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Cynthia_Anderson
09-04-2008, 02:44 PM
Can anyone explain why a person should get certified? Not to sound dumb or ignorant but isn't that just one more step to jump through?

D._Craig_Flory
09-04-2008, 03:15 PM
Hi Cynthia;

Earning Certification will help you grow as a photographer, and artist, a whole lot. Simply preparing for the exam will force you to study and learn things you never knew before and the exam results will show what you know and don't know.

The image submission will show where your work stacks up. I always equate how good they must be to scoring in other than Imaging. (there it's only thumbs up and thumbs down) So, I say that images for certification must be of above average caliber OR 76 or better in print competition. Average you can't be.

As for clients, and potential clients ... they all know that a certified public accountant, certified electrician etc. are all a step above everyone else. In some ways, being certified is better recognized than Master since they can relate to other professions.

I'm proud to be certified since 1986. I enjoy being a C.P.P. Liaison because I help others become certified as well. Please let me know anything else I can answer.

Deb_Wat
09-04-2008, 04:55 PM
I was certified a year ago and I would say...

It makes you a better photographer.
It gives your clients confidence that you know what you are doing.
It separates you from pack of people with prosumer DSLR's.
And yes, it did affect my bottom line in gross sales by about 30%

My 2 cents.

Todd_Reichman
09-04-2008, 04:57 PM
And yes, it did affect my bottom line in gross sales by about 30%


Care to share how?

- trr

Dave_Cisco
09-04-2008, 05:02 PM
Can anyone explain why a person should get certified? Not to sound dumb or ignorant but isn't that just one more step to jump through?

It's one more step to jump through............. on your journey to become the best photographer you can be. :) Additional knowledge has never been a detriment to progress.

Rodney_Ninow
09-04-2008, 05:19 PM
IMO, any time you can learn and improve it is worth it. Whether that be reading a magazine, going to a convention or seminar or becoming certified. If you learn something, it is worth it.

Joe_Galioto
09-04-2008, 06:08 PM
dcf,
i have to disagree with your statement that having getting your cpp is better then a masters degree. most clients don't give a rats a_ _ about either. they come to you for all the other reasons. that being said, i think it's a worthwhile for any photographer to obtain.
i received my cpp in the mid-eighties and it was a great accomplishment for me at that time. since receiving the master & craftman, the cpp has little value. you know & i know what it takes to achieve the different certificates & degrees, there's no comparing them. my point is everyone could become certified in a short time if they want it, and everyone can receive the craftsman degree with a little political networking.(and you know what i'm talking about) but, it still takes 13 print merits to achieve a masters degree. many will try - many of those will make it but not all will. all those that pursue the cpp & craftsman will obtain them.
joe

D._Craig_Flory
09-04-2008, 07:22 PM
dcf,
i have to disagree with your statement that having getting your cpp is better then a masters degree.
joe

Hi Joe;

You misunderstood what I meant. If it were easy I'd have Master after my name. I meant as far as name recognition for clients ... they already know about certified from other professions. I was not putting down what you worked hard to get. If I did, you would pound me to a pulp at the meeting next month. :eek:

Joe_Galioto
09-04-2008, 09:00 PM
dcf,
i didn't really mis-understand you. i think the public is also aware of the designation "master" master plumber, master electrition, or college master degree.

you never mis an opportunity to plug the pa convention or programs!
see you next month - free lunch for all forum members, compliments of mr flory.

joe

KirkDarling
09-04-2008, 09:08 PM
>i didn't really mis-understand you. i think the public is also aware of the designation "master" master plumber, master electrition, or college master degree.

And I think prospective clients who have letters after their own names do take a bit of notice of such things.

Joe_Galioto
09-04-2008, 09:21 PM
i don't make much of the degrees or awards in the studio, just listed on the web & cards.
but every now n then someone will ask what the initials mean, and then i tell them.
speak softly and carry a big camera.
joe

Heather_L._Smith
09-04-2008, 09:28 PM
Can anyone explain why a person should get certified? Not to sound dumb or ignorant but isn't that just one more step to jump through?

I would turn the question back around and ask - what do YOU see as a benefit to certification? Don't do it just because that's what everyone is talking about - do it because it means something to you (and that can trickle down to your client). I think certification is fantastic - can I point to exact income that was derived from it? No. BUT, can point to a myriad of things that I either learned or learned to do better because of the process. But it meant something to me - to me, it wasn't just another "step to jump through" (to what, I would ask... what end do you see here?).

Why do you think a person should get certified? (or, why should they not bother?)

