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PPA Today

By Chris Homer

Have you visited theLoop recently? As an exclusive, PPA member-only forum, theLoop is a
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 great place for members to connect with each other, share information/advice, get image feedback, and overall - a place to go if you need help. Become a member so you can "stay in the loop" with theLoop, and if you already are, then head over to theLoop to see what everyone's buzzing about. 

Lots of great discussions have been happening, so here are a few of the top posts from July. Check them out, provide some feedback, and perhaps even learn something new!

What are your opinions on Sony's Mirrorless cameras? Chime in and see what other photographers think, especially if you're considering buying one!

In this thread, PPA members share their Instagram handles to connect and support each other! Don't be shy, add yours to the growing list!

One photographer is having challenges getting the lighting right using a Sekonic Sekonic/Pocket Wizard Light Meter L-478DR and a Nikon D750 Camera. See if you can help out - or if you're having the same problem, learn possible solutions!

And there you have 'em, the top posts from theLoop! Remember to check out theLoop frequently as new discussions are posted daily. It's a great way to catch up with fellow PPA members! Not a PPA member? Join today!


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.

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By Chris Homer

One of the best ways to enhance your skills as a photographer is by viewing the more than 500 video tutorials available on PhotoVisionVideo.com from top photographers in the business. Don't believe it? Check out the newest video titled "Do Not Compare Yourself" with Sue Bryce!

In this video, Sue shares her experience as a public figure and offers advice for facing criticism in a constructive manner. She offers steps for building an audience and reputation while suggesting that the photographer's focus should be on the service provided rather than the validation received.

PhotoVision is included for FREE with your PPA membership. So, what are you waiting for? Head over to PhotoVisionVideo.com to begin streaming classes today! Not a member? Join PPA today and get FREE access to all the videos!


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.

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by Trent Schick

As important as the quality of your photos is, sales are essential to a sustainable business. And understanding how to make the sale is often where photographers struggle the most.

Sit down with Melanie Anderson, CPP, as she shares the tips that make her successful in sales. She explains a five-step process to ignite sales, providing real situations and useful techniques.

Start selling more to your clients by reading "5 Ways to Ignite Sales" on PPMag.com!

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You may already have the art of photography down, but is your business where you'd like it to be? If you find yourself wanting to learn how to boost your bottom line, the PPA Business Challenge is for you! 

The Business Challenge provides photography business owners with the information and tools they need to develop the foundation for a more profitable business over the course of one year. Not only do participants receive the tools required to make changes to their business, but also step-by-step instruction and support from PPA mentors as they implement these changes. The very last Business Challenge group of the year starts August 1, so enroll today!

We all know that photographers are entrepreneurs, small business owners with a passion for their craft. We also know that, more often than not, many photographers open their studios as artists, not having gone to business school, nor carrying a finance background. It is part of PPA's mission, as a nonprofit, to help our members understand and implement the basic business principles needed to maintain a sustainable studio. 

The Business Challenge is meant to be a fun, interactive way for PPA members to integrate as much business acumen as they can in one year's time. There is work involved, as this "challenge" is meant for photographers who are serious about wanting to take their business to the next level. Participants will have tasks to complete and the opportunity to be active members of accountability groups and peer-to-peer mentoring. 

"PPA's business advice is based on years of experience and successful business mentoring," says Angela Kurkian, M.Photog.Cr., CPP and Director of Education at PPA. "The Business Challenge helps our members be more business-confident. It helps them think and strategize as a savvy business person." 

Kurkian led a presentation on the Business Challenge (pictured above) and its first year at this year's Imaging USA in San Antonio. Titled "4 Things You Need to Know to Be Successful", the group panel included Gregory Daniel, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, F-ASP; Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API; and participants from the previous year's Business Challenge. 

As an example of the kinds of takeaways you'll gain from the Challenge, they presented these four steps to success... 

  1. #CreateABusinessModelThatWorks: Their first word of advice, and the guiding plan for the upcoming Business Challenge, is to define success for YOU. Making a business plan that works for you and your needs is step one on the road to a successful photography business. Separate qualitative and quantitative goals. Use the Square One tool available through PPA to figure out what your pricing needs are going to be for profitability and sustainability. Remember: the goal is to pay yourself. You are not your business!
  2. Use Your Time Wisely: Your time is limited. There are only so many hours in the day. Know how much time you need and respect it because it's precious. Use PPA's Benchmarks to track where your studio is and trust them to help you prioritize and understand your needs. 
  3. Understand Your Customer's Needs: Begin with the end in mind. Photography is not about the image, it's about what you're going to do with the image. Develop products to sell to your clients that have a purpose. Products that will surprise and delight them. And, finally...
  4. Do the Work: Sounds easiest of all, right? Wrong. You'd be surprised how many people fall down on this sword. But you can stay accountable and get the support you need through PPA's Business Challenge. 

