Ad image

PPA Today

If you are a professional photographer looking to expand your reach on social media. . . Tuesday's free webinar is for you!

In this webinar, Todd Lewis, Charles Lewis, and Tom Morelli will teach you how to use Facebook to bring in clients and!

If you're frustrated at all right now that you don't have as many photography customers (or not as many GOOD photography customers) and you want the fastest, cheapest, and most effective way to bring them in right now - this live, online event is for you. 

These are the UP-TO-THE-MINUTE Facebook techniques for photography marketing - the stuff working RIGHT NOW. No worrying about "did that work two years ago, but not now?" We want you to be able to act on these secrets immediately and start booking more clients as soon as within a few hours of attending

This webinar is FREE and open to all FEB. 20th ONLY, so register now and tune in at 2:00 pm ET.

Oh, and if you're a member of PPA, you'll be able to replay this and any PPA webinar at your leisure and as many times you wish (videos uploaded about two weeks after original webinar date)! Block your calendar and learn how to use Facebook the right way!


By Chris Homer

As we head into the weekend, take some time to enjoy our favorite photography blog posts
Thumbnail image for top10blogroundup.jpg
 from around the web. 

BLOGGING/MARKETING: Do you have a blog? How often do you update it? Learn the value of blogging about your photography and how it can help bring in business in this article from Professional Photographer Magazine.

POST-CAPTURE: Do you need some help turning a mediocre image into something great? Check out this post from the Corbell Workshops blog. Photographer Tony Corbell demonstrates how you can improve a mediocre image using one of his own photographs as an example. If you want even more advice from Tony, check out his PPAedu classes!

COPYRIGHT: Google has announced plans to change its image search to make it harder for people to steal copyrighted photographs for their own use. Read the news over at Fstoppers. And while we're on the subject of copyright, be sure to visit and help us let Congress know about the need for reform in copyright law! 

FILM PHOTOGRAPHY: If you think shooting with film is dead, think again! "The Analogue Photography Series: Film is Still Alive" is a short documentary demonstrating the power of photographing with film. Check it out on The Phoblographer. 

BUSINESS: Your photography business may be doing great at the moment, but do you have plans for the future if things change? This post from Fstoppers shares some good advice on planning for the future so you can maintain your success! 

PHOTOGRAPHING THE OLYMPICS/JUST FOR FUN: Here's a cool behind-the-scenes look at photographing the Olympics. PetaPixel has posted a collection of photos of Canon and Nikon's gear storage rooms at the Olympics. The amount of equipment may shock you!

TUTORIAL/SPLIT-TONING: Split toning is an overlooked feature in Lightroom and other image editing programs, but it can do a lot to help you save an image you aren't happy with! Learn how to use it in this tutorial from Digital Photography School. 

PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY: This video from photographer Manny Ortiz shares portrait photography mistakes to avoid. Whether you're new to the photography business or a seasoned pro, these are good reminders to keep in mind when creating a portrait! 

TRAVELING WITH GEAR: Traveling with your gear is a pain for any photographer, but this post from Improve Photography is here to help! Check out their 10 tips for making traveling with gear as painless as possible. 

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY: There can be many pitfalls for a wedding photographer, and this video from This Week in Photo shares 3 of the worst you'll want to avoid. There's valuable advice here for any wedding photographer!

There you have 'em, our weekly blog post roundup! What photography blogs or podcasts do YOU follow? Post your favorites on theLoop or email them to us at

ch_headshot_100x100.jpgAbout the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.


Thumbnail image for iStock-590165020-thumb-300x200-4090.jpg
By David Eun

Drones are here and ready to take your photography to new heights - literally! But, we have to be honest with ourselves and realize they are complex, expensive pieces of equipment; it's not a toy (per se). We mention this because PPA wants to ensure all of our drone photographers fully understand the ins-and-outs of drone capabilities and limitations to ensure safety and fun!

So, how do you fly a drone?

PPAedu presents Flying Your Drone, hosted by returning faces Randy Braun and Stacy Garlington! From preflight safety checklists to how to land, the duo overviews every detail in regards to effectively taking phenomenal photos from the skies. Check it out now!

The only way to access these helpful videos is through your PPA membership. As a PPA member you can access these videos anywhere, anytime. Between PPAedu and PhotoVision, photographers who have a PPA membership can tap into hundreds of programs to help them Be More! Get full access to all the PPAedu and PhotoVision videos.


