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Mark_Levesque
04-01-2011, 10:30 PM
Important Changes to the CPP Image Submission Review

The Professional Photographic Certification Commission will institute changes to the CPP Image Submission Review, beginning with the June 24, 2011 review period.

The April 22, 2011 CPP Image Submission Review will be the last review that will not require the compulsory images. There will be no exceptions.

Beginning June 24, 2011, all portfolios (CPP candidates and re-certifying CPPs) will require the completion of a compulsory section of 6 images, showing standardized technical proficiency that all professional photographers, regardless of specialty, should know.

These images may come directly from client files or may be set up to demonstrate the technique that is required.
What are the compulsory images?

The compulsory section is comprised of 3 mandatory images and 3 elective images.
Mandatory Images

Image 1: Short lighting 3:1 ratio
This image will demonstrate proper lens selection and perspective with short lighting and a medium 3:1 lighting ratio.

Examples, based on your specialty:
Portrait Wedding Commercial Sports/Event
Closed or open loop; head shot Wedding portrait demonstrating short lighting Still life; product; food; model Individual portrait. Use of fill light or reflector to achieve 3:1 ratio.

Image 2: Broad lighting 3:1 ratio
This image will demonstrate proper lens selection and perspective with a broad lighting setup and a medium 3:1 lighting ratio.

Examples, based on your specialty:
Portrait Wedding Commercial Sports/Event
Closed or open loop; head shot Wedding portrait demonstrating broad lighting Still life; product; food; model Individual portrait. Use of fill light or reflector to achieve 3:1 ratio.

Image 3: Selective focus with minimal depth of field
This image will demonstrate how the viewer’s attention is impacted by selective focus.

Examples, based on your specialty:
Portrait Wedding Commercial Sports/Event
Creative use of selective focus. Close up Product photo; macro image Creative use of selective focus.
Elective Images 4, 5, and 6 (Choose 3 of the following)

* High Key Image
This image will demonstrate the proper technique in lighting a subject for a high key.
* Low Key Image
This image will demonstrate the proper technique in lighting a subject for a low key.
* Rule of Thirds
This image will demonstrate subject placement and organization.
* Use of Shape, Form, and Texture
This image will demonstrate these basic elements of art.
* Balance (symmetrical or asymmetrical)
This image will demonstrate the principles of balance achieved through subject size, placement, weight, or color.
* Color Harmony
This image will demonstrate the harmonious relationship of colors.
* "S" Curve Line
This image will demonstrate a "S" curve or feminine posing.
* Assertive, Angular, or Masculine Line
This image will demonstrate an assertive, angular, or masculine pose.
* Architectural
This image will demonstrate the commercial application of architectural photography. (Cannot be chosen for the portrait category.)

Submission Information

The first 6 images that you will upload will be the compulsory images. You will be provided with step-by-step instructions during the upload process for providing statements of purpose for these images. The remaining 14 images will come from your client work in the last 24 months, based on your specialty (or specialties percentages).

The CPP Certification judges will review the 6 compulsory images before reviewing the remainder of the body of work. If one of the compulsory images does not pass, the entire portfolio will not pass and the remaining 14 submitted images will not be reviewed. If the compulsory images did not pass, any feedback session will only discuss the compulsory portion of the portfolio.

Reminder: If you are seeking certification as a portrait or wedding photographer, do not submit "landscape" images. Commercial and event photographers may enter landscape images providing they were "commissioned and paid" and not images that were sold "after the fact."

Mark_Katz
04-01-2011, 11:55 PM
Yeah, I saw this earlier this morning and thought... "Gee I'm glad I did this last year" :)

(Not that I can't do it, but there's just too much writing to read, :p

D._Craig_Flory
04-02-2011, 11:11 AM
This is a much needed requirement. So many of today's ''pros'' do not know the basics.

Liz_Vance
04-02-2011, 05:22 PM
Yeah, I saw this earlier this morning and thought... "Gee I'm glad I did this last year" :)

(Not that I can't do it, but there's just too much writing to read, :p

I had that exact same thought! :)

KirkDarling
04-02-2011, 09:32 PM
I expected this to happen last year. The selective focus compulsory takes me by surprise, as well as the specific requirement for a 1:3 lighting ratio. I don't think either of those should be mandatory--I'd rather see both high key and low key as mandatory.

