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Return on Membership

Images and Quotes from the ASMP’s Return on Membership Contest

In the ASMP Bulletin’s Year End 2009 issue we featured images and excerpted quotes from selected entrants to the ASMP’s first Return on Membership contest. Whether it’s the overall benefits of ASMP membership, money saved through great member discounts, stories of clients landed through Find a Photographer or student feedback on how the ASMP has impacted their emerging careers, everyone who submitted a contest statement had inspiring things to say about the impact and enduring value of their ASMP membership.


All who entered the contest were winners, receiving a 30-day membership. First and second place finalists in four categories took home the goods, receiving prize packages assembled from $17,000 worth of products and services from Adobe, Agency Access, Cradoc, Hindsight, Lensbaby, Livebooks, Modern Postcard and PDN. To read the winners’ contest statements and view details of the prize packages they received, visit the contest page.


Presented here are the complete statements from the photographers featured in the ASMP Bulletin Year End 2009 portfolio spread. We also offer a copy of the Return on Membership Slide Show (in PowerPoint or PDF format), which was shown at the ASMP annual member meeting held in New York City during PDN PhotoPlus Expo.


— JW


Featured ASMP Return on Membership contest statements:

Wilbur Montgomery, Wide Angle. General member, Ohio Valley chapter.


Simply put, if it was not for ASMP I would not be in photography today. After working as a photographer for 25 years I was ready to hang it up but thanks to many close friends in the Ohio Valley Chapter I decided to continue in the field and for that I thank them, ok so my wife might not be all that pleased. As for investment on return I recently received a reuse check on a large job I produced in 2001 thanks to proper paperwork and usage practices learned from many ASMP meetings and help from my fellow members who have continued to stand for professional practices and ethics in the field of photography I will at current rates be able to pay my dues for the next 120 years. What I will do with the extra money I’ve made since my first negotiating seminar in 1990 still remains to be seen. Thank You. Wilbur Montgomery


China Jorrin,; Meter. Associate member, New York chapter.


My name is China Jorrin and I am a New York member of ASMP.


I love, love, love ASMP.


I have been a member of ASMP for about three years now. During this time I was able to lower my AT&T bill and get a discount on Photoshop’s Lightroom. I am about to upgrade my computer and will take advantage of the Apple discount that I can get. Thank you ASMP.


Thank you ASMP for keeping me updated with the Orphan Works and thank you for all the news updates that I get via email.


Around the time I joined I sent in an application to Nikon Professional Services, on the application it asked me to list any professional associations that I was a member of. Of course I listed ASMP.


I love getting the magazine. And I feel like I am still discovering all the advantages that come with being a member. ASMP is totally staying up with the latest trends. I just downloaded the “Find a Photographer” app for my iPhone.


Beside all these amazing perks that I have gotten from being a member, the other important thing for me is that I like the fact of being part of such a great organization. I look forward to discovering more of what it means to be an ASMP member and hope to become more involved.


Thanks to all the board members that work so hard for all of us!


From a very happy member…


Kimberly Blom-Roemer,; Wide Angle. General member, Kansas City/Mid America chapter.


Through ASMP I know I am never alone in this business. Fall/2008 I turned to ASMP-KC/Mid America. My rationale, if business is slow, I can contribute to the chapter. President Chris Vleisides was a wealth of information and expanded my knowledge of the local market. Suddenly I was VP but it was the best thing I ever have done. Through listserves, my immersion with ASMP grew deeper. The explanations, guidance, and experiences so freely shared were invaluable.


01/ 2009: In town to present her seminar, Judy Herrmann was so immensely giving to me, honest in her assessment, and suggestions


02/2009 I attended the BLC, putting faces with online contribution names. While there I connected with two individuals who had business models similar to my vision. They were generous in their time. I am very proud to call Jim Cavanaugh and Steve Whittaker my friends.


12/2008. The biggest benefit was concerning a horrible release. Through the Architectural Listserv I had three referrals to Gene Mopsik. Gene spent an hour on the phone with me, and then worked with the organization. Despite the holidays, his persistence paid off. To have this kind of support — wow!


In 1991 when I graduated from college ASMP was there, but I “didn’t get it.” Had I known… I can guarantee I would have always been a professional photographer. I don’t want the students today not pursue their life’s passion just because they didn’t realize the incredible wealth of information and support available to them through ASMP.


James Aronovsky,; Second Prize, Focus. General member, San Diego chapter.


The ASMP Find a Photographer feature has become my single greatest marketing tool. I belong to other professional organizations with photographer locators, but ASMP’s FAP has consistently provided me the highest of what those accounting types call “positive return on investment.”


I didn’t originally join ASMP expecting a direct financial return. I supported ASMP’s philosophy of protecting and promoting photographer’s interests. I was also in need of marketing and business education and advice. I received that, of course.


