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Photographers, it's time to pull your best images and work on your competition entries for the International Photographic Competition! 

The IPC is PPA's annual photographic competition that allows photographers to test their skills, and get advice on how to improve quality, impact and technique through constructive competition and critiques from qualified jurors. Participating in PPA's photographic competitions gives you the opportunity to:

  • Improve upon your finest work 
  • Earn recognition and admiration from your peers
  • Engage with the passionate and supportive photographic competition community
  • And improve your business!
If you're smarter than average, you'll also choose to have your images critiqued, and will receive a recording from a judge with feedback on each image you've entered in the competition, explaining to you how each photo stacks up against the 12 elements of a winning image, and what you could have done better if it fell a little short! So, don't be shy! Enter your images to be critiqued by official jurors at this year's competition. Recorded critiques are a fantastic way to learn, specifically, how you can take your images to the next level.

To give you an idea of the types of things you can learn from a critique at IPC, check out this one from last year's competition. This is "Spirit of the Lake" by Karen Weatherwax, critiqued by Kathy Meek  M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API. 


The judging for the International Photographic Competition will be held July 30-August 3, 2017 and you will be able to watch it all via PPA's live online streaming of the IPC! Early registration opens May 22, 2017 - June 21, 2017 by 5 pm ET. Entries submitted on or after June 21 at  5 pm ET will be accepted with a late fee through July 6, 2017. No entries will be accepted after July 6, 2017 by 5 pm ET.

This year's IPC has some new rules. Be sure to check them out and enter your images early to beat the crowds and save some money!

By Autumn Rice

At PPA we want to help you grow your business. And what better way to do that, than to add your studio information to the Find-A-Photographer database? The Find-A-Photographer database on is a resource that allows professional photographers to display information about themselves and their business in front of a captive audience of prospective clients. 

Every PPA member is listed in the Find-A-Photographer database, but not all listings are created equal! Did you know that?  You can indeed make your profile pop and be much more convincing by updating it. It's completely free to upgrade your profile; you just have to do it! 

To upgrade your Find-A-Photographer profile (again, it's free!) follow these simple steps:

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1. Log in to 
2. Once logged in, click on My PPA
3. Scroll down to Find-A-Photographer
4. Click Update Your Find-A-Photographer Profile and then you can:
    • Add additional information to your profile page
    • Create up to 4 photo albums
    • Upload up to 8 images to each album
    • Upload a headshot or logo
    • Preview your listing
5. Once you make your changes, be sure to enable your listing. It's a super-simple step, but if you don't do it, your updated profile won't be visible to the public (you'll only have a standard listing in the Find-a-Photographer search.)

There are other simple tools to make your business more visible and recognizable. Hop to the See The Difference resource section on to find what works for your business. PPA is here to help you Be More Proactive.

Become a member to be a part of the Find-A-Photographer database and Be More Visible today!

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in June 2016. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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by Sidra Safri 

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 Autumn Rice

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Photographers, it's time to pull your best images and work on your competition entries for the International Photographic Competition! The IPC will take place this summer, and those who enter will once again get ahead of their peers, so get ready! 

The IPC is PPA's annual competition that allows photographers to test their skills, and get advice on how to improve quality, impact and technique through constructive competition and critiques from qualified jurors. Participating in PPA's photographic competitions gives you the opportunity to:

  • Engage with the passionate and supportive photographic competition community
  • Improve upon your finest work 
  • Earn recognition and admiration from your peers
  • And improve your business!

Interested in entering the IPC?  Here are the levels of competitions you can enter:

  • Local Competitions: Competing in competitions conducted by PPA-affiliated local guilds and associations are a great way to get started.  You will receive a critique of your submission, to help improve your chances for the next level. Check theLoop for more advice on entering local competitions.
  • State Competitions: Competition critiques at this level are often held live, providing insight into improving your work. It's the perfect place to start if you don't have access to a local guild or association. Check theLoop for more advice on entering state competitions.
  • District Competitions: This is your chance to get your last critiques before your work hits the big stage. You're assigned a district based off where you live. Knock their socks off here, and you could earn a Seal of Approval.
  • PPA's International Photographic Competition: Here's the big show. This competition is where your images earn merits and are judged for eligibility in PPA's Loan Collection. Participating in the IPC can help you earn your PPA degree: earn enough merits and you'll earn a Master of Photography degree in no time.

This is a great opportunity to improve your work. Don't hesitate to enter your images!

