Topic 6: The Association of Photography and Other Support Bodies

Royal Photographic Society

The RPS is a membership organisation that assists and guides you on your journey as a photographer. It exists to promote photography and image making, irrespective of level of knowledge, equipment and skills. The society also acts as a public advocate, assisting you in your time of need. They have various membership packages and they are as follows;


One day introduction to DSLR

  • Movement photography
  • Close up and macro photography
  • Wet Collodion
  • Ambrotypes
  • Environmental portraiture
  • Different landscapes
  • Wildlife/practical wildlife photography
  • Introduction to Photoshop/Lightroom
  • And many more


As well as all these creative courses and advocacy, the RPS also offer project funding for different areas of speciality giving the support and resources needed for starting your own business. They also hold exhibitions and competitions for members and non-members to get your work noticed and win great prizes. Their print exhibitions tour the UK and overseas, also being accompanied by exhibition catalogues which are available to buy from their online shop.


The Association of Photographers

The Association’s aims 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.

They also specialise in job advertisement and enables photographers and assistants to promote themselves by adding their CV to the site so that professional photographers and agents are able to select individuals for particular job opportunities. They also enable yearly photographic awards for photographers at different levels, i.e. students and professional.

They have a number of membership options available and they are as follows;


Yearly Rates


£315 p/a plus VAT (UK) or £240 p/a no VAT (Overseas)

Assisting Photographer

£80 p/a plus VAT (UK)

Junior Assistant

£25 p/a plus VAT (UK)


Free annual membership for affiliated college/universities


£82.50 p/a plus VAT


£150 p/a plus VAT per photographer in the scheme

Affiliated Company

£1000 package plus VAT

Affiliated College/University

£450 p/a plus £175 & expenses for an initial assessment carried out by the AOP


The AOP also offer ‘Beyond The Lens’ book which has important information and documentation required for being a photographer. Now in its fourth edition it has been likened to ‘the bible for photographers and commissioners’ and is used by colleges/universities as part of their courses and widely used by photographers and commissioners.

The book has three parts;

  1. The law and the Photographer: covers copyright, moral rights, contract law, privacy, photographing children, late payment, legal remedies for copyright infringements and unpaid debts both in the UK and EU plus legislation that photographers need to be aware of.
  2. The Business End: with advice on tax, VAT, accounting, bookkeeping, insurance, limited companies, pensions, savings, investments and mortgages, dealing with income/career problems, standards and codes, social media, agents,  collecting societies and associations and unions.
  3. Making a Living: is written by photographers and covers how to be a student, working as an assisting photographer, specific area of photography from their perspective – advertising, editorial, architectural, corporate and design, stock, digital and moving image, working overseas, and shooting on the streets.


The British Institute of Professional Photography

The British Institute of Photography is an international non-profit organisation delivering education, qualifications and professional development to photographers. One of the key area’s of their work is to help represent professional photography to government and industry. The BIPP also advertises photographers for possible work opportunities, allowing accessibility to search for photographers and access their CV’s before approaching them for work. There membership fees are as follows;


Yearly Price

Provisional Membership

£250 including VAT

International Membership

Assessment fee £150 and yearly membership fee of £195.00

Student Membership

£50 per year whilst studying


£100 including VAT (Paid annually)

Reinstating Past Membership

£150 including VAT

Other benefits of joining the BIPP is events, exhibitions and awards. They hold many events which you need to book onto that include:

  • Light in the Fast Lane with Bryn Griffith’s
  • Portfolio Reviews
  • Unveiling Creative Weddings with David Wheeler
  • The Quality of Light with Chris Burfoot
  • Qualification Assessments
  • And more


The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers

This organisation was designed to assist the needs of professional wedding and portrait photographers whether in full-time or part-time employment. Founded around the same time as the British Professional Photographers Associates. In 2000 these two professional companies were merged together creating an umbrella company. The SWPP currently represents photographers who specialise in the following areas of expertise:
freelance, photojournalists, weddings, portraits, children, animal, equestrian, digital, commercial, fashion, glamour, landscape, nature, sport, medical, scientific, press, PR, architectural, industrial, forensic, natural history and research, amongst others.


This organisation also offers the ability to find professional wedding and portrait photographers from around the world. They also offer;

  • Insurance
  • Exhibitions
  • Training
  • Magazine Making
  • Seminars
  • Mentoring
  • Conventions
  • Qualifications
  • Articles and Wedding Plans


The Guild of Photographers

The Guild of Photographers appears to aim more at ametur photographers



Redeye acts as a unison community for photographers, set up to support every photographer at every level. It aims to form a clear picture of the ways photographers and photographic artists are working now, and give them access to events, opportunities, advice and information that are relevant to their work and difficult to find elsewhere. Alongside this it works to bring photographic and other organisations together, to encourage ethical and best practice, and to build a voice for photography.



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