When you put your blood, sweat and tears into creating a masterpiece that showcases your uniqueness, the last thing you want is your work being improperly used or even stolen, especially if your art is your livelihood.  Unfortunately, many professional photographers of all backgrounds and fields deal with copyright infringement every day.

copyright pic.bmp

Granted, those who have high enough incomes predominantly benefit from today's current laws, but the same can't be said for the average professional, like Eric. Check out Eric's story on the battle for the rights to his own image:

Eric is an illustrator and cartoonist in San Diego, CA, and creates graphic novels. His graphic novels are registered and published in print. Eric discovered that someone had scanned his entire printed graphic novel, Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships, and was offering it for free digital download on a website that had many infringed comics, web comics, and graphic novels.

Other rights-holders had sent DMCA takedown notices to the website, and the infringers had posted the DMCA takedown notices with snide and defiant comments such as "You can't do anything about it."

The legal recourse he would have sought, had he been able to sue the infringer, would have been to enforce the takedown from the infringer's website, destroy the unauthorized digital file, and collect actual damages including a licensing fee for usage and potential lost profits from the number of illegal downloads; largely dependent upon discovery of number of illegal downloads from the website.

This story and many others are the reason that a Small Claims process can be a game-changer for photographers and creative artists. It will help them enforce their copyright in cost-effective and efficient ways. We need everyone to support Small Claims at!


675 PPA photographers quietly kicked off this year's first PPA Business Challenge in February. The next chance to join is April and you can sign up now at
The Business Challenge helps photographers improve their business by building a stronger foundation with a focus on sustainability and profitability over the course of one year. It takes place on theLoop, PPA's exclusive social media network. The February group has already experienced two weeks of business-challenge assignments and with Q&A webinars, inspiration, check-ins, recaps, and mark-your-calendar alerts, it's a great way to confidently build your business and not go it alone! 

#1 No-nonsense business advice 

Led by PPA Director of Education Angela Kurkian, the Business Challenge is THE place to come for small-business help specifically developed for photographers. It is a sound framework to help PPA photographers steer their studios in the right direction. Don't be afraid to take the Challenge! Kurkian explains, "A lot of the things (the participants) are nervous about are things that being a member of PPA will help with (i.e. pricing, marketing, value through certification, and becoming better at the craft of photography through photographic competition)." 

#2 Peer-to-peer support & accountability 

The Business Challenge was developed to help hold photographers accountable in their attempts to improve their studios. One of the most popular and rewarding components of the Business Challenge in that regard are the questions and answers on theLoop, where Kurkian poses questions to the group for an honest, frank discussion among peers. The questions can be complex, or as simple as "What are you afraid of?" 

Here are some examples of the candid answers pulled from the group:

Q: What are you afraid of? What stops you from taking action? 

"Will people value me?"

"My biggest fear is that I'm going to fail and look like a complete fool for even trying. I worry that my work isn't worth anything, that my peers view me as just another mom with a camera, and that I won't earn their respect; and I worry that I'll never find a client that values my work."

"I worry that maybe I AM talented but I'll let my fears squander it away or that my lack of business acumen will outweigh that talent."

"People will not pay our prices and will go with cheaper alternatives. People do not value our art or our time. My phone will stop ringing. We won't be able to afford/maintain our lifestyle."

But don't get too bogged down in the muck of negativity! Sharing with your peers is a wonderful way to see how alike we all are. Once these obstacles have been identified, it's only a matter of banding together and learning how to stomp it out with knowledge, hard work, and support from PPA and your peers. We're all in this together! 

#3 Safe practice for your own business

PPA is constantly developing new curriculum, offering webinars and advice to inspire and ignite the Business Challenge participants, and pushing them to greater success as artists and business people. 

Check back in a couple weeks, where we see what's going on with February's group one full month in... maybe some of their fears will be alleviated? (Spoiler alert: They will be!) Sign up now for the April class! It's your turn to take control of your business and Be More! Sign up for free at

Thumbnail image for 20182-gary-hughes-headshot__large.jpg

by Mayo Lawal

Do you have a blog? If you do, how regularly do you publish articles on your blog?

If you're wondering what these questions have to do with your photography business, you may want to check out this story in Professional Photographer magazine on how maintaining a regularly updated blog could help draw more attention to your business.

Read on Your Blog is a Mighty Magnet by


If you are a professional photographer, you are a business owner, and as such you need to protect your work, and also ensure your clients are getting what they need. Here are 10 'need to know' guidelines to think about specifically for contracts between a client and a professional photographer. 

