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PPA Announces Grass Roots Efforts to Help Photographers During Tough Economic Times - PPA Today

PPA Announces Grass Roots Efforts to Help Photographers During Tough Economic Times

Many Americans, including professional photographers, most of whom are self-employed, are feeling the effects of current economic tough times. And many photographers fear that if they don't get some relief fast, their businesses will suffer irreparable damage.

Throughout its nearly 130-year history, Professional Photographers of America (PPA) has provided business-critical resources to professional photographers. Today PPA, together with its long-standing Industry Advisory Committee, announced a renewed commitment to giving all photographers the help they need to combat economic challenges during the next several years. New programs and resources will be rolled out regularly, giving photographers tools and information to make a real difference in the bottom line of their businesses.

Many of the ideas for helping photographers navigate difficult times come from PPA's Industry Advisory Committee, which has met at least twice a year for decades, collaborating with PPA on ways it can help make photographers successful. In fact, the committee met again this weekend, praising PPA for its regular work on photographers' behalf in the areas of health care reform and copyright protection.

"It's wonderful what PPA is doing to lobby on Capitol Hill to secure health care benefits for photographers," adds Kevin Casey, CEO of and member of PPA's Industry Advisory Committee. "This is an important issue that affects the daily life of photographers, and it's important that we are there trying to solve serious issues, rather than just talking about them."

"Our Industry Advisory Committee has been such an important part of our advocacy efforts. They care about photographers and are serious partners in helping us get through these difficult times. We have serious situations, and that means expending serious resources, including substantial financial resources, to make a difference," explains David Trust, PPA's CEO. "Some groups are out there talking, but this takes a lot more than talk - it requires real action, which PPA is already taking."

Photographers are urged to take advantage of the programs and resources available now,  only through PPA, the world's largest non-profit association for professional photographers:

Professional Photographers of America (PPA), a worldwide non-profit association, exists to assist its 22,000 members and the photographic industry in achieving their professional, artistic and fraternal goals; to promote public awareness of the profession; and to advance the making of images in all of its disciplines as an art, a science, and a visual recorder of history. For more information, visit


What kind of help will PPA provide us knowledge to cope with these troubling times?


Mentor help?

webinars with related topics to get thru the recession?

A panel to call with concerns or help to deal our problems?

This industry is not on the same page. You could call 10 or more studios and get 10 or more different costs.

I would like to know what the webinars would do to help because I know that PPA will be charging for them. Photographers who are in dire need of help will not be paying for a webinar. This is when PPA should step it up a notch and ask these speakers to really help out by not charging. If our industry is made up of photographers who will only try to profit off of others in these difficult time is no help at all.

The mood at the convention was pretty dire. Every vendor I spoke with was disappointed with the turnout and lack of interest.
I also brought my wife to the convention. The only comment she had for the seminars she attended was, "all the speakers were hosting their own infomercials". It was really unbelievable; I also sadly had to agree with her. It was awful and I could not believe that PPA allowed this to happen throughout the entire convention.

This was the 1st time in my 31 years as a member that I was truly disappointed in PPA and the speakers. If I hear ( we have to brand ourselves) one more time. Of course we have to brand ourselvs we are photographers who are supposed to be creative. We all know putting our portraits in a bag with tissue works. But to hear this from every speaker who is also selling these ideas was wrong.

If PPA is really willing to try to help photographers in these desperate times they have got to come up with better ideas. As you all know every man, women and child has a digital camera and it is up to us as photographers to create something our clients cannot. We as photographers have to turn it up not only one notch but several notches. We cannot be putting blame on the freelancers for stealing our clients or the soccer mom who is trying to make a few extra dollare or for all you seasoned photographers who used to blame Uncle Bob.

What has gotten this entire country in trouble is the Greed from the mortgage companies and banks. Sure we can put blame on the CEO's with their huge salaries and bonus's but they have always had huge salaries and bonus’s. We may not like it but it has always been that way and when we were all making more money than we could count, we did not care as much as we do today. Sure if a company looses millions of dollars they should not be handing out bonus's. And the only way to let these CEO's know we do not agree is to boycot their company. But then that will only hurt the little guy. It's become a catch 22. Nobody wins...

