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PPA Today

Coming soon...IPC Live!

IPC_1200X1200_LiveStream&Dates.jpgYou've always wondered what happens during International Photographic Competition judging. You imagined judges sitting behind the closed doors, in a dim room, throwing out opinions, tearing down an image piece by piece--maybe even yours. Or maybe they pulled numbers out of a hat?

Fear not--the mystery of IPC judging is soon to be revealed! For the first time ever, PPA is live-streaming the whole thing!

From August 4-7, 8:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST each day, you'll be able to watch at stream.theipc.org with your desktop device*.  If you're a PPA member, you'll be able to log in to view the stream. Non-members can easily register with your name and email address to access it for free. Once on the site, you can switch between rooms based on your interest, such as Portrait, Artist or Illustrative images.

Whether you have images in competition or not, the judging process is still a valuable learning experience. You'll be able to hear judges' comments and critiques, and see exactly what makes a merit image.

Judith Ann Elliott, a PPA member from Powder Springs, Georgia, attended the IPC as a non-participant before she entered her images for competition the following year. "I was sold on IPC after I saw the judges - they're fair and truthful. They aren't just there to tear your image down. They're there to build your image up and make you a better photographer," Elliott said.

"We're excited to offer live streaming so participants and non-participants alike can see the value in viewing the judging process," said IPC Manager Rich Newell, M.Photog.Cr. "Photographers will be able to see what truly goes on during the process, and hopefully this will encourage more to enter in the future."

*Audio is not enabled on mobile devices. For full audio and video, please view on your desktop computer. 

 

by Mariah Ashley

If you're anything like me, your summer vacation now revolves around spending a ridiculous amount of your hard-earned money and catering to your monsters children. These are some of the things I did over the last two weeks for my ingrate precious children...

I threw a party for ten screaming twelve-year-old girls. No really, they screamed for three hours straight of the four hour party. There was no reason for the screaming. No mouse, spider, unexpected teenage heartthrob sighting or worm in the fruit salad. Nothing like that. They just screamed.

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Did you know twelve-year-old girls do this? I didn't. I do now and so do my neighbors. (P.S. They only stopped screaming because you can't stuff pizza in your face and scream at the same time.)

I also took my son and his friend to a water park named Water Wizz. Why on earth would anyone put the word wizz into a name that describes a place where thousands of children share a communal cesspool? And why on earth would I voluntarily steep my body in the wizz water?

My son is sixteen. Since he was six he's refused sunscreen. He hates the way it feels. Normally I wrestle him to the ground and slather it on him while he writhes and twists like a slimy alligator. Well, he's six-foot-one now so my gator wrestling days are over. Needless to say I left the whizz with a big pink fried man-baby. Lesson never learned.

Fully committed to good-time summer fun family experiences, I went to Martha's Vineyard to visit my sister and her boys, ages four and two. Like all good aunts I brought along things for my nephews that their responsible mother would never allow them to have in a gazillion years. It's all part of my master plan to secure my foothold as their favorite aunt.

My secret weapon? Flavor Ice! (Suck on that other aunties!) Remember Flavor Ice? Or in technical terms, "liquefied chemical sugar in a planet destroying plastic sheath." Well they loved it. How many Flavor Ice sleeves do you suppose a four-year-old can ingest over the course of 30 minutes? My sister stopped the reckless mayhem at four, at which point my sweet nephew announced, "Fine, but if I can't get a lemonade right now I'm going to attack you!" Oops. Auntie's bad. Guessing we might not be invited back.

Sound familiar? If you're lucky like me then this is the way that you $pend your summer vacation. Something's got me thinking though...

I stumbled across a video clip from 60 Minutes on Facebook the other day about a man who had a very different summer vacation experience. It made me pause and consider that there might be an alternative way to spend my two weeks. Step into the way back machine with me...

It was 1938 and Europe was on the brink of war. A Londoner named Nicholas Winton was following the events of Germany's march on Czechoslovakia and was deeply concerned about the 150,000 Jewish refugees suffering there. His particular concern was for the children who were enduring the harsh conditions and bitterly cold temperatures.

After hearing about how some Czech Jews were sending their children abroad, Winton decided to take a two week from his job as a stockbroker in London and travel to Prague to see if there was anything he could do to help. Upon arrival, he established an office in a hotel in the city to see how many children he could get out as quickly as possible. Over the course of the two weeks, there was literally not enough time in the day to meet with all the parents seeking his help. Not surprisingly he left Prague with a list of hundreds of children in need of his assistance.

