CPP Process FAQs

  • Declaring your Candidacy is the first step on your CPP journey. The candidacy application fee is $200.
  • There is no fee to take the exam in person, but there is a $25 fee to take it online.
  • Once you pass your exam you are eligible to submit your technical image evaluation during any evaluation period (they take place 5 times a year). If you don't pass the first time that’s ok! You can submit your evaluation as many times as needed during your candidacy period
  • If your candidacy expires before you successfully complete your evaluation you can apply for re-candidacy at a reduced cost of $100. To learn more about re-candidacy please email us at cppmailbox@ppa.com.
  • To renew your certification (every three years) there is a $100 fee UNLESS you attend Imaging USA three years in a row or are an Elite or Elite Plus member, then your recertification fee is waived!

All CPPs and CPP Candidates are required to be PPA members. Remember there is no annual charge for Certification for PPA members. For more information about PPA Membership click here!

  1. Declare your candidacy. To do this, simply fill out the candidacy form. In this step, you will also need to pay the application $200 fee. Please note that your candidacy won't be officially declared until your payment is processed. Once confirmed, your candidacy will be valid for two years. Sign up using this form!
  2. Prepare for the exam. There are many resources provided to help you prepare for your CPP exam. Take advantage of all these by visiting the CPP Exam Resources section of our website. We suggest first downloading the CPP Test Specifications so you know what the exam covers. Then you can test your knowledge with the CPP Keywords, browse the suggested reading material, review the CPP Flashcards and take a Sample CPP Exam. You can also sign up for a CPP Prep Class which will definitely boost your confidence on the big day!
  3. Take the exam. Once you feel confident you are ready to take the exam simply go online and register for an exam in your area or online.
  4. The Technical Image Evaluation follows the exam. Each Image Evaluation will demonstrate three images. Please use the Technical Image Evaluation Guide and Sample Images to setup your evaluation. Make sure to reference the Equipment List for required and suggested equipment. You can submit your images as many times as needed within your TWO (2) year candidacy period. Should you not pass the technical image evaluation within your candidacy period you can reapply for candidacy, with the reduced cost of $100 and an additional year to do so.
  5. Celebrate. Once you get your certification, give yourself a break and celebrate! You'll deserve it
Every three years: Recertify

Once you've achieved the CPP designation, you will need to recertify every three years. CPPs eligible for recertification will receive three notices on the year they are due to recertify, two via email and one via mail.

To recertify, 15 Continuing Education Units (CEUs)* are required or re-examination, along with a payment of $100. The $100 recertification fee is waived if any of the following requirements are met:

  •     CPP has attended Imaging USA for the past three consecutive years
  •     CPP is an Elite or Elite Plus Member

The CEU system involved in the CPP recertification process is there to encourage CPPs to continue their journey in photography education and professional development. By participating in continuing education, CPPs help to raise the bar of our industry.

To learn how to how to earn credits or if you're not sure how many CEUs you have under your belt, please visit the recertification page.

*Please note CEUs are only use for purposes of the Certification program and have no correlation to the PPA merit. For additional information on this please email cppmailbox@ppa.com.

The Certification Committee follows the standards for certification established by the Institute of Credentialing Excellence. ICE sets the guidelines for creating the written test for certification, ensuring the questions are relevant to professional photography today. The Institute of Credentialing Excellence also provides support and information for maintaining the certification process to the certification Committee.

The Certification Committee meets on a regular basis to make sure the certification process always reflects the new advances in the photography industry.

The CPP designation is international, there are CPPs all over the world!

To see if there is a Certification Liaison in your country please view the CPP Liaison list. For those countries without a CPP Liaison CPP Candidates may register and take the exam online via remote proctor for a nominal fee of $25. For more information on taking the exam online please visit the Exam Registration section. Please note the CPP Exam is only offered in English and Spanish. Candidates must be able to read and answer questions written in one of those languages. To request a CPP exam in Spanish please contact cppmailbox@ppa.com.

All Technical Image Evaluation materials are submitted online. Your Technical Image Evaluation kit will be ordered online from BlickU. Please use the Ordering Guide to help you through the process. Please allow between 5-10 business days for kit delivery (pending location). For additional assistance for international candidates please email cppmailbox@ppa.com.

