View Full Version : Classes to aid in becoming certified

12-26-2006, 03:31 PM
Is anyone familiar with classes in the Southern California area that can aid in becoming certified? I am unable to make it to the conventions due to family and day job requirements so I'm hoping to find a course or class or something that I can take to help me in the process. I can read all I want, but I need to have an instructor or mentor to help me with the finer points of the art. I tried doing search in this forum for "classes" but that didn't result in any answers.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.


12-26-2006, 05:23 PM
I struggle with the whole should I become certified or not. There have been study or focus groups in the past. If you wanted to start one, I'd join in. I think they did it where they read the book and once a week got together and talked about it via online chat room or phone.

12-26-2006, 06:46 PM
I'm in on a study group!

12-26-2006, 07:23 PM
My problem is that I'm not near the quality of my shots to get certified. What I was hoping was to get an idea of classes in the Southern California area that I can take to improve my technical ability. The workshops via the PPA site are in San Francisco, the Super Mondays have been canceled in my area, so I'm trying to find classes I can take.

12-26-2006, 09:17 PM
In our area sometimes local guilds will have a study group to prepare for the written exam. These usually meet once a month for six or seven months. I don't know of any classes like that to improve your photography. I know that at least one of our local guilds has a mentor program which is one on one

12-27-2006, 02:21 AM
best way to improve your photography is to shoot more.

Attend workshops not just sponsored by PPA but by other photographers. Find a photographer in your area who's work you like and see if they'd like to have a free PA. If you don't have the technical know how, that might be the perfect reason to start a study group as learning the technical side is imho the hardest part. Once you have an understanding of light and how to read it via your camera, everything else will fall into place.

But agian, that's just my opinion. Also, I think either Stand or Derek is in Cali? the east meets west guys. But do jaw dropping work. Pester them, but don't tell them I said to do so. Errrrr wait, I have a sneaking suspicion they may find out.......

12-27-2006, 02:31 AM
I'm actually thinking of joining PortraNET since I'm looking to get into portraiture. I've read some very good reviews on their site and the images are phenomenal. I figure by doing so I can build up a portfolio of images that I can use for that part of the certification.

12-27-2006, 03:22 AM
I thought the images used in the certification had to be from paying clients?

And you read good reviews on their site? do you think they'd list any bad ones? lol.

12-27-2006, 02:50 PM
Correct, the images from certification have to be from actual clients. Here's the text:

Twent (20) photographic accomplishments are required. They must be from twenty different job assignments completed within the last 24 months. No two assignments entered may be of the same subject. Self-Assignment images are not considered a job assignment and will be rejected"

So... there's that. I've got a few things to wrap up this morning but Ariston I'll address your main question in a bit :)

12-27-2006, 02:59 PM
I thought the images used in the certification had to be from paying clients?

And you read good reviews on their site? do you think they'd list any bad ones? lol.

Maybe not bad ones, but definitely skeptical ones. There are several "too good to be true" initial posts and then a month later followed up by "this place rocks" kind of posts. I haven't read anything negative about that site anywhere on the Internet yet...

Betsy, thank you for clearing that up. With what you said in mind, the goal will be to build a portfolio of good portrait images which can be used to gain paying clients.


12-27-2006, 03:14 PM
Oh, and one other thing. I don't have any experience with the one site you listed, but I have an option for you (with free trial period!).


Especially because there are PPA merit assignments that you can complete monthly for service merits (e.g. can't get print merits).

I have been participating at PWS and like it. You'll also recognize a few key names ;) from here on the forum.

12-27-2006, 10:27 PM
Help me out here Betsy, don't they have seminars on certification? I mean it seems to me some affiliate schools like MAIPP used to have a boot camp or something where you could go take classes for a few days and then take the test. Is that no longer going on or am I remebering things that didn't happen again.:confused:

12-28-2006, 11:47 PM
Help me out here Betsy, don't they have seminars on certification? I mean it seems to me some affiliate schools like MAIPP used to have a boot camp or something where you could go take classes for a few days and then take the test. Is that no longer going on or am I remebering things that didn't happen again.:confused:

Hmm.... you know that is a good question. I didn't find any resources like that when I was studying -- I mainly depended on the books and on the great study group formed here on ourppa ;) ;).

