PSA Policies and Master Operating Manuals (MOMs)

Please select the appropriate PSA Policy for an explanation of board-approved directives and operational procedures for various PSA functions.

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  • PSA By-Laws
    » PSA By-Laws: pdf (last amended October 2017)
  • Events - PSA Photo Adventures Policy

    All PSA Photo Adventures must be led by a professional tour guide who is familiar with the area(s) where the tour will take place, who provides adequate tour liability insurance coverage and a certificate of insurance which adds PSA as an additional insured for the tour unless this requirement is waived by the PSA Executive Committee (PSAEC), and who is adequately insured for any transportation, which the tour guide provides to participants during the tour;  has obtained all appropriate licenses or permissions from the agencies which provide the same to tour operators, including but not limited to national parks, state and local parks, cities or other places which require permits or licenses for tours.  All PSA Photo Adventures tours must be approved by the PSA Executive Committee upon recommendation of the Photo Adventures Advisory Group (PAAG).

    All PSA Photo Adventures will have a designated PSA Representative (PSAREP) on each photo tour to act as a liaison between the PSA Headquarters and the tour group. 

    For the complete PSA policy on Photo Adventures, along with essential forms and agreements SEE WEBSITE PAGE 
  • Aerial Photography, including Drones - legal and ethical use by Exhibitions and Divisions

    For Divisions and International Exhibitions - download the pdf version: pdf or read it, below.

    September 2019/revised March 2020

    The interest of using aerial photography is growing and the legal and ethical use of drones, balloons and aircraft by photographers is needed within the PSA organization. The following polices and guidelines shall govern their use in all PSA Divisions and International Exhibitions. Aerial images captured by drone, balloon or aircraft may be used for division competitions, international exhibitions, portfolios of distinctions and audio-visual programs as described in the rules for each event if they comply with both the legal and ethical policies included herein.

    Drone Photography Rules (legal operation):

    Drones are legally described as an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) which can produce either a single image or multiple images which are shown as video and is controlled by an operator (photographer) on the ground.

    All UAS operators are responsible for knowing and following all laws and regulations where they operate, whether local, state, national or international, particularly in parks, refuges, recreational and designated wilderness areas.

    The following United States FAA Requirements as of August 2019 are included as a courtesy. Contact the FAA at www.FAA.gov/UAS or the country where photographing for the most up-to-date rules:

    1. The rules for the use and flight of UAS are different in different countries and any PSA member must follow and adhere to the rules of the country where the images are captured.
    2. In the United States UAS operation is governed by the Federal Aviation Administration, their rules can be found at www.FAA.gov/UAS , under 14CFR 107.
    3. All UAS must be registered, and the assigned aircraft must display its registration number. It is highly suggested that the operator’s information also be attached to the aircraft. This can be obtained at https://FAADroneZone.faa.gov/#/
    4. All operators (photographers) must obtain, at a minimum, a recreational pilot’s license from the FAA, or the governing body of the country in which the UAS is being flown.
    5. Within the United States the following FAA rules must be adhered to:
      • a. Must Fly below 400 feet
      • b. Must weigh less than 55 pounds
      • c. Must be flown within the visual line of sight of the pilot
      • d. Must follow any safety-based guidelines of any local governing body
      • e. May not be flown in federal regulated areas
      • f. Never fly near other aircraft
      • g. May not fly over large groups of people, public events or populated stadiums within three nautical miles of the stadium or venue
      • h. May not fly near or over emergency response efforts
      • i. Must be over 13 years old to operate
      • j. May not fly in restricted airspace, such as within five miles of an airport, terminal radar areas, national security areas, military operation areas, around unmanned balloons and controlled firing areas
      • k. Other areas that are restricted from flight operation includes thermal plumes, smoke stacks and cooling towers
      • l. Should not be flown during extreme weather conditions, such as but not limited to, thunderstorms, tornados, hail, fog or low ceiling visibility

    Aerial Photography Policies (ethical):

    One of the tenets of photography, is that the safety and well-being of the subject, photographer and surroundings is of paramount importance over the capturing of the photograph. The purpose of this section is to prevent any interference with other individuals or animals which will or may cause a disturbance in their normal activity or disrupt the way an individual or animal interacts with its environment.

    1. PSA members may not fly drones above people for the purpose of photographing them or their activity, unless permission is granted in writing before any photographs are taken from the drone.
    2. PSA Members may not fly drones for the purpose of photographing animals or birds in any circumstances
    3. PSA members may not fly a drone in any designated wilderness area.
    4. While complying with the restrictions listed above, PSA Members may photograph scenery/landscapes from a drone provided no laws or regulations are broken in the country where the drone is used.