1. Have One! Always Sign a Contract!


The first rule of thumb for protecting your work is have a contract and have it signed. You may think that you don't have to worry about contracts -- that stating everything clearly and upfront is enough. Unfortunately, that's  never enough. People will forget what you say, and some people can even be unscrupulous when it comes to things like this. You need to protect yourself and your work. The best way is to get it all down in writing. This might seem like a daunting task, but don't worry! There are many options as to contract templates for any type of event or situation, you just need to choose the one that best works for you.

Professional Photographers of America provides lots of useful contract and model release templates for free! Consider joining today for a lot more resources that will help you be more protected and more profitable. 

2. Keep Your Contract Simple and Clear!

If you can't find a template that has everything you need on it, or you're just not satisfied with the wording, you can always edit them or create your own. If you create your own, it's always good practice to have a licensed attorney take a look, especially since laws differ from state to state. When you do this, make things as simple and clear as you can. It can seem a bit intimidating, but it doesn't need to be. Start by making a list of everything you need to include, like pricing, timeframes, revisions, and payment methods. You can add other things depending on the situation or event, just cover all the pertinent information, and make sure that both you and your client are covered. The best contracts cover all the bases clearly so that the artist and the client both feel comfortable with signing it.

3. Make it Easy to Read

Your contract doesn't need to be a convoluted mess of big words and phrases. You shouldn't need to include a dictionary when you present it to prospective clients. Don't get too wordy with legal jargon, and make sure that the people signing it understand exactly what you are proposing for the potential job. It's always a good idea to be mindful of the fact that if you aren't a lawyer, and you can read it and understand what it's saying, then the client probably can, too. Still, make sure they know it's okay to clarify things if they need to. Just make it easy for them to ask you.

4. Make it Yours - Adapt the Language to Your Services 

Your work is unique and stands out; that's why you are marketable. Your contracts should be as uniquely yours as your work is. There are several ways to make a contract "yours." Here are a few:

  • Create a unique letterhead
  • Include your pricing, payment options and timeframes
  • Make your own schedule and timeline based on your work habits
  • Create different contracts based on events or client needs
All of these things, when added in, will help make the contract unique to you and your client's requirements.

5. Document Changes (Make Sure You Have a Paper/Email Trail)

No matter how thorough you are about writing your contract, there will be times when the unexpected happens. Life, nature, and even equipment can all be a factor in things changing at a moment's notice. When these things affect you to the point that changes need to be made in the contract, things can get tricky. But you can still keep everything under control if you just document every change that has been made. Changes that should be well documented include:

  • Changes in deadlines
  • Pay schedules
  • Any modifications made to the original contract
Avoid unnecessary stress by keeping things organized from the start. For example, there are times when changes have to be made and agreed upon via email. When this happens, keep all emails relating to revisions in a unique, label each client's folder clearly so they can be accessed easily, and not accidently deleted. If possible, also have your client sign off on changes (electronic signatures will suffice).

6. Discuss Payment/Pricing and Terms of Your Services

Pricing and payment can be a difficult subject, especially if you haven't clearly defined your brand's worth, but it is one of the most important parts of the con It can't be overlooked, or glossed over. Pricing and payment terms need to be laid out clearly. Once you have decided how much your work and particular brand is worth, you need to cover how you will get paid in the contract. It can be broken down so you get a percentage of the payment up front, and some full payment after all work is completed, or in steps throughout the process. It's up to you, but make sure it is stated clearly. Some things to consider when covering pricing are:

  • How much is to be paid
  • When it is to be paid (include the terms and payment over time options, if applicable)
  • How payment will be accepted
  • If there is a grace period on any payment due date
  • Consider if money paid upfront is a retainer or a deposit (varies by state, most are retainer)

7. Have a Model Release


Often times, photographers work with models. This adds an entirely different element to the process. Whenever you are photographing a live subject, have them sign a release. If you don't, it may come back and bite you in the end. People can be very particular about having their images or likeness spread around. But if you have a model release clearly stating that you own the copyright for your work, also include purposes the image may be used for (marketing/social media/competitions, etc.). Phrases like "including, but not limited to" also help, within reason.

For customizable model releases and access to plenty of copyright resources, consider becoming a member of Professional Photographers of America (PPA).

