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By Autumn Rice

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Fall is upon us and business is about to boom, but you still have some pertinent questions about clients, pricing, equipment and more.  Don't fret, just post your questions on theLoop and watch the answers flood in! This photographer-only forum for PPA members is the perfect way to give and receive help on all of your photography questions. Don't be shy! Head on over to the theLoop, and get answers to some of your most pressing questions.

Are you a first-time Imaging USA attendee looking for advice? Join this discussion on theLoop to get advice from photographers who have previously been to Imaging USA. Learn what to expect, how to get the best experience, and the best outfits for the occasion. Find out all you need to know about Imaging USA from your fellow photographers!

This photographer is changing her strategy when it comes to a client's wardrobe, but she's a little nervous. The client wants to wear black clothes, and other dark colors, which could affect the photos.  Give her advice about lighting techniques that may make her session a little easier.

One Looper is looking to combine his passions for photography and food, but he needs some help. If you have any advice about the craft, classes, or books that he could use, post it in this discussion post on theLoop!

This Looper has problems shooting large ethnically diverse groups and getting inconsistent colors. She's tried several different methods, but none get the job done. Have any advice? Share it in this post, and see what others recommend.

The speaker schedule for Imaging USA 2017 has been released, and there's a thread on theLoop dedicated to discussing what you're most excited about attending. Join the conversation and network with fellow photographers who want to attend the same events as you!

A Looper has a question about the difference between formatting memory cards and wiping them. Which one is better? If you have any advice or education about the topic, post what you know in the discussion thread.

One photographer has questions about her vision, and which lenses to buy after having her cataracts removed.  If you've been through the same situation or have any advice, lend it to the discussion!

See The Difference has many resources available to help photographers Be More. Check out this discussion thread on theLoop about what See The Difference can do for you, and how to get the most of this PPA member benefit that's included in your membership.

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By Autumn Rice

PPA photographers are a diverse group of people who begin as friends, but ultimately become family. Through connecting with one another and sharing experiences, they provide a support that contradicts the thought of being in business alone. PPA's YouTube video series, Behind The Camera, features professional photographers who share their trials and tribulations, and their relationship within the PPA community. Today, Trish Logan pitches in. 

None of these interviews are scripted or paid for. These are real photographers, members of PPA, who value and share the power of their PPA community. 

In this video Trish Logan shares the value of See The Difference resources, and how they increase the credibility of her business with her clients.


Help your photography friends and share this video. The power of being involved and deeply connected goes beyond professional development. It's a support system no one should be left without. You can also view a full playlist of the Behind The Camera Video series on PPA's YouTube channel and learn more about See The Difference here.

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By Autumn Rice

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A PPA membership offers hundreds of dollars in savings and discounts and offers a vast amount of business and photography education to help you Be More. 

PPAedu gives you a personalized education program (a $600/year value!), 24/7, at no extra cost for those who are members of PPA. Here are five ways to get strong professional development while saving a ton of cash thanks to your PP membership:

1. PPAedu's online tutorials and webinars cover everything when it comes to photography and business, including marketing and branding, building rapport with clients, and industry game-changers, like drones. 

2. The Assessment tool allows you to develop a personalized curriculum that you can update as your skills grow and as you watch more and more of the PPAedu content! It's the best way to be more proactive and constantly develop your talent!

3. PhotoVisionVideo.com (brought to you by PPA) has an enormous library of videos and tutorials to help you learn the best techniques and best practices to help improve your photography business. You'll get real-life advice from the industry's leading wedding, family, pet, and senior portrait photographers. 

4. Super 1 Day classes are face-to-face photography workshops taught by professional photographers for professional photographers, all across the country, and for two weeks in both spring and fall. In these small-group sessions you'll learn everything from retouching and workflow, lighting and posing, to portrait and wedding photography, and sales and marketing strategies. 

5. The Business Challenge is a fun and interactive way for PPA members to understand and implement the basic business principles needed to maintain a suitable studio. Participants get advice from some of the industry's most successful photographers about everything from setting sales goals to creating appropriates sales and marketing strategies, and tons of other topics.
 
When you join PPA you also get a huge perk, was your first year of registration for Imaging USA is FREE! 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 tradeshow floor. Over 10,000 photographers attend to be taught by the industry's best! Next year's Imaging USA will be held January 5-10, 2017 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. Register to attend here!

