CONTENTS PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER | MAY 2008 Features 86 THE MOMENT OF COOL Michael Spengler infuses senior portraits with fashion flair by Stephanie Boozer 72 SENIORS: FEELING THE WOW Janice Crabtree’s camera work helps boost teens’ self-esteem by Jeff Kent SENIORS: TRENDSETTERS 78 Morgans’ Fine Art Photography finds the sweet spot in the ever-changing senior market by Lorna Gentry IMAGE BY MORGANS’ FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY
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P ROF E S S I ONA LEDITORIAL director of publications CAMERON BISHOPP email@example.com senior editor art director/production manager JOAN SHERWOOD DEBBIE TODD firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com The great debate features editor LESLIE HUNT manager, publications and sales/strategic alliances KARISA GILMER STILL WONDERING WHETHER TO OFFER DIGITAL FILES? firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com editor-at-large sales and marketing assistant Does offering digital image files to clients mean you’re selling out, or JEFF KENT CHERYL PEARSON is it selling up? firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com technical editors Thanks to digital technology’s incorporation into practically all ANDREW RODNEY, ELLIS VENER studio workflows, a number of complicated issues have bubbled to director of sales and strategic alliances the surface that we as an industry need to address. “Selling out or SCOTT HERSH, 610-966-2466, firstname.lastname@example.org selling up?” explores one quandary: How should photographers western region ad manager BART ENGELS, 847-854-8182, email@example.com respond to clients’ demand for digital files? eastern region ad manager Should you release files to your customers? (It depends.) Are SHELLIE JOHNSON, 404-522-8600, x279, firstname.lastname@example.org circulation consultant other studios delivering digital files in some format? (80 percent of MOLLIE O’SHEA, email@example.com the photographers PPA surveyed said yes.) If you are handing over editorial offices Professional Photographer disks of images, are you doing it in a way that’s both financially and 229 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 2200, Atlanta, GA 30303-1608 U.S.A. legally savvy? (Turn to p. 34 to find out more!) 404-522-8600; FAX: 404-614-6406 Professional Photographer (ISSN 1528-5286) is published monthly “Selling out or selling up?” represents a joint effort between the subscriptions Professional Photographers of America (PPA) Membership and Professional Photographer P.O. Box 2035, Skokie, IL 60076; 800-742-7468; Publications departments. The story was conceived last fall during a FAX 404-614-6406; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: www.ppmag.com meeting of the PPA Board of Directors. (Professional Photographer member services PPA - Professional Photographer is the official magazine of PPA.) 800-786-6277; FAX 301-953-2838; e-mail: email@example.com; www.ppa.com Sometimes it takes a fresh, clear voice to remind us just how Send all advertising materials to: Debbie Todd, Professional Photographer, 5431 E. Garnet, Mesa, AZ 85206; 480-807-4391; FAX: 480-807-4509 challenging it is to be a small business owner in professional Subscription rates/information: U.S.: $27, one year; $45, two years; photography. In that meeting, new board member Susan Michal, $66, three years. Canada: $43, one year; $73, two years; $108, three years. International: $39.95, one year digital subscription. M.Photog.Cr., CPP, whose portrait and wedding studio is based in Back issues/Single copies $7 U.S.; $10 Canada; $15 International. Jacksonville, Fla., was that voice. Her comments on the digital PPA membership includes $13.50 annual subscription. Subscription orders/changes: Send to Professional Photographer, Attn: Circulation debate sparked a productive discussion that eventually inspired Dept., P.O. Box 2035, Skokie, IL 60076; 800-742-7468; both a member-wide survey and this article. Each member of PPA’s FAX 404-614-6406; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: www.ppmag.com. Periodicals postage paid in Atlanta, Ga., and additional mailing offices. Board of Directors is an experienced professional photographer Postmaster: Send address changes to Professional Photographer magazine, who’s been in the same position you’re in right now: running a P.O. Box 2035, Skokie, IL 60076 Copyright 2008, PPA Publications & Events, Inc. Printed in U.S.A. business. Each has faced the challenges and felt the strain of trying Article reprints: Contact Professional Photographer reprint coordinator at to make the right decisions for their studios. Wrights’s Reprints; 1-877-652-5295. Microfilm copies: University Microfilms International, Many of you are probably don’t have time to read up on the 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106 issues covered at every board meeting (see aforementioned strain of Professional Photographer (ISSN 1528-5286) is published monthly for $27 per year by PPA Publications and Events, Inc., 229 Peachtree Street, NE, Suite 2200, International Tower, Atlanta, running a business), but I wanted you to know how this especially GA 30303-1608. Periodicals postage paid at Atlanta, Ga., and additional mailing offices. important session launched an inquiry that aims to answer many of Acceptance of advertising does not carry with it endorsement by the publisher. Opinions expressed by Professional Photographer or any of its authors do not necessarily reflect positions of your crucial questions. I Professional Photographers of America, Inc. Professional Photographer, official journal of the Cameron Bishopp Professional Photographers of America, Inc., is the oldest exclusively professional photographic publication in the Western Hemisphere (founded 1907 by Charles Abel, Hon.M.Photog.), incorporating Director of Publications Abel’s Photographic Weekly, St. Louis & Canadian Photographer, The Commercial Photographer, The National Photographer, Professional Photographer, and email@example.com Professional Photographer Storytellers. Circulation audited and verified by BPA Worldwide 10 • www.ppmag.com
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chairman of the board DOUG BOX DANA GROVES *JACK REZNICKI M.Photog.Cr., API Director of Marketing & Cr.Photog., Hon.M.Photog., API email@example.com Communications firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com DON MACGREGORProfessional Photographers directors M.Photog.Cr., API SCOTT HERSHof America DON DICKSON firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Sales &229 Peachtree St., NE, Suite 2200 M.Photog.Cr., CPP Strategic AlliancesAtlanta, GA 30303-1608 email@example.com industry advisor firstname.lastname@example.org; 800-786-6277 KEVIN CASEYFAX: 404-614-6400 SANDY (SAM) PUC’ email@example.com J. ALEXANDER HOPPERwww.ppa.com Director of Membership, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright and Government legal counsel Affairs2008-2009 PPA board Howe and Hutton, email@example.com RALPH ROMAGUERA, SR. Chicago*DENNIS CRAFT M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API, F-ASP WILDA OKENM.Photog.Cr., CPP, firstname.lastname@example.org Director of AdministrationAPI, F-ASP PPA staff email@example.com@ppa.com CAROL ANDREWS DAVID TRUST M.Photog.Cr., ABI Chief Executive Officer LENORE TAFFELvice president firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Director of Events/Education*RON NICHOLS firstname.lastname@example.orgM.Photog.Cr., API SUSAN MICHAL SCOTT KURKIANrnichols@ppa.com M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI Chief Financial Officer SANDRA LANG email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Executive Assistanttreasurer email@example.com*LOUIS TONSMEIRE TIMOTHY WALDEN CAMERON BISHOPPCr.Photog., API M.Photog.Cr., F-ASP Director of Publications *Executive Committeeltonsmeire@ppa.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com of the Board12 • www.ppmag.com
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“I’m making a romantic record of aviation history that needs to be saved.” — PHILLIP MAKANNA For a moment, veteran aviation photographer airplanes I photograph are one of a kind, the Phillip Makanna ponders a question about last one flying,” he reflects. “The rest, just six retiring. He has just returned home to San of these or 10 of those left in existence.” Francisco from New Zealand, where he photo- From the back of a 1930s T-6 Texan or graphed vintage aircraft in the biennial World War II-era B-25 bomber, Makanna Warbirds Over Wanaka International Air shoots Nikon D3 and D2Xs SLR cameras with Show. Chuckling softly he says, “Well, it’s a 70-300mm Nikon AF-S VR or 24-120mm getting harder and harder to get into those AF-S VR lens. “What I do happens under airplanes. Last week I got stuck getting violent circumstances,” he says. “We’re moving out of one.” at 100 to 180 mph. If the camera gets in the Yet retirement is out of the question. For wind, everything is blurred. Even though one thing, Makanna wants to do another I’m shooting in a bouncy airplane, I can’t shoot book. He has published five so far, including fast. If I go over 1/250 second, I can’t get a the gorgeous coffee table books “Ghosts of blur in the propeller. And if the propeller is the Great War,” his most recent about aviation frozen, it looks like there’s something wrong.” in World War I, and “Ghosts of the Skies,” about In a T-6 he can roll back the top canvas and World War II airplanes, both published by shoot in open air, but the tail and wing encum- MBI Publishing. “Next I’ll do a book about ber his view. There’s no obstruction shooting the romance of aviation, the way I’ve seen it.” from the tail of a B-25, but they’re expensive to What Makanna has seen through the fly. Helicopters won’t do because of how differ- lenses of his Nikons over the last 30 years is ently they fly, and the downdraft they create extraordinary. “Probably 25 percent of the would jar the airplane he’s photographing.
