School Photographers of America (SPOA) is a new nonprofit industry association working to develop standardized policies for school photography companies, work to protect the integrity of the industry, be an industry representative at state and national government levels, and educate others on image copyright laws.
Responding to the effect of COVID-19 shutdowns, not only on his employer but on the entire industry, David Crandall, then director of sales and marketing for Strawbridge Studios, Inc., began reaching out to other school photography companies to discuss forming a trade association solely dedicated to their industry. Of the largest school photography companies in the country, all but two decided to participate in what recently evolved into SPOA, according to a statement.
In just the last few months SPOA’S membership has grown significantly, thanks to these founding members who came together to form and fund it: Cady Studios, Dorian Studio, GPI, HR Imaging Partners, Inter-State Studio & Publishing Co., Photo Texas Photography, Leonard’s, Strawbridge Studios Inc., Visual Image Photography, Wagner Portrait Group and David Crandall. The LLC they initially formed is now a 501C-6 non-profit business association. Crandall was selected SPOA’s executive director. He plans to open an office by this October with support staff who will be dedicated to focusing on the health and vitality of school photography. Crandall and SPOA intend to focus on protecting the integrity of the school photography industry while working with state and federal legislatures to ensure the school photography tradition is secure for generations to come, according to a press release.
SPOA will create standards and policies similar to those adopted by the insurance industry and the music industry to protect the services they offer and ensure their consistency. They’ll also educate schools and districts throughout the country about the illegal use of images without permission and sharing student data with third parties.
“I could not be more excited about serving for the greater good of the industry and working in the non-profit world,” Crandall said. “My vision is to someday build an educational facility that not only supports school photographers nationwide, but will be a great local and national resource for educators. I look forward to serving not only my industry, but the Greensboro community now that I will be traveling much less than in the days when I was in national sales.”
SPOA will temporarily be based out of the new Next Generation Academy (NGA) in Greensboro. NGA’s founder, Dr. Sam Misher, is a lifetime educator who became friends with Crandall more than 20 years ago when Crandall managed a local school photography studio. When Misher retired from Guilford County Schools to build and operate a charter school, Crandall served on the school’s board of directors.