Barbara_Adelman
09-05-2008, 01:20 AM
I did it for personal reasons. I waited several years (I think I looked up the info on how to get certified in 2000, took the test in 2007 and submitted images in May) and wish I wouldn't have delayed. It reminds me that I do know what I'm doing - when I get an odd idea or see an impressive image, I know I can make it happen if I think it through and use the knowledge and resources at my disposal. To me it's the first step in many to push myself farther, learn more and take the whole thing more seriously. It was never about what clients would be impressed, but it is a part of my bio and I did a press release which was seen by several people.

So as Heather said "what do YOU see as a benefit to certification?" - list it out - your reasons, not other people's. If you feel it's worth the time and effort - do it (I guess the plus of my waiting is that the effort wasn't as bad as I'd thought it would be)

Jennifer_Grigg
09-05-2008, 02:46 AM
I am struggling through the image submission after passing the test in one try. I have failed image submission twice. I think CPP is specifically centered on studio lighting. I don't have a studio, my clients are professionals who give me about 15 minutes to produce an illustration for an ad or a head shot. I am questioning whether to keep trying to pass the images submission since I will never shoot with 4-6 lights in a studio or out. It seems to be a very narrow view of professional photography. My images have been published in magazines, murals, corporate identity pieces, none with studio lighting. I have covered journalism, family, wedding, professional sports, and politics in my newspaper days. Currently, my clients praise, pay for and return with more business all the time. The definition of a certified professional photographer doesn't seem to apply to what I do. I have seen portfolios of CPPs that were less than marketable, but had a hair light. I think the system is confusing, so far. I have no idea what to submit again if I dare.

Karen_Linsley
09-05-2008, 04:05 AM
getting certified was one of the best things I've ever done for myself...definately worth the price of admission.

Having said that, I didn't pass the image submission on the first try. Jennifer, don't give up...very little of my work is studio work, most of it is on location, done at high noon (weddings). Post your images here and let us help you select them...I finally got help selecting my images and passed.

monicamartin
09-05-2008, 04:52 AM
I was certified a while back, when one only needed ten images. None had a hair light. Some had one light and a reflector, some were outdoors with subtractive lighting. One or two wedding candids. A couple of business headshots with 2 lights. A commercial shot. It's not how many lights. But Jennifer, you are so experienced, maybe it's choosing.

Cindi_K_McDaniel
09-05-2008, 05:15 AM
I'm throwing this question back at ya.... WHY NOT get certified? Why wouldn't you want to earn a credential that could easily make the difference when a client is trying to separate you from a competitor. WHY NOT make the choice EASY for them!

Barbara_Adelman
09-05-2008, 05:45 AM
I played it safe - nothing too "cool" or flashy, but all over as far as subject and lighting - I looked at what other's had used or posted for crit - just made sure the body of work was consistent quality and well done photographically - passed on the first try.

A few friends who also submitted in May didn't pass. The comments included "inconsistent color balance, poor lens choice, 'random' composition..." - both took all the comments into consideration - kept some images, replaced or reworked others, and passed this last round. - It's all about pushing yourself to learn (even if it is just to learn what your audience is looking for)

Michael_Gan
09-05-2008, 07:13 AM
I am struggling through the image submission after passing the test in one try. I have failed image submission twice. I think CPP is specifically centered on studio lighting. It's not about studio lighting. The judges comprise of a panel of PPA Masters of which at least two have been members of the Affiliate Judging (National Print comp). Here's what we are looking for:

1. Image Density and color. If the images are too dark, underexposed, or flat looking. Images should be consistent with good color correction. Many times, candidates were rejected because the skin tone of some of their subjects would be correct, and others would be blue, or cyan or red.

2. Quality of light. This is where most candidates have a hard time. Especially if you have a "flat lit" PJ style. We try to be as lenient as possible about this, because we do see in most collections a photographers' style. But, think of your written test, you were probably tested on the various types of lighting. All candidates must demonstrate their working knowledge of lighting direction regardless of studio, or environmental.

3. Composition and posing. If there is anything more important to the following quote, this is it: "You must learn the rules before you can break them". If you are showing all images with "out of this world" cropping, dead center posing, Families with all of their shoulders straight on to the camera, the list goes on and on...then this does not tell us that you know the principals of composition and posing. To us, it looks like the photographer is out of control. Which leads to the next point...

