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PPA Today: Certified Professional Photographer Archives

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Have you ever wanted to explore the path to Certification, but don't know where to start? Imaging USA is a great place to get all the information you could ever need! Whether you prefer an intimate group setting or a larger informative type of session, you'll find options: 

Head to Imaging USA early and take the Certification preparation class! The three-day intensive class covers all of the topics you'll encounter on the Certification exam (which you'll also have the opportunity to take during Imaging USA). It covers all of the technical side of photography and is equivalent to nearly a semester of college! You'll walk away more knowledgeable, more confident and more prepared. 

5:00 PM - 6:15 PM
Join this panel of Certified Professional Photographers and see how it's changed their photography and their businesses! The panelists range from wedding, baby, maternity, sports, headshots and senior photographers who all had a huge change in their business once they became a Certified Professional Photographer! 

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday: 
11:30 - 5 PM
PPA Booth: Learn the benefits of Certification and first steps at the PPA Association booth #1227, where PPA staffers will be able to show you the path to Certification and how to best get started. 

Take the step to Be More Competitive in 2016 with Certification! See all of the options at and get details on discounted hotel rooms at

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Congratulations to our newest round of Certified Professional Photographers! These folks have taken the effort to pass the Certification exam, as well as the image submission portion to set themselves apart in the photographic industry. 

Debbie Andrus, CPP - Camden, AL

Jennifer Ashby, CPP - Meridian, ID

Marina Baklanova, CPP  Albany, CA

Ryan C. Bates, CPP - Vacaville, CA

Dawn  Baxstrom, CPP - Drumright, OK

Roben Christian Bellomo, CPP - Carmel, IN

Humberto F. Boncristiani, CPP - Odenton, MD

Jaelene A. Bryan, CPP - Pullman, WA

Sandra M. Burns, CPP - Massapequa, NY

Stephanie R. Carnessali, CPP - Johnsonburg, PA

Sabina Cavalli, CPP - Naperville, IL

CL Clay, CPP - Elgin, SC

Diane K. Costello, CPP - Half Moon Bay, CA

Joshua A. Cuppek, CPP - Blairstown, NJ

Dalisa Jo DeChiara, CPP - Entiat, WA

Veronica Dennis, CPP - Huntsville, AL

Lori Jill DiBiase, CPP - Charleston, SC

Meghan Elizabeth Doll, CPP - Minneapolis, MN

Dan Ferguson, CPP - Wylie, TX

Russ Forthofer, CPP - Fishers, IN

Juliah K. Ginos, CPP - Quincy, IL

Susan A. Goralski, CPP - New Hartford, CT

Meggan Harper, CPP - Ormond Beach, FL

Blair Wyatt Haynie, CPP Houston, TX

Ryan Higgins, CPP - Phoenix, AZ

Jenn Hindman, CPP - Ellsworth, IA

Aubrey L. Hord, CPP - Kahului, HI

Kathryn Tracey Jennings, CPP - Stilesville, New Brunswick, Canada

Russell L. Jensen, CPP - Rapid City, SD

Bill S. Johnsen, CPP - Baraboo, WI

Felicia Jane Jones, CPP - Richland, WA

Edward Keller, CPP - Monroe, MI

Bob J. Laramie, CPP - Moorestown, NJ

John Lee, CPP - Little Neck, NY

Javon D. Longieliere, CPP - Valdosta, GA

Carla M. Lynn, CPP - Smyrna, TN

Ross D. Magnuson, CPP - Billings, MT

Laura H. Mansur, CPP - Houston, TX

Jeffrey L. Mason, CPP - Silver Spring, MD

Renee K. McCardell, CPP - Greensboro, NC

Scott A. McDougall, CPP  - Highland Park, IL

Mac K. Miller, CPP - Tyler, TX

Steve L. Morrow, CPP - Abilene, TX

Ann Nester, CPP - Ravenswood, WV

Rodney O'Dell, CPP - Middletown, OH

Bradd A. Parker, CPP - Chatsworth, GA

Jari Poulin, CPP - Ithaca, NY

Jaiel Prado, CPP - Barueri, Brazil

James Remington, CPP - South Riding, VA

Tim Roebuck, CPP - Winter Garden, FL

Amanda A. Sharpe, CPP - Columbus, IN

Simone Cristina Silverio, CPP -  Barueri, Brazil

Krystal L. Stankowski, CPP - Madison, WI

Chrystina Straughan, CPP - Cibolo, TX

Kimberly Diane Teichrow, CPP - Bend, OR

Zach Thomas, CPP - Saint Augustine, FL

Stephanie W Turner, CPP - Newton, NC

Graciela Valdes, CPP - Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Joan Hustace Walker, CPP - Norfolk, VA