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photographers who serviced their clients tothe best of their ability, and had once Our studio’s blog is paying off. Wecommanded a good share of the weddingbusiness here. Due to lack of bookings, read blogs by other photographersthey’ve closed down, at least temporarily. I count myself lucky that in this in our niche and—I’m noteconomy, I’m not only surviving, but ashamed to say it—copied them.growing. I’ve wondered about how otherphotographers are promoting theirbusinesses, right or wrong. Perhaps the After we committed ourselves to the other wedding services vendors. We printstrategies that are working for my studio blog, the next step was really hard: Filling it the URL on our business cards, promotionalwill work for others. with good content. We had to demonstrate brochures and any forms customers see. We Our studio’s blog is paying off. We read that we do a lot of business, that we make also use Really Simple Syndication (RSS)blogs by other photographers in our niche fabulous photographs, and that there’s an technology on our site, which automaticallyand—I’m not ashamed to say it—copied appealing personality behind it all. Blogging alerts the online community to our updates.them. We choreographed the online publica- actually helped me find a voice, and it forcedtion of our clients’ wedding portfolios with me to focus keenly on what we do. The result Sean and Cathy Cayton’s wedding studio is inour blog. We’ve eliminated virtually all other has been booking better jobs for more money. Colorado Springs, Colo. (caytonphotography.com). They blog aboutmarketing and poured our energy into We knew clients wouldn’t magically their business at caytonphotography.com/blogging. The best part is that Internet stumble onto our Web site, so we had to let blog. Sean muses on the business of photog-promotion is like free advertising, and it works. it be known in our niche market, including raphy at caytonphotography.com/photobiz. World’s first full-frame ultrawide angle medium format lens for film and digital backs 28mm AF Digital lens Aspherical lens element and low dispersion glass produce unsurpassed sharpness and color accuracy on today’s high resolution digital backs. • Rectilinear design produces ultrawide images with virtually no distortion. • All Mamiya Sekor Digital lenses are designed with large image circles and can be used with film and digital backs. • Ideal for architecture, landscapes, interiors, group shots, etc. Mamiya Sekor AF 28mm f4.5 D Aspherical T: 914.347.3300 WWW.MAMIYA.COM for Mamiya 645AFD/AFD II
Have you always dreamed of seeing your work on the cover of a national magazine?Here’s your chance! Beginning March 1, 2008, submit your photographs for an opportunity to be featured on the cover of Professional Photographer.Contest Rules & Judging: Images will be submitted must be original and previously un- How to enter: Go to www.ppmag.com tojudged on technical and artistic merit. Helping published, and you must have written releases enter. Only digital ﬁles will be accepted. PrintProfessional Photographer magazine editors on ﬁle from any subjects pictured in the image. images and e-mailed images will NOT bechoose the best entries will be guest judge accepted. Upload your electronic images toHelen K. Yancy, M.Photog.M.Artist.MEI.Cr.Hon. Prizes: In addition to landing the cover of a www.ppmag.com.M.Photog., CPP, F-ASP, Hon. F-ASP, the chair- 2008 edition of Professional Photographer, theman of PPA’s Print Exhibition Committee. winner will be awarded a selection of prizes Format/Speciﬁcations: Submit low-resolution from among our cover photo contest sponsors, images only, in standard digital formats (.jpg,You may submit as many images as you wish, Bogen, Canon, Kodak, Microsoft and Miller’s .pdf, etc.). Images should be 525x700 pixels;provided they are representative of the work Professional Imaging. Prizes will also be ﬁle size can’t be more than 250k. A high-reso-you sell to your clients. What we’re seeking awarded to 2nd-, 3rd-, 4th- and 5th-place win- lution, print-quality version (300ppi at 9x12are real-world examples of portrait, wedding, ners, and as many as 25 entrants will receive inches) must be available for each image.commercial and event photography. All work prizes for honorable mention. GO TO PPMAG.COM TO ENTER Submission deadline: Saturday, May 31, 2008
