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PPA Today

A New Era for Credit Card Processing Rates and a Reality for PPA Photographers

BOA-email graphic_v2.jpgBuckle up for some big news everyone: PPA has joined forces with Bank of America to offer what is potentially your most money-saving benefit yet. Get ready to be even more profitable!

This new benefit means massively discounted rates on credit card processing for all PPA photographers. If you sell prints online, accept credit card payments at your studio or process mobile transactions, this could mean huge, tangible, cost-of-doing-business savings.

Now, you're probably thinking, Sounds good, but how does it save me money?

Here's the breakdown:  PPA is able to offer these deeply discounted rates because we use Bank of America (BOA) Merchant Services too! Like, a lot (several thousand transactions each month). Since there are 27,000+ PPA photographers and most of you renew each year, Bank of America agreed to extend our volume discount to all of you.

That's right, this means that PPA photographers will be able to get the same low credit card transaction processing rate that's normally reserved to very-large size businesses! That's the benefit you reap from belonging to the world's largest photography nonprofit!

That incredibly low rate should help you save a good bit by reducing the so-called interchange fees you end up paying anytime you use a credit card processing service. These are the pesky fees you pay to a bank when you accept a credit card payment.

Bank of America's reduced pricing for PPA photographers puts your interchange rate (if you make the switch ;-) at a crazy low 0.07 percent with a flat hard-to-beat $0.07 per transaction fee. It's easy to do the math and figure out you've got big savings headed your way.

At the end of the day, photographers always end up eating the cost of these pesky fees. With that in mind, and to give you an example of just how much cash savings this can represent, we asked two PPA photographers to send us a month's credit card processing statement with their current service provider. Kelly Sullivan, the point of contact for all PPA-related business at Bank of America, then plugged the numbers in and the comparative results blew us away.

The first photographer's previous merchant charged a converted interchange rate of 0.73%. With the new PPA discounted rate of 0.07% (see the difference?), that studio shaves off about $2,500 per year in credit card processing fees. That alone would pay for your PPA membership for the next 7 consecutive years! (or some new gear, I know, I know...)

"This first studio is on tiered pricing for their credit card transaction fees and their pricing structure is interchange plus, so the savings is going to be approximate and not exact. With that said, our [BOA] pricing model is showing that if this studio was on the new PPA program, they would save $2,500 per year (based on their current credit card transaction volume). For this PPA member, that amount represents 3 months of free credit card processing services!"

The second PPA photographer would save even more: $3,000!

"This Square* user would save about $3,000 per year with the new PPA discount. Since Square charges 2.75% for all card types, no matter what interchange level they fall to, BOA's discount will represent significant savings to any photography studio that uses Square. To give you an idea, the wholesale cost of a regulated debit card is 0.05% and $0.22 per transaction. Since PPA's preferred pricing is interchange plus 0.07% and $0.07, we would charge 0.12% and $0.29 on this same transaction. Take, for example, an average sale of $500. With Square, that would cost $13.75 (or 2.75%). With the BOA PPA discount, the photographer would only play $0.89 on that same transaction. That's a difference of $12.86 on this one example alone!"

[* - For those unfamiliar, Square is a popular, easy-to-use credit card processor, but they charge a very high 2.75% processing rate.]

These aren't shrug-your-shoulder savings, this is big time. We hope you'll consider learning more about the program and checking out how much money you could save. Kelly Sullivan at Bank of America is offering free statement comparisons. That 0.07 rate plus $0.07 per transaction is so hard to beat; they will most likely save you a large about of cash each month.

Connect with Kelly at BOA at (678) 540-7558 or kelly.sullivan@bankofamericamerchant.com
Be more business savvy!

For even more reasons to get in on this new service, head to PPA.com/BAMS, or jump on in and make the switch now!

And if all that sounds too good to be true, ask your credit card company to match that rate and see what they say. Trust us, it's not. It's your newest PPA member benefit. We've told you before and we won't stop: PPA has your back.

Welcome to the end of your week! Hooray! You did it! Since you were probably out running around, being extremely productive and profitable, we wanted to round up our favorite photography-related posts from around the internet for you! 

COMPETITION: Photo Throwdown is an online series that pitches two pros against each other with photo challenges. It's education, entertaining and you get to see some of the industry's best in some weird situations. Check out this week's episode with Jen Rozenbaum versus Chris Fain (and cast your vote for who you think did the best job)!

INSPIRATION: If you love nature photography, you will enjoy the top 10 photographs from the Zoological Society of London's annual competition. The winning images will be on display in a special exhibit in the London Zoo! It might even inspire you to go explore this weekend and see what you can find!