Qian Wang, CPP - Lexington, SC

Kerri S. Weiss, M.Photog., CPP - Saint Charles, IL

Rodney Williams, CPP - Columbia, SC

James M. Woltjen, CPP - New Bern, NC

Why should you consider becoming Certified? Check out our blog here that hits on the four key reasons Certification can boost your business and your confidence. Learn more here! 

By: Lauren Walters

Have a case of the judging jitters? If you've entered a photographic competition such as IPC, you know how intimidating the process can be, but that fear is far exceeded by its reward.

The IPC is proven to benefit photographers' technique and assure their credence. But if you've never entered, you might wonder: How does the judging process work? Competitions are a great way to improve your work by getting pointers via critiques from accomplished photographers such as international juror Jeff Dachowski, M.Photog.Cr., CPP. Once you get a hang of the process, you'll be more confident to enter your work into a competition yourself!

Below Jeff Dachowski critiques "Framed Classic" by Mark Bowers, M.Photog. in the Artist category for IPC. Watch how one's work is analyzed and see how the exercise can help you continue to perfect your craft. Once you get a hang of the process, you'll be more confident to enter your work into a competition yourself!

By: Lauren Walters

Have you ever had someone steal your work or discredit you? Don't fret! PPA is here to help! If you hire a lawyer, you'll be spending A LOT OF MONEY in legal fees, but if you are with PPA, most likely we'll be able to protect your work for FREE or, if damages have already been done, for a fraction of that insane legal cost.

PPA photographer, Ross Oscar Knight, specializes in weddings, fine art and corporate events. Ross had a project that received a lot of exposure when it went viral in 2007, thanks in part to the feature on the Oprah Winfrey show. Soon after, people started pulling and using images from his website without his permission. Some were even discrediting his work and cropping out his logo, committing the ultimate copyright infringement. Ross remembered that PPA helps photographers resolve copyright disputes and went for that help. Check out his story and hear more about how PPA helped him resolve this copyright infringement rip-off.

If you are at risk for copyright infringement or simply want to take the right proactive steps, just go to the PPA's Copyright Resources , get your Free Copyright Kit or check out the overview of copyright laws. Be More Business Savvy and Be More Protected. 

By: Lauren Walters


Thom Rouse began his career in 1994. He now splits his time as a portrait and commercial photographer. With two diverse sides to his career, Thom has mastered the art of photography. In the following interview, he tells us about himself as an artist.


What is your definition of "fine art"?


I wouldn't dare try to define art! My thought is that if you have a personal experience with literature, music, a painting or a photograph, then it must be art. We don't really need to define it, agree on it, or consult a critic to decide what it means. If we have an experience with it, positive or negative, I think it must be art.


Who are some of the artists who inspire you?


There are many artists who inspire me and the list changes daily. Among those near the top of my list are Salvador Dali, Gustave Klimt and Tintoretto. Among photographers, I'd include Steichen, Julia Margaret Cameron, Gordon Parks and Irving Penn. As soon as I start a list, I can think of 30 more I should have added.


Why do you teach classes for other photographers?


        It sounds trite, but I like to teach because I learn so much from it. It pushes me to think and evaluate the things I think I know about my process and my craft. While teaching, I often have some self-revelation about my own image making and I always learn from other photographers, usually from the newest newbie in the room.


You've had over 50 images go Loan - what do you enjoy most about photographic competitions?


        My reasons for entering competition have changed over time. When I started, I was solely trying to make the judges happy and earn merits towards a degree. Once I earned my degrees, I tried to make and enter images that I liked the most and were unique to me. At that point, I stopped looking for what I thought would achieve the highest scores. If we're not learning from competition, I see no reason to compete. We all need to present our work and receive feedback; it's a part of our ongoing creative process. No matter where we are in our careers, photographic competitions guarantee to make us better image makers. The more we enter competition, the more we have to work at stretching ourselves. It pushes us to take chances and do work that advances our vision; not just entering images that will earn more merits.


