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PPA Today: Vital Signs Archives

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When it comes to posing family portraits, there's the ever-present challenge of getting everyone to look good in an appealing composition without setting up a scene that is stiff and static. Grandma and the grandbaby just don't look or act the same (at least not usually!). But, as a pro photographer, you are paid to get it right. Clients come to you for the best! That's why we asked two family portrait studios to share their very different approaches in accomplishing this feat.

Is your big group approach similar? Do you have a different technique that works for you? PPA members can read the full article here, so let us know what you think below!
In today's portrait market, on-location shoots enjoy a strong level of popularity among all types of clients, from the progressive-minded to those whose tastes run more to the traditional.

Unfortunately, on-location sessions aren't always a picnic. Unlike the controlled environment of a studio, there are countless environmental factors, distractions and ever-changing lighting conditions. To get a handle on best practices for on-location sessions, we talked to PPA members Jennifer Dell and Gregory Daniel, M.Photog.Cr, F-ASP, both of whom do a variety of child and family sessions in a wide range of locations.

Members can read the full article.
It's a question as old as senior portrait photography--maybe as old as parenting teenagers: How do you make both teens and parents happy? For studios specializing in senior portraits, it's a question that must be reconsidered continually as photographers walk the fine line of being edgy enough to attract seniors and respectable enough to appeal to parents.

Get Them Involved
seniorsthroughalens.jpgDavid Mullenix, owner of Through a Lens Photography in Illinois, aims to please parents and seniors by drawing both into the experience of the session. While he photographs the senior, Mullenix asks mom or dad to lend a hand in a variety of ways, including running a video camera, using a leaf blower to blow the teen's hair, or holding a reflector. (Image ©David Mullenix)

"I don't hustle the mom off to the mom room," he says. "I want her to feel like part of the experience. And it works. Later, in the sales room, the moms often tell us they had as much fun as their seniors. They also let us know it was one of the best memories they have of their child's senior year. That's good, because if they like the experience, they will tell others about it."

Members, read the full article here.
For the last dozen years, Andrew Jenkins, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, has owned and operated Canfield Jenkins House of Photography in St. Johns, Mich. Over those years, Jenkins and his staff have built the studio into a premier provider of high-quality senior portraiture (as well as child/family portraits and wedding photography). And though maintaining high sales averages isn't easy for any studio, Jenkins has consistently done just that through careful marketing, effective sales techniques and a superlative experience for both senior and parent.

Coordinating Marketing Initiatives
These days, Jenkins' best marketing initiatives revolve around his senior model program. Every spring, he launches a model search by posting status updates on Facebook, asking rising seniors to come in for modeling sessions in March or April. Jenkins lets them know that the studio wants to use the images in its marketing materials. In exchange, he offers every participant a free portrait session during the summer months.

"This program does two things," adds Jenkins. "One, it creates a buzz early on for our studio; and two, it's a great way to start booking sessions for the summer."

Members, read the full article here
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bartoloozi_headshot_blog.JPGJust as launching a professional photography studio need not break the bank, neither does marketing said studio. Photographer after photographer has said that the most effective forms of marketing tend to be related to building relationships (and the resulting referrals). Problem is, it is sometimes hard to find networking opportunities depending on where you live.

If that's the case, you may want to try what PPA member Nicole Bartolozzi of Moments by Cole does--host your own networking event. Called Networking in a Flash, her event is now bi-monthly, open to all professionals and is free to attend. And her small studio is rapidly expanding!

Members, read the full article here.

Do you feel pressed for time and always on the move? You're not alone--it's a common occurrence when you're a small business owner (especially a photographer). That's why we at PPA like to share new perspectives in how others handle different business situations, including how to make use of the more mobile tools.

Take, for instance, the Apple iPad® or other types of tablet computers. Such devices can help you become even more efficient in carrying out your daily business practices, whether you download apps or synch to software you already use. 

Use It for Business
"The iPad is perfect for showing prospective clients examples of your work," notes Mark Levesque, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, of Studio Mark Emile. "The portability, screen size and excellent image rendering make you happy to show images that you can easily zoom into and reveal incredible detail. It's much more effective than carrying around a portfolio of prints or showing images on a smartphone."

Now, you probably already know that such a tablet can be great for displaying your images to clients, but are you aware that it can be an effective tool for managing your business (and more)?  Its versatility in your photography business could be extremely high...especially when you consider the multitudes of applications available.  Read more here.

In a world of ever-changing technology, merging old and new can be challenging. As photographers, you know this well. Film to digital. Smartphones and tablet computers for business and personal life. All the new social media sites you are trying to use the right way. There's a lot going on!

In the all these changes and updates, though, did you remember to ensure your credit card processing system is running as smoothly as ever?

It may not be in the front of your mind, but this is common place for concern in the credit card processing industry, especially with many businesses having switched to digital or IP (internet-based) phone services. For example, if you have bundled services--phone, cable and internet combined--or subscribe to an internet phone service (Voice over IP), such as Magic Jack or Vonage, it is most likely digital. The thing is, updating phone service like that might have caused compatibility issues with your existing credit card terminal (if you have one). Read more here.

How can you make a difference in PPA or in the photographic profession? By participating in PPA Council elections! We all know the importance of voting for leaders we believe in to guide our country. The same holds true for PPA. This spring PPA members will elect their representatives to the 2012-2015 PPA Council.

As individual Councilors (assisting members and fellow photographers) and as a group (making the decisions that guide the association), these special volunteers help lead PPA. Such member involvement in directing PPA is just one aspect that sets us apart from other national photographic organizations. Read more here.

Ever wondered what certification can really do for you as a photographer? As Lew Everling, Cr.Photog., CPP,  of L-Photography & Design says: "The fact that you have worked hard to pass the examination and qualify your images proves you have the ability to work under pressure, handle nearly any situation, and take the initiative!"

But do your clients understand that? Do they even know if you are a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP)? It's one of the most widely recognized credentials (almost every industry has certifications), but it won't promote itself. That's why Lew stresses the need to market certification--showcase those extra steps you took to set yourself apart from the competition.

Whether you're a newly minted CPP, have had the bragging rights for years or are considering the program, browse these tips on boosting awareness in print, in public and beyond.

As a photographer, the one thing you probably love more than (or at least as much as) creating a beautiful photograph is the gear you use to capture it. We don't just mean your prized camera, but also the lenses, the lights, the tripods and even the laptop and other computer gear you use to produce the finished product!

Recognizing your love of gear and the role it can play in helping you stay ahead of the competition, PPA has offered members the ability to access free and affordable equipment coverage. We want to make sure that we're helping you protect not only the equipment you love, but your livelihood as well. Read more here.

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