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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for BizChallenge_blogpost_650x160.jpg103 PPA photographers quietly kicked off the new PPA Business Challenge in February. Since then, two more groups have gotten underway with well over 300 participants at PPA.com/Challenge.

The Business Challenge helps photographers improve their business by building a stronger foundation with a focus on sustainability and profitability. The April group has already experienced two weeks of business-changing assignments, Q&A webinars, inspiration, check-ins, recaps and mark-your-calendar alerts. It's a great way to confidently build your business and not go it alone!

#1 No nonsense business advice
Led by PPA Director of Education Angela Kurkian, this 12-month Business Challenge is THE place to come for small-business help specifically developed for photographers. It is a sound framework to help PPA photographers steer their studios in the right direction. Don't be afraid to take the Challenge! Kurkian explains, "A lot of the things (the participants) are nervous about are things that being a member of PPA will help with (i.e. pricing, marketing, value through certification and becoming better at the craft of photography through photographic competition)."

#2 Peer-to-peer support group & accountability
The Business Challenge was developed to help hold photographers accountable in their attempts to improve their studios. One of the most popular and rewarding components of the Business Challenge in that regard are the questions and answers in the forums, where Kurkian poses questions to the group for an honest, frank discussion among peers. The questions can be complex, or as simple as "What are you afraid of?"

Here are some examples of the candid answers pulled from the group:

Q: What are you afraid of? What stops you from taking action?

"Will people value me?"

"My biggest fear is that I'm going to fail and look like a complete fool for even trying. I worry that my work isn't worth anything, that my peers view me as just another mom with a camera, and that I won't earn their respect; and I worry that I'll never find a client that values my work."

"I worry that maybe I AM talented but I'll let my fears squander it away or that my lack of business acumen will outweigh that talent."

"People will not pay our prices and will go with cheaper alternatives. People do not value our art or our time. My phone will stop ringing. We won't be able to afford/maintain our lifestyle."


But don't get too bogged down in the muck of negativity! Sharing with your peers is a wonderful way to see how alike we all are. Once these obstacles have been identified, it's only a matter of banding together and learning how to stomp it out with knowledge, hard work, and support from
PPA and your peers. We're all in this together!

#3 Safe practice for your own business
PPA is constantly developing new curriculum, offering webinars and advice to inspire and ignite the Business Challenge participants, and pushing them to greater success as artists and business people. You'll even notice Wes Roberts, who completed the Studio Makeover Challenge last year, hanging around the forums and offering great advice as someone who's been through the program.

Check back in a couple weeks, where we see what's going on with April's class one full month in...maybe some of their fears will be alleviated? (Spoiler alert: They will be!) Sign up now for the May class! Over 50 members are already on board! It's your turn to take control over your business and Be More! Sign up for free at PPA.com/Challenge.

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By Chris Homer

With so many helpful videos to choose from, why wouldn't anyone want to be a part of PhotoVision? PhotoVision is a photography learning website that provides 24/7 online photography tutorials. The PhotoVision series provides a range of educational information from some of the biggest names in the professional photography industry. From helpful tips to processes that photographers can use when considering every element of their business, these videos have it all. They range from helpful information in green screen techniques to constructing a social media and digital marketing plan and so much more. The best news? PhotoVision is available at no cost to PPA members!

Need some convincing on why to join PPA? Consider subscribing separately to PhotoVision! Every month, PhotoVision unlocks a FREE video available for everyone to stream. We're so sure you'll love it and gain insight from it that you'll want to come back for many, many more.

This month's free video:

Boudoir On The Edge
Featuring The Boudoir Divas 


This video begins with the Boudoir Divas creating a series of head and full length boudoir images while using a unique constant which mimics a glamorous runway. Watch as the Boudoir Divas use Photoshop to put the finishing touches on the final images.

Check out PhotoVision today! Just one more way PPA is helping you Be More Educated!


ch_headshot_100x100.jpgAbout the author:
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 Chris Homer

PPA is dedicated to delivering photographers the best education available through the over 350 photography course videos available on PPAedu, as well as the 800+ videos on PhotoVision. In addition to these recorded courses, PPA hosts courses that you can attend from your computer LIVE as they happen. Check out what we've got coming up in April below!

April 21, 2016 - 2 ET
Skill Level(s): ALL
FREE for All Photographers

There is a lot of information out there about what is legal and what is not when it comes to drone photography. This webinar will separate fact from fiction concerning current regulations. More exciting is that regulatory changes from the FAA are on the horizon which will make legal business-related use of drones much more achievable. Tune in to find out what you should expect and when you will likely see these changes take effect. At the end of the webinar, there will be a Q&A session with PPA's Manager of Government Affairs who has been in communication with the FAA's UAS Integration Office.