BAD BUSINESS: File this one under "bad business practices" - see how this California Attorney made it seem like she was hob-knobbing with the likes of Morgan Freeman, Donald Trump, Ellen DeGeneres and so many more with the help of Photoshop! There hasn't been any news of copyright infringement on this case yet, but we wouldn't be surprised if that was coming down the line. Lesson learned: Photoshop can be used for both good & evil.

JUST FOR FUN: American photographer Sandro Miller partnered with John Malkovich to recreate some of the most famous portraits captured throughout history. The project is aptly titled, "Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to photographic masters." Check out some of the highlights here. 

COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT: Get a first-hand take on how copyright infringement impacts photographers on a day to day basis. Alex Wild walks you through the battle between copyright and the internet and why the thinks the internet won. (Don't let this article get you down - review your copyright resources here!)

SAY WHAT?: The US Forest Service wants you to pay to play when taking photographs or videos on their 36 million acres - up to $1,000 (no, that's not a typo). Read up on both sides of the story here, and we'll keep you updated on what comes of this. 

PRO TIP: The folks over at PhotoFocus have some hot tips on using Lightroom collections to organize your photos. Organization? Streamlining your workflow? You can't miss it. 

SAVVY GEAR SHOPPING: Leave it to the folks at Photography Concentrate and their top 10 ways to save big on photography gear. We'd like to add an eleventh tip: Join us at the Imaging USA Expo[LINK]. There are deals on deals for new gear and you get to try before you buy. 

TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE: Many photographers get their start in nature or landscape photography, in many cases because it's easy to experiment and the subject doesn't talk back about how their hair looks. Here are 21 tips to get experimental with your flower power photography!

GEAR HEADS: Strobist is here to save the day with some things to consider when investing in a new tripod. This piece of equipment holds your most valuable pieces of equipment, so it should go without saying that you shouldn't skimp on the funding. See what else they have to say here. 

There it is! Your top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!




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This week on theLoop, PPA played host to Mary Fisk-Taylor, the second photographer in our ongoing Ask Me Anything (AMA) series. Inspired by Reddit, an AMA is a free flowing online conversation that gives you (the photographers) a chance to ask Mary anything you want about photography. It's an awesome way to get inside information from an incredibly thoughtful and talented photographer, and this week was certainly no exception. Check out Mary Fisk-Taylor's AMA here!

If you missed out on the live AMA session it's okay! We've got you covered with our five favorite highlights:

1. "I only share my failure with you because it is okay to fail, as long as you pick yourself up and move forward. "
2. "In order to maintain my work/life balance I am a nut about boundaries and setting them and sticking to them. I don't think that any of us are super humans but for some reason as photographers we expect ourselves to wear one million different hats and do it all well. This will not happen. We have to take care of ourselves first."
3. "My favorite images are the ones that my clients embrace and cherish and I know that every single time they look at that image they are brought back to that very moment in time and feel the pangs of emotion that memories often do."
4. "Movies! Oh how I love excellent movies and over the top cinematography. That can really get me super excited to create."
5. "Regardless of where the inspiration comes from, as long as your eyes are open you will probably find it." 

Check out the full conversation on theLoop if you'd like to learn the pros and cons of starting your own photography business, what it takes to create unique images, and how to come by inspiration with Mary Fisk-Taylor. And join Mary, live and in person at Imaging USA 2015 in Nashville for her presentation on #BeMoreSuccessful!

Registration information available here: ImagingUSA.org/register

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It all started on Feb. 4, 2005, when Maddux Achilles Haggard was born with a condition called myotubular myopathy. He couldn't breathe, swallow or move on his own. On his sixth day, his parents, Mike and Cheryl, made the decision to take him off life support. But first, they asked photographer, and then PPA board member, Sandy Puc', to take black-and-white portraits of them with their son before and after they took him off life support.

Four months later, Puc' received a call from a client's sister who was having a baby under similar circumstances. However in this instance, the hospital didn't tell the family their baby wasn't going to make it. Puc' talked with Cheryl Haggard afterword and expressed her guilt that she wasn't able to give this family her best and most professional images because the family wasn't told. It turned out that Haggard too felt guilt--that she had these professional images and other families had a Polaroid or cell phone image at best.

And it clicked--they decided to turn grief into passion and love and formed Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS), named after the children's bedtime prayer. Within six months the PPA affiliate had over 2,000 volunteers. Now as it approaches its tenth year, NILMDTS annually serves tens of thousands of families, providing over $5 million in services per year. What started as a grassroots movement in Colorado now reaches every state in the U.S. and is present in 42 countries worldwide.

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At first weary that the photographers were taking advantage of grieving parents, hospitals now refer to NILMDTS volunteers as "the angels" because of the work they provide. Staff at partnered hospitals is trained to mention NILDMTS if a situation arises where the infant isn't expected to survive, and in other cases, the families themselves will reach out. According to co-founder, Sandy Puc', 60 percent of requests come from hospitals while the other 40 come directly from the families. The work is done completely on a volunteer basis.

