Nearly half of the membership of Professional Photographers of America, the 150-year-old nonprofit photography association, identifies as Wedding Photographers. With this in mind, PPA has created a new degree designed to encourage and reward the hard-working wedding photographers within the membership and to help them stand out in the wedding photography field by earning a credential that signifies mastery of the education and experience needed to obtain a degree through PPA.
PPA recognized the need to add to its slate of degrees, which currently includes Master of Photography (M.Photog.), Photographic Craftsman (Cr.Photog.), and Master Artist (M.Artist), as 52% of PPA members (representing 16,000 photographers) report weddings as at least part of their business. Almost half say it is 1/3 of their business.
PPA's degree system is based on merits obtained through teaching, service, and photographic competition. Rich Newell, PPA's IPC Manager, explains that "there is a perception going on that wedding images do not earn merits or place in the International Photographic Competition (IPC). Furthermore, many wedding photographers believe 'beautiful brides' are more important to a photographer’s success in image competition than technical excellence. PPA's Council has focused on re-engaging this key segment of our membership and rewarding their hard work with a chance to show off this new credential."
To earn a Master of Wedding Photography Degree (M.Wed.Photog.), an official wedding category has been added to the IPC, and wedding photographers will be judged by a panel of their peers, a group of wedding specialized jurors. All images must be made by the entrant in connection with an actual wedding. Learn more about how this new degree brings changes to the IPC.
PPA believes this is the best way to celebrate 150 years of their association's history, to create yet another program reaffirming their commitment to members and the industry. The first Master of Wedding Photography Degrees (M.Wed.Photog.) will be awarded in January of 2021.