Less Than 51% Could Qualify, If We Would Allow Them to and We Should.

By [Kevin Lock]

I make 100% of my income from photography.  So why would I write a post regarding “Managing Multiple Income Streams?”  Because I support our members who do. Some of those members happen to be General Members and amongst my peers, there is some resentment about being more than just a photographer. A few would even argue that they are less of a photographer.  I find that troubling and somewhat short sighted so I want to address this issue.

Our Constitution currently states that to be a General Member (GM) one must be, amongst other things, a “photographer(s) for whom the majority of their earned income comes from publication of their images.”  Some of our GM’s currently make less than 51% of their income in this way and would not qualify to become a GM today.  For those who did qualify and find themselves adjusting their careers in such a way that they no longer meet this requirement, what should they do? Well there is no system in place that forces them to re-apply for General Membership at any time.  Once a GM, always a GM.   So seriously, what should they do?

In my opinion they should “carry on” being General Members.  Who are we to judge? If they qualified as a GM and their business has evolved into teaching, lecturing, writing, or getting involved in motion are they not still photographers?

The larger issue here is who qualifies to be a GM.  Our constitution could use a bit of tweaking in this regard.  Times have changed.  We must evolve to survive. I, for one, look forward to the discussions regarding membership qualifications and the evolution of our profession.

Kevin Lock was recently re-elected to the National Board of Directors and thanks you for the opportunity to serve the ASMP membership for another three years. This includes the majority of those whom do not make 51% of their income from publication of their images. Kevin has high hopes that we won’t look back and say “woulda, coulda, shoulda.”

By Kevin Lock | Posted: March 29th, 2013 | 5 comments


5 Responses to 'Less Than 51% Could Qualify, If We Would Allow Them to and We Should.'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Less Than 51% Could Qualify, If We Would Allow Them to and We Should.'.

  1. Kevin, these issues are in part being addressed by the proposed changes in categories for ASMP membership. I look forward to exchanging ideas about this with the goal of addressing these issues for the future of ASMP.

    Sandy Levy, Life Member ASMP
    Membership Chairman, ASMP South Florida Chapter

    By Sandy Levy | Mar 29, 2013


  2. I support the change in the constitution. I think it’s about time. I’ve never broken the 51% barrier and probably never will. Yet, I’ve been in the photography business for 11 years and have made a significant income from my business – just not a majority.

    By Tony Dunn | Mar 29, 2013


  3. I for one, agree totally that the constitution should evolve with the times. I have 26 years as a full time photographer and had to get a desk job due to the downturn of the economy. Added to that, I relocated to a new State which takes time to rebuild your business.

    I have previously been a very active GM but had to drop out. Now that things are improving, I am looking to re-join.

    So, how does this make me less than a photographer?

    By David Baxter | Mar 29, 2013


  4. Ok…so, it would be nice if the membership categories would be changed so more actual photographers can afford it in the first place considering that we no longer have have an income stream of $40k a year, or more, to support a $300+ a year membership. But how do you define a “professional photographer” these days?…I ask, because just the other day I was reading someone stating that “because they had to take photos at their job as an appraiser, that made them professional photographers”! so now the question arises as to whom exactly is the ASMP membership directed at? college graduates? who else has enough knowledge on copyrights etc., out of all the people with a camera? 50% of the income coming out of photography is irrelevant in the case above for example because an appraiser is an appraiser and not a professional photographer. His payroll does not read “professional photographer”, it reads “appraiser”! His photos are not published in magazines, or promote products, he does not create memories for brides and grooms…yet he seems to think that “because” he takes photographs that makes him a “professional photographer”!? others in the military, forensic, etc., think the same apparently.

    Needless to say I was appealed by that statement…

    I think ASMP should not only re-arrange the categories, but also help more with advertising to various clients. I think photography students in every single school that teaches photography should have a student membership attached, and move onto a paid one/or more expensive one after they graduate.
    I also don’t see many members having the ASMP member logo on their websites to create awareness for the organization. That should be a requirement. IMO. A membership somewhere should not just be about perks, and no responsibilities on the photographer side.

    As a member perk we should get marketing help with our emails/postcards etc., because some of us don’t know what else is popular these days, are not marketing wizards, or formally educated in marketing, or car salesman, and we don’t know what art directors respond to these days either. Some of us might have had to take a break, move out of state, whatever other family matter, and if we want to get back in the game we really don’t know where to start anymore. So, part of the membership should be help with that. I would appreciate that type of help more than a B & H discount because if I don’t make any money I could care less about that discount as I can’t use it anyway.

    I would like to see ASMP become a protector for all photographers who are actual photographers, and who would like 100% of their income to come from photography. For those who are career oriented, and are not part timers. This should be clarified before someone can even become a member because I am starting to see people go to ASMP seminars and then write blogs to the opposite of what its being taught at these seminars. At the same time…if we make less than 50% out of our income out of photography, then how can we afford to pay these insane fees to even attend these seminars? I think maybe ASMP should adopt Kelby Training’s model, and do more video’s that can be easily shared, and less physical events…not saying it is ideal…but some of us cannot travel to Vegas or other exotic places on a whim! so even if we are paying members of ASMP we end up missing out on a LOT of stuff that concerns us too.

    Last but not least, I think some of the information on ASMP’s website is starting to be used against us. Companies have started to extort us into “work for hire” contracts, and when we decline, we loose clients. Maybe more noise can be made to these “companies” (by mail, email, video, conferences etc) to educate that a professional photographer is also a BUSINESS OWNER with the same costs as theirs. (Maybe let some know that their products are looking pretty crappy now that they chose the “someone with a camera” rather than a qualified photographer.

    I don’t believe in “adapt or die” statement. Adapt to what? to using my chosen career as a back end job? No thanks. No one is forcing accountants to do this. If they need more law suits, great, lets make that more public so that people who are unfamiliar with the word: “theft” can be reminded that there is a punishment for it.

    I would also love it if ASMP would send a cease or desist type letter to all publications to stop asking for free photos in exchange of photo credit that nobody ever reads. And also sue Facebook, Flickr etc for their UNCONSTITUTIONAL Terms & Conditions agreements that are stealing our works and turn them into orphan works.

    This would be a good start.
    Have a great day!

    By Nr.1 Author | Apr 2, 2013


  5. [...] via ASMP. [...]



Leave a Reply