April 26, 2016 - 2 ET
With Andrew "Fundy" Funderburg
Skill Level(s): ALL
FREE for All Photographers

Join the founder of Fundy Software, Andrew "Fundy" Funderburg, as he walks you through how to significantly improve your workflow and maximize your studio profits conducting in-person sales. Design and sell wall art and albums with ease and flexibility, while also ensuring your clients walk away happy.

Remember, these courses are open to ALL photographers to attend live, so register today! If you want to access the recordings of these courses and the full PPAedu library of 350+ videos as well as the 800+ streaming courses on PhotoVision, you'll need to be a PPA member. Join PPA today!


ch_headshot_100x100.jpgAbout the author:
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 Sarah Ackerman

Each month, one PPAedu video is unlocked for everyone to enjoy, because we believe in the power of education for all (it's normally reserved only for PPA members)! The PPAedu library has a lot to help you sharpen your photography techniques, marketing strategies, sales techniques and business operations. These tutorials and educational videos are available 24/7 to PPA members.  Between PPAedu and PhotoVision, as a PPA member, you can tap into over hundreds of programs to help you Be More! If you haven't checked out PhotoVision (PPA's newest member benefit), take a look, there's a new website with a slew of new episodes!

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For the month of April, the video "Soft Selling with Intense Results" with Kristin Privette has been unlocked.  It's available for anyone who wants to learn how use a simplified system of soft selling techniques to generate significant results!  In this video, Kristin works through her 10-step process for wedding sales. Learn the language, the specific steps they take their couples through and the selling techniques that anyone can learn and be comfortable using. 

If you're a member of PPA, just log in to watch the video anytime. Non-members will have access to this video this month only at PPA.com/TryEdu. For full access to all the PPAedu and PhotoVision videos, join PPA today!

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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 



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By James Yates

You already have the art of photography down, but is your business where you'd like it to be? If you find yourself wanting to learn how to boost your bottom line, the new PPA Business Challenge is for you! 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.

We all know that photographers are entrepreneurs, small business owners with a passion for their craft. We also know that many photographers open their studios as artists, more often than not, not having gone to business school, nor carrying a finance background. It is part of PPA's mission, as a nonprofit, to help our members understand and implement the basic business principles needed to maintain a sustainable studio. The Business Challenge is meant to be a fun, interactive way for PPA members to integrate as much business acumen as they can in one year's time. There is work involved, as this "challenge" is meant for photographers who are serious about wanting to take their business to the next level. Participants will have tasks to complete and the opportunity to be active members of accountability groups and peer-to-peer mentoring. "PPA's business advice is based on years of experience and successful business mentoring," says Angela Kurkian, Director of Education at PPA. "The new Business Challenge will help our members be more business-confident. It will help them think and strategize as a savvy business person."

Kurkian began brainstorming the concept of the Business Challenge over two years ago and 01-16-ppa-imagingusa-sun-9251__large.jpgan earlier form of the program debuted as the "Studio Makeover Challenge" at this year's Imaging USA in Atlanta. When she started noticing the average photographer needed business help, Kurkian knew it would be a difficult road for many members but she asks everyone keep one question in mind: 'How does change feel?'

"This is going to be a big change for these artists, and change is difficult. But when you decide to create change, change occurs all around you." Two small business owners/photographers (Krista Newbill, Wes Roberts) were chosen to go through a year-long business boot-camp with some of the best studio owners in the industry as their mentors.

Throughout 2015, the two participating studios' strengths and weaknesses were evaluated, their definitions of success were taken into account, and their top five goals for the year were contemplated. From this, five leading photographers including Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr.,CPP, ABI, API, Dave Doeppel, CPP, Ashley Brooke, Greg Daniel, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, F-ASP and Kristin Privette, who all run successful studios, called and consulted with the participants all year, coaching them on implementing new steps for their businesses. These steps included setting new sales goals, creating appropriate pricing strategies and outlining a marketing plan, among others. "Your business doesn't have to look like any one way or one thing," Kurkian says. "That's why we wanted to show different examples of how these businesses can maintain their unique identity while still implementing changes that will increase their profits and make them sustainable. The program was a success and we decided the next phase for this project would be to expand it to all 29,000 of our members."