Mark_Levesque
04-02-2011, 09:51 PM
I sorta agree, Kirk. Black on black and white on white make perfect sense as compulsories. Broad and short lighting as well. Not sure that a 3:1 ratio is necessary to demonstrate a lighting pattern, and I wonder if we are supposed to ding people who seem to have missed the ratio. How strict should we be on that, and how are we supposed to determine that it's 3:1 and not 2:1 or 2.5:1 or 4:1? Selective focus is fine, but to me it makes more sense to be one of the optional compulsories.

Rick_Massarini
04-03-2011, 01:50 AM
Just a few thoughts...

If you're shooting to get the maximum range out of your file that you can get - you're going to be using a ratio higher than 3:1 - more like a 4.5:1 ratio. I know that my normal in-studio lighting ratio is higher than 3:1. So you would have to back off on your ratio just for the required images. But what if you don't use a 3:1 ratio for your client work? So you would have to shoot an image of a client with a special low ratio just for the required images - but that would not be indicative of your normal style of lighting - so those images would no longer be actual client work - more like a school class assignment - but the original tenet was that the images would all be from actual customer assignments, but if the lighting is different than what you usually deliver.... Just an interesting twist of thought...

As for the broad lighting requirement, we all know that broad lighting is usually not very flattering - so are they going to ding you if you produce an image that is broad lit just to meet the requirements saying that it is not flattering and would be better lit using short light - which the creator already knew before he broad lit it?

Selective focus with minimal depth of field just means that you know which end of the f stop range is which. Shooting something with minimal depth of field only proves that you know the difference between f1.4 and f14 - or just that you own a fast lens - and that proves nothing.

Just my opinion...

Brian_Dunn
04-03-2011, 05:16 AM
I've had comp prints dinged for flat lighting when they were a perfect measured 3:1 on the flash meter. No true black, etc.

GregYager
04-03-2011, 05:00 PM
Consider this a step in the right direction. Not the perfect solution. The required images are for demonstrating knowledge of techniques and may be set up just to demonstrate said techniques. Client work is still required, just not in these images. This change involves demonstrating 3:1 ratios, depth of field and lighting patterns. The next revision may include working with mixed light sources as well as a variety of lighting ratios. As the process is refined good ideas will be kept and bad ideas will be dropped. I see this as a positive change in the right direction and I look forward to seeing where it goes next.

KirkDarling
04-03-2011, 06:21 PM
Just a few thoughts...

If you're shooting to get the maximum range out of your file that you can get - you're going to be using a ratio higher than 3:1 - more like a 4.5:1 ratio. I know that my normal in-studio lighting ratio is higher than 3:1. So you would have to back off on your ratio just for the required images. But what if you don't use a 3:1 ratio for your client work? So you would have to shoot an image of a client with a special low ratio just for the required images - but that would not be indicative of your normal style of lighting - so those images would no longer be actual client work - more like a school class assignment - but the original tenet was that the images would all be from actual customer assignments, but if the lighting is different than what you usually deliver.... Just an interesting twist of thought...

As for the broad lighting requirement, we all know that broad lighting is usually not very flattering - so are they going to ding you if you produce an image that is broad lit just to meet the requirements saying that it is not flattering and would be better lit using short light - which the creator already knew before he broad lit it?

Selective focus with minimal depth of field just means that you know which end of the f stop range is which. Shooting something with minimal depth of field only proves that you know the difference between f1.4 and f14 - or just that you own a fast lens - and that proves nothing.

Just my opinion...

Yes.

This is an indication that for many (if not most) applicants, there will have to be some specific "shooting for the test."

For instance, I never shoot specifically for shallow depth of field (neither does Bill McIntosh). I would have to make a specific point of doing so during a session specifically for the test. I don't mind doing it for the test to prove I know what it is--but it has to be realized that I'm doing it specifically for the test, not as an example of regular client work.

KirkDarling
04-03-2011, 06:31 PM
Consider this a step in the right direction. Not the perfect solution. The required images are for demonstrating knowledge of techniques and may be set up just to demonstrate said techniques. Client work is still required, just not in these images. This change involves demonstrating 3:1 ratios, depth of field and lighting patterns. The next revision may include working with mixed light sources as well as a variety of lighting ratios. As the process is refined good ideas will be kept and bad ideas will be dropped. I see this as a positive change in the right direction and I look forward to seeing where it goes next.

True, that. However, you're describing a process that involves a detailed amount of effort to do properly (I've had some extensive training in that process, having been part of promotion testing teams for the USAF).

