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PPA Today: Certified Professional Photographer Archives

Recently in Certified Professional Photographer Category

There's always plenty going on here at PPA. So how about a monthly blog to keep you up to date?

At the start of each month, we'll give you an update on what workshops and live webinars are coming up! There's no excuse to miss out now!

Without further ado, let's take a look.

PPAedu's live webinars are offered FREE to members and non-members alike, but only available on-demand to PPA professional active members and PPAedu subscribers.

Here are this month's live webinars:

November 12, 2 p.m. ET

Income Tax Strategies w/ Bridget Jackson, CPA & PPA's Studio Management Services Manager

Learn strategies that can potentially lower your taxes and more with THE expert--PPA's resident CPA, Bridget Jackson!

 

November 19, 2 p.m. ET

SEO & Social for Photographers: A Match Made in Heaven

Don't miss part four of SEO expert Brett Snyder's series on... you guessed it... SEO! Read our blog post from last week for more info.

 

And look out for part 5 in early December!

December 3, 2 p.m. ET

SEO & Web Content Are Evolving, Even for Photographers: What to Expect in 2014 and Beyond

In this installment, Brett will cover web content--and goes in depth on the difference between fresh and static content and how both can boost your SEO!

 

And make arrangements for PPA's upcoming workshops!

 

PPA's Studio Management Services are hosting a few workshops at Imaging USA in Phoenix to help you be more in 2014. If you really want to get the most out of your Imaging experience, head out a few days early for these great pre-convention workshops!


Thursday - Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

$944

Business Breakthroughs

with Carrie Wildes, CPP & Allison Tyler Jones

 

Register for Business Breakthroughs and we'll throw in a FULL Imaging USA registration for free! Don't miss out on this exclusive deal to get a comprehensive and intimate workshop on your business followed by three days of Imaging USA to give you all the inspiration you need to put your new business plan to action!


And TWO Certification Prep Classes


$299

Certification Prep Class A

With Gary Meek, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API, A- ASP, EA-ASP

& Kathy Meek, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API

 

Or

 

$299

Certification Prep Class B

with Al Audleman, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API 

 

Friday - Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.


PPA is also offering two SMS Business Basics workshops in Phoenix.


$379 $279 (Save $100!)

Business Basics for Portrait Photographers

with Ann Monteith, M.Photog.Cr.Hon.M.Photog., CPP, ABI, API, A-ASP

 

$379 $279 (Save $100!)

Business Basics for Wedding Photographers

with Carrie Wildes, CPP

 

These experts and PPA's Benchmark Survey will help you understand your numbers and be more profitable in 2014!

 

 Make sure to follow PPA on Facebook and stay tuned into PPAedu's events calendar for the latest.

 

 

Have you heard? The Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) program was recently given a massive makeover--and it looks GOOD! The new CPP-only website provides CPPs with more resources than ever, including a Certification See the Difference video, a CPP-only marketing toolkit and so much more.

If you once held the prestigious CPP designation,  we have some good news. You can be grandfathered in AT NO COST. That's right! Since you are a loyal PPA member you have the opportunity to reinstate your CPP, totally free! All you have to do is maintain your PPA membership. In three years, you'll have the opportunity to recertify and continue on as a CPP for years to come. Pretty good deal, huh?

Here's the fine print: You have until September 2014 to opt-in to the CPP Amnesty Program. You may opt-in anytime simply by completing the Certification Amnesty Form found at http://www.ppa.com/amnesty. Once you submit your form our Certification staff will update your status to reflect your reacquired designation as a CPP. You will then receive a CPP packet in the mail with your new CPP Certificate and CPP marketing materials to help you display and market your CPP proudly. And of course, you will also be able to access the CPP-only section on the website. 

