One of our new members, found IPA a great organization to build her professional portfolio and a way to gain important media access to concerts and events. Here is her story…
In her first four weeks as a member of IPA, she was successful in fulfilling some of her personal photojournalism goals. Since she had been covering events for IPA, she has posted a number of detailed reviews and was congratulated for her outstanding achievements.
We wanted to share her experience with other IPA members since she was able to “hit the ground running.” Although she is a successful writer for most of her career, primarily creating proprietary corporate documentation and training materials she wanted to try her hand as a photojournalist and joined IPA to gain the experience, credibility and access we can offer our members.
Membership Has Its Privileges
As soon as she joined IPA, she followed all the information available to her in our blog. She then reviewed the entire IPA website, read member articles, and visited a number of member profiles. With her new-found understanding of IPA’s approach, membership and mission, she was ready to go. This is some of what she was able to accomplish in the first few weeks of membership:
- She received a private tour given to her by a museum curator of a new exhibit entitled ‘North by Northwest’ which was not yet open to the public.
- She received media access to an exciting Adam Lambert Concert at the MGM Grand/Foxwoods Resort & Casino so I could take great photos, up close and personal.
- On the evening of July 4th, she was booked on a cruise to view the Macy’s Fireworks display which was offered by the folks at the NY Waterways Ferry. They provided me advance boarding and prime access to the best spot on the boat. The quality seating enabled me to take the fireworks photos you will see in my article.
- She received a complimentary upgrade to a suite at a wonderful new boutique hotel in New York City. She only had to call them and explain that she was coming to New York to cover the Macy’s fireworks display for IPA and would be happy to include them in her review.
She realized what we have been telling all of the IPA members…you can get the access and benefits, but you must do the work and keep your promise to those that grant you the access or the favors.
The Profile Is The Key
The first order of business for IPA members is to understand the importance of having great articles, images or videos on our sites.
Having a valid press card might help you get a good spot at a parade or entrance into a museum, but when you need important media access, those that grant that access want to see your published works in or on a legitimate media outlet. They must vet those they grant media access too, because security is a top priority at most media events. Many require you provide them a link to your published works on a website (and a personal blog doesn’t always cut it – everyone seems to have one) or tear sheets from a printed media outlet. We are living in post 9/11 now, so if you request access, be sure you are prepared to verify who you are and show your best works to those that need to see it. Flashing ID means little if you have nothing published to back up your claims.
Why IPA Can Help You
IPA exists to help provide its members with knowledge, experience, credibility and exposure. Although members of the media enjoy many benefits (as she have in the past few weeks while on assignment). it is not IPA’s mission to provide those that join with a host of benefits afforded members of the press – not unless they are indeed a member in good standing at IPA.
IPA’s mission is two-fold: the first goal is to provide an interesting web publication for those that visit the IPA web site. Visitors can read the many interesting articles written by our members and staff including show and product reviews, tutorials on using products or computer software, and view thousands of outstanding photographs taken by IPA members.
The second goal at IPA is to showcase the best members’ works in our IMPress Magazine. Having your articles published on both sites will increase the level of experience and expertise while building their confidence and exposure on our website.
Your credibility as a member of the media is important and on every page of our website you will find us urging our members to be credible. We want to publish well-written or well-photographed quality content on our site and will do what is necessary to help develop our members’ skills. With our new incentive program for Gold and Platinum Members you can earn up to $30 per qualified article toward your member renewal fees.
Not unlike a university that offers courses in photography or journalism, IPA, in a less formal (and far less expensive) way, attempts to do the same. I have spent many years as a Corporate Trainer, and firmly believe that adults learn skills by example and experience: this is what IPA offers its members. You might think of IPA membership as an unpaid intern program; for more experienced members it is a wonderful way to promote their works and gain access they would otherwise never receive without affiliation with a legitimate media organization. No matter what your level of experience is, you will find membership in IPA quite rewarding.
Credibility In Addition To Exposure
When we cover events at IPA, we deliver what we promise to event promoters.
If we are given access to a concert, a sporting event, a trade or consumer show and have been given press access, those that grant the access expect you to deliver a quality article, images and if you shot video that too. If they are happy with your work, they will be welcome you again the next time you need that access.
Experienced IPA members understand that the rewards are many if they deliver on their promises. And doing so not only gives them the experience many need, but it enables them to begin building a professional portfolio of published works, something not easy to do today.
So the IPA program serves the IPA independent staff members’ goals, serves those that visit our website and read our articles or view our images and ultimately also serves the community that invites us to cover their events.
Here is what your profile should include… in these three categories
- A brief bio/resume of your experiences relative to your photography, videography, and/or journalism. Remember those that grant media access don’t need to know about your family or your passions, they want to know about your ability to cover their events properly.
- A strong selection of your best photos in your articles. When the viewer clicks on one of the small images it opens to its full size and they can watch it as a slide show or one at a time.(if you are a photographer or photojournalist this is a must).
- Well written and grammatically correct articles that you have written (every member should post some articles). Even if the article deals with how you shot the photos that is fine. We have a built-in spelling and grammar check too, so don’t worry, it will catch most of the errors.
See an example from an article we did at a recent Auto Show that has two embedded videos and three photo galleries all in one article.
We are more than happy to provide guidance in helping members develop a body of work that will best showcase their skills. While we can’t write it for you nor upload our images to your profile, we will be happy to offer some suggestions, read and edit your resume if necessary, and point you in the right direction.
Please feel free to contact us directly should you need my help, and please include your IPA member number in your correspondence so we can review your profile and offer suggestions for improvement.
Your Profile On Our Site
When those that grant media access or others want to find you on our site, they will go to our Members page. If you haven’t published anything on our site, it will only show the information about your membership, ID number, expiration date and a brief resume. Once you begin to publish on our sites, we will then create a link to your work on the IPA main site and if you have been invited to join us at IMPress, a link to your work there as well.
If you are a photographer with truly spectacular images, you may qualify for a spot in our Showcase on IMPress and on this site. If you feel your work can qualify, then contact us so we can review it and if selected, we will set up a special section to showcase your photos as well. You can see the photo showcase on this site and also at IMPress here.
Our Member Support Library
As this support library continues to grow, you will see many How-To articles and tips on doing things better. It is a must for all members to join our Members Only IPA group on Facebook so we can keep in touch with each other and share our work with other IPA members.
We also want to encourage all of our members to share their successes and stories; this will not only give you a sense of accomplishment, but it will help other members learn from your successes. We will be posting interesting success stories on our blog, so let us know about yours.
If you are new to IPA, please visit our Support area often and watch the many videos we have posted to help you to understand how to publish on this site and on the IMPress site should you qualify to join our staff there.
Once you understand that our mission is to help our members succeed while enjoying the benefits of membership, you will understand why we are the only legitimate media outlet and professional organization of its kind on the web.
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