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Open Your Eyes with SMS - PPA Today

Open Your Eyes with SMS

Winnie and Leeann GreerWhen Winnie Greer discovered a love for image-making by photographing her young daughters in 1980, she had no idea she was embarking on a career that would span 30 years and three generations. But now she watches proudly as her grandson plays around their Lexington, Ky., studio and her daughter Leeann assumes a leadership role in Greer Photography, while her other daughter Kelly has flown the studio nest and landed in her own paradise--a destination photography studio in St. Croix.

"Kelly has a knack for business management and accounting," says Leeann. "While she was involved in Greer Photography, we gravitated to letting her handle the business side of things. Soon after she left, I remember telling her, 'Wow, I had no idea what was involved in the numbers side of this.'"

In fact, it was Kelly who suggested that Leeann and her mother take advantage of the Studio Management Services (SMS) workshops to learn the fundamentals needed to successfully run the studio.

Leeann is glad Kelly insisted on SMS. "It was a huge eye-opener," she says. They learned many valuable things, but the one that has amazed her most so far is the knowledge about business structures. "Just filing a little differently is a huge step toward saving money and being more profitable."

And getting a handle on profitability is a key focus of SMS workshops, according to Leeann and Winnie. "It is such a reality check," Leeann exclaims. "I know people out there who are afraid to charge a price that makes them profitable, but if you undercut yourself, it's like paying your clients for allowing you to be a photographer."

Winnie and Leeann say they also learned a lot about product design, packaging and effectively using sales consultations. "By using sales consultations, I believe we'll be showcasing what we can offer. And packaging our products into lines will make it much easier for our clients to buy more," Leeann points out.

Julia Woods, one of the SMS instructors, won high praise from the Greers with her in-depth knowledge of product packaging. "She is what I aspire to," says Leeann.

The Greers were also impressed with the knowledge of other SMS staff and their overall willingness to do whatever it took to make the experience an enriching and enjoyable one. "They were just great--it wasn't only about photography. It was about us personally, too, and they really delved into our particular situation and business. They weren't just teaching us; they were looking at our individual needs."

Full of enthusiasm as they implement what they learned from SMS, the Greers are looking forward to the rest of 2010. "We are applying what we learned and reviewing the way we do everything. The SMS workshop opened our eyes about where we've been and where we need to go."

If you'd like to learn more about SMS workshops or to register, visit for course descriptions, requirements and schedules.

Three-day workshops like the Greers attended are scheduled for Orange County, Calif. (July 26-28) and for Atlanta, Ga. (November 8-10). Two-day Business Basics workshops are available in Houston, Texas (June 26-27) and in Atlanta (November 6-7).

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on May 18, 2010 7:32 PM.

"No Excuses" Attitude Helps Award-Winning Photographer Perfect His Craft was the previous entry in this blog.

Fisheye Connect to Launch June 1st is the next entry in this blog.

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