What have your credentials done for you?
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  1. #1

    Smile What have your credentials done for you?

    Hi all,

    I am in the process of studying the Photography book with the wonderful study group started by Jackie and Betsy. As I reflect on my own reasons for wanting this certification, I find myself wondering what the benefits are aside from my own satisfaction in accomplishing this goal. With that, I pose the question to those who already have various levels of certifications through the PPA. Have you found that it made a difference in your business? Were (are) the benefits tangible and measurable or more on a personal, internal level? To be honest, in 20 years of being a photographer I have never once had anyone ask about my certifications or credentials of any kind. I don't say that to minimize the certification in any way. In fact, I desire to work my way through all of the certification levels. Basically, I am just reflecting and asking honest questions to myself and to others. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Good day!

    Mike
    Mike Larsen Studios
    Michael Larsen
    Mike Larsen Studios
    PPA Member
    www.mikelarsenstudios.com
    blog.mikelarsenstudios.com
    (207) 798-2253

    Light A Candle Rather Than Cursing the Darkness!

  2. #2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Larsen
    In fact, I desire to work my way through all of the certification levels.
    Hey Mike,

    I'm guessing you're confusing degrees at PPA with Certification. Two different things.

    Certification has been broken out as an independent body from PPA. This is on the recommendation of NOCA (National Association of Certifying Associations). The same people who oversee certifying accountants and doctors.

    In any case, certification is a marketing tool, something you can tell your clients about. I heard from one photographer, who had a potential wedding client contact him. He asked, politely if they were contacting any other certified photographers in the area. That led to the question of what does certification mean? After that talk he booked the job.

    The degree program at PPA is more of a peer-to-peer program. Something for self-growth and personal satisfaction. Most degree holders say that the competition has raised the level of their photography.
    It can also be used for marketing yourself, but I think certification, because it's no longer an association designation, carries a lot more weight.

    Anyway, that's my understanding. Hope that helps clarify.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default hmmm....

    Jack-
    I'm wondering why the cpp is required for a masters if they are separate programs?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Schaumburg (Chicago 'burb), Illinois
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    Default

    Mike,

    I can personally attest to the value of a CPP. I recently met with a potential client to book a wedding. During our conversation, I mentioned my CPP status and was surprised to discover that not only was the bride aware of the CPP, she had also visited the Certification website to verify my status!

    At the end of the meeting, she booked one of my largest packages on the spot. This bride works in the medical industry and respects certifications. I'm sure this is part of what made her decide to meet and ultimately book me.

    Now, had we not had this conversation, I don't think I would ever have been aware of how much my certification helped me book this event. Basically, I'm saying there is no way I can know for sure how many other clients have booked me because I'm certified. All I can do is talk about it, and continue to use the certification logo in my marketing materials. It can't hurt.
    Regards,
    Howard Kier, CPP Weddings, ABI, MBA and DAD
    Magical Moments Photography

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Guntersville, Alabama
    Posts
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    Default

    I took the test in 1999 when I was still working 'from home' meaning all location, not zoned for business, and before I had an actual studio. Some people took me more seriously than they might have, especially since I was more expensive than some of the home-based local photographers.

    The other way it has helped me is with occasional commercial jobs from far away. When the person in charge of hiring uses the PPA Find a Photograper list and specifies certified only, I come up. I think there are only two others in my county and one of those is my husband.

    Not everyone thinks about or cares about certification for photographers. It doesn't say anything about what other photographers do not know, but what I know, certified by an independent organization.

    My mother-in-law was a very gifted organist who played from a very young age. If they had auditions, then she usually was hired. However, there were many jobs she couldn't even get interviewed for without the credential others had (music major degree).
    Monica Martin, CPP
    Monica Martin Photographer
    Guntersville, Alabama

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Normal, Illinois
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Lawrence
    Jack-
    I'm wondering why the cpp is required for a masters if they are separate programs?
    I would expect that like any master's program at a university or any master's level of a building trade, they would have expected a candidate to have earned recognized credentials as a "journeyman."

    It might be better questioned why it must specifically be the PPA CPP, or if a bachelor's degree in photography from a university or a previous (but expired) CPP shouldn't be just as acceptable.
    --Elephants can swim...
    ...and very gracefully.
    Knowing that,
    I do believe
    Anything is possible for me.

    Kirk Darling, CPP

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Palmyra, Pennsylvania
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    9,214

    Default Answer for Stan

    Hi Stan;

    I just got back from the 1st of our two day June meeting and saw your question ... about why you must first be certified before getting Master. I'll answer that with an example I saw 1st hand. I apprenticed with a Master of Photography from 1970 to 1973. After getting Master, he stopped competing and his work stagnated. With the the requirement of re-certification every five years it forces those, with the Masters Degree, to keep their skills up to date.

    D. Craig Flory PPA Certified, Cr.Photog., ASP

    floryphotog@mindspring.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    San Diego, Calif
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    5,846

    Default hmmmm...

    Craig-
    I guess that would make sense, except once you get your masters you don't need to keep the cpp thing up. So I'm not sure that would really work.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Petaluma, CA
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    Default

    I've heard word on the {PPA} street that there is a consideration of having the Masters candidates taking the CPP exam without going through the image phase. I believe they will not be able to carry the CPP designation. I'll keep you all up to date with this if I hear more from reliable sources.

    Michael
    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

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Lawrence
    Jack-
    I'm wondering why the cpp is required for a masters if they are separate programs?
    Basically because Council wouldn't vote to seperate it. It's been proposed, and at this point, Certification is a seperate entity from PPA and is a different process, so requiring it doesn't make sense.
    Council, made up of representatives from across the US, is the final say in PPA.
    I would venture, it's more an emotional issue for members at this point than anything else.

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