    Aerial Photography (International):

    Many countries have their own rules and regulations governing aerial photography, especially drone, usage. It is the responsibility of the Photographer (pilot) to be informed of the polices of the country or region in which they are flying (photographing). When submitting aerial images that depict a foreign country the photographer must include a statement that all applicable rules and regulations of that country have been observed.

    September 2019 Revised: March 2020

  • Logo Use by PSA Members

    Updated March, 2019

    The PSA logo is the official trademark of the Photographic Society of America.  Both the name and logo are registered with the United States Trademark and Patent Office and are renewable every 5 years.

    The logo is available for use by PSA members. Members being defined as (Taken from the PSA Bylaws):

    Section A: Classes of Members

    1. Individual Members shall be natural persons who fulfill the Society’s Member Qualifications as set forth in these Bylaws. Members shall be further classified according to one of the following designations. 
      1. Regular Members - Regular Members are individuals who remain in good standing through the regular and timely payment of membership dues, as may be required by the Board of Directors.
      2. Life Members - Life Members are individuals, who in lieu of annual or other regular membership dues paid a single life membership fee, prior to January 1, 1995, as prescribed for by the Society’s Board of Directors.
        HonPSA and HonFPSA are also Life Members)
      3. Cornerstone Life Members - Cornerstone Life Members are individuals, who in lieu of annual or other regular membership dues, made contributions to the Society's 1949-1950 Building Fund, as prescribed by the Society’s Board of Directors.
    2. Organizational Members – shall be clubs, councils, societies, institutions and groups having activities and interests, consonant with those of this Society and that fulfill the Society’s Member Qualifications, as set forth by the Board of Directors. Each Organizational Member shall designate one person as its official representative.

    Section B. Member Qualifications  

    Membership shall be limited to individuals and organizations who pay the required dues as established by Board of Directors, unless determined to be specifically exempt from such payment as approved by the Board, or under these Bylaws. 

    PSA Members may use the logo in the following ways:

    Members may use the logo in the following ways:

    • On personal business cards
    • On professional business cards
    • On personal websites if the logo is a direct link to the PSA website
    • On organizational websites if the logo is a direct link to the PSA website
    • On professional websites if the logo is a direct link to the PSA website
    • On the exhibition page of PSA-Recognized Exhibitions, preferably with a direct link to the PSA website.
    • On social media websites if special permission is granted by the Executive Committee
    • On official PSA correspondence.
    • Chapters may use the PSA logo, but may not in any way alter it.  This is a legal condition of our trademark.
    • In division or membership newsletters, approved of by their respective Vice Presidents (CCCVP and MVP)

    The official trademark may not be altered in any fashion.

  • PSA Divisions

    Article I: Name

    There are six (6) Divisons within PSA, and these policies shall apply to all Divisons equally: Projected Image Division; Nature Division; Photo Travel Division; Pictorial Print Division; Photojournalism Division; and the 3D Division.

    Article II: Purpose
    The purpose of each Divison is the stimulation of interest in photography and its related arts and sciences; the dissemination and discussion of pertinent information; and the promotion of fellowship among the members of the Division.

    Article III: Levels of Division Participation

    Section 1. General: All members of the Photographic Society of America in good standing are eligible to participate in the services and activities of the Division without cost.

    Section 2. Voting Membership: Voting in contested elections or in any matter brought before the Division membership is limited to those members, a) serving as officers or directors of a Division service or activity, b) having earned one or more stars within the Division, or c) those enrolled in an ongoing individual Division activity. Voting members may also make motions in the annual membership meeting and may vote on any motions that are introduced.

    Article IV: Division Officers and their Duties

    Section 1. The officers of the Division shall serve for a term of two years, but no elected officer shall be eligible to serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office, with the exception of the secretary and treasurer.

