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Heather_L._Smith
09-03-2008, 01:12 PM
Three quick questions:

1) What was the hardest part of preparing for certification?

2) Was it easier or harder than you though it would be, and why?

3) What advice would you give to someone preparing for the exam/image submission?

Karen_Linsley
09-03-2008, 01:38 PM
1. Getting my images together for review. I couldn't decide what to choose. I got a lot of help from folks here on the forum
2. It was harder. The written exam wasn't hard, passing the image review took three tries, but what was the hardest was the emotional part....this was a goal I had had for over ten years. I was going to do it in 1996, but I got a divorce instead. Everything got turned topsy turvy for a while and I put certification on the back burner. Ten years later I remembered it and started the process again. It was like coming full circle after getting divorced. Kind of hard to explain.
3. Study the Upton photography book and get help here with your image submissions and don't give up.

Getting certified is a very valuable tool in my tool box. I recommend it to anyone. It has helped me to be a better photographer, both in results, and on the inside, in how I feel about myself as a photographer. It doesn't hurt that no one else in my area is certified! We have literally hundreds of photographers here in Tahoe and the Carson Valley. Some quite good, many beginners and MWACs. None is certified! I use that, believe me.

Don_Chick
09-03-2008, 01:42 PM
Three quick questions:

1) What was the hardest part of preparing for certification?

Being left alone to study quietly.

2) Was it easier or harder than you though it would be, and why?

Easier, because of being multiple choice. You know at least 2 answers won't be close to correct. No essays make it much easier.
Harder, some of the questions seemed vague with no "definite" right answer, at least while you are sitting there taking the exam.

3) What advice would you give to someone preparing for the exam/image submission?

Work with friends. Don't try to go it alone.

D._Craig_Flory
09-03-2008, 01:42 PM
Hi Heather;

Well, when I got certified, in 1986, I didn't study and passed on what I already knew. I used my studio 8x10 samples for the print submission and they also passed. I DO NOT recommend the above. That was just me and the background I had.
As for preparation. Go through all the C.P.P. question and answer threads. Write down what you think the answers and then read the correct answers on here to see how you did. Do up some flash cards for yourself with questions on one side and the answers on the other. Any chance you have ( a break at work, waiting in line at the bank or wherever) ... quiz yourself. Find another photographer, nearby, who you can have breakfast or lunch with so you can ask each other questions. The day of the exam arrive early and get out the book. I often arrive to give the exam and find all there reading the book or even sounding questions off each other. Record questions & answers and play it in the car.

For the images ... post them in the gallery. Be prepared with many more than the 20 needed so you can keep substituting till you wind up with the very best 20.

GOOD LUCK !!!

Angela_Lawson
09-03-2008, 02:13 PM
Hi Heather.

Well, having just gone thru the process recently, here are my thoughts...

1) What was the hardest part of preparing for certification?

For me the hardest part was the image review. Both, in choosing the images, and in asking for help after I didn't pass the first time around. However, I had some great help from many people here on the forum to get me thru the second time (and they all helped me improve my work substantially in the process).

2) Was it easier or harder than you though it would be, and why?

The written portion was a little harder than I expected, because of the way some questions were worded. I didn't join the forum until after I had taken the test at IUSA in Tampa, and even though I passed the test first time around, I think I would have done better if I had not only studied the book, but had studied all the questions and helps here as well. And for the reason listed in question #1, the image submission was obviously harder than I expected too. But, I'm glad that they both were harder, because I feel like I really accomplished something when I gained my certification. And not just a piece of paper, but a new found confidence in myself, as well.

3) What advice would you give to someone preparing for the exam/image submission?

Study, know your lighting and posing in studio, study some more, and know your lighting outdoors. STAY AWAY FROM FLAT LIGHTING!!!! I knoweth about what I speaketh, as I was the queen of flat lighting. :D

Angela

P.S. So what is the survey for - are you going to write an article? Come on Heather, share with us. ;)

Heather_L._Smith
09-03-2008, 02:19 PM
P.S. So what is the survey for - are you going to write an article? Come on Heather, share with us. ;)

I'm hosting a Super Monday in October, and while I have my own experiences to work from, I want to make sure it's a well-rounded workshop, so I thought it would be helpful to get some feedback from my friends here!

