DA Visions certified professional photographer
This could be a long read so for those that just want to “hit it and run” 🙂 Me becoming a CPP Certified Professional Photographer is the equivalent of a CPA Certified Public accountant. The Professional Photographic Certification Commission regulates who can become a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP). They follow the standards established by the Institute of Credentialing Excellence (ICE) – the same organization that is responsible for regulating agencies that certify medical professionals, therapists, home builders, and financial professionals.
Now, if you want to read on and find out more, and why, then let me begin.
I am a member of Professional Photographers of America (PPA) along with (WPPI) Wedding Portrait Photographers International. I have since become a (CPP) A certified professional photographer. There are 27,000 PPA members in 54 countries. There are just 100 members in a thirty mile radius of Easton PA. which includes NJ. That would represent less than .5% of the total members. Of those 100 only 3 are certified. The closest one to Easton is 23 miles away in NJ. Why did I put myself through it, Well, if you have a legitimate business, and website ( not facebook ) it’s easy to send in money to become a member. But if you want to become a certified professional, you have to actually know what you’re doing. Yeah, you can’t just buy a good, or the best camera and put it on “P” or “A” and expect to get one answer right on the 100 question exam. One of the study books alone is over 400 pages. You have to know things like what type sensor and size to what the hell a parallax error is. Twin-lens reflex camera, view camera, bellows oh and the inverse square law Just to name a few. How about getting a 3:1, 4:1 or 5:1 lighting ratio and how do you do it. How many stops is a 8x ND filter? situation scenario questions. That’s part one. Part two you have to show 6 images of standardized technical proficiency that all professional photographers, regardless of specialty, should know and 9 actual client images with the same proficiency in light, direction, pose, expression etc. I had to drive to West Chester PA to take the exam ( NO it’s not online ) that was the nearest test site. I met a fellow CPP, Jose Robertson, who warned me about how tough the image submission critique/judging would be. He was right . But I’m happy to say I made it through the first time. They do give you a year and it’s only good for 3 years before you have to get re-certified. Yeah, those trendy highlights blown lens flare cool facebook pics wouldn’t cut it =). The ones that look cool on your phone but the minute you try to print or view on a larger screen you realize just how blurry it really is and too small to print 😉 Only my family knows how hard I worked for this. Now this is not to say there aren’t any other established photographers in my area, because there are. But I think I can speak for them and for all certified photographers that when we see that someone just picked up a crop sensor camera launched a facebook page and is now a photographer (natural light only ) no less, kinda makes you cringe inside. You hope that they pursue their dream/passion and make it into an real established business. If not, It flies right against everything I put into where I’m at. Not only counting massive hours, Yes I have a federal EIN#, carry liability Insurance, LLC, certificate of registration to charge sales tax, pay tax, have a business account, have the average Americans yearly salary in equipment, build my own real websites and another added plus most photographers can’t do is I can create and edit out my a__ in editing software. You know, the ones where some people dismiss because its photoshopped. Little do they know it takes time and knowledge to do it. It’s not some little filter button you push. So I guess the only thing left was to become certified. whew that was a mouthful. =)
I’m glad I did it. It’s another way of separating myself from the norm. Another notch in the belt kinda thing. The next move is to submit creations and hope to accumulate merits to become a Master CPP.
Who wants to become my next submission creation 😉
Now I must say, not only does it benefit to become a CPP but you still need to know how to work and relate with others, your customers and vendors. You can’t expect to succeed in portrait, wedding photography if you can’t relate to people. Me, having worked with people/customers my whole life helps 😉 Now I can feel confident that anyone who visits my web, FB or Google + page I’ve taken out of the equation of them wondering if I’m professional and or capable enough. Let my body of work and personality be the sell. =)
So that’s the long of it. There is plenty more but I think you get it by now. Sometimes I get geeky and can’t shut up =)
Thanks for listening.