    Section 2. The officer duties are as follows:
    (a) The chair shall preside over all meetings of the Division’s executive committee, the board of directors (including the officers and directors of services and activities that are recommended by the Division executive committee), and the annual membership meeting; shall maintain order at such meetings, and shall call special meetings of any of these groups when needed. The chair shall appoint, with the approval of the executive committee, all members of special or standing committees of the Division, and all directors of the services and activities conducted by the Division. and shall have the power to revoke for cause any such appointment at any time, with the approval of the executive committee. If a resignation or the absence or inability of any officer or director to serve causes a vacancy, the chair shall appoint, with the approval of the executive committee, a member to assume the duties of such officer or director pro-tem.
    Term of office for officers and directors shall run concurrent with the term of office of the chair. Directors may be invited by the chair-elect to continue in that office. The chair shall furnish to all of the nominees job descriptions of the positions of concern.
    (b) The first vice chair shall assume the place and duties of the chair in the event of his resignation, inability, refusal or incapacity to serve. The first vice chair shall also assume such other duties as may be assigned by the chair, with the approval of the executive committee.
    (c) The second vice chair shall assume the place and duties of the first vice chair in the event of a vacancy and shall perform a similar function in the event that both the chair and first vice chair resign or are unable or refuse to serve. The second vice chair shall also assume such other duties as may be assigned by the chair, with the approval of the executive committee.
    (d) The secretary shall keep, maintain and publish minutes of all meetings of the executive committee and shall request assemble and compile the Annual Report of the Division which must be submitted in writing to the Divisions VP before each PSA Board meeting. The secretary shall handle general correspondence for the Division, and shall assume such other duties as may be assigned by the chair, with the approval of the executive committee.
    e) The treasurer of the Divisions shall develop a budget for the Division with the cooperation of service and activity directors and the chairperson of the Division. It is not necessary for the Division treasurer to maintain records or approve Division expenditures. All expense and reimbursement forms shall be sent directly to headquarters in electronic format for processing. The treasurer will receive financial reports from headquarters reflecting the operating cost of services and activities conducted by the Division, and shall assume such duties as may be assigned by the chair, with the approval of the executive committee.

    (f) The immediate past chair (IPC) shall provide information and advice based on past experience with the Division, and shall vote on matters considered by the executive committee. If the IPC is unavailable to serve, the most recent one that is available shall fill the position.

    Section 3. Scope of Authority: No individual officer shall commit the Division to any policy, agreement, responsibility, project, or unbudgeted expense without approval of the Division board of directors.

    Article V: Division Executive Committee

    Section 1. The executive committee, charged with conducting the general operations of the Division and executing the policies established by the PSA Board of Directors, shall be composed of the Division chair, first vice chair, second vice chair, secretary, treasurer and immediate past chair (or the most recent one eligible to serve). The Division chair shall be the chair of the executive committee.

    Section 2. There shall be a meeting of the executive committee annually during the PSA annual conference, or by video/conference call. Other meetings may be called by the chair and conducted by email correspondence, or video/conference call at any time during the year.
    Section 3. On all matters and questions coming before the executive committee, a majority shall be required to carry any action.
    Section 4. Meetings shall be conducted according to “The Democratic Rules of Order” as established in the Society’s Board of Directors Operating Manual, or “Roberts Rules of Order.”
    Section 5. The Division executive committee has the power to establish policies, procedures and practices for the Divisions consistent with the PSA Bylaws and the PSA Board of Directors Master Operating Manual, subject to the approval of the Division board of directors and the PSA Executive Committee.

    Article VI: Division Board of Directors

    Section 1. The board of directors shall constitute the main governing authority of the Division, and shall be composed of the executive committee plus the directors of the Division’s services and activities that are recommended by the Division executive committee.

    Section 2. There shall be a meeting of the board of directors annually during the PSA annual conference, or by video/conference call.
    Section 3. One more than half of the total membership of the board of directors shall constitute a quorum at all meetings and concerning all questions.
    Section 4. On all matters and questions coming before the board of directors, a majority of votes cast pro or con shall be required to carry any action.
    Section 5. The order of business for the meetings of the board of directors shall be conducted and prescribed by the chair. Meetings shall be conducted according to “The Democratic Rules of Order” as established in the Society’s Board of Directors Operating Manual, or “Roberts Rules of Order.”

    Section 6. Scope of authority: Decisions of the Division board of directors are subject to approval at the annual membership meeting scheduled in conjunction with the annual conference.

    Article VII: Division Elections

    Section 1. Officers of the Division shall be elected before the conference in even numbered years and shall assume office at the conclusion of the annual conference.
    Section 2. A nominating committee of at least three (3) members appointed before the PSA conference in odd-numbered years by the chairperson, with approval of the Division’s executive committee, shall accept volunteers or suggestions from any eligible member, obtain acceptance of candidacy and prepare a slate for each elective office to be submitted to the Divisions VP by May 1 of even-numbered years for publication in the July issue of the PSA Journal.
    Section 3. For any office that is contested, a general election will be held. After publication of the slate in the PSA Journal, twenty (20) voting members may submit to the Division’s nominating committee a written petition nominating any eligible member who accepts candidacy for any elective Division office. Elections for contested offices will be conducted by the Division’s executive committee among candidates nominated by August 1. Division members (Article III, Section 2) will be polled and a majority of votes cast pro or con will determine the successful candidate.
    Section 4. Unopposed slates are elected by the Division secretary casting a single ballot on August 1.