The judging for the International Photographic Competition will be held July 30-August 3, 2017. Early registration to enter your images opens May 22, 2017 - June 21, 2017 by 5pm ET. Entries after 6/21 will be accepted with a late fee surcharge through 7/6 included. But please note that no entries will be accepted after July 6, 2017 by 5pm ET.

This year's IPC has some new rules. Be sure to check them at and to enter your images into the International Photographic Competition early to beat the crowds and save some money!

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by James Yates

Imaging USA in San Antonio is right around the corner, January 8-10, 2017, but there are a few ways to save money if you get started NOW! Here is a list of tips to put in place and ensure that you show up in Texas with even more spending money...

1. REGISTER EARLY! Aren't registered yet? Imaging USA is the world's strongest and longest-standing professional-photography convention, with hundreds of classes, tons of networking opportunities, a huge photo exhibit, and a giant expo floor. Over 10,000 photographers attend to be taught by the industry's best. Register by December 8, 2016 to save $50 with the Early Bird Rate! 

2. BOOK YOUR HOTEL EARLY! If you're not staying at the host hotels, chances are good you'll have to spend some money on a taxi or parking to come over for some of the events. Why bother? Stay at the host hotels and be at the center of it all. They're filling up fast, though (especially for Pre-Con) so BOOK NOW at our easy, one-stop-shop booking platform.

Imaging USA Host Hotels
•  San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter (HEADQUARTERS HOTEL)
•  San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk
•  Hilton Palacio Del Rio
•  Grand Hyatt San Antonio

3. FIND A ROOMMATE! Get on theLoop, PPA's exclusive social network, to post about and find a roommate. Everything's cheaper when you split the cost. 

4. MAKE AN EXPO GAME PLAN! Create a shopping list of the things you need for your studio in 2017 and grab those items first. The trade show floor is the best place to find exclusive deals from vendors, so save your holiday cash for January 8-10. 

Get ready to enjoy an amazing trip to San Antonio and rest easy until then knowing you're saving money! 

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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.


There's an old joke about how a single roll of film - holding just 36 images - if used correctly, could capture an entire childhood from first grade through college graduation. Years ago, rolls of film were perceived as expensive, precious and not to be wasted on frivolous shots. But with digital photos becoming the new norm, both amateur and professional photographers alike, are taking thousands of additional photos to capture the moment - be it a styled studio shot, a simple selfie or a reminder pic of what's currently in the refrigerator.

InfoTrends 2015 Professional Photographer Survey indicates that the average pro currently takes approximately 4,160 photos per month just for business. That's nearly 960 photos per week! The number reflects significant growth, as 2014 respondents took only 3,660 per month. Why the jump? Experts believe it not only indicates a healthy economy for the photo industry, but always improving technology to store and save photos as well.

InfoTrends consumer studies also speaks to an eye-opening trend discovered by PPA: after surveying nearly 1,500 PPA members about photo printing, PPA's results showed 40% of photographers' customers no longer print photos. This dangerous trend could result in a lost generation of photos without education and action to save them.

Here are some simple steps to share with your clients to help them avoid falling into a digital void and losing precious memories:
Entrust capturing once-in-a-lifetime moments like a wedding, high school graduation, newborns, birthdays and special occasions through the work of a professional photographer. To find a PPA professional photographer near you, go to
Ask your photographer about his/her options of printed work and have them print photos for you in order to get quality, archival products that you will be able to keep for years to come.
If you are not ready to print just yet, ensure you back-up all digital photos onto a separate drive so they're aren't lost if your phone or laptop is!
Buy albums and frames when you see them on sale so it reminds you to fill them with photos.
When using a professional photographer, work with them to ensure you leave with printed photos-- not just a disc.
Let your clients know that, as a professional, you are going to take advantage of technology and your professional lighting and posing skills to capture the perfect shot. Just be sure you encourage them to take that last step and safely store and print their photos so they can be enjoyed for years to come.

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With the new FAA regulations regarding drones going into effect August 29th, you need to have the most up-to-date information to fly and use a drone for business or work purposes. Bottom line: you MUST take the aeronautical knowledge test (the "Drone Test") and have your drone registered. Here are important links and guidelines that will be helpful while navigating through the process.

  • In order to sit for the "Drone test", and be able to apply for the remote pilot certification, the applicant must be at least 16 years old, be fluent in English, be in good physical and mental condition to operate a drone, and take the test at an approved FAA knowledge testing center. Step by step guidelines are posted on the FAA website under requirements and process for becoming a pilot.