4. Photographer control. Lack of control of the background where the background is brighter than the subjects (commonly, this is a problem with outdoor families), The hand in the foreground is larger than the subjects face (improper use of correct lenses), or, and this is one of the most egregious of problems, lack of understanding of black and white. I know it's really popular to do the baby/pregnant mom/hands holding feet images copied right off the Waldens'/Puc's, but if you submit black and white images where the subject suddenly falls off to blackness with no detail in the shadow, be prepared to be rejected. Many of us on this panel hung our images at PPA national with monochromes and we pride ourselves on that ability to be a bunch of Ansel Adams :D. But seriously, there's more to B&W then turning the grayscale on in Photoshop. One of the biggest sins is having your black backdrop too close to the subject. This causes "subtractive lighting". If you don't know what that is, go back and read your Photography book.

Couple of tips:

Go to the Gallery section of this forum and check out the anonymous candidates submissions. Look at the comments made on the images. Also, be a judge yourself: What do you see in those persons' collections that look "out of place", or look too dark, or look like the color is wrong. When you do your submission, do a gallery page of your submission and look at the overall collection. What looks out of place?

Then, do this with each of your images: Rotate your images upside down. Look at them. What do you see? Does your eye go to the background, or the subject? Is the hairlight too strong to where your eye goes to the subject's hair?

Demonstrate what you know from the written exam! All of the judges pretty much know that Photography book very well. You need to follow those basic techniques and demonstrate them, even if it's "not your style". But, knowing these techniques will help elevate your style to a higher plane.

Submit your images in the gallery as Login: cpp_upload so that you are anonymous. I will be there for you to work you collection properly. I believe most who I critiqued the last time and had submitted, passed. Take the critiques seriously, don't just sluff it off and resubmit the same images again thinking a different set of judges will see differently. Most often, you will get rejected again. In other words, don't "dig in" with your convictions. Learn from our comments.


Currently, my clients praise, pay for and return with more business all the time. Clients are poor judges of quality. Try raising your prices by double, and see if they still feel that way about your images (not you personally, but to all those who think the same way). What we are trying to do is get you to raise the bar so that you can make a great living in this profession. If you can make a more than comfortable living just by your photography and no other spouse or whatever to support you, then I will be the first to tell you you don't need certification. But, if you want to separate yourself from the multitudes of Mamarazzi out there who sell 8x10's for $6, then you need the stregth of certification to help you along in your path to overall business improvement.

Mark_Levesque
09-05-2008, 12:10 PM
Is there a reason I should get certified???
Look at your work. Is it everything you think it should be, on a consistent basis? Can you routinely adapt to any shooting situation and get superior looking images? Does your work get praise from other photographers, not just moms who are thrilled with the poorly lit, bullseye composed image with a cyan cast because it is their baby? Do you feel you have complete command of your equipment at all times? Can you use photoshop to efficiently arrive at your artistic vision? Are you comfortable with where your images stack up next to your competitors? If you answered yes to all of those questions, you might not benefit much from certification, aside from the marketing value. But if you hesitated and thought "well, sort of" or even "not really" to more than one of them, there is something for you in certification.

As for passing the image submission, it really is not about simply memorizing and replicating formulaic studio lighting. Michael has explained what the judges are looking for very well, so there's no sense in repeating it. But I will say that of the people I have seen who have failed image submission, most of them have difficulty in accepting that their work has deficiencies. When the issues are pointed out to them, they respond with "yeah, but". It may well be that your clients are satisfied with "snap shotty" images, but that does not make them of professional caliber. There are times when the only way to get the shot is to blast the subject with direct flash. You hold your nose and press the button. But those aren't images that show you know what you're doing. Don't submit them! There are other times when social candids are created with bounce flash, off camera flash, or appropriate natural light. If these are properly composed and exposed, they will be accepted. It's not rocket science. If you are having trouble passing the image submission, take advantage of the resources available to you- the anonymous upload is an amazingly powerful tool! You will get honest critique which has nothing to do with your personality or anything else but the images, which is just what you want because that is how your images will be judged. It is tempting to make excuses for the deficiencies in one's images. It is more difficult to accept one's mistakes, learn what they are and how to avoid them, and discipline yourself to employ proper techniques. But that is precisely what one needs to do to propel oneself past the legions of newby DSLR owners who consider themselves to be photographers. Elevate your game. Realize your potential. Discover your weaknesses and address them. You will become a better photographer for it, and your clients who were satisfied with your prior efforts will be blown away. If you don't look back with a tiny bit of embarrassment over the work you were doing two years ago, you aren't trying hard enough to grow.

George_Hawkins
09-05-2008, 12:27 PM
I'm throwing this question back at ya.... WHY NOT get certified? Why wouldn't you want to earn a credential that could easily make the difference when a client is trying to separate you from a competitor. WHY NOT make the choice EASY for them!

