Sophia Lane, a past Texas School instructor, posted on her Facebook page this week, “What has been the best thing AND the worst thing for you since the start of COVID?” For me, the best was the fact that the family now eats at home. Sure, I could say I love to cook and we eat near gourmet meals (or did at first when we could find meat to buy at the store) or maybe that we enjoyed saving money from not grabbing quick meals while racing from one event to another. Honestly though, it is sometimes overwhelming to know that two teenage boys are expecting to NOT be hungry at the end of the day, and I prefer that they not mow through six boxes of Lucky Charms each day. But we are together, at home, and sometimes they cook for me. Life can be pretty darn amazing.
So, if the worst part of this “2020 Pandemic” could also be the best part of the pandemic, how are you managing? Have you taken time to refocus, rework, and possibly change your business model in these changing times? Have you used this time to update, revamp, or catch up? Did you find yourself keeping the computer off and spending time with family, cleaning, and making improvements on your home and studio?
My hope for you is that you are not just surviving, but thriving. 2020 may be the year of the pandemic but it may also be the year of the family. More people have purchased bikes, gone camping, spent time at the lake, started home improvement projects together, learned to play an instrument, gone on day trips, and spent more time with their family than probably ever before. May we as storytellers be ready to etch these moments for all time. May we be mentally prepared to do our best for our clients. May our skills be sharp, our equipment be dusted off, and our batteries be charged.
I have come to hate the word “pivot.” Seeming overused in these changing times, it doesn’t do justice in my mind to our industries business owners. Some have planned for such a time as this. Others have been imaginative with how to boost sales online. Many have lost weddings, events, and volume business as people just can’t be together. Whatever your situation, now is a great time to reach out to your TPPA fellow members and ask questions, find solutions and make adjustments to your business to prepare for the future.
Wishing you joy and peace as we all do our best to navigate these trying times.
All the best,
Jenny Rhea Eisenhauer
The President’s Message: It Was The Best of Times…The Worst of Timesadmin2020-09-01T17:16:01-05:00
I was sitting on the couch recently with one of my kids while perusing YouTube Videos and we stumbled across the “America’s Got Talent” audition with Grace VanderWaal. You may have seen it by now… the little girl with the Ukulele who sings “I Don’t Know My Name.” It is a song with a story of trying to find your way. In some way, we as photographers are much like this young woman, trying to ride the trends and find the very popular wave that will take us THERE.
The song is beautiful and the truth behind the reality is that sometimes it takes awhile to find ourselves when we hang that “OPEN” sign on our photography business door. Heck, many businesses find they need to revamp, reinvent, or check their trajectory even if they are a solid company. Your story as a photographer may change through the years but holding true to your goals, even if they change, will give you a sense of purpose and plan through it all.
If the words above strike a chord with you in any way, please consider attending the Texas School of Professional Photography coming up Sunday, August 30 through Friday, September 4, 2020. More than 1,000 photographers will call this place home for the week and it truly is a coming home for many of us. Whether last year was your first year or this is your 50th year, there is such a sense of camaraderie, enjoyment of learning, awe of understanding, expanse of knowledge, intensity of sharing, and outpouring of support. But the best part is the welcoming of the first timers!
If you know me, you know my heart for Texas School. This year feels like a coming of age for me because it is my 21st year to attend the school. My Texas School friends have seen me graduate from college, get married, have kids, and make some of the best memories. Texas School friends have also seen me open a business, review my business plan, and we’ve had too many conversations to count about marketing, volume photography, and “what if I did this…”
I didn’t know my name the first few years of my photography business. Many thanks to those of you who have helped me find my way.
In addition to the Texas School of Professional Photography, Texas PPA has many other great events coming up including workshops, day trips, and even a three day event in New Mexico. Please check our website at www.TPPA.org for events that are happening in your area. We have a new calendar with all new events!
See you soon at the best little photography school in Texas, TEXAS SCHOOL! I would love to meet you there, so please catch me and introduce yourself.
