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Hatch1921
04-13-2011, 11:46 PM
*** Someone from one of the forums I belong to suggested I post this question here... which I thought was a great idea.***



Hi all,

Let me start by introducing myself... I'm Frank Hatcher "Hatch" and I recently posted on this topic about becoming a CPP. I'm a professional photographer based in Phoenix AZ. I attended a few AZPPA meetings and there was a push for people to pursue becoming a CPP. I was on that path as the blog post states (http://www.hatch1921.com/?p=3812)... and then I stopped.

So... I'm really curious to know more about how becoming a CPP has helped you or your business.

Please note... I'm not trying to upset anyone or cause problems... I'm all for people wanting to better themselves. I'm just at a crossroads so to speak about this whole program and what it will do for me and my business if I were to go forward with trying to become a CPP.

I posted the article on several popular web forums (Fred Miranda, Canon POTN, Camel Photo) and the responses have been from one end of the spectrum to the other. From professionals to amateur photographers..... all have been a passionate bunch.

Here is the link to my original post (http://www.hatch1921.com/?p=3812)

The following are the threads I started in the other forums...

CANON POTN FORUM (http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1018696)

Fred Miranda Forum (http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/994197/0)

Camel Photo Forum (http://photocamel.com/forum/photography-talk/130477-certified-professional-photographer.html)

As you can see... there is a lot of chatter about the CPP program...

Thanks for taking the time to respond.
Hatch
AZ PRO IMAGE (http://www.azproimage.com)

Mark_Levesque
04-14-2011, 02:12 AM
I read the blog post, not the others. I figure it is probably pretty representative of the variety of opinions.

It is not so surprising that you have quotes from uncertified but successful pros who are against certification. After all, they made it and didn't need to be certified to do so. Therefore it cannot be a prerequisite to success to be certified. Right?

Here's the deal. Certification does not guarantee success any more than lack of certification prevents it. Certification is a path, that's all. To navigate the path, you necessarily must acquire certain bits of knowledge (the exam) and apply them (the image submission). As time goes on, I expect the requirements to require more of the candidate (it seems to be taking that route.) All of this is a good thing.

Getting certified is much more important for the wannabe than the "already is" for the mere fact that the skills you need to acquire to be certified are those that you likely would already have if you were reasonably successful in the profession. People like Zach Arias perform at a high level and have developed a clientele, and so there is not much to be gained for him. But if you are not performing at his level and having his level of clientele, it's something you might want to think about.

Certification is about achieving a base level of competence. It means knowing enough of the technical aspects of photography to pass the exam, and having applied them often enough to put together 20 images from client sessions. I am willing to bet that Zach could do both tomorrow. So he wouldn't have to learn anything to become certified. Is it any wonder he doesn't value the process?

I am a believer in certification. For one thing, it helps elevate the profession. There are a gazillion fauxtographers out there, charging a farthing for crappy images. Unfortunately, they do a great disservice both to the photograph buying public as well as professional photographers trying to earn a living. Certification goes a long way to ensuring that pro photographers are making correctly exposed captures using appropriate equipment. If you are lacking in technical proficiency, certification will be a real shot in the arm towards improving your work. If you are already a rockstar, it will be perhaps a curiosity.

Where you are and where you're going dictate a lot about the utility of certification. For those of us who consider the profession as a whole, it's a good thing. If you are focused only on your own career, it may or may not be relevant depending on where you are.

Jeff_Dachowski
04-14-2011, 02:22 AM
Believe it or not there was similar dissidence among accounting professionals years ago when they developed their CPA program. They chose to have a far more stringent requirement including at least 150 hours past a traditional degree. Now that everyone has to be a CPA, do you ever hear any discussion about it?
JEff

Hatch1921
04-14-2011, 02:24 AM
Thank you Mark for taking the time to reply. I enjoyed your website and your blog. Lots of nice work in there.

Many things have been addressed for me in the other forums, who judges the photos... what credentials they have and so on. The new judging criteria looks like it will help standardize the submissions... well.. at least the mandatory images will help show you do know little something about lighting. I like the changes!

