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PPA Today: PPA Member Benefits Archives

Recently in PPA Member Benefits Category

Some great things were happening on theLoop as temperatures soared. Check out the hottest discussions that happened in July.

[PPA Members Discussion] Offline data storage

What are you using to back up your files? PPA members discuss their methods for protecting their images and the pros and cons of offline and online storage. Even if you've got a system in place, it's worth checking out what others are doing!

[Finance Discussion] What bookkeeping software do you use?

Just as photo editing software updates, so does bookkeeping software too! Members share their favorite programs for balancing the books.

[Commercial Photography Discussion] Pricing executive portraits

Doing executive portraiture for the first time? Get some firsthand accounts from photographers who've done it before and are sharing their tips for doing the job right.

[PPA Members Discussion] Getting a credit line in the newspaper

A PPA member's image is printed on the front page of the newspaper - but they refuse to give him credit. Now what? Weigh in on the discussions for and against getting a credit line in publication.                                       

[PPA Members Discussion] Moving studio

If you're thinking about moving your business from home to a retail studio, or vice versa, read this discussion! Members talk about their experiences working in different locations and how it affected their business.


Don't forget, theLoop is PPA's safe and secure online community where members can discuss various photography topics! Not a PPA member? It's easy: join today!

 

Think about it: how useful has filling out a survey ever been to you? Well, for Heather Sams, CPP, from Fountain, CO, not only has it helped her business be more profitable, but she also won an iPad mini. How?

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PPA's Benchmark Survey, of course. The industry's only complete financial snapshot, it's been helping businesses get a better idea of where they stand and how they can improve their bottom line. Survey participants get a free side-by-side comparison of the results to their financial data. With that kind of valuable info, the monthly giveaways for survey participants only seem like an added bonus!

Sams has been in the photography industry for over a decade, and previously used the Benchmark to put together a business plan when starting her portrait studio seven years ago. "What's great about Benchmark is that it puts all the industry information in one location that businesses can easily use," she said.

Since building up her business, Sams knew the importance of the survey to her success. "I was excited just to have been able to participate in the Benchmark Survey this year! It's such an extensive tool that the industry has access to that it just made sense for me to take the time to do it."

She never considered the fact that she could win the monthly giveaway. "When I found out that I won, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. It was super easy to participate, but winning an iPad really takes the cake. I was on cloud nine!"

And as a true dedicated professional, Sams already has plans to incorporate the iPad mini into her business. "I photograph executives, and they like seeing portraits and galleries immediately. Having a device that can make this happen will be great for my business," she said. "I'm grateful that I had the chance to participate in the survey."

Want to get in on all the Benchmark awesomeness? Check out PPA.com/benchmark and enter for your chance to win this month's prize. And don't fret! There will be more through the end of the year!

Want to work less and make more? Awesome! Have a plan on how to do that? Don't worry--PPA's got your back (and it's not as complicated as you'd think). 

Every few years, PPA invites studios from around the country--from home studios to brick and mortar locations, weddings to pets and everything in between-to complete the Benchmark Survey. This survey gets stronger with the more studios that participate. (Hint, hint - sign-up here to be an integral part of the upcoming survey! The information isn't difficult to obtain, in fact you'll have plenty of it readily available since you just completed your taxes!) 

Here's another way to look at the Benchmark survey: 


Once the survey is complete, PPA's CPAs and industry experts create an all-encompassing photography business guide and compile other resources that will show you where to increase your own business' profitability. And if you don't want to wait for the results of this year's survey, check out the new tool that  helps photographers plan for a profitable business model by beginning with their/your end in mind. How? Easy! 

  1. First, you'll start by deciding how much you'd like you're annual net income to be each year, then the tool works its way back to show your cost of sales and overhead and how they impact your profitability from get-go. All of these calculations come from past Benchmark Surveys, so you know they're based on real life examples of what's worked and more importantly, what hasn't. 

  2. Second, the survey will help you sidestep common mistakes many photographers unknowingly make. It will help you understand  how to determine or adjust your pricing (and it's not based on what the guy down the street is charging)! You'll also be able to determine if it's financially realistic to hire an employee or if it makes sense to move into a retail space. And the best part is, you'll be able to make sound calculated decisions, not just based on your "gut" feeling!