8. Copyright and Release

When covering copyright and licensing laws it can be confusing, and a little tricky to navigate. This is where it would be prudent for you to do some research. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you want to be able to do with your art, and what you will allow others to do with it. It's important to establish that you own the copyright for your work, and that you decide how it will be shared. There are many resources published by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) where copyright laws are covered. Knowing and understanding the laws will ensure that you and your work are covered as well. A quick visit to PPA's copyright resources can be helpful (and free!), but when it doubt, it's always prudent to check with a local copyright attorney for a contract review. 

9. Get. Your. Contract. Signed!

iStock_000009588868Large (1280x853).jpg

We cannot emphasize enough how pointless it is to have a contract if it is not signed. Until you have signatures from your clients showing they agree to the terms and conditions, your contract is just a piece of paper. A signature from your client shows you are hired, and a signature from you commits you to the job, and confirms that you are the righteous copyright owner. So... GET. IT. SIGNED!

10. Jointly Review the Contract, and Update It as Needed

As a final step, make sure you review all the important details of the contract with your clients, and update anything that needs to be updated. Make sure that all the bases are covered to avoid any conflicts or confusion later. For any updates that need to be made, refer back to point number 5, document them, and keep those updates well organized and accessible.

Having a contract does not just protect you and your work. It is every bit as important to your clients, making them feel that their investments are well protected. Your clients should be just as happy and comfortable with the arrangements as you are. Keep these 10 guidelines in mind to keep happy clients, while protecting yourself and your work as well.

Looking for a contract or model release template? PPA has created the basics to start you off. Give it a try! Interested in finding out about all the other benefits that PPA has to offer its members? Check out the photographers' bullet list of benefits, perks, and savings that come with being a part of Professional Photographers of America, and then consider joining today!

Editor's Note: This article was originally published October 2017. It has been edited for updates and accuracy.

By Chris Homer

If you're a photographer in PPA's Northeast District, the last chance to enter your images for
 district photo competition is February 15, by 5pm ET. The early registration already closed, so a late fee will be applied, yet what you'll get out of competing makes it worth the little extra money!

Participating in your local district photographic competition is one of the best ways to push yourself to be more. You'll learn where you stand--how your photography matches up with your peers. You'll learn about the 12 elements of a merit image, and start incorporating them into your daily photography. You'll learn what it takes to create a merit image, and if you stick with it, work your way up to the Loan Collection.

If you're ready to enter and improve your skills, visit to find out which competition you should enter. From there, you can find the entry deadlines, judging dates, and rules for each District competition. Be sure to read the rules carefully!  

If you really want to get the most from entering photographic competition, be sure to order a critique when registering! You'll get a recording of a PPA juror reviewing each element of your image and suggesting how you can improve. It's a great opportunity to grow your skills as a photographer! Check out these past critiques to see what you'll get. 

And if you're in the Northeast District, remember that February 15 is your very last chance to enter. Don't miss out on the chance to improve your photography skills!

Ready to compete? Visit to find your District Photographic Competition and details on how to enter!

ch_headshot_100x100.jpgAbout the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.


If you are in the Northcentral District, procrastinate no further; February 14, 2018 is the last day to enter your local District Photo Competition without incurring additional fees!  So, enter today and save money!


Participating in your local district competition is one of the best ways to push yourself to be more. You'll learn where you stand--how your photography matches up with your peers. You'll learn about the 12 elements of a merit image, and start incorporating them into your daily photography. You'll learn what it takes to create a merit image, and if you stick with it, work your way up to the Loan Collection.

To find out more about how to enter and improve your skills, visit From there, you can find the entry deadlines, rules, and judging dates for each District competition. Be sure to read the rules carefully!  

If you miss the deadline, you'll still be able to enter the competition until March 1 but an additional fee will be required, which can be avoided if you enter today


PPA's District Photographic Competitions are currently accepting entries, and the International Photographic Competition (IPC) will start accepting entries on May 23. Entering your District Competition or the IPC is one of the best ways to improve your photography - especially when you choose to get your images critiqued by an official IPC juror. You'll get a recording of a judge going through each image you've entered in the photo competition, explaining how it stacks up against the 12 elements of a winning image, and what you could have done to take your image to the next level if you fell a little short!

To give you an idea of the types of things you can learn from a critique at IPC or your District Competition, check out this one from last year's competition. This is "Saint for a Day" by Joel Dyer, critiqued by Andrew Jenkins.

Having a judge take time to give you personal advice on how to improve a specific image is a priceless opportunity to take your images to the next level!

Visit to learn how to enter your District Competition, and remember that entries open for the IPC on May 23! Start getting those images ready and remember to order a critique when entering!


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

Live Chat is closed