Returning to London, Winton established a small office of volunteers and forged stationery to make his "organization" look established, and created false travel documents for the children. The day before Hitler occupied Czechoslovakia, the first train carrying 20 of the Czech children left for Holland and eventually Britain. Over the next few months, seven more trains carrying over 600 children made their way to London. Shortly after, WWII was declared and the trains could no longer run. The remaining 90,000 Czech Jews, many of them children ended up on trains to Auschwitz where they annihilated.

For fifty years, Nicholas Winton barely spoke of saving the lives of 669 Jewish children. He never even told his wife about what he had done. She discovered the story after finding the list of the children's names and questioned her husband about its meaning. Since then, the BBC created a special about Winton where he was reunited with many of the children he saved. He was also knighted by the Queen of England and is now referred to as Sir Nick.

Basically, Sir Nick took his two week vacation, went to Prague and ended up saving the lives of 669 children. Actually, since those children are now all grandparents it's more like 15,000 children, but who's counting.

We are not worthy.

But we could be.

Two years ago we got involved with PPA charities and Operation Smile. In a way, though not as heroic or as dramatic as Sir Nick, we have been improving children's lives too. We aren't saving them from the clutches of an evil dictator but we are saving their smiles and drastically improving their quality of life through facial reconstructive surgery. The children touched by PPA charities and Operation Smile now have a chance at a future they never could have imagined.

We've given a little here... a little there... donating what we can as we go. It's exciting and inspiring to count the number of children we've helped, at last count about 65. We won't miss a penny that we've donated because we've been paid back tenfold in the "feel-good-about-yourself-for-caring-about-more-than-yourself-department."

We're about half way through summer. Maybe you've already spoiled taken your kids on a vacation. Maybe you're gearing up for a family vacation. If so, Don't do it! Have fun! But have I planted a seed? In the back of your mind are you wondering ... WWSND (What Would Sir Nick Do?)

Why, he'd join PPA Charities Family Portrait Month in September and make the world a better place for children! Find out how. But first, get inspired and watch Sir Nicholas' 60 Minutes story (relax, it's only 15 minutes).

I can't promise you that 60 Minutes will make a documentary about you, but I will refer to you as Sir (insert your name here) if you get on board the charity train! How cool is that?!

About the author:

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Mariah Ashley is co-owner of Snap! Photography in Rhode Island. She is blonde, loves to bake fruit pies, wears flip flops way past the summer season, should have been born in the 50s, paints and writes when the mood strikes her, is mother to Jacques and Vianne, vacations on Block Island, is vegan, never has proper or stylish outerwear, fears frogs and toads but loves turtles, has really skinny legs, personal Style- Bohemian Chic, wants to own a VW van,  grew up on a cranberry farm and is happiest when snorkeling is happiest when sipping a rum punch under a palm tree.

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TGIF y'all. Buckle up, strap in, or you know, just continue to sit comfortably for this week's top 10 posts from the photography blogosphere.

Gregory Heisler Talks Photography as a Career

A past Imaging USA speaker and renowned portrait photographer, Gregory Heisler has done about all one can do in the realm of photography. When he speaks, people listen. Check out this video interview in which he reflects on his career and gives advice to photographers young and old.

The World's Smallest Instant Portrait Studio

A little ingenuity can make something small larger than life. That's what one photographer is creating with his tiny studio--small space, big memories. Definitely worth dropping in if you're ever in the area! But hint: It's far away.

One For the Coffee Lovers

This one's for all you caffeine-dependent folk who head straight for the coffee pot as soon as you enter the studio. We have several here at PPA! Now, could you imagine living in a coffee universe? Artist Flora Borsi could, and the Photoshop expert created one, replacing the sky with coffee swirls. Check out the results!

A Starving Artist Needs to Eat

We came across this touching letter from Dayle L. on the state of artistry in today's world. This emerged in response to the Shoot & Share controversy, which allows clients to change your final product however they wish. For anyone who's struggling, these words can offer some encouragement.

A Chart to Live By

Hmmm... this one looks familiar... Oh yeah! That's because we made it! We went viral y'all. (PPA brushes shoulders off.) We think the graphic is true, too, by the way,

4 Simple Tips for Photographing People Outdoors

These are some quick and easy tips you can use when you're shooting outdoors. Studio lighting and a controlled environment is great and all, but get on out there and challenge yourself!

