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Are you professional?


thewilliam 6 4.9k
11 Jan 2011 5:33PM
May I suggest that you look at www.thempa.com instead.

MPA is for full-timers and only qualified photographers are listed, so you can be sure of good results. You might get a late-space booking.

SWPP lists any snapper, amateur or professional, who can afford the subs. Be especially careful of the SWPP member who doesn't have any qualification letters after his/her name.

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peterjones 12 4.0k 1 United Kingdom
11 Jan 2011 8:02PM
it is often said on epz that qualifications or distinctions mean little ... not so! I have had several bookings from clients who are aware of the existence of L's, A's & F's especially if the clients themselves are professional so having letters after your name can be of some good ; one recent booking was from a client who scanned the SWPP list and only approached photographers who had letters after their name.

Of course having letters after a name doesn't guarantee 100% success except that the individual may take a much more professional approach to his/her business than otherwise; any aspiring client should ask to see a photographer's complete weddings, and not just an amalgam of his/her best images.

Also re distinctions watch out on some websites for MSWPP or MMPA or MBIPP and so on the first M means member lol. Another one to be wary of is "award winning" ask for proof!
thewilliam 6 4.9k
11 Jan 2011 8:40PM
Peter every snapper seems to be an "award-winner" these days. As you rightly suggest, a punter should ask for details of what has been won.

The official grades for MPA and BIPP are L, A and F. The member has been tried in the balance and not found wanting.

"M" has no meaning and should be reported to the body in question because they take a dim view.
paulbroad 7 89 879 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2011 8:29AM
Do be careful of 'qualifications'. In all walks of life they can be dangerous and mean little. Check that the qualification has been earned and not bought or just a membership of a 'club'. Even the renowned Royal qualifications, unless they have changed since my time, mean you only needed to do it once - might have been years ago. And I know at least two cases where people got Royal distinctions, an LRPS and ARPS and someone else did the printing!

You are only as good as your last shoot.

Paul
peterjones 12 4.0k 1 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2011 8:55AM
I discern between printing and post processing:

even worse than second hand printing I know of a succesful ARPS submission where the images were post processed by another; I have no issue with images being printed by A.N. Other for a distinction panel as it should be little more than clicking a button but also to be post processed ....

Thinking back prior to digital I think that RPS print panels were able to be submitted not printed by the submitting photographer; all my submitted panels to the RPS, PAGB and SWPP were post processed and personally printed by me; I couldn't submit a panel that wasn't all my own work in it's entirety.

So as Paul says qualifications aren't all good but at least an indication of a professional attitude; they are of course similar to an MOT test valid at the time of passing and afterwards some people may well rest on their laurels.

As always "Caveat Emptor" ask to see the photographer's complete weddings; btw many photographers show clients their portfolio on a laptop only; I think it is important for a client to see completed album examples.

Peter.
peterjones 12 4.0k 1 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2011 8:58AM
PS any of you wedding pros going to the SWPP convention? I may be going on Sat.

Peter
scottishphototours 10 2.6k 2 Scotland
12 Jan 2011 12:53PM

Quote:May I suggest that you look at www.thempa.com instead.

MPA is for full-timers and only qualified photographers are listed, so you can be sure of good results. You might get a late-space booking.

SWPP lists any snapper, amateur or professional, who can afford the subs. Be especially careful of the SWPP member who doesn't have any qualification letters after his/her name.



I am not a member of the MPA but am a member of the SWPP and have NO letters after my name through choice.

I regulalrly do over 40 weddings a year from 500 (small weddings as required by Hazelmouse above) to large scale events where the spend can be a few thousand pounds. I shoot weddings for people with little money at registery offices and for famous people at Castles and 5-star hotels. I use the best equipment available for all my clients and am fully insured.

So sorry, thewilliam's sweeping generalisation is not one I agree with. And also, being an MPA member does not AUTOMATICALLY guarantee you good results, as he suggests. The one thing I WOULD applaude the MPA on is the fact that they have investigated you as a BUSINESSPERSON, which is a more important than your ability to reproduce a set of prints that are almost formulaic to allow them to "award" you as being one of them.

You are only as good as your last job, so showing clients some finished work is the way to get the next booking - not by flashing them your "letters".
thewilliam 6 4.9k
12 Jan 2011 1:16PM
The real problem with the wedding photography industry is the influx of untrained and unskilled newbies. Many of these have used "portfolio-day" images on their website and the prospects don't get a true impression of the work that they can expect.

During my judge training at MPA, we were shown both electronic and physical versions of one set. On the screen, they looked fine, but the prints that the applicant had submitted were a very different matter - a long way short of "pass" standard for "L".