If you are a PPA member, remember to take advantage of all of the savings that come with your membership. If you're not a member, what are you waiting for?! All of these savings are here for you. All you have to do is to join. It takes only a minute and is super affordable: only $27.92 a month! Other businesses charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars for the information, education, networking and resources that PPA members get... essentially for free! 

Keeping money in your pockets in a lot of ways is just one more thing PPA does to help photographers be more profitable!

Visit PPA.com/Benefits to see all the ways you can save with PPA!

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By Autumn Rice

At some point things will go wrong. It's inevitable: data gets deleted, cameras fall, and clients get angry. So what do you do? You protect yourself with insurance from PPA! From equipment to liability, medical to dental, or even drones, PPA has all of your business's insurance needs covered.

So, how are you covered?

PhotoCare and PhotoCare Plus are versions of equipment insurance. PhotoCare is included with your membership and covers up to $15,000 in damages for off premises or on location shooting, worldwide coverage, computer hardware, and theft of equipment. PhotoCare PLUS is available for members to purchase and covers up to $100,000 on the same damages as PhotoCare, in addition to coverage for mysterious disappearance and non-PPA member employee coverage. For more details on the difference between PhotoCare and PhotoCare PLUS, click here.

General Liability insures damages to the property of others, bodily injury as a result of your business activities, and personal injury. With Indemnification Trust, your business will Be More Protected with thousands in savings on legal fees and data protection, equipment malfunction and malpractice coverage, and even coverage for unsatisfied clients. 

And as small business owners, it's important to have medical and dental insurance available for both you and your employees! PPAexchange is designed with you, the photographer, in mind with a diverse range of options, decision making assistance and more! Take a look around and see what best suits your company's needs today!

Explore the range of insurance options that are available to you through a PPA membership, and help your business Be More Protected!

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By Autumn Rice

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theLoop is the photographer-only forum for PPA members. It's a perfect way to network, and get photography advice from your peers. Have a photography question? Post it on theLoop and watch the answers flood in! PPA photographers want to get to know and help each other, so don't be shy. Head on over to the theLoop and connect with your fellow photographers, and get answers to some of your most pressing questions. 

Here's an example of one of this week's questions!

Q: I hope to have my web site finalized in the next month but have been going back and forth about pricing structure.  Part of me wants to Not be a discount service. I want to do more boutique is the plan.  -Ryan Berman

Hi Ryan, 
I think the answer to your question really depends on what you're basing your pricing on. Speaking from personal experience, giving all those photos edited to the client is a nice gesture, but it's not worth the time unless you're getting paid for each one. Looking at the competition's prices definitely has its place in marketing, but if it's the only thing you look at your business probably won't succeed. Here's a link that I found to be very helpful when setting my own prices: How much should photographers charge in 2016?. The article also has a link to a calculator that was very useful to me in figuring out my expenses. I hope that helps!  -Christopher Harrison 

Hey Ryan, 
Have you checked out the PPA business challenge? Angela Kurkian (Director of the PPA education department) actually has a section in the challenge where she goes over pricing. She'll be starting a new one in September, and I think having a question like this makes you a great candidate for the challenge.
Check out the Pricing Strategy Webinar we have out on PPAedu and the Self Assessment tool which will ask a series of questions, and make recommendations. If you would like to be added to the September Business Challenge, let me know and we will take care of it.  -DJ Adams

Ryan,
You have to look at your cost of doing business when you're setting your portrait prices. The PPA Benchmark Survey summary is a very good place to start in understanding your business and how you should be pricing for profit.
Business portraits (headshots) are a very different market from high school seniors and families. In my business, there's a flat fee for business headshots ($149) that includes one finished image and a broad package of usage rights, with the image delivered as a digital file in sizes for print and web. If the client wants more than one finished image there's an additional charge of $30 to cover the retouch and finishing time.
I don't understand the business model for seniors and families that you're considering: flat fee that includes a lot of retouched images. It's very appealing to clients, but doesn't serve you very well as a business person. Think carefully about how much time you'll spend retouching each image. Even if you can do a nice job in 7 minutes, multiply that by 60 images and you've got 420 minutes of intense retouching time in the job. That's 7 hours of work on top of your session time. If you need to earn $50/hour then that's $350 just for your time. Follow the PPA benchmark guidelines for a 25% cost of goods, and you've marked up your time by a factor of four to get $1400 you need to be charging your client, plus your session fee.
Personally, I couldn't stand spending 7 hours retouching one client's images. I'd go mentally bonkers and destroy my body from sitting at a computer that long.
When I started down the path to portrait photography I spent 3 days in PPA's SMS Business Workshop. It was well worth the trip to Atlanta. We spent a full day on pricing. I haven't looked recently, but I presume those classes are still being offered. -Mark Turner

Check in with theLoop to see what other photographers are posting, and how you may be able to help them!