What makes photography such a versatile medium of expression?


        It's great to be a photographer: a time when the medium has become more versatile than ever! I started later in life at 40 years old, but the 20 year span of my career has encompassed the transition from film to digital capture. As much as I loved the traditional darkroom, I came alive with digital post production. During that time it has become an entirely new medium that encompasses painting, compositing and extensive possibilities for post-capture manipulation. The technology has created endless opportunities, yet we have to remind ourselves that we still create images with our eyes, hearts and minds. That's what makes photography truly versatile.


Do you pursue any other creative endeavors?


        Sadly, I do not. I gave up music 30 plus years ago; although, I'm greatly inspired by other media. I fantasize projects in other media, but I've never acted on it.


What is your favorite image you've captured?


        I have several favorites because they were influenced by very personal experiences that captured, expressed and expanded those experiences. I think the best and most impactful work is done when it's grounded in your personal experience.


Who should take your class at Imaging USA?


I think that photographers in any genre and at any experience level will find something of value in my program. I'll be making the case for spending time on fine art and how fine art will translate into added success in commercial and portrait work. Creating and displaying fine art expands your reputation as an artist, and will contribute to both your image making skills and to your bottom line.


What are the top 3 things people should take away from your class?


1. Pursuing personal fine art will keep you fresh, alive and vibrant as an image maker.

2. These days everyone is a photographer - being recognized as an artist elevates your status and recognition in the market.

3. Fine Art translates into skills and styles that let you create work like no one else in your market.


Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Jack White?

This is trick question that should be answered with "all of the above". I know that Elvis and Johnny Cash have influenced nearly everyone that's followed, but my first choice for listening right now would be Jack White!

This must be a based on Nashville connections; otherwise I'd be voting "none of the above" and writing in Miles Davis!

Come listen to Thom speak at Imaging USA in Nashville, TN. He will conduct a course called "The Case for Fine Art" on February 1, 2015. Looking forward to seeing you there!

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By: Lauren Walters

Let's get to know one of our speakers who will be at Imaging USA in Nashville, Tennessee. JulieAnne Jonker has her master of photography and photographic craftsman degrees from PPA and is also a certified professional photographer (CPP). In the following interview, she sheds some light on her career as a photographer. 

Who's your class for?

Any photographer, really. It's about inspiration as much as what it takes to get your photography studio to the next level. I'll help you direct your business based on your definition of yourself as an artist

What are the top 3 takeaways from your class?

At the end of my class, you will be able to understand 3 things: 

1. Who you are as an artist

2. What direction you want to take your studio in 2015

3. How you can operate a low-volume, high-end studio in this economy

Define your style as a photographer in 5 words.

My style reflected in my photography is vintage, ethereal, classical, compelling and timeless.

What makes your portrait style so unique?

The influences that I continually derive from the fine art world shine through my work and define my photography style.

What is your favorite medium of expression besides photography?

Outside photography, there are two outlets I use to express myself: painting and sculpting.

What was your proudest photographic moment?

Being invited and voted into the Camera Craftsmen of America has to be my proudest moment as a photographer.

What is one marketing mistake many photographers make when they are first starting out?

Inexperienced photographers tend to compete on price, and price only, to get their foot in the door, but that presents them as cheap studios with too many sales and specials. 

What do you want to be known for?

As an artist I'd like to be known for creating timeless pieces.

Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Jack White?

Definitely, Jimi Hendrix.

JulieAnne has had a long streak of success. Learn from her at Imaging USA in Nashville! You'll have two opportunities to hear her speak: on the business panel "5 Golden Nuggets" and in her solo-class called "The Portrait as an Art Form"

If you haven't registered for Imaging USA, you can do so now at! We can't wait to see you in Nashville! 

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As a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP), you know the long road you have to travel down to earn those three powerful letters behind your name. That CPP means the world to you, and it should also mean the world to your clients. Educating them on why they should always choose a CPP can be tough sometimes. 

