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PPA Today: Legal Archives

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Nothing says springtime like ducks, chicks and bunnies, right? How about bringing in a pony for one-of-a-kind western-themed portraits? Limited-edition portraits like that can be a great idea and seem easy enough on the surface...but they can easily go awry if you aren't taking the proper precautions to protect yourself and your client.

Read the complete article here.

Dear PPA Member ,

Have you ever had to cancel a doctor's appointment? It's not unusual--schedules change and the unexpected happens. But do you know what your doctor's cancellation policy is? A business usually expects a certain amount of warning if you are going to cancel an appointment. It allows them time to try to fill that empty spot and not be out business (or money) on their end.

The same can be said for your photography business. While you may not have appointments every hour like a doctor, you still work with clients who may, for whatever reason, need to cancel their sessions with you. That is why this week's Vital Signs article reviews preparing for and handling cancellations. Understanding how to work with a client and creating and enforcing a cancellation policy can help make the most of an unexpected situation.

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

Dear PPA Member,

Did you know that PPA is the only photographic organization that has a full-time Copyright & Government Affairs staff? We are serious about defending the rights of photographers on Capitol Hill, especially when it comes to copyright. Your images, much like an author's words, a songwriter's music or a moviemaker's film, need to be protected because--let's face it--if you give your work away, you're not making money. And it's worse when someone steals it.

That's why PPA works hard to provide members with resources to help when copyright infringement happens. This week's Vital Signs delves a little deeper into what you need to do, what your options are and how to determine what you can do. (Here's a hint: We recommend registering your images and immediately downloading the PPA Copyright Kit, which can answer a lot of your questions.)

You can't be everywhere, but if you understand what you can do--and what you can do to prevent copyright infringement--you may be able to reach a speedy resolution if it does happen to you.

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

Dear PPA Member,

You open an envelope addressed to your studio. A beautiful image of your client's family graces the holiday card's cover. Wait...that's your image. You turn the card over and cringe. They bought the cards from a large retailer, not you. And you sell holiday cards.

You're probably not feeling the holiday spirit at that moment, are you?

It happens all the time, and it's not just around the holidays. But how do you deal with that type of situation? This week's Vital Signs brings up this less-than-jolly subject, in the hopes that you beat the holiday rush that your clients may want to make with your images...rushing straight to a retailer. Educating yourself and your clients about copyright infringement (and what to do when it happens) may not make visions of sugar plums dance in your head, but perhaps it can put some green in your wallet.

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

Dear PPA Member,

We live in a digital world. The fine art of handwritten letters still exists, but most of our communications these days are by text or e-mail. Intimate conversations still occur, but the setting may be Skype or Facetime rather than next to a roaring fire. As the technology we use changes, so does the way we live"and work.

While many PPA members began their careers before the advent of digital cameras, digital opened up a whole new world of options. Not only did you have access to new equipment and technology, but how you presented images to your clients changed as well. Does the request for digital files ring a bell for anyone? What do you do when a client demands them?

Nothing can take the place of a cherished handwritten letter, a friendly hug"or a beautifully created heirloom print. But when you can't have those, digital will have to do. This week's Vital Signs discusses how to establish your policy on sharing digital files. When you encounter a client who makes this request (if you haven't already), it's best to know where you stand on the issue and how to respond so that everyone wins. Communicating your digital files policy (and educating your clients on copyright at the same time) is part of living in this digital world.

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

iStock_000000322194XSmall.jpgYour clients need to get your approval before using your images...just like you need to get approval to use someone else's music during your session, on your website or as part of your slideshow. But music licensing can be confusing! That's why you should tune in to tomorrow's free webinar, "Are You Tuned in to Music Licensing?", (September 29 - 4:00pm ET) and ask questions of Jack Flynn from BMI, an American performing rights organization that represents more the 475,000 music artists! This is your chance to learn the rules and better understand how the process works.

Dear PPA Member,

What's your song? Come on, we all have one--a song that takes us back to a certain time or place. Maybe it was a song from your high school prom, your first concert or the first dance at your wedding.

Sometimes we don't even need a whole song to spark a memory. Just the first few notes of a song can do the trick. For example, think of any classic television show theme song: "The Andy Griffith Show," "The Brady Bunch," "Hawaii Five-O," "Happy Days"...

Like images, music is also a powerful tool, which is why many photographers incorporate music into their workflow. This week's Vital Signs discusses the music licensing process, an important topic because music--like an image--is copyrighted and often requires a license in order for you to use it as a part of your business. It's best to make sure you understand the licensing process before you incorporate anyone's song onto your website or client slideshow.

What's my song? Probably "Sugar Magnolia" by the Grateful Dead. It's my happy song, and it always--without fail--makes me dance.

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

P.S. To celebrate the birthday of the astronomer who discovered infrared light, Precision Camera & Video Repair is offering PPA members an Extreme Deal on their Infrared Conversion Services until November 15th. These special prices are in addition to your regular PPA member discount! Find out how to take advantage of this Extreme Deal here.

Dear PPA Member,

Legal, schmegal. Who needs the extra hassle of paperwork and signatures? You have clients and you know that they're going to pay you, right? They said they'd pay you, right? They told you the date and where you're supposed to be, right?

Wrong.

Contracts and releases and agreements exist for many reasons, but the main reason you need to have them in your business is to protect...you. I don't think you'd buy or sell a house without having something legally in writing. Buying a house is an investment. Buying your services as a professional photographer is an investment, too, so treat it as such!

This week's Vital Signs will show you what should be in your legal kit. You may not use everything in your kit, but it's worth putting one together...just in case. After all, they said they'd pay you, right?

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

Dear PPA Member,

When I was a kid, the bank teller gave my mother cash and me a lollipop. It used to be that if you wanted money, you waited in line, waited at the bank window, then waited for the money to be counted out. I waited because there was the promise of sugar on a stick if I was good, but my mother waited because there were no ATMs.

Now? My bank is halfway across the country. If I want to deposit a check, I take a picture of it on my iPhone and it's deposited. It's all electronic transfers and debit cards. No bank tellers. Welcome to the Information Age.

The Internet has changed the way we live, work and do business. Need a contract signed, but don't have the person sitting in the same room? Electronic signature to the rescue! That's what this week's Vital Signs (delivered to you electronically) covers.

Still, technology is both a blessing and a bane. It can make our transactions faster and simpler, but until I can get my computer to hand me a lollipop as a reward for being patient, it doesn't take the place of human interaction...yet.

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

Dear PPA Member,

Growing up, I spent a lot of my summers at the beach. My parents loved being there because I had a lot of energy as a child (a LOT of energy), and I could run around and around until I was exhausted. I loved digging holes to the other side of the world and trying to bury my brother in those holes. Thankfully, I never got into any trouble (at least not at the beach). Then again, I didn't need a permit.

As a professional photographer, you may not get off the hook quite as easily. When on public lands, there is the possibility that you may need a permit in order to lawfully photograph at that location. Whether it's a national park or the local beach, there may be rules and regulations that you need to follow before ever capturing an image.

Since the permit puzzle can be confusing at times, it helps to know where to start. This week's Vital Signs helps you plan ahead for your photography permits. Knowing why you need a permit, where you need a permit and who to contact for permits can help save time and headaches down the road. Don't dig yourself into a hole!

Cheers,
Christel Aprigliano
PPA's Director of Member Value & Experience

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