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PPA Today

Here are the 10 photography blogs from April 13 - 18, 2014, that we hope will inspire you and
professional photographers around the internet to be more! 

Did you see the cover of Sports Illustrated this month? It's a giant Boston Strong group shot (3,000 people!) to commemorate a year since the marathon bombing. And guess who was behind the camera?! Imaging USA speaker Gregory Heisler! If you thought wrangling a family of five was tough, you need to see this behind-the-scenes video.

Getting an image or project to go viral can be a real boon to your business. It can also get you... nothing. California photographer, Mike Kelley, unfortunately knows a thing or two about that. Read his cautionary tale on posting your images to social without any form of protection.

Have you posted one of those silly Buzzfeed lists to your social media pages with an "OMG this is SO true!" Admit it, you have. Well, if you're a wedding photographer, we've got one here for you. Check this one out on the many emotions of wedding photography.
Approximately one out of six people in the world live on a dollar a day. Photographer Renée C. Byer traveled through four continents capturing what life is like under extreme poverty. The stunning images are a heartfelt reality check for most of us living in "first world" countries. 

We're suckers for a good time lapse. And we can say for certain we haven''t seen one quite like this! Get your smiles ready and be prepared for a good heart-string tug. Kids... they grow up so darn fast! (Especially in fast forward.)

Good luck finding this one on Amazon Prime. This week, one lucky husband and wife team drove a pretty special package across the country--a friggin T. Rex! National Geographic takes us along as "The Nation's T. Rex" is transported from Montana to the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. It's as simple as wrapping it and putting it in a box, really... but it's a 38-foot, 66-million-year-old fossil. You won't see the full dinosaur on display until 2019 so check this video out while you can!

Did you see the lunar eclipse this week? It was all over social media! If you didn't, these photographers did. Discovery News compiled some of the best photos from the rare event. Check 'em out!

This one touches on a real hot-button issue. You'll be hard-pressed to find more passionate and protective animal lovers than pit bull owners. One photographer decided to put their passion on display and bring them together to raise awareness with his Not a Bully portrait campaign. Read on to learn the story and view some of the portraits!

Ever encounter questions about why you can't photograph for free? Photography Talks came up with a pretty cool list of reasons. Take a look and see if you agree!

Slate delivers this collection of group portraits from photographer Neal Slavin, who's been doing this for, well, a while. There's some really beautiful, really funny, and really weird pictures posted in there. Take a look!

There you have it, the favorite blog posts of the week from your PPA team! Don't forget that you can share your own posts, or other stories you have enjoyed, on theLoop.

PPA is proud to announce a HUGE agreement the Nickles Group to help us out on Capitol Hill. This will put us front and center during the ongoing copyright discussion at the most critical time. Momentum is really building toward that Next Great Copyright Act and we will now be more plugged in than ever. 

In fact, with the Nickles Group, we're now the only photography association with a full-time presence! This agreement is a really big deal and you need to know about it.

Here is the press release in its entirety:


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Professional Photographers of America (PPA) announced today it has reached an agreement with The Nickles Group, LLC, to represent PPA on Capitol Hill. The Nickles Group will help the association's lobbying efforts for photographers' copyrights.

Through the Nickles Group, one of the preeminent lobbying firms on the Hill, PPA will be at the center of the action on a daily basis. Using the Nickles Group's extensive network, PPA will make introductions, build relationships and arrange meetings with key players and also create opportunities to testify at Congressional hearings. The partnership looks to build upon the strong foundation PPA has established in Washington over the past 15 years.

Founded in 2005, the Nickles Group brings together an accomplished team of public policy advocates and experts to provide strategic advice, policy development and political navigation for clients seeking to engage in the federal legislative or executive process.

"We're pleased to join forces with the PPA to be an important advocate for the rights of photographers and other creators," said Don Nickles, chairman and CEO of The Nickles Group. "With copyright issues becoming more complex as Congress reviews the laws that govern rights, we look forward to partnering with PPA and impacting policy for the better."

