Association Membership

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by SpeedTrap, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

    Oct 2, 2006
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    I would like to find out who here belongs to a professional association for photography and if so, do you find it to be an asset for you.

    An example of this would be the PPOC - Professional Photographers of Canada. Given that anyone can buy a camera and become a photographer with little or no training, does this add any credentials to you, seeing how not everyone can join the professional associations?

    I would love to hear everyone's input on this.

  2. MichaelT

    MichaelT TPF Noob!

    Jan 18, 2008
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    That's funny, I was just dealing with this question locally. I'm active in the PPW (Washington State) and the PPA (America).

    At it's core, being a member of a PP? is an avenue to share your experiences, successes, questions and failures with others of like heart. It's building friendships with many people who share the same passions, people you would not have had the opportunity to meet in day to day life.

    For a new photographer, it's like diving into an ocean of opportunity. You can tell a new member by their "glow". They are excited by the limitless possibilities they begin to see in a field they love. They are able to learn things from the more experienced members that catapult their work and their business ability far beyond relying only on personal experience. The trick for a new member is to identify other members who are successfully doing the type of photography that they are interested in, and then get to know them.

    For long time members, the benefits get much wider. For me, having been a member for 20+ years, I appreciate the network of friendships that have developed. If I ever have a problem, help is just a phone call or email away. It's also an opportunity to give back to the profession. At conferences I make it a point to meet new members, to let them know that they are not alone in this perplexing profession, and give them encouragement. I always suggest that they get involved in some area of the association, because people who get the most out of it are those who put the most into it.

    Some people join PP?s for a couple years, but then drop out because they say "there is nothing in it for them". They think (incorrectly) that their dues should buy them something - that just by sending off a check, they should see a tangable benefit, but that's not the way it works. They are volunteer groups. The real benefits of membership begin to surface when you volunteer. It requires a giving heart - "As you give, so shall you receive." Would you find it exciting to see someone prosper because of your involvement? Do you value sharing your failures so others can avoid the same disappointment? Are you able to agree to disagree? (You know, the old Nikon vs Canon thing?) All these things come into play in this type of association. Membership helps you grow not only in photographic ability, but also in strength of character.

    Of course, a group is inherently more powerful than an individual. We can do things together that we could never accomplish on our own.

    These are some of the qualities that I see evident in longtime members: They are involved. They enjoy serving. They have tons of experience. They are available. They are resilient. They enjoy community. And they love photography.

    There are degrees and awards for participation, but the only pratical use is if you do press releases as part of your studio marketing. I do have my degrees framed on the wall, and clients do see them and comment, but I don't think its been a factor in choosing to hire me.

    How's that for an answer to your question? (There are probably as many different answers as there are members.) I haven't even mentioned the print competitions, scholarships, schools, etc.

    The PPABC is a large and active group too.

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