Zack has made it... and I wasn't expecting him to endorse the CPP program. I wanted to show both sides... I did send a note to Sandy Puc about the post and I know she is beyond busy...so no reply.

I like the idea of having some sort of baseline to show you are knowledgeable in your craft. As I have mentioned all along... it all goes back to the work you are producing, how you sell yourself and how you run your business.

My concerns as I mentioned in the post were how this was/is becoming a movement. It's good and bad. As you mentioned there are tons of photographers out there who are successful and have no need for this certification. Other will pursue it for many personal/professional reasons.

I'm just curious to how much this will improve the profession and if potential clients will start making their choices based on someone being a CPP.

It's been a great discussion all along... again.. both sides of the spectrum but very interesting.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply.
Hatch

Hatch1921
04-14-2011, 03:45 AM
Believe it or not there was similar dissidence among accounting professionals years ago when they developed their CPA program. They chose to have a far more stringent requirement including at least 150 hours past a traditional degree. Now that everyone has to be a CPA, do you ever hear any discussion about it?
JEff

Thank you Jeff for the comments. Really enjoyed your work as well. I don't disagree there is a need for this profession to have standards. Maybe 5 years from now the public will be educated to some of the standards which are in the works or at least being promoted by top level photographers. I don't think the CPP is in the same league as the CPA path you mentioned, but it is a start.

I'm not complaining about the CPP process now that I have a better understanding of what it is and what it isn't. As mentioned in the post, I've just had questions all along.

I do appreciate the feedback. :)

Hatch

Rob_Wilson
04-14-2011, 04:18 AM
So... I'm really curious to know more about how becoming a CPP has helped you or your business.


I don't understand why anyone would think a CPP title could help a business. It's more of a personal achievement then anything else. I think it's great that people decide to take that route. I wish I would get off my butt and do it....for me, it will in noway make me anymore money. It may give you some respect to some photographers in the industry, and that may be a good enough reason for some to strive for a Masters or CPP.

Read the No B.S. Sales Success in the New Economy or any of the no B.S. book and that will indeed do more for you business then a CPP title.

It's like saying if I had a store front I would make more money. Without a business plan, good sales techniques, great marketing....you will have your grand opening scratching your head wondering why nobody is walking in. Now what?

Learn how to network effectively, that's get you more business then a CPP.

I can list 100 things that could get you more business then a CPP, but it's time for bed. Most of us know thisl

Just my thoughts.

Stan_Lawrence
04-14-2011, 04:40 AM
Believe it or not there was similar dissidence among accounting professionals years ago when they developed their CPA program. They chose to have a far more stringent requirement including at least 150 hours past a traditional degree. Now that everyone has to be a CPA, do you ever hear any discussion about it?
JEff

Jeff, I'm not sure that example really works here.... an accountant is what most would consider a non creative occupation(at least for those not in jail), kinda the opposite of what we do. I can see the accreditation working in that industry, I think it's difficult to certify an artist....:cool:

Michael_Gan
04-14-2011, 05:05 AM
Rob, it is our hope that if the certification movement takes off to where there are a lot of them, then the public will eventually notice. Stan not-with-standing :D I know that I would pick a CPA over an accountant, and I would say that the general public would do the same. It's a form of customer assurance that the photographer is somewhat competent in what they do.

Photographers are a "me too" kind of crowd - look at the how styles catch on like wildfire like photojournalism weddings (a few years back) and flat contrasty portraits (currently). We currently stand at close to 1600 certifieds in the country with about 1500 still waiting to qualify. My guess will be that when we reach about 3500 certified photographers, the numbers will start to grow exponentially. We hope to have the strength in numbers in about 5 years.

So, right now, the current crop of CPPs are leaders, and the followers are not too far behind. Doesn't that sound familiar with anything else in this world that is introduced (think of the first iPhones)?

Stan_Lawrence
04-14-2011, 05:27 AM
Stan not-with-standing :D I know that I would pick a CPA over an accountant, and I would say that the general public would do the same. It's a form of customer assurance that the photographer is somewhat competent in what they do.