Nickles, a Senator for the state of Oklahoma from 1981 to 2005 certainly knows his way around the Hill. In his tenure, Nickles built a legacy of advancing free enterprise causes, from natural gas deregulation and repeat of the windfall profits tax in the 1980s, to repeal of onerous ergonomics regulation and the fight against federalized healthcare during the Clinton Administration. He was the author of the Congressional Review Act and the Child Citizenship Act, and the principal sponsor of President Bush's economic growth package in 2003, which cut capital gains and corporate dividend taxes to 15 percent.

Thanks to this agreement PPA now has the ability to put its members front and center, a coup for PPA given the recent discussions on orphan works and the U.S. Copyright office's push for the Next Great Copyright Act. 

"This could not come at a better time for us," said David Trust, CEO of PPA. "We are entering one of the most critical eras in the history of copyright law. This relationship with the Nickles Group will ensure that PPA members, and photographers in general, will have an increased position in the copyright discussion on Capitol Hill."

The Nickles Group represents the likes of the Comcast, Eli Lilly and Company, Exxon Mobil and now PPA. The agreement makes PPA the only professional photography association with a full-time presence on Capitol Hill.

In addition to having the photography world's only copyright and government affairs department, PPA provides a wealth of resources for photographers online, including sample contracts and model releases. For more information, visit ppa.com/copyright.


Of course, as the Nickles Group reports back to us, we will forward the info on to you! Things are really cooking up there in Washington. BE MORE!


By Mariah Ashley

Aaah, the elusive tropical destination wedding.

The question always asked is: "How do I book one?"

I think the more important question might be, "How do I survive it once I book it?"

Booking a destination wedding is relatively easy. Executing one, well... that's a different story altogether.

Come along for an adventure while I break down the most difficult wedding we've ever shot in the prettiest place we've ever worked. A destination wedding can be broken down into 10 separate categories: Travel Arrangements, Packing, Traveling, Arriving/Acclimating, Scouting, Relaxing, Shooting, Networking & Making Friends, Relief and Debauchery, Dragging Your Butt Home, Regrouping and Recouping.

Travel Arrangements: Setting yourself up for success starts before your flip-flop ever hits the tarmac. As a rule, Trish and I always make our own travel arrangements. We've arrived at one too many mildew-coated hotel rooms, sending Trish into anaphylactic shock, to rely on our clients to set up our accommodations. We've stuck to this rule for ten years--that is until last week when we traveled to the Dominican Republic.

The bride and the wedding planner assured us we'd have a lovely villa to stay close to the wedding in a swanky, exclusive, gated community. We were asked if we wouldn't mind sharing the villa with the female videographer and her husband/partner, female singer for the band and female wedding planners. That was all cool with us. They also chose our flights based on our preferences, scheduled a shuttle to get us back and forth from the airport, and agreed to provide us with a stipend for food and a car for getting around to the various event locations.

*Tip: Whenever possible make your own travel arrangements. If it's not possible make sure that your travel arrangements are clear and written into your contract. Things to consider: flight, airport parking, shuttle to location and back to airport, meals, customs fees, baggage fees, tipping.

DR Vendors0083.JPGPacking: We had to pack light for our trip so that we could fit all the equipment we needed into two backpacks that we would carry onto the plane. This meant leaving behind much of our backup equipment and peace of mind. After some creative packing we managed to squeeze 3 camera bodies, 70-200mm lens, 24-70mm lens, 60mm macro, 85 mm lens, 35 mm lens, 3 flashes, 3 battery packs, a large video light, a small video light, a reflector, a monopod, a rogue flash bender, phototix transmitters and receivers, lots of batteries, compact flashcards, and a lens cleaning kit into our two backpacks.

