One thing I’ve learned from other photographers and professionals in other fields: if you stagnate, you will fail. You have to constantly strive to change and learn and improve yourself in order to succeed. I want to keep getting better at what I do. I consider the certification to be a badge of pride. It shows a technical competency in my craft and an acknowledgment from my peers that I am a professional. I wanted that certification.
Over the following six months I mentored with fabulous pet photographers, competed well in PPA’s International Photographic Competition, and became more confident in my equipment and my techniques. In January 2017 declared my candidacy for certification. What followed were two months of stuffing my head with formulas and data in every free second I had. And I did learn. New ideas as well as the reasoning behind why I do things that I’ve learned myself. In March I took the written exam and passed.
At the end of April I submitted my portfolio for review. The portfolio had to consist of six compulsory images of specific lighting styles and nine client images. As a pet photographer, all my client images had to be animals. I decided to submit pets for my compulsory lighting images as well. Broad lighting, short lighting, selective focus, color harmony, high key, and rule of thirds. There’s nothing like setting up your lighting and trying to convince a dog to look at a toy or a treat at juuuust the right angle to capture the correct lighting pattern!
And, on May 5th
, I passed the portfolio review.