To do this correctly over time, at least two things should happen:

1. You make surveys (different methods of doing that) to determine what kinds of things really are indicative of "methods of artistic quality" in the community. We've discussed some of those already: How indicative, really, is obtaining a specific lighting ratio to knowing how to light a subject? You don't just pull those requirements out of a hat.

2. You carefully record and keep a history of the results of your testing and how those correspond to your actual goals. Say, for instance, you require broadlighting as a compulsory, and everyone turns in a broadlighted portrait...but most of them suck--including those from people whose other work was brilliant. If even the people who are otherwise brilliant all suck at a particular requirement, then the requirement is wrong. And why--to Rick's point--why would you require something that is known to generally suck?

Unless the revisions follow this kind of process, then every revision will be just repeated instances of trial and error and never actually "getting smarter next time." And, btw, this should be happening with the written test as well: There should be a specific statistical method of determining what knowledge is actually relevant in the industry today for testing, and for determining from the results of past tests whether or not those items are being successfully tested.

Now, I'm not opposed to the concept of compulsories--I was on board the first time I heard of it. For one thing, it makes clear what the purpose of the portfolio submission is supposed to be: A demonstration of your craftsmanship. But we do have to make sure it allows what it's intended to allow, and the process has to be one that takes rational steps to improvement.

Howard_Kier
04-03-2011, 07:23 PM
As a wedding photographer I took a close look at the wedding requirements. I have to admit that if these requirements had been in effect last November when I recertified, I would not have passed.


Closed or open loop; head shot Wedding portrait demonstrating short lighting Still life; product; food; model Individual portrait. Use of fill light or reflector to achieve 3:1 ratio.
In the way I shoot a wedding, I don't use a backdrop and usually work with existing light. I don't even use a reflector since I work alone. Do I unconsciously use my gear to obtain a 3:1 lighting ratio for short or broad lighting? I don't know. This requirement will force me to shoot specifically for the recertification portfolio rather than to submit actual client work.

While I agree it is important to know the basics of the profession, I fear the requirements have been created based on assumptions that ALL photographers in a category shoot the same way. I have to wonder if these requirements will cause some well qualified photographers to drop their certification rather than jump through all the hoops. We should remember the purpose of the certification program is to provide consumers with a seal of approval showing a basic level of competence. That is, distinguish professional photographers from moms with a camera. Personally, I would rather see the short and broad lighting requirements changed to something like effective use of light, balancing light using fill flash or something else to demonstrate the advanced knowledge and skill required to pull off the shot.

KirkDarling
04-03-2011, 07:50 PM
Personally, I would rather see the short and broad lighting requirements changed to something like effective use of light, balancing light using fill flash or something else to demonstrate the advanced knowledge and skill required to pull off the shot.

I'm wondering if in the early years of the program it would not be better to identify a list of compulsories and say, "Pick six," then make a careful analysis of results over the course of time.

Cassandra_Sullivan
04-04-2011, 12:43 AM
I wonder if these will be even more difficult for those that do not have a studio.

GregYager
04-04-2011, 01:19 AM
I wonder if these will be even more difficult for those that do not have a studio.

You don't need a studio to shoot a lighting pattern so I would think no.

Howard, you will still be submitting client work. It will just be in addition to the compulsory images.

Tougher is better. What value is certification if it's simple?

Michael_Gan
04-04-2011, 03:09 AM
Since I was part of the initial idea to have compulsories and worked these last three years to help develop this, let me help clear up some of the misunderstanding that is going on here. I thought I'd wait until the comments started to flow.

The idea of compulsories came about because the commission realized that "style" was not being taken into account. But, we had to see if the candidates could demonstrate what they took in the written exam. To put it another way, we wanted to see how much "photographer control", or "if the photographer knows what they're doing".

The purpose of the 3:1, as mentioned here is off base. It doesn't matter if we asked for 8:1 or 16:1. What's important is how the candidate is able to arrive at the 3:1 lighting using the various techniques, whether using natural lighting, or studio lights. The judges need to see if the candidate understands how that ratio is arrived.

With the popularity of flat lighting, we had to see if the candidates know some of the different directional lighting techniques. Short and Broad lighting are the two most prevalent and we want to see if they can do at least that. Remember, short and broad lighting is not exclusive to portraits, it's also a necessary ingrediant for commercial work.

Same with depth of field. In short, all three of the mandatory exercises pertain to portrait/wedding and commercial.

The other elective choices gives the candidates the choices based on their preferences of Portrait/Wedding, or commercial. Simple as that.