When FAP became active, I started to receive calls from clients I could never have found on my own. Art directors at corporations and publications have told me over and over that ASMP is their trusted resource for finding photographers. Many say they wouldn’t bother to look anywhere else. Sometimes, they’ll get my geographic region confused, and I’m happy to point them to other ASMP chapter rosters, knowing the same will be done for me.


When a fellow ASMP member calls, it is often to have me create a specific local photograph for a larger project where their client either doesn’t have the budget, or the photographer doesn’t want to travel. Speaking the same language, and knowing we’ll have similar business terms, this has allowed me to claim new assignments without any additional marketing or effort.


Find a Photographer has clearly improved my bottom line. My ASMP dues are not just a tax deduction, but have proven to be a smart investment for my business.


Kate Mackley,; First prize, Wide Angle. Emerging Associate member, Dallas chapter.


In 2007, I was hired to be the photo editor of an online neighborhood news site, and I literally had no idea of how to do the job. I was a good photographer, but I didn’t understand many aspects of the business requirements of a professional editor. I joined ASMP at the urging of Hillsman Jackson, now the president of the Dallas chapter. Since then, using ASMP resources, I’ve found software for my business; I’ve used the sample releases and contracts on the Web site, I properly charge and file state sales taxes, and appropriately — though not always successfully! — negotiate and estimate my services. I, or a photographer that works for me, attend every educational seminar our chapter has offered.


The most important benefit of ASMP membership is that I’ve become an advocate for photographers’ rights within my company. I’ve steered my employer away from work-for-hire contracts for the photographers we hire and advocate that they retain copyright to their work. We employ mainly new photographers, who aren’t yet trained in proper DAM workflow: appropriate use of metadata, proper archiving, and copyright. Without the framework of ASMP, I would have been doing my job in the dark, and the photographers would have lost the rights to their work. Thanks to the Dallas chapter, the ASMP Web site, the invaluable Professional Business Practices in Photography handbook, and the Emerging Photographers forum, I have a better understanding of my position as a businessperson, an editor and a photographer’s advocate.


David Zentz,; Second prize, Wide Angle. General member, Los Angeles chapter.


Before joining the ASMP I was in the dark. I had just tendered my resignation as a staff photographer at a mid-sized, central Illinois newspaper. Buyouts and layoffs were happening everywhere, but that wasn’t so scary. I was young and unattached. But what about the future, with a mortgage, wife and children? Did I want to constantly look over my shoulder? I decided I wanted some control of my career and gave two weeks’ notice. Now what?


That’s when I heard Strictly Business 2 was coming to Chicago. A photographer friend said this seminar gave him a priceless education and insisted I go. So I registered. He was right. SB2 illuminated for me many of the business practices that I was conveniently oblivious to as a staff photographer. It taught me invaluable lessons on self-promotion, contracts, copyright and more. On the final day I joined as a general member.


One year ago, I moved to Los Angeles and quickly aligned with the local ASMP chapter. Membership has been invaluable as I work to build contacts and use ASMP business practices to grow my business in a sound and responsible way.


Starting over in a new town is difficult. Combined with my superb timing for relocating during the worst economy in decades has made for a long year. But things are picking up and I’m beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. The light would surely not be so bright without the ASMP guiding my way.


Karen I. Hirsch,; Wide Angle. General member, Chicago/Midwest chapter.


Soon after joining ASMP in 1990, I became a member of the Board of Directors — Chicago/Midwest. My role was to plan educational programs. It gave me great satisfaction to do something for the good of the photo community. In fulfilling the responsibilities of my position, I gained business skills including how to plan events, fundraise and work as part of a team. Knowing that the group was depending on me, I was motivated to plan ahead, tackle new tasks and accomplish set goals. In the process, I gained confidence and developed lasting friendships.


Now, I am using the skills that I honed as an ASMP Board member in my current role as president of Fort Dearborn-Chicago Photo Forum, a 114 year-old organization, which promotes photographic education and creativity. I have called on some of my ASMP friends to give programs — Victor Skrebneski, Marc Hauser, and Jay Maisel, to name a few. Fort Dearborn is planning its first international digital competition next year, following the tradition of its print salons of the past. Two of the first salon participants in 1900 were Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen.


I hope that Fort Dearborn will become the venue of visual creativity where members of various professional photo organizations and photo enthusiasts, alike, will converge to share work and inspire one another to higher levels.


My past experience in the ASMP laid the foundation for my success as an organizational leader in today’s photographic community.


James Worrell,; Wide Angle. General member, New York chapter.


The biggest non-monetary benefit that being a member of ASMP has would have to be the copyright advocacy and other work that ASMP does with government. It was sad that the Orphan Works Bill passed but ASMP was in the lead working for all of us, to be our voice. When I first joined back in the 90s I did it for one reason really, that was for a discount on Insurance. And while I admit that can be a nice benefit, I am more interested in the long view issues these days. Do I use my membership benefits for car rentals? Of course, but photographers tend to be a disparate group of loners more concerned with the newest gear. It is nice to know that my dues go, at least in part, to fighting for the big picture.