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MichaelHarms
02-13-2007, 02:04 PM
So, still brand new here, but learning a whole ton in the past week!! Thanks everyone for their help!

Been doing some searching around and stumbled on the CPP forums and have been reading about it. I still don't see what the advantages would be or exactly what it is! Can anyone clarify this? And how would I become one? :confused:

Please help!

PhotogCraig
02-13-2007, 02:21 PM
The main advantages will be what you learn by going through the process.

Will it mean much to have the CPP behind your name when you market yourself, that is the question right?

I myself feel that your images speak more about your being a good photographer then three letters.

Now it is step one on your way to Master or Craftsman level in the PPA, I think it's the first required step but I don't know.

I earned 7 merits some 30 years ago but didn't go any further at the time.

David_A._Lottes
02-13-2007, 02:31 PM
The main advantages will be what you learn by going through the process.

.

BINGO

CPP is no longer tied to the degree programs so if that's your only motivation you can skip it.

Here is a link to a previous thread describing ways to raise awareness of your certification.

http://ourppa.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3275

Here is a link to the steps for becoming certified.

http://certifiedphotographer.com/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1

Some might find it a useless exercise. Use your own judgement. I'm very proud of my certification and would be happy to tell you more privately. Just send me a personal message if you have any questions for me about the program.

MichaelHarms
02-13-2007, 02:33 PM
I guess that really is the question..is there really any reason one should become a CPP? I agree with you, I think that the pictures a photographer takes speaks for themselves. The only advantage that I could come up with is the learning process. I mean, I'll be honest, I actually know very little about taking pictures. However, the goal is to be able to learn and know what to expect every time I hit the shutter. At least to some point.

PhotogCraig
02-13-2007, 03:24 PM
I think you just answered your question.

If you had CPP behind your name right now, would those three letters have made you a great photographer all of a sudden, of course not, but what you learn and apply, and if going through the process to help you with learning is just a step to help you become the photographer you desire to be.


I guess that really is the question..is there really any reason one should become a CPP? I agree with you, I think that the pictures a photographer takes speaks for themselves. The only advantage that I could come up with is the learning process. I mean, I'll be honest, I actually know very little about taking pictures. However, the goal is to be able to learn and know what to expect every time I hit the shutter. At least to some point.

Howard_Kier
02-13-2007, 03:41 PM
Michael,

I have booked a couple of weddings because I was certified. The public may not know about certification but they do know it must mean something. One client did tell me it was the deciding factor between myself and another photographer.

Tracy_McGee
02-13-2007, 04:00 PM
I agree about what I am going to learn in the process. In addition to the classes I've taken and the books I've memorized.

Another reason, in my opinion, to do this is because I think it shows a pride in what you do and a desire to grow. Maybe it's because I'm coming from being a boss in the corporate world, but I base someones work ethic on how commited they are to mastering what they do, not just getting by with what they know. So in summary, knowledge, pride and commitment are my reasons LOL!

Tracy_McGee
02-13-2007, 04:10 PM
I think that the pictures a photographer takes speaks for themselves.
the goal is to be able to learn and know what to expect every time I hit the shutter Those are both good statements looked at together. A good photograph does speak well. However, even someone blindfoled in a dark room will get a penny in the bucket now and then if they know the general direction of the goal. It's also kind of like pitching in baseball. It's about consistency. Sure, you might throw a strike now and then, but you have to know exactly what you did to do it consistently everytime. Same with pictures. Sure, you can have little technical knowledge and get a great image now and then. But you have to have a good technical knowledge to know what you purposely did everytime to capture that image in order to be able to confidently do that everytime, rather than leaving it to the penny in the bucket. Wouldn't rather do it with the lights on and your eyes wide open looking at the bucket?

Sorry if I'm a bit odd in my analogies today, I'm on my 4th cup of coffee after three unconsecutive hours of sleep. ;)

Michael_Gan
02-13-2007, 05:23 PM
Probably why your eye's are closed :D

Ok, I'm going to change all of your mindsets for just a moment. Instead of thinking locally (me, me, me) , let's look at this on a more global scale: the profession.

Through my years as a practicing professional, I'm pretty tired of the public's perception of professional photographers. Part of the problem is in the profession itself. Anybody can pick up a camera and call themselves photographers.

IMO, I've seen a lot of bad stuff out there masked with photoshop. There is a dwindling of photographers who know the basic skills and are bastardizing (sorry, but I can't think of a cleaner word) their work by calling it "photojournalistic" style - not because it is the style, but because those photographers cannot classify it in any other way. This is NOT fair to the Photojournalist, and in a way further erodes the profession.