  3. And third, we understand you don't know what you don't know. That's why there are additional Benchmark Resources--resources, tools and guides that can quickly impact your bottom line! You'll get things like a comprehensive guide to the results. This will allow you to get the most from the survey by breaking it down to plain English and extrapolating the results into things you can do to change your business for the better. It will also give you access to comparison tools that allow you to size your studio up to the top performing studios in the nation (and learn from how they do business), along with how to see where you fit in the bigger picture of the photographic industry. 

It might sound too good to be true, but we assure you it isn't! You just fill out a few simply questions and you'll be ready to see how many sessions you need to book and at what prices to make the money you want. Get started at square one today! 

And there's a bonus if you participate in the survey: you'll get side-by-side results (personalized just for you!) from the 2014 Survey for free! This is HUGE! Best part: If you're a PPA member, this is included in your membership. If you're not, join today to improve your bottom line now! 

You can't afford to wait. Access these great resources today and sign up to participate in the 2014 Survey!

The healthcare insurance open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act closes March 31. That means you only have a couple weeks to enroll in a qualified health insurance plan and avoid tax penalties!  After March 31, everyone will have to wait until 2015 to enroll in a qualified health plan. You don't want to have to wait a whole year!

Read more about the plans offered by Pallay Insurance Agency below:

 

Are you familiar with the health insurance options available to you as a PPA member? That's right! PPA can help you and your family find the best medical and dental insurance in your area, with several different plans available.

PPA partners with Pallay Insurance Agency, Inc., to assist members in securing affordable and quality medical and dental coverage.

Ross and Scott Pallay are both very knowledgeable about all the options available to you and are very open to speaking with you. They can answer any questions about the new healthcare structure, open enrollment, fines for not having coverage (you read right, you can be fined for not having coverage) and more. They are also able to quote members on policies if you live in any of the 50 states except the ones listed below.*

Make sure you check out all of the insurance options available to you and reach out to Pallay Insurance Agency with any questions or to receive a quote.  

*coverage not available in AK, HI, ID, MA, ME, MT, NJ, NM, NY, RI, SD, VT

P.S. After open enrollment ends, Pallay can still offer Limited Benefit Fixed Indemnity AND Short Term Medical Insurance Plans to members looking for some form of health coverage. While these plans are not qualified health plans, they do provide members and their families with benefits to assist them with medical expenses which can help them get by until the next open enrollment.

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By John Owens


An excited voice was on the other end of the phone.

It was Holly Howe, longtime PPA member and co-owner of Photographic Images, a high-end portrait studio in North Platte, Nebraska, which she operates with her husband, Keith.

"Thanks so much for the invite to participate in the Faces of PPA campaign!" she said. "I think it's great. We love PPA and love that you're showcasing members, but I don't think we can participate at this time. I definitely think we have a story to share, I just don't know if this is the right place or... It's not that we don't want to, we do, it's just... We wouldn't look our be--, becau--, well...

"Keith has cancer. We're actually at the hospital right now for treatment. And I've been reading everything you guys send out and I just want to tell you: There's a membership benefit you don't talk about..."


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Keith Howe, 55, started getting sick November 2012. New and puzzling symptoms seemed to emerge with each passing day. Keith and Holly would go in to the doctor and he would say, "Well, this is weird. I'm worried" and they'd think well, yeah... us too.

In December, Keith felt a lymph node in his hip. He went in for a biopsy, but the pathologist couldn't make a diagnosis. Tissue samples were sent to the University of Nebraska for a second opinion, where he was told no, he had a granuloma (a bacterial inflammation). But Keith wasn't getting better. He continued to seek help.

He went to a neurologist, an infectious disease specialist and was referred back to the University of Nebraska for a second third opinion. Keith underwent hundreds of blood tests on top of spinal taps, biopsy's, MRI's and even brain scans.

Somewhere along the way, Keith actually started to get better. Still without answers, he was on the road to recovery. He built up his strength and started to resume his normal workload and life as a photographer. Then, one day when he was feeling about 95%, he went to run some errands and had a hemorrhagic stroke (a brain aneurysm). Keith was airlifted back to the University of Nebraska.

