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Enhance Your Creativity by Becoming a Certified Professional Photographer - PPA Today

Enhance Your Creativity by Becoming a Certified Professional Photographer

The Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) is one of the most prestigious designations a photographer can own, but some photographers seem to think they don't matter. Dave Goldman, a CPP liaison from North Carolina, would argue to the contrary. He's helped hundreds of photographers earn their CPP and grow to become great artists in their field. In the guest blog below, he discusses how becoming a CPP is not a hindrance to your creativity at all, but can enhance your technique in ways you didn't imagine.

Enhance Your Creativity by Becoming a Certified Professional Photographer

By Dave Goldman, Cr.Photog., CPP

At a recent meeting with some local portrait artists, I heard photographers say things like "using ratios are bogus because no one uses them" and "photographic certifications hold no weight with clients" and "customers do not know what they are". These photographers have even gone so far to say that technical certifications are not needed and only hinder creativity by the constraints they make you follow.

One thing that I, and the many other photographers who have obtained their CPP, can tell you is that comments like these could not be further from the truth. Yes, there is an interpretation of one's work. But you need to learn what the rules are before you can break them. All great photographers like Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa and Yousuf Karsh followed rules and, in fact, even created rules or systems we use today.

I value the certification program as obtaining the CPP designation is an outstanding way to learn the standard concepts in today's digital photography world. Concepts you will learn on the road to certification are fundamental and apply to all aspects of photography in one way or another. These concepts can all be used as building blocks and applied to any creative project you might currently be working on.

This is just one way the CPP helps be more creative: Let's say that you want to bring something complex to life. Your image needs multiple lights with different intensities. It also needs multiple colors which you can create by using gels and filters, etc. Thanks to your CPP studies you will have a firm understanding of the concepts you need to utilize, so you can make educated decisions before you release the shutter.

Now once your vision is in front of you the possibilities are endless. You can take that image and enhance it even further in Photoshop.

From a business perspective, you can take it a step further. If you find yourself competing with the "shoot and burn" photographers and can't seem to break away, getting your CPP will help you do just that. You will learn the concepts needed to help separate yourself from the pack so you can produce a higher caliber of work. This will allow you to be even more creative and come up with different pricing points based on your abilities. You can carve out your own niche. These are the tools that can be the difference between someone being a run-of-the-mill photographer versus a true professional.

In my past three years as a CPP liaison, I have mentored over 500 candidates in the CPP Exam Study Facebook group--many of whom have passed their exam and image submission and became certified.  They are now using what they learned to push the limits of photography and create some real master works of art. Every photographer I've seen go through the program has grown leaps and bounds in their craft and technical ability, and some of these individuals have moved on to take these concepts even further by working toward their Master of Photography degree.

You should too! I challenge you to look into the program and declare your CPP candidacy and see for yourself. If you have any questions do not hesitate to reach out and contact me for help. Enjoy the journey!


Dave Goldman, Cr.Photog., CPP, owns and operates his Charlotte, North Carolina-based studio, Dave Goldman Photography. Dave is a North Carolina CPP liaison and is happy to answer any CPP-related questions at Dave [at]

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This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on March 17, 2015 7:59 PM.

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