CPP Process FAQs

  • Declaring your Candidacy is the first step on your certification journey and the candidacy application fee is $200.
  • There is a $25 fee to take the online exam through ProctorU.
  • Once you pass the exam, then you become eligible to submit the three images for the Technical Image Evaluation during any evaluation period.They take place 5 times a year. The image kit used to create your images costs approximately $35 and is ordered from Blick U. There is no cost to submit images to the Technical Image Evaluation.
  • If your candidacy expires before you successfully complete your evaluation, you can apply for a candidacy extensionat a cost of $100. The candidate must have already passed the Certification exam to qualify for a candidacy extension. To learn more about re-candidacy please email us at [email protected].

All CPPs and CPP Candidates are required to be 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 will not be officially declared until your payment is processed. Once confirmed, your candidacy will be valid for two years. For additional step-by-step information please download the CPP Candidate HandbookSign 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 Outline 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
  3. Take the exam. Once you feel confident you are ready to take the exam simply register for the online exam.
  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 worked hard!
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 two email notices on the year they are due to recertify, an email six (6) months and one (1) month prior to expiration.

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

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 used for purposes of the Certification program and have no correlation to the PPA merit. For additional information on this please email [email protected].

The Certification Committee followed 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 CPP designation is international and there are CPPs all over the world!

International 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 [email protected].

All Technical Image Evaluation materials are submitted online. Your Technical Image Evaluation kit will need to 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 [email protected].

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 [email protected] for assistance.

If you have successfully completed the exam requirement, but not the Technical Image Evaluation requirement, please contact [email protected] for next steps.

CPP Exam FAQ's

Candidates or CPPs who are up for renewal can take the online. Visit the Exam Registration page for instructions.

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

The certification exam is comprised of 100 multiple-choice questions that are 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 questions/70% correctly to pass.You will take the exam with an online proctor. Once you register for the exam, you will receive an email from the Credentialing Coordinator with helpful information.

CPP exams are not associated by specialty (Portrait, Sports, or Commercial), but you will need to have a good understanding of the fundamentals of photography to pass the exam.

You can take the exam online in as soon as 72 hours, (3 days), after you declare your candidacy. visit the Exam Registration page for more information.

For exams taken online, you will receive your results via email approximately 2-3 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. We want to encourage you to utilize this to go back and study those areas that need improvement.

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  the online exam, there is a $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.

All rescheduling and cancellation 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 [email protected] 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.

In-person exams are no longer offered, other than once a year during Imaging USA. The only way to take the CPP exam is through ProctorU in the comfort of your own home or studio.

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 and they begin in February. Eligible candidates will receive an email notification at NOON EST on the date that the Technical Image Evaluation period opens notifying them that the evaluation is open for submissions. The candidate will have two weeks to upload three images that fit within their chosen criteria.

Once a candidate has passed the exam, they will receive an email notification that the evaluation is open for submissions. Candidates can access the evaluation upload platform by logging into their MyPPA dashboard and navigating to the myAchievements tab. Then, select "Certifications" to expand the section where the candidate 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!

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. You should always check the feedback associated so you know exactly what to improve in your images for the next evaluation!

Eligible candidates can submit images as many times as needed within their TWO (2) year candidacy period. Evaluation cycles occur five times per year. If the candidate does not pass the Technical Image Evaluation within the two year candidacy period, they can apply for a candidacy extension for a $100 fee. Payment of the fee will allow them one more year to submit images.

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 [email protected].

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 Materials 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 and please allow 5-10 days for shipping.

To keep evaluations uniformed and impartial, candidates are required to use items listed on the Blick Art Materials 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] prior to evaluation deadline.

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

CPP Recertification FAQ's 

Recertification signifies that you are continuously learning and evolving in your craft. By maintaining your CPP designation, you distinguish yourself as an accomplished professional photographer committed to the improvement of your skills and knowledge. Recertification enables you to become more competitive, and more proficient in your photographic career. It builds upon your expertise through continuing education and work experience. Recertification also provides you with the opportunity to reaffirm your commitment to your profession and the quality of work you provide for your clients.

Recertification entails the submission of 15 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and a $100 recertification fee. Continuing Education Units may come from any face-to-face education (PPA affiliated or Non-Affiliated) that a CPP has attended and can be combined with CEUs earned from PPA Affiliated teaching or speaking at seminars, workshops, and events.