"You're not old enough," the doctors told him. "You're not overweight, you're not hyperactive... there's no reason for you to have a stroke."

After further inconclusive tests, Keith was sent home. A month later he went in for a follow-up. At an eye exam, the ophthalmologist noticed hemorrhaging in his eyes and said, "Well, that's not good." Keith was sent back to Omaha for a brain biopsy and repeated a bunch of the previous tests. After his third spinal tap and more blood work, he was sent home.

The brain biopsy again came back negative for cancer, but there was a silver lining: They had an answer. Keith was diagnosed with neurosarcoidosis, an auto-immune disease of unknown causes which produces granulomas. It seemed to fit the bill. After some initial treatment, Keith started to get better.

By September, he got worse.

Keith discovered new enlarged lymph nodes. He went back to Omaha for more MRI's and CAT scans. The doctors initially thought the new lumps were due to an infection from Keith's chemotherapy and steroid treatment. They wanted to remove the lymph nodes. He (underwent more tests. had another surgical biopsy)

Finally, the rheumatologist returned in tears, and told Keith he had lymphoma.

 

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"It took him a long time to ask me out," recalls Holly. "We both had tremendous crushes. I even wrote in my journal at the time, I can't eat, I can't sleep, I just think about being with him.

"When people talk about love at first sight--this was it."

The Howes met back in college at Kearney State, now the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and the feelings were indeed mutual. Keith was just a bit shy and seemed to have some competition for Holly's affection.

"If I checked out the odds, things didn't look too good for me," said Keith. "She was on the phone with one guy and getting flowers from anoth--"

"Ohhh one was just a friend and the other was a bad date that I was never going out with again," arm-punched Holly, as if she had a thousand times before. "It took him a year to ask me out, but once we started dating we both knew."

Keith spent much of the first date talking about photography.

"We went out on a Saturday night, and the following Tuesday I started a part-time job at a local photography studio, Denny's Photography."

It was there that Keith learned about PPA.

"I planned to work until I had enough money to go to school for fine art photography, but Denny got me hooked up with the Professional Photographers of Nebraska (PPN) and sent me to seminars and conventions," he said. "I think I wound up getting a much better education that way. Photography school will teach you the technical aspects, but they don't tell you how to handle a two-year-old or a bride that has had too much champagne before the ceremony."

Holly was in school to become a child psychologist, but that quickly changed as she lost the emotional investment in her career path. Instead, she followed her heart and fell further in love with Keith and photography. After graduating, they married and opened their studio in 1980.

"Initially, we wanted to work together just to be together," she said. "I worked behind the scenes doing our marketing, sales, bookkeeping... vacuuming... all of that background stuff that goes into running a business. Then it became a creative outlet."

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Over the years, they learned that Keith was actually better at sales and Holly at marketing promotions and design work. They work together behind the camera. The Howes quickly became known in the community and rapidly outgrew their cozy downtown studio, eventually settling on a home.

"Our reputation built over time because we continue to enter photographic competitions," said Keith, a nine-time Nebraska Wedding Photographer of the Year and three-time Nebraska Photographer of the Year along with Holly. "We've become known as the studio that wins awards. People assume that if we're in the paper, we won another award.

"If people have issues, we're the ones that get called. If other people aren't getting good images, they ask if we can work them in. If there's a big local event, we get brought in to cover it."

It doesn't hurt that they have each earned their master of photography degrees from PPA (Keith in 1991 and Holly in 1999). 

"I don't know if a client ever says, 'I want to go to a master photographer,'" said Keith. "It's more about the process it took to earn the degrees. The continued excellence. We've been at the top of our field for years."

 

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The fast-paced nature of a photo shoot is too much for Keith. He can't move fast enough anymore and will lose his balance and fall. He had to resign as a councilman for PPN. While he is on this much chemo, his immune system is weakened. He wears a mask when he is around large groups of people. He uses what strength and resources he has to get better and do what he can around the studio.

"We're big believers that there's a reason for everything," said Holly. "Now we know there's a reason why I learned so much more about photography, I needed to know how to light and how to set up a session on my own."

Throughout their 30+ years with PPA, the Howes have made countless connections. They regularly participate in photographic competition and Keith has been an affiliate judge for 22 years. They have established lifelong connections through mentoring across the country and Imaging USA.

