Pro Photographers should organize themselves into a guild. It is past overdue. Back in antiquity, craftsmen who were proud of their art protected their trade by helping and protecting their future replacement. Clients would always know that hiring a guild member was a sure sign of guaranteed exceptional results.
Unlike like the current “associations” whose only preoccupation seem to gather enough members in order to sell them to generous sponsors, the Guild only task would be to train and form the best of the best. Taking upon historical guilds, it would associate a trainee with a long time member in order to teach them the mysteries of great photography. A trainee would then have to go through years of training , then as an apprentice, a layman, before finally becoming a full time member.
The guild would also guarantee that no one would undercut each other in pricing, or level of quality. It would vote to accept new members, based on fixed sets of rules . There would be no fees to join the guild, no sponsors, no arrangements. Anyone could become a member as long as they had gone through all the process and tests required. Like any previous Guild, a masterpiece would be required to become a member.
This guild would re institute the respect and love of the craft, the ownership of the work, the value in professionalism, and redefine photographers as highly skilled professionals. It would also promote art over revenue, work over compensation, quality over quantity, and most important, would make each one thrive to create masterpiece rather than just doing “jobs”.
The guild would also require that each one work on a pro-bono project each year to give back to the community. Its only purpose would be to market their trade through exceptional results. And just maybe, like centuries old Cathedrals, the work of some guild members would become so exceptional that it would transcend time and beauty and become, to their own right, masterpieces.
Finally, Guild members would have a seal displayed on their websites, brochure, business cards so that they can be recognized as such immediately. They could even use as a charter some or all of the manifesto.
Think about it.