AOP – Association of Photographers (www.the-aop.org)
The AOP is a membership-based organization open to photographers from all genres of photography all over the world. Being a member of the AOP gets you many benefits, including exhibitions, the image magazine, awards and even educational workshops and seminars are available for members. Members can also benefit from business advice and even legal advice and support, which is invaluable from such an organization.
‘The Association’s aims remain the same today as they were, more than 40 years ago: to promote and protect the worth and standing of its members, to vigorously defend, educate and lobby for the interests and rights of all photographers, especially in the commercial photographic industry.’ (http://home.the-aop.org/About_the_AOP)
As a student the AOP is an incredibly useful resource. There are thousands of member portfolios, which is a perfect start for research. These portfolios display work from all over the world, and from all areas of photography. The AOP is also responsible for the book ‘beyond the lens’ with is an priceless resource for any photographer, especially commercial photographer. This book contains all the legal and business information you may need as a freelance photographer and also templates for every form and contract you many need to produce.
BIPP – British Institute of Professional Photography (www.bipp.com)
The BIPP is the similar in practice to the AOP, however as the name suggests its for British photographers only. Therefore it focuses on the industry n the UK.
The BIPP ‘is an official qualifying body for professional photographers in the UK. We advise, train, qualify and support professional photographers. Our photography courses will help you recognise your skills & creativity.
Portfolio Reviews are geared towards developing you as a professional photographer and our qualifications are among the most respected in the world. Events, awards and knowledge all provide a community to support you, as a photographer.’
The BIPP run many educational courses and allow you to gain BIPP qualifications, which are recognised through out the industry. They are focused on making photographers the best photographers they can be.
The BIPP also produce ‘The Photographer’ magazine. Which features members’ profiles, equipment reviews and all the latest news in the industry. I regularly read this magazine, which comes out quarterly, as it is great for research and finding new and exciting photographers to be inspired by.
RPS – Royal Photographic Society (www.rps.org)
‘The Royal Photographic Society is an Educational Charity promoting both the art and science of photography. Membership is open to all, whatever level of experience or knowledge. No qualifications are required to join, just a passion and love for one or more of photography’s myriad of genres, technologies and applications.’ (http://www.rps.org/The-society)
The RPS is the oldest photographic society in the world. It was founded in 1853 to ‘promote the art and science of photography’. They run photographic workshops and have their own qualifications and ‘distinctions’ that you can earn. The workshops are available for everyone, not just members, and even have workshops for children.
The RPS has three of its own touring exhibitions of members work, as well as a permanent exhibition at Fenton house in bath, the societies head quarters.