Professional Photographers of America Identifies Three Major Pitfalls for Profitability

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Organization’s CPA Advises Photographers to Rethink Strategies

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Professional Photographers of America (PPA) recently identified three major reasons photographers get stuck in money pitfalls.

Bridget Jackson, a CPA who has helped hundreds of photography studios boost their profitability through PPA’s Business Basics workshops, listed the reasons as pricing, marketing and self-improvement.

“The first hurdle to having a profitable business is making sure you’re priced properly to cover your fixed costs,” Jackson said. “The most important cost that is overlooked in pricing is your time, or your employees’ time.”

Jackson suggested using the PPA Benchmark Survey, a comprehensive financial review of a range of PPA member studios. The surveys give photographers recommended financial targets to help them reach a higher level of success. “If your costs of sales are high – greater than the recommended PPA Benchmark as 25 percent – then you need to either cut costs or increase your prices,” she advised.

Misplaced marketing tactics were the second reason photographers’ businesses could be running inefficiently. “Photographers spend too much time and money on marketing to the wrong client,” Jackson said. She recommends studios work on solidifying their brand before identifying the client. “It’s difficult for the ideal client to identify with studios if they aren’t clear what the brand is. Branding is how clients define businesses. It must be clear to your market what your brand is. Then, develop a marketing strategy directed at attracting them to your business.”

The last pitfall Jackson identified was a lack of self-improvement. “You are never finished improving your skills as a professional photographer,” she said.

She advised photographers to consider becoming a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP), a designation from PPA that assures others of a photographer’s knowledge, experience and continuance to develop new skills and techniques, or to enter print competitions. “What better way to differentiate yourself from the competition than to become a CPP, or entering competitions? You regularly assure your clients of your commitment to valuing and evolving your craft.”

With nearly 70 percent of PPA members identifying as owners or co-owners of their business, Jackson hopes that her advice will lead photographers to take their business to the next level.

For more information or to read more business advice from Jackson, visit

About PPA
Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is the largest international non-profit association created by professional photographers, for professional photographers. Almost as long-lived as photography itself, PPA has roots that date back to 1869. It assists close to 27,000 members through protection, education and resources for their continued success. See how PPA helps photographers be more at

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John Owens
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