Vertical Panos vs. Wide Lenses

Debate time! Traditionally, panoramic images are shot horizontally with wide lenses, but Levi Sim argues that you should flip that camera sideways and go vertical. Read his argument and see the results from a rooftop in Chicago.

Steal These Photographs!

Chill, keep reading. Photographer Lukas Renlund recently held a "Steal My Photograph!" exhibit in Cape Town, South Africa. It's pretty darn meta--but it worked! He created a fun and creative way to exhibit his art while also driving up its value. Check out the interview and behind-the-scenes video on fstoppers.

Photos from the Philippines - Typhoon Rammasun

Mother Nature offers some of the most breathtaking photography opportunities available, but when she unleashes her wrath in the form of a typhoon, it's the human element that captures your emotion. Here's a collection of some compelling photo journalism from Wednesday's typhoon in the Philippines.

5 Ways to Deal with Bad Wedding Photos

Sometimes your client won't like their images. It happens! These are some tips for wedding photographers on what to do next. Don't get discouraged out there (that might be one of them).

There you have it! Our 11 favorite posts from around the net. What are your favorite photography blogs? Let us know on theLoop!

See ya next week! 

At PPA, we're constantly paying attention to the fears and concerns of photographers. One of the worries of professional photographers that we hear consistently is struggling to make those big sales. We hear you! Chances are you became a photographer because you love creating beautiful imagery, not because you wanted to be a salesperson. However, to have a successful business you need to be skilled at both!

Selling your photography doesn't have to be frightening. Many photographers hate the feeling of putting some sort of pressure on their clients to buy packages. That's why this four-part webinar series will help! "Soft Selling with Intense Results" will show you that the uncomfortable high-pressure strategy isn't necessary to make great sales. Soft sales methods focus on using casual, friendly messages to drive sales. Instructor Kristin Privette is very skilled at this and she will share different soft sales methods for photography that have helped her to quadruple (more, actually!) her income within the last five years. Take a look at what you'll learn in each part: 

Soft Selling with Intense Results  - Webinar Series 

August 7, 2014 - 2 pm ET

In this first part, Kristin walks you through the 10-step process she uses to gain five-figure wedding sales. Hear the language they use, the specific steps they take their couples through, and selling techniques that anyone can learn and be comfortable using.

August 21, 2014 - 2 pm ET

In part 2, Kristin's covers the '7 P's of Portrait Selling.' You'll learn how to start selling from the very first time you speak with a potential client in a way that excites them and prepares them for a big purchase. This simple process has proven to bring her average sales higher than where she started.

September 4, 2014 - 2 pm ET

During Part 3, you'll get the specific phrases Kristen uses to encourage upgrades, wall collections, add-ons and big investments. You'll learn how to prepare your brides from the very beginning to upgrade after the wedding. Plus, you'll hear the language you can use to guide your portrait clients toward wall collections and future sessions. She'll also share how she handles the common objections that every photographer gets.

September 18, 2014 - 2 pm ET

In the final part of the series, you'll go through a live ProSelect demo, showing exactly how Kristen would present to a portrait client using this software. From the moment the client walks in the door to writing a four figure check, you'll hear Kristin guiding and exciting her client about wall collections and making a big investment.

If you need help with sales, you won't want to miss this series of webinars! As always, both PPA members and non-members can attend the live webinars for FREE. However, if you want to be able to replay the recordings on demand (along with another 250+ videos on different techniques for photographers and business practices), you'll need to be a PPA member (join right here!) or just subscribe to PPAedu. Sign up today and let PPA help you be more! 

We've (finally) got an update on the Walmart v. Huff case! Brush up on the story below first if you need a refresher. 

Update 7/16:

At a recent case management hearing, the judge set the trial for the trial term beginning April 6, 2015 and ending April 30. This doesn't necessarily mean the case will go to trial April 6, just that the case is set to be tried sometime during that term.  

Read the full story:

Your typical copyright infringement involves one photographer stealing another photographer's images, or reproducing copyrighted images without permission. But in this case, it's the largest retailer in the world bullying a small Arkansas studio.

Walmart and its founding family, the Waltons, have filed suit against Helen Huff, the widow of Arkansas photographer David A. Huff.

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David Huff's studio, Bob's Studio of Photography, was founded by his late father, Robert A. Huff, in 1946, and created portraits of the Walton family before the expansion of Walmart grew them into one of the wealthiest families in the world. But now Walmart and the Walton family are demanding that Helen Huff hand over those works.

