I have received some 'eyebrow raises' when we changed the rules for the Adelaide's Best Wedding Photog competition to only allow entries from AIPP Accredited photographers. I want to take a minute to explain why. Assessment. In the past our competition has attracted some work that I am not completely happy with. I want to be proud of the entrants in this competition, I need to be able to stand by each one. Rejecting an entrant is tricky, particularly when we are not always in a position to assess their work properly. Our clients, we know. But this competition is open to anyone. So we need a simple yet solid criteria to differentiate those entering.
The AIPP, for better or for worse, are trying to establish a standard for our industry, and they are doing better than anyone else. An AIPP Accredited professional must meet certain standards and maintain them. The AIPP is the largest representative body and are growing rapidly through efforts to set standards and improve members' skills. The industry must support these efforts.
This leads to my second point. Support. Pro-photography must get together to present a unified definition of what it takes to be a pro-photographer. Otherwise the market will continue to be muddied by anyone with a camera and a Facebook page. Being a pro-photographer takes a lot of work, many years of practise and improvement. It involves insurance, legal compliance and contract law, ethics, business sense...etc.
Too many photographic businesses are being run as a hobby and not as a business. There is no thought for paying a wage to the owner as well as being profitable. No consideration for the business' future, no consideration of it standing alone without a second income to 'prop it up'. The AIPP has a distinct focus on this aspect of professionalism.
AtkinsTechnicolour wants to support the AIPP's efforts. We can see the AIPP's flaws, but who else is trying...? The only hope our industry has to survive and thrive is if we act together to lift the idea of what it takes to be a professional photographer.