What is a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP)
“Without a doubt, my proudest moment as a professional photographer was opening the email notifying me that I had earned my CPP. The process was excruciating, I cried when I received my results! This certification has caused me to grow so much as a photographer.” Lori Probst
Why did I choose to become certified?
In other industries mechanics, accountants, attorneys, plumbers, electricians, etc. are required to be certified in their field. Obtaining certification affirms that the individual has passed a comprehensive exam as well as met other requirements, and possesses knowledge, extensive experience, and is appropriately skilled in that particular field. But what about the photography industry? These days it seems that anyone who gets a new dSLR camera prints up some business cards and markets themselves as a professional photographer. Whether or not they actually know the basic elements of exposure, composition, or color – in truth anyone can call themselves a professional photographer. When I looked at the saturation of photographers the marketplace, I felt that I needed to do something to differentiate myself from the pack. So although anyone can call themselves a photographer, very few can call themselves Certified Professional Photographers.
Who grants certification?
Certification is granted by the Professional Photographic Certification Commission (an affiliate of PPA).What does it take to get certified?
There are two parts of the certification process: a written exam and a portfolio submission.
I had to submit a portfolio of 16 images which met the following criteria:
Shot within the past 24 months.
Photographs submitted were 16 different client paid jobs.
No self-assignments (So basically client jobs only. No personal pictures, pictures of my own kids, self portraits, etc).
No two images of the same subject.
Submissions reflect the proportion of the types of photography applicant provides (example: 50% portraits, 50% weddings).
The 2-hour written exam covers many topics. In percentages the topics covered as well as example concepts are:
Camera, lenses, and attachments (15%) – selecting the appropriate lens based on subject size, distance, and desired perspective.
Composition and design (17%) – subject placement within image, props, location, posing, color harmony, coordination of subject and background.
Digital post production (13%) – color space, file formats, resolution, calibration, manipulation of digital images in Photoshop.
Exposure and meters (20%) – how to meter for correct exposure, the relationship between shutter speed, ISO, and aperture, and how to verify proper exposure (histograms).
Film, digital capture and output (15%) – selection of appropriate film based on lighting conditions and final product needed, identify and correct problems in both negative printing and digital image printing.
Lighting (20%) – to how best light a subject, types of lighting, lighting equipment, lighting ratios, lighting usage (main vs. fill), selection of appropriate filter to color correct a light source, inverse square law.
So what has really changed?
A lot! I am so honored to be part of the elite percentage of CPPs in the world today. This designation definitely distinguishes me from my competition and assures my clients they are in good hands.