I took a quick look on www.certifiedphotographer.com and didn't see anything like you're referring to -- maybe one of our certification liasons can chime in here, as I'd think they would have better knowledge! (I'll check on this)

if you can find that course/review session, that sounds great. Otherwise, you can create a self-study course (basically) -- e.g. a study group. I'm sure there is enough interest to create an online one here -- there have been 2 study groups (at least) formed using the forum since the beginning of the year. We can even help get you started :D

12-29-2006, 02:33 AM
Gary Meek has taught a week long course with the certification program in mind. I've googled him but cannot find anything. He's a director with PPA, you might send him an email and ask...


12-29-2006, 10:36 AM
Don's closer to what I was remembering. Seems a couple of State groups used to host jam sessions for three days before the liason gave the test. You know come to the convention on Friday and take classes all weekend ending with the exam on Monday morning. I was never a fan of this approach in the first place. I think it was going on when they first made CPP a requirement for the Masters. It left allot of people on the threshold in a tight spot so they were just trying to help out that specific group of soon to be Masters. Sorry for the detour! Doesn't look like anyone is doing this anymore. Good thing to, in my opinion. Cramming for a quiz hardly takes the place of real study and comprehension.

12-29-2006, 12:47 PM

One of the best ways to hone your portrait skills is to enter as much as you can into print competitions. Your local affiliate, Inland Empire, Has certain months dedicated to print comp. Also, The California State competition is coming up in January in San Diego. www.prophotoca.com (http://www.prophotoca.com) .

Northern California Professional Photographers has a 6 week study group where they tackle 2 to 3 chapters a week in the "Photography" book by Upton. Then we have Roger Daines, M.Photog.Cr.API fly up for two days to fine tune everybody's understanding of the book. Last September, 13 out 14 passed the exam. 8 of 9 passed the images in October with the other 5 submitting/resubmitting in February.


12-29-2006, 03:11 PM

That study group would be great if there were something here in southern california. I'll check the IEPPV and see what they have going.

12-29-2006, 04:48 PM
Hi Ariston,

When I started doing portraiture about 6 years ago I was not aware of any certification program. I just wanted to do good work. But I wanted my name to come up when the local folks look for a PPA photographer. I took the written test last October and passed. I just need to submit the portraits (this February.) The test proctor looked at my work and felt I should have no problem based on what he saw. I tell you how I got this far.

For the technical stuff I could not afford all the books on the recommended reading list, so I purchased PHOTPGRAPHY by Horenstein & Hart ($65 used softcover). If there was a section on stuff I did not understand, that is what I read up on. I’ve just dabbled in photography since about 1963, In the last five years I have looked at all the books in our local library if they had information I was lacking. When I saw the good ones at ½ Priced Books I bought them for my personal library. They were on EVERY type of photography except the modern day “glamour”. IMO it can all come into play when doing portraiture, especially weddings. That’s what I take to read when on vacation or have to sit in a waiting room.

I like the old Hollywood style portrait so I picked up a book on that topic by Roger Hicks and Christopher Nisperos. The most important thing I learned from that book was how to read the lighting patterns in a photograph (shadow direction, catch lights, etc). So when you see a portrait you like (wall photos in stores, TV dramas, fashion magazines, what ever) you can tell how the lights were set up.

While on business trip for my “day” job I picked up THE BEST OF TEEN and SENIOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY by Bill Hurter. I was blown away by the work showcased in it by the different photographers that had provided samples of their work. I checked out the websites of the styles I liked and bookmarked them, like I do of people in this forum. It used to discourage me a little when I would see the great stuff some folks were turning out. Now good work inspires me!

When I saw poses in a magazine I liked, I would tear them out and save them for future use. Fashion mags are good for this. One Sunday a few years back, we did a marathon portrait session with my teenage daughter and five of her friends. We had plenty of their favorite food and drink. Before the shoot my wife and I looked over the photos and would determine which ones would work best for each girl (body type & face) so they would not all look the same. It was a ton of work, but we learned a lot. And of course the best ones we put in our portfolio and web site, which helped draw paying clients. We also had some elderly friends, those with photogenic children, and people with pets sit for us to give us experience and add to the variety of our portfolio.

