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Betsy_Finn
03-20-2006, 02:20 PM
I am trying to weigh the pros/cons of going through the certification process now vs. later. Is it worth that much time and money that I should make every effort to get it done as soon as possible?

My business is pretty young, so I could see how the credentials would help me -- but going through the process would take time and money I could be using elsewhere.

I was wondering if some of you could share your experiences and why you decided to get certified when you did.

David_Capano
03-20-2006, 02:57 PM
My business is pretty young, so I could see how the credentials would help me

Sounds like you just answered your own question. ;)

Marc_Benjamin
03-20-2006, 05:35 PM
Hey Betsy,

There's very little money, about $100, compare that to a cost of a series7 or a CPCU. I used to be a claims adjuster though was never really certified.
Also, not that much time is involved in certification. Just read the book once or twice in a course of a week during coffe breaks and the night before the test.

Study for it now, since I think that people have a harder time taking test when they get older. Personally, I admit that my retention isnt where it was now compared to when I was in high school or even 3 years ago. I my test
right when I got 2 years worth of client images.

Funny, now that I think about it, a high school kid could probably ace the test. Though not everything on the test can be found on the books..... There are some situational questions that you would only know if you've had it before.

A not so exact example:

Q:If you were taking a wedding potrait outdoors and the sun is reflecting on the grass creating a glare. What would you do to improve from this situation.

A: I don't remember the other scenarios but I remember the answer being: Take the potrait at a later time. This might not be the true best solution but this was the best from all the choices provided.

Anyway's take em now, also, these test are being administered in Los Angeles several times a year. Why not time it for a disney vacation with the family.

Betsy_Finn
03-20-2006, 05:39 PM
Thanks Marc, you've made some good points. I take it the only book you are referring to is the PPA-recommended Photography (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0131896091/ppaphotocentr-20/104-8184466-0498326) by Barbara London?

Marc_Benjamin
03-20-2006, 05:45 PM
Yep, that's the book alright, check ebay first to see if anyone is selling. You might find one for $30

Betsy_Finn
03-20-2006, 08:56 PM
Alright, thanks :)

Oh, I thought I'd double check on one other thing. I don't have to have a certain amount of C/E Merit credits to get certified, that's just if I were pursuing a Master of Photography Degree, right?

D._Craig_Flory
03-20-2006, 08:59 PM
Hi Betsy;

Merits are used towards Master and Craftsman. You don't need any to get certified. Conversely, you do need to be certified to become a Master.

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified, Cr.Photog., PPA C.P.P. Liaison, ASP
floryphotog@mindspring.com

Buster_Evans
03-22-2006, 02:04 AM
I suggest if you can get your hands on the ppa study material (tapes and books)I think if it is still available is about 40 bucks. This was a great help. Pretty tough test be prepared.

George_Hawkins
04-03-2006, 12:38 AM
Betsey,

Most affiliates have a "Certification Lieason" (sp), who's responsibility is to coordinate with PPA, help applicants understand the process (application, exam & submission of 8x10 prints in proportion to your work, and as you might deliver them to clients). I think ppa.com has the lists of the people; I was once that in my state (NH). They also administer the exam locally; do not ask them to give a score; it's scored independently at PPA headquarters. Get all details on ppa.com

By all means go through the process. It is designed for our "marketing", separating you from the ones not certified. Think of it: will you hire an accountant who is not CPA? However, if I were asked, it is difficult to determine if I gained business because I was Certified. You can tell your clients that every five years you must meet requirements to maintain it.

Good Luck, George

David_Mithofer
04-06-2006, 09:51 PM
Sorry, but the study tapes have been discontinued. The new examination has a very good passing rate. It's tough, but it's certainly doable.

I would suggest taking it as soon as possible. There is no cost to take it again and most candidates do significantly better a second time around. I always encourage candidates to take it at the first opportunity, if you don't pass at least you will have seen what's on the test and be better prepared to study for it.