Please review the chart below to learn how to earn CEUs or what your CEUs may fall under the CEU point structure.

Units Earned

   Continuing Education Unit Options


  •    Imaging USA

  •    International Convention (hosted outside of the U.S of at least 3 days)


  •    Any face-to-face professional photographic development program lasting 5 days

  •    Teaching or speaking any PPA affiliated seminar/workshop lasting 5 days


  •    Any face-to-face professional photographic development program lasting 4 days

  •    Teaching or speaking any PPA affiliated seminar/workshop lasting 4 days


  •    Any face-to-face professional photographic development program lasting 3 days

  •    Teaching or speaking any PPA affiliated seminar/workshop lasting 3 days


  •    Any face-to-face professional photographic development program lasting 1.5 - 2 days

  •    Teaching or speaking any PPA affiliated seminar/workshop lasting 1.5 - 2 days


  •    Any face-to-face professional photographic development program lasting 1 day (6+ hrs)

  •    Teaching or speaking any PPA affiliated seminar/workshop lasting 1 day (6+ hrs)


  •    Any face-to-face professional photographic development program lasting ½ day (3+ hrs)

  •    Teaching or speaking any PPA affiliated seminar/workshop lasting ½ day (3+ hrs)


  •    Any face-to-face professional photographic development program lasting 1 – 2.5 hrs

  •    Teaching or speaking any PPA affiliated seminar/workshop lasting 1 – 2.5 hrs


  •    PPA or PPA affiliate online content - 1 hour of content = 0.25*

(videos, webinars, Facebook Live)

*Maximum of 10 CEUs may be submitted for online education

You must recertify every three years.



What do I submit?


Option 1

I have  attended THREE consecutive Imaging USA’s

Submit CPP Recertification Form

$0 – fee waived

Option 2

I have accumulated 15 CEUs

Submit CPP Recertification Form


Option 3

I do not have enough CEUs


Retake CPP Exam + submit CPP Recertification Form + fee

Option 4

I do not have ANY CEUs


Retake CPP Exam + submit CPP Recertification Form + fee


Unfortunately, if you are unable to complete the recertification requirements, your certification will be discontinued. You will need to reapply as a candidate and complete the candidacy requirements to re-obtain your credential.

Complete the CPP Recertification Form ( https://www.ppa.com/my-ppa/cpp-candidate/recertification ) with a list of your accrued continuing education units that you have accumulated during your certification cycle. The cost for recertification is a $100 fee. The fee can be waived if you have attended THREE consecutive Imaging USA’s during your certification.

Log into your MyPPA dashboard, navigate to the “myAchievements” tab and select “Certifications” to view your Certification status and expiration date.

You can document any continuing education units you may have accumulated or plan on attending during your certification cycle by creating a word doc or spreadsheet to maintain records of your attendance.


“Title of event/class/workshop – Date(s) Attended – Instructor/Presenter = (please refer to continuing education chart for CEU conversion)” 

Once you have received your exam results please submit the CPP Recertification Form indicating you have completed and passed the exam.

Once you have submitted your CPP Recertification Form (all forms are processed manually, so please give 1-3 days for processing time) you will receive an email confirmation that your recertification has been processed and accepted. You will receive your recertification packet and certificate in the mail within 3-4 weeks.

We hope you enjoy your retirement! Unfortunately maintaining a CPP Certification means to continue accumulating continuing education units for your certification. If you are nearing retirement, please notify us at [email protected], so we can turn off your recertification reminders.

Please email [email protected] to inquire the next steps to regaining your certification.

As of January 1, 2018 CPPs may submit a maximum of ten (10) CEUs from the 15 CEUs required to recertify from online education. This online education can come from PPA webinars, PPAedu, and PPA Affiliate web content. These will count for 0.25 CEUs per hour of video watched (any combination of videos that will equate to 60 minutes of video will equal to 0.25 CEUs). Please provide Title – Date Watched – Instructor/Presenter - Platform - Length of Program” when entering information on the CPP Recertification Form.

Yes, continuing education units pertaining to maintaining your photography business counts towards your recertification.

Merits are separate from CEUs in that Merits only apply to earning a degree and cannot be used for recertification.

CEUs are actual hours of time of photography education that get converted into CEUs. Only CEUs can be used to recertify.