Like someone said earlier, shoot as much as you can. For me this means all type of photography. When deciding where to go for our anniversaries, my wife asks if I would like to go somewhere photogenic. To me it does not matter. If we are in the country I’ll do landscapes, in the city architecture, waterfront, parks , you get the idea. It is all practice. Sometimes you even get to sell some of it. There could be people (read portraits) placed in any of those same locations, but now you have the confidence you can do it because you’ve done it before.

I know this is quite a ramble for a guy that has yet to be certified, but I am confident I will be in 2007. I just thought this info would help, since you did not have much time for the class room (day job get in the way), and being in the Pacific NW not may seminars make it up here anyway.

Don Nealious

12-29-2006, 05:40 PM
Oh, about those books on the recommended reading list -- there are a number of decent ones on there. If you want to just pick and choose a few, that's probably not a bad idea. When I read through them (bought used from Amazon, mostly), I wrote little reviews to remind myself what they were about and how well I liked them. If you want to get a feel for which ones I thought were helpful, you can read through them here:



01-16-2007, 04:55 PM
The Certification Exam is the only exam that I've ever heard of that there is no preparation classes available. I hate to do something that I can't prepare for...

01-16-2007, 05:18 PM
Hi Bill;

How far from Philly area are you ? A friend of mine holds certification prep' classes. If you are close enough I'll give you his information.

Have you checked with any of the New York groups to see if anyone there gives a prep class ? The state has a lot of groups within the entire state group and maybe one can help.

Contact the PPA C.P.P. Liaison for New York state and ask them if they know of a prep class.

It is not allowed to give the certification test the same day as a prep class.

01-16-2007, 06:38 PM
I'm on Long Island, but haven't heard of been able to find a class or workshop. Do you know of any in New York???

01-16-2007, 07:37 PM
Hi Bill;

No I haven't. The PPA C.P.P. Liaisons for New York would be the one to ask that. You could also check with the New Jersey groups as well as Connecticut. I'm going to list a number of C.P.P. Liaisons for you. I'm liaison for Pennsylvania.

For Connecticut it's Marie Curtis (860)349-8679. For New Jersey it's the guy I told you about who gives C.P.P. prep classes ... Al DiCampli at (610) 328-5511. For New York: Frank Dispenza (845) 297-1134 / James Patchter (518) 885- 6826 / Tammy Loya (518) 885-2704 and for Long Island ! ... Terry Small (516) 221-4058 . I hope this helps. All these names came right off the PPA site under Certification Liaisons. Good luck.

01-16-2007, 07:57 PM
Hi Bill;

I'm attaching a .pdf Al DiCampli sent about his prep class.

02-22-2007, 01:10 PM
Well guys, I found that this year Arizona PPA offered 4 review sessions in the months leading up the the CPP exam. A bit after the fact...but I suspect they may do one next year too...

Open Letter to Photographers & CPP Candidates
Since the Certified Professional Photographer degree program is sponsored by Professional Photographers of America, one needs to be a member of the national organization. Go to www.ppa.com for more information on the how-&-why to join as well as most of the specifics of the Certification process.
As far as what I'm operating, it is an eight-hour "review of photography" spread over four two-hour sessions on the Sunday nights (6-8PM) preceding the APPA Convention...
go to http://www.arizonappa.com/
click on Information > Seminars/Conventions

Anyways, found that, and wanted to share. :cool:

02-22-2007, 01:34 PM
Hi Betsy;

Actually, someone can take the certification exam without being a member of PPA. However, I don't think anyone ever does because of the price difference. If a member, the price is around $100.00 but if not a member it's more like $400.00. So for the difference they might as well join.

02-22-2007, 02:01 PM
Hi Betsy;

Actually, someone can take the certification exam without being a member of PPA. However, I don't think anyone ever does because of the price difference. If a member, the price is around $100.00 but if not a member it's more like $400.00. So for the difference they might as well join.

Craig, I know that. I actually just skimmed APPA's website and wanted to quote some of their info since I wanted to share the review group information. Yup, you're right. (sorry should have read a little more thoroughly!)

02-23-2007, 09:27 PM
I am late to this topic; however, I would love to know of a prep class in NYC, since I reside in The Bronx, and Long Island travel is a major ordeal (especially when one doesn't have a car). If we could get a "central" location and enough of us were willing to travel a little bit of a distance, I'm sure we might be able to work something out.