Ad image

You Work Full Time Doing Photography... But What Makes You a Professional Photographer? - PPA Today

You Work Full Time Doing Photography... But What Makes You a Professional Photographer?

Not everyone will like the conclusions of this article, and yet, let's be honest: numbers don't lie.

By now you should have heard about the PPA Benchmark Survey & Analysis, and you might even have participated in it. Granted, the survey results themselves aren't as easy to digest as if they were presented in a comic book, but it's undeniable that this solid industry-wide studio performance analysis gives professional photographers the opportunity to:

  • -See what a high-performing studio looks like
  • -Compare with another (like your own ;-)
  • -Determine areas of opportunity for more profitability
  • -Conclude what areas of business to focus on for sustainability

Why do we bother calling and meeting with hundreds of photographers to compile, admittedly, a stoic and financial-driven survey? That's because the photographic industry can't be sustainable without true professional photographers. By that, I mean photographers who make a sustainable profitable living from their craft and maintain a healthy business.

What's the hype with that buzz word "sus•tain•a•ble"?

That eleven-letter word makes the key difference in raising the bar in the industry in general, of course, but also with your clients and in your life in particular.

It's about being able to maintain certain rates and take-home income for your photography business. It's about conserving a balance in your life and in the industry by avoiding underselling, breaking prices, and depreciating or giving away your photography or your time as a photographer. That's what #createsustainably is about.

Part of PPA's goal is to preach this message. And this is why we were so thrilled to see that independent groups such as Fotoseeds are emerging to reinforce such a message.

If you haven't already seen it, Fotoseeds created a beautiful (yet info-packed!) infographic on developing a sustainable photography business. It makes the harsh yet oh-so-accurate distinction between the pros and the hobbyist photographers. You ought to check it out and see - in all honesty - where you stand.

It's refreshing to see such compelling information (and cause!) being defended by others. We can only thank Fotoseeds for the #createsustainably movement and commend them for conveying the message so cleverly in the infographic. Exactly as the PPA Benchmark Survey & Analysis relays: if your expenses are more than 35% of your product price, you will go out of business!

Take a look at just one part of the infographic below. You'll find the complete version on the Fotoseeds site. It makes a great poster to keep around your studio as a reminder!

After you've taken a look, start taking advantage of your PPA member resources that can help you develop business sustainability. You can compare your studio numbers to the national average and more using the Benchmark Resources. This will help give you an idea of where to change your business practices to become more profitable.

These great resources (and more!) are available exclusively for PPA members!
Not a PPA member, but ready to learn how to take your business to a sustainable level? Join PPA today!

Infographic Artwork by Eleven19, courtesy of


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on April 15, 2013 7:36 PM.

PPA/NEIPP Scholarship Winners Announced: Congratulations to Genevieve Buck and Meri Bond! was the previous entry in this blog.

310 Winning Images at the Southeastern District Photographic Competition is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Live Chat is closed