Michael, I would also pick a cpa/ea over an accountant.... I want someone with the best training to decipher my books.... if I were to hire an artist to create a work of art, a cpp would likely not be my first choice. They are just not the same type of work....:cool:

Hatch1921
04-14-2011, 06:29 AM
I don't understand why anyone would think a CPP title could help a business

Wouldn't it be used as a marketing tool to help you standout from the other photographers in your area? Did you watch the video in my post? The lady clearly states this...

So... it could be used in business... but... as I've said all along... the work you produce and how you sell yourself ... gets the client. Now... if you and another photographer produce almost identical work... and you both have great personalities...one has a CPP and one doesn't... then who would the potential client choose? :) Just something to think about I suppose...

Hatch

Cassandra_Sullivan
04-14-2011, 01:21 PM
Wouldn't it be used as a marketing tool to help you standout from the other photographers in your area? Did you watch the video in my post? The lady clearly states this...

So... it could be used in business... but... as I've said all along... the work you produce and how you sell yourself ... gets the client. Now... if you and another photographer produce almost identical work... and you both have great personalities...one has a CPP and one doesn't... then who would the potential client choose? :) Just something to think about I suppose...

Hatch

Exactly - ALL other things being equal - the CPP would probably get the client.

Mark_Levesque
04-14-2011, 01:44 PM
I think it's difficult to certify an artist..

This is where a lot of the misunderstanding stems from. CPP is NOT about certifying an artist. It is about certifying a technician. Big difference. Your artistry, or lack thereof, is a separate issue from certification. Certification is about technical proficiency. Do you understand the difference between raw and jpeg? Do you understand appropriate lighting techniques? Do you understand how lens choice affects the image? With the skills acquired in the CPP process, you have the tools to create art. but that doesn't mean you have the soul of an artist.


I don't understand why anyone would think a CPP title could help a business.

It's not the title, it's the process. Improving your camera skills should have a positive effect on your business, all else being equal. And it's a marketing differentiator, as well. If you can't leverage additional abilities into more business, you've got problems, no?

KirkDarling
04-14-2011, 02:08 PM
It's not perfect, but it's a step that can help people in different ways, if they want it. Joey Lawrence doesn't need it, Lord Snowden didn't need it.

In some markets, there are people who make note of such things. Photographers will argue that some clients look at the equipment you're using, the clothes you wear, the car you drive, and whether you carry an iPad. There are clients who have alphbet behind their names who will notice alphabet behind your name, too.

Jeff_Dachowski
04-14-2011, 02:10 PM
Jeff, I'm not sure that example really works here.... an accountant is what most would consider a non creative occupation(at least for those not in jail), kinda the opposite of what we do. I can see the accreditation working in that industry, I think it's difficult to certify an artist....:cool:

Stan,
I am not saying it is an exact match, just saying there were similiar discussions like this, and now the public has become educated to a certain quality and quantity of education and proficiency. Now, many folks can call themselves accountant, but they can not say they are CPA's unless they have met those requirements. It is the same in our industry, anyone can say they are a photographer, but only those who have met the requirement can say they are CPP's.

One tricky thing though is that although we have an art side to us, we are also a very technical occupation. To some degree we are like architects that use both sides of our brain to produce work for our clients. An eye for beauty, and a mastery of techinical proficient skills. We can't qulaify the art side, but we can qualify the technical side.
Jeff

Stan_Lawrence
04-14-2011, 02:14 PM
Now... if you and another photographer produce almost identical work... and you both have great personalities...one has a CPP and one doesn't... then who would the potential client choose? :) Just something to think about I suppose...

Hatch

You bring up the great photog fantasy.... clients choose us for our work. It's a part of the equation, albeit a very small part. Personality, yes, brand, yes, studio decor, yes, a whole lot of things go into the clients choice. For my business, I'd take an established brand over a cpp any day, as would most clients. :cool:

Stan_Lawrence
04-14-2011, 02:22 PM
It is the same in our industry, anyone can say they are a photographer, but only those who have met the requirement can say they are CPP's.

