Some people wonder why they should go through the effort to become a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP). The process to become a certified photographer is not easy. It is a three-step process that includes declaring your candidacy, passing a 100 multiple-choice question exam, and then passing an image submission review with the PPCC. It takes time and technical know-how to become a certified photographer. It might be a difficult journey, but there are solid benefits that will help you and your business in the end.
#1 – Make More $$$
I recently met with a CPP and I asked her why she became a CPP. She said, “I wanted to have the confidence to charge more for my work.” Perfect! And you SHOULD charge more! There are only 1,725 Certified Professional Photographers in the United States. Wow! You can tell clients that you are a certifed photographer and be confident about your prices. You worked hard for the certification and you really know your stuff!
#2 – Save Money!
The second benefit is that you will be able to choose better camera equipment and save money in the process. I have found that I can now read a technical camera or flash review with ease. Before I would stumble over words like “photosites” or “guide numbers”. Now, I can make better decisions about my equipment because I understand the terminology for the industry equipment. You will save money too. If you know exactly what you need in your camera or flash then you will not buy the “best” equipment because you think it will create beautiful images for you. You can buy exactly what you need because you understand the pros and cons of the equipment due to your new technical information.
#3 – Knowledge is Power!
The third benefit to becoming a certified photographer is that you will have more technical knowledge about photography. The amount of information covered in the exam and the requirements needed to pass the image submission review will open up your eyes to understanding more technical aspects of your camera and equipment. These new skills can be used with your clients and increase your ability to handle common problems with photo sessions. For example, if you are taking a picture of a family and not everyone is in focus. You will have discovered through studying for the exam that the easiest way to increase your depth of field is to take a few steps back. Also, due to the influx of amateur photographers entering the field, an increase in technical knowledge will put you ahead of the game in terms of Quality and Credibility. Clients sometimes cannot say exactly why one image is better than another image. They just know it is better compared to a technically poor image.
I recently sat in a local photography meeting with a panel of wedding planners. One wedding planner shared her frustrations about wedding photographers. She said, “all of your websites look-alike”. She pleaded with the audience of photographers to “Be Different”. Having the CPP certification would make you “stand out from the crowd” of identical flash websites. It shows that you have credibility and that you have been recognized by the peers in your industry. This builds more trust with your clients and other business partners.
#4 - “Superhero” Confidence
The fourth benefit is the “superhero” confidence you will gain in knowing more about your craft (which ties in to benefit #1). I used to have gaps in my knowledge about photography. I knew enough to have a good photo session with automatic settings but now I can break the rules because I know the rules. (NOTE: Jaime’s Rule: You cannot “break the rules” unless you know what rule you are breaking). I have found that my images have better color correction, better lighting and overall higher image quality because I technically know my camera better and I am confident that I can make amazing images.
Confidence goes a long way for a photographer. A photographer with the right amount of confidence, solid business knowledge, and technical skills, will go far in this industry. When someone tries to haggle for a lower price on your 8×10 or a disk of images, you can know tell them that the prices you display are firm and say it with confidence.
#5 - A Fancy New Title
The fifth benefit to obtaining your certified professional photographer is that you get to put the title “CPP” after your name. Some people are rolling their eyes right now but “nearly 71 % of certified professionals say that credentials give them more prestige among their colleagues. Salary Survey: Monitoring Your Net Worth, CertMag, 2005″.
#6 - Give Back!
The sixth benefit would be that you now have the opportunity to give back to the photography community. Maybe you love the inverse square law, the zone system or talking about color temperature. Do a webinar, write a post on your blog, mentor a new photographer, teach a class at your local photography group or local community college. Give back to your community and help others just starting out in their photography career.
Everyone has been at a starting point at some point in their lives. As Sally Clark, a Denver photographer once said at a meeting in regards to helping out new photographers, she said, “let’s lift these people up, not tear them down”. Be a resource and share your knowledge. When you give from the heart, the rewards are unlimited.
To conclude, these are just six benefits to becoming a certified photographer. I wish you the best of luck in becoming a certified photographer!
If you already have your CPP, how has it benefited you and/or your business?
PS Comments are always welcomed and encouraged!