EXACTLY: why not? It's credibility in the eyes of the consumer.

We all look for credibility of any services we need: plumber, electrician, accountant, legal services, tree person, teachers & administrators in the schools our kids attend, and so on. Certification helps.

D._Craig_Flory
09-05-2008, 01:02 PM
I am struggling through the image submission after passing the test in one try. I have failed image submission twice. I think CPP is specifically centered on studio lighting. I don't have a studio, my clients are professionals who give me about 15 minutes to produce an illustration for an ad or a head shot. I am questioning whether to keep trying to pass the images submission since I will never shoot with 4-6 lights in a studio or out. It seems to be a very narrow view of professional photography. My images have been published in magazines, murals, corporate identity pieces, none with studio lighting. I have covered journalism, family, wedding, professional sports, and politics in my newspaper days. Currently, my clients praise, pay for and return with more business all the time. The definition of a certified professional photographer doesn't seem to apply to what I do. I have seen portfolios of CPPs that were less than marketable, but had a hair light. I think the system is confusing, so far. I have no idea what to submit again if I dare.

Hi Jennifer;

I echo what Karen said. She took the exam, from me, and passed easily. But, print submission proved to be a roadblock ... till she started posting images on here to get comments and suggestions. That was before the gallery area was set-up for anonymous postings for print submission images. I recommend highly doing that. I went to your web site but it didn't show a way for me to review any images ... other than than the narrow horizontal composite. I would like to see some of your images to get a feeling of what you offer your clients. (I tried both in I.E. & in Firefox)

Jay_Kilgore
10-05-2008, 03:56 AM
And I think prospective clients who have letters after their own names do take a bit of notice of such things.

See,

I strongly disagree with this.

I'm currently struggling with the thought of going cpp or just continuing business as usual.

My current client list is everyone from normal every day joes to CEO's and business owners. They don't care what I have after my name, they judge me based off my ability to get photos they'll treasure.

Some of the guys in this post asks why "NOT" get certified;



Won't change my customers opine about me.
Will cost me an additional 100.00 a year.
Will be impressive to other photographers....who aren't going to pay me to shoot them anyway.
Won't make me any extra money since I most likely wouldn't do anything with it.
I currently pay PPA 400 a year to do nothing for me, why pay them 500 for 100 extra nothing?


Why do it?


Cause I keep going back and fourth about it.
?
?


My local ppa group is having the test in two weeks, been thinking about doing it but I just can't justify it. To be honest, from my point of view, ppa currently represents the billionaire boys club attitude and that's just not me. At the same time, part of me wants to prove to myself that I know as much as I THINK I do.

I'm struggling here lol.

Anne_Raker
10-05-2008, 04:37 AM
I just went through the certification process, and I can tell you what I got out of it. :) This is just my own experience, ymmv. ;)

First, and foremost, I learned stuff. Stuff I didn't already know, or if I did know it in the general sense, I didn't fully understand it. Things clicked into place in a way that they hadn't before. I might have understood a piece here or a piece there, but I really saw things fall into one, cohesive whole a lot more than before.

Second, I got a much deeper appreciation for the legacy we're carrying on in this industry. That sort of started for me when I was at the Wall Portrait Conference, but the CPP process definitely helped to cement that. I think that knowing where your "roots" are and feeling a part of that, is a huge thing, so although it's not related to the bottom line, really, it was a good thing for me.

Third, I got feedback on my work that I haven't ever had before. I put my images up here anonymously, and got some great CC that really helped me improve. A lot of times, when you post an image online for CC, you get a lot of "attaboys" and not as much honest CC. I don't learn well from attaboys... I learn much more from honest CC, so I really appreciated that part of the process.

Fourth, I gained confidence. As a relatively new photographer and someone whose college education had nothing to do with photography or art, it's hard to feel confident "playing with the big boys" sometimes, so having the CPP and knowing that my work was judged to be quality enough to earn it, helps me to feel confident, especially when it comes to pricing my work and dealing with discussing prices with clients.

Fifth, I got inspired to push myself harder. Instead of worrying that my technical skills aren't up to par, I am able to be confident that I'm okay in that area, and push myself to be more creative and have more fun with my images. The whole "you have to know the rules before you can break them" is something I've really taken to heart. But I feel like I can say with confidence that I do know them now, and I can break them creatively when it works to do so.

