How to Pick a Knoxville Professional Wedding Photographer / Videographer #4: Why Do Professional Associations Matter?

Picking a wedding photographer, wedding videographer, or wedding cinematographer is simple, right?


You go to a bridal show, find one with the right package price and a great deal, a pretty booth with pretty pictures (or movies) and sign on the dotted line. You get to go home happy you saved a lot of money and check wedding photographywedding videography, or wedding cinematography off the wedding planning list until you end up following up for the free engagement session or maybe a couple of weeks before your wedding to make sure you’re on the same page.

But that’s not how it’s supposed to be!

In this blog series, we will share exactly what to look for, how much to pay, what to ask, and essentially how to go through the process of picking a wedding photographer / videographer / cinematographer. First, it’s important to go over some important characteristics and why they’re important!

Don’t assume all wedding photographerswedding videographers, or wedding cinematographers are the same!

The artistic images are often the most powerful and memorable wedding photographs.

What you are actually paying for could be much different from your expectations (especially after reading this series). Here are eight (potentially surprising) secrets about the field of wedding photo/video/cinema:

  1. Not all of us are professionals.
  2. Not all of us do this as our full-time job.
  3. Not all of us care about the art of photography.
  4. Not all of us keep up with trends and the market.
  5. Not all of us are active members of professional associations.
  6. Not all of us design the experience our clients have.
  7. Not all of us educate our clients on the benefits (and drawbacks) of different media for images.
  8. Not all of us share our success by giving back to those in need.

We will cover why each one of these characteristics is relevant to you with different posts—so you don’t have to take it all in at once!

What are professional associations and why do they matter?
Knoxville Professional Wedding Photographer - Award Winning Knoxville Wedding Photographer | Professional Photographers of East Tennessee | Knox Wedding Creative

This image from a Knox Wedding Creative engagement photography session was the top-scoring image at the 2014 Professional Photographers of East Tennessee annual image competition. Not only does it symbolize quality for brides looking for their wedding or engagement photographer, the competition provides critiques to the members so they may refine and improve their photography skills in the future.

There are a handful of local, regional, and national professional associations that wedding photographers / videographers / cinematographers can be a member of, each of which are fairly unique. Why do they matter though?

First, members of local professional associations are regularly surrounding themselves with other quality professional photographers / videographers / cinematographers—some of which have more experience, some less, but all have the goal of becoming better at their craft.

These members of local guilds also have strong relationships with other quality professionals who often work together for clients to create fantastic experiences. In the event of an emergency or failure (especially in the wedding industry), this local network of quality professionals is a huge benefit to clients of professional association members. If something terrible happened (knock on wood) to your wedding photographer / videographer / cinematographer and they aren’t an active member of a local professional association, you may be “up the creek without a paddle.”

Another reason these associations matter for you is they often hold competitions with professional judges and give out awards to the best work. If you see that a wedding photographer / videographer / cinematographer has won awards from a professional competition, you know they have experience, offer high-quality services, and their work was independently deemed to have been better than their peers / competitors.

Lastly, you want your wedding photographer / videographer / cinematographer to be actively involved in such an organization simply because their membership is almost symbolic they have most of the other characteristics of the best wedding photographers / videographers / cinematographers we’ve mentioned in our other “How to” articles on hiring photographers / videographers.

What this means for you:
Knoxville Professional Wedding Photographer - Award Winning Knoxville Wedding Photographer | Professional Photographers of East Tennessee | Knox Wedding Creative

“The State of the Estate” was the top-scoring image in the Commercial – Architectural category in the 2013 PPETN competition. When searching for your wedding photographer, make sure you recognize a variety of skills in your wedding photographer. You’ll get a greater variety of quality images—in this case your venue will be photographed beautifully as well.

When looking for your Knoxville professional wedding photographer, look for one that has an active membership in a professional association. Members of these local, regional, and national associations provide you these benefits:

  • Continuous improvement in knowledge and application of skills and techniques
  • Community of quality professionals to learn and ask questions with
  • Quality and skilled backup photographers in case of emergency
  • Independently reviewed competitions and awards (signal of quality)
  • Consistency in quality images
  • Symbolic embodiment of the characteristics of the best in the industry
Wedding Tips Series

Part 1: Where You Get Ready Matters
Part 2: How to Pick a Wedding Photographer or Videographer – Step 1 (Why Hire a Professional?)
Part 3: How to Pick a Wedding Photographer or Videographer – Step 2 (Why Does Full-Time Matter?)
Part 4: How to Pick a Wedding Photographer or Videographer – Step 3 (What is the ‘Art of Photography’?)
Part 5: How to Pick a Wedding Photographer or Videographer – Step 4 (Why Professional Associations Matter)

Stay tuned for more great tips by getting social with us!

P.S.: Want to customize your wedding photography or cinematography experience?
Click to setup a free consultation with us and we’ll start designing your wedding ASAP!

Do you have any additional advice or suggestions for other brides about the value of hiring a photographer or videographer who is a member of a professional association? Share them in the comments below!


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