Professional Photographer P R E S E N T S Business, Marketing and Sales StrategiesWhat I thinkSal Cincotta says the art oflistening is the key to salesWhat advice would you give a new photographer?Do it right or don’t do it at all. Your name andreputation are everything in this business.What’s the biggest business risk you’ve ever taken?When I made the decision to go professional, Iwithdrew my savings and purchased $15,000worth of equipment. It was the scariest thingI’d ever done, but it has paid dividends manytimes over.What was your big break—the turning point?Getting on the preferred vendor list for one of thetop catering facilities in town. That relation-ship has made all the difference. It was instantcredibility with our brides.What’s your deal breaker? Rude or argumen-tative people. When people are overly difficultduring the consultation, it’s a sign of what’s tocome. I recommend finding a way to graciouslywalk away from those clients.What is the biggest business mistake you seepro photographers making? They underesti-mate how important personality is to the salescycle, and rely solely on their artistic ability.What is the single most important businesselement photographers should master? The artof listening. What do you think sells better,what your customers say they want or whatyou tell them they want?IMAGE BY SALVATORE CINCOTTAWWW.SALCINCOTTA.COM May 2008 • Professional Photographer • 33
each image. Clients can’t take what he creates priced packages and product sales. Forto any photo printer and get stunning wall example, a wall portrait could come with a HOW DO PHOTOGRAPHERS HANDLE REQUESTS FORprints. “As the industry changes, and people CD of other images from the session, along DIGITAL FILES?have their own digital cameras, we have to with a limited usage license. It’s an effective PPA surveyed its membership and receivedstay ahead,” says Gray. “That’s why I went in way to up-sell customers as well as satisfy more than 2,700 responses in five days.the direction of painting. About 75 percent their requests for digital images.of my work involves painting, though I still A high-end wedding photographer in Do you sell, give away or deliver digital filesdo standard photos. We do the best quality we Philadelphia, Faith West, of Faith West to clients?can do with our prints, and it’s all in-house.” Photography in Manayunk, Pa., noted that Gray acknowledges that it can be difficult her average reprint sale was about $150to compete with photographers who charge when she didn’t release files. “I decided toas little as $300 for wedding coverage and include a limited usage license and raise my Do you feel you havesimply give away the files immediately after prices by $150. That way, clients can make lost clients becausethe event. “This is devastating to the photo their own prints, and though I don’t get you don’t release files?industry, this new breed of digital income from reprint orders, I make the samephotographers,” he says. amount money without the extra effort.” Gray’s clients typically purchase large West admits it was a scary transition, butprints, so he sees no real need for them to says it’s paying off. “I make sure to tell my To what kind ofown their files right away. The question of clients that I would like them to order their clients do you deliver digital files?ownership rarely comes up with his portrait prints online, and I recommend certain labswork. He does, however, regularly release that I trust,” she says. West has been sellinglicensed files to his commercial clients. The licenses for her files for the past three years,client’s need in these cases is usage rights and so far, has seen no negative repercus-rather than making prints. sions. “I’m finding an interesting upshot— Do you provide either a license or “We tell portrait clients we keep I’ve booked more weddings as a result of copyright transfer?everything in-house for a year, then move it this policy. People love it, love it, love it. Nowto our permanent archive,” says Gray. I feel like I’m getting away with something,“Before we do, we call the client and ask if because the client is doing the work for me.”they want to come back and look over their West’s clients wind up posting their How do you deliverfiles before they’re archived. We get a lot of images online, a service she doesn’t provide, the files?good orders from that, and there’s really no as well as doing their own printing. “In aextra work involved.” way, I feel like I’m probably a pariah in some peoples’ minds, but it’s a win-win forSPECIAL DELIVERY me,” she says. “Before I had this system, IIn a recent survey PPA conducted of its own saw clients go to someone less talented just In what format aremembership, 80 percent of the respondents because of owning the negatives, and it was files delivered?reported they are delivering digital images frustrating.”(either low or high resolution). For these West still includes an album and parents’studios, the challenge is to execute the albums in her packages, and occasionallytransaction in a way that increases, or at has clients who don’t want to bother withleast protects, the studio’s existing profits. managing their digital files. But she also To read the survey in its entirety, including the A number of photographers include files notes that the ubiquity of online print services, comments of the participating photographers, go to the download area of the Member’s Onlywith certain usage rights in their higher combined with her clients’ average age, 25, section at www.ppa.com. May 2008 • Professional Photographer • 35