*Tip: Take only what you need, but have backups. Pack, unpack, and repack. Don't forget battery chargers (we did). Camera equipment arises suspicion and almost always results in your bag being searched at customs, usually when leaving the country you just shot in. Arrive early to the airport to allow for this. You don't need to panic if you have the right documentation and work visa if applicable.

Traveling: We breezed through security and customs with our backpacks and arrived in the Dominican at... 2 a.m. The flight the client booked for us was a redeye; it was... you guessed it... cheaper. But, it was also a direct flight which we were thankful for.

I assumed the airport was not too far from our villa but I was mistaken. By the time we got to bed it was 4:30 a.m. Lack of sleep=bad. Luckily I had the foresight to insist we arrived at least two days before the wedding. This gave us an entire day to ourselves before we had to shoot any of the festivities.

*Tip: Definitely allow for time to yourself. In this instance the wedding was on Saturday but we arrived early Thursday morning. Delayed flights and unforeseen circumstances can put you behind right from the beginning and you don't want to be running to the wedding having just landed.

Arriving/Acclimating: We spent the morning catching some Z's but were driven out of bed by a possessed woodpecker determined to drill his way into our villa. Waking up in the light of day we discovered our villa was all the bride had promised and more. The villa had 6 bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, a pool and hot tub, a maid and a cook! Our friend Dave, one of the videographers, dubbed us the 1 percent (of wedding vendors)!

Reading the itinerary we discovered that we would also be sharing the villa with the band. (Say what?) Not quite how it had been sold to us, but at least we arrived the day before them so we could stake out the bedrooms we wanted, relegating the band to the bottom floor of the villa where they could stumble in late and do whatever musicians do in the privacy of their own floor. We had been told there would be a stipend waiting for us, but there were no pesos in sight so we set out in search of food with credit card in hand. In addition to the car we also had a golf cart for exploring so naturally we opted for that mode of transportation! Golf cart antics=good.

*Tip: Be self-sufficient, arrive with cash and credit card. Exchange some money at the airport for local currency, just in case your all-inclusive... isn't.

Scouting: After procuring some grub we decide we better scout our locations. We needed to find the beach, the villa where the groom was getting ready, the first look location and the house that the bride's family owned where the ceremony and reception would be happening. We took our time, (partly because our golf cart only went about 2 miles an hour, and partly because we didn't have a schedule to keep).

Our mission started at 11:30 a.m., we found the first look location and scouted the area that we would use for formal photos. By 12:30 we were scouting the beach and I discovered... a beach bar! Eureka, rum punch and lunch! After about two hours we spent the afternoon relaxing. After dinner we went out again for another two hours with the videographers to take some atmosphere photos of the scenery and sunset. Keep in mind, none of this time is technically "on the clock," it's us using our own time to get prepared so that we could do a great job the next day. Because we were leisurely and there was rum punch and palm trees involved, I didn't feel weird about "donating " my time.

*Tip: Familiarize yourself with all the locations you'll be shooting at, preferably at the time of day you'll actually be there.

Relaxing: We had most of the second day to relax because we didn't have to be at the rehearsal into late afternoon. We took a nice walk, went to the beach, swam, ordered 11 a.m. mojitos, ate a big salad and took a little nap. After about six hours to ourselves, we were refreshed and ready to photograph the rehearsal. Turquoise sea, palm trees, beach bar, and bathing suits... balmy.

*Tip: Eke out a little time for yourself. This is the perk to all the other headaches!

More Scouting: I had included 2 hours of rehearsal dinner coverage in the contract but we went an hour and a half early so that we could watch the actual rehearsal at the bride's home. The set up was a little unorthodox, with the bride walking over a platform serving as the aisle for the ceremony, built above their pool so we wanted to make sure we understood the set up and we also wanted to touch base again with the wedding planners in case any changes had been made to the schedule. Again, this is time we "donated" so that we would be prepared for the wedding day.

