Merits: Easier to Earn than You Think.

Earning your merits falls into that “Givers Gain” efforts. You get so much more back than you provide in earning them.

In the process of earning them you make some great connections, learn more and grow more.

If you are new to the PPOC you might not have even heard of Merits. Merits along with Print Points is how your earn our association’s awards. You need a mixture of both to earn your Craftsman, then your Masters. After that there is bars to the Master’s award.

You can learn about those requirements here:

There are so many ways to acquire merit points. From being upfront speaking to things like this, writing a blog. Even using the PPOC logo on your advertising earns a few points.

You can attend conventions; even attend webinars to rack up the points.

Of course, one big incentive is serving on the PPOC boards both regionally and nationally. This is the most powerful way to earn points; the connections, skills and friends you make in these roles are so enriching.

You can find all the details at There is even a video to help you sort it out. They, rather we, really want you to earn as many points as possible. You can be pretty creative in your approach too.

It does not take much to maximize your earned points.

Like the PPOC logo: drop it on your business card, your website. Its only a few points, but they might be just what you need to get over the line.

Attending the national convention earns a bunch. But you can invest in a 12 hour online seminar (after 10 hours you can’t call them webinars) to earn 10 points. Creative Live is full of online seminars that fit the bill.

Speaking is a gold mine. Sharing what you know enriches the whole photographic community. You might be surprised what you can speak on. We have a member of our branch talking about his experience submitting his first accreditation.  You can talk about some Photoshop skills.  A presentation does not need to be aimed at the advanced photographers,

You might be sensing a theme in the structure of the merits. They do have a purpose.

The points are carefully thought out to achieve some PPOC goals.

They are of course designed to encourage members to get involved in the leadership roles, like director chairs. They are also designed to encourage volunteerism at crucial events like our national and regional conventions.

These event cannot happen without the members stepping up and we are not above some bribing to help that along.

Not everyone is comfortable in those roles. But everyone should be learning and improving their skill sets. Our industry is a fast changing one. Styles, even gear, changes swiftly nowadays. If you are not on top of the wave, you will be buried by it.

To encourage and further reward convention success you can earn points by attending, by improving your craft. Isn’t that great?

Writing articles, even blogs like this is great but you can also score points by mentoring new members, filing out online questionnaires, even just referring a new member to join.

A side note on the mentoring; it’s not for mentoring photography, it’s for mentoring the new member on the ins and outs of the PPOC.

Merits are more important to our industry, to the PPOC’s growth and well being, than even print points. The work done earning merit points are the building blocks for our next generation of photographers.

For example look at all the work that went into changing the copyright laws. Few photographers outside of PPOC and many inside are not even aware of the years of effort that went in to protecting and securing our rights as creators. The opposition to us getting them was huge.

For some members the mention of merits is just enough for them to raise their hands; to get involved. Be one of those members. Earn some fresh points while making a difference.

I have been doing this for 35 years with guys like Don McGregor and Andrew Simpson. They will attest to the personal and professional value of actively going after merit points.

You still have time, not only for points this year but last year until Tanya, our Executive Director, closes off that year. You will need documentation of course, which can be as simple as asking for a letter confirming you did this, attended that etc.

Givers Gain, it is the core of the reason; the advantage, of earning merit points. Don’t stop at the minimum needed, go for the gold, the gold bars.