Certification

There are no professional licensing requirements for photographers. Clients and employers, however, are always looking for benchmarks by which to assess skill and talent. The Professional Photographic Certification Commission is a certifying agency for imaging professionals. Photographers can earn the certification as a professional photographer and as an evidence photographer to show their technical expertise meets the commission's standards.

To become a certified professional photographer (CPP), professionals must submit their work to a panel of judges for review and approval, pass a comprehensive written exam, and abide by a professional code of ethics. A photographer begins the process by declaring his or her candidacy, completing an application, and paying a $100 fee. The photographer then has three years to successfully complete the technical certification exam and submit images for review. Twenty photographic images are submitted for image submission review. Six images are compulsory and must show standard technical proficiency. The other 14 images must be from job assignments.

A CPP must recertify every five years by passing the certification exam again or submitting 25 education units. Alternatively, CPP's may submit 10 education units and 20 new images.

Certified professional photographers may also qualify for a special endorsement. Ten images of the requested endorsement specialty are submitted to the certification committee along with an application. CPP's may pursue additional certification in more than one specialty. Specialty endorsement can be pursued at the same time as certification.

To become a certified evidence photographer, or CEP, professional photographers must pass three modules and receive approval on their image submission within a two-year period. The Professional Photographic Certification Commission offers three learning modules related to the certification tests. Potential CEP's may file an application, pay the application fee of $300, and take the test for a $695 fee. Alternatively, applicants may pay $1,285 for the complete application, education, and testing package and attend three modules before testing. Applicants must complete testing before submitting images.

A CEP may recertify every four years by retesting or attending 30 hours of EPIC education (Evidence Photographers International Council education). Certified professionals have proven education and skills that consumers and employers respect.

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