I’ve been an active member of the Professional Photographers of Canada – Ontario (PPOC), for over fifteen years. As a self-employed freelance photographer, working mostly on my own, it isn’t often that one has the opportunity to bounce ideas off of other’s in the industry, unless one belongs to an association of Professionals. This was certainly more so the case, pre internet, but still, nothing beats the face to face for comparing notes and sharing of techniques.
In addition to the camaraderie, membership opens the door to picking up the critical, but sadly ignored, Business Practices necessary for running a healthy business. All too often, many of us take the leap of faith into photography as a profession, spurred on by a love for the art form, and without a great deal of fore-thought focused on how to earn a living, from our passion.
Another very important benefit from membership in a Professional Association is the encouragement that we receive and share with our fellow members. Image Competitions provide an opportunity to submit our work, and receive constructive criticism, within a structured format that recognizes technical skill and creative merit in equal doses.
Accreditation in a specific category of photography, is the first elevation above the general membership level, and is achieved by submitting samples of the applicant’s photography to a PPOC Board of Review for Accreditation. Accreditation demonstrates that the photographer is capable of delivering above average quality photography in a chosen category. In assessing Accreditation Submissions, the judges consider the following criteria: Impact, Creativity, Style, Composition, Presentation, Colour Balance, Centre of Interest, Lighting, Subject Matter, Image file quality, Technique and Story Telling.
As a Professional Photographer, I believe that I should be sufficiently skilled to tackle a variety of assignments. However, for the purposes of marketing, it is both time and cost effective to identify our fortes. As chance would have it, I’ve dedicated much of my commercial work to photographing Architectural Interiors. Beginning with assignments for Canadian Homes and Cottages, over fifteen years ago, to photographing Luxury Homes for Custom Home Builders, I’ve found a niche that I enjoy and have a unique interest in.
This past June 11th, I received my Accreditation in Architecture from the PPOC and hope to add Accreditations in other categories in the near future. Now, all I need to do is identify other categories, and dedicate the time to pour over the thousands of images to select ten exceptional images that will match or exceed the high standards set forth by the PPOC.