Another summer is in full swing and I’ve been booking heavily for fall’s peak “senior season”. It’s my favorite time of the year! I’ve already shot several senior portrait sessions for the “Class of 2015” and there are many more to come. During my consultations I am frequently asked about my choice to remain a member of the PPA (Professional Photographer’s of America) and whether or not I feel that amateur photographer’s or professional photographers who are not PPA members would be sufficient choices for people in need of photography services. My short answer is, “of course they could be sufficient choices!” My long answer is this: Make sure that no matter who you select, you do your research first and always select the right photographer for you!
I make a conscious decision to remain a PPA member for several reasons. PPA offers it’s members a host of incredible benefits including equipment and liability insurance, continuing education (both for skills and business education), professional certifications, marketing/promotional tools & support, vendor partnership discounts on some of the top brand-name products in our industry, amazing networking opportunities and chances to work with and learn from some of the top photographers in the country. They also offer legal support to small and large studios in times of need, for all sorts of issues. They provide ongoing research, education and communication to help us all stay current on our amazing and ever-changing industry. Annual membership does not come cheap, but to me, it’s valuable and important, so I incorporate it into my annual budget. My business is important to me and I value my clients and my relationship with them. I want to be able to continually grow, both personally and professionally, particularly in skill, so that I can be the best photographer and business-owner that I can be. PPA helps me do that. My membership with PPA is also acknowledged by my clients and for these reasons, I feel that it sets me apart from my competition.
With that said, it does not mean that a fellow photographer who chooses not to join PPA is any less capable of doing a good job for a client. There are several photographers in my area whose work I personally admire and I have recommended them to customers when I was unable to accept a job or if it was a request for something that I do not shoot, like weddings, for example. I am a firm believer that there is more than enough to go around and I think we should all help each other out.
The bottom line is that when faced with the task of finding a photographer, you should treat it just like any other major decision (like finding a new dentist or a new bank)…Do some research and find the one that’s right for you. Have an idea of what things are most important to you before you start looking (ie: great service, quality products, someone that will take their time with you, someone who has alot of ideas, someone who has a product guarantee, available payment plans for larger purchases, etc..) In the senior portrait market, it can get expensive. Most good studios will have portrait packages ranging from $500-$2,000. So, it’s in your best interest to know what you want and then plan to spend a little time searching for the right photographer that meets your needs overall.
Not sure what to look for or what to ask? I’ve got you covered! HERE’s a great “Top 10” list from some of PPA’s professionals, to help guide you and get you started.
Lastly, in keeping with the theme of this post, you can learn more about me HERE.
In the market for a senior picture session any time soon? Feel free to give me a call for a consultation. There’s only one way to find out if my studio is right for you…Calls are free and I love to chat! 734.391.8662.