If you have any questions on the changes to the CPP program, please feel free to reach out to us at cppmailbox@ppa.com. We look forward to welcoming you back as a CPP!
Have you heard? The Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) program was recently given a massive makeover--and it looks GOOD! The new CPP-only website provides CPPs with more resources than ever, including a Certification See the Difference video, a CPP-only marketing toolkit and so much more.

Before we get too far into this, we need to share some good news! If you previously held the CPP designation, you can be grandfathered back in AT NO COST. All you have to do is maintain your PPA membership. In three years, you'll have the opportunity to recertify and continue on as a CPP for years to come. Pretty good deal, huh? Okay, now back to it.

The revamped Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) program's goal is to acknowledge and validate a consistent photography standard by which professional photographers can achieve and maintain a recognizable mark of excellence.

PPA's CPP program assures others of a photographer's knowledge, experience and continuance to develop new skills and techniques. It is a declaration of your professional competence! The certification program assures the general public that you, as a Certified Professional Photographer, are a quality professional. It's like quality assurance because certification is a credential that consumers and businesses understand. 

More importantly, it provides you with a tool for telling the world--and all those potential clients--why they should call you rather than the competitor down the street. Because earning your designation isn't just for you--it's for your clients too! 

Earning your CPP will give you an advertising edge, pricing justification and peer validation! And talk about a confidence boost! Clients in every industry seek out credentialed professionals, as the public recognizes certification as a sign that one is an authority in the field. A CPP designation offers potential clients an assurance, not just of quality, but of professionalism, technical skill and artistic expertise.

We'll let PPA member, Dave Goldman, CPP, have a crack at this one:

"Would you use a first-year resident as a doctor because you can save a few dollars on an operation or use a specialist recognized by his peers in a particular profession? Certification shows that you took the time to learn about what you are doing and how you perform to a higher standard. Each client that comes to my studio asks me about the very visible certificate on the wall. I explain the difference between CPPs and everyday photographers and educate them on the investment they are about to make. Certification makes it a critical difference."

The new Certification microsite gives you everything you need to know about the program, from in-depth explanation on what a certification is and means, to the CPP pathway for those who have yet to certify! If you fall into the latter, consider the CPP Prep class taking place next month here at PPA HQ in Atlanta!

Be on the lookout for the new CPP newsletters, the CPP Liaison newsletters and enjoy the many benefits offered in the Certification updated program. 

Be More... Certified!
Here at PPA, one of the biggest challenges we hear photographers talk about is making their business stand out from all the other photography studios out there. Many of these competitors actually fall under the hobbyists' category and lack the skills and dedication of trained professional photographers. 

Showing potential clients that you have the experience, skills, and recognized status of a pro can be a huge help in setting your business apart from the competition. How can you do this? Well, becoming a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) is one sure way to show potential clients that you are a professional photographer, guaranteeing that they'll receive high quality images, unlike with a hobbyist. It also helps justify why your prices may be higher than other folks out there. 

Earning your Certification is a process that definitely will require some effort on your part. After all, you're trying to show that you are a professional photographer at the top of your game and an expert in your field! 

In order to become certified, you must pass both a written exam that covers various technical topics of photography (technical things that every serious photographer should be fluent with) and an Image Submission Review, where you'll submit your own work and show that you understand the concepts covered by the exam. 

Anyone can declare their candidacy for the CPP exam and there are no requirements to prepare for the exam. However, the technicality and depth of information covered in the exam is not for the faint of heart or beginners in photography. This is why, for those seeking to earn the CPP credential, PPA highly recommends attending the Certification Preparation Class to review these topics. That way, the topics will be fresh in your mind when you take the CPP exam! Plus, there's an optional fourth day of the class that will cover the Image Submission Review. Remember, the CPP Image Submission Review is judged differently than the International Photographic Competition. It's helpful to hear how you'll be critiqued and to learn best strategies of what work to select. 

We hosted a Certification Preparation Class at our headquarters in Atlanta from July 15 - 18 and talked to several attendees about their motivation for starting the process and how the class helped them prepare for the exam and image review.

