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Member Benefits

APA Member Benefits

Our benefits give you assistance where it is needed most: increased exposure for your work, educational events, partner discounts on a variety of business products and much more.

Access to Members-Only Content

APA produces content on a variety of photo related subjects each year. Gain access to our comprehensive 2013 Photography Industry Survey - this is a great tool for analyzing your business performance with other professional photographers.

APA publishes white papers on industry best practices and important topics like understanding social media terms and conditions.

May 2021 APA SF event, COLLABORATIVE NEGOTIATING video now viewable to APA Members Only on Vimeo. Click here for more info.

Event Description:

As photographic artists, we create unique, powerful visuals that elevate brands, individuals and industries every day. Whether you are new to photography or are an established artist, feeling confident and comfortable in your ability to negotiate with your clients is an ever-evolving skill.  

Join APA SF for a panel discussion with industry leading negotiators Kelly Montez, Heather Elder, Shel Burks and Monica Zaffarano. 

APA SF board member Nicole Morrison skillfully moderated an engaging discussion around collaborative negotiation practices with reps and producers who navigate these conversations daily. 

Primary Take-Aways:

  • Learn strategies that can help you win jobs and feel satisfied and confident in the terms you’ve negotiated.
  • Elevate your ability to effectively collaborate with your clients.
  • Learn the difference between creative fees and hourly/day rates.
  • Vendor terms and conditions

Access to members-only content is available to all members.


APA National Payroll

APA National Payroll Service is the preferred provider for American Photographic Artists and members of APA will receive a discounted handling fee. APA National Payroll is provided through Smith & Stilwell, Inc. This special member benefit program has been developed in collaboration with APA to keep the process simple and accessible, making it a no-brainer whether you have a part-time or full-time assistant, makeup artist, stylist, receptionist… or an entire staff. They’re ready to service all of your payroll needs.

Smith & Stilwell has been a major payroll provider to the entertainment industry for over twenty-five years.

APA National Payroll Service provides daily, weekly and salaried wages per individual client requests. Smith & Stilwell offers a quick turn-around of properly submitted timecards, provide direct deposit to all employees & customize invoices and projects specifically to our clients needs. Because Smith & Stilwell becomes the employer of record for your employees, they also offer:

  • Nationwide workers comp insurance
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Union fees if applicable
  • Accurate withholding for federal, state and city payroll taxes regardless of your location and the location of your crew members
  • No forms for you to file or sign since you are no longer the employer
  • Easy reporting for each employee’s time, day rate or hourly rate
  • Simple payroll invoice shows what you owe each member (serves as backup for expense billing)
  • Checks issued and mailed on your approval
  • Complete reports for all filings

This important member benefit of APA National Payroll is so inexpensive and simple to use that many members pay their own salaries through the service rather than going the usual payroll route. It can be used for office staff at reduced rates, is specially priced for APA members at 2% of gross pay, along with employee and employer matched tax fees, and best of all, is billable for each job.

Your liability is eliminated, payment is automatic and hassle-free, you completely avoid payroll bookkeeping, and it costs less than doing it yourself. (More info about your liabilities is included down below).

APA Payroll is provided through Smith & Stilwell. They're ready to service all of your payroll needs. For forms, information, and to sign up, contact Smith & Stilwell.  Current APA Membership number required.

How APA National Payroll Service can reduce your liabilities

Two very important liability issues face every photographer who hires assistants and other crew members.  Standard insurance policies for workers comp insurance (for job-related injuries) are costly and likely limited to in-state crew members.  This means that even with a standard policy in place, your policy will not be enough when shooting in another state.  But this is only part of the problem.

The far more serious problem may be assistants and other crew members who may be incorrectly classified as independent contractors (according to current IRS rules).  A discovery to this effect during a routine IRS audit can create huge liabilities for back taxes that can put a studio out of business.  Those who do it right have a huge overhead related to meeting these requirements (like employee unemployment insurance), and recovering these direct costs as job-related expenses can be daunting if not impossible.

The second liability issue is an IRS audit that reveals unpaid withholding taxes for assistants and other crew members who have been incorrectly classified as independent contractors (according to current IRS rules) can put a studio out of business.

The overhead related to meeting these requirements (like employee unemployment insurance), and recovering the costs as job-related expenses can be daunting if not impossible. APA's Production Payroll service solves all these and other problems by becoming the employer of record, relieving you of all related liabilities. The extremely low cost can save the fee for membership dues many times over in a single year.