All the best,
Jenny Rhea Eisenhauer
The President’s Message: I Don’t Know My Nameadmin2020-09-01T17:14:51-05:00
Photography businesses have already conquered a tumultuous change. We’ve overcome a decline in what our perceived value is as an industry and have seen newcomers climb into the market with little training or investment and be successful. In response, we have revamped and refocused. Each one of us has already overcome so much.
Now is a trying time, no doubt. Even as I write this, we are still in free fall. By the time you read it, I can’t even make an educated guess as to what will be going on in the world. Even so, there are truths that have been proved over time.
“There is no try, do.” (Yoda) This is no time for us to sit back on our haunches. What we would have given a year ago to have one week in our home with or without family, possibly uninterrupted. Do not sit back. Catch up! Spend time with family, relax, and sleep. Use your time purposefully to clean out the studio, plan, and create. Plan. Prepare for the flood of clients. I do believe the wave that is coming will be spectacular.
“Prior proper planning prevents poor performance,” Gary Snead, my cousin, said early and often. Can you sit down and honestly evaluate your business? Interview your family. What are their priorities and goals and how does that affect your business? Look at your time spent “working.” Look at your expenses and look at your costs. Research new ideas, new labs, new products, new clients, business models, and marketing ideas. Follow your dreams down the rabbit trail to imagine where changes might take you. This time could change your life! Make changes to increase your value, your profits, your time at home with family. As for the future, plan your success now and watch it unfold as you work toward your goals.
“If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.” (Lee Iacocca) I moved about as slow as a sloth when I was a kid. My mom said I had two modes: slow and slower. I have no idea why, even now. But if you know me, you know this has changed over time. You can change how you use your time as well. You can learn how to be more productive, to narrow your focus, and move faster toward goals. You can attack your plans with gusto and confidence, knowing where it might take you. The investment is real and the rewards can be tremendous.
“Help” anyone who has ever lived. We all need help at some point. My favorite thing about TPPA, beyond great educational opportunities and fantastic events, is the fact that I make friends here. Even more so, I have known some of these friends so long that I would consider them family. They have called me on the carpet. They have seen through any facade. They have called to check on me. They have showed up to help second shoot or photograph beside me. TPPA is my village. These are my people.
The Texas School of Professional Photography is an incredible opportunity to have your empty cup filled, strength renewed, and creativity fueled. Don Dickson has been able to move the dates and keep your hotel arrangements. Most instructors have responded that they are all in. Won’t you join us for an incredible and memorable year? Those new dates are August 30 thru September 4, 2020, in Addison, Texas. Pre-con classes will be on Saturday, August 29. Register online at www.TexasSchool.org.
During this time, I hope you will reach out to your village if you need help. Photographers are not alone. All small businesses are vulnerable and no man is an island in our efforts to move through this. Our strength comes from learning from each other, growing together, and rising together. An incredible opportunity is before us. Society is being brought back to core values of kindness, relationships and doing good. Let us be prepared to capture these beautiful new relationships, these precious moments.
May we stay ever hopeful,
Jenny Rhea Eisenhauer
The President’s Message: This Too Shall Passadmin2020-07-13T19:30:39-05:00
Let’s talk about where you are going this year and how you will get there. Do you know? Do you have a plan? If not, it is past time to prepare a business plan.
First, write down your goals and what you have to do to get there. Then transfer all of this to your calendar. While doing this, go to www.TPPA.org/Events and check out all of the classes available throughout the year including Texas School, especially the ones that include business planning. Many photographers will agree that business planning is essential and will get you to where you want to go faster.
Many of these TPPA Events are smaller groups with varied skill levels where you can ask questions and network with other photographers in your area. The Texas School facebook page is hopping with instructor posts, people looking for roommates, and what to pack for a great week. Be sure to check out the party theme as well. It’s going to be a great year, so make plans to attend Texas School in Addison, Texas, April 26 – May 1, 2020.
