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Take Part in PPA's Benchmark Survey; Receive a Free Financial Analysis!


Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is in the process of compiling its third Financial Benchmark Survey, which will be released in 2012. If you are eligible to participate, I urge you to do so, as you will receive a free, personalized financial analysis from the accountants at PPA’s Studio Management Services when the survey is published. The information will be invaluable to your understanding of what's working in your business and exactly where there is room for improvement.

PPA’s first two ground-breaking Financial Benchmark Surveys, which were published in 2006 and 2009, have become the standard by which photographers in the U.S., and even abroad, can measure their financial outcomes. The surveys allow you to compare your studio's performance to important financial standards, set goals and answer such key questions as:

  • Are you spending enough money on marketing?
  • How much does education affect your bottom line?
  • Do you have too many employees?
  • When should you hire employees?
  • What can you do to make your business more profitable?

To participate, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • Your 2010 business tax return is already filed, or you have a draft from your accountant.
  • Your gross sales during 2010 were $20,000 or more.
  • At least 50% of your business is from portraits (including seniors) or weddings.
  • You use financial software (studios not using financial software may call Melissa Kriest at 800-339-5451 Ext.227 for pre-approval).
  • You submit your information by October 30, 2011.

But don’t wait until October! When you submit everything by August 31, you have a chance to win:

  • Drawing for TWO all-inclusive trips for two to Imaging USA 2012 in New Orleans
  • Entry into the monthly iPad giveaway
  • $20 Amazon gift card

The prizes are nice, but the biggest value of participating in the 2012 Financial Benchmark Survey is getting that free financial analysis! If such a guide had existed when my business was struggling to survive in its early days, I could have solved my financial problems at least two years sooner.

To learn more,
click here.

Next Stop Imaging USA!

I shot this image of the Alamo last year during a fun visit to San Antonio, one of My favorite towns, with Carol Andrews Jensen and her husband, Greg. Carol and I will be back in San Antonio to teach the SMS Business Basics class at ImagingUSA on January 13 and 14. San Antonio will be a great backdrop for IUSA, and I look forward to seeing many friends there! if you plan to arrive on Saturday, January 15, the day before IUSA opens, don’t miss out on the PPA Charities Celebration event, which you can snag some great deals during the live and silent auction. For more information, log on to the PPA Charities website. I hope to see you there!

More Snow in Atlanta




Hanging in Atlanta

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Getting Set for 2009

I spent three delightful days this week teaching an SMS Workshop in Atlanta. I’m happy to say that we had a sold-out class with a longer than usual waiting list. What this tells me is that in spite of today’s economic challenges — or perhaps because of them — photographers are recognizing that a mastery of business fundamentals is always essential to business success.

I had the great pleasure of teaching with the amazing Julia Woods, a former student of mine who has become a spectacular business manager and teacher . . .

. . . and Carol Andrews, a marketing and sales goddess and one of the industry’s truly wise women. Carol taught with us in spite of the fact that she is still on the road to recovery from the fire and wind damage done to her Houston home studio during Hurricane Ike.

Due to fortunate scheduling, the PPA Executive Board was in town during our workshop, so we were able to prevail upon PPA President-Elect Ron Nichols to give the class a demonstration of ProSelect, along with suggestions for improved workflow.

If you have an established business and are interested in attending the next workshop, it will be held in Atlanta on February 23-25, 2009. For those who are new to the industry or want to get off to a great start in 2009, a Business Basics Workshop is scheduled for February 21-22, also in Atlanta. For information or to register, contact SMS at (800) 339-5451, ext. 244.

SMS Workshop

Last week I was pleased to work with a great group of diligent photographers at PPA Headquarters for a three-day Studio Management Services Workshop.

Besides having really sharp students . . .

. . . it was a pleasure to get to teach again with the always-energetic and ever-insightful Sarah Petty.

As always, the workshop went smoothly because of the great organization of Studio Mangement Services's Beth Moore and Bridget Jackson, shown below. Thanks to everyone for a very good three days!


SMS Workshop Students Shine in Atlanta

Three days of marketing, management and sales education flew by at the February SMS 3-Day Workshop held at PPA Headquarters in Atlanta. As always, it was great to work with my teaching buddy Carol Andrews and the Studio Management Services staff, and a great group of students kept us on our toes. Lots of business problems solved, and many new friendships made.

The next 3-day SMS Workshop is scheduled for June 9-11 in Atlanta, and Carol and I will be joined by Sarah Petty, therefore a fun time is guaranteed! For information, click here.


You Can't Keep A Good Woman Down!

I closed out the month of January in Atlanta, teaching a three-day SMS Workshop with my great friend, Carol Andrews, who had been battling a stubborn cold for a while. Talk about coming prepared . . . I watched Carol rummage through her purse for something she was struggling to find. When she finally dumped the contents, she had a veritable pharmacy with her, so I grabbed this shot.

In spite of her suffering, Carol was her usual brilliant self during her teaching and consulting segments. We had 12 really wonderful studio owners on hand for this workshop, and I expect big things in 2008 for this group!

Carol and I will be back in Atlanta for another SMS workshop on February 25-27. A few seats remain, so if you want more information, click

Learning and Laughter by the Bay

Just returned from a wonderful Studio Management Services Workshop in Oakland, California. Great class and a fabulous location, right on the bay, at Jack London Square.

The fabulous location was suggested to us by portrait photographer Laura Cottrill, of nearby Walnut Creek. Here's Laura enjoying a good laugh and a great glass of wine with my fellow instructor Carol Andrews.

Carol was a bit more serious when it was time for class.

It was a wonderful group — very talented and highly motivated to get the most from their businesses. Carol and I and the staff of SMS look forward to our next workshop, which is scheduled for December 3-5 at PPA headquarters in Atlanta.
Click here for more information.