Regards,
David Mithofer
Manager, Member Services

David_Mithofer
04-06-2006, 10:21 PM
I forgot to address the original question in my previous post. Why should you be certified? Certification is the most recognized credential by consumers. You have to market it to make it valuable, but that's easy. Include it in your advertising, hang the certificate in your studio and be prepared to explain to curious consumers how rigorous the process is and how proud you are to have earned it. You don't have to bad mouth your competition, just tell your customers what you acheived and they'll understand that the studio down the street doesn't have an independent stamp of approval. If they love your portfolio and prices are comparable around town the credential just might be the tiebreaker.

Finally, I think the credential is most useful in getting them in the door. When a consumer opens the phone book in any major market they'll see hundreds of studios listed. They need a reason to put YOU on the short list they intend to call. Since everyone is familiar with a CPA they will probably understand that CPP is a mark of excellence. Once you're on the short list you can sell them with your personality, prices, and portfolio.

If it gets you one job it's worth the cost of the application and I think it will help you get you many more than one.

David Mithofer
Manager, Member Services
PPA

KirkDarling
04-07-2006, 02:56 AM
I live in an area heavy with IT people. They certainly do note certifications. That's why I'm working on it (recently passed the test, working on images).

I'll say this again about the test, having taken it: Look closely at the sample questions provided by PPA and make sure you understand the principles of those areas thoroughly.

Mark_Levesque
04-07-2006, 03:11 AM
I'm not concerned about the test part. But 20 merit prints seems like a lot in 2 years. We have a limit of 6 entries in our convention. How else do you get merit prints? Even if you nail them all for both years, that's only 12. Or are you supposed to stockpile merits and then take the test?

Jackie_Haggerty
04-07-2006, 03:44 AM
I'm not concerned about the test part. But 20 merit prints seems like a lot in 2 years. We have a limit of 6 entries in our convention. How else do you get merit prints? Even if you nail them all for both years, that's only 12. Or are you supposed to stockpile merits and then take the test?


I am a bit unclear on the print review also. Does the image review follow the same guidelines as print competition? Or is it a different ballgame?

Jackie

dana_nordlund
04-08-2006, 12:28 AM
To Mark and Jackie,

The images that you submit do not need to be Merit prints. What the review board is looking for are 20 images that reflects your work. They want to see images that a client would receive, not competition prints. The board looks for competency and consistency in your work. They want to see proper exposure, good composition with regards to lighting and posing, you know, the kind of stuff that makes your clients say, "Hey, can I buy another one of those?" :D Also, if 50% of your work is weddings, they want to see 10 different weddings.

To Betsy,

The best way to study for the test is, read the book, read the book, read the book :D Like that over priced shoe company says, "Just do it". You'll be glad that you did :cool:

Jackie_Haggerty
04-08-2006, 02:25 AM
Or, can prints be submitted anytime. Is is better to submit after the test? I understand completely how the book and preparation for the test would surely help in future images created, but a curious is anyone does this?

Jackie

P.S. Kirk- I think your statement "heavy with IT people" is an understatement! ;)

dana_nordlund
04-08-2006, 02:51 AM
Hi Betsy,

It's scary thinking about it, but once you are sitting there taking it, it's much easier. I took mine at our state conference last year and the night before, I tossed and turned like I was back in High School before a big test. When you sign up (notice the subliminal re enforcement there), PPA will send you a sample packet so you get a feel for the wording of the questions.

Hi Jackie,

You can do it either way, prints first or the test first. I took the test first, and for me the hardest part was waiting for THE word after I sent my prints in. It was like being a kid waiting for Christmas in September :D

Betsy_Finn
04-08-2006, 02:55 AM
Hi Betsy,

It's scary thinking about it, but once you are sitting there taking it, it's much easier. I took mine at our state conference last year and the night before, I tossed and turned like I was back in High School before a big test. When you sign up (notice the subliminal re enforcement there), PPA will send you a sample packet so you get a feel for the wording of the questions.
Well, lucky for me, I probably won't get scared thinking about it until the few days before the test.... I probably won't worry until I've taken the test and am waiting to hear my results :eek: :eek: .

