Wedding Photography, Disc Jockeys, Videographers, DJs, Event Video, Wedding Video, Bridal Films, Photos, Orchestras, Wedding Portraits, Photojournalist, Wedding Bands

Professional Associations and What They Mean To The Customer

If you are at the start, middle or end of your search for wedding service providers and vendors, you have heard from a lot of the people you interviewed, read it on their literature or seen it on their web site, that they are a member of the xyz association. And asked yourself, what does that mean for you as the consumer? For the consumer it can mean the difference between getting what you want in a vendor or not.

What are Associations? At a minimum they are an organization of people with a common purpose and having a formal structure. Everyone has seen the "got milk?" commercials, that is the American Dairy Association, it's purpose being promoting the consumption of milk and dairy products.

Most professional associations go beyond just one purpose. WEVA, ADJA, WedGuild, PPA, and WPPI offer networking, learning opportunities, code of ethics for members, conventions, expos, learning seminars, competitions, insurance, basically many support services for the small business owner. Associations are far more than membership dues and a certificate of membership. Associations are learning opportunities for the small business owner, to refine, improve, and learn the latest techniques and trends of their industry.

Some associations go beyond just the basics and offer certification or meriting of individuals who strive to attain a certain level of skill sets. WEVA offers the Merited Professional Videographer. The PPA has the Master Photographer certification program. WedGuild for disc jockeys requires a high level of proven skill sets just to join, setting their membership above the average disc jockey.

For the consumer a vendor or service provider being a member of an association can only be a good thing. For your dream come true wedding or social event hiring a person who has continued their their education, is up on all the latest trends, can give you ideas culled from the best of the best in their industry is a win win situation!

But it is upon you the consumer to make sure that the person or company you are considering is an active participant in their association, attends expos, and continues their education. How can you the consumer, determine if the people you are talking with are active participants or have purchased a very expensive piece of paper? Ask them about their participation in the association and industry! If a person is willing to take the time attend expos, take seminars, participate in their industry they most likely love their industry and those who love it like talking about it. Also check out their blogs, quite often they will talk about what they have learned, what they have attended, who they have met in their online diaries, look for these clues in their blogs. A person who is proud of what they are doing is always willing to talk about it.

Look for awards and citations or even the mention of attempting to win an award. Most associations offer some sort of competition for their members to win awards, to prove that they can do some of the best work in the industry. For photographers there are multiple opportunities within their two associations, the PPA and the WPPI to win at print competitions. Videographers have the Creative Excellence Awards sponsored by WEVA and you can check out some of the winners from 2006 on this very web site! People who participate and don't win in awards usually strive the following year to improve to win in the future.

Lastly, non-members you ask about membership in an association will have excuses as to why belonging isn't necessary, one of the big ones being "I have the internet". The internet is a great place to start and improve slightly, but it lacks the knowledge of the trendsetters. Those who are at the pinnacle of their industry very seldom are active in chat forums. One, they are busy serving their clients and two they expect some sort of compensation for their hard won knowledge and ideas, which is provided when they give lectures, seminars and workshops within the association structure. To learn from the best you must be an active participant within an association within your industry.

The next provider you interview make sure they are an active participant of their industry association(s) to improve the chances of having the wedding or social event you have dreamed of!

The following is a listing of the more reputable associations within the wedding and event industry for disc jockeys, photographers and videographers. Click on the image to go to their respective web sites, to learn more!
Wedding & Event Video Association International
American Disc Jockey Association
Wedding Entertainment Directors Guild
Professional Photographers of America
Wedding & Portrait Photographers International