Should you become a CPP?
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  1. #1
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    Default Should you become a CPP?

    *** 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... 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

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

    CANON POTN FORUM

    Fred Miranda Forum

    Camel Photo Forum

    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

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Should you become a CPP?

    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.
    Mark Levesque, CPP, M. Photog., Cr. Photog, A.C. Ph., CPP Liaison, PPCC Judge

  3. #3

    Default Re: Should you become a CPP?

    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 Dachowski M.Photog Cr.CPP A.C.ph
    PPA Approved Juror
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Should you become a CPP?

    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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Should you become a CPP?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff_Dachowski View Post
    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

  6. #6
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    Cool Re: Should you become a CPP?

    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.
    Rob Wilson
    Rob Wilson Photography
    (800) 757-3491
    rwilsonphotography.com
    rob@rwilsonphotography.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Should you become a CPP?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff_Dachowski View Post
    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....
    Last edited by Stan_Lawrence; 04-14-2011 at 05:42 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Should you become a CPP?

    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 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)?
    Michael Gan,M.Photog.Cr. CPP,
    Meritage House of Photography

    If your business depends on you, you don't own a business-you have a job. And it's the worst job in the world because you're working for a lunatic... You can't close it when you want to, because if it's closed you don't get paid. You can't leave it when you want to, because if you leave there's nobody there to do the work. You can't sell it when you want to, because who wants to buy a job?
    —Michael Gerber
    http://www.meritageonmain.blogspot.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Should you become a CPP?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael_Gan View Post
    Stan not-with-standing 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....

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Should you become a CPP?

    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

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