President’s Message

The President’s Message: This Too Shall Pass

Jenny Eisenhauer
2020 TPPA President

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

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
TPPA President

The President’s Message: This Too Shall Pass2020-05-11T14:41:57-05:00

The President’s Message: A New Year 2020: What Are Your Plans?

2020 TPPA President
Jenny Eisenhauer

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 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
TPPA President

The President’s Message: A New Year 2020: What Are Your Plans?2020-05-11T14:37:18-05:00

The President’s Message: A Joyous Season

Jenny Eisenhauer
2020 TPPA President

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

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
TPPA President

The President’s Message: A Joyous Season2020-01-27T19:35:32-06:00

The President’s Message: It’s All About “Family”

Ross Benton,
TPPA President 2019

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,
Ross Benton
TPPA President

The President’s Message: It’s All About “Family”2019-11-19T10:47:27-06:00

The President’s Message: Opportunities for Growth

Ross Benton,
TPPA President 2019

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

I hope to see you there!

All the best,
Ross Benton
TPPA President

The President’s Message: Opportunities for Growth2019-11-19T10:48:16-06:00

The President’s Message: Opportunities for Service

Ross Benton,
TPPA President 2019

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

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,
Ross Benton
TPPA President

The President’s Message: Opportunities for Service2019-11-19T10:48:59-06:00

The President’s Message: Putting First Things First

Ross Benton,
TPPA President 2019

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,
Ross Benton
TPPA President

The President’s Message: Putting First Things First2019-11-19T10:49:48-06:00

The President’s Message: I Heart Photography Conference and Expo

Tammy Graham, 2018 TPPA President

By now you may have heard that Texas PPA is hosting a new event this fall. The “I Heart Photography Conference and Expo” will be held October 12-14 at the Grapevine Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas.

The I Heart Photography Conference features two and a half days of programming for photographers with a wide range of interests. Pro photographers will enjoy an outstanding lineup of programs from marketing and inspiration and from babies to families in our Pro Track of programs designed to address the needs and expand the success of professional photographers.

Photographic enthusiasts as well as pros will enjoy our Inspiration Track of classes featuring a variety of programs to foster creativity and inspiration. Program topics include; street photography, photographing night skies, wildlife, landscapes, as well as flower and bird photography.

We are also excited about our lineup of “hands-on” Excursions that take place on Friday. These are on-location events which feature a coach who will help you understand what goes into capturing a dynamic image. Excursions require an additional fee that range from $57 to $89. Excursions offered include a trip to the Fort Worth Zoo with Dennis Kelley, a Real Estate shoot with Ethan Tweedie, Street Photography with Josh Jordan, Drone Photography with Justin Moore, and Food Photography with Malinda Julien.

We also have arranged a very special excursion to the home of the Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium. This is a very unique event because the stadium does not usually allow cameras with detachable lenses or lenses longer than three inches. They are making an exception for I Heart Photography participants and allow us to photograph inside the stadium with generous access throughout. How cool is that?

One of the things that makes this event a little different than others we have hosted is that it will likely sell out due to the smaller meeting rooms at the Grapevine Convention Center. We are anticipating a complete sell out, so you are encouraged to register early!

Early registration for the conference is $127 and will cut off at 200 registrants. Registration for this super event is now open at

Tammy Graham
TPPA President

The President’s Message: I Heart Photography Conference and Expo2019-08-25T15:25:38-05:00

The President’s Message: Cause and Effect

Tammy Graham
Ft. Worth

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
  • Understanding sales

“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

The President’s Message: Cause and Effect2018-05-27T15:05:39-05:00

The President’s Message: The Power of Networking

Tammy Graham
Ft. Worth

With Texas School on our doorstep and Summerfest just waiting in the wings, I thought this would be a good time to talk about one of the unwritten benefits of your TPPA membership, “Networking”.

Networking: NOUN

  1. a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest:


It is impossible to put a price on the value of making connections within TPPA.  When you participate in a TPPA event, you not only get education from speakers and instructors, but you also have the opportunity to learn from other TPPA members.  At any given event, there are those in attendance who share the same struggles as you, have been where you are and have overcome difficult situations or hold a solution that will change the course of your business.

There is also a good chance that you might be the voice that a fellow member needs to hear.  You can be the voice of encouragement, provide sound advice, or simply share how you work around common obstacles.

How many of you look forward to seeing great friends at an event? Chances are you first met those friends at a TPPA event and become lifelong friends.  This still happens at every TPPA Event.

Now, you might be skeptical at how this would happen among competitors at an event. You may wonder why anyone would share their business insights with someone they do not know.  You may even feel a bit protective of your own “trade secrets”.  These are common feelings with those who are new to the association world.  The trick is to move past those fears and get plugged in.  Members who embrace the message of sharing soon realize that we are all better when all photographers are strong.

The hard part of all of this is that networking is not intuitive.  It requires deliberate action to take place.  Whether you are new to TPPA or you are a long-time member, networking begins with you!  For example, you are attending an event for the first time, you should make a point to introduce yourself to people and let them know you are new to TPPA.  Make sure you carry some business cards with you to exchange with people you meet and follow up with a simple e-mail letting them know you enjoyed meeting them.  Ask for advice on making the most of the event.  “Where is a good place for lunch?” or “Which speakers are you looking forward to hearing?” are great questions to start a conversation.

If you are a seasoned TPPA member, make sure to reach out to those you do not know.  Don’t pass by individuals sitting or standing by themselves to do so without saying hello or asking them if they have any questions.  Try to invite someone new to lunch or to sit with you in a program.  Go out of your way to make everyone feel welcome.

We are all part of the TPPA family who are working to improve our craft, grow our business and to find new solutions to becoming more efficient.  The fact that TPPA members are willing to share ideas and build each other up is one of the things that makes TPPA such a special organization.  I am thrilled you are part of our growing association.

The President’s Message: The Power of Networking2018-04-07T15:03:44-05:00