AG|WPJA The Artistic Guild of the WPJA

Join the AG|WPJA

MEMBERSHIP STANDARDS AND GUILDLINES FOR JOINING THE AG|WPJA

Join the AG|WPJA

The Artistic Guild of the Wedding Photojournalist Association (AG|WPJA) exists to accredit and promote the expertise of wedding photographers who deploy reportage and documentary authenticity, and have a brilliant talent for post-production image manipulation.

The AG|WPJA serves as a separate, complementary division of the Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA), the professional organization of wedding photographers whose documentary, capture-the-moment style employs the craft of photojournalism in their work. AG|WPJA photographers — who may also be members of the WPJA — produce images from a different perspective, but they also share a photojournalistic ethos: they seek to tell the story of each wedding, not dictate, pose or stage it. With digital editing enhancement techniques, AG|WPJA members stretch traditional definitions of “wedding photojournalism” to create fine art.

Why Wedding Photojournalists Join the AG|WPJA

The AG|WPJA seeks to increase business opportunities for its members and to generate greater demand among potential clients for their artistic, yet photojournalistic approach to wedding photography.

Prospective clients can find and learn more about an AG|WPJA member through…

In addition to gaining exposure for more business, photographers whose clients find them through the AG|WPJA enjoy better business: engaged couples have already self-selected themselves into a category of clients with a sophisticated perspective and an interest in wedding photojournalism. As an AG|WPJA member, you will be sought out and found by the people who want to hire you to do the kind of artistic work you prefer to do. AG|WPJA photographers in good standing can indicate their membership by using one of the logos of the AG|WPJA in their online and print marketing materials.

Competitions

The AG|WPJA sponsors two competitions for members during the year to exhibit and reward artistic and technical excellence in wedding photojournalism. Each member may enter up to 90 images per year in contests. Increased professional recognition comes from placing in a photography competition judged by recognized leaders in the art of photography.

Take a look at previous artistic wedding photojournalism competition winners.

Remunerative recognition can come from prospective clients who discover winners’ images a number of ways:

Special AG|WPJA logo banners are available to contest winners to use on their portfolio web sites to further recognize and reward their artistry and expertise.

What it Means to be a Member

The member photographers of the AG|WPJA represent the association for as long as their membership remains in good standing and renewed annually.

We believe photographers who consider themselves “wedding photojournalists” should create and present work that strongly favors the many candid, authentic moments involving betrothed couples, the wedding party, their families, officiants, participants, guests, and even other vendors.

Because of the additional referrals and increased attention typically seen as a result of AG|WPJA membership, a member’s online portfolio should convey a photojournalistic impression in the work it features prominently. While creative talent in “portraiture,” still-life “details,” and camera-aware “group shots” are part of every wedding photographer’s toolbox — and are valued, recognized and publicized in many AG|WPJA judged competitions and some promotional and editorial materials — we primarily present ourselves and our work as wedding photojournalists telling the story of a wedding, not directing it.

Membership is for Individuals

The AG|WPJA is an independent association of its individual member photographers. It does not comprise other groups of photographers.

AG|WPJA membership is not for groups, businesses, studios, agencies, couples or teams. However, it is not uncommon for a member’s portfolio to be part of a site that displays images from multiple photographers. While we understand and appreciate the use of team coverage in wedding photography, to be admitted to AG|WPJA membership an applicant’s own individual work must be readily identifiable and reviewable. A field has been provided in the application for identification of an applicant’s own work on web sites shared by multiple photographers.

Standards and Guidelines for Membership

The standards applicants must meet for membership in the AG|WPJA are the same standards all members will uphold while and in order that they remain members.

An AG|WPJA member exhibits exceptional originality, creativity and judgment in wedding photojournalism; it is only through the integrity of his or her work and client relations by which the association may maintain its and its other member photographers’ reputations. An application to join and rationale for renewal should observe the following guidelines:

Web Site

Out of respect for our clients’ needs, we give high priority to the online, digital representations of our work.