Shooting: The whole reason we've come... the wedding day! Is there a personality type that is more intense than type A? Is there an A++? We give our lovely little bride an A++. She weighs about 85 pounds soaking wet, but she's a force to be reckoned with. She had expectations and requests--lots of them. We knew we'd be working our butts off but we had no idea the level of effort and energy we'd be exerting over the 10 hours of shooting that ensued.

To begin with, the very tight, very strict schedule (in 15-minute increments) prepared by the bride went flying out the window when she and the groom ran an hour later than planned. Guess what that means? Less time for photos, that's what. We needed to keep the bride happy by getting her 100 requests filled, the planner happy by making up an hour of lost time, all the while fulfilling a 100 more spontaneous requests from the bride as we went. I can say with cramped trigger finger that I have never shot more images at a wedding, at least twice as many as our normal 2500-3000 shots. Between the locations we guzzled water, blasted the air-conditioning and scarfed down peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Oh, and just to keep us on our toes, sprinkle in a rainstorm just as we were about to start family formals. Change-of-plan. The first bathroom break I took was at 8:30, 6 hours into our day. Luckily for me I was sweating so much I didn't have much liquid in me to begin with. We left no guest unturned (200 guests to be exact), as we fired off table shots (aargh), college group photos, high school friends photos, neighborhood friends , work friends and commuter -train friends (huh?). The evening was a blur of groups shots that we snapped happily knowing that our bride's high expectations would be met.

At 12:30 when the band finished playing and the party ended we packed our cameras away and made our way over to the bride to say our goodbyes. Only she had one more request. So we wiped our tears and reassembled our cameras and shot one more group of her college friends. We were finally finished.

*Tip: Dig deep. Your clients are going to have very high expectations of you because they feel they are doing you a favor by bringing you to a tropical location for a mini vacation. They won't have any understanding of the amount of preparation you have made for their event. That's okay. You're a professional and you don't need to toot your own horn. Just make it happen for them.

Networking and Making Friends: I've heard that after people go through an intense event together they form a deep bond. I guess that's what prompted me to pick the wedding planner up around the waist and spin her around with a big hug at the end of the night. She had spent four days of battling customs, managing the bride and the families, keeping track of the vendors all flown in from the Boston area, overseeing the event set up, and praying for good weather.

She had also watched us keep calm under pressure, never waiver in our upbeat and positive attitude and get done every shot that needed to happen. She rewarded us with a couple bottles of wine for winding down and a reciprocated hug. Hopefully having this experience with the planner will lead to many other confident referrals from her and her company.

*Tip: Photograph the vendors. Everyone working at the wedding is probably pretty excited to be there. A destination wedding is a big deal for most vendors. Take photos of them! Share on Instagram, tag them on Facebook, blog about it after. Make some new BFF's, and be REALLY easy to work with.

Relief and Debauchery: Maybe it was the dehydration, maybe it was the elation that we had made it through the event. Maybe (probably) it was the wine, but 2 photographers, 2 videographers, and 6 band members all ended up in the pool at 1 a.m. Enough said. What happens in the Caribbean...

*Tip: Ignore Relief and Debauchery and go straight to bed.

Dragging your butt home: Only ten more hours till we were home in our beds which included: a ride on a Muppet bus (some of us hungover), 2 bag searches in customs, pouring rain on the tarmac, less than ideal aisle mates on the plane and a dead car battery waiting for you in the airport parking lot.

*Tip: Don't get too used to the cook and maid service. It will make you soft. And don't leave the dome light on in your car at the airport.

Regrouping and Recouping: Conservatively, it will be two days before you feel human again and take two days to return all the emails and phone calls you received while away.

So, is a destination wedding worth all the trouble? Hard to say. I guess it depends on you. I can tell you that it's a lot more work than you might imagine. Over the course of 4 days Trish and I spent 19.5 hours traveling, 6 hours scouting locations, 15.5 hours shooting the event, and about 10 hours "on vacation."

