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VPPA President's Message for 2019

Greetings to all members of VPPA in 2019!  I hope this letter finds you all in good health. 

As your 2019 President of VPPA, I want to let you know that we, your entire Board of Directors for Virginia Professional Photographers Association and I, are working tirelessly to bring you better benefits, exceptional education & support in all areas of photography.  We are also proud to announce, your Board of Directors is now ALL-VOLUNTEER! 

When we meet for our Board meetings, please know, we have our members best interest foremost in all decisions we make. It’s our fiduciary responsibility and we take it seriously.  We work hard to make VPPA better for our members and it’s showing.

(Want to see us in action?  You are welcome to attend any of our meetings - they are listed on the website calendar, just RSVP online to let us know.)

Since joining VPPA back in 2011, so many changes have taken place. We lost many great members - some to retiring, some to moving out of state, and some to change in choice of career.  Then we have had a few who were a big part of VPPA for decades and even more decades.  People who were mentors and icons in the organization - who passed on and are dearly missed by so many, such as Bruce Hobbs, who I know great things about but only met a couple of times and Queen Polly, who I adored. She was my adopted ‘gramma’ and kept me in check~ Oh, how I miss that tiny, but mighty woman! (For those of you who are new, you’ll hear about the Hobbs $500 Scholarship & Polly’s Raffle.  Make sure to buy tickets from Jim Sanders for a chance to win her $1000 Scholarship - you can even get them online now!!)

I was asked, not even a year after joining, to join the Tidewater District’s officers. I started out as Secretary, then moved to Lt. Governor and then to Governor. On that third year, it was Ms. Polly who with our then President, Jim Carpenter & Chairman, Kevin Hurley that asked me if I’d like to join the Board of Directors.   It was super warm in Polly’s hotel room where they asked me that fateful night. I didn’t know what I was doing, I just knew that I believed in Virginia Professional Photographers Association as an organization and I would learn what I needed to do to keep it great. I’ll never forget Polly’s words to me that night when I said, yes… “Now, you’ll need to behave!” she said, shaking her finger at me and grinning from just an inch shorter than me! All I could think of was that quote… about well behaved women making history!

This is my fourth year on the Board and we have made SO MANY GREAT CHANGES & UPDATES with many more in the works! So many great benefits for VPPA MEMBERS!

We, of course have the UPDATED WEBSITE - where all members can log in and see just how many credits you’ve earned in the association. (Don’t know your Log In?Go to www.vppa.org - log in with the email associated with your membership application and click, Forgot Password. The site will walk you through on how to get registered.) Make sure to upload a bio photo of yourself for the membership directory (and the Find A Photographer tool for our Professional members).  

Which brings me to updated Credits that you can earn - You now have MORE WAYS TO EARN CREDITS; from entering our Image Competition and credits for attendance,  volunteering, mentoring and teaching - members are able to earn credits for all of these! (it’s your responsibility to make sure the Executive Secretary has your credits recorded.)  

We have a new VPPA SERVICE OF PHOTOGRAPHY DEGREE!  It takes 85 Credits to receive this degree -  rewarding those members who give to the association at least 43 of these credits along with all the other opportunities to receive credits.   (Read all about it online in the VPPA Policy Manual starting on page 21.) 

NEW UPDATED MEDALS AND BARS FOR OUR DEGREES - Along with the SP Degree, we still honor the AFP degree (if you already have it!) and the FP Degree is still being earned but it now has an updated, new look which we’ll begin awarding to recipients at Convention this year!  Also, for those earning additional credits after receiving the SP or FB degree, you will now receive a bar, similar to the PPA’s degree gold bars, instead of the stars from the past!  (by the way, there is no need to trade in what you already have - please wear your Degrees with pride to all events!) 

Last year, we introduced the VIRGINIA REEL- one great speaker travels to all the Districts over 4 days - enabling us to give you fantastic content not to miss! It went over so well - that once again, we are bringing top-notch speakers to VPPA.  Beginning this March, speaker, John Chandler will travel from Tidewater to Capital, on to Northern and Blue Ridge with a new speaker coming each month through July!  Marnie Clagget will be talking to us about the Business of Photography. Marketing by Rinat Halon and Newborn alternating with Santa Experience with Lizzy McMillan and even Pin-Up Photography with Christy Williams this year!! Make sure to check the website’s calendar or check in with your District Governors to find out details on where to see them in your District.  

DON’T FORGET: VPPA Members are welcome to visit ANY DISTRICT’S MEETINGS - in fact, it’s encouraged! And potential new members are welcome to visit 2x before we ask them to join - Make sure to REGISTER for any events you attend on the website - This is how you earn those credits towards a VPPA degree! 

In case you haven’t heard the good news, PPA MEMBERS NOW EARN A PPA MERIT for attending Convention & Seminar - So invite all your PPA Friends to JOIN US TOO!

Bringing all this to you, with plans in the works for even more MEMBER BENEFITS - Your Board of Directors even voted to reduce the Professional Member’s VPPA dues for 2019!  

Without the tireless effort of the current Board, and all those board member’s before us, who believed in our Association so much that they volunteered their time to make sure it ran smoothly - VPPA would not be the strong organization it is today.  

Do you believe in the importance & values of VPPA? Do you want to see it continue to succeed? Consider volunteering, you will receive service credits for your efforts and work towards that new Service of Photography degree. 

We need more members to JOIN OUR EFFORTS! Reach out to any of our Board Members to find out how you can help. Even a little bit of help from more members helps keep our organization strong. IT TRULY TAKES A VILLAGE!!

For our members who have been with us for decades, WE MISS YOU! Some of you come to Convention and Summer Seminar and we thank you for being the backbone of VPPA

We’d love to have more of you present at District Meetings, the Annual Convention and Summer Seminar - faces that are familiar - mentors during those visits for our newer photographers, icons of VPPA, sages of the industry! 

You know who you are!  Consider helping in new ways while we, the Board of Directors explore more ways to add more value for you too! We are working on this! 

Last but not least, a BIG HUGE WELCOME to all or our new members, Professional, PPA, Retired and Aspiring -  if we have not met, I look forward to meeting you at a District VA REEL Meeting or for sure at our Summer Seminar in August this year.  

If you see me, please say hello or drop me a line about getting together.    If you have suggestions or questions, please don’t hesitate to call or email.

See you soon,  I hope!


Erin L. Clark, M.Photog., FP, CPP

VPPA 2019 Executive Board - President


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