Let's all hope and pray this does not last 2-3 years like everybody is projecting. One can only hope to see their friends at next year’s convention.

As someone who's middle-aged, new to the industry, trying to become the very best photographer I can be, and make a successful business out of it, I hope that PPA will make a serious effort to help all of its members to the best of its ability.

If the situation becomes 'every man for himself' then the industry will likely experience a serious downturn. If, as stated in another post, every speaker at the convention was hosting their own infomercial, then that seems to be a negative indicator. I understand that if photographers aren't selling services and photos they turn to selling their knowledge and experience, more than in good times. They have to survive. The problem is, who will buy this 'training' in the tough times? And is it really what other photographers need?

If, on the other hand, PPA and its members work together to share their strengths and knowledge, a better outcome should be possible. Professional photographs are still one of the most cherished items anyone can possess. The public has to be made aware that their point & shoot photos, or Uncle Bob's shots just aren't enough to immortalize precious and rare moments the way that a professional photographer can.

We can make a difference in people's lives that will last for generations. We can help them to best capture the wonderful moments that still exist in these tough times, without them going broke. And they can't afford to have a void in their lifetime memories. It may be the same old song, but it needs to be sung even louder now.

Pricing and packages may have to adapt to the situation at hand, but it still has to be profitable in the end. SMS and good [photography] business people need to help formulate financial survival strategies.

PPA should have some free webinars for members to re-affirm the basics of the business, and put forth new ideas and models to cope with these very trying times. If travel to conventions is too costly then that's just what webinars should help out with - at low cost or for free. These are the challenges that demonstrate real leadership, professionalism and creativity. PPA and its experienced members need to step up to the plate, and invest what they can in everyone's future. Perhaps there's even a little I could offer others to improve some aspect of their photography or business? I'll tell you my skills and you let me know how I can help PPA.

PPA should expand its legislative efforts to include tax breaks on services and products, tax incentives on equipment purchases, lower or eliminate property taxes on equipment and studio space, etc. Maybe a tax holiday on photography, like there is for clothing in some states.

They should look to various media outlets for group/member bargains on advertising and promotion, or partner with other groups for mutual promotion on a large scale, like florists, reception locations, caterers, DJs, photo and print companies like Nikon, Canon, Epson, major charities, the Red Cross with blood drives or disaster relief, the Salvation Army, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, the ASPCA, etc.

How about partnering with other photography groups to accomplish some of these goals? Form an even bigger 'macro' union of various organizations to help everyone in general, regardless of the specific interests and purpose of the individual organizations. This is a time for inclusion - not exclusion, a time for strength in numbers, a time to promote survival, not differences and rivalry.

A group of 22,000 can do things, open doors, make deals, get attention, etc. that individuals can't. Use your name, use your numbers, use your image and reputation, and make things happen PPA. Have your committees meet more this year than ever, even if it's teleconferencing. Work hard and work smart.

My very best to PPA, all the members, and everyone that loves photography so much that they risk making a living at it.

How about decent health insurance? My husband worked for Circuit City and not only did he lose his job, but we can't even get COBRA. So much for Obama's plan to pay 65% of COBRA for those who have lost their jobs. It only works if there is still a company to have a plan.

How about free webinars? I echo the sentiment of the gentleman above. These dog and pony shows where the speakers are dangling carrots to get you to buy their products are frustrating and a waste of our time. Perhaps PPA should be giving the speakers a stipend and offering them to us a benefit of membership. We need the help now more than ever.

How about help with marketing campaigns? I would love to execute a marketing campaign for a real life/lifestyle portraiture program. I don't have marketing expertise and would love the opportunity to have this communities' help. Sample campaigns; sample materials; simple guidance and direction.

How about some genuine, ingenius ideas for keeping ourselves ahead of the pack? I agree that boutique packaging and canned marketing aren't going to set us apart. And just being told that we need to believe we have value doesn't get us past the hurdle that customers will take their own pictures and create their own picture books on Snapfish or Peekaboo. Their pictures are "good enough" to them and so are the books. Plus, for some, they get the satisfaction of having done it themselves. There is a very, very large percentage of our population that are doing this.

Just some quick thoughts off the top of my head ....

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on February 17, 2009 5:34 PM.

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