer's knowledge, experience and continuance to develop new skills and techniques. It is a declaration of professional competence and ability. Through this exclusive partnership, photographers who study with NYIP can qualify to take the CPP exam and earn their certification.

Photographers who earn their CPP credential do so for three primary reasons. First, it gives them an edge in advertising their services, as certification promotes trust in the minds of clients and consumers. Second, it is a way to justify the price of services offered by the world's top photographers. Finally, the peer validation step that is required to earn the certification signals to the photography world that you truly care about your craft.

"PPA is excited to bring the Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) credential to NYIP students and alumni through this exclusive partnership," says Julia Boyd, CAE, Director of Certification at PPA. "As the world's largest non-profit photography association PPA's mission of creating a vibrant community of successful professional photographers by providing education, resources and industry standards of excellence is in sync with NYIP's values and goals. We are eager to spread the power of Certification as both organizations continue to raise the bar in the photographic industry."

The CPP program can be added to any of NYIP's online photography classes at the time of enrollment for $473. This cost is $50 less than the price typically offered by PPA and includes one year of PPA membership. Students and graduates already enrolled in NYIP courses may purchase CPP directly for the same price.

After purchasing, the path to certification is a simple, 3-step process. First, students will declare their candidacy to PPA. Second, they will study for and pass the CPP exam. Finally, they will submit a set of images for official review. Once said images are approved, the photographer will have earned their CPP designation.

For more information or to get started on your path to photography certification, you may visit http://www.nyip.edu/courses/cpp-photography-certification.

About the New York Institute of Photography
The New York Institute of Photography offers ten great online photography courses. Founded in 1910, NYIP is the largest and longest running photography school in the world, having successfully trained thousands of photographers for more than 100 years. Located in the heart of the art capital of the world, New York City, NYIP brings high quality photography education straight to its students' doors. NYIP currently offers ten online photography courses in areas such as portraits, weddings, travel, nature, photojournalism, video making and Photoshop. NYIP is owned and operated by Distance Education Co., LLC, which also operates the New York Institute of Art and Design, the premier home-study school for creative professionals.

About Professional Photographers of America (PPA)
Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is the world's largest non-profit photography association organized for professional photographers, by professional photographers and with more than 29,000 creative members in more than 50 countries. Our mission is to create a vibrant community of successful professional photographers by providing education, resources and industry standards of excellence.

By Autumn Rice
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Mel Robbins is one of the most sought-after motivational speakers out there and you now have a chance to see her in person. Her life experiences have helped her craft speeches that deliver business-expanding, life-changing, interactive advice to inspire change, challenge thinking and accelerate personal and professional growth. Her book, Stop Saying You're Fine, is a best seller that has been translated into four different languages, and her TEDx Talk "How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over" has over 10 million views across 37 countries. Mel Robbins is a CNN host, commentator and legal analyst, criminal defense attorney, and now she can add Imaging USA Keynote Speaker to her host of talents. 

That's right folks; Mel Robbins is coming to Imaging USA! She will give a keynote presentation on the morning of Sunday, January 8th and follow it up with a book signing directly after in the lobby of the Lira Cockrell Theatre at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. in San Antonio, Texas.

So what are you waiting for? Imaging USA is the only place to be in January 2017! Go to ImagingUSA.org/Register to take advantage of the Early Bird Rates ($50 off!) before time runs out December 8th! 

See what all the fuss is about: Mel's Ted Talk 
by Sidra Safri 
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In the past four months, all everybody seems to be talking about are Drones. Between trying to figure out the new FAA regulations, deciding what type of drone to get, studying for the FAA certification test, and making sure you are properly insured; it can make anybody's head spin. If only there was someone who has been through the process that you could talk to! Well, guess what? There is! PPA is providing its members with two great opportunities to get all your drone questions answered. 

PPA member Eddie Tapp is hosting an "Ask Me Anything" session on November 14th and 15th, exclusively on theLoop, PPA's members-only online networking platform. An "Ask Me Anything" is like an online press conference where YOU get to ask the questions. For those two days, members can log in to theLoop and post a question for Eddie to answer. Check back frequently, as Eddie will be answering your questions throughout the 48-hour period. Eddie has always been on the cutting edge of drone photography, and has become an expert in the area. Just take a look at his recent article in Professional Photographer magazine to get a feel for how knowledgeable he is on the subject of drones. During the Ask Me Anything on November 14th and 15th, Eddie will be available for you to: 

Ask away! He will answer all your questions (that he can)
get the inside scoop on what to study for the FAA test 
go over what to look for when buying a drone, and 
get some tips and tricks on how to master flying your drone to get the best shots. 

Just remember to Save the Date(s) of November 14th & 15th, log onto theLoop, and search for the AMA thread/conversation and ask away! 

Once you have all your drone-photography-related questions answered by Eddie, make sure you save time to tune in and switch over to the Drone Insurance webinar to be hosted by Lockton Affinity on November 15th at 2:00 pm. 

Lockton and PPA are long time partners, but what's new is that the team is now providing some of the most comprehensive and affordable drone photography insurance coverage out there and only available to PPA members. During the November 15th presentation, a Lockton representative will go over all the details of the policy, what it covers, and how to make sure you and your investment are always protected.
 
This upcoming information-packed live online presentation is free and open to the public, but it does require signing up. To secure your spot today, simply go to the Drone Photography Insurance Options webinar sign-up page!

If you're preparing to start adding drone photography into your business or just want more information because your interest is piqued...check out these two great opportunities next week and take "drone-ership" of your photography business! 

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