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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 PPA.com/Benefits to see all the ways you can save with PPA!

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How and Why the Business Challenge started.
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In 2015, PPA had an idea for a case study. A group of five photography mentors and I took on the challenge of working with two studio owners to help them transform their businesses. We not only wanted to help these two entrepreneurs, we also wanted to learn from them by documenting the challenges they faced, the changes they underwent and how both they and their businesses thrived. The "Studio Makeover" was initiated and our goal was to take all the information we were using to help our makeover participants and bring it to PPA members to learn from as well. 

We did this through the entire year of 2015 with live webinars, blog posts and even personal video updates. Then, at Imaging USA 2016, all eight of us took the stage and revealed each studio's final numbers, shared their biggest "a-ha" moments and discussed their transformation from both a business and personal perspective.  

Leading up to Imaging USA, as I was putting together the program for the rest of the team, I had my own "a-ha" moment. We were about to share some extraordinary moments and information as both studios made amazing leaps forward...but we didn't have anything in place for the attendees who might want to do their own "studio makeover." 

Well, I shouldn't say we didn't have anything because PPA has a plethora of educational tools available to members: the Benchmark Study, PPAedu's online education platform with more than 350 video classes, PhotoVision with over 800 episodes, Square One, downloads, Professional Photographer magazine, specialty courses for CPP and IPC, etc. As you can see, we have quite a lot of knowledge to offer and perhaps that works against us a bit. It can be a little overwhelming. Which brings me to my point...we didn't have anything/anyone tying it all together, giving it to photographers in an order that could easily be digested, and helping you as you needed it. 

So the idea for the Business Challenge was born.

Literally, right before Imaging USA, at our busiest time of the year, I was asking other departments to help me implement a brand new concept. And everyone here jumped in to help make it a reality, so that by Imaging USA itself we were able to let people know they could sign up for their very own studio makeover through PPA's Business Challenge. (Huge thank you's to our Marketing, Membership and I.T. teams for all of their hard work.)

I had an idea. I had the recently completed PPA Business Guide to use as an outline. I had the Square One tool to share. I had amazing friends and mentors who were willing to be part of this project. I had (and have) a strong desire to help photographers as entrepreneurs learn how to build profitable and sustainable businesses so they can live their dream. That was it. 

I didn't have a long syllabus. I didn't have a very exact plan for how to execute all of it. I was still learning how best to use theLoop platform as our means of communication. But I knew that if I waited to put it all together first, things would be missing anyway. You would be missing. All that I've learned from you, each and every group, would not have happened. And your questions and ideas and support are the actions that propel the Business Challenge forward.

PPA's Business Challenge is, by design, a living thing. 

No two groups are alike. The February 2016 group is very different from the June 2016 group. The curriculum, while similar, is not identical because conversations sway the topics and move them in a variety of directions. Questions are asked and answered. Friendships are born. Mentors are invited who generously share their experience and knowledge. While the foundation of knowledge of the Business Challenge is all the same, and it is scalable to a large group, the unique experience of each group is shaped by those who are involved.

I've written in a few different places that it's important to show up and be present in the conversations that take place in this 12-month program. It was not intended to simply be a place where information and assignments are posted. It can be, if that's what you want, but I want to give you so much more. I want you to feel part of something bigger; I want to give you accountability; I want you to meet and be inspired by some of the smartest people out there; I want to give you the opportunity to share your knowledge; I want you to remember why YOU are doing all this hard work in the first place; and I want you to build a body of knowledge that will propel you so much further.


I'm so glad you're here,
Angela


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Angela Kurkian is PPA's Director of Education







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by James Yates
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It's time to alert your non-PPA member friends. Each month, one PPAedu video is unlocked for everyone to enjoy, because we believe in spreading the wealth of education that PPA members have at their fingertips! The PPAedu library has a lot to help you sharpen your photography techniques, marketing strategies, sales techniques and business operations. These tutorials and educational videos are available 24/7 at no cost as a benefit to PPA members. Between PPAedu and PhotoVision, you can tap into over a thousand programs to help you Be More! If you haven't checked out PhotoVision, take a look. There's a new website with a slew of new episodes!