You will receive your CPP certificate in the mail approximately three weeks after the date that you received your passing email notification.

If your candidacy has expired and you have not successfully completed the exam requirement, you will be required to restart the process by re-declaring your candidacy. Please contact cppmailbox@ppa.com for assistance.

If you have successfully completed the exam requirement, but not the Technical Image Evaluation requirement, please contact cppmailbox@ppa.com for next steps.

Certification Liaisons know the program inside and out. The liaison acts as a spokesperson for certification, assisting candidates and existing Certified Professional Photographers as an expert and source of information. Liaisons must maintain their certification and PPA Membership, and are entrusted with responsibilities from the committee to maintain the integrity of the program.

If you are a Certified Professional Photographer or a CPP candidate, you can contact a Certification Liaison in your area for assistance or answers.

List of Certification Liaisons

CPP Exam FAQ's

Candidates or CPPs who are up for renewal have the option to take the exam in-person or online. Visit the Exam Registration page for instructions.

You must be a declared and active CPP Candidate or a CPP up for renewal within the current calendar year to take the CPP Exam.

Each exam is comprised of 100 multiple choice questions each worth one point. The material is pulled from the CPP test specifications and all exam questions are referenced in a readily available photography book. You will have two hours to complete the exam and must answer at least 70% correctly to pass.

CPP Exams are not associated by specialty (Portrait, Sports, or Commercial).

For in-person exams, dates and locations are added frequently. Please check the exam schedule. Exams are listed approximately 60 days in advance, giving enough time for CPP candidates to register and prepare.

Or you can choose to take the exam online in as soon as 72 hours (3 days).

Visit the Exam Registration page for more information.

For exams taken in person, you will receive your results via email approximately two to three weeks after your exam date.

For exams taken online, you will receive your results via email approximately 5-7 business days after your exam date.

If you pass the exam (70% score or higher) you will receive your numerical score out of 100.
If you do not pass the exam (69% score or below), you will receive your numerical score along with a breakdown showing you how many questions you missed in each exam section. This is very helpful to go back and study those weaker areas.

You may take the exam once every 30 days as many times as you need during your two-year candidacy period. After that initial two year period, you will need to start the process again, but there are no limits as to how many times you might be allowed to do this again.

For in-person exams, there is no fee associated with retaking the exam.

For online exams, there is the $25 fee paid to ProctorU to proctor the exam.

You may take the exam as many times as needed within your candidacy period as long as there are at least 30 days between exam dates.

If you registered for an in-person exam, simply email cppmailbox@ppa.com with your name, ID # and scheduled test date at least five days prior to the exam. We will remove you from the exam roster and you will be able to reschedule your exam online at any time!

If you registered for an online exam, all rescheduling and cancelation matters are handled through ProctorU.

CPP exam accommodations

The CPP examination program provides reasonable and appropriate accommodations for individuals with documented disabilities within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended (ADA). Under ADA, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits an individual's ability to perform one or more major life activities, as compared with most people in the general population.

Types of accommodations provided

Available accommodations include but are not limited to the following:

  • Extra exam time
  • Private Exam/Exam Room
  • A reader or recorder for individuals with mobility or vision impairments and who cannot read or write on their own

PPA will make reasonable efforts to accommodate eligible candidates, who provide documented evidence of their disability or need for special arrangements that do not present an undue burden to the proctor and do not fundamentally alter the measurement of the knowledge the assessment is intended to test. If you require special testing arrangements, you must inform PPA of your needs via email at least four weeks prior to the scheduled test date. Please email cppmailbox@ppa.com for special accommodation requests.

We recommend allocating about three hours from your schedule for the CPP Exam to allow time for set-up and proctor instructions prior to actually starting the test.

  1. A webcam
  2. A quiet location clear of any reference material
  3. Strong Internet connectivity. We recommend a hard-wired Internet connection if possible.
  4. Your PPA ID
  5. A valid Photo ID
  6. One blank piece of scratch paper
  7. A reflective surface, such as a small mirror or cell phone
  8. Pocket-style or computer application calculator
  9. About three hours of time blocked off on your schedule

We recommend using Google Chrome.

No, the exams are not different. The only difference is the setting in which you take the exam!