Chapter Portfolio Reviews

We understand how difficult it is getting work in front of agency creatives. Let the strength of the APA go to work for you. Our local chapters administer portfolio reviews on behalf of our members. While each chapter runs their reviews differently, they all have one thing in common — getting our members access to creative professionals for feedback on portfolios. This is your chance to get up close and personal with art buyers and creatives to build a relationship and earn future new business. At this time, Chapter Portfolio Reviews are available through many, but not all chapters; please contact your local chapter to find out more.

Portfolio Reviews are a benefit for members at the Associate level and above.

Discounts on Events and Competitions

All members enjoy discounts on events and competitions and are entitled to attend Members' only programs. APA's regional Chapters produce ongoing programing like: continuing business education, face-to-face portfolio reviews, panel discussions, and presentations by award-winning photographers.

Discounts on events and competitions are available to all members.

Hire An APA Pro

We are very pleased to announce a significant upgrade to our Member locator, which will help you get more work.

Hire An APA Pro is designed to help clients easily find the best APA photographers for lucrative jobs, and it has now replaced our Find A Member tool, and the Behance Portfolios.


Hire An APA Pro is commensurate: the higher your member level, the more searchable specialties and portfolio images you are entitled to, and the higher up in the search results you will appear.

Member Level    Number of Specialties & Images

Leader                           10

Pro                                8

Associate                       5

Supporter                      3

Contributor                    1

APA will be proactively promoting Hire An APA Pro to creatives across the country, so it's to your advantage that you take a few minutes now to complete your new Hire an APA Pro Profile and Portfolio.

QUICK & EASY STEPS - There are basic instructions already in the right side vertical nav menu in your MY APA area, but you can use these additional details if you need more info.

1. Login to your MY APA page (or remain logged in, now):   https://apanational.org/account/

2. Set your Location:  https://apanational.org/account/location/

This will enable us to calculate and display distances in APA member search results. This will not affect the address you have already saved to your account. Follow the easy instructions on that page to set, or change your location, anytime.

TIP: Use a computer, instead of device to do this. You can simply fill in the "Center on a city" blank if you don't need to pinpoint your location. If you don't appear in search results for your selected location, zoom farther in and double check that your point on the map is definitely within the city limits (as defined by its standard metro region boundaries).

3. Edit Specialties:    https://apanational.org/account/edit-specialties/

Start by selecting your primary Profession, from these options: "Photographer", "Crew/Production Services", or "Work in Affiliated Field". Your Profession choice determines which Specialties you can select. Select as few or many as you would like, or as many as you are allowed for your member level.

Please note there are a total of 31 auto fill specialties to select from, and that a "specialty" can only have one image tagged to it. At the Pro level, you will see 8 image-upload fields open to you; you are not required to use all 8, but if you do, then you must pick 8 different "specialty" words.

A complete list of all the Specialties is included at the bottom of this page.

Be sure to always save your changes by clicking the "Update Profile" button.

Hire an APA Assistant

APA has developed a brand new state of the art Assistant search. If you are a photographer and an assistant, you can now show up in either search results, by selecting Photographer for your primary profession, then on the same Edit Specialties page, you will see "Assistant" -- use that pull-down to select "I am also an Assistant" and select your assistant specialties/skill set. Click "Update Profile".

4. Gallery    https://apanational.org/account/gallery/

Upload Instructions

  • File Format: JPG Only
  • Maximum File Size: 2MB
  • Display Proportion: 3:2 (35mm - Landscape) Note: cropping will occur for other aspect ratios.
  • Crop images to 1080px on the longest side
  • For Best Display Results we recommend sRGB Color Space.

After you have selected and saved your Specialties, upload photos and assign one of your chosen specialties to each photo. Each photo must have an assigned specialty, and each specialty can be assigned to only one photo. For best results, carefully follow the image size and upload instructions on that page. Always click the "Save Gallery" button when you are done updating.

5. Edit Public Profile

When you are logged in, click on "Edit My Public Profile" in the right side vertical navigation menu. Update your contact info, and in "Description" section include any relevant bio, additional skills, or if you are an Assistant, photographer references.


Remember to periodically update your APA Member Hire an APA Pro Profile and Portfolio, and change your images at least twice a year.

