The AG|WPJA Standards and Guidelines for Membership
The standards photographers have to meet for membership inclusion in the AG|WPJA are the same standards all members must uphold throughout their membership term. AG|WPJA members are expected to reflect exceptional skill, originality and creativity, by which they will perpetually maintain the integrity and strong reputation of the organization.
Once an applicant is accepted, he/she will be representing the AG|WPJA throughout their entire membership term. Consequently, the AG|WPJA upholds strict guidelines for membership inclusion.
We strongly believe photographers who consider themselves "wedding photojournalists" should create and present work with MINIMAL portraits and details. As far as the AG|WPJA is concerned (and membership therein), photographers primarily preoccupied with portraits and details are not wedding photojournalists. Because of the many referrals that come as a result of membership, the AG|WPJA expects a photojournalistic first impression of member web sites. Photographers whose first several wedding images on their web site that reflect traditional portraiture, people frozen for the camera, brides alone, gowns fanned out, brides staring out windows, and/or detail shots of flowers, dresses, shoes or rings, will not be accepted into the AG|WPJA.
Membership is for individuals, not groups, businesses, studios or teams. The AG|WPJA often reviews web sites that display images from multiple photographers. While we understand and appreciate the team coverage approach to wedding photography, it's important for the AG|WPJA to be able to identify and review the image portfolio of the individual applying for membership. A field has been provided in the application form for image identification for web sites that are shared by multiple photographers.
Membership inclusion is based on adherence to the following:
1. Web Site Quality: Members must maintain an up-to-date and professional web site that continually meets AG|WPJA standards. The domain must be owned by the photographer (i.e. photographername.com), not a subdomain owned by another company (i.e. photographername.theirname.com). In addition, the sites need to have a clean design with easy 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 is an extension of his/her creativity and reflects on the AG|WPJA as a whole. The AG|WPJA does not favor HTML over Flash-design sites (or visa versa).
2. Image Content: Photographers are granted membership into the AG|WPJA when their web-image content and picture enhancement meet AG|WPJA standards. Applicants must have more than 25 wedding images (25 images, not 25 weddings) on their web site and include images with visible manipulation. AG|WPJA applicants should not have more than 40% of the wedding images on their web sites from the following combined categories*:
- Portrait (photographer has control of the posed situation)
- Set-Up (art directed situation by photographer)
- Camera Aware (subjects staring into the camera)
- Details (flowers, cakes, rings, gowns, shoes, etc.)
*The above-mentioned percentage serves as a general guideline.
3. Image Quality: Members must strive for good image quality on their web site. Image files should be properly saved for the Web and sized large enough for easy viewing. Membership will not be granted when portfolios are replete with flat images (devoid of black), pixelated images, and other technical post-production issues.
4. Technical/Creative Qualities: Membership denial is often the result of one or more of the following:
- Indoor images with poor on-camera lighting and direct flash shadows.
- A majority of portfolio images that appear to be shot at F8 with a 50mm
TIP: A good use of a variety of lenses will score higher during the review process.
- A portfolio of only straight, non-enhanced images.
- Redundant images or sequence shots with minimal change in content.
- Images where subjects are poorly cropped.
5. Factual Information: Members must make factual and knowledgeable statements where quoted. The following puts membership inclusion at risk:
- Bold statements on web sites, i.e, "digital is better than film".
- Misleading or confusing information on wedding photojournalism, using the word 'photojournalism' alone to describe 'wedding photography' or identification as a photojournalist, but failing to post work history or images to prove it.
- Description of style or approach that doesn’t match the work displayed on their web site.
6. Business Ethics and Communication: The AG|WPJA insists upon good business ethics and integrity. Members must not:
- Fail to uphold wedding contract obligations with clients.
- Ignore communication from clients.
- Fail to respond to specific communications from AG|WPJA personnel concerning issues important to the integrity and reputation of the organization (this excludes responses to mass emails to all members).
- Communicate publicly through words (written or spoken) in a negative manner against other members or the organization as a whole.
- Establish a web-based wedding photography business that directly competes with the AG|WPJA; a person or entity “directly competes” with the AG|WPJA if they are engaged in the promotion of wedding photographers.
The AG|WPJA reserves the right to terminate or revoke membership at any time if it deems that a member contravened the terms set forth by the AG|WPJA membership requirements, standards, codes and/or guidelines.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO JOIN THE AG|WPJA?
DUES FOR NON-WPJA MEMBERS is $240. USD per year.
DUES FOR CURRENT WPJA MEMBERS is $120. USD per year.
Additional listings may be purchased at the rate of $60. USD per listing, per membership term. This amount will be prorated at $5. USD per month for partial-year listings. Members are limited to five additional regional and/or international listings. Members wishing to terminate their AG|WPJA membership prematurely will not receive a partial refund of their annual membership dues or any additional listing fees (if applicable).
MAKING MEMBERSHIP PAYMENTS
AG|WPJA membership fees can be paid using the following:
- American Express
Accepted members will be contacted with more information on their preferred payment method.
AG|WPJA ON COPYRIGHTS
IMAGES ARE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT LAWS.
Members must not infringe upon copyrights. Membership has been denied and revoked for:
- False representation of credits.
- Text or photos on a web site that are not the owner’s copyright.
- Many 'borrowed' web design elements. This does not include template-based sites as it is possible that many people may purchase similar templates.
- Unethical Search Engine Optimization.