Punters should always see complete wedding ablums because any idiot can cobble together a couple of dozen good pix from a couple of dozen weddings. Punters should also ask about the photographers CPD record.

Some unqualified Swampies members are perfectly competent photographers, but their expertise hasn't been proved. For every good 'un, there may well be a lot of duffers.

When a professional is well established in business, the chances are that he or she is competent.
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
12 Jan 2011 1:46PM

Quote: And I know at least two cases where people got Royal distinctions, an LRPS and ARPS and someone else did the printing!


Well that's me f**ked then, I've never printed a shot of my own! Why would I when ProAm are so good and so cheap.

I've got lots of letters after me name, BSc, MEng, MSc, not one a photographic though Wink Just the hangover of 5 wonderful years of university education.

IT and photography do seem easier to get into without any qualifications - a career in either seems more results based, than qualifications based. Mt first 2 degrees were in Civil Engineering, to get chartered I was looking at a good 3-10 years of training after that - face it, if you screw up a bridge and it collapses, people die.

With IT, some of the best coders I met had just A-Levels, or maybe a BTEC. Most have degrees, but like me, in "other" subjects like geography or history.

I'm actually struggling to think of photographers I know who started off as photographers.... not sure actually, maybe Keith Henson has always been one? I think most seem to drift into it for numerous reasons, often escape from an unsatisfying career.

I was at a networking meeting yesterday where we were discussing our hopes and fears for 2011, and just about everyone there, from all walks of life, had the same fear - going back to working a "boring day job" Smile
peterjones 12 4.0k 1 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2011 2:25PM
not going on Saturday now just got a booking for this Sat instead; I must be a little bit professional Grin

Perhaps one facet of being professional means earning money is preferable to spending it Grin
paulbroad 7 89 879 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2011 3:33PM
Being old, I remember real degrees - not that they still don't exist, but there are now rather more Kellog's box top degrees than real ones. Ade will have earned his BSc, etc. the hard way - full time university and proper exams, not work done at home - by someone else? - then marked and added to the degree total as points to be accumulated up to graduation. (Bit like Green Shield Stamps.)

I, to, have the scroll of letters, rarely used, as I stopped being a Metallurgist in 1971 when I took a production management job - doubled my salary - and have never kept up with all the technical changes in my subject since. So, we have the same thing - I can say B.Sc (Hons) Met. M.I.M C.Eng and have people chasing me as a metallurgist, but I'm so far out of touch with the academic side of my profession that I would be lost. Ask me about managing a Coke Oven Plant, though!

I do know someone with a degree in photography though - media studies Uni course. I know the level of knowledge that person has - pleased I taught myself!

Paul
peterjones 12 4.0k 1 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2011 3:41PM
for fun once I looked up a curriculum for BA Photography then for something perhaps more challenging an MA .... try it ... cereal packet box top degrees did come to mind.
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
12 Jan 2011 4:18PM
Degrees are academic qualifications, not practical - so I'd expect a photography degree to involve a lot of talking around the subject, maybe more of that than actually taking photos. You're probably discussing the "why" more than doing the "how" side of things.

I learned how to design pre-stressed concrete beams, size the flanges on girders, calculate the depth of piles etc. but never once did I actually dig a hole or weld any metal.
scottishphototours 10 2.6k 2 Scotland
12 Jan 2011 5:17PM

Quote:I was at a networking meeting yesterday


Oh no!........ the worst kind going was where they wanted you to recommend "Jimmy" because he was in your "club" - what if Jimmy was a complete div??, what if he was a total incompetent?? how does that reflect on you that recommended him????

No sorry, all that "see how many business cards you can get from those in the room in 3 minutes" stuff gave me the creeps...
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
12 Jan 2011 5:25PM
Sounds like you went to the type of meeting I attended once - no names - but you have to stand up for a minute, give a pitch and say what referrals you're after this week.

That was pretty uncomfortable I must admit! I've talked to quite a lot of people who've done that "group" and they have mixed reviews - some got lots of work, then it dried up. Others got nothing. Others got lots but the pressure to keep getting referrals for others in the group drove them mad! I didn't like getting up at 5:30AM for the 6:30 start either, I don't function that early - so go for the daytime and evening ones.

In general, the ones I go to have a small seminar on something business related, then you have time to chat to everyone afterwards - they're really useful.

It also helps when you've got a 5 foot canvas of the city in the room - a simple ice breaker there, you just say "That's what I do, but also....... " and off you go.

There's also a huge group called the Yorkshire Mafia, they have drinks nights where you just wander around a room talking to people, with beers flowing. Thing is - I tend to go a bit heavy on the ale and just talk to people at the bar at those Wink

There's lots of flavours of networking out there now Wink

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