Sixth, as a "mom with a camera", I feel like I've gained some respect among my peers. That's not something that matters to everyone, but it does matter to me. I'm an insecure artist at heart, and I like the affirmation that comes with having some peer respect. I shouldn't care... because other photographers don't pay my bills... but I do. That's just a part of my personality I've had to embrace, because it's not going anywhere. :)

Seventh, I've been inspired to try for more. I made it through the CPP and wasn't totally destroyed by the process, so now I'm pushing on, trying to earn my Masters and Craftsman eventually. I wouldn't have had the guts to try for either, I don't think, if I hadn't done the CPP first.

I just earned my CPP in August, and although I announced it on my blog, I haven't even done a press release about it yet, so hardly anyone knows and I certainly can't trace my income to it at all, but for me, I've already gained so much from it that any financial benefits I might gain from it would merely be icing on an already-sweet cake.

Mark_Levesque
10-05-2008, 12:03 PM
See,

I strongly disagree with this.

I'm currently struggling with the thought of going cpp or just continuing business as usual.

[...]

Some of the guys in this post asks why "NOT" get certified;



Won't change my customers opine about me.
Will cost me an additional 100.00 a year.
Will be impressive to other photographers....who aren't going to pay me to shoot them anyway.
Won't make me any extra money since I most likely wouldn't do anything with it.
I currently pay PPA 400 a year to do nothing for me, why pay them 500 for 100 extra nothing?


Why do it?


Cause I keep going back and fourth about it.
?
?


My local ppa group is having the test in two weeks, been thinking about doing it but I just can't justify it. To be honest, from my point of view, ppa currently represents the billionaire boys club attitude and that's just not me. At the same time, part of me wants to prove to myself that I know as much as I THINK I do.

I'm struggling here lol.

Ok, Jay. Let me make a few comments. I think it's only $50 a year additional. And I don't think you are "paying PPA $400 to do nothing". If you really feel that way, why continue to be a member? Whether or not you've taken full advantage of membership, the fact is that PPA is a valuable organization. Honestly, for my money the idemnity trust and work on capitol hill is enough to justify the cost.

And to be honest, I think you are making an assumption about how your customers will feel about you. Frankly, it's not about the people who are already using your services. It's about the people comparing you to other photographers. It may be what tips the scales. Who knows?

I became certified more for myself than anything. To me it's a stepping stone to bigger and better things. A waypoint on the path to excellence. It is not the only way to get there, but it forces you to understand fundamentals, and I think that is a good way to get the foundation one needs to truly excel. It's not the only way or necessarily the best way but it works for me.

Good luck in deciding on and following your path.

Stan_Lawrence
10-05-2008, 12:54 PM
"I'm currently struggling with the thought of going cpp or just continuing business as usual. "

Simple answer, Jay....if you plan on using it in your marketing, do it. If you don't, don't. It can be helpful for some, others not. Again, depends on how you market yourself. :cool:

Kathy_Malaspina
10-06-2008, 03:43 AM
[quote=Jay_Kilgore;182235]See,

I strongly disagree with this.

I'm currently struggling with the thought of going cpp or just continuing business as usual.

My current client list is everyone from normal every day joes to CEO's and business owners. They don't care what I have after my name, they judge me based off my ability to get photos they'll treasure.

Some of the guys in this post asks why "NOT" get certified;



Won't change my customers opine about me.
Will cost me an additional 100.00 a year.
Will be impressive to other photographers....who aren't going to pay me to shoot them anyway.
Won't make me any extra money since I most likely wouldn't do anything with it.
I currently pay PPA 400 a year to do nothing for me, why pay them 500 for 100 extra nothing?


Jay heres another that agrees with you. My clients could care less about me being certified. Been in business 21 years, and they come to me because they like what they see. Never in all the years I have been in business has anyone ever even asked. Why fix something that's not broke and working GREAT! I don't need letters after my name, it just doesn't matter to me. I do this to eat and I stay too busy to even get caught up. If being certified would gets you MORE business, that's another reason for me to be against it. I just can't do any more...I am turning work away now, and hopefully shooting my LAST wedding next Sat. I am finally giving them up...been trying for 5 years, this time I am going to do it!

Jack_Reznicki
10-06-2008, 01:30 PM
Funny, those that go through the process seem to answer with a variety of reasons of what they get, why they like the program, and they stick with it.
Those that don't seem to question it.

As stated by many, it's more about the journey and what they got on that road, rather than the destination itself. I've never heard anyone say they became certified because of the letters after their name.

