Certified Professional Photographer

Certified Professional Photographer

What is a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP)?

To become a CPP is not an easy undertaking. The CPP is obtained by completing an intensive program that measures artistic and technical competence through a comprehensive written examination and a rigorous image evaluation. Professional Photographers of America (PPA) currently recognizes fewer than 2,500 CPPs. The PPA is the largest group of professional photographers in the world. They take photography very seriously and their peer-certification process is what really separates the experienced photographers from the enthusiasts.

Why did I become a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP)?

The challenge! I wanted to take my photography to the next level and join an elite group of professional photographers that want to do the same. As I mentioned above, not everyone can become a CPP and I believe that becoming certified sets you apart from the rest in a market saturated with photographers. There are a lot of amateurs out there that can buy a new DSLR camera, print up some business cards, and call themselves a professional photographer. Anyone can market themselves as a professional photographer, whether they actually know the basic elements of exposure, composition, and color or not. I felt that I needed to do something to stand out and help raise the bar for the photography industry as a whole. Even though anyone can call themselves a photographer, very few can call themselves a Certified Professional Photographer.

How did I become a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP)?

This journey took some time, as life sometimes gets in the way of progress. I began my CPP journey in December 2013. I declared my candidacy and began studying for the comprehensive exam. I wrote the exam the following month in January 2104 and passed with high marks. The next step was the image submission. I needed six compulsory images with specific requirements for lighting, posing, and composition, as well as nine additional images taken from client work that demonstrated my knowledge and technique for consistent quality work. Okay, no problem, I had two years to actually get this submitted. Then I got busy and set this task aside for the time being. A few months later, my little Kiko was diagnosed with cancer. My whole life stopped and all that mattered was my little baby bear. We were also in the midst of relocating from California to Texas. After a year of doing everything we could to fight the cancer, my little Kiko lost the battle. My world was shattered and I was utterly devastated. The last thing on my mind was finishing my certification. Then, in December 2015, it hit me; I am throwing away my goal over one image submission review. So I applied for an extension that would give me another year to submit. The first submission date came and went and the second one was approaching. It was time to take action! I started putting my images together and creating the required compulsories. In two weeks, with the much appreciated input from a CPP Liaison, I was ready to submit. I had no idea if it was good enough to pass the rigorous evaluation by the panel of judges, but it was time to try. Three weeks later I received an email from PPA, congratulating me on passing my CPP! So even though my journey had detours and obstacles to overcome, I completed my goal and I am so honored to be part of the elite few CPPs in the world today.  I hope my CPP designation helps distinguish me from the competition and lets my clients know that they are in good hands!

See the difference a Certified Professional Photographer can make. From snap shots to great shots!


Below is a quote from the PPA website. Please spend some time exploring the links and watching the videos. Thank you for caring enough to choose a Certified Professional Photographer!

(from http://www.ppa.com/why-cpp)

See the Difference Certified Professional Photographers Make

Consistency. CPPs know how to achieve great results—every time. You get a strong collection of images that tell your story, not a few lucky snapshots, and you will work with someone who knows how to produce a quality image under any circumstances.

Technical Skills. CPPs are more than picture takers. They are students of art, lighting, posing, fashion and even interior design. They combine these elements to create images that fit your unique style and become works of art you will treasure for generations.

Unique Artistry. CPPs have the skills to create unique, customized works of art—not cookie-cutter pictures. They follow an artistic vision. It’s your story captured as a collection of art.

Professionalism. When you hire a CPP, you know you’re getting someone who is willing to go the extra mile to deliver the best possible images. They are business owners who thrive on customer service and satisfaction, and they continuously aim to produce products that exceed your—and their—best expectations. These images are keepsakes whose stories you’ll tell time and time again and treasure forever.