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What makes a professional photographer? Part 2

In the second part of this blog, we look at the additional aspects that we feel are indicative of a professional photographer.

Insurance for Professional Photographers

This is a must for any professional photographer as it not only covers you, but it also can cover your customers too. There are two types of insurance that we really recommend:

  1. Professional Indemnity
  2. Public and Products Liability

Professional Indemnity

Professional Indemnity covers the insured photographer, if the need arises, to pay compensation to a third party who may bring a claim for professional negligence or breach of professional duty of care.

For example, if you were hired to take posed and candid photographs, at a 50th wedding anniversary party, and all the photos were lost as the memory card in the camera had failed, the family could make a claim for negligence as well as emotional distress as a result.

Whilst scenarios such as these might sound a little far-fetched, they do happen and can be devastating for both clients and photographers. To protect your photography business from these types of situations, indemnity insurance should be considered for the risks that you face.

Public and Products Liability

Public and Products Liability covers you against injury or damage caused specifically by an item you have manufactured, sold, or supplied.  Public liability covers you if someone is injured or their property is damaged in the day-to-day running of your business.

There are many UK-based photography insurance specialist brokers that you should be using and we wholly recommend that you do. Searching for professional photographer insurance online will generate many choices, some of which start from as little as £70 per year.

Please, make sure you are covered as it is wise to protect you and your clients.

How do I make sure I am a ‘qualified’ photographer’? 

Firstly, you do not need any formal qualifications to become a professional photographer, but a good eye, creativity, and technical ability are essential. You can study courses at college or university to gain photography skills of which some professional photographers have done. In the photographic industry, qualifications come in many forms.

There are associations that will give their members a qualified badge or an award. This can follow an image overview by the association’s owners (or experienced photographers working for that association) to say the work is of a certain and industry-acceptable standard.  

 If you want to achieve a qualification deemed higher by that association, then you can go for the next rung on the ladder which could be called a Licentiateship, a Craftsman, or an Associate. All of which have certain requirements to achieve but the associations who bestow them, all work to different criteria and image quality minimum acceptance.

The final distinction in many of the associations is the fellowship. This is usually the highest achievement any association can bestow on a photographer. It is usually a mark of achieving consistent photographic excellence and running a professional business.   

There are plenty of professional photographers who do not have any of the above ‘qualifications’ but have been shooting 50 weddings or have taken 500 portraits a year for 10 years. This wealth of experience, in their opinion, would make them as qualified as any of the above ‘qualified’ professional photographers.  

 Many professional photographers have had a 25-30 year career in another industry prior to becoming a photographer, later in life.

 The tie that binds is that they all have had a love for photography since they were old enough to pick up a camera, have been in camera clubs or associations for years, and now want to pursue that ‘love’ of capturing an image and delivering it for customers. They could argue they have been qualifying for over 25-30 years.  

At Colorworld Imaging, we work with many of the above association qualified photographers and also many ‘unqualified’ photographers running very successful businesses. We pride ourselves on helping and supporting all types of photographer customers by offering free colour correction and ensuring each image is printed to the best we can do.

We always contact you if an image is not good enough or suitable for a product. So, rest assured whether you are qualified or not, working with Colorworld Imaging, you are in safe hands.

Which professional associations could photographers belong to? 

If you are a professional photographer there are plenty of associations based in the UK that you may consider becoming a member of

In a recent poll of 300 professional photographers, only 40% of them were members of any photographic association or similar groups. Roughly in the UK, there are 25 associations, some very general and others who specialise in certain genres. It would cost you somewhere between £70 – £350 to become a member. Then there are extra costs involved if you decide to gain the association’s level of qualifications.

These 25 associations also all run their own awards and give out titles such as Portrait Photographer of the Year or Wedding Photographer of the Year. These are either judged by a panel of their own peers or bestowed by the owner of the association.

Being a professional photographer can be a lonely existence if you are a sole trader or a couple running a business together. The networking opportunities an association membership brings are generally high, as is the training from other photographers that it can arrange and manage.

Being part of an association sometimes makes you feel like you stand out from others who are not, and also most associations have trade-sponsored discounts against professional products and services.

Professional photographers’ associations in the UK

If you are thinking about signing up for an association, the list below may give you an idea of where to start.

Choosing the right association should really depend on the kind of photography you do, what you want to gain from the membership, and how much you want to spend.  

Association for Historical and Fine Art Photography (AHFAP)  

Association of Photographers (AOP) 

Baby and Newborn Photography Association (BANPAS) 

British Institute of Professional Photographers (BIPP) 

British Press Photographers’ Association (BPPA) 

Guild of Photographers 

National Photographic Society (NPS) 

Professional Garden Photographers’ Association (PGPA) 

Professional Photographers Association of Northern Ireland (PPANI) 

Master Photographers Association (MPA) 

Royal Photographic Society (RPS) 

Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers (SWPP) 

Urban Photographers Association 

If you have gone to all of the lengths mentioned in this blog such as insurance, joining associations, being qualified, entering and winning competitions, it should also be an absolute given to use a professional photo lab.

You are the creator of the professional image. Professional photo labs like Colorworld Imaging are your personal production business therefore it should be a remarkably close relationship.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our previous post, and this one about professional photographers. Stay tuned to our blog and social media channels to keep yourself updated with our content and advice.

The Colorworld Imaging Team.

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

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