    (updated September 2019)

  • PSA Email Policy
    Established November 2014

    It is requested that all members of the Photographic Society of America (PSA), whether individuals, Chapters, Clubs, Councils or other organizations, respect the privacy of fellow members with regards to their email addresses.  The email addresses in the database, which are available to all members, are there for convenient communication between members.  They are not to be harvested for mass mailings or commercial uses.  While the Society reserves the right to send out eNews items to all members, PSA will never sell or supply email addresses to outside entities, including PSA-recognized exhibitions.

    The Society does realize that from time to time, Chapters, Clubs or Councils may have a need to communicate with members in their own geographical areas.  For such purposes, please contact the Chapters, Clubs and Councils Vice President who will furnish such email lists, as has been done in the past.

    Area and state membership directors, under the supervision of the Membership Vice President, are free to communicate with PSA members in their own geographical areas of responsibility. 

    Presently some divisions are using member emails to send Newsletters and it is expected that eventually division members will receive eNews from division officers.

    In the normal course of business, the headquarters staff will find it necessary to send out emails to distinct groups, but when a mass emailing to all members of the Society is necessary, headquarters will contact the Public Relations Vice President who will coordinate such emails. 

    It will be the responsibility of headquarters to keep the database up to date.  When new honors or distinctions are conferred the database will be updated within 10 business days.   

    All such emails must have an unsubscribe feature and must be signed by a member, preferably an officer of the Division, Chapter, Club or Council, and an email address must be supplied for responses.  

  • PSA Privacy Policy

    The Photographic Society of America (“PSA”) is committed to respecting your privacy. This Privacy Policy describes how PSA collects, uses, and retains personal information to enable us to provide access to https://psa-photo.org/ (the “Site) and our many programs and activities, and to improve our services. The terms of this Privacy Policy apply to the entire Site unless different terms are otherwise specified or provided to you.

    This Privacy Policy describes the Personal Information we collect from you, how we use that information, and our legal basis for doing so. It also covers whether and how that Personal Information may be shared and your rights and choices regarding the information you provide to us. 

    “Personal Information” includes any information that relates to, identifies, or can be used to identify, contact, or locate the person to whom such information pertains.

    By using this Site, you understand and agree to the terms of this Privacy Policy. This Site is operated in the United States and may be accessed abroad. Personal Information collected may be retained, and may be stored, processed, accessed, and used in jurisdictions whose privacy laws may be different and less protective than those of your home jurisdiction. For data protection purposes, PSA is the “controller” and, unless otherwise noted, is also the “processor” of data.

    We do not sell, rent, or share your Personal Information to or with third parties in any way other than as disclosed in this Privacy Policy.


    Upon request PSA will provide you with information about whether we hold, or process on behalf of a third party, any of your Personal Information. To request this information please contact us at HQ@psa-photo.org.

    You have the right to access and correct or revise your Personal Information and privacy preferences at any time by contacting us at HQ@psa-photo.org. We will respond to your request within a reasonable period of time. 


    When you visit this Site some Personal Information may be automatically collected as part of the Site's operation. This information may include your IP (Internet Protocol) your browser type and version, access times, time zone setting and location, browser plug-in types and versions, operating system and platform, other technology on the devices you use to access our Site and navigational information such as the pages you view on the Site. We may also collect, use, store and transfer information about how you use our website, products, and services. We collect information about your use of the Site and our other customers in the aggregate to learn more about how our Site is used by our customers in order to improve our service and our Site.  

    When you register online with us, we collect the Personal Information you provide to us, including your name, username or similar identifier, title, gender, email address, telephone numbers, password, your interests, preferences (including your preferences in receiving information from us and your communications preferences), and feedback. You may choose not to provide this information by not registering with us. However, certain services on the Site are only available to you upon registration. Registration enables you to access PSA benefits, programs, and activities.

    If a password is used to protect your account and Personal Information, it is your responsibility to keep your password confidential.

    We do not collect any specialized Personal Information about you. This includes information about your race or ethnicity, religious or philosophical beliefs, sex life, sexual orientation, political opinions, trade union membership, information about your health, genetic and biometric data, and information about criminal convictions and offenses. 


    You may give us your Personal Information by filling in forms or providing other information via our Site. This includes Personal Information you provide when you become a member of PSA, enroll in online courses, volunteer for PSA positions, request or participate in services, programs or activities, receive our publications, request information to be sent to you, or give us feedback. 


    We will only use your Personal Information as the law permits. 