They have given so much to other PPA members, that when word spread about Keith's health issues, it was time to give back.

The Howes annually photograph a local dance school each April, but after Keith's stroke, they didn't think they would be able to do it. There were whispers among the mothers that someone else would have to be brought in, but the Howes had an unexpected back-up plan.

Somewhere along the way, they had helped two PPA members from Wyoming start their studio. When they heard about the Howe's situation, they dropped everything and flew in to photograph in Keith's place so he and Holly would have that much needed income.

Insurance will cover Keith's treatment, but it won't take care of their day-to-day expenses. With their focus on his recovery, the Howes will shut down the studio for the next four to five months. When a friend and fellow PPA member learned that they wouldn't have any income, she set up a fund in Keith's honor to help with their expenses.

Donations have poured in from all over the world and to date, they have raised more than $6,000. But to the Howes, it's been about so much more than financial assistance.

"It's just that feeling of support and caring," said Keith. "Just knowing that all of these people from all over the country are pulling for me is a constant reminder to keep our spirits up and have a positive outlook."

The Howe's upbeat attitudes and candor are major components in their cancer-fighting arsenal.

"We're trying to stay light-hearted and find the humor in the weird things that are happening to Keith," said Holly.

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When the chemo caused Keith to lose all of his hair, they dug through the attic and started taking pictures of Keith in funny hats. They created a modeling portfolio on Keith's Facebook, and it took on a life of its own.

Hats started arriving from all over the country. Members sent prop sunglasses with mustaches and stick-on eyebrows. They even received a box from a member now living in Japan.

"Almost every day we get a card or package from a friend through PPA, we've had so many thank you notes to send," said Keith. "Even the Archbishop of Quebec reached out. It's just amazing the people we know through this association."

"That's the benefit that no one talks about. PPA membership is so much more than equipment insurance or the indemnification trust. It's the lifelong connections you make, that heaven forbid, you might need sometime. I don't even know some of these people. But they are taking the time to send a silly package or a card. I can't describe how much that helps."

 

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The Howes still don't know the source of Keith's cancer. Doctors re-examined his brain tissue and didn't find anything. They suspect transverse myelitis--an inflammation along the spinal cord. They've tested for multiple sclerosis and diseases you can only get in Asia and Africa.

"We fell in love at 19 and have been glued to each other's hips," said Holly, with a laugh. "Our friends were all very relieved to learn that he did not have HIV or syphilis."

Keith's lymphoma continues to only show up in his hip, but there had to be some explanation for his central nervous system issues. Doctors are treating him as if it is a reoccurrence to his lymphatic system. Although brain scans continue to show nothing, Keith is gearing up for a second round of aggressive chemotherapy.

"I said 'Let's just get it done.' Even though it's not showing up, something is going on."

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Keith's treatment program is a 28-day cycle. It starts with a day of outpatient chemo, which is rough on the body and takes six hours to run in. Once it is finished flushing, he checks-in for inpatient treatment. For the next four days, his routine will consist of a 24-hour cocktail of three different kinds of chemo followed by a flush of saline. After that, he gets another kind of chemo and goes home for 16 days. He returns on day 21 for yet another round.

On day 29 he starts it all over again. Keith spends 10-12 out of each 28-day cycle in the hospital, always with Holly by his side.

"I'm doing pretty good considering," said Keith. "The legs don't work like I'd like them to, and I have some fatigue, but pretty good."

"He's definitely feeling much better than he should at this point, physically," said Holly.

 

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Years back, the Howes decided to come up with a Christmas promotion that was different than your average photo with mall Santa.

"Christmas is a big deal for us," said Holly. "I mean, my name is Holly Joy..."

The idea eventually came from a speaker at Imaging USA, where they learned that people have a family dentist, doctor and mechanic, and when something comes up, they don't even think about it, it's where they go immediately. For photographers, it takes three times to establish that trust. The third time someone comes into your studio, you're now their photographer.

Holly thought: How can we get them back a second or third time in one year?

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She came up with a low-priced, themed Santa Claus session. Each year, they decorate the studio with a different twist. One year, it was Woodlands Santa, made to look like he built everything. Another year, Santa wore an apron and a chef hat. Last year, they went with a giant gingerbread house.

