After visiting the NEC photography show in Birmingham 21st March 2017, I had decided to gather information on memberships to professional photography associations.

I had gathered information from the AOP – Association of Photographers, BIPP – British Institute of Professional Photographers and The RPS – Royal Photographic Society.

I had decided to look into becoming part of a recognised association or number of associations to be able to promote myself as a photographer as well as gain knowledge in my area of wedding and portrait photography and have opportunities to become apart of competitions, training days and networking sessions.

I believe that in order for me to excel in the world of photography I must first get myself recognised and enrol myself into opportunities that will alternatively benefit me and my business.

I first looked into BIPP reading through a magazine I had picked up at the show, looking at how to become a member and costs as well as membership for student photographers, I looked into the benefits of joining, which included;

  • Training discount – This would mean I could practise in areas I feel need improvement and at a discounted rate meaning it was now more accessible for me.
  • Goods and service discount – This would benefit me when purchasing new equipment and using services that can help to improve my business.
  • Regional and national meetings – This is a good way to network both regionally in my area and nationally to expand my client base.
  • Support and Networking – Again the networking will help me to expand, get known in different areas.
  • Competitions and awards – To be able to take part in awards within the Institute I can get a professional named award should I succeed in any competitions.

Once I had gone through all the relevant information and looked into the benefits I then downloaded an application form which I filled in and posted to the BIPP. (Copy of forms in folder)

Being part of Bradford College meant that I could get a discounted rate when joining, meaning that becoming a member was more affordable whilst I am still in education, I followed the following link I had found in the BIPP magazine.

BIPP – Student Membership

As well as joining the BIPP I also looked at the AOP – Association of Photographers. I had picked up a couple of leaflets for the association which called for student entries for the AOP Student awards, to become apart of this I needed to become a member.

Again the benefits for becoming a member meant I had the opportunity to network, gain knowledge through discounted training, have online help and advice and be able to get myself known in the photography industry.

It was free to join the AOP for students which provided me with a great opportunity to become a member and receive all the benefits with out paying out for yearly fees.

I logged onto the AOP site and applied online to become a student member.

AOP – Student membership

Once confirmed I will be able to take part in entering competitions with the association and provide me with the opportunity to get a named award.

I also picked up a copy of The Journal – The Royal Photographic Society. This offered % off on membership for the year, meaning that I was now able to become apart of the society.

Workshops regularly take place for members where I can improve my photography skills, as well as being pat of an active community to be able to speak to other photographers, giving me a chance to gain more mentors to help me along my journey to becoming a professional photographer.

RPS – Membership

After going through all the membership forms and reading through the websites I had come across a helpful column in regards to getting online on LinkedIn this is a site where I can connect with other photographers and businesses in order to expand my knowledge and gain recognition.

I decided to go online and set up a profile, from here I can actively advertise myself and look for work, many companies and clients use linked in to find respectable companies to deal with, by joining the LinkedIn website I can now start to advertise my skills in order to attract more business and gain a good working reputation.

My LinkedIn Profile

Once I had gone through all the memberships I had collected information about during the Photography show I decided I would look into my area, wedding and portraiture. I had found the SWPP – Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers and the WPPI – Wedding and Portrait Photographer International.

With me still being a student I used this opportunity to become a member of both sites at a reduced rate, this enables me to become part of recognised wedding and portrait societies that help to promote photographers, these sites are often used to find trustworthy photographers which enables me to become more likely to be found online.

I filled in an application form online and became a member of both societies.

SWPP/WPPI – Application

With me now being part of the institutes and societies I am able to advertise myself and my services as a full member, this gives me a better outlook to potential clients, meaning I am more likely to get a good following and gain business through trusted clients.

I will be able to continue my subscriptions and memberships once I complete my course meaning I have developed an appropriate stepping stone when entering the business world upon completion of my degree.

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