Over the course of 91 hours that we were away and not in vacation mode, I've calculated that Trish and I made roughly $34 per hour each to go and shoot the destination wedding. Because we priced ourselves properly, I feel like there's a lot of worse things we could be doing making a lot less money. The ten hours I got to have to myself for "vacation" were priceless after a long, cold, grey, New England winter.

The connections we made with the coordinator and the friendships we forged with the band and the videographers? Also priceless. Does that mean I am ready to start marketing myself as a destination wedding photographer? No. Well, maybe. Visions of palm trees sway in my head.

To see a behind the scenes look at our tropical tribulations go here: http://www.snapweddings.com/blog/wedding-photographers-ri-head-caribbean/

 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.
Here are the 10 photography blogs from April 6 - 11, 2014, that we hope will inspire you and professional photographers around the internet to be more!

Do you use your DSLR's preset shooting modes? You'll want to read this post. Photography Talk examines DSLR preset shooting modes and the danger of relying on them too heavily.

You've probably heard about it this week: the Heartbleed bug is an error in internet security that was recently discovered. The bad news? Hackers could exploit this flaw to gain access to your personal information through many websites you may use daily. The good news? Mashable has developed a guide that will show you how to protect yourself from this abuse. (Oh, and don't worry about your PPA.com account being hacked, our security is up to date, so your data on theLoop, My PPA and your PPA profile is all safe and sound!)

Have you been wanting to get into the pet photography market? This podcast from Improve Photography can be a great starting point for you as you enter the market. It provides not only technical tips, but some business tips as well!

This is a great post for those of you in need of inspiration. The Phoblographer goes behind-the-scenes of Australian photographer Alexia Sinclair's "A Frozen Tale" photo shoot that took place in an old European castle. There are a lot of cool ideas here, including a shooting diagram! 

Is there anything more annoying than capturing a blurry image when you've got everything else right? This post from Digital Photography School will show you how to choose the correct Autofocus mode and help you avoid this problem. 

Occasionally, you'll get a bride and groom that just don't want to follow your instructions. They just don't get that you've done this before and that there's a process for a reason. This short post from Virtual Photography Studio provides a great tip for how to overcome this challenge. 

Did you know that Lightroom launched their mobile version of the software for tablets and other mobile devices? If you're curious about what Lightroom Mobile is capable of, be sure to check out this post from Lightroom Killer Tips. You might be surprised how much of your workflow can be taken care of from an iPad!

Shoot video and trying to capture movement? These videos on PhotoFocus will show how to do just that. Learn how to use a camera slider to capture fluid movement and create some really interesting shots! 

Do you struggle with color management, or maybe just need a refresher? Check out this step-by-step color management tutorial (complete with examples) from FStoppers. These techniques can help add impact to your photography. 

There's a lunar eclipse coming up on April 14/15 (date might vary depending on where you live) that nature photographers out there will love to photograph. The PhotoNaturalist provides some tips for photographing the eclipse so you can get the best photographs possible. 

There you have it, the favorite blog posts of the week from your PPA team! Don't forget that you can share your own posts, or other stories you have enjoyed, on theLoop.

Yesterday, PPA's board of directors visited with key staffers and senators on Capitol Hill to voice their concerns on copyright protection. You can view yesterday's post on their visit to get caught up. 

Maria Matthews, manager of PPA's copyright and government affairs department is back with an update on what went down!


We talked, they listened!

On behalf of PPA members and professional photographers everywhere, an excited PPA board of directors spent their Tuesday in our nation's capita. They met with chief counsels, judiciary aides and senators and told their story. They explained the impact copyright theft can have on their business and families--as well as the potential economic impact for their state--and light bulbs went on.

The board asked staffers and senators to deliver this message to the senate: Copyright affects more than just big industry; it impacts mom-and-pop businesses in every corner of their state. Many of the offices we met with agreed that strong copyright laws are essential to ensuring a thriving creative community. They also admitted that most of their efforts on the intellectual property front as of late have been focused on patent and not copyright reform--something they will be looking to remedy!