"Our photographers pack their bags and go to the hospitals for free," said Puc'. "They don't promote their own business--they represent the organization. There's no money exchanged, but the value to these families and the world is tremendous."

As the organization has grown, NILMDTS has become a recognized part of the grieving process.

"These families go to the hospital super excited with a diaper bag and painted nursery back home, and they leave with "how to grieve" literature--that's it," said Puc'. "They don't know how to prepare or how to grieve."

Another Friday, another roundup! We're back with our weekly collection of our favorite
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photography blog posts around the web. Here's the top 10:

SAFE & LEGAL: We've said it before, and we'll say it again, please don't hold photo shoots on train tracks! This article from MetroNews Canada details the close call one photographer and a newlywed couple had while shooting on train tracks. If you think it's not dangerous or that nothing will happen to you, take a look at this post. It'll make you think again! And if that's not enough, just know that every 3 hours, a person or a vehicle is actually hit by a train! For more information, check out OLI.org

GEAR: Phase One has released a new version of their popular Capture One Pro software. If you use this software, you'll want to check-out this post on PetaPixel, where the new features are detailed. 

BUSINESS: Many photographers feel anxiety when it comes to making changes to our business. This article on Fstoppers does a great job of discussing the cause of these fears, and how you can overcome them! 

FUN: Photo Throwdown is a brand new photography reality show where two photographers are pitted against each other in a series of challenges. The first episode takes place in New York City, and features PPA photographer and PPAedu instructor Jennifer Rozenbaum taking on Chris Fain. It's a fun show that we think all photographers can enjoy - you can watch the first episode online now... we're ready for the next one already!

NEWS: Many of you are probably familiar with the work of amazing landscape photographer Peter Lik. He had a show on the Weather Channel and once sold a photograph for a million bucks! And yes, he's also a PPA M.Photog. photographer! You'll get a chance to know him better at Imaging USA 2015 in Nashville, where he'll be hosting a keynote program. In the meantime, check out the news of his latest gallery opening in San Diego. 

PRO TIPS: PhotoFocus details four shots every photographer should be doing during a photo session for greater success with your clients, as well as for building your own portfolio. 

WORKFLOW: If you use Lightroom 5, are you familiar with the Smart Previews feature? If you answered 'no', you'll want to check out this tutorial from Photography Concentrate. The post details how you can use this feature to help with your workflow. 

BUSINESS: If you're thinking of getting into stock photography, this post on The Creative's Corner is for you. It provides some useful tips for getting started in this market.

LIGHTING: Are you confused about when to use flash to supplement ambient light? Well, here's a post to help you figure out when to use flash. Neil Van Niekerk provides some quick tips for when he uses flash to supplement ambient light. 

INSPIRATION: Is there anything cooler than space photography? We wrap up this week's roundup with a collection of images on InFocus from the European Space Agency's Rosetta satellite, which has been traveling through space for more than a decade. Enjoy! 

There it is! Your top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!
Lynda150.pngDr. Lynda Falkenstein, the Niche Doctor, is joining us September 23 to help you distinguish your business from the rest of the pack in her webinar--Claim Your Niche: Nine Steps to a World-Class Business in Any Economy. This exclusive (and free!) introduction to Lynda's Nine-Step Process is guaranteed to help you build your business successfully through even the worst economic downturn. This is a rare opportunity to get valuable information on everything from marketing to sales tactics.

Here at PPA we realize that while you love the art of photography and the process of taking beautiful pictures, and there are probably certain aspects of your business that you do not enjoy. The selling and marketing process, the uncertainty in discovering your niche as a photographer--the list goes on. This webinar is here to tell you that everything is going to be okay! We feel that the best way to learn is by doing and the only thing we can do is confront those doubts and formulate a practical solution to our problems. Take the next step today and register for this impactful class!

Take control of your business with Lynda and improve your bottom line, for free, on September 23 at 2 PM (ET). Register Now!

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World-renowned studio photographer, Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API, is set to be the second host of theLoop's Ask Me Anything Series on September 22 & 23! We couldn't be more thrilled to have Mary on board to follow up to Booray Perry's inaugural eccentric and informative AMA

Mary Fisk-Taylor has been with PPA since 1998 and has been the recipient of numerous awards including Photographer of the Year in 2007, Best in Show, Kodak Gallery, and Fuji Masterpiece awards.

Mary will deliver her #BeMoreSuccessful program at ImagingUSA 2015, where she'll illuminate us on her effective marketing, sales and public relations practices. Consider this AMA as a chance to get to know an IUSA speaker before you get to the big show.