Why Attendees Want to Be a CPP:

"Certification gives me something I've never had, and that's showing I've gone through the gauntlet learning the high standards that are required of a professional photographer. I believe that there are so many people out there today with digital cameras who call themselves photographers and I really find that it's sad because so many people are just not producing the quality of work that I feel the profession deserves." - Jim McDonald, James McDonald Photography

"When I pass the certification process, it will be a stamp of approval for my clients showing that I know what I'm doing and that's why I charge what I do. It can also help me raise the bar for photography in our area, encouraging more people to pick a real pro!" - Bonnie Jean Berg, BJB Photography

"Certification will help my marketing efforts by saying to my clients 'I can give you a great product because I spent the time and money to be certified by a panel of highly experienced and educated photographers.'" - Lisa Shorts, ImagoModo Photography

"Everyone says they are a photographer but they really aren't. Not until they know the art, they know what they are doing and they know everything about exposures and the whole gamut. That's what's going to help set my business apart and explaining that to my clients will put me over the [competitive] edge." - Daniel Douglas, Daniel Douglas Photography

What Attendees Took Away From the Class

"I can apply everything I know about shooting a picture, but trying to regurgitate it for the exam is really more complicated than people think. I know instinctively what to do, but the prep class helped me to be able to know the technical steps behind making an image, so I can take the exam and make sure that I pass." - Lisa Shorts, ImagoModo Photography

"The instructor was very thorough and covered everything in the class to help us pass the exam, and I also learned a lot of information that will help my business to be better in general." - Denise Savage, Savage Photography

"You can never know too much about photography. Even though I'm a photography instructor, the class helped keep my skills sharp and keep me aware of the 'cutting-edge' of what's going on in photography." - Jim McDonald, James McDonald Photography

"The class gave me basic information about some of the aspects of photography I've never worked with before. I was surprised to find that some of the things I didn't think I knew, I actually did. It was a neat confidence boost." - Bonnie Jean Berg, BJB Photography


So, are you ready to become certified? You can do it! Learn more about the program in the brand-new Certified section of PPA.com. You can also sign up for the next Certification Preparation Class, taking place at PPA headquarters October 21-23 (with the optional Image Submission class on October 24). 

Stay tuned to the PPA blog for videos featuring the thoughts of Certification Preparation Class attendees! 

PPA member, Super Monday instructor and recent CPP recipient, Dave Goldman, has been named a CPP Liaison for the state of North Carolina.

"Becoming a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) was a huge accomplishment for me! Passing the CPP exam and image submission process was incredibly difficult. I now hold a designation that less than 8% of the photographers worldwide hold," stated Goldman. "I also now know that I have the necessary skill set to be professionally recognized by my peers as a Certified Professional Photographer. My clients always love my work, but it takes the recognition to a whole new level when it comes from the industry itself. Working towards the CPP has given me the ability and confidence to create strong images under any conditions and I can produce consistent, repeatable results each and every time."

Dave's passion for teaching inspired him to go above and beyond becoming a CPP to become the first and only state Liaison for North Carolina in Charlotte.

"I love to teach and I wanted to give back to the photography community. Most people have no idea where to turn for learning and they end up at local meet-up groups. These groups are okay when you are starting in the [photography] business," said Dave. "I get very motivated when I see beginners aspire to become certified and I can now help them achieve that. I hope to raise the bar and educate other photographers through workshops and hands-on classes."

Dave has a reason to be motivated--becoming a Certified Professional Photographer has made an significant difference in his business.

"Most photographers claim that certification means nothing to their clients; however in my case that is far from the truth. Would you use a first-year resident as a doctor because you can save a few dollars on an operation or use a specialist recognized by his peers in a particular profession? Certification shows that you took the time to learn about what you are doing and how you perform to a higher standard," said Dave. "Each client that comes to my studio asks me about the very visible certificate on the wall. I explain the difference between CPPs and every-day photographers with a camera and educate them on the investment they are about to make. Certification makes it a critical difference."

