The Advertising and Illustrative Photographers Association (AIPA) was founded in the spring of 1978 by a small group of Auckland photographers who felt there was a need for more communication with regard to issues specific to commercial photography. This founding group knew that people working in the advertising and editorial fields were very individualistic characters (i.e. non-joiners of traditional groups) so the rules and aims of the association were framed to allow for that independence and to concentrate only on these areas of the photographic industry. Later that year the association became an incorporated society.

The original aims of the association include:

  • To promote higher standards in commercial photography.
  • To advance and sponsor advertising and illustrative photography as a means of communication and expression.
  • To actively assist those people working in these areas whose ideals are sympathetic to those of the association through publications, workshops, exhibitions and other means.
  • To promote and cultivate public interest in photography both as an art form and a communication medium.

Alongside these original aims the AIPA has evolved to incorporate additional areas of focus.

Of primary concern is the issue of copyright. AIPA has determined to become a strong advocate for law change in this area, as well as supporting photographers in their individual decisions to contract out of the current copyright law. AIPA has drawn up standard terms and conditions and a licence form for use by all photographers in order to facilitate this.

Education for current and future photographers has also become a priority for the AIPA. Informative and inspirational seminars are now a regular part of the yearly calendar for members, and are also open to all photographers at a slightly higher fee.

Remaining true to its ideals, the association aims to encourage continuous development and excellence in professional photography in New Zealand both by photographers and the users of photography. Emphasis is placed in particular on the ongoing evolution of the association website which informs members as well as showcasing their work and that of the AIPA.

Exhibitions, publishing projects and social events all have their place in the AIPA calendar.


Over the years membership has grown considerably, both in numbers and in scope. There are now satellite branches in both Christchurch and Wellington, each with their own vice president.

Full membership in the AIPA is open to photographers whose occupation is in the main advertising and illustrative photography. This includes: advertising, illustrative, editorial, fashion, commercial, industrial, press, architecture, corporate, stock and scientific.

Photography students, assistants, and emerging photographers are also welcome to join the association at discounted rates.

Regular meetings are at the heart of the association. Held at a local studio facility these are of a fairly informal nature. Frequently AIPA hosts speakers at these meetings for up-to-date dissemination of relevant industry information. The meetings also give photographers the opportunity to meet and discuss topics of mutual interest and concern.