The Wedding Photojournalist Association grants membership to the most talented professional wedding photographers in the industry--photographers who focus on using their photography skills and excel at capturing moments and documenting weddings. PLEASE READ THIS PAGE IN ITS ENTIRETY BEFORE APPLYING.
Once an applicant is accepted, he/she will be representing the WPJA throughout their entire membership term. Consequently, the 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 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 WPJA expects a photojournalistic impression of member web sites. Photographers who favor wedding images on their web site that reflect traditional portraiture, people looking at the camera, gowns fanned out, portraits of brides staring out windows, and/or detail shots of flowers, dresses, shoes or rings, will not be accepted into the WPJA.
MEMBERSHIP IS FOR INDIVIDUALS
WPJA membership is not for groups, businesses, studios, couples or teams. The 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 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.
THE WPJA STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES FOR MEMBERSHIP
The standards applicants have to meet for membership inclusion in the WPJA are the same standards all members must uphold throughout their membership term. WPJA members are expected to reflect exceptional skill, originality and creativity, by which they will perpetually maintain the integrity and strong reputation of the WPJA. Membership inclusion is based on adherance to the following:
1. Web Site:
Members must maintain an up-to-date and professional web site that continually meets 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 site needs 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 WPJA as a whole. The WPJA does not favor HTML over Flash-design sites (or vice versa).
2. Image Quantity:
Photographers are granted membership into the WPJA when their web-image content and picture editing meet WPJA standards. Members must have more than 25 sample wedding images on their web site (25 images, not 25 weddings).
3. Image Content and Editing:
Photographers oftentimes categorize their wedding images within separate galleries on their sites. This practice is encouraged as long as the images are organized within appropriately labeled galleries. For example, the WPJA suggests that a gallery labeled ‘Getting Ready’ should contain mostly Moment images of people preparing for the wedding day, and not be full of Portraits and Details. The WPJA recommends that applicants consider creating separate galleries labeled ‘Portraits’ and ‘Details’ if there is an excessive amount of these types of images on their sites. A Featured Wedding gallery will likely have a variety of different types of images from the same wedding, most of them should be Moments. Similarly, a site with a general Portfolio or Gallery for all wedding images will probably contain a variety of different types of images, most of them should also be Moments.
THE REVIEW PROCESS FOR PORTRAITS AND DETAILS
WPJA applicants should not have more than 40% of the wedding images on their web sites from the following combined categories (excluding Portrait and Detail GALLERIES)*:
- Portrait and Camera-Aware Subjects: Photographer controlled situations, subjects performing for or looking at the camera, etc.
- Details: Flowers, cakes, rings, tables, gowns, legs, shoes, hair, tight shots of makeup going on the lips and eyes, etc.
*The above mentioned percentage serves as a general guideline.
THE REVIEW PROCESS FOR IMAGES WITH VISIBLE MANIPULATION
WPJA applicants should not have more than 40% of the wedding images on their web sites with visible manipulation: pictures visibly altered using sepia, selenium or other toning, selective tinting, soft-focus effects, vignetted edges, desaturation, texture overlays, etc. Our WedPix article on Using Warm Tones (Sepia) Sparingly adds clarity and insight to the excessive use of toned images. Many wedding photojournalists that excel in the art of post-production image processing find that the Artistic Guild of the Wedding Photojournalist Association is a nice fit for them.
4. 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 creative and technical post-production issues.
5. 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 lens.TIP: A good use of a variety of lenses will score higher during the review process.
- Many hand-tinted and/or digitally-manipulated/vignetted images.
- Redundant images or sequence shots with minimal change in content.
- Images where subjects are poorly cropped.
6. 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.
7. Business Ethics and Communication:
The 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 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 WPJA; a person or entity “directly competes” with the WPJA if they are engaged in the promotion of wedding photographers.
The 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 WPJA membership requirements, standards, codes and/or guidelines. NOTE: DUE TO THE VERY HIGH NUMBER OF APPLICATIONS WE RECEIVE, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR US TO RESPOND TO PHOTOGRAPHERS WHOSE PORTFOLIOS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR WPJA MEMBERSHIP. YOU WILL ONLY HEAR FROM US IF THE RESULT IS IN YOUR FAVOR. PLEASE DO NOT REQUEST PORTFOLIO AND/OR WEB SITE CRITIQUES.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO JOIN THE WPJA?
WPJA MEMBERSHIP is $300. USD per year. Membership payments can be made either as a one-time payment of $300. USD or monthly at the rate of $25. USD per month. Members receive 60 FREE contest entries per contest season. Additional regional, international and destination wedding 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.
MAKING MEMBERSHIP PAYMENTS
WPJA membership fees can be paid using the following:
- American Express
Accepted members will be contacted with more information on their preferred payment method.
WPJA ON COPYRIGHTS
IMAGES AND TEXT ARE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT LAWS. Members must not infringe upon copyrights. Membership has been denied and revoked for:
- False representation of photo credits.
- Many 'borrowed' web design elements and text. This does not include template-based sites as it is possible that many people may purchase similar templates.
- Unethical Search Engine Optimization
ARE WPJA MEMBERS EXPERIENCING SUCCESS?
YES! Check out the 'Testimonials' page by clicking here: TESTIMONIALS FROM WPJA MEMBERS