  • All applicants need to take and pass the Drone Test in order to apply for their remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating. The cost of taking the test is $150 and, once certified, the certification will be valid for two years. Taking the test and getting certified allows photographers to use drones during photo sessions in accordance with FAA guidelines. To ensure that everyone has the knowledge necessary to pass the drone test, the FAA has posted various study guides and sample test questions for applicants to study. These materials can be found under the FAA's suggested study materials

  • Once an applicant has passed the drone test, applied for and received their remote pilot certification, they MUST register their drone. The drone must be registered if it is over .55 pounds, up to a maximum weight of 55 pounds. The 55 pound limit includes any equipment you attach to the drone, such as your camera. Registration cost is only $5 and will be valid for three years. All drones need to be registered at

  • Your drone must also undergo a pre-flight check to ensure it is in proper condition to be operated. This link has a .pdf of the FAA's pre-flight checklist. 

The FAA has addressed some Drone Regulations frequently asked questions here. Here is also an easy-to-read recap chart with all the necessary information regarding both pilot and drone requirements:

You can find even more information in the FAA's Getting Started guide. We hope you're as excited and ready to fly your drone as we are! Share your (legal) drone photography with us on theLoop, Facebook or Twitter! Now, get out there, take some amazing photos and share them with the world!

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By Autumn Rice

At PPA we love to help photographers save money on the products and services you use most! So, every day we find new ways to incorporate bigger and better savings into your photography business. 

Through your PPA membership you not only have access to thousands of dollars in discounts from companies like Apple, Office Depot, and Zenfolio, but you also get access to amazing savings from PPA! The full membership, called Professional Active Membership, includes: 

  • Online education: You have Access to all PhotoVision online resources and videos + all of PPAedu online tutorials and webinars
  • Magazine: you get your print and digital subscription to Professional Photographer magazine 
  • Marketing tools: You have all the See The Difference® tools and PPAedu marketing tutorials at your finger tips
  • Client Trouble Shield: you are protected with PPA's unique data loss and malpractice protection program, PPA's Indemnification Trust. It covers you when a client sues you for negligence or if they get injured on a shoot, and while it is a service we hope you will never have to use, it is there to protect you and save you and your business thousands of dollars when Murphy's Law strikes.
  • Insurance: You get 15,000 worth of equipment insurance, as your main insurance or as a secondary one if you already have one! Plus you can add other kinds of insurances such as medical, dental, general liability, and others, at discounted prices!
  • Online and off line professional networking: you are de-facto connected to PPA's Photographer-only discussion forums called theLoop. Tap into them to seek advice, image reviews, find mentors, talk through business dilemmas, etc.

So, remember to take advantage of all of the savings that come with you PPA membership. 

If you're not a member, all of these savings are waiting for you. All you have to do is become a PPA member for $27.92 a month. Other businesses would charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars for the information that PPA members get for free. 

Keeping money in your pockets in a lot of ways is just one more thing PPA does to have your back and help you Be More Savvy!

Visit to see all the ways you can save with PPA!

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With so many resources available online, you may be asking whether it's worth your time and money to attend Imaging USA. Especially if you are a member of PPA, you already have access to online networking and education with theLoop, PhotoVision and PPAedu. So what makes Imaging USA so special?

There's literally a bajillion reasons to go to Imaging USA, but here are 10 you can't ignore:

Sharpen Your Saw
Stephen Covey talks about this in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It's the idea that if you don't step away from your daily grind to take care of life's other needs, you won't be doing your best work. It's a simple fact that the dull saw cuts less wood.

When you socialize, learn and network with your peers at Imaging USA, you are "sharpening your saw." When you return to your studio, you'll have new ideas, inspiration and connections that will help you work more creatively and efficiently.

Your Next "Ah-Ha" Moment
You never know where your next "ah-ha" moment is going to come from. But when you're surrounded by 10,000 photographers it could come from a new friend, the keynote speaker (this year it's Mel Robbins!), a tradeshow vendor, or the photographer sitting next to you in a session. One thing for sure, you will have several of these each day, and it's all worth it!

The Value of Face-to-Face Connections
Social media has its place in keeping you connected and forums like theLoop are great if you need a quick answer. But it's hard to make a strong, lasting personal connection when you aren't meeting face-to-face. At Imaging USA you get the face time you need to make connections that will last a lifetime with speakers, vendors, other photographers, or all of the above! People do business with people they like. And when you spend several consecutive days under the same roof, strong connections are bound to happen. The benefits of your networking at Imaging USA will serve you long past the end of the conference.

