Photographers trade associations: are they worth it?

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Safety in numbers

If our recent survey of 300 or so professional photographers is anything to go by, around 40% of snappers belong to a professional association or group.

The obvious question to ask, then, is what do they get out of being a member of an association?

So we did.


As you can see, there’s no ‘one reason’ to join up, but networking opportunities were seen as a real benefit. Becoming a member of a professional association allows business owners, particularly those who work on their own or in smaller set-ups, to have a collective voice and share ideas.

Often membership comes with benefits such as access to training days, money off products and services, and invaluable networking opportunities. More than that, some 38% of photographers who’ve joined an association have done so for competitive reasons – it looks professional and helps differentiate them from other photographers.

If you’re thinking about signing up to one, here’s a quick taster of what’s out there. Which one’s right for you will depend on the kind of photography you do, what you want to gain from membership and how much you want to spend.

Association for Historical and Fine Art Photography (AHFAP)

Association of Photographers (AOP)

Baby and Newborn Photography Association (BANPAS)

British Institute of Professional Photographers (BIPP)

British Press Photographers’ Association (BPPA)

Guild of Photographers

National Photographic Society (NPS)

Professional Garden Photographers’ Association (PGPA)

Professional Photographers Association of Northern Ireland (PPANI)

Master Photographers Association (MPA)

Royal Photographic Society (RPS)

Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers (SWPP)

Urban Photographers Association

Not every group costs money to join, and there’s still plenty of free advice out there in various forums and websites. If you know any unmissable ones, feel free to let us know.

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