    Data protection law in Europe requires a “lawful basis” for collecting and retaining Personal Information from citizens or residents of the European Economic Area. PSA’s lawful bases include:

    • Performing the contract we have with you: In certain circumstances, we need your Personal Information to comply with our contractual obligation to deliver certain services and benefits, enable members to participate in programs and activities, and enable website visitors to view the Site, including exhibitions, competitions, and portfolios.
    • Legal compliance: Sometimes the law says we need to collect and use your Personal Information. For example, tax laws require us to retain records of membership dues.
    • Legitimate interests: This is a technical phrase in data protection law that means we have a good and fair reason to use your Personal Information and we do so in ways that do not hurt your interests and rights. We sometimes require your Personal Information to pursue our legitimate interests in a way that might reasonably be expected as part of running our business and that does not materially impact your rights, freedom, or interests.

    For example, we use identity, device, and location information to prevent fraud and abuse and to keep the Site and our services secure. We may also send you promotional communications about our services, subject to your right to control whether we do so.

    We analyze how users interact with our Site so we can understand better what elements of the design are working well and which are not working so well. This allows us to improve and develop the quality of the online experience we offer all our users. We may also ask you questions relating to your user preferences in order to better serve you and improve the use of our Site. Providing information regarding your usage and preferences is always voluntary. 

    We may aggregate and use certain automatically collected Personal Information (“Aggregate Data”) as statistical or demographic data for any purpose. For example, we may use Aggregate Data to calculate the percentage of users accessing a specific Site feature. 

    We may use your Personal Information to form a view on what we think you may want or need, or what may be of interest to you. This is how we decide which programs, services, newsletters, and offers may be relevant for you. 

    We may contact you to administer contests you enter and notify you of the results.

    We may contact you to investigate or take any action regarding illegal activity or any violations of our terms of service.

    We may disclose Personal Information if required by law (for example, to comply with a subpoena, warrant, court order, or legal process) or when necessary to protect our rights, avoid litigation, protect your safety or the safety of others, investigate fraud, and/or respond to a government request. We may also disclose information about you if we determine that such disclosure should be made for reasons of national security, law enforcement, or other issues of public importance.


    We will retain your Personal Information for as long as your account is active, your information is needed to provide you services, or as required to fulfill our legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements. To determine the appropriate retention period for Personal Information, we consider the amount, nature, and sensitivity of the Personal Information, the potential risk of harm from unauthorized use or disclosure of your Personal Information, the purposes for which we process your Personal Information and whether we can achieve those purposes through other means, and the applicable legal requirements. 

    If you wish to delete your account or request that we no longer use your information to provide you services contact us at HQ@psa-photo.org. 


    When you visit PSA’s Site, a text file called a cookie is placed in the browser directory of your computer's hard drive. A cookie is information that a website can store on your web browser and later retrieve. The information that cookies collect includes the date and time of your visit, your registration information and your navigational and licensing information. It allows the web browser to recognize the pages you have been to when you are visiting the Site and allows you to quickly return to viewed pages. We may also use "web beacons" that monitor your use of our Site. Web beacons are small strings of code that provide a method for delivering a graphic image on a web page for the purpose of transferring data, such as the IP  address of the computer that downloaded the page on which the web beacon appears, the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of the page on which the web beacon appears, the time the page containing the web beacon was viewed, the types of browser that fetched the web beacon and the identification number of any cookie on the computer previously placed by that server. 

    When corresponding with you via HTML capable e-mail, web beacons let us know whether you received and opened our e-mail. 

    You may adjust your browser to reject cookies from us or from any other website. You can set your browser to refuse all or some browser cookies, or to alert you when websites set or access cookies. Additionally, by setting your web browser to display HTML e-mails as text only, you may be able to prevent the use of some web beacons. Please consult the "Help" section of your browser for more information. However, certain areas of our Site may only be accessed in conjunction with cookies or similar devices and you should be aware that disabling or refusing cookies or similar devices might prevent you from accessing some of our content or prevent parts of this Site from functioning properly.


    You will receive communications from us if you have requested information from us or received services from us and you have not opted out of receiving that information.

    If at any time you decide that you do not want to receive communication and informational messages from us, you will have the option of opting out and/or unsubscribing from our emails and mailing lists by contacting us at HQ@psa-photo.org or using the unsubscribe feature available in emails. Where you opt out of receiving PSA messages, this will not apply to Personal Information provided to us as a result of a service provided to you.