This visit was great progress for the copyright debate. Next up: Keep lobbying to get the talk moving toward action on the senate!

The board had a great time in D.C. and shared their visit all over social media. Check out their posts below.

(Click the images to view the original posts.)


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PPA will continue to provide updates on the ongoing copyright movement. Things are getting really exciting!

Want a copyright update? You got it!

PPA's board of directors is back on Capitol Hill today to visit U.S. Senate offices. They're returning to drive home a message--that strong copyright laws are critical to the small business photographer.

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The board takes to the Hill during a very active period in the copyright reform efforts.  While there have been a number of recent roundtables hosted by the U.S. Copyright Office and regular copyright themed hearings held by the House of Representatives, activity on the copyright front has been relatively quiet on the Senate side.

But no longer! Each board member will meet with at least one of their home state's senators and offer firsthand insight on what it means to be a professional photographer in today's world. Hopefully hearing about the importance of strong copyright laws directly from working photographers that are among their constituency will urge these senators to champion the cause within the Senate. And from there... some new legislation!

And don't forget, while the board is on the hill advocating for your copyrights, you can take action too! Sign up to participate in Copyright Awareness Month and spread the word.

Look for a recap from the board's visit to Capitol Hill soon!




Here are the 10 photography blogs from March 30 - April 4, 2014, that we hope will inspire you and professional photographers around the internet to be more!

Since April Fool's Day was earlier this week, and hopefully full of tom foolery - here's one of our favorite cartoons, What the Duck to give you a giggle

First things first, don't try this at home. Check out how Katerina Plotnikova used some furry (and some not so furry) friends to make beautiful, dream-like portraits. 

Sometimes your skills need a bit of a workout to make sure they are where they need to be. Digital Photography School has your top three moves to sharpen your skills and up your game. 

Tax Day is right around the corner and the folks at PhotoShelter want to help you keep every penny you can! Check out their top 10 common tax deductions that could save you a bundle! 

That's right--it's a whole month dedicated to educating the greater photography industry on copyrights! What do they mean to you, your clients and your vendors! See you how you can get involved here. 

This is amazing! Instead of just guessing if it's going to rain (or snow), there's a website that predicts cloud cover! This is perfect for landscape, night, or nature photographers, as much as for outdoor portrait image makers! 

Andy Smith took the helm of Rick Sammon's Photography blog and talks about all of the beautiful ways you can capture a sunburst effect. Not only is it great information, but has some beautiful examples! 

The CANIKON is here! Well--not exactly. Get the quick and dirty on why this new M15P-CL is making an impact on the market from PetaPixel. 

The man behind the images of Jane Goodall sits down to talk to National Geographic about his experiences behind the camera, interacting with the scientist and the natural habitat around them. 

If you want to get into the world of making videos from your images, but don't know how--PhotographyTalk has a wonderful first step in using your photo booth images! Get the details on how to expand your offerings here.

There you have it, the favorite blog posts of the week from your PPA team! Don't forget that you can share your own posts, or other stories you have enjoyed, on theLoop.

Photographers who belong to PPA get many benefits, like the free print and digital versions ofthe award-winning Professional Photographer magazine so you can keep up with the latest photography techniques, products, and business advice, and also perks and discounts on photography products and services. There's 15 families of tangible benefits for photographers to be more profitable, more protected, more prepared, more inspired, more connected and more productive. 

You surely have access to some of these benefits on your own, but they'll cost you more! How come? Because PPA is a non-profit in the business of helping photographers, not stockholders. Plus, we're the only one able to negotiate rates for 27,000 people at once, and therefore, able to transfer the drastic savings down directly to you.

One of these benefits is PhotoCare Equipment Insurance. The next time your camera or lens breaks, you'll be thankful for your membership. The insurance won't avoid the stress, fear or the frustration an accident or a theft can cause, but knowing that this insurance is there should give you pure peace of mind. Price tag? $300+ to PPA, but nothing to you! Isn't that priceless?