The Business Challenge is free to PPA members and includes tools to understand and develop the foundations of a profitable business with:

  • A step-by-step support system 
  • Answers to the most vital business questions 
  • A personalized success and business plans
  • Lists and guidelines to help prioritize 
  • Inspiration and help to stay focused 
  • A framework to avoid getting overwhelmed 
  • Accountability partners with other photographers with the same challenges 

Want to join the Challenge? Sign up today at PPA.com/Challenge to enroll in the last Challenge Group of 2017, which begins in August, and spend the next 12 months working on your personalized success path. Sign up today to begin your Challenge Group and Be More Business Savvy!

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IPC judging begins July 30! As you get ready to stream the competition's judging, you can start to think of ways to step up your game for next year's competition. 

PPA's annual photographic competitions are a great way not only to test, but also enhance your photography skills. This educational opportunity gets even better if you choose to have your images critiqued by one of PPA's jurors. The judges will explain how each of your images, specifically, stacks up against the 12 elements of a winning photograph, and any possible ways you can improve to obtain a higher score.

Check out this critique from last year to get a feel of what to expect. This is Katherine McClure CPP's "Forgotten Treasure" being critiqued by IPC Judge Cary Garrison M.Photog.Cr., CPP. 


So, as you await this year's IPC Judging, you can start thinking of the images you would like to enter for next year's competition! 

Don't forget to stream the competition's judging July 30 - August 2 on Stream.theIPC.org and the IPC Live broadcast July 31 - August 2 on Facebook.com/OurPPA. You can even attend the judging in person FOR FREE at Gwinnett Technical College, Building 100, 5150 Sugarloaf Pkwy, Lawrenceville, GA 30043. There will be signs directing you to the IPC. 
 
Save the dates and be sure that whether you watch online or come pay us a visit, you're guaranteed to learn a lot from this experience.


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By Bethany Clark

Imaging USA 2018 will be here before you know it...three-to-six days of the best in photography learning, networking and partying! It's all going down in the Music City, Nashville, TN, January 14-16, 2018 (Pre-Con classes January 11-13). 

Imaging USA is known far-and-wide as THE place to see some of the best speakers in the photography industry, as they take you on deep-dives into every topic you could want to learn more about. In order to get you even more excited (if that's possible!), PPA is going to spend the next several months highlighting our 2018 Imaging USA speakers. 

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Let's Meet...
Kim Hartz, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Twitter: kimhartzphoto
Instagram: kimhartzphoto

Kim Hartz is a photographer, entrepreneur, consultant, mentor, speaker, and loving mother to two humans and two fur babies. She is an intimate photographer of babies, both with and without fur, and she works diligently to capture her clients' little ones as seen through their eyes. 

Having successfully been in business since 2010, Kim spends her time behind the camera as well as in front of other photographers, helping them find their niche. She is a sought-after speaker and offers one-on-one business coaching, photography mentoring, workshops and online programs. She was a Speaker at Imaging USA in 2016, a multiple-time Super 1 Day instructor, and a speaker at Texas PPA's Photogenesis that same year! 

She stays very involved in Texas PPA and is a Professional Photographers of Houston Guild Member. Whether it's for her clients or her family, her students or her industry, Kim Hartz really DOES do it all!


Speaker Sessions:
Tues January 16
6:15 pm Portrait, Technique


What is your life motto? Definitely this: "If failure is not an option, then neither is success" - Seth Godin. I'm a risk taker. I can't hope and dream; I have to do it. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out, but I at least have to try. That's exactly what I did when I opened my studio in 2010. I took a risk and worked my tail off to make it work, and I now have a very successful business.
What do you most value in your friends? Honesty, sense of humor, and loyalty.
What is your most treasured possession? That's tough... Obviously my family first (including my fur babies). But I would say it's a photo that my Aunt Kathy took of me and my mom when I was about 2 years old.
Coke or Pepsi? Neither for me either. I gave up all soft drinks a long time ago!

Kim Hartz is just one of the many amazing speakers you'll get to meet and learn from at Imaging USA 2018! Registration is open now so take advantage of the Early Bird rates for passes and your hotel! 

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by Mayo Lawal

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It's finally weekend and you deserve some "you time". So, take a break from all that hard work and check out our ten favorite blogs from around the web this week!

FREELANCE LAW:  In May 2017, the city of New York passed the Freelance Isn't Free Act. The Law Tog has this article on how the Act may immensely affect freelance photography in New York and why you should care.  

DRONES PHOTOGRAPHY: Do you know about the Drone Certification program recently launched by PPA? The author of this article outlines the benefits of this unique program, designed to ensure that you are not only legal to fly drones, but also well prepared to take the best pictures.

COPYRIGHT: Photographer Annette Navarro is suing Procter & Gamble, whom she accused of using her photos for several years without paying her. The author of this article tells the story about the lawsuit concerning images that were on Olay packaging all over the world.  