One tricky thing though is that although we have an art side to us, we are also a very technical occupation. We can't qulaify the art side, but we can qualify the technical side.
Jeff

Anyone and their entire family can be photogs...;) you're using the designation to separate yourself from the pretend photogs. I agree with the concept, just not the method. When a client walks into my studio, there are a lot of things that create that separation. Things that are very clear and make it easy for the client to make that distinction. Kinda like the folded tp in the hotel bathroom. That tells you the room was cleaned, whether it was or not.
Technical qualification.... again, I see the concept, just not sure this will do the job. In the client's eyes, it's really not about skill, it's about the perception of skill. Of course, just my opinion.... :cool:

Michael_Gan
04-14-2011, 02:31 PM
You bring up the great photog fantasy.... clients choose us for our work. It's a part of the equation, albeit a very small part. Personality, yes, brand, yes, studio decor, yes, a whole lot of things go into the clients choice. For my business, I'd take an established brand over a cpp any day, as would most clients. :cool:One componant that you're not seeing is the continuing education that a CPP must fulfill in order to continue to be a CPP. Some are having troubles renewing because they think they can submit images in the style they did 5 years ago without education.

All of the things you mentioned can be addressed through the education process.

You missed one important ingredient in your list for studio success: Visioning - the ability to look into the future at set the trends to consumer perceptions. Everything you mentioned is based on the here and now. Certification is certainly part of a larger picture for the near, and long term future, and how the consumer preferences will someday gravitate.

Stan_Lawrence
04-14-2011, 03:06 PM
You missed one important ingredient in your list for studio success: Visioning - the ability to look into the future at set the trends to consumer perceptions. Everything you mentioned is based on the here and now. Certification is certainly part of a larger picture for the near, and long term future, and how the consumer preferences will someday gravitate.

Michael, there are a lot of photogs that see future trends, and make the changes needed to keep up with them. There are also photogs, yourself included, that produce timeless work and don't really need to follow trends. Those folks are usually very successful. I'm afraid, once again, we're not going to find common ground on this one... :cool:

Hatch1921
04-14-2011, 03:56 PM
You bring up the great photog fantasy.... clients choose us for our work. It's a part of the equation, albeit a very small part. Personality, yes, brand, yes, studio decor, yes, a whole lot of things go into the clients choice. For my business, I'd take an established brand over a cpp any day, as would most clients. :cool:


Well... for now it's a small part of the equation but CPP is being promoted among some of the top professionals and of course through organizations like this one and the local clubs.... and if it does catch on...

I do agree... it's the clients choice and they either like your style of work or to the seek out another photographer. It really does... IMO...all come back to the work you are producing.


Great responses all.. thanks for taking the time to reply.
Hatch

Michael_Gan
04-14-2011, 08:56 PM
Michael, there are a lot of photogs that see future trends, and make the changes needed to keep up with them. There are also photogs, yourself included, that produce timeless work and don't really need to follow trends. Those folks are usually very successful. I'm afraid, once again, we're not going to find common ground on this one... :cool:I'm reminded of a quote in one of my favorite movies: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...or the one". It's not a question of trends but what can be done to elevate the future of this profession. And perhaps, I'll someday die trying:)

Stan_Lawrence
04-14-2011, 10:32 PM
I'm reminded of a quote in one of my favorite movies: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...or the one". It's not a question of trends but what can be done to elevate the future of this profession. And perhaps, I'll someday die trying:)

I couldn't agree more on elevating the profession, and there are some great ways we can help that along. You believe the cpp program will do that, I believe business education will do that. Let's hope one of us is successful...:cool:

cpp_upload
04-15-2011, 12:12 AM
I've yet to take the exam and am submitting images this week, but I can tell you that the preparation for this certification has without a doubt taught me many things that should improve my photographs: when to use broad lighting, short lighting, lens selection for face shapes, the color wheel for skin processing (now I know WHY yellow removes blue : ). This has been an exciting process and I am forever grateful there IS such a process. It has been quite an experience to be teaching myself everything in piecemeal fashion with little organized guidance for the past 3 years. This is as close as I've been able to get to the academic approach I'm most familiar with (I have a MS in psychology and teach at a college full-time).

Grateful I am.