Here's what makes PhotoCare so awesome: You get up to $15,000 worth of coverage on photography and video equipment due to theft, breakage or fire. This comes at no cost to you! You read that right! PPA pays the entire insurance premium, so other than the deductible, you'll pay nothing out of pocket as long as you're a PPA member (valid for U.S. and Puerto Rico-based Professional Active or Life members). 

Replacing broken equipment can break the bank, but with PhotoCare Equipment Insurance you won't have to stress nearly as much next time your camera, lens or other piece of photography equipment gets wet, dinged, dropped, cracked, smacked, frozen or stolen! 

What if you already have an insurance you're happy with, you ask? Simple: PhotoCare will act as a secondary insurance, filling the gaps where your insurance will leave you hanging!

And what if you want MORE than the $15,000 PPA PhotoCare coverage? There's an option for that too! PhotoCare Plus offers up to $100,000 of coverage and extends to theft of equipment in unlocked vehicles (yep!), mysterious disappearances (yep again!), and non-PPA member employee coverage (up to $1,000). That option isn't included with the PPA membership, but it's well worth it. Learn more about PhotoCare Plus here

Either way, we highly encourage you to read more about Photocare and check the FAQs. It will help you get the coverage you need and avoid any surprises down the road.

Also, check out the video below that explains more about how this equipment insurance works.

What if you've already joined PPA but not activated your insurance? Easy! Log in to PPA.com and opt-in through the My PPA section. Boom, $15,000 of equipment insurance just like that! The video below will walk you through how to opt-in; it's a really quick process that will only take a moment of your time. 

Stop stressing about your expensive gear or the risks associated with owning and hiding your stuff! We want you to be more protected, so that you can do more of what you love!

Join PPA today to opt-in or activate your coverage now if you haven't! It costs you nothing and it's a great safety net! Stay tuned to the PPA blog, as in upcoming weeks we'll be explaining even more of the benefits your PPA membership gives you, why they are here and what you're missing out on by not leveraging them!

It's time to educate the greater photography community on your copyrights. You, as an image maker, might even learn a thing or two!


Throughout the month of April, PPA is taking the initiative to educate the industry on copyright compliance. This is to benefit photographers, as such a critical part of your revenues come from printed work, so we need your help!


WHY? They might just be printing whatever comes in and not checking for copyrights. No one wants to infringe the law. You can help them know what they don't know. They will appreciate you helping protect their business, while you will also be protecting your own work!


There are two ways you can do your part and get involved:


1.     Educate photo retailers in your area. We're talking those who print photos for consumers, especially those high volume/low quality retailers. Hint: focus on larger retail chains, where your clients are most likely to have access to self-printing and scanning services. We won't name names, but you get who they are

Sign up to participate in the program. It's easy: As soon as you sign up, we'll send you the "Helpful Tips For Handling Professional Photographs" brochure that you can use as an icebreaker and excuse to visit photo retailers. It's a good leave behind for them too.  (When you sign up, you're committing to visiting at least three).  


As soon as you have dropped off the copyright materials with at least three photo retailers, let us know at copyrightdefense@ppa.com. We'll notify each corporate headquarters that you get the most up-to-date information on copyright compliance to their local centers.


Don't shrug this one off! Helping photo retailers understand your copyrights will benefit you.

2.     The other initiative PPA is undertaking during this Copyright Awareness month is helping photographers like you understand the basics of copyright with a webinar to review how to protect your images. Even if you already have a firm grasp on your copyright, please consider this as a refresher. You'll gain information on the basic facets of the law, quick tips on maximizing your copyright ownership and how PPA can help you address an infringement.

Are Your Images Protected?
1-hour webinar, Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 2 pm ET

Maria Matthews, PPA's manager, Copyright & Government Affairs Department


You might feel comfortable with what you are already doing, but the law keeps evolving and you never know what you're missing!  Be more prepared, be more protected, be more aware...  all photographers need (more) copyright protection!