Now that the New Year is in full swing and Imaging USA is over, I will take some time to call all of those clients who have told me, “Hey, I am going to call you soon to set up a session.” It is surprising how many families come back for a reorder after so many compliments from their holiday cards or family portraits. For me, this is a great time to check in with clients.
There are so many great opportunities to learn about photography in the next few months! The Texas Professional Photographers Association is committed to providing you with a wide variety of learning opportunities throughout the year at locations in and out of the State of Texas and there are some major changes for this year that promise to be exciting. So, start filling up that calendar and make TPPA a major part of your photographic experience.
Hoping you have had a great start to 2020!
All the best,
Jenny Rhea Eisenhauer
The President’s Message: A New Year 2020: What Are Your Plans?admin2020-06-08T01:38:19-05:00
It’s the most wonderful time of year! The hustle and bustle all around us as people prepare for spending time with family and friends over the holidays can be overwhelming. Most photographers are trying to squeeze in just a few more family sessions, planning their own holiday break, or wrapping up their projects to prepare for the new year. But it is also a great time of year for photographers.
Speaking of 2020, what are your plans? Many of the most successful photographers will tell you that having a business plan was their ticket to success. You should be thinking WHEN to have studio specials, usually during your slow time of the year. You should be planning HOW to schedule your sessions so you are not constantly moving lights, backgrounds, and props in during sessions. You should also be evaluating your return on investments of new lights, equipment, and education. You should be focusing on marketing: who are your clients, what do they want, how will you deliver it to them? There is SO MUCH to think about, and yet, all are steps to your success.
The Professional Photographers of America will host Imaging USA in Nashville, Tennessee, January 19-21, 2020. I love being able to see so many familiar faces and meet new friends at this event. This is a great way for me to start the year and to learn some things that I am doing right. It is where I find trends for our industry so I can fine tune areas and goals to address in next year’s business plan.
Texas PPA has an exciting lineup of programs and events for 2020. The concept of “Texas 10 Workshops” has been expanded to include more of them throughout the year. These events are usually small groups where people can soak up information about almost any topic. Each one is an opportunity to put the pedal to the metal. The goal is to learn it, practice it, take it home, and work on it! These TPPA events are wise investments for any photographer. Plus, they are a lot of fun! For more information, go to the Texas PPA website at www.TPPA.org/Events.
The Texas School of Professional Photography is also just around the corner. In fact, registration for this event is coming up on January 3, 2020, at 11:00 pm CST. If you’ve never attended “Texas School,” you have missed out on a week-long event with 36 classes and about 1,000 other photographers. It will literally change your life!
2020 is going to be a great year for Texas PPA and its members. We are excited about some changes for next year’s calendar and new opportunities for our members.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your president for this year, I hope to see you at an event, guild meeting, or excursion soon!
All the best,
Jenny Rhea Eisenhauer
The President’s Message: A Joyous Seasonadmin2020-09-01T17:17:53-05:00
One of the things I love to do over summer holidays is go to the lake. The water is cool, the sun is bright, the food is fabulous, and the people are precious. I always go to the lake with my family where we meet my “family.”
Here’s what I mean.
I’m a proud husband to Brandyce and a father to two. They are my family. But when we go to the lake, we’re not only together as a family, we also spend time with people who are “like family.” These are people with whom I can share my joys, my hurts, my fears, and my secrets. My family is a great blessing to me – but so are the people who are “like family” to me. The same thing is true for the people of my church. I’ve fostered many close and abiding friendships there and know that I’m surrounded by people who not only share in faith, but also care for me – deeply.
The New Testament often describes the Church as a “family of faith” (e.g., Galatians 6:10). Part of what made the Church so attractive in its early days was how it looked like a loving, caring family. A second century historian named Tertullian said of these people, “See how they love one another!”
Like the Church is a family of faith, our industry is a family of photographers. We are here for each other. One of the reasons I count it such an honor to be president of the TPPA is that our mission revolves around supporting not only the practice of photography, but the people who are photographers. As much as the art of our craft matters, how we relate to each other and care for each other matters even more.
