Benefits / Resources / Articles
February 10, 2022

CPP Spotlight: Teri Ryerson

Teri Ryerson, CPP, is an Iowa-based photographer and the owner of In The Now Photo, a boutique women’s portrait studio in Pella, Iowa. She’s been a PPA member since 2015. We asked Teri to tell us about her experience of becoming a Certified Professional Photographer and what PPA members can expect out of the process. If you’ve ever wanted a firsthand account of what the CPP process entails and what the benefits of being certified are, keep reading!

I am primarily a boudoir photographer, so my clients need every bit of reassurance that I am going to take care of them at their most vulnerable. Adding the CPP to my credentials just made sense to put my clients even more at ease. My clients need to know that I am an expert at lighting and posing and will make them look their absolute best. Certification is a tool for me to demonstrate my expertise.

The CPP is something I had considered doing for a long time. In 2021, I did a reading challenge, and during that process, I added some books from the CPP reading list to my list. Then I realized that since I was reading these books anyway, maybe it was time to test for the CPP. I read the books, but I also took advantage of the video training courses made available on the PPA website.

The PPA exam was a VERY difficult test, but I passed on the first try. Image critique, however, was a different story: only one of my three images passed on the first try. I found some help with CPP liaisons in a Facebook group, and I passed the image critique on the second attempt.

Since passing the CPP, the biggest change in my business has been in my mindset. I am my own biggest critic, but certification feels like validation that I am a true professional.

As a boudoir photographer, when my clients step in front of my lens, they are setting aside so many insecurities about themselves. I have had clients drive to my studio, then sit in the car too afraid to come inside because a voice inside them told them they weren't good enough. Those same clients have walked out of my studio with a newfound confidence that they tell me still impacts them years later. To be part of that experience—to impact lives like that—is incredible. If adding the letters CPP after my name helps them find my work or helps them feel more confident in me, I would do it over and over and over.

Interested in learning more about the CPP program? Check out this article on becoming a Certified Professional Photographer.