Thanks to everyone who has responded so far!

Cindi_K_McDaniel
09-03-2008, 02:21 PM
1) What was the hardest part of preparing for certification?

They image review! I had a hard time choosing what to submit and then my first submission was disqualified for a stupid mistake! I was so upset that I almost didn't resubmit because I was told by more than one person that it wasn't because my images weren't good, it was my mistake... The hardest part for me to accept was that I had a few "MASTERS" review my images ahead of time and they didn't catch my mistake either! I truly thought they should have passed me on the first try because my images were good, but rules are rules...

2) Was it easier or harder than you though it would be, and why?

The test wasn't bad, but it WAS NOT what one might expect after studying the RECOMMENDED book... The questions were worded in ways to help make SURE you know the answers! I don't think anyone who doesn't understand the concepts would pass...

3) What advice would you give to someone preparing for the exam/image submission?
I agree with Don that you don't want to go it alone. Don't just study the book and depend on that to get you through. You out and APPLY what's in the book, ask for critiques along the way and you're much more likely to get through!

Jeff_Dachowski
09-03-2008, 02:39 PM
Heather,

Here are my answers:


Not sure, I didn't really prepare at all.

I thought it was harder than I thought it would be.

Understand photography in and out. Know your light ratios. Start improving your shooting today. Start refining your posing and lighting on todays session, not after the image review.


Jeff

Dave_Cisco
09-03-2008, 02:59 PM
Three quick questions:

1) What was the hardest part of preparing for certification?

2) Was it easier or harder than you though it would be, and why?

3) What advice would you give to someone preparing for the exam/image submission?

1) Wondering what I would tell my school-aged children if I didn't pass.
2) I expected to sweat thru the test, and I did...but I always approached tests like that.
3) Study hard...don't try to coast.

Erin_L._Clark
09-03-2008, 03:05 PM
Since I passed the image review-but still need to do the written-

honestly- I'm thinking the written test is going to really kick my butt- I'm not sure I can be ready to take it in the next month. EEK. I'm thinking Jan. in Az. sounds like enough time to study.

Ashley_Short
09-03-2008, 03:22 PM
Heather,

I don't know if I qualify to answer, since I haven't started this process, but to me, that is the hardest part (starting). I've wanted to get certified since I graduated with my photo degree, I was even told to do it right away, so it would be easier. But, I never did, and now I've forgotten everything and am procrastinating even more. So, for me, the hardest part is motivating myself to actually pick a time and do it instead of letting it go all the time. Oh, plus, when I was in college, I would panic every time I had to study for a big test, so that doesn't help, either. I was the girl that just paid attention in class and went with what I knew, so it's tempting to try that with this, too. *eek*

Don_Chick
09-03-2008, 03:27 PM
I'm not sure I can be ready to take it in the next month. EEK. I'm thinking Jan. in Az. sounds like enough time to study.

Not to hi-jack Heather's thread...

Take the test next month even if you don't "feel" ready. There is no additional cost and you'll get to see what a test is like. And if you do pass then you can go to Imaging knowing you don't have to take it again!

Back to the regularly scheduled questions..... :D

StaceyDamon
09-03-2008, 03:29 PM
Heather...NO PEER PRESSURE!!! It really is not a great way to prepare for the test...LOL.
Actually I guess next time I know what will be on the test.:rolleyes:

I am glad we could help peer pressure you into doing a study class-I wish you were closer to me!!

StaceyDamon
09-03-2008, 03:30 PM
Oh as I write...Don is putting THAT peer pressure on!!! LOL

Carsten_von_Hedemann
09-03-2008, 03:32 PM
Three quick questions:

1) What was the hardest part of preparing for certification?

Finding the quite time to read.

2) Was it easier or harder than you though it would be, and why?

