I am so proud to announce that I am now a Certified Professional Photographer! What is a Certified Professional Photographer? It is a photographer that has demonstrated the skill set and knowledge required by the Professional Photographers of America to become certified. In order to obtain your CPP you must pass an exam and submit a portfolio of 15 images to be judged by a panel of 6 judges.
Once you declare you candidacy then you have 2 years to complete the process. I studied for months and months (really it was years); read I don’t know how many books to prepare for the exam. Last August I drove up to Stillwater, Oklahoma to take the exam. I didn’t sleep for days prior to taking the test. Fortunately I didn’t have to wait long for my results! I passed! I couldn’t believe it. One step down and one to go.
The next step is to submit a portfolio of 15 images, 6 required and 9 client images to a panel of judges that demonstrate the technical skills I have learned. I thought this would be the easy part. Boy was I wrong! I have to say this process is by far the most difficult, but yet the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I went through all my old images and quickly realized nothing I had would work. Then I began recruiting models and offering specials to get clients in for shoots. My first shoot was fairly successful. I got 2 good images I could use for my portfolio. After than it wasn’t so easy. Image after image I posted on the Facebook forum and they all were rejected. I quickly learned the difference between saying you were a professional photographer and BEING a professional photographer. The devil is in the details! The head tilt in the proper direction, the location of the catch lights in the eyes, proper hand position and the correct lighting patterns and ratios. It was easy enough to study and learn about these things but actually puting them into a real portrait was more difficult than I imagined. Funny thing is though that I soon began to pick up on these things myself and make the corrections during the session. I was developing a photographers eye for detail that I’d never had before. This process changed me and my photography for the better! I knew that no matter what, pass or fail I was a better photographer for going through the process and no one could ever take that away from me.
The day I got the email I was so scared to open it, when I finally got up the courage to open it you wouldn’t believe the scream I let out! I’d done it! I was now officially a Certified Professional Photographer!
I was lucky to participate in a Facebook forum where other experienced CPP’s volunteer their time and provide invaluable assistance to guide candidates through the process. It was tough and often times frustrating but I learned SO MUCH from this group. I owe them everything because I could not have done his on my own. NO WAY! To them I want to say thank you! Thank you for your tireless hours of reviewing images over and over, correcting the same issues over and over from one photographer to the next. Your efforts have grown the photography industry by leaps and bounds. I hope that I can make contributions in the future as well.
I shot over and over and over again. Just when I got one issue corrected, then I’d find another. But the good thing is that I’ve refined my skills and can provide my clients the quality images they deserve. THAT IS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT! Providing beautiful, quality images that my clients will proudly display in their home.