Karen_Linsley
10-08-2008, 02:12 PM
I SO agree with what Anne Raker said. Certification helped me. I use the initials in all my material. I get more photographers asking about it than clients. Perhaps the clients don't care about it, whatever. They ultimately end up as winners because the process of going through certification helped me to be a better photographer, whether the clients believe that or not. And my clients continue to be the ultimate winners here, because of course for me certification is a stepping stone to other things, and all of it improves my photography.

I'm going to throw a monkey wrench into the equation here: I met a lady this weekend who is certified and a master....she spells out all those credentials after her name. Told me no one (clients) knows what it means so she spells it out. I found that interesting, but I still plan to use just the initials.

Keith_A_Howe
10-08-2008, 02:39 PM
I became certified because of the value of making that "journey" as others have called it. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I dropped my certification because for me it was about what I learned to get there. It wasn't about actually being certified so there wasn't any value for me personally to continue it. Even though I do not keep up the CPP, I recommend it to anyone as a way to grow. If you stop growing you get stagnant. CPP is just one way to grow. Print competition is another. But with print competition I can continue to grow and reach new goals - like Diamond POTY. With CPP once you get it it's not a program that encourages continued growth, more it encourages that you have to maintain your skills. Maybe you could say CPP is like getting your high school diploma and maintaining it is like taking those same required courses over and over. Print competition and the degree program can be like continuing education - always a new subject to master. BUT! you still need to start with a HS diploma before you can go onto college. CPP is that first step. If you are not a person who is goal oriented and you are happy maintaining the staus quo then why bother? But if you are actively looking for a way to challenge yourself, CPP is a good outlet for that.

Keith

Heather_L._Smith
10-08-2008, 02:45 PM
Honestly, I haven't studied that hard since I was in school. The time I spent studying for the CPP exam was invaluable for me. I learned things I never knew - I learned WHY some things worked the way they did rather than just knowing that they did certain things. It was absolutely invaluable for someone like me. Some folks can walk into that exam room and ace that test without even blinking an eye... that wasn't the case for me. I had to work for it. And I did. I poured every ounce of effort I could into preparing for it, and I succeeded. But I worked for it. I'm proud to call myself a Certified Professional Photographer because I know what it took for me to achieve it. Just like I'll be proud to call myself a Craftsman and a Master when those degrees are achieved. It's a stop on the road I've laid out for myself. First and foremost, it was important to ME - and sometimes it's important to my clients. But, every single time, it's a benefit to my clients, because they are the recipients of the end product that I've worked hard to make better through studying, learning, and constantly trying to improve. For me, this was one way to do that. If you don't see the value in it, then it's not worth the effort.

Michael_Gan
10-08-2008, 11:42 PM
I'm currently struggling with the thought of going cpp or just continuing business as usual. See, I don't get this. Staying "business as usual" is like saying "I'm going to do my weddings and senior portraits the same way I did 20 years ago". If you don't change and grow, you die.

Due to old age, I can't remember if I mentioned this in my previous post, or somewhere else before. That is, with the proliferation of thousands of wannabe pros with their Rebel xti's and d40s', it is absolutely crucial that you know more than the basics of photography. These people are practicing photography under the table because of one simple premise: "I can do the same as that pro photographer, and I can charge $8 for an 8x10". And you know what? They are making the same images as many of the pros out there, and they are getting their $8.

Louise_St_Romain
10-08-2008, 11:52 PM
Honestly, I haven't studied that hard since I was in school. The time I spent studying for the CPP exam was invaluable for me. I learned things I never knew - I learned WHY some things worked the way they did rather than just knowing that they did certain things. It was absolutely invaluable for someone like me. Some folks can walk into that exam room and ace that test without even blinking an eye... that wasn't the case for me. I had to work for it. And I did. I poured every ounce of effort I could into preparing for it, and I succeeded. But I worked for it. I'm proud to call myself a Certified Professional Photographer because I know what it took for me to achieve it. Just like I'll be proud to call myself a Craftsman and a Master when those degrees are achieved. It's a stop on the road I've laid out for myself. First and foremost, it was important to ME - and sometimes it's important to my clients. But, every single time, it's a benefit to my clients, because they are the recipients of the end product that I've worked hard to make better through studying, learning, and constantly trying to improve. For me, this was one way to do that. If you don't see the value in it, then it's not worth the effort.

*clapping* very nicely said :)

I'm hoping that the time I spent studying will reward me with a passing grade (I am horrible at taking tests), however, even if for some reason I didn't pass this time, it has been worthwhile because, as has been said, I know know why certain things work the way they do. It is always good to gain more knowledge and to improve, its one of the best ways to keep from getting stale.