KirkDarling
04-15-2011, 10:52 AM
I couldn't agree more on elevating the profession, and there are some great ways we can help that along. You believe the cpp program will do that, I believe business education will do that. Let's hope one of us is successful...:cool:

Why only one of you? I rather hope both of you are.

Stan_Lawrence
04-15-2011, 01:03 PM
Why only one of you? I rather hope both of you are.

Could be both... I was hoping at least one of us was successful.... :cool:

Mark_Levesque
04-15-2011, 01:56 PM
I couldn't agree more on elevating the profession, and there are some great ways we can help that along. You believe the cpp program will do that, I believe business education will do that.

Sounds like there is a difference in what it means to elevate the profession. If everybody takes crappy pictures, but makes money at it, well I suppose that's "elevated". On the other hand, if everyone makes beautiful images, but starves to death, is that really elevated? Sounds like we need some chocolate with that peanut butter. Better images AND more money. Now THAT seems like an elevation we can all agree with.

GregYager
04-15-2011, 02:03 PM
Stan, there will never be common ground between you and Michael on this because he is a CPP and you're not. The simple laws of human nature says that you will feel the need to defend your position.

Certification alone will not make a person successful just like business skills alone will not make a person a successful photographer. They are both essential elements in the process.

Becoming a CPP has had a major impact on the success of my studio and this is due in large part to the fact that I educated my client base on the aspects of what certification means. You can consider my small community somewhat of a test bed for the idea of how the program will work once the public awareness is accomplished. When they know what it is it becomes the line in the sand between myself and the plethora of emerging photographers with nothing more than a set of business cards and an idea.

If I merely added the letters after my name then I doubt I would have seen any benefit. My average sale amount is now double what it was prior to receiving my certification. Educating the public creates positive results. That's a result I can live with.

The movement to make people aware of what a certified photographer is has begun and it's gaining momentum. I see it as more than just a personal achievement but also a very positive trend for our profession.

Cassandra_Sullivan
04-15-2011, 02:07 PM
Greg - Can you share the ways that you went about educating the public? Start a new thread if you feel we're getting off-topic...

Stan_Lawrence
04-15-2011, 02:13 PM
Stan, there will never be common ground between you and Michael on this because he is a CPP and you're not. The simple laws of human nature says that you will feel the need to defend your position.


No need to defend my position, I'm very comfortable on the couch...;) Just a difference of opinion on how to solve the same problem. I respect Michael's opinion, I just don't see it the same way. :cool:

KirkDarling
04-15-2011, 02:19 PM
Becoming a CPP has had a major impact on the success of my studio and this is due in large part to the fact that I educated my client base on the aspects of what certification means. You can consider my small community somewhat of a test bed for the idea of how the program will work once the public awareness is accomplished. When they know what it is it becomes the line in the sand between myself and the plethora of emerging photographers with nothing more than a set of business cards and an idea.

If I merely added the letters after my name then I doubt I would have seen any benefit. My average sale amount is now double what it was prior to receiving my certification. Educating the public creates positive results. That's a result I can live with.


Maybe what it really did was spur you in subtle ways.

GregYager
04-15-2011, 02:55 PM
Cassandra I feel we are very much still on topic so I'll gladly explain here.

To set the scene let me tell you a bit about my market area. I'm located in a small town of just over 3,000 residents. My county population is around 10,000. We have one local newspaper. I can drive from the East side of town to the West side of town in under 5 minutes.

Last summer I found myself in a bit of a dilemma. New photographers began popping up everywhere I turned and all of them had low prices which was making it hard for me to compete. I needed something to separate me from that crowd. That's when I discovered the certification program. To me it was professionalism with predictability and I knew I could capitalize on that. I immediately set out on a quest to become certified so I joined the PPA in August and received my certification in November.

Once I had that certificate in my hand I set out to inform the public what it meant. Here's a bullet list of how I did it.

1. I ran a press release in my local paper that not only announced that I had become certified but also explained what certification meant to my clients. It explained the predictability they could expect from a certified professional.

2. One week later I also posted the same announcement on my Facebook page as well as my web site. I waited a week to maximize the exposure. Posting them at the same time would only give me about a week of chatter.

