The Finnish Professional Photographers’ Association

Founded in 1919 by professional photographers, the Finnish Professional Photographers´ Association (Suomen Ammattivalokuvaajat ry) is an organization of both portrait and advertising photographers. Currently the association has about 250 members; a combining factor for them is to produce high-quality professional photography ordered by clients.

The association’s most important area of responsibility is the amelioration of its members´ working conditions such as multiform training for the purpose of upholding and developing professional abilities. The association supports the daily work of its members by giving advice concerning e.g. copyrights, consumer protection and entrepreneurship.

The Finnish Professional Photographers’ Association is in active cooperation with domestic and international organisations such as the Central Association of Finnish Photographic Organizations and Federation of European Photographers.

The logo of the association is considered to be a sign of professionalism and it signals to customers high professional quality.

Besides giving advice in various issues to its members, another important area of responsibility is professional training and constant learning. Every year several short courses are held as well as some long-term programmes. Many of these courses and particularly the long-term ones are organised in cooperation with Institute of Visual Communications (Visuaaliviestinnän Instituutti Oy), an authorized institute of photography.

Many Finnish professional photographers are very active in taking parts in the courses and also different competitions and exhibitions. The association organises Portrait Photographer of the Year –competition and the winner usually enjoys a fair amount of publicity from his/her victory. In the Finnish Professional Photographers’ Association’s highest national title is Master of Photography (SAVM, Suomen Ammattivalokuvaajat ry:n Mestariarvo). The holders of this title have shown highest level of professional skills as judged by their peers. Other professional awards in the association include gold and silver medals for considerable work in the field of photography and within the association.

The association has two yearly general meetings and often a visiting lecturer from abroad gives a presentation at these events. The meetings are regularly attended by several dozen members, not only because of their professional value but also because of their social value; the meeting provides a venue to meet up with colleagues from all around Finland. The Finnish Professional Photographers’ Association also organises trips abroad, for example to international congresses and exhibitions.