For the uninitiated, an AMA is a simple online conversation where you will have the opportunity to ask Mary anything you'd like (mostly photography stuff) and she'll be able to respond at her own pace! It's an awesome way to really get a sense of who someone is, and an even better way to ask a true professional anything your heart desires (mostly photography stuff). After the success of Booray's AMA we're extremely excited to see where this one goes!

On September 22, just start asking your questions, and let the conversation begin!

IUSA2016_callforspeakers_1200x1200_3.jpgYou can see it now can't you? You're up on stage in the lights. Dozens to hundreds of photographers stare up at you, wide-eyed with their pen to paper. You move one to tears. Another gives you a hug after your program.

Well quit dreaming and make it happen!

If you've got something to share with your fellow photographers, PPA is looking for speakers for Imaging USA 2016 in Atlanta! And why not you?

If you are a professional photographer that likes spreading the wisdom you've accumulated over the years in the trenches, we'd love to hear from you.

Imaging USA is one of the largest photography events of the year. You will speak to a crowd that genuinely wants new ideas and has a desire to learn all about the latest in the photography world. Think of this as a chance to gain exposure for yourself and to contribute your voice to an industry in need of your passion.

Some of the biggest names in photography speak each year at Imaging USA and yours could be among them. The Über-successful Allison Tyler Jones, CPP, of Allison Tyler Jones Photography in Mesa, Arizona, will return to Imaging USA to share her business knowledge. What's her motivation to give back?

"I wanted to cut through the typical hype of the one-size-fits-all promises of 'quick and easy tips to instant success,'" she said. "I want everyone who attends my lecture to leave with their heads bursting with ideas on how they can make their business better in their own, unique way."

So... think you have something to offer your fellow photographer? Do you have a passion to give back?

As an organization that's constantly working to raise the bar in the photographic industry, PPA wants to work with speakers who also embrace and project this image. If you are interested in speaking, please submit your application to ImagingUSA.org/Speaker-Application by Friday, October 3, 2014, 6 p.m. ET. Submissions will be reviewed by the speaker selection committee, with selections made in December.

Imaging USA 2016 will be held Jan. 10-12, 2016, in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

By Mariah Ashley

Thumbnail image for fireworks.jpgEverything was going wrong. The groom was throwing up and the bride was taking it very personally. "He's going to go through with it isn't he?" she nervously asked the wedding planner.

"Um, yes? I mean yes, of course he is," said the wedding planner in a weak attempt to assuage her concerns.

I wasn't so sure. At the altar the pair stood in scared silence staring straight ahead at an indiscriminate spot on the wall while the ceremony swirled around them. I figured one of three things could happen; someone would throw up, someone would pass out or someone would turn and run the wrong way up the aisle to freedom.

I was wrong. Half way through the service the uncomfortable uncertainty fizzled and was replaced by a beaming new Mr. and Mrs. walking hand-in-hand up the aisle toward my lens.

The rest of the day unfolded in stops and starts without ever finding a flow. Eight hours is a long time to go with no flow. The weather was gloomy and the forecast threatened severe thunderstorms which put the planned fireworks display on hold. The parents of the bride were in a panic and the wedding planner was in a tizzy.

The bride struggled to hold her composure while her mother drove her completely bonkers. The groom struggled to regain some color in his face and keep down his dinner. Trish and I struggled to create romantic formals in the gloom, struggled with reception lighting in the oddly shaped reception room, and struggled not to miss any of the action as the band kept announcing toasts and dances without coordinating with their fellow vendors, namely us.

As a professional photographer, you understand that continuing your education is imperative to stay competitive in today's changing landscape. Unfortunately, sometimes that education comes at a pretty high price--workshops can add up!

Fortunately PPA is offering scholarships for four lucky members to take in all of the ideas of Imaging USA pre-con workshops! These are the classes that happen Thursday, Friday and Saturday leading up to the show in Nashville. No matter where you are in your career, there's a class for you. Dive into some business basics, or get new ideas with posing, lighting, and business gurus from across the industry!

Many of these classes are hands-on, so instead of just watching from the audience, you'll be able to capture images of your own and learn firsthand what to do while shooting newborns, boudoir, and everything in between. In these smaller, more personal classes, your instructors are there to help you bridge the gap between passion and profession while having tons of fun. And, with the PPA Kickstart Scholarship, it's on the house!

Check out the wide range of pre-con classes here and see which one will help you kickstart your Imaging USA experience here!

To apply for the scholarship, you must be a PPA member and you can't have received a previous Kickstart Scholarship. Applications are due by November 21, 2014. We'll select the winners by December 5, 2014 and will announce them publicly on December 10. So hop to it!

To apply for the 2015 Kickstart Scholarship, visit http://www.ppa.com/scholarship2015



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