The Lowdown on Professional Photo Associations

As a follow up to last post of 2010, our interview with Stephen Best of the APA, this week we will take a look at several professional photography associations. These are a very good way to further your exposure and grow your community. There are several choices on this list, and each has advantages depending on the field of photography that you practice. This discussion will focus on most the major national and international groups.

The List:
APA (American Photographic Artists), formerly (Advertising Photographers of America)

ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers), formerly (American Society of      Magazine Photographers)

EP (Editorial Photographers)

PPA (Professional Photographers of America)

WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International)

WIPI (Woman in Photography International)

PSA (The Photographic Society of America)

Each of these associations have the advancement and reputation of professional photography as their primary mission. Each has the members’ needs as the focus of their bylaws and their work as advocates for the group. As a member, you have access to a multitude of benefits, protections and support. Some of these include discounts from partner associations or vendors, insurance covering many issues and events, help with marketing and education, and most have an annual sponsored trade events and/or conventions. Most if not all of these groups are fee based and offer several levels of membership to choose from. The regional chapters of each group are run independently with an elected governing board from within that community. In most cases, there are regular monthly meetings, with varying topics and guest speakers. Many of the regional groups also get involved in local social support and have public events focused on fund raising and/or raising awareness of local issues.

I have been a member of the APA for many years and have found this to be a very beneficial association.  Specifically, several years ago I had an issue with infringement on the copyright of some of my work. The APA partner lawyers were great and helped me through this and won the case for me, and made a difficult situation much less painful, both emotionally and financially.

There are also many regional groups that have spun off from some of the big associations. While these have the same goals in mind, they lack the support of the national membership base. They may be set up state by state or in a geographic area.
In general, the fees for these are lower but so are the benefits.

As you can see from the list, there are many choices. If you are interested in joining you should do some research to find the association that fits best with what you do. Most would be very happy to reply to any inquiry and help you understand what the benefits are for their group and what the fees are based on you and your needs.
I have included several links to aid you in your research.

Links to lists of photography organizations and groups:

I look forward your thoughts and comments.



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