The complaint states that they (the Waltons) seek to obtain six or more boxes of photos, negatives, and proofs, alleging that over the years, Bob's Studio retained those items "as a courtesy" to Walmart and their family (they didn't). The complaint further states that the Waltons own intellectual property rights to the photos (they don't). The fact is, under federal law, photographers own the copyrights to their own works.

PPA has been working with Huff to support her case and thereby advocate for photographers' copyrights.

"If there were ever a David vs. Goliath situation, this is it" says PPA CEO David Trust. "We simply can't remain idle and allow this to happen--it would set a terrible precedent. In our opinion, this obviously is a violation of copyright law and it is beyond question that Ms. Huff owns the photographs and if the Waltons want the photographs, they should pay for them. PPA as an association stands behind Ms. Huff and supports her case as the rightful owner of these images. We have contacted her lawyers and offered to file an amicus brief* when and if that time comes."

*What's an amicus brief, you ask? It's is a legal opinion or testimony that is volunteered by a "friend of the court" who is not a party to a particular lawsuit but has a strong interest in the case. It is a way to introduce concerns ensuring that the possibly broad legal effects of a court decision will not depend solely on the parties directly involved in the case. 

PPA also advised Huff and her attorney of a separate suit, Natkin v. Winfrey, in which Oprah Winfrey claimed she owned the rights to photos of her created on her set. Since the photographers were hired as independent contractors and had not signed work-for-hire contracts, they owned the full copyrights for the images, and Winfrey's argument was swiftly rejected by the court.

Walmart filed its lawsuit against Helen Huff in state court, but because it is a copyright issue, Huff's defense removed it to federal court. The defense argues in its answer to the Walmart complaint that Huff owns copyrights to all the works her late husband and father-in-law created for the Walton family, and that they worked as independent contractors for the Walton family. In addition, Huff's defense filed a counterclaim of copyright infringement, alleging that in the past Walmart has reproduced and allowed third parties to use Bob's Studio of Photography's copyrighted works. Huff and her attorney are awaiting Walmart's answer.

UPDATED 5/21: Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove issued a statement this afternoon: 

As you can imagine, many of the photos go back many years and commemorate the history, heritage and culture of our company. We believe that some of the photos that Bob's Studio has belong to Walmart. All we want is for the court to make it clear who rightfully owns these photographs. We tried very hard to resolve this without involving the courts. We never wanted the issue to reach this point and we've done everything possible to avoid this. 

PPA always stands for photographers' copyright protection. As such, we will continue to provide information as these cases develop. Check back for updates!

 

 

Helping a friend and veteran leave a legacy

By Penn Hansa

Bruce Roscoe, CPP, orchestrated a portrait session of his best friend, Joe Rowe, that he'll remember for ages. As a photographer who served in the Vietnam War, taught workshops all over the United States and has been named as one of the top photographers in Arizona, Roscoe has had his share of photographic experiences. But this was the only shoot that he could give credit to fate for making it happen. "It could only have been divine intervention to have everything work out the way that it did," Roscoe said. "It was that incredible."

In a way, the photo shoot was 58 years in the making: Roscoe and Rowe have been friends since they were eight years old. "If I didn't see him in 10 years and then I saw him again, it would be just like yesterday," said Roscoe. "Nothing would change."

The origins of their friendship are a little hazy to both. "We probably met after getting in a fight with each other," Roscoe guessed. But they both recall the childhood they spent together on the East Coast. They sailed, surfed and snorkeled together at the beach, and spent hours in the forest climbing and exploring.

"We had it great growing up," Roscoe remembered. "We didn't know how poor we were. We bought a bike and it was Joe's and my bike. So he'd have it for a day, and then I'd ride it for a day, like a family bike."

When they finished high school in 1967, Rowe joined the Marines, and Roscoe decided to postpone college to join the army. The army recruiter asked if he had any special skills, and Roscoe told him that he wanted to be a photographer. It was the first thing that came to mind.

"My parents gave me a Brownie Bullet camera when I was younger, and I loved it," Roscoe said. "I thought I was going to travel and take pictures of kings and queens."

That wasn't quite what he ended up doing. After he went to school in the military to be trained as a combat photographer, his first orders were to go to Alaska.

But it was just a mistake - he was actually supposed to be in Vietnam.