    Our Site may include discussion forums or other interactive areas or services, including blogs, chat rooms, bulletin boards, message boards, online hosting or storage services, or other areas or services in which you or third parties create, post or store any content, messages, comments, materials or other items on the sites ("Interactive Areas"). If you use an Interactive Area, you should be aware that these areas are open to the public and any Personal Information you post or provide at registration may be viewable by others. We are not responsible for Personal Information you submit in connection with the Interactive Areas, nor are we responsible for how others might use that information, including to send you unsolicited messages. Interactive Area postings may be retained indefinitely. If at any time you would like to remove a posting, please email us at HQ@psa-photo.org. Keep in mind that removal of a posting from an Interactive Area does not mean that the posting will be deleted from our systems.


    PSA receives personal information about entrants from PSA-recognized International Exhibitions. This information includes, but may not be limited to, names of entrants, email addresses, country of residence, and information about how the entrants have performed in the exhibition. PSA limits access to your Personal Information to those volunteers, employees, contractors, and others who have a need to know. They will only process your Personal Information on our instructions, and they are subject to a duty of confidentiality.


    We have put in place appropriate security measures to prevent your Personal Information from being accidentally lost, used or accessed in an unauthorized way, altered or disclosed. In addition, we limit access to your Personal Information to those volunteers, employees, contractors, and others who have a need to know. They will only process your Personal Information on our instructions and they are subject to a duty of confidentiality.

    As no method of transmission over the Internet, or method of electronic storage is 100% secure, while PSA uses commercially reasonable methods to protect your personal information, we cannot guarantee that it is absolutely secure. In the unlikely event that an unauthorized third-party compromises PSA’s security measures, PSA will not be responsible for any damages directly or indirectly caused by an unauthorized third party’s ability to view, use or disseminate your information. We have put in place procedures to deal with any suspected Personal Information breach and will notify you and any applicable regulator of a breach where we are legally required to do so.


    If at any point you wish to access your personal information to (1) change your preferences, (2) review the accuracy, or (3) correct, supplement or modify your information, you may make a written request to HQ@psa-photo.org. 


    PSA reserves the right to amend the Privacy Policy from time to time at its sole discretion and will provide notice by email or on the home page of the Site when we make material changes to this Privacy Policy prior to the change becoming effective. 


    Our Site may include links to other websites, plug-ins, and applications whose privacy practices may differ from those of PSA, such as when you register for a competition. Clicking on those links or enabling those connections may allow third parties to collect or share data about you. If you submit Personal Information to any of those sites, your Personal Information is governed by their privacy policies. We do not control these third-party sites, plug-ins, or applications and are not responsible for their privacy policies. Please review the privacy policy of any Web site you visit.


    On some pages, we allow you to share Personal Information with third parties, such as social networks like Facebook. In these instances, you are agreeing to the data being shared and the shared data is subject to the privacy policies of the third parties. We do not control and do not assume any responsibility for the use of personal information by such third parties. For more information about the third party's purpose and scope of their use of personal information in connection with sharing features, please visit the privacy policies of such third parties.


    We do not intend to solicit or collect Personal Information from anyone under the age of 18. If you are under 18, do not enter information on this site or engage our services. If you believe a child of yours under the age of 18 has entered Personal Information please contact HQ@psa-photo.org to have the data removed and terminate the child's account.


    Individuals located in certain countries, including the European Economic Area, have certain statutory rights in relation to their Personal Information. Subject to any exemptions provided by law, if you live in this area you have the right to request access to your Personal Information, as well as to seek to update, delete, or correct this Information.

    If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, the practices of this Site, or your dealings with this Site, you can contact PSA here:

    Organization: Photographic Society of America (PSA)

    President: {SHOW_WYSIWYG:24050}, PresPSA@psa-photo.org

    Office Manager: Twila Bourlon, HQ@psa-photo.org

    Postal Address: PSA Headquarters, 8241 S. Walker Ave., Suite 104, Oklahoma City, OK 73139

    Telephone: 405-843-1437 or 855-772-4636

    We may need to request specific information from you to help us confirm your identity and ensure your right to access your Personal Information (or to exercise any of your other rights). This is a security measure to ensure that Personal Information is not disclosed to any person who has no right to receive it. We may also contact you to ask for further information in relation to your request to speed up our response. 

    We try to respond to all legitimate requests within one month. Occasionally it may take us longer than a month if your request is particularly complex or you have made a number of requests. In this case, we will notify you and keep you updated.

  • PSA Risk Management Program for Chapters
    Link to PSA chapters page on Risk Management Program 
  • PSA Succession Planning

    Created September, 2019

    Download this page:  PDF  | DOC


    This master operating manual, or MOM as it’s known, is not for a POSITION, it is for a robust PROCESS.  Before detailing that process, a word about what the definition of Succession Planning includes or should include is necessary.  Succession Planning is simply a way for an organization, society or group to plan for the orderly and successful replacement of key officers, leaders, chairs or any position in the organization deemed to be essential to function efficiently.  It can be used equally between corporate and not-for-profit entities with only slight modifications.  The key is to take the time and the formal effort to identify those individuals in the group that are ready now or soon to take on new, and normally increased, responsibilities.