Joe_Galioto
10-09-2008, 02:54 AM
i seemed to have a different experiance the many here. print submision was a peice of cake, but i'm ashamed to tell you, i had to take the test 3 times.
first time, didn't open a book and got like 2 points away from a passing grade.
next time skimmed though the upjohn & upjohn missed it by one point. keep in mind, i never was a color printer, nor had experiance as a commercial photographer. for me the portrait & business was 2nd nature. time #3, i studied my butt off, it was getting embarrassing! 3rd times a charm (i don't even know what that means?)
joe

although i was certified for several years, i eventually let it expire. after having earned the master/craftsman, i didn't think it was necessary anymore. i got tired of paying the extra annual fee, and didn't want to deal with the recertification paperwork.
***i think earning a cpp or achieving other degress etc is all worthwhile persuits,
you'll learn more, feel better and raise the bar. do it for yourself and if your bottom line inproves that's kool too.
joe

NeilColton
10-10-2008, 05:30 PM
Jennifer-

Don't be discouraged. PPA seems geared to 'retail shots'-work that sells prints (whatever that is). Your photojournalistic style may not sell prints (according to PPA), but it's popular with brides + grooms. For some photographers, the CPP designation is useful, but not for all.

The top shooters in the industry aren't lining up for the CPP program. They are working on their craft + shooting work. Just like you.

The CPP exam looks like a test for Photo 101. You've passed that benchmark, so work on improving your craft-for you and your clients, not for PPA.

All the best,

Neil

Karen_Linsley
10-10-2008, 06:02 PM
Jennifer: it took me three tries to pass the image review. As has been said in this thread before, getting Certified was a boost to me in many ways. I consider myself to be one of those "top shooters in the industry." I've been a full time photographer for over 20 years. I've kept renewing and changing as the business changed, and I will be around long after many of the folks who started taking photos in the last couple of years have moved on after they realized what it means to run a photography business. I am busier right now than I've ever been, in spite of the gloom and doom economy, and I am doing better work than I've ever done before. Much of that is because I took the step to become certified. Doing the work to become Certified IS working on my craft. I became Certified for me, not for PPA, not for anyone else. If you are considering getting your Certification, do it because you know it will make you a better photographer. PPA could care less whether we become Certified or not. It's simply another tool we have at our disposal, should we choose to pick it up.

Anne_Raker
10-10-2008, 07:52 PM
I totally agree with Karen. You have to do it for yourself - not for PPA, not for your clients, not for other photographers - for you.

Rose_Mary_Cheek
10-18-2008, 12:56 AM
Boy ya'll couldn't have said it any better.... Karen you've got a great way with the words Know my studying will pay off... and it is for me!!!

Rose Mary

Jay_Kilgore
10-18-2008, 06:45 PM
See, I don't get this. Staying "business as usual" is like saying "I'm going to do my weddings and senior portraits the same way I did 20 years ago". If you don't change and grow, you die.

Due to old age, I can't remember if I mentioned this in my previous post, or somewhere else before. That is, with the proliferation of thousands of wannabe pros with their Rebel xti's and d40s', it is absolutely crucial that you know more than the basics of photography. These people are practicing photography under the table because of one simple premise: "I can do the same as that pro photographer, and I can charge $8 for an 8x10". And you know what? They are making the same images as many of the pros out there, and they are getting their $8.

I change and grow with every shoot. I'm on top of the trends as I'm a working fashion and glamour photographer that's lived through all the fads. My wife does most of the editing and bless her, but her many hours of editing using all the current trends (lucis, cross post, hdr, white high fashion, selective coloring) our clients buy the candid shots.

It's my hopes that you've not bought into the "camera makes the photo" scheme? If so, I'm afraid to tell you that it doesnt. I owned the original digi rebel for about four years and let me tell you, 20 photos were posted in MAJOR magazines. Art Ketchum shoots with a old, old, old school Pentax ist'D and his work is in everything from Italian Vogue to Soak to you name it. I guess what I'm saying is a d40, digi reb, doesn't matter at all, it's the eye of the person shooting.

We all know that "pro's" are coming out of the wood work. They're everywhere. I know this far better than most since my former primary field, model photography, has more people claiming professional, than the general portrait field! This is my biggest concern with PPA. PPA allows anyone who pays the fee, to join. There's no checking or approving of it's potential membership, just collecting the money. There's a lady down the street from me who did no reading, NOTHING, passed the CPP test as well as image submission and her images are WORSE than a mwac!!

I was struggling with taking the test today at the local ppoc convention, but right now, just isn't the time for me. I'll revisit it the next time around. I am however, interested in the merit comps!