Photographer Specialties:

Fine Art    
Photo Journalism    
Still Life    
Youth Culture

Affiliate Specialties:

Advertising & Design Personnel    
Artist Representative    
Consultant/Career Coach    
Professional Services/Other

Crew Specialties:

Digital Techs    
Food Stylist    
Hair & Makeup Stylist    
Location Scouts    
Rental Studios    
Set Builders    
Wardrobe & Prop Stylist    

Assistant Skills (Specialties):

Digital Tech - Capture One    
Digital Tech - Lightroom    
Digital Tech - Motion    
Digital Tech - Stills    
DSLR - Sony    
DSLR - Canon    
DSLR - Nikon    
Equipment Truck/Van    
Gaffer - Hot Lights    
Grip - Rigging    
Medium Format    
Medium Format - Hasselblad    
Medium Format - Phase One    
Outdoor Lighting    
Strobes - Bowens    
Strobes - Broncolor    
Strobes - Norman    
Strobes - Dynalite    
Strobes - Elinchrom    
Strobes - Hensel    
Strobes - Impact    
Strobes - Profoto    
Video / Motion    
Video / Motion - Audio

International O-1 Letters of No Objection for USA Visas

As a benefit of membership, APA assists our international Professional and Leader members in documenting your professional status and photographer requirements in your USA Visa application, for an Advisory opinion in support of O-1 petition (letter of no objection), or for your Green Card application.

Annual (not Monthly) Leader or Pro level Membership is required, and there is a one-year minimum.

APA has a no refund policy.

Examples of your photographic work are also required, and upon APA reviewer approval, qualified applicants will receive an official statement denoting photographer with exceptional ability.

There is a one-time $100 processing fee for either letter.

If you are not yet an APA Professional and Leader member, please wait until after the APA reviewer approval before joining.

Contact our National Executive Director, Juliette Wolf-Robin (executivedirector@apanational.org) for details.

Legal Referrals

APA Chapter Attorney Referrals

Many APA Chapters maintain referral lists of qualified attorneys in their area. Members often prefer to retain local legal assistance so they can easily meet face to face, and so their counsel is knowledgeable about relevant State laws. Contact your Chapter directly to request the current Chapter Attorney Referral list. This Chapter benefit is available to all membership levels.

Please note that while you may choose to, you are under no obligation to retain the attorney after your initial consultation.

Member Benefits Summary

APA is an active organization that gives our members a voice on the national stage. Your membership helps us help you, and the wider photo community, as we keep our eyes on our rapidly changing industry. You now have access to a wide range of valuable member rewards, benefits, and resources. To get the maximum value from your membership, please read this entire page carefully and refer to it for future reference.

Partner Discounts

Log in and go to My APA > Discount Codes to save money on useful products, training, workshops, and services from these APA National partners including:

Professional Insurance Plans

APA has a dedicated business unit to handle our member's insurance needs. Whether you are a student, an emerging, or seasoned professional. you need to consider business insurance for equipment, liability, and more. Talk to the APA professionals who know the photo industry, get a free quote, and make sure you have the right coverage for your business.

Member Portfolio Search

All APA members are searchable in the robust Hire An APA Pro section of our site. These are designed to help you get more work by making it easy for potential clients to find you. We suggest that you activate them as soon as possible and update them regularly. Professional and Leader level members are invited to participate in the APA Sourcebook. Check with your local chapter to find out about additional benefits and promotional efforts in your area.

Pro Media Photo Identification Card

APA's Pro Media Photo ID Card is specifically designed to help expedite quick check-in service at airports, as well as to facilitate the pro media discount on excess baggage, available through many airlines. Starting in April 2019, only APA Associate, Professional, and Leader level members are now eligible to purchase this Pro Media Photo ID, for just $20. You can receive your APA Pro Media Photo ID Card in under a week, or within just a few days, depending upon when your order is placed and where it is sent. There are many advantages to this major new APA Photographer Member benefit, described here.

Upgrade Anytime

If you would like to upgrade to our Associate member level or above, to take advantage of the APA Pro Media Photo ID Card benefit, as well as other valuable APA Photographer Member level benefits, please send an email to membershiprep@apanational.org.

Interested in More?