    In any type of organization, there is the inevitable need to replace office-holders either for reasons of term limits, illness, personal choices, incompetency in role, and several other reasons.  PSA prides itself in a well-described and effective Nominating Committee, and this group routinely identifies talent in the Society and works to fill the vacancies as quickly as they arise.  In many cases, however, the Nominating Committee is working from a point or reaction to an opening rather than a proactive approach that would offer up a rich and multi-name list for filling key positions.  Succession Planning complements or is simply a key component of a rich, robust Strategic Plan that is focusing on the Mission and Vision of the organization.  It is an element leading to a successful leadership structure if it is done routinely and done thoroughly.  The only cost associated with succession planning is the time it takes to do it thoroughly.


    The key assumption of this process is that it be conducted in a real-time, ongoing manner by the Nominating Committee for those positions deemed critical by the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors.  Executive Committee members would be responsible for those positions that fall under their organizational authority.  Once succession plans have been developed, they should be reviewed by the Executive Committee at both the Spring and the Annual meetings of same.  Of course, they can be a routine discussion topic for the Executive Committee’s planned conference calls as well.


    1.  Firstly, decide which roles or position within PSA are capable of and necessarily dictate that a succession plan be developed for the role or position.  It may be obvious, for example, that the Executive Vice President is to replace the President at the end of her/his term, but who is in line to replace the EVP?  Who’s the next Treasurer or Secretary, or who might be the next two or three in line to fill these roles?  Similarly, we could ask this question for any office, but the scope of succession planning must be defined, else needless effort is expended to build lists for positions that might not need such planning.  It is the Nominating Committee’s role to define the scope of succession planning in terms of which roles/positions are included, subject to a review and approval of same by the Executive Committee (EC).  This should be done before beginning a succession planning ‘cycle’ each year.  What positions need to be added;  which might be removed from the succession plan lists; how deeply must we populate those lists, etc.

    2.  Once the role/position (hereafter referred to as ‘position’) lists have been developed, we must insure or validate that a current MOM exists for each role/position.  This will insure that candidates are evaluated against specific criterial for the job and insure a more successful placement.

    3.  Given a ‘roster’ of positions to be included and having validated that a current MOM exists for each, the Nominating Committee can begin to populate their position lists.  How do they do this effectively?

    4.  Populating the succession lists can be done various ways.  It is suggested that the Division Chairs make it a part of their routine communication to their Vice-Chairs to name and keep current a list of those individuals that might be suitable to replace each of them.  In the case of most Divisions, this means identifying a individuals that are READY NOW, ready in SIX MONTHS, or ready IN A YEAR OR MORE to fill the role of the last Vice-Chair position.  This is assuming an orderly migration of roles from 2nd Vice-Chair to 1st Vice-Chair to Division Chair subject to the normal time-in-role for each.  Always having a list of suitable candidates to replace the last Vice-Chair position will insure that the Divisions are ready for either the orderly terms of office or equally ready for a sudden resignation from office during a term.

    5.  A similar process should be done by the Nominating Committee for the Board of Directors (BOD), obviously including the EC.  Remember, this list is reviewable at any time by the EC and should be kept current by the Chairperson of the Nominating Committee.  It should formally be reviewed twice per year when the EC meets face to face and can, as detailed earlier, be reviewed any time during an EC scheduled conference call.

    6.  It is not adequate to just have a simple listing of those candidates who are seen as successors to incumbents.  What’s equally important is to give thought to what kinds of developmental activities these individuals should have to be fully ready for the position.  Developmental activities can be anything that gives the successor candidate skills, knowledge or ability to perform successfully in the new position. For PSA, some of those developmental activities might include:

         a. Thoroughly reading the PSA Bylaws as a method of understanding governance.

         b. Reading the MOM for the new position and posing questions about it to the current position holder.

         c. Accessing and studying key sections of the PSA web site to better understand a position-related topic or program or responsibility.

         d. Actually shadowing the current position holder in advance of their turnover to get a realistic assessment of the positions duties, time requirements, and skills needed.

         e. Utilizing online training to build requisite skills in software such as Microsoft WORD or EXCEL. 

         f. If timing allows, place the individual into a related or even a completely unrelated volunteer role to build knowledge and skills necessary for the successor role.

