If you do a Google search for "professional photographer" in your area, you are going to get a very long list of results. The fact is, anyone with a camera can be hired to take photographs. A hobbyist who has some camera skills can start a business taking pictures for people. However, what if you expect more than that? What if you have an important family event coming up or a child graduating from high school, and you want to capture these once-in-a-lifetime memories in photographs that you will cherish forever? What happens if you hire someone that's actually an amateur or hobbyist that has an equipment failure? If you want a photographer who has proven to be at the top of his profession, you should hire a Certified Professional Photographer.
A Certified Professional Photographer is the official credential earned by a professional photographer who has gone the extra mile to stay at the top of their industry. The certification is granted by the Professional Photographers of America, or PPA, which is a the largest association of professional photographers around the world. This nonprofit organization is created by professional photographers and has 30,000 members in over 50 nations. In addition to all the work PPA does for its members, including events and educational resources, they also oversee a certification process which gives professionals in the field of photography an opportunity to confirm their knowledge. The national Institute of Credentialing Excellence (ICE) sets guidelines for creating exams as well as providing support with maintaining this system. To make sure that the exam is relevant to professional photography today, ICE sets and maintains guidelines for creating it. They also provide support and information in maintaining certification exams through PPA's Certification Committee.
If you want to hire an electrician, you expect him to have proof that he has the knowledge and experience to do the job right, not just by what he claims he can do. The proof comes from the certification of the state's licensing board. Although there are no state licensure programs for photography, the CPP certification program is the closest to it. The certification signifies that the photographer has the formal training and expertise to achieve the highest standards in his craft. It means they understand light, they understand all the settings on their gear and they stand behind photos they'll capture for you. This is not just the opinion of a few individuals. This is the determination of the certifying body of the PPA that consists of professional photographers who are also at the top of their field. At the time of this writing there are only 8 photographers in the Treasure Valley that have CPP (including me, Mark Rezansoff CPP 🙂).
The requirements are rigorous. The photographer must pass a written exam that tests his knowledge of all aspects of photography. This test can be taken at the PPA Imaging Conference (where I took mine) or it can be proctored in your local state. Then, he must submit images to the exam board to prove his technical expertise. The exam board evaluates these images based on a certain set of criteria. The images show that they understand the core concepts photography which will help in all genres of photography; senior portraits, headshots, and family photos. If the candidate passes, he will earn the credential of Certified Professional Photographer.
Searching for the perfect photographer can be overwhelming when you do not know where to start. Just because a photographer set up a studio for business, that does not necessarily mean that he has what it takes to do the job well. By looking for a Certified Professional Photographer, you narrow your choices significantly because you get the cream of the crop.
Every image from the CPP will be exceptional in quality in every way. Certified Professional Photographer's use top of the line camera equipment to get the best results. They are experts in editing images. Not only does the CPP have expertise in the technical aspects of photography like lighting, composition, posing, etc., but they have the artistry to create each shot that becomes a unique work of art. They know all the tricks that make a shot work. The collection of images you get will capture the moments and the emotions that tell your story.
You will hire a professional who takes pride in his craft very seriously, serious enough to go the extra mile to have a group of top photography professionals evaluate his work and certify his expertise. This is a photographer who wants to be the best in his industry, who wants to deliver the highest quality of result to his clients every time. When you hire a CPP, you can be assured that you are hiring the very best.
If you want to hire a professional photographer who has gone the extra mile to set himself apart from the rest, look for a Certified Professional Photographer. The special moments that you want to capture are too precious to risk at the hands of an amateur who does not meet your standards. When you hire a CPP, you can be assured that you will get someone who excels at his craft and who is at the top of the industry above the rest. You're hiring a photographer that has the professionalism to meet the required steps as set forth by the PPA.