The WPPI & NYIP joint partnership to create WPPIC – Wedding & Portrait Photographer Certification program is a recently launched initiative that I’ve had the privilege of taking part. To put things in perspective, in addition to co-cofounding WPPIC, I’ve also submitted myself to the process of PPA’s great CPP – Certified Professional Photographer program. The word submit is an important word to talk about for a moment.
accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person.
It’s not the most popular word to use because it means you are making a choice to give up “control.”
Which is different than the more popular word “Commit” which retains control.
After all, it’s so much easier to commit to something than to submit to it don’t you think?
So why did I submit myself to the process?
Because there is always an opportunity to continue to learn and grow. If you ever think you’ve got it all figured out a part of you starts slipping backward.
WPPIC & Certified Professional Photographer Programs
The CPP and WPPIC programs are both excellent opportunities for our industry to help establish the standards in the eyes of others of what represents a good level for professional photographers today.
Through the process, I’ve learned that everyone’s story can be different.
My story is that I grew up in a family of photographers, was able to get my degree in Filmmaking and have had the opportunity to learn from incredible mentors and continuing education to grow as a person and as a photographer.
For many photographers out there, they may feel like they are on an island. Perhaps they aren’t a member of a community, or that community exists only in an online or virtual context. They may be new or emerging photographers or been in business for 10+ years and have never had the opportunity to learn the foundations and basics of the craft of photography.
Did I need to go through the process of certification to become a “successful” photographer?
Was the process worth it?
Photography Certification: What I Learned
What submitting myself to the process taught me was that not everyone had taken the time to learn the foundations honestly. Much like a beautiful pose, where the foundation of the pose begins with your feet, not having the proper foundation in the fundamentals can make a drastic difference in your ultimate ceiling in your artistry and your craft.
By participating in the excellent online study guide WPPI & NYIP have put together, I was able to affirm my knowledge of the foundations of not only working with your camera, lighting and post-production but also specific topics related to Wedding & Portrait photographers. Everything from the ability to problem-solve common issues related to Posing, Business & Marketing, Legal and Ethical themes and understanding the nuances of these particular fields regarding timelines and working well with others that make a wedding or portrait session successful.
After you complete and pass the remotely proctored test, the WPPIC program differentiates itself by not only requiring examples of your work but also your marketing materials, business cards, and other publications that evaluate your social media and publicity presence. These materials should not be hard for candidates to pull together but they represent the baseline that all professional wedding and portrait photographers should have to run their business.
I include the MP3 of the review of my submission for you to listen to, and I hope that when you do, the takeaway you get is the “WHY” my submission was successful.
Hopefully at this point in my career, I should be able to pass this certification.
What is important is the things that resonate for all of us. Our presentation is important. Having marketing materials that clearly explain the process and pricing for your clients are critical. Do the work to be better than you were yesterday. Let us all never stop learning and growing and thinking that “we’ve got it all figured out.” There is always something that we don’t know, and there is always going to be someone out there smarter than us.
So keep a humble spirit, love others and if you are a wedding or portrait photographer consider becoming Certified. By submitting yourself to the process, you will not only gain invaluable knowledge about where you are currently, feedback on areas you can improve or perhaps are doing exceptionally well. Your clients will have one more reason to have confidence in their decision to choose you and it’s something that you can be proud of once you have completed your candidacy!
Learn more about our work by visiting our favorite wedding photos, seeing our wedding photography fellowship panel, dive further into photography certification, or read the story of how my father David Edmonson and I became photographers.
Note: This post was updated on July 21st, 2016.