Photography Advice

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 United States.

The PPA logo representing the 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.

In fact, this organization, which has been around for over 150 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 am a dues-paying member of PPA, and it is the best money I spend annually to support my photography career.

📸 Did you know?
You can receive a $35.00 discount on a new membership with PPA by using this link: Be sure to tell them I sent you!

Professional Photographers of America: Member Benefits

Equipment Insurance

My list’s number one member benefit is the $15,000 worth of gear and equipment insurance. We all know that camera equipment is costly, and if you think all 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. Options to purchase a more comprehensive policy at a discounted rate are available. 

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.

World Class Educational Resources

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 is excellent – from accomplished photographers – some of it not so good from somebody who might mean well but lacks the actual experience. 

Combing through all of this material to find the good stuff is time-consuming and 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 vast library of online classes, over 1,100 hours of videos, webinars, photography workshops, and live in-person learning events. 

Joe Edelman giving a presentation at ImagingUSA in Nashville, TN, organized by PPA (Professional Photographers of America).
Joe Edelman presenting a platform talk to just over 800
people at ImagingUSA 2023 in Nashville, TN

PPA also hosts its annual conference and trade show called ImagingUSA, which is the largest photography conference and trade show put on by photographers for photographers.

As a new member of PPA, you get to attend your first ImagingUSA for free. That includes all keynote talks, classes, marketing and sales programs, tradeshows, vendor discounts, competitions, and more. Heck, they even throw some epic parties at ImagingUSA.

Everything I have mentioned so far is 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.

Data Loss & Negligence Protection

This is not insurance. It is called the Indemnification trust and protects your business from dissatisfied clients. 

PPA’s Indemnification Trust helps “active members” in the U.S. and Canada when clients claim 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 increase 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 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.

Business Resources

The organization’s website has an incredible Business Resource section

that 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 created in consultation with attorneys. 

You can download, edit, and compare various documents, including proposals, cancellation letters, model releases, copyright transfers, etc.

While discussing 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 can 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 its impacts on you, your images, and your business. 

PPA advocates push 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 safeguard your work.


If competition is your thing, PPA sponsors district, national, and international competitions where your images will be evaluated against 12 elements to achieve merits. This way, you aren’t competing against other photographers; you are competing to improve your work.

The Last Frame – PPA Is a No Brainer

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 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.

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 word for it. 

You need to invest in yourself and your career to check out PPA to see if it fits you well.

Make sure you use the discount code at the beginning of the article when you sign up to save $35.00 on your new PPA membership.

I hope you found this information useful, and I hope to see you at the next ImagingUSA! Now go pick up that camera and shoot something! Because – “Your BEST shot is your NEXT shot!” — Joe Edelman

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 in to watch The LAST FRAME Live every Wednesday night at 6:00PM, and I will always do my best to answer your questions or point you in the right direction.

Joe Edelman

Joe Edelman is an award winning Photographer, Author, and "No Bull" Photo Educator.  Follow this link to learn more about Joe or view his portfolio. Please be sure to connect on the social media platforms below.
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