3. I put the certificate on my wall the day it arrived and made sure it was in a prominent location. I immediately began using it as a conversation piece in my sales process. This was most effective on brides. I reminded them that there were no "do-overs" in wedding photography and trusting such an important endeavor to a self proclaimed pro was a risk they really didn't want to take. I have had 15 wedding consultations since I became certified...I have all 15 currently on my calendar.

4. I have a 60" plasma tv in my front window that plays a continuous slide show 24 hours a day. I have the certification logo incorporated into that slideshow so that it pops up every 2 minutes. Everyone that stops by the front of my studio to see the new pictures that week will be exposed to a 60" logo that says I'm certified.

5. I changed my price list that used to be a simple page with individual sizes and prices listed to a product catalog. The certification logo is displayed prominently on the front.

6. I wear my certification pin. It stands out so people notice it.

These are all changes that helped my client base see me as more of a professional but the most important change was the fact that I saw myself as more of a professional. It was the mindset that I needed in order to allow me to promote my product in a way that was much more profitable. It's not arrogance but rather confidence and it's made it possible for me to present both myself and my work as something that's worth spending more on.

I make it a point to stay in contact with all photographers in my area and through these conversations I have learned that their business is decreasing dramatically. I see the evidence of this on their facebook posts as well. They all say the same thing that the economy is killing them. My story is different. My sales are up dramatically and the growth is continuing. Did certification make this happen? I would say yes, it played a very major role and I'm looking forward to what the future brings.

GregYager
04-15-2011, 03:30 PM
Maybe what it really did was spur you in subtle ways.

You are very right Kirk. I started this quest with the goal of showing my clients what made me different and I ended up proving the same to myself as well. Inner strength goes a long way in this business.

Since becoming certified I shoot differently, I present my work differently, I dress differently, I talk differently. Everything I do now has a purpose and I present everything I do with a winning attitude. Certification was the spark that started that fire.

Christine_Walsh-Newton
04-15-2011, 04:46 PM
Certification was the spark that started that fire.

Agreed! (for me, personally)

Cassandra_Sullivan
04-15-2011, 05:14 PM
Thank You Greg for taking the time to type out your detailed response! Very good stuff!

Hatch1921
04-16-2011, 10:37 PM
Many thanks Greg and all for the great comments.

Hatch

pete_rezac
05-08-2011, 05:40 AM
Greg - you're awesome! Well said and very true!

Vance_Wagener
05-09-2011, 03:32 AM
Greg, would you mind sharing your press release? I could really use something to template off of. I personally have never written one and know there is an art to it.

GregYager
05-09-2011, 02:31 PM
I would be happy to. It was short and to the point but it really got people to talking. Small towns love stuff like this.
Press Release

November 13, 2010 For More Information: Greg Yager
For Immediate Release 270.389.2535

Local Photographer Earns Certification

Greg Yager of Yager Studios in Morganfield, KY has earned the Certified Professional Photographer(CPP) designation from the Professional Photographic Certification Commission.

Mr Yager earned this designation after meeting rigorous requirements measuring his artistic and technical competence. The Professional Photographic Certification Commission currently recognizes less than 2,000 Certified Professional Photographers. Less than 3 percent of working photographers manage to attain this certification of excellence.

The Professional Photographic Certification Commission is the leading body for certifying imaging professionals. Certified Professional Photographers must complete a written examination, an intense image evaluation and adhere to a stringent code of conduct. Certification must be renewed on a periodic basis, ensuring continuing confidence in the professionalism of Certified Professional Photographers.

# # # #

Greg Yager, CPP
Yager Studios
270.389.2535 - Studio
270.952.4536 - Cell
*PHOTO ATTACHED*

Stan_Lawrence
05-09-2011, 05:33 PM
The Professional Photographic Certification Commission is the leading body for certifying imaging professionals.

Just a quick question, Greg.... if I were a consumer reading this PR, would I know what an imaging professional is? :cool:

GregYager
05-09-2011, 07:02 PM
Just a quick question, Greg.... if I were a consumer reading this PR, would I know what an imaging professional is? :cool:

Based on the number of people that commented to me about it I would say they figured it out.