Another change is that it's not necessary to use actual client work to submit the compulsories. They still need to submit the other 14 images of clients. The judges will only look at those 14 if they have passed all 6 of the compulsories.

So this is it in its simplest form: We will take into account the candidates style, but the judges want to see if they know what they are doing in exchange.

Rick_Massarini
04-04-2011, 03:36 AM
Another change is that it's not necessary to use actual client work to submit the compulsories. They still need to submit the other 14 images of clients. The judges will only look at those 14 if they have passed all 6 of the compulsories.

Now that makes a lot more sense.
Just one more question... so would it be OK for an applicant to take a model into the studio (or outdoors) and just shoot the required six "demonstration" images of one person just to prove that they can do it (git-er-dun), and then have the rest of the images be from client work?

Michael_Gan
04-04-2011, 04:54 AM
Now that makes a lot more sense.
Just one more question... so would it be OK for an applicant to take a model into the studio (or outdoors) and just shoot the required six "demonstration" images of one person just to prove that they can do it (git-er-dun), and then have the rest of the images be from client work?
Sure. The judges need to see that each image is done correctly. Also, just to be safe, make sure the model is posed properly and color is right. Afterall, this is professional work:)

Rick_Massarini
04-04-2011, 05:10 AM
I was just curious since there are several PPLA members who are in the middle of the certification process and some may/will miss the print submission deadline this month, I just want to know what to tell them when they ask me about the requirement change.

Howard_Kier
04-04-2011, 08:10 AM
I have to say I am one of those without a studio. I work exclusively at weddings or special events. Excuse me Ms. Bride, allow me to setup these studio lights to use in the church during your wedding ceremony. Honestly, how am I going to meet the short and broad lighting ratio requirement using client images? Unfortunately, if there isn't a satisfactory answer, then I guess I've got five years to lobby for some sort of changes. If you can explain to me how to meet those requirements within the normal scope of my client work, then I'll support the change.

Howard_Kier
04-04-2011, 08:13 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick_Massarini http://www.ppa.com/community/forums/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.ppa.com/community/forums/showthread.php?p=252498#post252498)
Now that makes a lot more sense.
Just one more question... so would it be OK for an applicant to take a model into the studio (or outdoors) and just shoot the required six "demonstration" images of one person just to prove that they can do it (git-er-dun), and then have the rest of the images be from client work?

Sure. The judges need to see that each image is done correctly. Also, just to be safe, make sure the model is posed properly and color is right. Afterall, this is professional work:)So are you telling us the first six images no longer have to be paid client work or from 6 different sessions?

Michael_Gan
04-04-2011, 12:46 PM
So are you telling us the first six images no longer have to be paid client work or from 6 different sessions? I believe that's what I said in the previous post.

You don't need studio lights to achieve the ratio outdoors. I do it all the time with my environmental portraits either by using the right time of day, or, using subtractive light methods like a dark building, trees, or black reflector (lately called a gobo for some crazy reason).

Heather_L._Smith
04-04-2011, 02:39 PM
Michael clearly explained things well, but I wanted to reiterate for those that have "no studio" concerns.... Just because we aren't shooting in a studio does not mean that we, as professionals, can't achieve a lighting ratio, a lighting pattern, control depth of field, shoot high or low key, use a feminine or masculine pose, or any of the other requirements of certification. As was said earlier in the thread, certification is about getting a seal of approval that we are operating at a professional level and that we know what we're doing. We should be able to do that regardless of location.

Just because you may not use, for example, a short lighting pattern with a 3:1 lighting ratio in your everyday work doesn't mean you shouldn't know how to do it. These are basics, guys, not super complex lighting and posing scenarios.

Jeff_Dachowski
04-04-2011, 02:54 PM
Just curious... Ignoring how it might affect" you ". Does anyone think this is a bad idea?
Jeff

Stephanie_Millner
04-04-2011, 02:57 PM
I think it's a good idea, except that it's allowing you to show less paid client work. I think the examples of client work should stay at 20, and these should be in addition. Not instead.

Missy50
04-04-2011, 02:58 PM
As someone who is in the middle of the process, and has not yet submitted my 20, I am good with it. Seriously considering submitting after the changes take place.

Going through 2 years of archives looking for the perfectly but differently lit photos, is time consuming. And it seems like I will do another session and like something from that better. And then I swap out... For me it would be a lot easier to take one or two models, do the 6 compulsories, then select 14 more photos from my archives that are an example of my 'style' and turn it in.