So, I'm a CPP more for the betterment of the profession. For me, it's one of the my ways of giving back to this profession that has helped me make a living for nearly 30 years. Without giving the Kennedy speech, if more photographers would get on board a single mindset once in a while, perhaps the industry, as a whole, would survive on much more than $35,000 a year average (taken from the PPA Studio survey).

Dave_Cisco
02-13-2007, 05:32 PM
I never expected anything more from my CPP than what I would learn in the process...and the self-satisfaction of achievement. I'm glad I went there.:D

John_Knowles
02-13-2007, 05:48 PM
I guess part of my reason for being certified was that it was a goal to achieve for myself. It's also, in my mind, a commitment as well. Sure, I could get my certification and drop it after it expired, but I feel that I have an obligation to myself to keep my certification. This way, I have an external measure of my body of work and continued learning. Without this, I'm afraid I would get to a point that I was comfortable and stop learning. That, wouldn't be good for me, or my clients. I really value my certification, and I'm digging the slow journey towards the Masters degree!

Dave_Cisco
02-13-2007, 06:35 PM
..... and I'm digging the slow journey towards the Masters degree!

...then you'd really get a kick out of slowly banging your head against a wall.:D

Tracy_McGee
02-13-2007, 08:01 PM
Probably why your eye's are closed :D
HAHA! :p And I agree with you.

John_Knowles
02-13-2007, 08:02 PM
I'm already used to banging my head against the wall. Among other things, I have a kid that's turning 13 this year, and he's already acting like a teenager.

why (bang!) won't (bang!) he (bang!) listen (bang!). :D

KirkDarling
02-13-2007, 08:45 PM
I'm already used to banging my head against the wall. Among other things, I have a kid that's turning 13 this year, and he's already acting like a teenager.

why (bang!) won't (bang!) he (bang!) listen (bang!). :D

Try banging his head against the wall.

But stick with him. My son is now 26 with a wife, a child, and a mortgage of his own. A few months ago, we took a 14-hour drive (round trip) to see my mother. I expected we'd share the driving and give me a chance to get some sleep on the way.

That didn't happen. We talked constantly during the entire trip. Work, bills, handling mangers, handling subordinates, children, wives, et cetera. We now have so many concerns in common that there wasn't enough time to discuss them all.

He's the only person I can spend an hour on the phone with (I can't even do that with my wife).

KirkDarling
02-13-2007, 08:51 PM
My area is very heavy in IT personnel, so there are a lot of people who notice "Certified."

However, I regard certification as more of a personal achievement, an affirmation of peers. This isn't a unique thing to me or to photographers--it's why even an actor who is a commercial success still yearns for an Oscar. Although it's no longer a necessary stepping stone to Master, it's a point one can reach early on--and one that is still pretty rare (among all the people carrying a camera for money these days).

Holly_Howe
02-13-2007, 09:06 PM
I'm already used to banging my head against the wall. Among other things, I have a kid that's turning 13 this year, and he's already acting like a teenager.

why (bang!) won't (bang!) he (bang!) listen (bang!). :D


I have a family counsler as a long time client. We have had many interesting conversations, but the thing that stuck with me most was this . He said that your children don't listen as much as they observe. Your kids pay more attention to what you do then what you say. I always tried to keep that in mind.

Holly

Betsy_Finn
02-14-2007, 12:40 AM
I became CPP for a few reasons. Yes, I already know I'm great without "CPP" on the end of my name -- but if you use it consistently as a marketing tactic it can possibly make the difference if a potential client is considering you or someone else with what they consider to be similar abilities.

Secondly, it was motivation for myself. I'd be fine without it, yes, but knowing that I spent the effort to consciously improve myself has made me more aware when I am creating images. It's insteresting, because now that I've started to work towards entering my first competition, I can see how much more focused I could be when creating my portraits.

Yes, you don't "need" to be CPP. but the advantages tell your clients you took the "extra" step to prove your authenticity and dedication to the profession of photography.

Also, if you're one of the less established in your community, being CPP can put you on a level playing field (yes, I don't have XXX years of being in business, but I can guarantee you my work is exceptional etc).

David_Mithofer
03-08-2007, 05:13 PM
The most common complaint I hear from photographers today is that they have to compete with Uncle Bob and his digital camera. Uncle Bob is offering to shoot the wedding for practically nothing and the customer isn't even sure they want to come into the studio and view the portfolio after hearing your prices. How do you explain to the prospective client that you are a true professional with unique knowledge of your profession? Well, explaining that you are one of only 3% of professional photographers in the country who have passed the rigorous examination and had your images reviewed by a panel of distinguished professionals might just convince them that you know something uncle Bob doesn't!