CPP Technical Image Evaluation FAQ's

Once you pass the CPP Exam, you are eligible to participate in the Technical Image Evaluation. There are five Evaluation periods per year. Eligible candidates will receive an email notification at NOON EST on the date that the Technical Image Evaluation period opens notifying you that the evaluation is now open. You will have two weeks to upload your three images, giving you ample time to submit your images.

Once you have passed the exam, eligible candidates will receive an email notification that the evaluation is now open. Candidates can access the evaluation upload platform by logging into your MyPPA dashboard and navigating to the myAchievements tab. You will select "Certifications" to expand the selection where you can view the option to “Upload Evaluation”.

Each candidate is required to submit THREE (3) images that depict key photographic techniques.

  1. Image 1 – Straight on, Portrait orientation
  2. Image 2 – Overhead, Landscape orientation
  3. Image 3 – Overhead, Landscape orientation

Please visit the Technical Evaluation Resources page to prepare!

  1. All images are reviewed by trained evaluators. All images are evaluated according to the Technical Image Evaluation Checklist, with each image reviewed on the same objective scale. Please note: Images are evaluated in the most recent version of Adobe Bridge Camera Raw only, Profile: Adobe Standard.

The review process takes two weeks. Technical Image Evaluations results will be sent via email approximately three weeks after the evaluation deadline.

If your evaluation did not pass, it means that either one or more of your images did not meet the elements listed on the Technical Image Evaluation Checklist. You will be able to log in and review your Image Evaluation and you may resubmit your images during any future evaluation periods.

With the new Technical Image Evaluation process you can submit images as many times as needed within your TWO (2) year candidacy period. Evaluation cycles occur 5 times per year. If you do not pass within your two year candidacy period, you will be asked to reapply for candidacy for a $100 fee. Payment of the fee will allow you one more year to submit.

If that's what you do best—go for it! You need to show what you do on a daily basis, and show that you know how to skillfully use natural light, how to manipulate it, and how to get proper ratios. The Technical Image Evaluation offers candidates THREE (3) lighting scenario options to choose from to complete the evaluation process.

  • OPTION 1: Electronic Flash (speedlights, studio strobes, location strobes)
  • OPTION 2: Continuous Light (modeling, tungsten lights)
  • OPTION 3: Natural Light (window, natural, available light)

Candidates are required to identify and select only ONE lighting scenario to complete their evaluation.

You will receive your CPP certificate in the mail approximately three weeks after the date that you have received your passing email notification.

Images taken in a workshop environment or under direct supervision of an instructor are not allowed for image evaluation. All images submitted must be self-directed and individually set up. For additional questions about this topic please email cppmailbox@ppa.com.

You can order the Blick Art Materials Supply List here. For more detailed instructions and information on how to place your order, you can review the How to order your Blick Art Materials Supply guide.

In order to participate in the Technical Image Evaluation, candidates must pass the CPP Exam to be eligible to partake in the evaluation. However, you can purchase your Blick Art Marterials Supply List at any given time before or during your two-year CPP Candidacy. Review evaluation periods and deadlines in advance and place orders accordingly, please allow 5-10 days for shipping.

To keep evaluations uniformed and impartial, candidates are required to use items listed on the Blick Art Marterials Supply List.

When purchasing your Technical Image Evaluation kit, at times a(n) item(s) may be Out of Stock please check the alternative materials list on the Ordering Guide to view alternate item(s). Please note that alternative items at times will be added to the kit list so items you receive can vary. Please email cppmailbox@ppa.com if an item on the list is out of stock.

As some items may be out of stock at time of purchase, alternative variations are used in place of out-of-stock items. Please be aware use of alternative items will differ from sample images that are currently posted online (you might find this specifically with different gray paper variations). If you have concerns please reach out to cppmailbox@ppa.com for additional information!

Images and placement of items should closely resemble the sample images that have been provided to you here.

Unfortunately if one (1) of your three (3) images fails, you must re-submit the rejected images in the next Technical Image Evaluation you decide to participate in.

Any previously ACCEPTED images from a previous evaluation will be carried over and you will not be required to re-upload. If previously ACCEPTED images do not appear in your evaluation please contact cppmailbox@ppa.com prior to evaluation deadline.

Images must be shot and submitted in the smallest RAW format available on your camera.