Speaking of which, are the test results done on the spot or do you have to wait a few weeks to hear back about your passing status?

dana_nordlund
04-08-2006, 03:08 AM
Like Tom Petty says, "The way-yaaating is the hardest part".

They usually notify you within a week, it just seems like a month :D

Michael_Larsen
04-11-2006, 08:45 PM
How much does it actually cost from start to finish to get the certification, minus lab costs for prints? I've read references to a book and/or study guide but I'm only picking up bits and pieces of it. Does the cost differ from person to person or is it a standard fee for everyone? Forgive me if these questions are asked elsewhere but I haven't looked around at the forums yet. Thanks for your patience.

Mike
Mike Larsen Studios

Betsy_Finn
04-11-2006, 09:01 PM
How much does it actually cost from start to finish to get the certification, minus lab costs for prints? I've read references to a book and/or study guide but I'm only picking up bits and pieces of it. Does the cost differ from person to person or is it a standard fee for everyone? Forgive me if these questions are asked elsewhere but I haven't looked around at the forums yet. Thanks for your patience.

Mike
Mike Larsen Studios
For PPA members, here are the costs (these can be found on www.certifiedphotographer.com in more detail).
Application Fee -- $100.00
Photography 8/e "recommended book" -- retails for $92.00 on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0131896091/103-4627882-2645416?v=glance&n=283155) (can get for cheaper on Amazon Marketplace (http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0131896091/ref=dp_olp_1/103-4627882-2645416?%5Fencoding=UTF8))
Annual Fee once Certified -- $50.00/yearly

Anyone else feel free to chime in if I missed something, as I haven't completed this process myself yet :rolleyes:

(I haven't found anywhere saying you have to pay in addition to take the exam or submit the images, so it's my understanding that those are included in the application fee :confused: )

Michael_Larsen
04-11-2006, 09:13 PM
Thanks, Betsy. That's pretty reasonable. I've been wanting to do it for awhile now too but I've been so busy with my studio that I haven't had time to research what is required. Thanks for the link too!! I'll check it out.

Mike

D._Craig_Flory
04-11-2006, 09:42 PM
Hi Mike;

You no longer have to go to the expense of having twenty 8X10's made. You can submit a DVD of the 20 images.

I saw that you are in Maine. The certification liaison for Maine is:
Roger Dube and his number is (207) 647-9505. (that came from the PPA site .psd of all liaisons) I'm attaching the full list below.

I'm C.P.P. Liaison for Pennsylvania and give the exam four times a year. You should check with him to see how often he gives it, where (usually at a state photog. assn. meeting, and what dates.

Once you know those answers call PPA @ (800) 786-6277 and have a test made up for you. Then let Roger know that you are signed up so he knows to have a spot reserved for you.

Good luck;

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified, Cr.Photog., PPA C.P.P. Liaison, ASP
floryphotog@mindspring.com

Michael_Larsen
04-11-2006, 11:25 PM
Thanks so much for the information! I'll get in touch with Roger and see how he does things. I'm anxious to work on as many certifications as I can but need to go one step at a time. I guess the next question would be what's next after this certification?

Have a great week!

Mike

D._Craig_Flory
04-12-2006, 12:34 AM
Hi Mike;

Even before you get certified, you can compete for merits. There are two PPA degrees you can work on as well. The highest is Master of Photography. You need a minimum of 13 print merits and 12 other merits. Those are educational and service merits. Before you can get it you must already be certified. You could have all the required merits but would not be awarded the degree till you got certified.

The other, which I hold, is Photographic Craftsman. For that you need once again 12 other merits ... service and / or education. You also need 13 teaching merits. You can get those by teaching classes and seminars for professional photography associations, that are affiliated with PPA, as well as being a print judge for competitions. For me I got one merit from teaching MS Publisher for studio forms once. Two more were from being a print judge twice. All the rest were from teaching Adobe Photoshop for a number of different groups spread out over four states.

Let us know if you have any other questions.