The best reason to become certified is that when someone opens the phone book in any major market there are hundreds of photographers listed. The consumer needs a one sentence reason to call you and "certified professional photographer, the mark of imaging excellence" is that one reason. Studies show that certification is the most widely recognized consumer credential, period. Once you get them in the door you can sell them on your portfolio and personality, but you have to get them in the door first.

Regards,
David Mithofer

MichaelHarms
03-08-2007, 06:26 PM
So the general idea that I'm getting from this thread is that being a CPP is just a marketing tactic. That being able to say that you are in the top 3% nation/worldwide is just a way to convince the potential customer that you are what the actually want and not just some "Uncle Bob" shooting their weddings or portraits or events or whatever it is that they want done.

Am I right in this regards??

D._Craig_Flory
03-08-2007, 06:33 PM
Hi Michael;

That is not all by a long shot. It takes knowledge, skill, and creative ability to become certified. It is a written exam, to pass, plus submitting 20 8X10s for a panel of Masters of Photography to review to see if you are worthy of the title. And, every five years you must get re-certified. Unlike Master, you don't have it forever, you must keep on studying and improving !

Betsy_Finn
03-08-2007, 06:36 PM
Am I right in this regards??

Nope.... at least not for me. Yes, one of the benefits is the marketing factor. But that's not the main one. Studying for CPP and going through the process encouraged me to look at the quality of images that I create for my clients. Becoming certified helped me to advance my photographic skills -- yes, I was motivated by the "goal" of becoming CPP -- but the quality of my work did improve as I went through the process.

Becoming a better photographer isn't something you can just "achieve" and be done with -- it's a continual journey :). Certification, print competition, mentoring, etc will all provide you with different experiences that will contribute to your photographic knowledge and abilities. Ask some of the photographic greats -- they'll say their best work has yet to be created. That's what it's about for me. :cool:

Michael_Gan
03-08-2007, 06:36 PM
So the general idea that I'm getting from this thread is that being a CPP is just a marketing tactic. That being able to say that you are in the top 3% nation/worldwide is just a way to convince the potential customer that you are what the actually want and not just some "Uncle Bob" shooting their weddings or portraits or events or whatever it is that they want done.

Am I right in this regards??Um, no. For years, professional photography has been racking their brains out trying to figure out a way to ligitimize the profession. Since there is no licensing and really no previous "watchdog" groups out there, public perception of pro photographers have been somewhat sleezy. Look at all the news reports of Wedding photographers running off with deposits, and movies depicting crazed killer photographers, and you'll get the point.

There had to be some way of creating some sort of customer assurance and the best solution is certification. For example, I rely heavily on a CPA. I know that I have a better chance of finding that person if they screw things up and have at least a certification commission who can represent me on my behalf if there is an injustice.

The 3% figure can be a problematic statistic. Yes, it's cool to say you are part of an "elite" group. But in reality, this says that more photographers need to get on the band wagon and really make this a profession our fore-fathers can be proud of. This is definitely an opportunity for you to help make a difference in this profession.

Now, if you really want to be an elitist, get your Master Degree with images you've created for you clients!

KirkDarling
03-08-2007, 07:49 PM
When I was in the military, I frequently sat on "Super Trooper" of the month or quarter boards. While I was assigned to Pearl Harbor, I even sat on Navy "ranking" boards (heard of a ship's "First Mate?" Well, that's how they determine who is "First Mate," as well as second, third, fourth, et cetera).

Without exception, these are all super troopers on the job, or their supervisors would not have submitted them. But it's hard to judge exactly what the supervisor's recommendation really means (how do you objectively compare an "excellent" clerk/typist to an "excellent" ParaRescue?). Competition is tight and almost never will a single person rise shining from the group of excellence that we must judge. That means we had to start looking at "discriminators" that showed some extra amount of effort, some accomplishment above and beyond "merely" doing the job excellently. Things like off-duty education and participation in charities start to count.

In the IT world (which I've also been in), there are scads of people who are "qualified but not certified." They know their stuff, but when it comes to hiring decisions, you may have two resumes that show equally excellent backgrounds...but one guy has also gotten industry certifications. Again, you never really know what the realities of their resumes really entail, but you do know industry certification means something (if you don't even know exactly what) that one guy has done that the other guy has failed to do. The fact that one guy has shown a willingness and discipline to go a step farther becomes a discriminator.

All these things also mean something to the individual, as well. The trooper who got the extra education or worked off-duty with charities has gained a personal benefit that the other has not. The IT worker who attained industry certification has had to learn professional details and filled in knowledge holes that the other may have missed.

Of course, all this is academic when comparing peoplewho are both performing in the very top echelons of their games...just flip a coin.