;)

Thanks to the thread starter for this thread, it helped me over yet another hurdle lol. Thanks to everyone who posted, pro and con, you've helped me out...even though this isn't my thread lol.

Michael_Gan
10-18-2008, 07:57 PM
It's my hopes that you've not bought into the "camera makes the photo" scheme? If so, I'm afraid to tell you that it doesnt. I owned the original digi rebel for about four years and let me tell you, 20 photos were posted in MAJOR magazines. Art Ketchum shoots with a old, old, old school Pentax ist'D and his work is in everything from Italian Vogue to Soak to you name it. I guess what I'm saying is a d40, digi reb, doesn't matter at all, it's the eye of the person shooting. Not sure where you came up with the idea that I would subscribe to the "Camera makes the Photographer" as many on this forum will attest that I am far from that.

I also am a former fashion photog with quite a pedigree from working with the best in my early years as an assistant/apprentice in both NY and LA. Being in the fashion world, however, does not a photographer make, as many do subscribe to "Camera makes the Photographer". It was pointed out to me from one of my mentors, "see those guys with the 250 backs blazing? Those guys are shooting for dumb luck. Don't be that way". Never forgot that. Probably why I was able to retire from weddings ending a thirty year career taking no more than 400 images for an 8 hour time.

Bottom line is that many of the "pros" today have very little knowledge and skills of basic photography, and certification helps to widen that playing field. Some say they should persue this for themselves. Yes, to some extent, but after thirty years, I can say that it may be the last bastion for the survival of our profession as a whole. I'm at that age where I see the greater good of the profession. I want to leave this planet knowing it will survive, and that those willing to make the sacrafices to be in this profession will someday make a more than adequate living, which currently (sad to say), many are not.

Jay_Kilgore
10-18-2008, 08:20 PM
Not sure where you came up with the idea that I would subscribe to the "Camera makes the Photographer" as many on this forum will attest that I am far from that.

My apologies if I took this comment out of text


That is, with the proliferation of thousands of wannabe pros with their Rebel xti's and d40s',

To me, when I read that, it says that the "wannabe's" have their less than pro cameras and are only capable of producing crap with the crap camera. That by upgrading the camera, it makes the imges that much better.


Some say they should persue this for themselves.

I'm on the other end of that spectrum! I have mentors that tell me to not "waste your time" getting the various degrees from PPA. I'll be the first to admit that the CPP is interesting to me, but nothing further. I will not name those guys here in public, but since you were in the industry, if you pm me I'll tell ya ;)

I will agree with you when you say many of todays great fashion and glamour photogrphers wouldn't make it in ppa. I'll go a step further and say VERY FEW if ANY would win a single ppa merit, but on the flip side, they get 30-40 thousand dollar checks to shoot their stuff.

Photography will do nothing but flourish once we're all dead and burried. I'm sure people were asking the same thing when Ansel Adams passed or Henri Cartier-Bresson and so on.

Edit: My apologies if I mistook your comments and offended you, not my plan.

Keith_A_Howe
10-18-2008, 08:49 PM
I am however, interested in the merit comps!



I'll be the first to admit that the CPP is interesting to me, but nothing further.


Jay, could you elaborate on your thoughts here? Cause the way I read it it sounds like you are contradicting yourself, interested in merits and degrees in the first post and not interested in them in the second. I feel like I missed your intent. Thanks

Keith

Jay_Kilgore
10-18-2008, 09:04 PM
Jay, could you elaborate on your thoughts here? Cause the way I read it it sounds like you are contradicting yourself, interested in merits and degrees in the first post and not interested in them in the second. I feel like I missed your intent. Thanks

Keith

Sure, Keith,

I am interested in submitting images to the local and national competitions. I want to get ribbons...corny, I know. But right now, I'm not interested in the CPP, Masters, and other degrees PPA offers.

After looking, I can see how my wording is confusing, it was a poor selection on my part. Sorry. Not interested in the degrees, but don't mind entering into competitions.

Michael_Gan
10-18-2008, 11:18 PM
This is the confusing part. When you get 13 of those print "Ribbons" (well, and 12 other general "ribbons"), you get the Masters "Ribbon".

Jay_Kilgore
10-19-2008, 12:30 AM
This is the confusing part. When you get 13 of those print "Ribbons" (well, and 12 other general "ribbons"), you get the Masters "Ribbon".

It shouldn't be confusing? I don't want my cake and to eat it too, I just want my cake, with two scoops of ice cream and I'll eat the ice cream!