"I want real reindeer but I don't think PhotoCare covers live animals," joked Holly.

This year, they declared they would forge ahead in the middle of Keith's first round of chemo. Keith mostly had to keep his distance, so once again a friend and PPA member took two days out of their life and stepped-in to photograph in his stead. They went with a vintage 1930s Santa and Christmas tree, complete with period-accurate thin flannel Santa suit and a tree adorned with antique ornaments and popcorn strings.

The Santa session brings people into the studio that would normally find a full-session with the Howes to be out of their budget. It shows them what the Howes can do and helps them understand the value in a high-end studio. It also has become a Christmas tradition for many of their clients. One 19-year-old has been coming since she was a newborn.

"It's a fun, hectic couple of days," said Holly. "A lot of people said 'Thank you for doing this.' There was no way we could not do it while Keith was sick. It's our tradition too."

 

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The Howe's will miss Imaging USA this year, which hits extra hard since Keith is sponsoring two photographers who will receive their master of photography degrees.

"It's hard to sit here and know we can't go." said Keith. "They feel like my little sisters. I wanted to be there to hang the ribbon around their necks, but I had to call and say I can't."

"These are the things we get excited about celebrating--the WOW moments," said Holly. "Those times are still exciting. It still feels good to win a trophy or have a great sale, but it's not as exciting as those first few times. So what's the adrenaline rush now? It's seeing someone else achieving those accomplishments and knowing you helped them get there. These two young women are having their moments and we don't get to be there and that's hard."

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Keith and Holly will spend Christmas in the hospital, but they won't let it hurt their spirit. They're making stockings and passing them out to the other oncology patients. They have each other. They have their support system.

"I'm so grateful for all of the experiences I've had through PPA," said Keith. "We've learned a lot, gone places and done things we never dreamed we would. Without PPA we never would have had those opportunities."

"Where would we be?" asked Holly. "We'd probably still have a business, but where would we be without the support?"

It also helps to have something to look forward to. The light at the end of the chemo tunnel comes in May, when their eldest son (they have two) is set to be married. Keith vows to be there, and although he photographed his first wedding at age 14, he promises to leave the camera at home.

As the Howes push forward, their support system remains steadfast. In January, PPN will hold a print auction in Keith's honor. The Wyoming photographers already have the dance school on their calendar for April. Donations keep rolling in on the fundraising site. Cards and packages continue to arrive, many from total strangers. Every little bit helps Keith stay strong. Even just the power of a few words. 

You don't know me, but photographers have to stick together.

 

 

 

 

Are you familiar with the health insurance options available to you as a PPA member? That's right! PPA can help you and your family find the best medical and dental insurance in your area, with several different plans available. 

PPA partners with Pallay Insurance Agency, Inc., to assist members in securing affordable and quality medical and dental coverage.

Ross and Scott Pallay are both very knowledgeable about all the options available to you and are very open to speaking with you. They can answer any questions about the new healthcare structure, open enrollment, fines for not having coverage (you read right, you can be fined for not having coverage) and more. They are also able to quote members on policies if you live in any of the 50 states except the ones listed below.*

Make sure you check out all of the insurance options available to you and reach out to Pallay Insurance Agency with any questions or to receive a quote.   

*coverage not available in AK, HI, ID, MA, ME, MT, NJ, NM, NY, RI, SD, VT 

P.S. Are you familiar with how healthcare reform affects you and your business? Pallay has also assisted PPA in explaining the changes involved with the Affordable Care Act by hosting a series of webinars on the topic of health coverage.

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We're thrilled to announce a new member benefit coming your way! Effective November 1, PPA will be making the switch from FedEx to UPS®.

Shipping & logistics are a vital component to every business, so we know this discount is important to you. Rest assured, the new discount from UPS is the best we have ever been able to offer. As a PPA member, you'll save up to 34% on a broad portfolio of services, including air, international and ground services. Plus, savings begin at 70% on UPS Freight® shipments over 150 lbs. UPS understands how important reliability, speed and cost are to meeting your business goals and your customers' needs. Put the power of logistics to work for you. (For the details, log into PPA.com!)

What makes these even better - the discount with UPS will not only offer great rates, but also host a user-friendly interface, saving you money and time. 