To that end, I hope to see you at our iHeart Photo Conference & Expo, October 11-13, in Grapevine, Texas. In addition to sessions on photography, we will have excursions for photographers where you will be able to get to know others better and develop and deepen friendships that can expand your professional family. I also want to “thank you” for helping make our Summerfest seminar such a success. Our image competition featured over 560 entries! Thanks for all your participation and support. Hopefully, you were able to gain and glean some takeaways from Summerfest to better serve your clients this fall.
I’m looking forward to what this fall has in store. Thanks for walking with me in this journey. It’s been a great one so far!
All the best,
The President’s Message: It’s All About “Family”admin2020-09-01T17:20:24-05:00
If you’re anything like me, you probably have systems for just about everything you do. At my studio, we have a system for scheduling appointments, a system for reaching out to clients, a system for engaging new clients, and, of course, a system for delivering not only the best possible product to our clients, but for offering the best possible overall experience for our clients. Systems are critical to success!
There is a danger, however, inherent in our systems. Whenever we do the same things the same way each and every day, it’s all too easy for our systems to slip into ruts. We develop a system that works, so we stick with it because it works. But what works is often different from what’s best. Even if it’s not broken, it’s sometimes still worth fixing, because what we fix, we can also improve!
In the New Testament, a man named Peter invites us to grow in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18). I can’t think of two more important things in life than these. Being gracious to others – not only to the clients we serve, but to the family we love, to the friends we have, and even to those who have wronged us – is critical not only for the sake of our craft as photographers, but for the sake of our character as people. And the desire to grow in knowledge is critical if we hope to improve and remain competitive in the world of photography. It is critical in our personal lives as well. When was the last time you stopped to listen and to learn from your spouse, or to glean a new insight from your faith tradition? Every facet of our lives offers us an opportunity and a challenge to grow.
Ruts sap us of our graciousness and lure us into feeling comfortable with what we think we know instead of being curious about what we have yet to learn. My invitation to you, then, is this: Take intentional steps to identify ruts in your life and, then, step out of them. In everything we do, we want to be better today than we were yesterday!
At TPPA, we are devoted to your growth. This is why Summerfest is so important to us as photographers and our families. Save the date, June 30 through July 3, at the beautiful Inn of the Hills in Kerrville. This year’s event will feature world class presenters along with our annual photography competition, and, of course, plenty of social time so we can grow in our relationships with each other. For more information, and to register, visit tppa.org.
I hope to see you there!
All the best,
The President’s Message: Opportunities for Growthadmin2020-09-01T17:22:04-05:00
As we head into this new year, it is my hope that you’re as excited as I am about all the opportunities that are on the horizon. In a fast-paced world like ours, we have the privilege of capturing moments in time for families and clients that they can treasure and that can help them slow down just enough to focus on what – and really who – matters most.
As 2019 gets going, I’ve been preparing for one of my personal favorite opportunities of the new year: rodeo time in San Antonio! I have been putting in lots of extra hours reaching out to different donors and organizations to sponsor youth scholarships as part of my work on the Calf Scramble Committee, and have come to realize that people love being given the opportunity to make a difference. My stack of “thank you” notes to write is growing by the day as more and more people gladly and willingly sign up to give because they see the impact their donation can make in a child’s life.
Hopefully you can see the impact your photographs can make in a family’s life and in a business’s mission. I have found that by approaching a session as a servant first and as a photographer second, my clients have a better experience, and I have a better time! Making a decision to approach every job as a servant reminds me that my calling is not primarily about how many tasks I can complete, but about how many people I can help. This is what makes a lasting impact.
Who can you serve in 2019?
As we seek to grow in our craft so that we can better serve our clients, I want to remind you that the Texas School of Professional Photography Conference is only a few months away. Mark your calendars for April 28 through May 3 at the Renaissance Hotel in Dallas. Last year, we had over 1,000 photographers attend. This year, we’re looking forward to seeing even more of you! You can register for the conference by going to texasschool.org.