To help, we've created a nifty tab (and its corresponding content, of course) that you'll be able to install on your company's Facebook page. It's meant to help you convey why hiring a CPP (specifically: you!) makes all of the difference in the world! 

We created the content and will update it periodically, but we can't install it for you. So how do you go about installing this bad boy? There are quite a few options!

It costs a little bit of money ($30/month for most everyone, but if you have more than a few thousand fans, prices increase) but is the easiest way to go about installation. What's the phrase? "You can have two of the three out of: good, cheap and fast". This is good and fast, but isn't super cheap. To make it as easy as possible without actually doing it for you, they walk you through the installation process screen shot by screen shot (them doing it for you isn't an option: consider it a learning opportunity). 

It is a cheaper version at $15 for up to 1,000 fans (or only a buck for up to 100 fans). It won't walk you through the installation process in as detailed of a way as Shortstack, but it'll be still pretty easy to get it up and running if you do it step by step. If you can handle $15/month, this is a great way to get this information out on your page and in your fans' feeds. 

Sounds redundant, right? Use Facebook to put something out on Facebook? We list it last because it's crazy complicated, but... FREE! First you'll have to sign up for an App Developers Account (pretty simple - just click here and you'll be all set). 

The next part is where it gets complicated - the best way is to watch some great YouTube videos. Make sure the videos are recent as Facebook has being giving the apps some facelifts as of late. Here's one that might work for you!

It might take a few minutes, but once you've installed the tab, share it on your timeline to show clients why it's important for them to stay with a Certified Professional Photographer. If you run into any issues, contact the app hosting service directly, they are the experts in this case.

You can download the tab graphics and html code here!

(If you want to make edits to the tab graphic itself, always remember the image needs to be 111 x 74 pixels and you'll have to pack a punch in that little space.)

These are just three ways to install the tab - if you simply Google "Facebook App Installation" you'll discover a world of options, these are just the ones we are pretty familiar with. If you find another option you enjoy, please let us know! Email Sarah at sackerman (at) ppa (dot) com.

In today's photography world, it seems like everyone knows a "photographer". But, much like owning a knife doesn't make you a chef, owning a DSLR doesn't make you a professional photographer. So, how do you explain to potential clients the difference between your work and that of Uncle Phil's down the street? One easy way you can set yourself apart from the competition is by becoming a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP). 

PPA started the CPP program to assure consumers that a certified photographer is an experienced professional with the knowledge to create, consistently, the best images possible. Becoming a CPP takes several steps on a photographer's part. First, you must take (and pass!) a written exam that covers the photography techniques used by pros. Finally, you must submit a portfolio of your images to a panel of judges, showing that you can indeed apply all of the techniques covered by the exam. Once you've passed both steps, you'll earn your CPP designation! You'll need to re-certify every 3 years, a process that is by design meant to ensure that CPP holders are always at the top of their craft. Learn more about the steps to becoming a CPP here.

Once you've earned your certification, it's time to start marketing it to possible customers! Keep in mind these 3 points when marketing your CPP designation:

1. Image & Advertising Edge

The fact that you are a CPP is an immediate huge trust indicator for clients and potential clients alike. By showing that you are certified on all of your advertising, you are telling them that they can rely on you to consistently produce high-quality images. 

As Gregg Martin, CPP, says, "Photographers are coming out of the woodwork in every town in America, and being a CPP places you in a much different category than the average photographer. Being a CPP has opened doors to numerous corporate jobs, magazine work, sports contracts and several other opportunities in my career. It makes that instant difference between a hobbyist (even good ones) and a pro. And in a split second only."

2. Pricing Justification

As you know, the digital era has made it easier for inexperienced and fly-by-night photographers to enter the industry. Often, they undercut the profession by charging extremely low rates. Your CPP designation helps clients justify your higher asking prices. After all, don't they want the best photos possible for once-in-a-lifetime events like weddings and graduations? The inexperienced guy may be cheaper, but they'll get what they pay for when it comes to quality of images!

3. Peer Validation

Make sure your clients know that your certification is granted to you by Professional Photographers of America. It is the world's largest non-profit association for professional photographers and that alone is added credibility for your work. Before you can get certified, or even renew your certification, other photographers who have also earned the designation review your skills via the exam and the image submission. That process shows that you are knowledgeable and dedicated to your craft. And the fact that you must re-certify every 3 years shows that you are keeping up with the latest skills and techniques in photography. That should help put clients' minds at ease when hiring you. 