PPA's Business Challenge is free to PPA members (Not a member? Consider joining today!). The Challenge includes tools to understand and develop the foundations of a profitable business with:

•    A month-by-month, step-by-step support system
•    Answers to the most vital business questions
•    A personalized success and business plans
•    Lists and guidelines to help prioritize
•    Inspiration and help to stay focused
•    A framework to avoid getting overwhelmed
•    Accountability partners with other photographers with the same challenges

Want to join the Challenge? Sign up today at PPA.com/Challenge any time. When you join, you'll be put into a Challenge Group beginning on the first day of the following month. Then, for the next 12 months, you'll work on your personalized success path. Not only will you receive the tools required to make changes to your business, but also step-by-step instructions and support as you implement these changes. These smaller sized groups create a community of peers for you to share and mentor with as you go through the same program together.

Sign up today to begin your Challenge Group on April 1st and Be More Business Savvy!

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By Sarah Ackerman

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PhotoVision's latest release has a wide range of photography topics to help you become a better photographer! In addition to the hundreds of videos already available to PPA photographers, we're adding the following in the next few weeks:

Parker Pfister gives a tour of his beautiful studio in downtown Asheville, NC. Parker talks about his progression as a photographer and why he has been focusing on large format imagery. He shows off his antique lenses, including one that is technically radioactive, and tells why he enjoys the look he's able to achieve with the use of these older lenses. Parker talks about his inspirational sources and how taking on a collaborator has enhanced his work after years of going solo.

John Pyle shares his exposure tips for broad daylight when using off camera flash that will ensure balanced lighting between your subject and the sky.  At a sports track photographing a high school senior with a javelin for kinetic sports images or in a quaint downtown area capturing gorgeously lit fall portraits, John explains how to manage your camera settings to enable clear, blur-free imagery when photographing moving subjects.

Melanie Anderson shares her techniques on how to pose newborns in a way that's natural and comfortable for them. Melanie discusses the newborn portion of her business with PhotoVision correspondent, Janine Killian, then takes us inside her studio to photograph two of these sweet new arrivals She talks about why she sometimes prefers photographing two different newborns at once and where she finds some of her specialty items that help ease the process. Melanie demonstrates how to light babies using only natural light and reflectors to achieve a soft and sweet look.

Amy Doerring explains why she loves photographing hands and what inspires her to pick the objects she does.  She then photographs a young girl holding various sentimental items. Most importantly she explains how she markets her hand art photographs and how they can make for great seasonal gifts. Amy is always inspiring photographers to give a personal touch to every image.

As a PPA photographer, you have immediate access to 24/7 streaming of PhotoVision and PPAedu content! Not a member? Join today! Check out the latest from PhotoVision on the newly redesigned website at photovisionvideo.com. Be More Educated!

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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 

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By James Yates

With so many helpful videos to choose from, why wouldn't anyone want to be a part of PhotoVision? PhotoVision is a photography learning website that provides 24/7 online tutorials, founded by PPA photographer Ed Pierce, M.Photog.Cr., CPP. The PhotoVision series provides a range of educational information from some of the biggest names in the professional photography industry. From helpful tips to processes that photographers can use when considering every element of their business, these videos have it all. They range from helpful information in green screen techniques to constructing a social media and digital marketing plan and so much more. The best news? PhotoVisionVideo is available at no cost to PPA members!
 
Need some convincing on why to join PPA, consider subscribing separately to PhotoVision! Every month, PhotoVision unlocks a FREE video available for everyone to stream. We're so sure you'll love it and gain insight from it that you'll want to come back for many, many more.
 
This month's free video:

Simplified Studio Lighting

Featuring Ed Pierce & Lori Nordstrom




In this video, Ed Pierce and Lori Nordstrom hold a senior photography session in Lori's spacious studio. They discuss the benefits of continuous lighting and clarify how to set a proper white balance in order to cut down on post-production correcting. Ed also shows how to use common studio equipment in unusual and beneficial ways. 


Check out PhotoVIsion today! Just one more way PPA is helping you Be More Informed!


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by James Yates

Registration has opened TODAY for PPA's Super 1 Day Photography Workshops! The workshops are scheduled to take place between May 9 and May 23, 2016. For those two weeks, hundreds of studios across the country will hold day-long workshops covering every topic from portrait and wedding photography, posing and lighting, to digital retouching and workflow and sales and marketing strategies. The workshops comprise a full day of photography education for professional photographers.Super1Day_1200x1200.jpg

In Scottsdale, Arizona, they can learn lighting and posing from Andrew Faulds, M.Photog., CPP and Ryan Higgins, CPP. In Alexandria, Virginia, attendees can experience a complete location senior portrait session with Kelly Schneider, CPP. Do you live closer to Owensboro, Kentucky? Master Photographers Kate and Jason Higdon will be there to go over their "Social Capital" theory on how to network with clients.