During their service in Vietnam from 1967-68, Roscoe and Rowe never saw each other, and only had vague ideas of where the other was. When they returned, they were changed people. Both suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

"It was just different. We had our issues. We never knew what life was going to be like in a warzone. We changed, not for the good or the bad. We just came back as good as we could be," Roscoe said.

For years, Roscoe didn't touch a camera. "I always had a love for photography, but because of the memories I had associated with a camera, I had to be ok with myself before I got back into it," he said.  When he eventually returned to the art, portraiture became his specialty.

"I think why I got into portraiture is because some of the pictures I took overseas and some of the ways people's faces looked told a story. And I thought, Well, you know what - if I can learn how to capture faces in a storytelling way, that's what I need to do. I need to start capturing people and telling a story with their face."

Roscoe ended up in Arizona and joined PPA in 2008. He became a Certified Professional Photographer in 2010, focusing on photographing the elderly.

"There's just so much character in their faces. In young people, you don't have the wrinkles, the character lines, the things that show how much time you've been in this world," Roscoe explained. "For these people who are grandparents, I want to pull a character out of them to leave a legacy for the younger generations."

As they lived their lives on separate American coasts - Roscoe in the west, Rowe in the east - they stayed in touch through their families and the occasional phone call. "Joe's mom was like my mom. I'd find out from her how he was doing, and she would tell him how I was doing," Roscoe said.

And then one day, Roscoe got a call from his friend Joe. Rowe told him he had been diagnosed with lung cancer, which his doctor said had been caused by Agent Orange, one of the herbicides and defoliants the U.S. military used as part of the herbicidal warfare program Operation Ranch Hand. The effects of the spraying affect both the Vietnamese and Americans as terrible remnants from a war that no one wants to remember.

Shortly after hearing the news, Roscoe left for Rhode Island to take Rowe's portrait. It wasn't a question of obligation, just a sense of duty to his friend and those who loved him. "I was trying to create Joe's final image for his family," Roscoe said.

He called the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Wakefield, and they graciously allowed Roscoe to use their hall for a temporary studio. But it left the question of lighting equipment, things that Roscoe couldn't bring from Arizona for the session. So he did an online search for photographers near Providence and came across Chris Garrison's studio. Roscoe emailed him and explained what he was trying to accomplish, and asked to borrow his gear. Without hesitation, Garrison heagreed to share his studio's equipment.

"I didn't know him before this email," Roscoe said. "I asked him why he would let me, a complete stranger, borrow his equipment and he told me, 'You know, Bruce, I've had people help me out when I needed them. I'm just trying to return the favor.'"

Fellow PPA member Roger Salls from Roger Salls Photography, who had attended one of Roscoe's photography workshops, came from Connecticut with a makeup artist to help with the shoot. Roscoe, recognizing the importance of the event, also contacted the Providence Journal for a reporter to cover their story.

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The shoot only took a little more than an hour. Rowe arrived and spent an hour with the makeup artist, then Roscoe started doing his job. The Providence Journal sent a reporter, who was also a Vietnam veteran, to interview Rowe. It was as if all the stars had aligned. Everyone who was there that day was there for Rowe and to help create an image that would capture his character. "I felt like a movie star," Rowe said to his friend. "It lifted my spirits, and we had lots of fun."

It was a highly emotional shoot for Roscoe, who realized that this would be the last portrait he would take of his friend. "It is crushing to be losing one of the people you can really talk to without having any problems," he said. "There's not a lot of people you can call your best friend, and Joe is one of mine."

Rowe, who works with PeaceTrees Vietnam to raise money for schools and libraries in Vietnamese villages, asked his friend to help make his last wish come true: to see through the completion of a library in the village of Mo O, close to where Rowe was stationed in the war.

Thinking back on the shoot, Roscoe couldn't believe that it all happened so perfectly. After all, if he didn't have the venue, the lighting, or the assistant and makeup artist, the final image wouldn't have been as meaningful as it is for both him and Rowe. "I find it interesting that you can get photographers from all over the country together, and you can make something happen," he said. "Nobody got any money from it. There wasn't any incentive. They were just doing it to help."

The ties of friendship and kinship, he realized, were stronger than he could have ever imagined.

                                                       

Happy Friday! We've pulled together the best of the internet when it comes to photography - check out these articles to have a laugh, get inspired and stay in the know. 

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We love getting a little love from our members, so when Dominique Harmon recounted how she made her journey from being a "mom with a camera" to professional photographer, we just had to share it! 

