President’s message: Start today

PPA President Gregory Daniel     ©Tim Kelly and Kyla Renee Paintings

My wish for each of you is to live your best life in this amazing profession. I cannot think of another occupation that provides such a wonderful lifestyle while giving so much joy not only to your clients but to yourself and your family as well. Photography provides endless opportunities for creating meaningful and lasting relationships with your clients. The more you invest in their successes, dreams, and legacies, the more they will invest in yours.

One of the best parts of this industry is the flexibility to build your business around your own family dynamics. Many of us build our dream career in photography while we occupy another career path. Mine was a dual career building my photography skills and our business while working in the space industry. When you’re an entrepreneur you get to determine the vision and direction of what you’re creating in a way that brings joy to all the stakeholders—your family, clients, the community.

Ultimately you’re the one who’s defining what success looks like for you. You’re building a roadmap by starting with the end in mind. The best time to start that planning is now. I know it’s not easy. As you do your best, you will make mistakes. We all do. You’ll have to take calculated risks to move your business forward. The good news is this incredible industry is also full of like-minded individuals looking for the same kind of lifestyle you’re dreaming about. I have benefited tremendously from joining forces with peers as I’ve navigated my career. This is why you’re a Professional Photographers of America member.

I want to assure you that you’re in the right place at the right time. PPA is here to provide you with unparalleled benefits. There’s no other organization that cares more about educating and protecting its members. You can rest easy knowing this organization purchases an equipment insurance policy for you as a benefit of your membership. There is comfort knowing PPA provides an indemnification trust to keep you safe from errors and omissions problems. You’re part of an association that is the leader in small claims copyright legislation for all creators. And for over 130 years, PPA has produced Imaging USA, the country’s longest-running national photographic convention and exhibition.

The No. 1 initiative for PPA today revolves around you. Closing the gap between professional photographers and consumers is the most important charge all of us have for sustaining our own businesses as well as the future of this industry.

My goal for this column during the year is to provide you with some tools to help close the gap between you and your potential clients. I’ll share business principles that were passed down to me by my mentors. These principles are the foundation of what has allowed me to do what I love for 40 years.

Let’s get started with one of my favorite principles: Start today. It’s easy to procrastinate day after day, but I assure you the best time to get going is now. We may wish we had made different choices along the way or started building our nest egg 30 years ago, but all we have to work with is today. There is never a perfect time to get started on any project or strategic business initiative. If you’re like me, you’ll want to map out every detail and possible outcome, but don’t overthink the plan. As I said before, mistakes will be made. There’s no way around that. But mistakes are almost assuredly where we glean the most knowledge. Learn from the mistakes and move forward. Use PPA benefits and resources to help you mitigate risk. Bounce ideas off PPA peers. The best thing you can do for your business, your dream, your goal, is start today. 

Gregory Daniel is the owner of Gregory Daniel Portrait Artist in Titusville, Florida.