Super 1 Day aims to strengthen the photographic and business skills of professional photographers. Classes are taught by photographers who host seminars in their studios (or other locations), with the proceeds going to support PPA educational projects.

Classes are expected to be a full day, so that CEU merits can be awarded to both attendees and instructors. You have three easy ways to register:
•    ONLINE: Register online for only $99 between March 2, 2016 and May 3, 2016.
•    BY PHONE: Call your PPA Customer Service team at 1-800-786-6277 to register by phone until May 3, 2016.
•    ONSITE: All registrations after May 3, 2016 must be completed onsite and in-person for $120. Please contact the instructor prior to attending to ensure there is space available.

PPA will send confirmation letters with class information to all pre-registered attendees. Not a PPA photographer? Don't fret! All photographers are encouraged to attend.
 
To get all the latest info on Super 1 Day, head on over to PPA.com/Super1Day.

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By Sarah Ackerman

Each month, one PPAedu video is unlocked for everyone to enjoy, because we believe in the power of education for all (it's normally reserved only for PPA members)! The PPAedu library has a lot to help you sharpen your photography techniques, marketing strategies, sales techniques and business operations. These tutorials and educational videos are available 24/7 to PPA members.  Between PPAedu and PhotoVision, as  a PPA member, you can tap into over 1,000 online programs to help you Be More! If you haven't checked out PhotoVision (PPA's newest member benefit), take a look, there's a brand new website with a lot of new episodes!

For the month of March, the video "Romantic Posing in an Architectural Setting" with Hanson Fong, M.Photog.Cr., has been unlocked.  It's available for anyone who wants to learn how  to marry the beauty of your surroundings with the beauty of your wedding couple.  Hanson discusses the lighting, lens and camera equipment needed, and then he goes into detailed posing techniques for your bride. You'll learn how to position her, both individually and with her groom for the most flattering shots.

Hanson focuses on the variety of photos you want to create -- changing the lighting, lens, camera angle, position and posing.   Only 10 minutes of your time will add to your skill set, teaching you how to expertly and efficiently capture beautiful memories.  

If you're a member of PPA, just log in to watch the video anytime. Non-members will have access to this video this month only at PPA.com/TryEdu. For full access to all the PPAedu and PhotoVision videos, join PPA today!

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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 



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By Sarah Ackerman

PhotoVision's February release has a wide range of photography topics to help you become a better photographer! In addition to the over 800 videos already available to PPA photographers, we're adding the following in the next few weeks:

Creating Cinemagraphs: Beth Forester, M.Photog., Cr, CPP
Beth Forester shows how to make a cinemagraph, which is a combination of still images with video that creates a fascinating visual. Beth talks about how they can be used as incentives for clients to order packages by including them free of charge. They also work great as social media marketing material.

Couples Posing Part 1: Jen Hillenga, M.Photog. Cr. 
Jen Hillenga photographs a young couple in their hip, open Brooklyn apartment. Jen challenges herself by using no equipment besides her camera to capture gorgeous, slice-of-life couple photos. She talks about how she started her photography business by exclusively shooting in people's homes and how she spun that as a benefit to her clients. She also discusses clothing choices and how she chooses the right coordinating outfits for the right shots.

The Fred Marcus Story: Andy Marcus, M.Photog., Cr. 
Photographer Andy Marcus sits down with PhotoVision correspondent Melanie Anderson to discuss the history of Fred Marcus Studio and what led them to their place of current prestige. Andy talks about the transition from film to digital and how he maintains a film sensibility in the age of digital. He shares how he runs a studio with numerous full time employees and freelancers in a way that maintains a high caliber of consistency.

Portraits of the Groom: Gary Hughes, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Gary Hughes photographs a groom in a billiards room. Gary composes masculine, film-noir type images that would be worthy of the Rat Pack's portraits. He utilizes unconventional lighting methods, such as a powerful hand light diffused by an umbrella, that work perfectly for the run-and-gun nature of wedding photography. Gary teaches how to get stylized detail shots that look like they're straight out of a fashion magazine. Gary's thematic groom preparation shots will be sure to inspire creativity in your next wedding shoot.

As a PPA photographer, you have immediate access to 24/7 streaming of PhotoVision and PPAedu content (combined, it's over 1,300 tutorials and videos)! Not a member, join today! Check out the latest from PhotoVision on the newly redesigned website at photovisionvideo.com. Be More Educated!

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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 



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