30th April 2017 GMT

Reap the benefits! - About The Societies of Photographers

About The SocietiesPhotography is a wonderful profession that allows you to be creative, inventive, flexible with your hours and, ultimately, to be in control of your own destiny. It does, however, often come with one big downside, which is the fact that so many people who set themselves up to earn their living behind a camera end up working on their own, without the back-up that you would expect from being an employee of a bigger organisation. In short you have the freedom, but none of the support that can save you from having to face all of the issues that will inevitably come your way at some point all on your own.

For this reason it’s crucial to network and to have good connections with fellow professionals who can give you the benefit of their own experience when the going gets tough, and there are few better ways of meeting others who will know all about what you are going through than becoming a member of The Societies of Photographers. By far the largest body out there set up to provide for the needs of the professional photographer, The Societies of Photographers caters not just for those working in the fields of weddings and portraiture through its SWPP arm, but it also serves as the umbrella organisation overseeing several other partner societies that cater for those involved in sectors as varied as commercial, press and sport through to travel, wildlife, event and glamour photography.

“Photographers tend to obtain jobs individually and work alone with little chance to engage with others involved in their business,” says Phil Jones, CEO of The Societies of Photographers. “Those who become members of The Societies of Photographers, however, have the chance to get involved with others who will be experiencing similar circumstances and are likely to come across the same issues from time to time. It’s particularly important when times are hard to have other people to talk to who can support you and who may well have solutions to offer that those without their specialist inside knowledge wouldn’t be able to suggest.”

The opportunities to network provided by The Societies of Photographers are wide ranging and include the annual Convention, the biggest gathering of professional photographers in Europe, schemes such as Mentor Me, where those new to the profession can receive high quality, individually tailored feedback from an established working photographer in their field and cut price access to members’ training days, workshops and seminars. Another huge benefit of membership, particularly at a time when there are so many other photographers out there chasing a finite amount of work, is the opportunity presented by The Societies of Photographers to gain awards and distinctions that will enable you to present yourself to potential clients as someone who has reached a recognised high standard of ability.

Other benefits of Society membership are equally compelling: a 24 hour legal advice line, reduced rates on insurance for those based in the UK, the right to use The Societies of Photographers logo on websites, stationary and literature and the bi-monthly Professional Imagemaker magazine. You also have access to free to join Bump to Baby and My First Year schemes, a business listing on The Societies of Photographers website and trade sponsored promotions for members.

“The fact is that those who are working photographers will be able to claim their annual membership fee against tax in any case,” says Phil, “and this makes the case for joining irresistible. It’s more important now than ever to be part of a group that can fight your corner if the need ever arises and The Societies of Photographers has been doing exactly that for its members ever since 1988.”

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