Why You Need To Join Professional Photographers of America (PPA)
Did you know that Professional Photographers of America is NOT just for professional photographers? And it’s not just for photographers based in the US.
PPA is short for Professional Photographers of America.
It is the world’s largest nonprofit photography association organized for photographers by photographers, with over 30,000 members in more than 50 countries.
** You can receive a $35.00 discount on a new membership with PPA by using this link: https://www.ppa.com/join/member-2-member. Be sure to tell them I sent you!
In fact, this organization which has been around for 152 years has existed to promote an active exchange of ideas in the photography community by sharing knowledge and experience all while working to establish industry standards of excellence and serving as a business resource for those who want to take photography and entrepreneurship to the next level and develop profitable and sustainable businesses.
I get questions about PPA on a regular basis, probably because I talk about it so much. So, when the folks at PPA asked me if I would partner with them to explain to new photographers what PPA is all about, I jumped at the chance because it’s an organization that I sincerely believe in. I am a dues paying member of PPA and I can tell you honestly that it is the best money that I spend on an annual basis to support my photography career.
There’s so much I could tell you about PPA, but I will start with the things that I think you will find most valuable and I will leave you with some great resources to check out so that you can make your own decision.
PPA Member Benefits
The number one member benefit on my list is the $15,000 dollars’ worth of gear and equipment insurance. Look, we all know that camera equipment isn’t cheap and if you think that all of your gear is automatically covered under your homeowner’s policy – think again. Owning all kinds of gear without proper insurance is risky. If you need more than $15,000 of coverage… no problem. They offer options to purchase a more comprehensive policy at a discounted rate. For me, having the peace of mind that my equipment is protected from damage, theft and other unforeseen events both in my studio and on-location is worth the total cost of the membership.
PPA also partners with insurance companies that give you substantially discounted rates on Drone Insurance and liability insurance policies which are a must for any photographer who wants to earn money with their cameras.
Next on my list is the educational resources that PPA provides. We all know that there are tons of sources of photography education available on the internet. Some of it excellent – from accomplished photographers – some of it not so good from somebody who might mean well but lacks the real experience. Combing through all of this material to find the good stuff is time consuming and it can often lead you down a path with bad information. With PPA, you know you are getting your information from a good source – curated by photographers with experience. They offer a huge library of online classes and over 1,100 hours of videos, webinars and photography workshops as well as live in-person learning events. PPA also hosts their annual conference and trade show called ImagingUSA which is the largest photography conference and trade show that is put on by photographers for photographers. As a new member to PPA you get to attend your first ImagingUSA for free. That means all of the keynote talks, classes, marketing and sales programs, tradeshow, vendor discounts, competitions, and so much more. Heck they even throw some epic parties at ImagingUSA.
So, all of the things that I have mentioned so far – are valuable to anyone involved with photography, even if they are not trying to start a business or earn money with their cameras. If you are in business or looking to start a business, the list of incredible benefits goes on.
Let’s start with the Data Loss & Negligence protection which protects your business from dissatisfied clients. This is not insurance. It is referred to as the Indemnification trust. PPA’s Indemnification Trust helps “active members” in the U.S. and Canada when a client claims they were negligent in providing their services. This includes data losses, missed shots or simply because the client has decided to be unhappy. Assistance ranges from advice on handling matters, to direct intervention and offsetting certain costs or losses.
The PPA Trust is administered by the law firm of Meadows, Macie & Sutton, one of the most experienced firms in the world when it comes to helping professional photographers. Because this is not insurance, your rates will not go up if you file a claim. The Trust also offers background support in these situations by preparing you for court and, if necessary, hiring a local attorney to defend you.
Let that sink in…if you have an unrecoverable total loss on a shoot, the Trust could be the difference between you paying a full refund out of your own pocket – or only having to pay a $200 deductible while the Trust provides the rest of the funds.
Next on my list of awesome business resources that are included in your PPA Membership – are the awesome business resources! They will help you grow your business with customizable contracts and templates. Drafting agreements from scratch requires time and expertise and I don’t advise doing it without consulting a lawyer. Your membership gives you full access to PPA’s library of customizable contracts, templates and business forms that were created in consultation with attorneys. You can download, edit and compare a wide range of documents including proposals, cancellation letters, model releases, copyright transfers and so much more.
While we are talking about business resources, we have to mention the PPA Business Guide Square One income projections tool and Financial Benchmarks research which will help you set realistic business goals and a pricing structure that will help you meet those goals.
You will be able to gain additional business insights and inspiration with online articles and the monthly magazine.
Another tremendous benefit is the work that PPA is doing to effect better copyright protections for photographers. Current copyright law is outdated and doesn’t account for today’s technology – and the impacts it has on you, your images and your business. PPA advocates by pushing state and national legislators to better serve and protect photographer rights in our technology-driven world, and they provide you with a toolkit of Copyright resources to help you protect your work.
If competition is your thing, PPA sponsors district, national and international level competitions where your images will be evaluated against a set of 12 elements to achieve merits. This way you aren’t competing against other photographers, you are competing to improve your work.
So…now do you get why being a PPA member is worth it? Whether you are just beginning your photography journey and want to start out on the right foot, or you’ve been at this a while but want to take your business to the next level, PPA is where you need to be.
Look, there is so much more that I could tell you, everything from credential and certification programs to online social communities to Telemedicine options for you and your future staff to – well… don’t take my work for it. You need to at least make the investment in yourself and your career to check out PPA to see if it is a good fit for you.
Make sure you use the discount code that is at the beginning of the article when you sign up so that you can save $25.00 on your new PPA membership.
If you have more questions about PPA – there is a chat box at the bottom right of every page on their website and of course you can tune into my TOGCHATs every Wednesday night at 6:00PM and I will always do my best to answer your questions or point you in the right direction.
I hope you have found this information helpful and I hope to see you at the next ImagingUSA!
Now go pick up that camera and shoot something because your BEST shot – it’s your NEXT shot!
**FTC Disclosure: I am a dues paying member of the organization and all words and opinions are my own. I do receive a small payment for use of the affiliate link posted above which does help to support my educational mission.