Still a good point though. I put this together quick and skipped a lot of things that I could have included.

rulephoto
06-08-2011, 02:03 PM
So... I'm really curious to know more about how becoming a CPP has helped you or your business.


I don't understand why anyone would think a CPP title could help a business. It's more of a personal achievement then anything else. I think it's great that people decide to take that route. I wish I would get off my butt and do it....for me, it will in noway make me anymore money. It may give you some respect to some photographers in the industry, and that may be a good enough reason for some to strive for a Masters or CPP.

Read the No B.S. Sales Success in the New Economy or any of the no B.S. book and that will indeed do more for you business then a CPP title.

It's like saying if I had a store front I would make more money. Without a business plan, good sales techniques, great marketing....you will have your grand opening scratching your head wondering why nobody is walking in. Now what?

Learn how to network effectively, that's get you more business then a CPP.

I can list 100 things that could get you more business then a CPP, but it's time for bed. Most of us know thisl

Just my thoughts.

I can't agree more with Rob, certification is totally a personal achievement. If this is important for you then go for it. Yes you can use it as an advertising tool but now you are just talking business practice and tools.

I graduated with a degree in photography back in 1980, I worked as a technical photographer for an engineering firm for about 10 years. There is no way I could have survived in my own studio, I knew a lot about photography but nothing about business. I left that career an became a junior sales rep for a construction supplies company, this company was acquired several times over and made it up the ladder to senior sales manager in charge of several steel plants in Ontario. The company was sold once again and I got a buyout, too young to retire I decided to go back to my roots and my passion and open a photography studio. I now had good solid business skills, networking and knowing how to sell and more importantly where to sell my services are the keys to success. Quality of work is very important to me and to my clients, if I don't have the expertise I hire it in or I sub out the job that's something most photographer would never dream of doing.
Good photography is a craft but more importantly for me it is a business that I have a passion for. My studio continues to grow and now employs several people even in a down economy, yet I have no accreditation.

Technology has taken much of the mystery out of photography. I can give my neighbor's 10 year old a Canon G11 set in the auto program mode, tell him to shoot pictures and they will for the most part come back properly exposed granted the composition and lighting choices be off but they will far better than most film pictures people took just a few years ago. Many amateurs have good business sense and no expenses to speak of they also have a differnt primary source of income, they are our most dangerous competition and it will get worse. Taking business management training or sales and marketing courses are far more important than photography certification.

Just my 2 cents

Denis

Stan_Lawrence
06-08-2011, 02:37 PM
Many amateurs have good business sense and no expenses to speak of they also have a differnt primary source of income, they are our most dangerous competition and it will get worse. Taking business management training or sales and marketing courses are far more important than photography certification.


Couldn't agree more on the business training, have to disagree on the "competition"....if we choose to compete in the same market as the weekend warriors, we have an uphill battle. If we choose to serve a different market, a more affluent market, the pretend pros won't be an issue.....:cool:

GregYager
06-08-2011, 04:29 PM
The debate will run for a long time on this subject. Most people don't want to admit it but it' largely a case of self justification. People that have succeeded without it feel the need to justify how it's not needed. People that have learned how to use it to their advantage feel the need to justify it's importance. In my case I did very well for 15 years without it but when I decided to become certified I did even better. I didn't look for an excuse to not do it....I looked for ways to make it work for me. You find what you seek. Seek a reason to not do it...you'll find it.
Seek a reason to do it...you'll find it.
I could run my studio for the next 20 years without advertising and still survive. I could choose to advertise for the next 20 years and do even better. It all comes down to what you do with it, not what it does alone.

I firmly believe that certification will carry much more weight in 10 years than it does today. It can become the line in the sand between amateurs and pros if the photography profession will embrace it's potential. The toughest hurdle is the old school shooters that really don't want to make the effort to support it because they're only interested in what it can do for them and they're not so interested in what it can do for professional photography as a whole.

KirkDarling
06-09-2011, 02:43 AM
Greg, doncha know, it's because we're artistes, and artistery can't be certified.