Educated: Finding the Best Business Education

Guest: Angela Kurkian

Director of Education | Professional Photographers of America (PPA)

DATE: September 14, 2023

There is no lack of photography education in this world. You can find just about anything on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, it’s all there for the viewing. Sometimes it feels like everyone has a class or a tutorial to sell you– so when you want or need to learn something new, how can you possibly wade through it all to find what you need? And, more importantly, who can you trust?  

Today’s guest has some answers for you. Angela Kurkian is the Director of Education at Professional Photographers of America and is not only a passionate advocate for business education, but has been in the trenches of portrait photography for decades. 

We will discuss the best, FREE, resources for business education out there and Angela will share the most common mistakes and myths that have so many photographers stuck instead of moving forward.

Don’t let the confusion and overwhelming search for education slow you down. Angela has all the resources you need, no matter how long you’ve owned your business, in business foundations and beyond.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to find valuable business education opportunities for free.
  • Why business education is so important for portrait photographers.
  • How to determine the skills you need to improve upon.

Here’s a glance at this episode:

  • [3:48] – Angela has been a member of PPA since 1994 and has seen a lot of change in the industry when it comes to education.
  • [5:52] – There are so many different types of education on many topics. It is best to layer different types together.
  • [7:13] – Start with PPA for business education. A good mentor is very impactful.
  • [9:48] – Angela ran a business for 22 years but didn’t learn how to effectively run a business until 7 years in.
  • [12:12] – Once you can see the benchmarks, it is so much easier to understand.
  • [13:48] – Allison shares how she started learning through PPA.
  • [15:03] – Portrait photography is an amalgamation of manufacturing, a service, and retail.
  • [16:48] – It is such a mindset shift to learn that your time is valuable.
  • [19:06] – Photographers create the experience. You cannot separate the experience from the image.
  • [20:59] – Get out of your own way. It’s not that your clients don’t value you. It’s that you don’t value your own time and work.
  • [22:23] – YouTube videos are great for some things, but the business foundation is important to build.
  • [25:27] – PPA offers great classes on all of the business foundations and they are all free.
  • [27:23] – No matter how long you have been in business, these foundations and fundamentals need to be learned and looked at every year.
  • [30:16] – Notice what you know you are good at but areas that need to improve. Look for the education opportunities in those areas.
  • [33:49] – Angela describes some success stories of photographers who have gone through the courses that would improve their business.
  • [35:36] – Allison went from thinking she needed to toot her own horn to bragging about her clients.
  • [39:39] – Look at PPA’s website and take a look at the vast amount of resources, specifically the PPA Business Guide.
  • [42:01] – Angela describes the lessons she learned in taking a break.
  • [45:03] – What do you really want?
  • [47:50] – You can learn so much theory, but you have to actually apply it.

Links and Resources: 
Download a Transcript
PPA’s Benchmark Business Guide

Angela Kurkian
PPA Website | LinkedIn | Email 

Do The ReWork
Website | Instagram

Allison Tyler Jones
Website | Instagram | LinkedIn