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified, Cr.Photog., ASP
floryphotog@mindspring.com

Jen_Basford
04-12-2006, 02:01 AM
Okay, I'm inspired. After perusing the certification forum posts for a few months now, I'm ready to take the plunge.

Certification...here I come! Okay, well, beginning the process anyway. Which is to do some intense research and purchase the book.

I'm quite excited! Nervous too, but definitely excited. I SO love my job. Love love love love love it. Every aspect. :)

Okee dokee (I can say that, I'm an Oklahoman) - off to work...
It's 5 o'clock somewhere -
Jen

Jackie_Haggerty
04-12-2006, 05:33 AM
Jen and Mike,

If you are interested, there is a study group starting next week to work toward the test. You are welcome to join in, it should be something to look at if you are thinking about doing it. Sometimes it is easier to follow the crowd. :) ;) :cool:

It is also under the certified photographer section titled : Certification Partners

KirkDarling
04-12-2006, 01:25 PM
For me I got one merit from teaching MS Publisher for studio forms once. Two more were from being a print judge twice. All the rest were from teaching Adobe Photoshop for a number of different groups spread out over four states.

Craig, how is it determined what kind of courses qualify for education merits? Do you devise and design the course curriculum yourself and submit it to PPA for judgment and recommendation, or do you get yourself certified in some way to teach according to a pre-determined curriculum?

D._Craig_Flory
04-12-2006, 02:30 PM
Hi Kirk;

Only one class I did was approved by PPA. That was a Super Monday class here in my studio. All the others I was asked to teach by the individual groups who are PPA affiliated. I taught my 1st class ... on Publisher, here for an early-bird class (early bird class is usually 1½ to 2 hours) for the PPAofPa. Next I did an eraly-bird on Photoshop. Over a couple of years I also taught two classes at our state convention. Most of them I got one merit. I got two speaking merits for the Super Monday and two for each convention I taught.

Once other groups found out about what I was teaching I was invited to teach it for the Northeast Pa. Prof. Photog. Assn, the SNAPP group which is Southweast New York group, the Central New Jersey group, and the Prof. Photographers of Maryland.

Each group gets so many speaking merits a year from PPA. The prez of each group,and the talent chairperson, determine who will be speaking, for how long, and at what meetings.

In order to become a speaker, you need to have something to say ... something that you are good at and can share with others. Before I ever taught a class on Photoshop I had done once a month lessons on it via e-mail so people already knew about me and my knowledge. If you have something to teach ... talk to the talent chair of the state, or sub state, group that you belong to ... with a bio and a course outline.

I hope this helps.

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified, Cr.Photog., ASP
floryphotog@mindspring.com

Michael_Larsen
04-15-2006, 03:47 PM
Thanks Jackie. I'm going to go over there and see about getting involved in a group. I ordered my book from Amazon about ten minutes ago. I found used copied for $15.00. They have paperback copies for around $15.00 for anyone interested in saving some coin. I've read a lot about this book and it seems that the information might be a bit dated but so be it. I personally shoot about 99% digital but I still love my Nikon film camera (along with the other six film cameras) but expediency and customer demand for quick turn-around have "forced" me to go digital. I do love my digital cameras though. I was one of the last to switch but I'm hooked now. Anyway, I'm getting off-topic here. My point being that I don't know if this book covers much in the digital realm but I'm really looking forward to getting credentialed. I've been a photographer for over 20 years and can't believe it's taken me this long to actually do something like this. My customers don't seem to care either way but I want to do it for ME. This business is always about doing things for everyone else....it's high time I do something for ME for a change! :-)

Good day and have a great weekend!

Mike

Betsy_Finn
04-15-2006, 04:42 PM
Good to have you, Mike :) (I got your email, I'll be responding shortly)

Michael_Larsen
04-15-2006, 09:24 PM
Thanks Betsy, and congratulations on your recent wedding! Of course, you must be familiar with the three rings of marriage, right? The Engagement Ring, the Wedding Ring, and.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
The SUFFER-ING. hehehehe

Just kidding. I've been married for over 22 years and still loving it. My very best wishes to you and your new hubby!