Please join me in looking for opportunities to serve in 2019. After all, there is nothing more fulfilling than using your gifts and talents to serve others. This year, make a resolution not only to capture beauty with your camera, but to create beauty in the lives of others with your spirit of service!
All the best,
The President’s Message: Opportunities for Serviceadmin2020-09-01T17:23:05-05:00
While beginning my term as TPPA President, I’m well aware of being an heir to a long and storied tradition of excellence in photography. This is a tradition I have witnessed close up during my previous years on the TPPA Executive Council, beginning as a counselor and moving up as secretary, treasurer, vice-president, and now as president. This is a position of honor which I take seriously and cherish dearly. While looking forward to continuing TPPA’s great tradition, I also look forward to discovering new ways to make us all better together.
A verse from the New Testament Book of Hebrews invites us to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” This ancient preacher invites anyone who will hear him to encourage one another – even to push one another to grow in what matters most in life… caring for and loving others, not just in what we say, but in what we do. When I think of what has led to the greatest growth in my own life and what has led me to get better, I think of three things.
First on the list is my faith. My highest goal in life is to live for something greater than this life. This changes the way I see everything. While snapping a picture, my faith encourages me to not only look at my work technically… lighting, shadowing, positioning, coloring… but also artistically. The purpose of photography is to capture beauty and I can’t help but think there is Someone behind that beauty who has worked caringly and lovingly to craft and to create a beauty that we could never have conceptualized or composed ourselves.
Secondly, my thoughts are of my family. Before I am a photographer, I am a husband and father. My wife, my son, and my daughter have taught me lessons about tenderness and strength, patience, and joy. The pictures I treasure most are not only the ones archived in my camera, but held in the deepest places of my heart.
Finally, I do think of my vocation. For me, photography is more than a job. It is a calling. Thinking back over what I’ve learned, how I’ve changed, the new friends that have been made, and the business I’ve built, and my experiences over these past few years, I am humbled to serve others by working in a craft I truly love.
One of my goals over the next few months is sharing with you things I’ve learned that will hopefully be of benefit to you. But I’m also looking forward to learning from you and walking with you as, together, we make each other better, not just in photography, but for the sake of all of the clients we serve.
All the best,
The President’s Message: Putting First Things Firstadmin2020-09-01T17:24:10-05:00
At Imaging USA this past January, PPA put out a message about the widening gap between photographers and their consumers. The premise is that consumer habits and expectations are always shifting and that photographers may not be keeping up with the evolution of the consumer – and are stuck in their old way of doing business.
At TPPA, we agree with this premise.
As the largest PPA Affiliate, TPPA is positioning itself to be the leading association for helping its’ members succeed artistically and financially. We continue to bring top educators to our events to show us how to get better at our craft and growing our business. Following PPA’s lead, we will also incorporate programming that includes:
Understanding the changing photographic marketspace
Connecting photographers to their consumers
Developing a healthy small business mindset
“How is business?” The answer to that question depends on who you talk to.
Every day, someone on social media is out there complaining about how bad things are and how people are not buying photographs. For the photographers doing the complaining, that is probably their reality…but we can cite countless examples of photographers who are doing a tremendous amount of business and generating record numbers. So, what makes these two photographer types so different? We are going to dive into this at Summerfest.
Our first effort in addressing these topics will take place at our “Making Money Super Monday” event. You will see and hear a number of presentations that will impact how you look at your business and how you respond to changing consumers.
We plan to dig deeper into the conversation and to provide you with the tools that can make a difference in how you connect with your customers.
The truth is, consumers have never had so much disposable income and they are willing to spend it in greater amounts than ever before. We are going to show you how to develop a healthy small business mindset so that you can get your share.
Sir Isaac Newton stated, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. To put this another way, we say, “spend the money so you can make money.” We believe that your investment in attending Summerfest will come back to you in real dollars as you put what you learn into use.
Register now at www.tppa.org/summerfest.
The President’s Message: Cause and Effectadmin2020-09-01T17:27:59-05:00