There are advantages of becoming a member of an association like The Association Of Photographers, The Royal Photographic Society or The British Institute Of Professional Photographers. Associations aim to support all photographers in their work, regardless of location or speciality. The Royal Photographic Society explained that they “exist to promote photography to support photographers. It is a membership organisation and as a registered charity much of what it does is for the wider public. In addition, The RPS is also widely consulted by the media for comment on matters affecting photography”. Similarly, the BIPP said “we are an internationally recognised qualifying organisation with over 100 years of experience in supporting and networking photographers” while the AOP quoted “we are the leading trade association for the best of professional photographers”. In addition the Guild of Photographers commented that they were “a warm, friendly association for all individuals committed to the craft and art of photography”.
For the majority of photographic associations, anyone can become a member. This includes associations such as the AOP, the BIPP and the Royal Photographic Society.
Price to join vary:
The BIPP membership starts from £75 + VAT for students to £195 + VAT for other membership bands.
The Royal Photographic Society membership starts at a concessionary student rate of £54 and runs through to a family membership at £168. The benefits of the association are the same throughout memberships.
The AOP membership ranges from free for students of affiliated colleges to photographer membership at £315 per year including VAT.
Levels of membership:
The Royal Photographic Society does not offer different “levels” of membership but does offer different subscription rates as mentioned earlier. However, as a member you can apply for distinctions by submitting a panel of your work and therefore be awarded either a Licentiate, Associateship and Fellowship distinction.
The BIPP offers four types of membership including a Student membership, Friends membership, Provisional membership and Qualified membership.
The AOP offers a membership for everyone including a Photographer, Assisting Photographer, Junior Assistant, Student, Open Member, Affiliate College, Affiliate Company and Agent Member levels.
Benefits of being a member:
The main benefits of being a member of the Royal Photographic Society are:
- A monthly award journal that goes out to all members
- Regional and Chapter meetings
- Society Distinctions
- A members area on our website with benefits
- Special interest groups
- Members can receive expert advice and feedback on images when applying for a Society Distinctions.
- Members can use our Coat of Arms on their websites
- Distinction holders can use a specified logo on their letterheads and business cards
- Specialist insurance
- Discounts on Society activities
- Product discounts or savings
- Monthly E-newsletter
The main benefits of being a member of the BIPP are:
- Recognition of your qualification by other organisations and employers
- The opportunity to achieve a BA (Hons) Photography Degree through the OCA with just one year of study
- A tiered structure offering continual professional development
- Qualifications advice
- Events and seminars across the country
- Portfolio reviews
- Regional meetings
- Subsided training by industry leaders
- Entry to the Professional Photography Awards
- Entry to the BIPP Towergate Camerasure Fine Art Competition
- The Photographer Magazine
- Regular email updates
- Use of the BIPP logo
- Your own portfolio page on bipp.com
- Business generation leads
- Free resources – contracts, licensing, releases etc
- Discounted display advertising
- Preferential deals from the 3rd party companies
- International network of contacts
- Credit card processing packages
- Free 24/7 legal helpline
- Exclusive UK access to the Federation of European Photographers
- The peace of mind that comes with a framework of a code of professional conduct and complains procedure
- Promotion of qualified members to the users of photography/buyers
The main benefits of being a member of the AOP are:
- Free business and legal advice
- Having members and their work marketed by the AOP
- Great discounts
- Members can enter our Photography Awards
The BIPP host regional awards, student/college awards and national awards every year as well as holding regional and national training days, workshops, talks etc.
The AOP host an annual Photography Award which includes the Photography, Assistant and Open awards. They also offer a brilliant range of talks, training workshops and seminars that are very popular.
The Royal Photographic Society also host competitions, workshops and talks for their members.
What stands out from other associations:
The AOP said; “We are the only trade association for photographers. We exist to protect photographers and are uniquely positioned to offer business and legal advice as well as marketing the work of our members to help them get ahead in the industry”.
The BIPP said; “We are one of the biggest governing bodies offering a structured qualification programme to photographers in the country and internationally. We pride ourselves on offering a fair and equal system that allows our members to achieve the best of their abilities.”
The Royal Photographic Society said; “The RPS is about photography and imaging in their broadest way and this is reflected in the way it approaches all its activities. This differentiates it from camera clubs and other trade organisations and appeals to those looking for something different. This is underpinned by The Society’s history and heritage which gives it a unique position within the photography world.”