PRICING TECHNIQUE: Figuring out what to charge a client after a shoot can be difficult if you don't have a good pricing system in place. Find out what Wedding Photographer Susan Stripling did to ensure the most cost-effective pricing for her photography sessions. 

LAWSUIT: The battle that began when VHT filed a copyright infringement suit against Zillow Group in 2015 continues. Check out the updates on Digital Photography Review.

TIPS: Drones are becoming more popular, and many photographers are learning to do amazing things with them. The author of this article has some really good tips on how to take breathtaking photos using drones.  

BUSINESS CHALLENGE: The Business Challenge is a fun, interactive program designed to help PPA members reach their business goals and become more profitable. Also, it's FREE! Learn more about the program and how you can easily sign up today.  

TEST: How good are you at spotting fake photos? Find out with this challenging game and a good reality check on Peta Pixel!  

CONFIDENCE: It could take years and years of good work for some photographers to gain confidence in their abilities. Levi Keplar of Fstoppers explains how lack of confidence could hinder success.

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 OnlineContentCommittee@PPA.com.


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Imaging USA 2018 will be here before you know it...three-to-six days of the best in photography learning, networking and partying! It's all going down in the Music City, Nashville, TN, January 14-16, 2018 (Pre-Con classes January 11-13). 

Imaging USA is known far-and-wide as THE place to see some of the best speakers in the photography industry, as they take you on deep-dives into every topic you could want to learn more about. In order to get you even more excited (if that's possible!), PPA is going to spend the next several months highlighting our 2018 Imaging USA speakers.

Let's Meet...
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Keith Dixon
Facebook: keith.b.dixon
Twitter: keithbdixon
Instagram: keithbdixon

Keith B. Dixon is a freelance commercial photographer, specializing in corporate event photography, corporate executive and on-location, group portraits. Throughout his career, he has photographed high profile clients including the U.S. Chief Judges of the U.S. Appellate Courts, several Bay Area Executives and many celebrities from around the world. Keith has also worked with corporate clients across the United States and abroad. He is an Official Ambassador for Dye  Sub Printer Maker DNP Imaging of America, NETGEAR (the number one producer of Networking and Cloud Based Storage), and affiliations to Spider Holster, Think Tank, and Arkon Mounts. He is a legend on social media, known for creating The Keith B. Dixon Zone on Periscope and Facebook Live and is the founding member of the popular BombSquad Photography Community.

In 2015, Keith was ranked #3 in the world as a Cloud-Based Influencer by Onalytica. He also created a series of free workshop for beginning photographers, the Keith B. Dixon Meetups, and somewhere in the midst of all this, still finds time to serve as the PPA Diversity Co-Chairperson within his industry. More than just a photographer or a social media guru, Keith is a true trailblazer, paving the way and educating those coming behind him.   

Speaker Sessions:
Mon, January 15
11:30 am Business

Q&A: 
What is your life motto? Go hard or not at all
What do you value most in your friends? Loyalty
If you could have dinner with any historical figure, who would it be and why? Marcus Garvey and I named my youngest son after him.
What did you want to be as a kid when you grew up? A Business Man
What was your first concert? Chaka Kahn
Coke or Pepsi? Coke all day!

Keith Dixon is just one of the many amazing speakers you'll get to meet and learn from at Imaging USA 2018! Registration is open now so take advantage of the Early Bird rates for passes and your hotel!

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It's been a year since the introduction of the Section 107 drone regulations and many photographers are still extremely excited as more and more of them look to incorporate drones into their businesses. 

Over the past couple of months, PPA has featured break-downs of these Section 107 exemption waivers, providing you with examples as to when you can apply for them and what sort of information to provide to ensure your wavier is processed as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Here is a summary of the waiver-types and how to apply for them!


You can count on PPA to deliver you all the latest news, helpful tips and even certification for Drone Photography at PPA.com/Drones!

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by James Yates

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PPA members have a way to stand out from the crowd built right in to their membership. The CPP (Certified Professional Photographer) designation is the official credential for photographers that want to set themselves apart within the photography industry.

The Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) program from PPA assures potential clients of a photographer's knowledge, experience and continuance to develop new skills and techniques. It is a declaration of professional competence and ability.

Photographers who earn their CPP credential do so for three primary reasons:

  • It gives them an edge in advertising their services, as certification promotes trust in the minds of clients and consumers.
  • It is a way to justify the price of services offered by the world's top photographers.
  • The peer validation step that is required to earn the certification signals to the photography world that you truly care about your craft.

The path to certification is a simple, 3-step process.

  • Declare your candidacy to PPA.
  • Study for and pass the CPP exam.
  • Submit a set of images for official review.

Once said images are approved, the photographer will have earned their CPP designation. For more information or to get started on your path to photography certification, head to PPA.com/CPP

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