PROFIT CENTER reached back to the 1970s. “I wrote my clients, that if he cut or drastically reduced the post- present a customized usage license just for explained that I’ve been keeping an insurance production time and spent the time with other them. If the client wants to send copies of policy on these albums all these years, and I paying clients, he could reduce his wedding the digital images to a number of friends can no longer maintain the storage space.” prices and actually end up with higher profits. and family members, it might serve both of Morganstein offered full sets of negatives While making your workflow more you to do the task for them, sending low-res or digital files for $300, or $100 if they sent efficient sounds attractive, if you don’t use versions or a URL where the images are along a matching $100 check written out to the time saved to cultivate additional clients posted for review to the e-mail addresses the foundation. and generate more income, you could end your client provides. You can include an “It’s a neat way to raise money for charity, up with fewer expenses, yes, but also with order form or direct the recipients to an and I clear out my backlog of negatives,” he no additional clients, and then your lower online ordering system. says. “I tackle about three years’ worth each prices would actually yield lower profits. Senior portrait photographers are pro- year, and I’m up to the late 1990s. It’s $100 viding clients low-res images for use on their I didn’t have, and it’s $100 that the Pediatric LICENSE, DON’T TRANSFER FaceBook and MySpace pages when they’ve Brain Tumor Foundation didn’t have either.” In the vast majority of cases, when you met a minimum order amount. Some clients Morganstein tells current clients about the deliver digital files to your clients, it’s wise to simply want to create a computer screensaver annual fundraiser, and that they’ll have the avoid transferring copyrights. or make prints when they can better afford opportunity to purchase their files and make Images have value. Your customers know them. Low-res files might satisfy your clients, a donation later in the year. “The theory is that. Instead of selling your images outright, as well as provide the perfect opportunity that my clients know their files are safe and consider licensing them for your customers’ for you to explain the danger of their losing they’ll be able to purchase them later on, so limited use. Presenting a printed license the images at home in a hard drive crash, or there’s no pressure,” says Morganstein. “It’s a only adds to the perceived value of your with the inevitable failure of CDs or obso- good cause that I believe in, and it turns the work. The license should clearly list the lescence of other storage media holding the sale into something better for the clients as well. images in question, state your copyright images. You could offer a credit toward future It also gives me a little breathing room to sell ownership of them, specify the exact uses purchases if they leave it to you to safeguard as many prints as possible in the meantime.” the agreement covers, including the length the files and fulfill their print orders. Six years into the plan, Morganstein is of time the customer may use them, how Opening this dialogue with clients also averaging $1,000 in donations annually. “I and where they are to be viewed, and gives you the opportunity to explain how agonized over how to handle this problem,” whether the customer is permitted to you use only a high quality professional lab he says about clearing out the old negatives reproduce them, and in what form. (For or calibrated professional inkjet printers and and selling digital files. “But I’ve found a sample licenses, visit PPA’s Member’s Only adhere to proper color management practices way to raise money for a good cause, and I download area at www.ppa.com.) —something they may not get from the local feel good about it too.” If you just hand over the images, the photofinisher down the street or a photo- customer