APA is an association of photographers who volunteer their time and expertise to help the photographic community. If you would like to participate in moving the industry forward, contact Juliette Wolf-Robin and find out how to get involved on a committee. Or connect with your local board.

Pro Media ID Card

APA now offers different Member Card Options


All members can login and scroll to the bottom of their MY APA webpage to access (and print) their personal Virtual APA Member ID Card. Use the Virtual Card for in-person gear rental discounts and proof of APA membership at events.

New members in the USA, and those up for renewal soon will also receive an email letting you know that you can also request a printed plastic version of your Member Card.

Please note: Both Member cards no longer reference “Pro Media” on the cards, and they will likely not be accepted for baggage discounts when traveling.

More info is here.



APA Pro Media Cards can only be sent directly to addresses in USA & Canada


APA Member Pro Media Photo Identification Card, available exclusively to current APA Associate, Professional, & Leader Members, for just $20:

UPGRADE: If you would like to upgrade to our Associate member level or above, to take advantage of the APA Pro Media Photo ID Card benefit, as well as other valuable APA Photographer Member level benefits, please send an email to membershiprep@apanational.org.

APA Pro Media Cards can only be sent directly to addresses in USA & Canada.

To order your APA Pro Media Photo ID Card, please click here.

Advantages of an APA Professional Media Photo Identification Card exclusively to APA Associate, Professional, and Leader members for $20

• Photo ID validity: Many airlines now only accept Pro Media Cards which contain a color headshot.

• More Secure: Like all photo ID's, your card cannot be used by anyone but you. Your portrait is embedded by thermal re-transfer, which permanently bonds the hi-res print layer, using a high-temperature heat-sealing process to the surface of the card.

• Authenticity: APA Pro Media Photo ID Cards have our registered APA logo, and our National Executive Director's signature on the front, for enhanced authenticity.

• Expedited Access: You can use your Pro Media Photo ID for quicker airport check-in.

• More credibility: We designed our card to hang around your neck on a lanyard, so it's readily apparent you are a pro photographer, on the job.

• Turnaround: You can receive your APA Pro Media Photo ID Card within 3-5 days depending upon when your order is placed and where it is sent.

• Save a bundle: Use it to facilitate the pro media discount on excess baggage, available through many airlines

These are very high-quality identification cards. While it is not a press credential, the back of your APA Member Pro Media Photo ID Card reads:

Please extend to this APA member any professional media discounts on excess baggage, as well as all pro media rights and privileges, including FAA / TSA hand inspection of cameras and photo equipment. Benefits pursuant to membership in APA also apply.

Please note:

Not all airlines accept Pro Media Cards as approved media credentials, and many airlines do not accept Pro Media Cards without a photo.

It often depends on the agent behind the counter, so arrive prepared. Our recommendation is: before traveling, research the particular airline and see if they accept Pro Media Photo ID Cards for excess baggage discounts. Print out that info, and bring it with you when checking in. With their terms in hand, it should be much easier for their employee to honor your APA Member Pro Media Photo Identification Card.

While the Card Preview looks very close to the final tamper-proof result, because of the sophisticated production process, APA simply cannot guarantee the quality of the photo on your card. Your head shot is embedded by thermal re-transfer, which permanently bonds the high resolution print layer -- using a high-temperature heat-sealing process, to the surface of the card.

--> APA Pro Media Photo ID Cards can only be sent to USA & Canada addresses.

To order your APA Pro Media Photo ID Card, please click here.

Professional Insurance Plans

Meet the team.

Karen Stetz (left) is a 10 year insurance veteran and handles professional business insurance. Yubi Alvarez (right) oversees educator and student insurance. Photo credit: Harold Daniels

Professional photography insurance contact:
Karen Stetz
(877) 269-9021
Email | Website

Educator and Student insurance contact:
Yubrano (Yubi) Alvarez
(888) 411-4911
Email | Website

APA student and educator members must contact Yubi directly to discuss your insurance needs or for an instant quote visit this website.

View Recent APA Online Events on Our YouTube Channel

View recent APA Open Talk, Biz Talk, First Impression events and more, here, for free.

When you arrive at the APA YouTube Channel homepage, click on VIDEOS to see all of your choices, arranged chronologically. Please be sure to subscribe, too!



Tue 24th Jan, 2017

Business Insurance for Photograp...

APA Insurance Services (AIS) offers excellent equipment, liability and rental coverage.