Remember to visit the Year-Round Discounts page to see other companies PPA has partnered with to help lower your costs of doing business! 

Not a PPA member? Join today to take advantage of this discount, along with the rest of the PPA member benefits

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Sending holiday cards can be a pain in the butt, right? As busy as you are, it's pretty easy to let the project drag out into the New Year. Luckily for PPA members, Marathon Press has stepped in to help ease some of the stress!

PPA has teamed up with Marathon Press to offer PPA members another Extreme Deal--a free holiday greeting card design collection of your choice and an unheard of Buy One Get One Free on all holiday greeting cards.

Yes, FREE. 

Holiday cards are more than just for your family and friends. As a professional photographer, they are another opportunity to take your customer service to the next level. Especially since you can provide top-notch images!

With this extreme deal, you'll get:

   A free Holiday Greeting Card design collection (a $30 value).

   Unlimited Buy One Get One Free on Holiday Cards.

The offer expires November 30, so don't miss out!

Since there are actually two deals here, there are two ways to redeem! Log in to PPA.com{LINK} to get the promo codes!

Marathon Press is the leading provider of press printed products and marketing services for photographers. Their exceptional employees and state of the art color management are the keys to outstanding print quality. Always going above and beyond to please their photography clients, they provide 7 paper options, 1 -2 day turnaround on all press printed card orders placed in the Store and free shipping.

Extreme Deals are short-term, ridiculously good (extreme!) deals that are available only to PPA members. 
Keep checking for the latest and greatest deals here.

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Your to-do list is a mile long, and that's only getting the things done necessary to run your business - not including the things it takes to push it to the next level. Where can photographers find easy-to-access classes to help them in both the art and business of photography?

If you're a PPA member, you're in luck! You have the opportunity to take advantage of exclusive live webinars. These classes are excellent chances to learn from professionals both in the photographic and business communities covering a range of topics from "The Portrait Photographer's Guide to Commercial Photography" to new health insurance reform that any business owner needs to be aware of and so much more! Join in on the webinars and ask questions during the live Q & A sessions to clear things up that might be specific to your business.

The best part about these webinars (aside from the fact they are included with your PPA membership) is even if you can't make it to watch live, they are posted in the PPAedu course library so you can watch them any time--24/7, as many times as you'd like! 

So what's coming up?

On Thursday, August 29th at 2 PM (ET), Cris Duncan, M.Photog.CR., CPP will walk you through "The Portrait Photographer's Guide to Commercial Photography." As in any photography specialty, commercial business comes with its own set of rules to abide by - Cris is here to help you navigate the waters of this great way to expand your product offerings! Join this one hour webinar and learn all the right questions to ask your new clients, and see where your new product offerings can lead you into 2014!

And coming up in the fall, Brett Snyder of Nebo is continuing his series on SEO (search engine optimization). His first webinar, "The Pitfalls of SEO," was such a huge success that we're bringing him back for "Leveraging Local" on September 10th, "Audience Engagement: The True Art of SEO" on October 8th, "SEO & Social: A Match Made in Heaven" November 19, and "Web Content: What to Expect in 2014 and Beyond" in December. We even have him booked up in January for more (but we'll get to that later, you have Imaging USA to attend first!) 

To start with, "Leverage Local" is all about utilizing SEO for your local region. Your clients look for photographers on the local level, not all across the globe. Use Brett's knowledge to your advantage and beat your competitors to the punch in search results. 

And it's not too early to start planning your holiday business! Beth Forester, M.Photog.Cr., CPP will show you her "Secrets to a Successful Holiday Portrait Event" on Thursday, September 19th. See how Beth has used profitable "mini portrait events" to up her holiday business to the tune of over $20,000 in three days (but you can't start planning at Thanksgiving)!

Last but not least, get the next rounds of details on health insurance reform with Ross Pallay, Executive Vice President at Pallay Insurance Agency (the exclusive provider of PPA equipment insurance). If you missed his first webinar--Before & After Implementation, you can access it here.  It might not be the sexiest of topics, but every business owner needs to know what options exist in terms of plan designs and premium subsidies. Ross will be back with us in January to discuss important deadlines, but again, we'll get to that later. Just know insurance can be one of those places photographers waste precious dollars, so Ross is here to make sure you're covered, and at the right price. 