    7.  Process point #6 also allows for the succession plan to add an aspect of time as enumerated also in process point #4.  In other words, it may be necessary to allow adequate time to pass before declaring a potential successor candidate to be declared READY.  All this can be described All this can be described more succinctly with this diagram: 

    PSA will not likely need a detailed competency gap analysis as depicted in stage 3 above, but the idea of a developmental plan as defined by Process point #6 is analogous to this.  Similarly, stages 4 and 5 above are part and parcel of defining how the individuals being considered in the succession plan should be coached, counseled, skilled or developed to have the best chance at being successful in their new positions. 

    All of this information as defined by the Process points #1-6 can be summarized for each position on the attached Succession Planning form.  It is possible to use one form for two positions.  

    Developmental plans for each candidate might be more clearly explained if we refer to the (K)NOWLEDGE, (S)KILLS, (A)BILITIES and (B)EHAVIORS that are thought to be best for success in the position.  What do we mean by K, S, A and B?

    • Knowledge – is all the information one needs to effectively perform the role or position (ex:  She knew all the history of PSA over the last 20 years in regard to Conference speakers and thus was able to effectively select new and different ones for this year in the role of Conference planning assistant.)
    • Skill(s) – is a competence to perform (ex:  He was very good at explaining layout and design and also competent in writing articles, so was a perfect fit for editor.)
    • Ability – Not only skilled, but able to perform, to execute, to actually be able to apply knowledge and skill to DOING things. (ex.  The editor had a rich background in layout and design and provided the group several examples of past articles and layouts they had completed and had published.)
    • Behavior – What personality traits are best to be effective in the role.  (ex.  The President must be able to communicate effectively, work in either large or small group settings, and be very clear and transparent in written and oral exchanges without being either defensive or domineering.)

    You will thus see a column labeled Key K, S, A, B development on the Succession Planning Worksheet.

    PSA—Strategic Planning—Succession Planning Worksheet


    Current Holder Term Expires Potential Candidates Date Joined PSA Key K, S, A, B development Time until READY NOW Development Plan Goals Comments

    Describe Development Plan Goals in Detail: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Current Holder Term Expires Potential Candidates Date Joined PSA Key K, S, A, B development Time until READY NOW Development Plan Goals Comments

    Describe Development Plan Goals in Detail: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Strictly Confidential—To be held in HQ only and distributed as needed.                                                         Date Completed_____________________


    1.  Begin the process with the following roles:  All Members of the BOD (including of course the EC); All Division Chairs.

    2.  Request the BOD members and all Division Chairs update their position MOM’s by November 1st each year—BOD request comes from the PSA President; Division Chairs request for these updates comes from the VP Divisions.

    3.  The Nominating Committee begins the process each November 1st, using current MOM’s from the BOD, while the VP Divisions coordinates with the current Division Chair for a full assessment and updating to be done on each of the vice-chair positions.  The Succession Planning form is completed in full for every member of the BOD and every Division chair and vice-chair position by April 1st each year following the previous year’s updating of position MOM’s.  For example, succession plans are made between November 1st, year X, and completed by April 1st of year X+1.  

    4.  Completed Succession Plan data, summarized by position, is submitted to the President in adequate time to be reviewed by the EC at the Spring meeting each year.

    5.  Prospective candidates are contacted by the Nominating Committee Chair or a member of the EC designated by the Nominating Committee Chair to assess potential interest in a future position.  This takes place as soon as all Succession Planning Forms are complete and have been thoroughly reviewed by the EC and the Nominating Committee.

    6. If a candidate accepts but is in need of a developmental experience, the appropriate BOD member, EC member, or Division Chair initiates a dialogue with the candidate to initiate such development.  

    7.  This process is dynamic and ongoing; it cycles each year.  It is vital, therefore, that MOMs and the Succession Plan Forms remain current and ever in a stage of revision and updating.


    Succession Planning is a critical part of an orderly and well executed strategic plan.  It sets the stage for, and the eventual realization of an organization staffed correctly with people who will be able to execute their position MOMS and be successful in role.  As important is the simple fact that a succession plan provides a form of ‘insurance policy’ from abrupt or unexpected departures of a volunteer in his/her position prior to the expiration of their term of office. 

    It is not difficult to do this process as long as the Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and the Nominating Committee will support it and aggressively keep the plans dynamic and current, reviewing them at least twice a year and perhaps more often.  It also will allow or give incentive to the idea of always being aware of new members or recent members who display the K, S, A and B elements we feel will be successful for future positions within the Society.  While much of this is currently being done by the Nominating Committee in the normal course of their activities, this MOM formalizes the process and adds in more rigor and the idea of ‘development’ as described to insure as much success as possible for incumbents into each of the designated roles and positions.

    Final: September 2019

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  • Awards
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