In 2011, I was formally introduced to the concept of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) while attending my first photography convention. It was a near accident that I was there, but for several years, I have pondered joining PPA. One of the prime motivations to do so, at least in my mind, was to obtain credentials as a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP).
I was always giving myself an excuse not to join PPA or to pursue the CPP credential. The cost and time commitment held me back until I managed to stumble into a slow, semi-profitable rhythm. As my photography picked up a little steam here and a slight push there, I kept hearing this siren call. If I want to take myself seriously as a photographer, I need to push myself.
No stranger to education (I hold a Master of Education and work at a university), the idea of a photography related degree was one lure. But that title of Certified Professional Photographer…
I would, somewhat regularly, examine the requirements to obtain the CPP. I would ask myself if it was worth it or not. Key mentors were adamant that it was worth the time and effort to join PPA. The CPP is often an after thought, something to do to “up your game”.
The CPP Pivot Point
I woke up from an induced coma in April 2016. I was struggling to think straight. My vocabulary was shattered. Forget walking or even standing steady on my own two feet. With patience for healing and hard work, I recovered and found myself changed. To me, it does not seem a significant shift in a new direction, but more of a drive to push in the direction I wanted to go. I want to be a better man, a better husband, a better father, and a better photographer.
While on vacation in July 2017, i jumped on the PPA bandwagon. I once again pondered pursuing that dream of putting “CPP” after my name. As the old year gave way, I pushed through my doubts, registering to take the CPP exam. Passing the exam, I had to wait for the opportunity to present a portfolio of images. It needed to show that the knowledge I displayed on the exam would translate into quality images.
I was 90% confident in my skill as a photographer. That 10% doubt is a painful, scarring device that has held me back so often. When that door opened, I hesitated…and then ran headlong through.
To all of those who have helped me along the way, thank you. I could not have done this alone.