What is the ISPWP?
The International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers is an organization of the best wedding photographers in the world. It was created by professional photographers to raise the standards of the wedding photography profession.
We are a resource for wedding clients who know they want to hire the best and the brightest for their wedding. We provide assurance and peace of mind that they are hiring the most respected, most ethical, most professional and most talented wedding photographers in the industry.
It’s no secret there are many online directories of wedding photographers. Some of them have hundreds, even thousands of photographers. That SOUNDS great because there are so many to choose from! But most of these directories have little or no criteria for membership, they are simply link farms that oftentimes include photographers with zero experience and unknown backgrounds who have simply paid the applicable fee.
When you hire an ISPWP member, you can be sure they have passed a rigorous application process and are recognized by their peers to be at the top of their field.
Why should you hire an ISPWP member photographer?
There are a lot of new wedding photographers flooding the market, and the number is growing steadily. However, wedding photography is a demanding profession and provides a host of challenges even for experienced photographers. Wedding photography requires adapting quickly to uncontrolled lighting situations, and dealing with unexpected equipment failures in a situation with no second chances.
You have to get it right the first time, every time. You have to be a master of the craft and know your gear so well that you can make adjustments on the fly, without thinking or hesitating. And you have to do it for 8, 10, or 12 hours in close quarters with clients who have put their trust in you to get it right. In this kind of work environment, experience is essential to delivering beautiful images on a consistent basis, week after week.
So how do you know your photographer has enough experience? How do you know they operate their business according to professional business practices?
That’s where the ISPWP comes in. We screen and review every member before their application is accepted. When you hire an ISPWP photographer, you can be confident that they have years of experience, they have shot a LOT weddings in a wide variety of situations, and they subscribe to a professional code of conduct. They truly are the best in the world and each one of them has dedicated their professional lives to their craft. In short, we’ve done the searching and screening for you.
Professional photographers of all styles are welcome to apply for membership: Photojournalists, Traditionalists, Neo-Romanticists, Fashion-Inspired, Fine Art Cinematic style, or whatever label you give yourself. However, no matter what your photography style, the ISPWP maintains high standards for membership based on experience, talent, integrity, professionalism and references:
Experience: Members must have photographed a minimum of 50 weddings as the primary in-charge photographer. Weddings shot as a tag-along, second, or backup photographer do not count. This is the minimum experience requirement, many ISPWP members have shot hundreds of weddings.
Talent: Members must submit a website/blog/portfolio for review by a panel of ISPWP members. Online portfolio galleries must demonstrate artistic and technical ability. The portfolio must display a minimum of three galleries of complete weddings. Galleries that only display “selected favorites” from multiple weddings will be rejected.
Integrity: Members must have no outstanding complaints with consumer protection organizations such as the Better Business Bureau.
Professionalism: Members must operate in accordance with the ISPWP Code of Conduct. This protects both the photographer and the client, and provides assurance to the client they are dealing with a professional who takes their business seriously.
References: Members must submit 2 client references, and 2 peer photographer references, or be sponsored by an existing ISPWP member.
How is the ISPWP different from other wedding photographer directories?
We’re picky. Most online wedding photography directories are simply glorified yellow pages that anyone can join if they simply pay the fee. Experienced pros could be listed alongside someone who just bought their first camera, took a few pictures at their cousin’s wedding, and put up a website. The ISPWP is an exclusive organization of truly experienced professionals for discerning clientele. Our requirements in the areas of experience, talent, integrity, and professionalism set us apart. We will never compromise our standards just to get more members. If that means we remain small and exclusive, so be it.
We’re small. While most other photography directories have no limit to the size of their membership, the ISPWP limits the number of “local” photographers to about 40 per location. Our intent is to provide a good selection of photographers for each location, while providing adequate exposure for all of our members. A smaller, tighter membership helps to keep the quality of photographers high.