Here's the APHP Mission Statement
"The Association is a non-profit group created in 2016 by the UK's leading headshot photographers. Founded on principles of education, expertise and excellence, it establishes and celebrates recognised standards of professionalism, offers a path to qualification for photographers, advocates for members within the entertainment industry and promotes the highest standards in casting portraiture, to benefit actors, drama schools, agents & industry bodies.
Our members include the most experienced photographers in the actors headshot business, expert image makers who possess not just decades of photographic experience, but also un-paralleled insights into how casting photos are used in the industry."
So why did this all come about, here are my feelings...
For as long as there have been headshots, there have been headshot photographers. Usually working alone, acquiring expertise and knowledge slowly, keeping it to themselves. But a few years ago a group of us began to share our experiences, good and bad. We made a community where there had only been sole-practitioners, and found that we had similar ideas about what could improve the industry for photographers, actors, agents and drama schools. Over time these ideas coalesced via conversations, meetings and plans, as 14 founding professionals, joined by many more established photographers, built a new association, geared towards improving everything about headshots in the industry. Just as the Casting Directors Guild or the PMA have brought standardisation, ethical norms, good practice and better communication to their fields of expertise, so will the APHP.
Headshot photography is notoriously an industry where people can start up a business with limited capital at the basic end of the scale of start offering a service with little overheads. All good, thats how i started and of course you have to learn your craft and trade with hours or trial and error. The problems occur when people are receiving photos they're not happy with, and don't fit the brief of what a strong casting portrait should be. We're aiming to guarantee with the APHP that our photographers can consistently deliver high end quality photos and meet some stringent entry requirements including:
All APHP members are Qualified and have:
- Experience; a minimum of three years, but often decades, as a professional portraitist, shooting every kind of actor.
- Skill: expert technical skills & superior equipment, plus keen understanding of light, composition and style
- Knowledge: a wealth of up-to-date, industry-specific expertise.
- Protection: up to date public liability insurance.
- A Duty of Care: sophisticated data back up & measures to secure your images, while protecting your personal information.
- Fair: abide by fair terms & conditions clearly laid out online.
- Reliable: honour bookings, stick to deadlines re image supply & guarantee prices as booked.
- Responsible: strive to provide a consistently excellent service & find a resolution to any problem.
- Operate cash-back arrangements with agents in exchange for recommendations.
- Work as an Agent or Casting Director.
- Break the conditions of our Code of Conduct
In the pipeline as well is to offer a bursary of a free headshot session provided by one of the APHP members to one student a year at each of the 26 accredited drama schools, a little helping hand for someone struggling financially.
There may well be some cynicism from other photographers not initially part of the organisation that it's a few people trying to corner the market and eliminate competition. This really isn't the case at all, and the APHP once fully launched later this year will be delighted to receive applications for membership that fit the criteria, and photographers earlier in their business will be offered guidance and advice in the steps they can take to meet the criteria.