I’d like to take a minute to invite any photographer who is just starting out or is a seasoned veteran to be more and join a photography association or local group. A while back I touched briefly in my blog post on "Finding the right Photographer" about being part of a photography group such as PPA, WPPI, APA or others. They are a great resource to belong too if not for networking with other photographers but also as an association helping especially new photographers avoid many pitfalls we tend to make starting out. Even if you do not want to join a large national group look into join a small photographers group in your local community.
I do belong to Professional Photographers of America (PPA.com) and have been an active member for the past two and a half years. I also belong to a small group of local photographers with no affiliations to any large national group. They have both helped me out greatly when I was starting out and still do several years later.
When I made the switch from being a sports, live events and news photographer to being primarily a portrait and live event photographer these two groups were there to help me navigate some of the pitfalls that beginning photographers or photographers who have been out of the business a while normally face. With the small local group of photographers I learned how to better light my clients along with better posing practices. Then with the national group they were better able to help with setting up better business practices and creating better contracts that protect both me and my clients.
The fun thing about being with groups like these, is that after being with them for so long and getting help from so many great people, it eventually becomes your turn to help other beginning photographers become and be more.
You may want to ask the question hey where can I find these groups? The answer is fairly simple go on Facebook use the search bar and you can find plenty there. Also for the national groups other than the ones listed below you can google them or for PPA just click “here” and you can learn about their mission to help and support photographers.
Professional Photography Groups:
American Photographers Association (www.americanphotographyassociation.org/)
Wedding & Portrait Photographers International – WPPI (www.wppionline.com/)
American Photographic Artists (www.apanational.org/)