View some of Dave's Certification passing images below and if you are interested in pursuing the certification program, here are some easy steps to get started:

First, check out http://certifiedphotographer.com/, then to look for a CPP liaison in your local area and get connected. Find other CPP's and speak with them about what the process, what it brought to them and to their business. They'll help you sort through what certification can do for you. Finally, pair up with a CPP (shadow or second shoot are great options) and see how they do things and learn from them. After all, they are trained to create beautiful images under any circumstances, so you are bound to learn something.


Do you have something you want us to brag on? Tell us here: www.ppa.com/bragbook.


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When you're looking for professional services, you pay attention to any certifications or designations the business may have, right? Well, the same can be said for your potential customers searching for a professional photographer.

That's where PPA's Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) designation can help you out!buck_husson_taylor_cppblog.jpg While a consumer may not know much about professional photography, having the CPP designation for your business tells them that they can expect professional quality services and goods from you.

It may seem easier to ignore the certification process, but it can greatly help you and your business' image. Several PPA members weighed-in with their thoughts on the worth of the program.

In a former life, Mary Buck, CPP, was in real estate. As such, licensing and keeping up with the credential requirements was a must in her line of business.

"Even before I started turning photography into my full-time business, I could see how some people could resist the certification process, because there is such a low barrier to entry into the field," she said. "I believe there should be a certain bar, in any industry, and certification does that for us photographers.

"The clients who care, and the ones I want, are the ones that respect me for making a commitment to my profession."

Studies have shown that having professional certification is the most widely recognized consumer credential, so certification can turn into a big advantage over your competition.

However, the CPP designation has more advantages than just giving you a leg up on your competitors. It will also make you a more confident photographer.

"What happened to me on the business side wasn't nearly as profound as what I found on the inside," said Stuart Husson, CPP. "The process to become certified was personal. I thought it would enhance my business, but that turned out to be secondary.

"I simply wanted to see if I was good enough, but the boost in self-confidence was such that it gave me the assurance that it was okay to turn down potential clients who did not meet my preferred client profile."

As you might expect, earning a CPP designation does take some effort and work on your part. In order to become a CPP, you must pass both a written exam on photography techniques and skills as well as the image submission review, where you'll submit your own photographs to be accepted by the Certification panel.

The process can also help fill in any gaps in your photographic knowledge, as 2013 first time CPP, Andrea Taylor, CPP, shared.

"I decided to become certified because I didn't go to photography school," she said. "I'm an emotional photographer, so it forced me to study and do things I wouldn't have done otherwise. I really tapped into a lot of technical parts of photography and I expect this process to impact my business because of my personal feelings about the whole process. The more confident I am, the better I can serve my clients."

To help you along the way towards becoming a CPP and to prepare you for the challenges of the exam, PPA hosts Certification Preparation classes. There's one coming up July 15-17, at PPA's headquarters in Atlanta, GA.

If you've ever considered taking the CPP exam, this class is for you. In fact, during these three days we will review all the technical topics covered by the exam. It's an in-depth study of the technical side of photography, almost equivalent to a semester of college!

Topics covered during the class include:
  • The Inverse Square Law, Filter Factors, Bellows Factor
  • Lenses and Filters
  • Color Theory and H&D Curves
  • Lighting Ratios, Corrective Lighting and Posing, Depth of Field, Angle of View
  • The Zone System (and how it helps you understand the digital histogram)
  • Difference between a Bit, a Byte and Bit Depth

Are you 100% familiar with these six topics? Taking the Certification Preparation class is sure to make you more relaxed and confident when it comes time to take the exam. Better yet, you'll be able to choose to take the exam at the end of the class when all this information is fresh in your head.

If you're nervous about the image submission portion of the certification process, there is an optional fourth day of class on July 18 that will explain the submission criteria and show you some examples of certifiable images.

