About the British Institute of Professional Photography

The British Institute of Professional Photography is an internationally recognised qualifying organisation with experience in supporting and networking professional photographers since 1901.

Early History

You might say that professional photography emerged in 1842, just three years after William Fox Talbot demonstrated his 'photogenic drawings'. An advertisement suggesting that photographic portraits would make useful Christmas presents resulted in studios being besieged with eager customers. From there, photography emerged as a viable profession.

On 28 March 1901 one hundred photographers assembled at a hotel in Fleet Street, and unanimously formed 'The Professional Photographers' Association'. Branches were formed in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Hull and Liverpool. 

By 1907 the membership stood at 757. Since then the numbers have pulsed up and down along with the times and there have been three name changes before settling with the British Institute of Professional Photography.

World Renowned

Our organisation delivers the very best in education, qualifications and professional development. The qualifications structure is highly regarded for producing some of the world's most influential photographers. This is backed up with a regular programme of training courses and events, all geared towards helping professional photographers reach their maximum potential.

We are also working increasingly with the Trade in order to gain great deals on useful products and services.

Colleges, Government and Industry

To ensure the future of the professional photographic industry, the Institute also works with a number of colleges and public/private in-house departments covering every discipline of photography. These include the Defence School of Photography, the College of Policing and Rolls Royce.  


British Institute of Professional Photography is run by photographers, for photographers, in conjunction with a small Head Office Team based in Preston, Lancashire. Our Board of Directors, Advisory Boards and all Regional Committees are run by volunteer members, who give their time freely.

The current management structure of the British Institute of Professional Photography is as follows:

  • Chief Executive Officer
    Effectively the UK Operations Manager. Responsible for the overall running of Head Office and therefore the Institute. Reports to the Directors with regular meetings and Chairs the Annual General Meeting.

  • Board of Directors
    Elected from the Membership Services Advisory Board bi-annually. They work with the Chief Executive Officer on the strategy and development of the Institute. All Board members give their time voluntarily and hold non-executive posts.

  • Membership Services Advisory Board
    Made up of regional and national volunteers from the membership. Again bi-annually elected, the Advisory Board has two meetings per year with a view to looking at all aspects of the Institute, from accounts to assessing member value.

  • Education Committee
    Focuses on training and qualifications.

  • Regional Chairs and Committees
    Currently there are nine regions in the UK and each one is headed by a group of volunteers who decide on their own Chair and Committee. They run the region's activities and are responsible for the region's finances