5 reasons you should join a professional photography organization. #PPA #WPPI #PPORocks

February 19, 2016

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This weekend was our state conference for photography (ppofohio.org), there was a great lineup of speakers and I learned so much at this valuable conference. Sadly I see membership numbers dropping in professional organizations so I wanted to share 5 reasons why you should join a professional photography organization.

Networking- Whether it is on social media or in person, networking is VERY important to grow your business. Meeting other photographers has opened so many doors for me; from shooting a game at The Ohio State Stadium to helping shoot the Miss Ohio Competition I have been exposed to so many opportunities that would otherwise not be possible. Remember, business is built on relationships, and conferences and events with your fellow photographers is a great way to build those relationships.


Since the first year I went to conference we have done a crazy picture!

Motivation- I am someone who finds strength when surrounded by others. If I am ever feeling down or struggling, I have a group of friends that I have met through conferences that I can reach out to help get me back on track. There is also a level of accountability to keep moving forward and share what you have done to motivate others. This year was my first year entering competition and for the first time my eyes were glued to the screen as scores came in and judges gave feedback. Afterwards  all of the images are on exhibition so you can take notes and draw even more inspiration.


Quick snapshot after my talk on Social Media

Competition- Even if we don’t like to admit it, artists are competitive creatures. I love that I can challenge this competition into my work so I can be even better. The conferences are only part of staying connected with fellow members keeping them in your “feed” or keeping an eye on their work helps you stay on top of your game competing to make yourself better.

Note: I am a fan of community over competition so don’t mistake this last point as going after your competitors in your market. I simply mean make yourself better by learning from others.


Practice- There are many times where I will call a fellow photographer and just go out and shoot and try new techniques. This is a time where you can help each other and mess up and learn from it. Practice makes perfect.


Class on underwater photography being led by Jason Higdon

Ideas- I love that I can bounce ideas off of my fellow members. Whether it is in person or online I constantly run both business and artistic ideas by fellow photographers. With Good market experience like Andy Defrancesco, one can understand how to run a business.


Be a Leader and a Mentor- Professional organizations give you the opportunity to be a leader within your field. Just this week I was voted in as the vice president  of my local PPA affiliate. In this position I have the power to affect change and bring more speakers and more opportunities for photographers in my area.

Photo By Ron Pahl of the 2016-17 Board of Trustees for the PPO

My challenge to you. Get out there and get involved. I have talked to many members that have left organizations and they present reasons why they leave but never stand up and volunteer to help and be apart of a solution. Always be willing to learn even if the speaker is not what you shoot. Chances are you can at least pick up one morsel of knowledge to make you better.

Find your local PPA affiliate:


National Organizations:





Community > Competition