If you're ready to become a Certified Professional Photographer, sign up for the Certification Preparation class in Atlanta July 15-17! And don't forget about the optional Image Submission Preparation class on July 18.

Need more? Check out how becoming a CPP can help your business
You're never done learning. Probably every single pro photographer would agree with that statement. Pushing yourself to polish your technical knowledge and artistic skills keeps your art fresh and alive. That's a big benefit of pursuing certification. Heather McKay, CPP and owner of McKay's Photography in Rochester, NY agrees: "Going through the process to become a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) was probably the best thing I've done for myself in years! My work has improved drastically, even though I was already a seasoned pro."

Plus, the CPP program can help assure clients of your competency--certification is a credential the public can easily understand. After all, many industries have certification programs for their professionals.

Add it all together, and you may be wondering, "Why AREN'T I certified?" But we saved the best news for last: It's easy to get started. Just go to CertifiedPhotographer.com to declare your candidacy.

Even better? There's a Certification Prep Class in Atlanta (July 9-11) that will help you study for the exam and then take it! Many past attendees have praised these prep classes with helping them pass the rigorous exam, so it might be a smart action to consider.

So, are you ready to get certified?

Ever wondered what certification can really do for you as a photographer? As Lew Everling, Cr.Photog., CPP,  of L-Photography & Design says: "The fact that you have worked hard to pass the examination and qualify your images proves you have the ability to work under pressure, handle nearly any situation, and take the initiative!"

But do your clients understand that? Do they even know if you are a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP)? It's one of the most widely recognized credentials (almost every industry has certifications), but it won't promote itself. That's why Lew stresses the need to market certification--showcase those extra steps you took to set yourself apart from the competition.

Whether you're a newly minted CPP, have had the bragging rights for years or are considering the program, browse these tips on boosting awareness in print, in public and beyond.

Dear PPA Member,

Twice this week, I was reminded of how having a certification makes a difference to consumers.

First reminder: It's tax time. (Your taxes are done, right?) Rather than have my taxes done by Bob's neighbor's cousin who works at a car dealership but once took a tax course and does tax returns on the side, I made a conscious choice to have a CPA look at my return. I trust the CPA, because they're certified.

My second reminder? The dreaded "find a doctor" game. I'm in the market for a new one, and in the process of making my decision, one of the deciding factors is certification. My doctor must be board certified. Why? There are a lot of great doctors out there who went to great schools and have thriving practices. However, being "board certified" is voluntary and shows that these doctors are committed to continuing to educate themselves in their field, which is frankly, an assurance that I'm getting the best care possible.

This week's Vital Signs talks about the Certified Professional Photographer program. Like being a "board certified" physician, it's voluntary and shows that a professional photographer is committed to providing the best care possible to a client--and that can only be a win for your business.

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

P.S. While we hope that you're done with your taxes, PPA has some great last minute tips (and even a webinar to help you!).

Gary and Kathryn MeekProfessional credentials are not just handed out willy-nilly. They are earned through hard work and study, and that's what makes them so valuable to photographers and their clients. Even if a client doesn't know all the ins and outs of photographic certification, they understand that someone who has been certified in his or her craft has industry-leading technical skills. It's not easy, but it's worth it; and any Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) can tell you that. That's why PPA offers certification preparation classes to help members prepare for certification exams and image submissions.

"We all have our own weaknesses," says Gary Meek, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API, EA-ASP, one of the instructors of the upcoming Certification Preparation Class, along with his wife, Kathy, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API. "That's the beauty of this class. We can find out what the weaknesses are and concentrate on strengthening a participant's knowledge on those points."

The Meeks are able to do that because every person who signs up for their class is sent about a hundred pages of handouts and study guides...prior to the class. You'll get sample tests, Gary's own white papers, a handout on histograms and even a page of photographic formulas.



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