Copyright matters. And as always, PPA has your back. This is your chance to get involved.
Be More.



with Bridget Jackson, CPA and PPA Business manager


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!

Hopefully you've filled out your taxes for 2013 by now, but if not, Bridget's got your back! She's got some advice on how to get the most out of your 2013 tax return. Here are some last minute tips for you slackers.


There's plenty to be on the lookout for in these last couple weeks of tax season!

1) The first tip is a big one for you photographers! Are you familiar with Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code? It allows a taxpayer to elect to deduct the cost of certain types of property on their income taxes as an expense, rather than requiring the cost of the property to be capitalized and depreciated. This property is generally limited to new or used tangible, depreciable, personal property which is acquired by purchase for use in the active conduct of a trade or business. This means you might be in line for some tax breaks on your photography purchases as long as they were done for your business. The deduction is limited to the taxable income of the business.

2) How about even more money coming your way? Bonus Depreciation means you can take an additional 50% special allowance for new qualified property placed in service in 2013. The allowance is an additional deduction you can take after any Section 179 deduction and before you figure regular depreciation under MACRS for the year you place the property in service. There is no taxable income limitation. If your 2013 business income is low, opt to depreciate equipment purchases over time rather than all at once.

NOTE: You can't depreciate more than you purchased! For instance if you buy a computer for $3,000 and you take section 179, you only get $3,000. You would not get any additional depreciation under bonus deprecation. Talk to your accountant to ensure you file these purchases correctly!

3) Think ahead! Effective for tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2014, the De Minimus Safe Harbor Election can elect to treat amounts paid to acquire, produce or improve tangible property costing $500 or less as an expense, rather than capital. The election is made annually by including a statement with the taxpayer's timely filed original tax return for the year elected.

4) Do you have a home studio? Home Office Deduction is for the 100% business use of a portion of your home. Determine whether you can use the simplified home office deduction, which allows you to write off $5 per square foot of home office space, and up to $1,500 for 300 square feet. There is no home depreciation deduction or later recapture of depreciation for the years the simplified option is used.  However, due to the maximum deduction of $1,500 for the simplified method, it might be more tax advantageous to use the regular method.

5) The business use of your automobile is based either on the standard mileage method or actual expense method. Keep in mind, once you elect to use the actual expense method you cannot switch back to standard mileage method. The standard mileage rate for 2013 and 2014 is 56.5¢ and 56¢, respectively.

6) Pay estimated taxes. If you're self-employed, don't forget your first 2014 estimated tax payment is due April 15. One way to avoid penalties is to take your 2013 tax liability and pay 100 percent of it (110 percent for high-income earners), split into four installments.

7) Fund your retirement. Yes, it's 2014, but you can still contribute to an IRA for the 2013 tax year through April 15. For tax year 2013, you may deduct a maximum contribution of $5,500 to a traditional IRA if you are less than 50 years old. Those 50 or older may deduct up to $6,500. Contributions to a SEP or 401(k) are required to be made by the due date (including extensions) for filing your federal income tax return for the year.

8) Avoid penalties. Failing to file your tax returns on time or failing to pay taxes you owe will cost you. The corporate tax filing date was March 17, so if your company is organized as an S corporation, every shareholder will be charged $195 a month, for a maximum of 12 months, until your return is filed, if an extension was not requested.

9) Healthcare! In 2014, the Affordable Health Care Act requires that you will either need to keep your current insurance plan, purchase coverage, face a penalty tax or get an exemption. The requirement to have insurance is known as the Individual Mandate. The March 31 deadline has been extended two weeks. The penalty for failing to obtain coverage will be inputted on your 2014 tax return due April 15, 2015. The penalties for 2014 are 1% of taxable income or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child for a maximum penalty of $285. However, the maximum penalty for 2015 increases to $975, and $2,085 in 2016. Beyond 2016, the penalties are adjusted annually for cost of living increases.




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