Why You Should Hire a PPA Certified Professional Photographer

When life’s biggest moments are unfolding, you’ve got one chance to capture that perfect memory. Don’t risk it to just anyone. Trust your photos to a Certified Professional Photographer.

Every industry has its benchmark. The Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) designation is ours. No matter what specialty you might be looking for, getting Certified is a fundamental step for professional photographers. The CPP program empowers photographers to be knowledgeable, successful, and technically-equipped.

When you choose a photographer who’s Certified, you’re starting with quality. You hire a trained professional who can consistently meet and surpass your expectations. Make your choice easier. Start with the best and See The Difference a Certified Professional Photographer makes.


"When you hire a Certified Professional Photographer, you’ll get someone who knows how to achieve great results every time, regardless of the situation.”


Margaret Bryant, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Bryant Dog Photography

10 Questions To Ask A Certified Professional Photographer

A Certified Professional Photographer is trained to capture life’s moments and turn them into breathtaking images. CPPs have the technical knowledge to deliver consistent work, and they have the interpersonal skills to make your experience a positive one. When you hire a CPP, you’ll know that you’re getting the professionalism and experience that you deserve.

Certified Professional Photographers pass a rigorous exam and Technical Image Evaluation. Not only does this demonstrate their strong technical abilities, but it also shows they have met a high standard of proficiency in photography. Other professional photographers may be able to take decent photographs under the right conditions, but a CPP is skilled at capturing images under any condition!

  • Consistency. CPPs know how to achieve great results every time. That means you get a strong collection of images that tell your story, not just a few lucky snapshots. Working with a CPP means you will work with someone who knows how to produce a quality image under any circumstance.
  • 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.
  • 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. CPPs are business owners who thrive on customer service and satisfaction, and they continuously aim to produce products that exceed your expectations. These images are keepsakes whose stories you'll tell time and time again and that you will treasure forever.

It’s not uncommon for CPPs to be priced higher than other photographers you might encounter. As with other certified professions like doctors, attorneys, and CPAs, a higher price point goes along with a professional who has earned a designation or credential. Are there cheaper options? Yes. But when you hire a CPP, you ensure that the photographer has the right expertise and experience for the job.

A Certified Professional Photographer must renew their designation every three years by completing a certain amount of continuing education units or re-taking the CPP exam. Continuing education is essential for a professional photographer to keep up with changes in technology, business practices, and industry trends.

A CPP will be proud to tell you how they achieved this distinguished designation. To become a CPP, a photographer first passes a comprehensive exam on technical photographic topics including lighting, posing, and post-production.

After passing the exam, the photographer submits images for the Technical Image Evaluation. The evaluation process demonstrates their understanding of key photographic concepts including depth of field, camera angle, exposure, lens compression, white balance, light sources, and file-handling criteria. All images are evaluated on pre-set elements including cropping, focus, sharpness, lighting, camera angle, and white balance.

When you first talk to a photographer, pretend that you’re on a job interview, but this time you’re the one doing the hiring. Don’t be shy about asking your photographer questions like:

  • How long have you been a professional photographer?
  • Where did you get your photography training?
  • What professional photographic associations do you belong to?
  • What photography degrees do you have?
  • Have you won any photographic competitions? Can you show me any winning photographs?

Certified Professional Photographers abide to a strict code of ethics. They are trained in the artistry and technology of creating beautiful photos, which means you’ll get the exact images you want.

If the answer is “no,” do not pass go! Find another photographer. Insurance is a must-have for any photographer you hire. What happens if you hire a friend of a friend and he trips, injuring himself or breaking his brand new camera? When facing large medical bills, people sue easily! Unfortunate events do occur, so you need to be protected.

Sometimes it’s okay to hire a generalist rather than a specialist, but you need to make sure the photographer has experience with your type of event. If it’s a large event like a wedding, you should ask how much wedding experience your photographer has. Large events can be stressful, and an amateur may become frustrated or anxious when dealing with such a big event. For example, they might get caught in the moment instead of capturing it on camera. An amateur is also less likely to be prepared for unexpected situations like a rainy day. On the other hand, a Certified Professional Photographer will stay composed and help you remain calm… no matter what situation pops up! They will create the images you want no matter what happens.

You’ve spent months planning your wedding and now this once-in-a-lifetime moment may be gone forever because your photographer gets in an accident or doesn’t show up. What do you do? If you’ve hired a Certified Professional Photographer, they will have a list of trusted and experienced colleagues that they will call to ensure your photo expectations are met and that your event is photographed properly. That’s why it’s so important to ask prospective photographers what their backup plan is in case something happens.

While it may be cheaper to hire an amateur, what happens if they have technical difficulties the day of the shoot? After all, memory cards do fail. Lenses break, and batteries die… all at exactly the wrong time! A Certified Professional Photographer will always show up early with one or two backup cameras, lenses or flashes, and additional lighting equipment. They will always have a contingency plan and backup equipment in case something goes wrong. Most of the time, things actually do happen in the background that photographers handle without anyone noticing, including camera swaps, flash changes, and extra lights. CPPs handle these problems without missing a beat.

A written contract protects both you and the photographer. It’s a must-have for any size event. It should spell out the expectations for you and the photographer so that everyone knows exactly what to expect. The contract should answer the following questions:

  • How will the photographer ensure your satisfaction?
  • What are their backup plans in the event they’re late or called away by an emergency?
  • What happens if there’s an equipment failure or some other unforeseen issue?
  • How and when will I receive the final images?
  • How many final images will the photographer provide?
  • Are you allowed to print these images yourself?

These are all important things to keep in mind, and they should be addressed in the contract you sign with your photographer.

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