One year go I started a personal journey in my photography career. A year ago I declared my candidacy with the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) to achieve my Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) certification.

I know you’re asking, ”What is a CPP?”. This is a program that assures others that photographers have the knowledge, experience and the desire to learn new skills and techniques on a continual basis. In other words, it is not a one time thing. We have to go thru recertification every three years to retain our credentials. It is also an acknowledgement of my professional qualifications. The CPP credentials serve to distinguish professional photographers who have demonstrated technical skills through a written examanation and an image submission. Image submission consists of 15 images, six (6) are compulsory and the remaining nine (9) are client based. The compulsory images must show certain lighting techniques, which compliment the subject well. There are about 15 judges during each round of image submission. I was shocked and even more nervous when I discovered this information.  Just imagine being interviewed by a panel of 15 judges. There are less than 40 in the state of Oklahoma. That is a very small percentage compared to all the photographers in Oklahoma.

Being a CPP is similar to a quality assurance certification, a credential consumers and businesses understand. It was really neat to watch my transformation over the last year. I could see myself improving in so many ways, from posing to lighting and understanding what I was seeing and performing. Most of all my confidence improved.

I chose to earn my CPP certification as way to set myself apart from the average “Joe”. I wanted to grow and challenge myself. I’ve never had any formal training and wanted to fill in the holes where I lacked knowledge. Was I scared, you better believe it. Was I challenged? Yes, most definitely, I had a lot of failures in this process, but in the end it was all worth it. I never gave up, there were times I wanted to, but then what would that serve? It would have meant time was wasted by me and I would have wasted my clients time. I don’t want to settle, I want to succeed. “If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not growing,”, I heard this quote a couple of years ago at a conference and it totally blew me away. That quote has stuck with me ever since. It’s a reminder that if I am feeling uncomfortable then I am growing which is always a good thing.

If you want more information regarding the CPP program or PPA, I would be happy to visit with you over coffee.

Let a Certified Professional Photographer show you the difference and capture your families memories. Email me and we will set up a time to visit over coffee and danish too.

Special Thanks to Jennifer Tiffany of Jen Tiffany Photography for the awesome images and a Huge Thank You to all my clients for helping me achieve my certification. I could not have done it without you.

Last but certainly not least, a heart felt Thank You to two people who pushed me, advised me and just told me NO, go back and redo. I so appreciate their honesty in this journey. Dawn Muncy of Muncy Photography and Tony Gatlin of Tony Gatlin Photography you both are invaluable to this industry. Thank you for keeping me accountable, pushing me and for believing in me.

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