4. Boost Your Confidence

Once you've earned your certification, you should be proud of what you've accomplished! After all, you are now one of the few Certified Professional Photographers, meaning that you can be confident that your work is top-notch. This confidence will come through when you are speaking with clients and help put them at ease with hiring you. 

There you have it! We hope that the edge you can gain over the competition has inspired you to become a CPP. Just remember, you've got to be a PPA member to earn your certification. Join today! 

Watch this video for more on the CPP program, and you can read all about it at

There's always plenty going on here at PPA. So how about a monthly blog to keep you up to date?

At the start of each month, we'll give you an update on what workshops and live webinars are coming up! There's no excuse to miss out now!

Without further ado, let's take a look.

PPAedu's live webinars are offered FREE to members and non-members alike, but only available on-demand to PPA professional active members and PPAedu subscribers.

Here are this month's live webinars:

November 12, 2 p.m. ET

Income Tax Strategies w/ Bridget Jackson, CPA & PPA's Studio Management Services Manager

Learn strategies that can potentially lower your taxes and more with THE expert--PPA's resident CPA, Bridget Jackson!


November 19, 2 p.m. ET

SEO & Social for Photographers: A Match Made in Heaven

Don't miss part four of SEO expert Brett Snyder's series on... you guessed it... SEO! Read our blog post from last week for more info.


And look out for part 5 in early December!

December 3, 2 p.m. ET

SEO & Web Content Are Evolving, Even for Photographers: What to Expect in 2014 and Beyond

In this installment, Brett will cover web content--and goes in depth on the difference between fresh and static content and how both can boost your SEO!


And make arrangements for PPA's upcoming workshops!


PPA's Studio Management Services are hosting a few workshops at Imaging USA in Phoenix to help you be more in 2014. If you really want to get the most out of your Imaging experience, head out a few days early for these great pre-convention workshops!

Thursday - Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Business Breakthroughs

with Carrie Wildes, CPP & Allison Tyler Jones


Register for Business Breakthroughs and we'll throw in a FULL Imaging USA registration for free! Don't miss out on this exclusive deal to get a comprehensive and intimate workshop on your business followed by three days of Imaging USA to give you all the inspiration you need to put your new business plan to action!

And TWO Certification Prep Classes


Certification Prep Class A

With Gary Meek, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API, A- ASP, EA-ASP

& Kathy Meek, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API





Certification Prep Class B

with Al Audleman, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API 


Friday - Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

PPA is also offering two SMS Business Basics workshops in Phoenix.

$379 $279 (Save $100!)

Business Basics for Portrait Photographers

with Ann Monteith, M.Photog.Cr.Hon.M.Photog., CPP, ABI, API, A-ASP


$379 $279 (Save $100!)

Business Basics for Wedding Photographers

with Carrie Wildes, CPP


These experts and PPA's Benchmark Survey will help you understand your numbers and be more profitable in 2014!


 Make sure to follow PPA on Facebook and stay tuned into PPAedu's events calendar for the latest.



Have you heard? The Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) program was recently given a massive makeover--and it looks GOOD! The new CPP-only website provides CPPs with more resources than ever, including a Certification See the Difference video, a CPP-only marketing toolkit and so much more.

If you once held the prestigious CPP designation,  we have some good news. You can be grandfathered in AT NO COST. That's right! Since you are a loyal PPA member you have the opportunity to reinstate your CPP, totally free! All you have to do is maintain your PPA membership. In three years, you'll have the opportunity to recertify and continue on as a CPP for years to come. Pretty good deal, huh?

Here's the fine print: You have until September 2014 to opt-in to the CPP Amnesty Program. You may opt-in anytime simply by completing the Certification Amnesty Form found at Once you submit your form our Certification staff will update your status to reflect your reacquired designation as a CPP. You will then receive a CPP packet in the mail with your new CPP Certificate and CPP marketing materials to help you display and market your CPP proudly. And of course, you will also be able to access the CPP-only section on the website. 

If you have any questions on the changes to the CPP program, please feel free to reach out to us at We look forward to welcoming you back as a CPP!

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