may think she can make reprints, printing kiosk in a retail store. Clients may Living by digital alone resell or use them in an ad or even a appreciate a warning about how technology Can a studio make a profit from licensing billboard. (We spoke with one photographer changes so rapidly they may have difficulty digital image files alone—no prints or albums? who suggests that clients put the CD of their just finding a piece of equipment to read the Commercial photographers have been doing images in their safe deposit box along with CD years from now. I it for years. It’s all in how you price and the license.) deliver your work. One photographer told us Asking clients how they want to use the he typically spends 20 hours on pre-wedding images is always advisable. For one thing, it Maria Matthews, coordinator for PPA’s and wedding photography and 20 to 25 hours helps you understand their needs so you can Copyright and Government Affairs department, contributed to this article. For on post-production image processing, album fulfill them. If they desire usage or services questions regarding the article, e-mail her at design and order fulfillment. He speculates that you truly cannot provide, you might email@example.com. 38 • www.ppmag.com
NEW WEBINARS (online seminars)PPA and SMS are bringing education to you, and Plus, you can watch the archivedall you need is a computer and the Internet. Keep versions at your convenience. Just visitwatching your inboxes for information on live the Events section of PPA.com and clickbusiness webinars about: on Webinars to reach: ß Marketing ß Income Tax Strategies ß Financial Planning ß Pricing for Profit ß Managerial Accounting ß The Art of Pricelists ß Top Performing Studios ß QuickBooks: Getting Started ß Starting a Photography Business ß And more… ß Business Basics ß Sales ß And more…3-DAY BUSINESS WORKSHOP NEW BOOKKEEPING SERVICESwith Carol Andrews, Ann Monteith and Sarah Petty Behind on your bookkeeping? OurNow’s your chance to increase profitability and Bookkeeping Program can help! Withreceive instruction on essential elements for competitive pricing and programs tailored tobusiness success (in both group settings and meet your studio’s individual needs, SMS canone-on-one consultations). help ease your headaches and get your studio ß June 9-11 off to a great start.SMS BASIC TRAINING:THE BUSINESS OF PHOTOGRAPHY ß July 19-20Classes fill up fast…Contact Beth Moore to register today...800.339.5451 x244 Professional Photographers of America | www.ppa.com
TM THE JOY OF MARKETINGsenior clients. (He outputs the wraps on anEpson Stylus Pro 9600 onto Lexjet ExtremeAqua Vinyl paper; see photos, right, and nextpage.) To activate the virus, Crosby uses hisstudio blog to announce the featured seniors,and sends each one an e-mail. On the street, theHummer generates mega-buzz, not only whenit shows up at high school football games, butwhenever a senior discovers his or her face couldbe displayed on the coolest vehicle in town. Crosby also invests the time and money tokeep his mall display fresh and current. He’sbeen known to contact the mother of a featuredgirl to suggest she take her daughter shoppingand accidentally come across the studio’s dis-play. It’s like giving a surprise party, he says.And with the normal tensions between ado-lescents and their parents, the moment is a Skyport The future of radio slave technology is here. • Small and lightweight • Highest encryption in the industry to ensure interference free operation • Optional PC and Mac computer control • Complete kits to flash a single light starting at under $220 To locate an Elinchrom dealer with products on display and in stock Go2 www.bogenimaging.us/elinchrompremier Elinchrom distributed by: Bogen Imaging Inc. 201 818 9500 www.bogenimaging.us firstname.lastname@example.org May 2008 • Professional Photographer • 43
TMTHE JOY OF MARKETING gift to both of them. Two minutes later, mother and daughter both are yakking on a cell phone. To make it easy for seniors to share their images online, Crosby uses Photoshop to create Flash animated .gif files for each client. Each file includes a slideshow studio ad and the words, “Ask me about senior pictures.” He asks the recipients to e-mail the file to everyone in their address book, along with this message: “Ask me how to get a special gift.” This way the ad is all about the senior, and she cannot resist passing it along. Crosby’s viral marketing strategy for seniors is truly inspired. We’d love to hear the innovative ways you’re building buzz to fever pitch in your studio’s marketing! I Sarah Petty Photography is in Springfield, Ill. (www.sarahpetty.com). 44 • www.ppmag.com