Members must maintain an up-to-date and professional web site portfolio that continues to meet AG|WPJA standards. The domain must be owned by the photographer (e.g., photographerstudio.com), not a subdomain owned by another company (e.g., photographerstudio.companyname.com). In addition, the site needs to have a clean design with intuitive navigation. Member web sites must load with all images and links functioning. They must also be compatible with most browsers. A member’s web site represents the photographer’s talent and professionalism and therefore reflects on the AG|WPJA as a whole.

Images

As AG|WPJA members, our digital image content, curation and picture editing meet AG|WPJA standards for wedding photojournalism as a profession we practice. For example, the online portfolios of AG|WPJA members (and of applicants to membership) must feature a minimum of 25 sample images of their wedding photojournalism work. (Note that this is a requirement of more than 25 wedding-related images, not for images from more than 25 weddings.) Understanding the differences between Moments, Portraits and Details categories of images can help in marketing one’s own wedding photography business and in joining and representing the Artistic Guild of the Wedding Photojournalist Association.

For effective marketing purposes and for membership credentials, the AG|WPJA recommends applicants consider creating other, separate galleries labeled Portraits and Details if the photographer has a profusion of these categories among their images.

To demonstrate another common situation for some photographers, a Client Featured Wedding gallery will likely have a variety of different types of images from the same wedding. For a AG|WPJA member or applicant, best practice for curating such a gallery would be to select more of these images that would be considered Moments rather than Portraits or Details. Similarly, a site with only a general Portfolio or Gallery category for all wedding photography will probably contain a variety of different types of images. For an AG|WPJA member, most of these pictures should be examples of Moments, rather than Portraits or Details. As a general guideline, a portfolio of wedding photography on a member’s or applicant’s web site should be composed of about 60 percent or more Moments images involving a person or people, and not more than 40 percent of the total should come from the Details and Portraits categories. (In separate galleries appropriately labeled as such, as many Details or Portraits pictures as the photographer needs to represent the portfolio are permitted and encouraged.)

The essence of wedding photojournalism is in capturing moments involving people. Yet even our on-location portrait and detail pictures reflect our preference for opportunistic “found” lighting and settings.

Photographers with a great deal of experience oftentimes categorize their wedding images within subcategories on their sites, an effective practice provided the galleries are appropriately labeled. Unless specifically a Details or Portraits gallery, however, for an AG|WPJA member or applicant other categories of wedding photography should give preference to Moments images. For example, a gallery labeled Getting Ready should consist of images mostly (at least 60 percent) of the people preparing for the wedding — of the actual activity occurring the day of the wedding — rather than details of the dress on a hangar or an assembled group picture of bridesmaids posing with towels as headdresses.

Technical and Creative Skills

A portfolio web site for a professional wedding photojournalist should avoid the pitfalls of neophytes to on-location photography, including but not limited to:

Ethical Business Conduct and Practices

Creativity in our craft, integrity in our work, honesty in our dealings, and professionalism in our behavior are the conspicuous hallmarks of AG|WPJA membership.

Honesty and Integrity

Members must make factual and knowledgeable statements in the course of representing their work, our trade, the association and other photographers. Examples of communications that would constitute dishonest or misleading communications could include:

Obligations and Communications

This association of wedding photojournalists accepts and insists upon only responsible business ethics and complete professional integrity among its members. We agree that we do not and will not:

The AG|WPJA reserves the right to refuse, revoke or terminate membership at any time if it deems a member contravenes the terms set forth by the AG|WPJA membership requirements, standards, codes and/or guidelines.

Cost of Membership

The cost of a AG|WPJA membership is $60 USD per year.

Making Membership Payments

AG|WPJA membership fees can be paid using the following:

Accepted members will be contacted with more information on their preferred payment method.

NOTE: DUE TO THE HIGH NUMBER OF APPLICATIONS WE RECEIVE, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR THE AG|WPJA ADMINISTRATORS TO RESPOND TO PHOTOGRAPHERS WHOSE PORTFOLIOS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR AG|WPJA MEMBERSHIP. YOU WILL ONLY HEAR FROM THE AG|WPJA IF YOU ARE ACCEPTED FOR MEMBERSHIP FOLLOWING YOUR APPLICATION. PLEASE DO NOT REQUEST PORTFOLIO OR WEB SITE CRITIQUES.