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PPA Today: Inspiration: March 2016 Archives

Inspiration: March 2016 Archives

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 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 James Yates

PPA's Northcentral District Photographic Competition judging is happening this weekend and the Southwest District judging will take place the first of April. While entries for these competitions are now closed, you can watch the live stream of each and witness the judging online as it happens!

If you missed your District's Photographic Competition, but want to still enter in a serious photographic competition, PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) begins accepting entries May 23. It's never too early to start preparing your images!

Entering a District competition or the IPC is one of the best ways to improve your craft, especially if you choose to have your images critiqued by one of PPA's Jurors! You can have your images evaluated and scored based on the 12 Elements of a Merit Image. You'll receive an actual recording of an IPC Judge giving you dedicated feedback and explaining to you the components of YOUR image. By competing and getting your images critiqued, you'll learn what you do well as a photographer, as well as identify the areas in which you may need improvement. It's an amazing learning experience!

We know the process can seem intimidating for first-timers, so here's an actual critique from last year's International Photographic Competition. This image called "Cappuccino for Three" was created by Debra Klawetter, CPP, and is being critiqued by PPA juror Tina Timmons, M.Photog.Cr., CPP.

Take a look and see how entering a photographic competition can improve your own work as a photographer through constructive feedback like you'll hear in this critique.

We hope this critique can help you get a better understanding of what the IPC judges are looking for when scoring your images. Learn more about when and where the District competitions are held here and then head to to watch live streams of the District competitions and also start preparing your images for the International Photographic Competition! Be sure to request a critique so you can receive some personalized feedback on your works of art and Be More Prepared.

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By James Yates
See The Difference is PPA's online, print and social media awareness campaign that aims to help consumers "see the difference" when evaluating photographers ... and realize the importance of hiring a pro. The campaign is designed to give PPA photographers FREE marketing tools to help with their sales process and justify their costs, quality, and expertise.

As part of See The Difference, PPA periodically writes feature stories that are picked up by 1000s of national and regional online and print news organizations with the explicit goal of teaching consumers the value of choosing a professional for their photography needs.
Most recently, See The Difference provided 5 Tips to Ensure You Get Romantic Wedding Photos. The story was picked up by 1,059 online publications with a combined online audience of 57,978,514. Photos from PPA photographers were used to illustrate the story and further hone the importance of using professional photography. Check out the whole story from some of the many sites that are hosting the article: Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, The Baltimore Sun, and the Houston Chronicle.
Inside you'll find great info on these five tips for consumers along with some awesome photographic examples, like the one above © Ace Photography, provided by PPA photographers:
1. Let yourself be vulnerable

2. Don't risk putting your memories in the hands of amateurs

3. Put together a detailed shot list

4. Be daring

5. Be there for the magic hour

This is only one of 12 stories that PPA will push out each month in a proactive effort to show consumers that professional photographers are worth the investment.
Want your photos considered for stories like these? Fill out this form today and we'll contact you if your images are selected!

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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

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Inspiration category from March 2016.

Inspiration: February 2016 is the previous archive.

Inspiration: April 2016 is the next archive.

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

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