Mike

Gena_Jean
05-02-2006, 03:23 AM
When is the test that you are planning on studying for? I would also like to take the test, but am not sure when I would be able to take it. I need to do some research on when it will be given in Texas.

Looks like this forum will be a great resource! I'll be needing more hours in the day now....

Gena

Jackie_Haggerty
05-02-2006, 05:05 AM
When is the test that you are planning on studying for? I would also like to take the test, but am not sure when I would be able to take it. I need to do some research on when it will be given in Texas.

Looks like this forum will be a great resource! I'll be needing more hours in the day now....

Gena


Gena,

The test is given at various times, you do need to check and see when it is available in your area. A study group has started, we are ending our 2nd week. We are studying the book Photography Eighth Editionby London. The group will be finishing the study the 3rd week of August, and you can take the test when it is available in your area. You can check the PPA website for Certification exam times and locations, it is also in Professional Photographer magazine. There is a certification application and fee before you can take the test. Once again, take a look at the guidelines PPA has established. You are welcome to still join our group for study, you need to have the book, we study one chapter per week, and meet once a week to "chat" about the chapter. If you would like more info regarding the certification study group, you can send me a Private Message and I will answer any questions you may have about the study group. I encourage you to try it if you are considering certification, it's much easier to keep motivated when there are others doing the same!

Gena_Jean
05-02-2006, 05:09 AM
Thanks, Jackie. This is something I've been considering for awhile now, and while I've researched the costs and book, I just havn't looked into the dates it will be given in my area this year.

I will send you a PM.

Gena

D._Craig_Flory
05-02-2006, 01:13 PM
Hi Gena;

Each state has at least one C.P.P. Liaison. I'm attaching the list from PPA so you can look up who is yours. Each state is different. I give the test 4 times a year ... February, April, June, and October. Some of this study group have said they might travel here to Pennsylvania to take the exam. I welcome any of you to take it here. I'll be giving it on June 11th & on October 1st near Harrisburg, Pa. which is the state capitol. So you all know ... that is very close to Hershey ... chocolate town USA. I live 3 miles from Hershey and the air smells of chocolate near the chocolate factory and of peanuts near the Reeses Peanut Butter Cups plant ... UMMMMMM !!!

Betsy ... don't worry about the "3rd ring". I'll be married 1/3rd of a century this July ... 33 years. *S* I'm going to offer a challenge. I'll bet where my wife & I went on our honeymoon is the most unique on here. We left Pennsylvania and drove to Maine. We went to Baxter State Park to Mt. Katadhan which is the northern most point of the Appalacian Trail and started hiking south. We passed 5 other honeymoon couples ! Ok ... so who is going to top that ?

Group ... any questions about certification, please let me know. One tip ... you don't have to wait till after you pass the exam to submit images. You can submit your 20 images at any time. And they can now be submitted on a DVD instead of printing them ... saves a lot of money.

Good luck to all of you.

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified, Cr.Photog., C.P.P. Liaison, PPA Recon, ASP
floryphotog@mindspring.com

George_Hawkins
05-02-2006, 01:23 PM
I believe that PPA staff will give the exam at the PPANE convention in Sturbridge, MA September 16-19. Confirm with PPA staff office, and make the necessary arrangements.

Also, there is great line-up of speakers, an excellent trade show and fun times. Visit www.ppane.com If speakers are not yet posted, I can email a PDF.

George

Jackie_Haggerty
05-02-2006, 01:52 PM
Craig isn't kidding about the cholocate smell. Even the street lamps are shaped like Hershey's kisses. My husband and I went thru Hershey on our honeymoon, as well as Harrisburg. Both are nice to visit, so if you do plan to travel, make it a vacation (it would probably help make the test a bit more relaxing, too). Never do you get the opportunity to smell chocolate in the air, it's a real-world "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" getaway.

Gena_Jean
05-02-2006, 03:49 PM
Thank you for the responses, everyone!

Wow, Hershey sounds like an awesome place to go. My kids would LOVE that!

I'm going to send off for the book today.

Thanks again!

Gena