I read the Photography Book 5 time cover to cover the month before preparing for the exam. Pass the first time. While the test didn't seem hard you have to really know the material. And be able to made deductions from a scenario type of question. There are question with no obvious answers, just the most right or best application. Pay close attention to all the charts and list, not just the text.

I found the image re-review harder. Picking them was very difficult. Sometimes the images you like the most are not a good pick. I received lots of help here on the PPA forum. Thanks again to all those that help!!!! I also sought help from the Master and other CPP's in my local guild. They’re great resources, but you have to listen to them. You don’t have to do it all on your own. That was my biggest lesson.

If you have a local guild be sure to use them. Make the commitment to complete your CPP ask lots of questions, find a local mentor in your guild if possible. Join or start a study group with others in your area. Have lots of fun improving your craft. :-) and good luck J

3) What advice would you give to someone preparing for the exam/image submission?

Answered above.

StaceyDamon
09-03-2008, 03:32 PM
Erin, seriously take it next month as a "pre-test". I know when I take it again I will pass (I got a 65, with no prep, well a little help from Heather) and be ready.


Since I passed the image review-but still need to do the written-

honestly- I'm thinking the written test is going to really kick my butt- I'm not sure I can be ready to take it in the next month. EEK. I'm thinking Jan. in Az. sounds like enough time to study.

Mark_Levesque
09-03-2008, 03:38 PM
1) What was the hardest part of preparing for certification?

Finding enough qualifying images that I liked.

2) Was it easier or harder than you though it would be, and why?

It was easier, especially the written test. I'm sure my engineering background made the test seem relatively straightforward in comparison.

3) What advice would you give to someone preparing for the exam/image submission?

I would tell them to study the book and direct them to the test questions that I put together in the certification area of this site. If they get them and understand them they are 90% of the way there.

For the image submission, select the best two shots of each session and put them in a directory. Look for lighting, composition, technical aspects. Choose the top 20 (only one of any given client) and put the images up in the critique area. Get critiques and amend your submission as required.

The process really exposes you to your weaknesses, and allows you to directly address them, improving the general quality of your work. And in the end, you get to market that. :)

Liz_Vance
09-03-2008, 11:43 PM
Three quick questions:

1) What was the hardest part of preparing for certification?

Leaving the party to study. (I was so cocky going into this - I figured I had umpteen college level photo classes behind me, all with exams I've aced, how hard could it be? I brought the book to the convention, but kept getting sidetracked by social stuff. I think I studied a total of about 2 hours.)

2) Was it easier or harder than you though it would be, and why?

Okay, so I went into the exam expecting to ace it, and left hoping I'd at least passed it. There were quite a few questions that I *thought* I knew, but my answer wasn't even offered as a choice! That was a bad sign. I did pass on my first time through, but I was sweating bullets when I got my letter.

As for the print review, this was a couple years ago, so it was print submissions, not digital. And for me, the hardest part was finding 20 GOOD images from the last two years of different paying clients. I had just started, and I had a lot of friends' images, and a lot of mediocre work, but not a lot I thought was very good.

3) What advice would you give to someone preparing for the exam/image submission?
Keep trying. Read the book. KNOW the technical stuff, really understand the concepts behind the rules. Read the prep threads here. And if you fail the first time, know that you're not the first to fail, and won't be the last, and the only difference between being a success and a failure is that the person who is a success tried one more time than he failed. Period.

(I'm feeling inspirational today.)

KirkDarling
09-04-2008, 12:23 AM
Selecting images was the harder part. Like Craig, I had enough background for the test, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well the questions are written.


The questions were worded in ways to help make SURE you know the answers! I don't think anyone who doesn't understand the concepts would pass...

And that is what a good test question is like. If you know the answer, you should get it right. If you don't know the answer, you should get it wrong--no tricks and no giveaways.

One hint: None of the correct answers depends on knowing anything unique to a particular proprietary product. You won't have to know something that's unique in name or function to Photoshop if you happen to be a Paint Shop Pro user.