The Benefits of Belonging to Professional Associations – Maine Professional Photographers Association  

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As a professional photographer it is important to stay up to date on the latest technical news, continue learning, update business processes and network with other professionals. One of best ways for photographers to do this is by being members of professional associations. A few weeks ago, we wrote about attending the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) convention. The PPA is the world’s largest group of professional photographers. Maine has an affiliate of the PPA: the Maine Professional Photographers Association (MPPA). I’ve been a PPA member since 2013. Allen and I have been members of the MPPA since 2016 and are currently serving on the board. Here’s some reasons why it is so important to us and our business to belong to the MPPA.

Monthly Meetings
Each month the MPPA hosts a meeting for all its members. The meetings range from various photography topics such as preparing for image competition, to printing, to different photography genres (weddings, portraits, newborns, etc.) The meetings usually start with time for networking and catching up with other members, and then the program begins. Some programs are hands on and we are actively taking photos, other programs we are actively listening and asking questions.

Annual Convention
Every year the MPPA hosts a 3-day convention that takes place the third weekend in March. The MPPA invites nationally recognized, industry experts, who are leaders in their field, to conduct workshops and lectures. It has a full schedule that includes various programs, an awards banquet, hospitality parties, image competition, trade shows, pizza parties, games, and giveaways. There’s a bonus day either before or after convention for even more time with the presenters.

Image Competition
Submitting images to be judged in the image competition allows photographers to grow and learn. There’s always room for improvement and this is one of the best ways to become a better photographer. It is also inspiring to see the work of fellow photographers that submitted images and a great way to get new ideas. There is a professional panel of judges that use 12 elements to base their score. Awards and ribbons are given out at the awards banquet based on what the judges score the images.

Scholarships
MPPA members are eligible for several scholarships that are available. The scholarships can be used toward tuition at the affiliate New England Institute of Professional Photographers.

Member Directory
The MPPA maintains a directory of all its members. This allows clients the ability to selectively find and contact a photographer or vendor within our membership with the needed skills, qualities, and qualifications, to fulfill that person’s needs.

Awards & Merits
Being a member of the MPPA gives the opportunity to earn professional credits and merits within the PPA through image competition and attending certain workshops/programs. There are also several awards available to MPPA members that are awarded based on points earned throughout membership.

“The Maine Professional Photographers Association (MPPA) established the Award and Recognition Program in 2009, that mirrors the national (PPA) degree program, to recognize photographic excellence and service to the photographic community (and self) through volunteerism and education. It is our hope that these awards will serve to inspire new and current members to become and stay active in the professional community, to continue learning and improving through education and attendance at photographic events, and to recognize those individuals whose photographic excellence and service are exemplary.”

-MPPA Award Recognition Program

There are so many benefits to becoming and staying an active member of the Maine Professional Photographers Association. From monthly educational opportunities, to networking, attending convention, and submitting images to competition. As Maine’s largest organized group of professional photographers, it gives opportunity for its members to grow and earn professional credentials in their field of expertise. It is also a lot of fun, with many opportunities to exchange ideas with others who share a love for photography. Becoming members of the Maine Professional Photographers Association has greatly impacted our photography business and relationships with our clients. We highly recommend that every Maine professional photographer joins.

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