Being a photographer on assignment for Reuters at the World Cup, while being a once-in-a-lifetime experience, is also pretty limiting. You have to get pictures of the goals, the fouls and everything in between, so where does your creativity get to come in? Reuters Global Editor Russell Boyce shares the project that's giving photographers free reign to capture all the action in Brazil. 

What would you do if a leopard seal put your camera into its mouth? Photographer Paul Nicklen was on assignment for National Geographic in Antarctica documenting leopard seals when one approached him, and nearly ate his camera! But instead of devouring him whole, the seal tried to take care of Nicklen for four days. Watch him retell his unforgettable experience, and see if you could handle the encounter (we couldn't)!

When Andrew Watson wanted to make a film about a man's journey to becoming the most quoted man in the news, it was rejected again and again. Until the New Yorker picked it up and made it go viral. So what does photographer Chase Jarvis get from his interview with Andrew that you can take away? That you really can do anything you put your mind to. 

For most businesses today, an online presence is everything! But then how does one photographer stand out from the next? PetaPixel features photographer Erik Almas, who thinks that going hands on is the key to building a real connection to the customer. Get some inspiration on how to pitch your work. 

Say goodbye to trash the dress pictures - it's all about nature's fury in wedding photos now. Pros of a tornado wedding portrait? An unforgettable image. The cons? Possible danger. Space explores other options for those one-of-a-kind photos.

David Guttenfelder, an Associated Press photographer who was named TIME's Instagram Photographer of the Year in 2013, shed light into the mystery of North Korea when he helped create AP's first bureau in the country. TIME interviews him on his influences, keeping a work-life balance and his success on Instagram. 

Who said photography was an expensive undertaking? Inspiration comes free. Gizmodo's highlighted a few DIY tricks to turn ordinary things about the house into reflectors, cool backgrounds and more! Will you try some of these out? 

As a professional, you've had your fair share of faux pas and missteps, but you know better now! So you'll be able to enjoy Toronto Star photographer Randy Risling's hilarious video "How to Ruin a Wedding" as he points out every wedding photographer's pet peeves. 

There you have it! Our favorite posts from around the net this week. What are your favorite photography blogs? We want to know! Will you let us know on theLoop?

PPA's Benchmark Survey can seem like a bit of an abstract concept. How in the world can sharing some of your financial information with PPA help you make more money? 

When you participate in the survey, your information gets (anonymously) combined with hundreds of other profitable photography studios from around the country. Professional studios that have: 

• Grossed a minimum of $25,000 in sales in 2013

• Received at least 50% of their business from portraits (including high school seniors) or from weddings

By comparing how the top businesses (in the same boat you are in) perform, PPA's Benchmark helps you easily understand why some studios are so successful, why others fall short on profitability, and what pitfalls you should avoid. It is the one and only comprehensive financial analysis available that helps study profitable professional photography businesses. 

You already work in a very specialized field, so this is good information and financial guidance that takes your specialty into consideration. Use it! When you participate in PPA's Benchmark Survey, there are a ton of benefits too! 

• You get your very own, personal, tailored copy of the Survey results and how they compare to your business. 

• You'll see in plain English where you're falling short and where you are kicking business butt. 

• You'll be able to fix the items that need a little love and you'll be sure to be raking in the profits! 

"I was so excited and proud to participate in the Benchmark Survey, as it meant my business was at the level of other participating studios! It was super easy to enter my information, and I am glad I could contribute to something that I have used in my business," said Heather Sams from Fountain, CO who participated in June this year. 

Not only did Heather get her data in, she also walked away with an iPad mini! - did we forget to mention that? Every month there are some crazy awesome drawings! If you submit your information by July 30th, you'll be entered to win a $500 American Express gift card! 500 bucks! That's some serious dough for a little bit of work. Oh, and those who participate will automatically be entered in the drawings each month!  

Are you ready to create a stronger and healthier business? Start here! 



Say hello to your newest guest column! It comes to you from none other than Bridget Jackson, resident guru for all things numbers and profitability. Bridget is the manager of PPA Business and also a CPA. She's helped hundreds of photography studios be more profitable and will address some common questions each month. Heed her advice folks--this lady knows her stuff!

What do all entrepreneurs need to know?

By Bridget Jackson, CPA

This is a question I receive frequently, and see it all over the place on other sources of photography advice. Some of it is good, but some, well, you know...