For the month of June, the video Photoshop: Retouching for Beauty with PPA Instructor Jen Hillenga, M.Photog.Cr. has been unlocked. In this video, Jen teaches you how to enhance your subject's beauty, using some quick and easy Photoshop tricks. You'll first go through the options you have with Photoshop, like controlling exposure, color, crop and vignette. Then Jen will take you through the steps to use so that you don't go overboard or lose the integrity of your images. Drilling down into specific tools, you will explore vignette creation and blemish removal, using the history brush, adding shadows to naturally enhance, and applying selective blurring techniques for extra effects. In her easy and effective way, Jen breaks this down so that you can take your images from beautiful to breathtaking!

If you're already a member of PPA, just log in anytime to watch the video. This video is unlocked for non-members, this month only, at PPA.com/TryEdu. For full access to PPAedu and PhotoVision programs, join PPA today!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for James.JPGJames 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.


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By Autumn Rice


In 2010, PPA launched a multi-million dollar marketing campaign called See The Difference to help consumers "see the difference" when evaluating photographers and see that hiring a pro is a worthwhile investment. PPA is also helping photographers spread the word to their clients and prospects by giving its members free access to marketing resources like shareable videos, shareable quizzes, logos, custom brochures, dedicated landing pages, consumer tips & FAQs and other marketing materials. 

One of these videos, #PhotoFail, recently aired on Public Broadcast Television (PBS)  stations nationwide. #PhotoFail is a wedding video featuring real brides sharing real life horror stories about wedding day photo fails.  So far, #PhotoFail has aired 891 times in 51% of U.S. households reaching more than 4.5 million viewers. The video has reached viewers in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Alabama, New York, Georgia, and Florida. 

If you're a PPA member, you can upload this video to your website, share it with your clients and prospects on your social media pages. Better yet, play it on a monitor in your waiting room! It's easy to do, watch these instructional videos and see for yourself.

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By James Yates
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As a member of PPA, you've got a virtual suit-of-armor surrounding you. It's the PPA Shield, and it has you covered on all sides.

That's (one of the) the advantages of belonging to an organization that's had photographers backs and that helps you be more profitable. PPA's protection benefits include various forms of insurance, advocacy and education:

•    Up to $15,000 of PhotoCare Equipment Insurance

•    Malpractice, Negligence & Data Loss Protection (PPA's Indemnification Trust)

•    Up to $2 million in General Liability Coverage

•    Copyright Kit, Copyright Infringement Tool, & Advocacy Updates 

•    Drone (UAS) News & Updates

When stuff hits the fan, and it always, inevitably does, professional photographers know that they have a strong shield protecting them with their PPA membership. The three forms of photographic insurance combine to keep you fully protected no matter what the situation. If you break your camera or it's stolen from your car? Be sure you've activated your PhotoCare! Have an unsatisfied client or did you lose all the data on your hard drive? PPA's Indemnification Trust is like malpractice protection for professional photographers. Did someone get hurt or something get destroyed on your shoot? General Liability Coverage can handle that.

You also need a way to cut through the clutter surrounding legal issues and PPA has positioned itself as the top authority on all things Drone and Copyright-related. For instance, did you know that it is only currently legal to operate a drone as a hobbyist? If you're using your drone for commercial or civil use, you must have an FAA exemption and a pilot's license. Didn't know that? It's just one more way PPA wants to keep you informed, in order to keep you legally protected. PPA consistently brings you updates from the FAA, and lobbies for the relaxing of commercial-drone-use. This summer should bring the changes we've been waiting for. Head over to PPA.com/Drones for all the latest details.

Stay up-to-date on all the progress PPA is making on Copyright issues and the implementation of new copyright law at PPA.com/Advocacy. Feel like you've been infringed upon or had your works of art stolen? PPA will protect you with our Copyright Kit and new self-assessment tool at PPA.com/Copyright. The new tool is a great way to learn how to proceed if you feel your photos have been lifted. It's easy to use, quick and painless...because having your work stolen is painful enough!

The next time you're feeling vulnerable or overwhelmed by everything life can throw at a small business owner, lean on your PPA membership and feel secure. Let PPA Be Your Shield! Find out how you and your photography business can Be More Protected with PPA! PPA.com/Protection.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for James.JPGJames 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.


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This page is a archive of recent entries in the PPA Member Benefits category.

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