I do understand that my 'style' needs to fall in the criteria as well.

I personally do not see where there will be much of a problem for the candidates. And I see some great positives.

KirkDarling
04-04-2011, 03:05 PM
black reflector (lately called a gobo for some crazy reason).


That's 'cause "black reflector" is even crazier...like George Carlin's "jumbo shrimp."

KirkDarling
04-04-2011, 03:10 PM
Just curious... Ignoring how it might affect" you ". Does anyone think this is a bad idea?
Jeff

Do you think it's a bad idea?

I've always thought having compulsories is a good idea. I was just questioning a couple of the particulars, specifically that they are "mandatory compulsories" rather than "elective compulsories" and one that IMO should be a "mandatory compulsories" instead of an "elective compulsories."

Somewhat off topic, I also think that establishing ratios by number--which was very important with film--is far, far less important with digital. It's a good thing to know in order to, for instance, precisely reproduce the look of images from one session to another...but not nearly as essential as it used to be.

Michael_Gan
04-04-2011, 03:40 PM
I disagree Kirk. As a judge, I can see where the lighting gaffs are due to poor understanding of the the relationship between the main light source and the fill light source. The lack of understanding of the light ratios are what's been causing the high rejection rates among candidates. Lack of understanding of directional light is a very, very close second.

Mark_Levesque
04-04-2011, 04:23 PM
How are the judges expected to judge the 3:1 ratio, and will an image with a proper lighting pattern that is not 3:1 be failed? Or is the 3:1 ratio a suggestion, with a relatively wide range of acceptable values?

Michael_Gan
04-04-2011, 04:38 PM
Unless we as judges actually go to the candidate's sessions with a light meter...no. Although it's pretty safe to say that all of the judges know the difference between a 3:1 and a 5:1. The key, again is that the candidate shows the ability for good directional light, and its importance to the dimensionality of the mask, or product.

KirkDarling
04-04-2011, 05:55 PM
I disagree Kirk. As a judge, I can see where the lighting gaffs are due to poor understanding of the the relationship between the main light source and the fill light source. The lack of understanding of the light ratios are what's been causing the high rejection rates among candidates. Lack of understanding of directional light is a very, very close second.

As you characterize it here, I would say the real issue there is whether the ratio is appropriate for the subject, not what it specifically is.

Jeff_Dachowski
04-04-2011, 09:11 PM
Kirk I agree with the changes. There is so much flat lit images within portfolios, it makes me think that the photos don't know there is anything else but 1:1.
Truth is even if imperfect, it is better that they are trying to raise the bar of imagery. As to the client work section, I question how many folks are using all client workin the first place. At least we can assume reasonable technical proficiency when joy in front of a client right?

ChristyLynn
04-04-2011, 09:29 PM
I'm excited about the changes. I think the level of my photography will be so much better.

KirkDarling
04-04-2011, 11:23 PM
Kirk I agree with the changes. There is so much flat lit images within portfolios, it makes me think that the photos don't know there is anything else but 1:1.

I agree with having compulsories. I don't think that direction a specific ratio actually tests the photographer's ability to select ratios appropriate.

Short lighting is short lighting, broad lighting is broad lighting...why inject a ratio in there? Which are you actually testing?

Just as there is are compulsories for "high key" and "low key," there should be simply "high ratio" and "low ratio." In all four cases, part of the judgment would not be simply whether the technical aspect was achieved, but also the appropriateness of the selected subject for that treatment. And I'm presuming the "key" challenges will be judged closely at the consistency of key of the various elements.

In all these cases, the "purpose" finally makes real sense in terms of affecting the judgment of the image. If the challenge is "low ratio," and it's not low ratio, then pass/fail speaks for itself. If it's 1:3, then we're left to guess as 1:2.5 or 1:3.5.

Michael_Gan
04-05-2011, 01:54 AM
The point here is that with a 3:1 short/broad, we can see how the candidate handles the detail in the shadow areas and for us, it's easier to see. Also, the higher ratios can seemingly look like one light just blasted on one side of the subjects face. 3:1 (or something close to it) will tell us if the candidate understands the interaction of the fill as it mixes in with the mainlight.

Kirk, I understand what you are saying, but to tell you the truth, the intended spirit of the ratios with the two lighting direction is to simply see if the candidate "gets it". I think you're looking at this in too complicated fashion.

Besides, like I said, I can see the difference between 2:1, 3:1 and 5:1, and I will bet bottom dollar that the other judges can see that too.