That Thing You Didn't Know You Needed
You never know what you'll find on the Imaging USA EXPO tradeshow floor, but you can be sure it's the latest and greatest. After all, these vendors are in the business of providing photographers with the equipment and services they need to thrive.

And the Expo is more than just a shopping mall for photographers. It's your opportunity to get hands-on demos of the products you need, check out the winners of the International Photographic Competition and take the opportunity to discuss your specific business challenges with the vendors that can help. Oh, and the discounts that you'll find on the tradeshow floor are well worth delaying your Christmas shopping for your studio until Imaging USA! 

Get Out of the Studio
Being in the same studio or sitting in front of the same computer monitor day after day is a sure way to find yourself in a rut. A change of scenery always leads to a fresh perspective, and Imaging USA is the perfect setting to spark new ideas... photography speaking, business speaking and for your creativity in general!

Business Solutions That Work
Sometimes the problem with having the Internet at your fingertips is that there is simply too much information. How do you find the exact solution to your problem and how do you know that it will work for you.

Imaging USA can help cut through the clutter. Bring a list of your business challenges and discuss them with your fellow photographers. You're likely to find others who have successfully overcome similar challenges and you can put their ideas to work for you. Plus, all speakers are available at the end of their sessions for questions. Those of you who sign up early enough to get a portfolio review are in for a treat! And there will be even more speakers on the tradeshow floor, with mini sessions and demos, and at the IPC Merit Café on photographic competition.
The Energy of Like-Minded Individuals
At Imaging USA you will be surrounded by like-minded people who are there to learn, share and teach. It brings a new level of energy of motivation to the learning that you can never get anyplace else. You WILL end up making (new) friends for life and this WILL boost your motivation and inspiration... perfect timing to start 2017!

The Power of the Random Workshop
Attend one class outside of your specialty and find one thing from that session that you can take back for your business. It could be a new product line, a new workflow method, a bit of marketing genius or a new way to sell prints. Imaging USA has 10 educational tracks so there is bound to be something new for you. Often times we have heard of exploring classes in a track outside your day-to-day practice as becoming a game changer. News ideas, new approaches, new techniques, new best practices, all make for more inspiration, more motivation and more power to you!

Invest In Yourself
Attending Imaging USA is a small investment in yourself, and you're worth it 20 times over! Constantly learning and growing is vital to your bottom line and essential to keeping you one step ahead of your competitors. Imaging USA is organized by PPA and because PPA is a non-profit, it is able to keep the registration cost so much lower than any other conference of this caliber, that it would be a mistake not to leverage it! Don't spend top dollars with fauxtographers! Come where the real pros come year after year to learn, grow, connect and have fun! There's no way you'll regret it ? 

Photography is Your Passion
Like with any great love, you must nurture it to sustain it. Your life can get so full and hectic with all the things you have to do throughout the year. You most likely need a jolt to recharge your passion after the busy holiday season. So come join us at Imaging USA and re-discover your love of photography.

By Autumn Rice

Summer is all about fun, but don't forget about running your business. Before you head out for some amazing adventure, be sure to check in with your fellow PPA members on theLoop for some great conversation and advice. Here's a preview of some of the top discussions from theLoop in June.

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A member has had their entire computer hacked and the files encrypted. Even worse, the hackers are demanding money for the return of the files. Tons of advice on how to protect your files and your business before this happens!

This Looper needs some advice about choosing between Lightroom and Capture One products. Chime in the conversation and let him know your take on the issue!

This photographer needs some new tips and tricks for Photoshop. Do you have any? Let him know some of your favorite Photoshop methoods.

Here's a thread about helpful website designs to distinguish your business from the competition. See what your fellow Loopers have to say!

Does anyone know about online back-up systems? Here's a discussion thread to fill you in on all your options. Check out the conversation!

This Looper needs some help with traveling with her photography equipment. Do you know any ways to navigate the airport with your gear?

This new family photographer needs some advice for getting good photos of families with more than three people. Any advice? Share it in this discussion thread!

This Looper needs an upgrade and your help. If you know anything about mobile photography and computers join the conversation!

 Remember to check in with theLoop for a safe place to stay connected with the photography community and discuss all your photographic interests. Not a PPA member? Join here!

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Helpful Hints category.

Faces of PPA is the previous category.

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