What else can you expect from PPAedu Live Webinars? Just about anything! Check the Live Webinar's page often or visit the Webinar FAQs to answer any questions you might have. Make sure you follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for last minute offerings! Have a special request? Leave topics in the comments section and we'll see what we can get in the works!

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PPA's "Indemnification Trust" probably (and hopefully) isn't in your everyday vernacular, but it's there to save your behind when Murphy's Law strikes.

So, what is it exactly? It's a mouthful, but it's less complicated than you think! It's like malpractice insurance for when things go wrong that could generally be considered your responsibility as a service provider-- things like equipment malfunction, an error or an unsatisfied client (like a bridezilla, or when something happens with your memory cards)--your client could easily take you to the cleaners.

That may seem relatively broad, so here are three real situations where photographers thanked their lucky stars for PPA's Indemnification Trust and its coverage (names in the examples below have been removed to protect those involved):

Issue 1: Client's (Lack of) Satisfaction

An Alabama photographer was asked to capture their client's wedding with an unusual venue constraint (they were required to shoot certain portions of the ceremony through only exterior windows).

Despite the fact the newlyweds knew of these restrictions beforehand, they were dissatisfied with the images. As a result the couple sued their photographer (and the cherry on top: the bride's father was a partner at one of the largest legal firms in town).

After a nearly year-long series of negotiations the case was settled out of court with the aid of locally-appointed legal counsel (courtesy of PPA's Indemnification Trust). In the end, the photographer's responsibility was only a $200 deductible, while the Indemnification Trust picked up over $20,000 in legal bills and client compensation on behalf of this photographer.

Issue 2: Data Loss (and non-recovery of the images)

A California photographer experienced a major hard drive fail with the images of their three of most recent assignments. The first attempt to recover images was made in vain with the help of a local company. So the local company suggested reaching out to DriveSavers (the Indemnification Trust's data recovery's partner).

Fortunately, the three clients did not go as far as suing the photographer (like our first story), however compensation was required. Therefore and with the help of the Indemnification Trust, the photographer reached a settlement with each of the couples. This involved arranging for reshoots, refunds, and payment of other damages in addition to the data recovery service. In the end, the photographer's responsibility amounted to $900, representing the deductibles for each claim: $200 (Couple A), $200 (Couple B), and $500 (Couple C). In turn, the Trust provided close to a combined $10,000 in reimbursements to the three clients.

Issue 3: Client Dissatisfaction (AKA Tilted Tiara)

This story starts off happy enough--a photographer in Texas completed coverage of a wedding without a hitch and delivered the images to the couple as scheduled. As in most weddings, a part of their assignment required depicting the bride's attire, including her tiara.

After the wedding the bride contacted the photographer, absolutely furious to have been photographed wearing an off-centered tiara. She threatened and followed through on filing a suit in Small Claims Court.

Fortunately, the Indemnification Trust worked with the photographer to prepare the case's defense before the court and assisted in securing  two jewelry experts that could attest to how tiaras are worn--one was a beauty pageant coordinator and the second a master jeweler. The court concluded that the bride's suit was frivolous and dismissed the case. The incident was settled with no expenses incurred by the photographer!

These situations could happen to anyone. Without the Indemnification Trust, they would cost thousands of dollars in legal fees and compensations. Fortunately PPA Members* are covered. This is a peace-of-mind benefit that is part of your PPA professional active membership!

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to make a claim or fight a client in court, there are a few simple steps to take (link).  Whether the case is settled in or out of court, the Indemnification Trust will appoint (and pay for) local attorneys to defend PPA members and pay any damages. You only pay your (small) deductible.

If you're not a PPA member, just think of the savings when something inevitably happens. Faulty memory cards, wardrobe malfunctions or something from your wildest dreams (no one saw that tiara claim coming), you'll be covered by the PPA's Indemnification Trust.


*Wedding or portrait photographers are automatically enrolled in the program. Even if you aren't a wedding or portrait photographer, we strongly recommend members taking advantage of this benefit. You just need to be up-to-date in membership fees and reside in the United States, U.S. Territories or Canada. To enroll in the program, call Member Care at 800.786.6277.



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