I've read through multiple columns on what it takes to be an entrepreneur, and here I present you an abbreviated list of often-overlooked qualifications. It's not a be-all-end-all list by any means, but these are some takeaways that seem relative in light of the fact that I am a numbers person and a consumer.

1). If you don't know your numbers and how to read them, you've got one foot in the proverbial grave of a failed business.

That might seem harsh, but did you know that according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), only 2/3 of small businesses survive two years? The reason they flop is poor accounting.

Let me take that one step further and say that it's not enough to have your tax return prepared once a year. You have to understand what your numbers mean.

PPA is here to help you understand the principles of sound financial management, and it starts with managerial accounting. PPA provides resources to members to help you implement, understand and manage your business based on these principles. If you are not practicing, I encourage you to follow in the footsteps of what many successful studios have done before you and embrace managerial accounting today.

An added benefit of visiting the Benchmark Resources is participating in the current survey. Not only will you feel an overwhelming sense of community knowing that you contributed to the only industry-wide financial survey, but that you helped shape the results of the survey. PPA will release preliminary numbers at Imaging USA 2015.

2). Company culture drives a successful business

As the boss it is your job to define, provide the resources and participate in the implementation of your company's culture. Businesses that succeed in this area have an increase in overall employee satisfaction and retention.

For those of you who don't have employees; don't feel left out. I have one for you too!

2A). As the sole employee of your studio, you need to be prepared to "take out the trash."

That's right, although you won't have a boss to answer to, you will be left with the potentially unwanted tasks of answering the phones, cleaning, etc. So prepare yourself mentally for these roles. It's up to you to take care of the dirty work too!

3). Know your competition and treat them with respect.

Just because someone is a photographer doesn't mean they are your competition. Continue to evolve yourself as an artist by entering print competitions and by continuing to update your product offerings. Cultivate a professional relationship and level of respect among your peers. Their opinion of you and your business often outweighs others.  As a consumer, negative comments by one entrepreneur about another actually have detrimental effects on the business owner making the comments. One way to rise above is to become an industry expert in your market and lead by example.

Of course, it takes much more than this to create a successful business. But taking these small steps can make a huge difference along the way!

 

 

PPA's CEO David Trust is in Washington D.C. shaking hands and talking photography with legislators to keep things moving toward new copyright law. He's out there in the trenches for you all! Told you we've got your back!

He'll be passing along updates over the next couple of days which we will post here as a sort of semi-live, "PPA on the Copyright Frontlines" diary.

And look for a recap after he returns to HQ here in Atlanta!

Monday, July 7, 1:26 p.m.

Just had a great meeting with Gayle Osterberg, Director of Communications for the Library of Congress. She reiterated the importance and popularity of the photography collections at the Library. She also presented some good ideas about how PPA can work more proactively with the Library to help educate Congress about the photographic industry. Gayle is a longtime friend of PPA and industry supporter. It's good to have an ally like her working for PPA members! 

Monday, July 7, 5:50 p.m.

Had a great meeting this afternoon with Jennifer Choudhry, Legislative Director for Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia. Collins is rapidly becoming the voice of Copyright on Capitol Hill and has been very aggressive in promoting and defending creator rights--not just in Georgia but across the country. The fact that PPA headquarters in downtown Atlanta is in such close proximity to Collins' district (about 45 minutes north of Atlanta) is a plus. Look for more news in the future--we have some special plans brewing for the pro-copyright congressman.

Tuesday, July 8, 8:58 a.m.

We have a busy day planned today on Capitol Hill: Five copyright meetings scheduled with members of Congress from Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, California, and North Carolina and a lunch with David Whitney, Chief Counsel for the House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. It is very hot here, but will be a great day as PPA works to advance the cause of photographers in Washington D.C. 

[Don't forget you can contact your local legislator too!] 

Tuesday, July 8, 4:42 p.m.

Met with Congressman Howard Coble (R-6th North Carolina) to discuss the House Judiciary copyright review. Mr. Coble is a key player in legislation related to copyright as he is the current Chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on Intellectual Property as well as the Co-Chair of the Creative Rights Caucus. David artfully made the case for a balanced view of copyright to ensure that the voices of the small businesses and solo-practitioners in the creative community, such as photographers, are heard.

Chairman Coble and David.jpg

Tuesday, July 8, 5:19 p.m.

David Trust converses with PPA consultant Cindi Tripodi, partner with the Nickles Group, outside of the Capitol after a successful day of Hill meetings.

David Cindi Capitol.jpg




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