How has being certified benefited you?
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  1. #1

    Default How has being certified benefited you?

    I'm one of the Certification Committee Members and I'm sort of conducting a simple survey here. Being curious to know, those of you who are already PPA Certified, how being Certified has benefited you and your business. Even those who are working on becoming Certified by PPA. What are you or will you do to promote Certification to your clients? Are there any suggestions that you can make to further promote Certification to for your benefit?

    Thanks in advance for your reply's.
    Jason Smith
    PPA Certified, M.photog., Cr., MEI

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005


    When certified, I plan to use certification as a differentiating factor for my business. There are no other certified photographers in my town (and only 4 in my "metro area"). Since I am still establishing my business name in the community, being certified will help me to better sell myself to my clients. I will be able to explain what certification is and show my clients that even though my studio isn't one of the "long-standing" names around town, I still have the necessary level of experience and will be able to create excellent photographs for them. Most of the clients who I book believe this anyways, but I think it may help to turn more inquiries into clients -- being certified is just one more "reassurance" for a potential client that is considering my business.

    Other reasons include being able to put the certified logo etc on my marketing materials and website -- one more reason to choose me over their soon to be second choice
    Betsy Finn, Cr.Photog., CPP
    bphotoart :: learnwithbetsy :: email

  3. #3


    To be honest, in my short career I stayed as far away from certification and PPA as possible. From my perspective as a young punk starting up, those guys were cookie cutter and made lame, out of date images. FWIW
    Last edited by Neil_Cowley; 08-16-2006 at 07:42 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    North Platte, NE


    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Cowley
    To be honest, in my short career I stayed as far away from certification and PPA as possible. From my perspective as a young punk starting up, those guys were cookie cutter and made lame out of date images. FWIW
    Neil, I am not certified for reasons that have nothing to do with you expressed. I hope as you participate in this forum you will discover how misguided your initial impression was. Yes we have traditionalists in PPA, just as we have experimental image makers. Hopefully PPA has a place for every perspective and aesthetic and I hope we can change your mind.

    Holly Howe M.Photog., Cr.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Palmyra, Pennsylvania

    Default One post and visit should not make up your mind

    Hi Neil;

    My style is constantly changing and evolving. The style I have today is a culmination of all speakers I've heard, all courses I've taken, and all images I've ever seen. The process of becoming certified and eventually becoming a Master of Photography is the best way to become proficient in our craft. I have seen many Masters, over the years, with so many bars on the Masters Degree medalion ... it would look like it was about to choke them. That meant they didn't sit still and stagnate but kept on competing for merits and did well at it. Since what the judges are rewarding with a merit changes as new techniques and ideas come along ... that also meant they were changing with the times.

    I visited your web site and know all of us can learn from what you do .. just as you can learn from other photographers. If all studios were "cookie cutter", as you aluded to, there would not be the variety of work we all see in competition. I hope you will re-evaluate your opinion as you continue to visit this outstanding site. Just as a lot of us can learn from your images, I think you can glean knowledge and ideas from others. I do believe in the certification program to the extent I'd like to not only see that someone must be certified before getting the Masters Degree, I'd like to see Masters all keep their certification up to date. I've been certified for 20 years.

    D. Craig Flory PPA Certified, Cr.Photog., PPA C.P.P. Liaison, ASP

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Fayetteville, Ga.


    Hey Neil, your name is misspelled all over your packages page.

    As far as stale goes, you are doing exactly the same thing as has always been done. You are capturing an image by using light patterns on the subject. The same light patterns that create traditional portraiture also create the candid images. I wouldn't call it Photojournalism though, as that implies that you did not set up any images, and we all know that is not the case with any of us.

    I like your style, just not your bias.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Guntersville, Alabama


    I became PPA Certivied in 1999. As a photographer working out of my home (not zoned for *any* business except the telephone/paperwork at home), it provided me credibility that I was a knowledgeable photographer and not a fly-by-night business. After we moved to Guntersville, since I was new in the area, it helped again with credibility. After three and a half years here, I still use it on my letterhead and on the front door.
    Monica Martin, CPP
    Monica Martin Photographer
    Guntersville, Alabama

  8. #8

    Default Being certified...

    ...gets me dates in photographer-only bars.
    -Assoc. degree, commercial photography
    -Certified Professional Photographer

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by Wilson Hitchings
    ...gets me dates in photographer-only bars.
    Hey the CPP did get me some dates and gosh now I wonder what a Master Photographer could get me. J/K now when my review comes, this was just a joke ok

    Seriously, I think certification does not really certify ones "creativity" or “artistry” which I think is where Niel and many others are confused with.

    To a minimum, certification test ones competency on the technical and procedural aspects of the profession. It also shows that one can and has the experience (images have to be 2 years work of work) to consistently deliver acceptable images to the consumer. Two important points that I think everyone that's selling their images can do.

    Again, it's not an "artist" certification but rather a "professional" competency status.

    Either way, I was 27 years old when I got CPP’ed and I'm probably one of the youngest CPP's in California or maybe not because of them kids at Brooks lol.

    Anyway's, it gives me an edge because:

    1. I’m not the only one who say’s that I’m a professional and my work is of professional level. Most photographers just claim that they are professionals but how can they really tell. One is not a doctor or lawyer just because they got their diploma.

    2. My clients often share their experience about what they went through to get their certification for their own respective fields. I had this conversation recently with a bride that’s studying for her CPA and we just hit if off right due to the similarities of preparing for our careers.

    3. It forces me to keep up with my studies in order to keep my certified status
    -Marc Benjamin, M. Photog. Cr. F-PPC

  10. #10


    I got my certification in its early stages. I agree that any program gives you back what you put in it, or maybe not. For several years, I put time and money in it. There was no identifiable return, as far as I could tell.

    It made no impression on customers. The only thing I ever hung on a wall that impressed them was my work. Anyone who believes degrees, etc. are making them money, well, let them believe it. I do not. Your work, alone, will make or break you.

    I used to travel around the country quite a lot. I stopped at pretty much every studio I passed, just to visit. I can't tell you how many Masters I visited with, whose work on the wall was surprisingly disappointing. Certainly, it was not the kind that got them their degree. But, that's their business, not mine.

    That's why I don't have much of who I am on my website. On my next site, that I hope to have up in a month or two, will have virtually nothing about me. We can all tell the world how wonderful and talented we are. Fact is, our work is where the rubber meets the road.

    I look at a lot of photographers' web sites. To read their bio, one would think it folly to select any other. Then, I look at their galleries. Hmmm...

    We can hang all the certificates and diplomas on the wall we want to, that doesn't impress people like our work does. If the work sucks, diplomas will not make one sale for you.

    If our work touches the emotions of the viewer, the lack of papers will never be a concern.

    In nearly 30 years, I've never had a customer ask me anything about associations, degrees, certifications, etc. I'm sorry, I just do not believe it impresses anyone but photographers.

    Do I think certification and degrees are a waste of time? No, absolutely not. Gaining such will cause one to improve, hopefully, as they work toward that goal.

    If you enjoy the process, then by all means, pursue it. We should all be moving forward, all the time. This helps to do so. I see such programs as personal development goals, a worthy endeavor, if one is interested.

    On the other hand, I do not believe one must pursue such to advance.

    In the end, no, I do not believe it tranlates into cash, simply because the certifcate is on the wall. I have seen too many photographers, with certification, degrees, and/or merit prints on the wall who struggle in business. No doubt for various reasons.

    Just my not so humble opinion.
    Howard Barlow

    No, really, I'm fine. I always look like this.

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