Sunday, February 26, 2012

Certified Professional Photographer

Certification is important in professional photography. It separates the bottom feeders from the real photographers. You know the type - they only have a Facebook page, only photograph in natural light and their work is sloppy and uninspiring. They know very little about the process of capturing and producing great images.

The process to become certified is not difficult. You declare your candidacy at Certified Photographer. You pass a two-hour photography knowledge exam consisting of 100 questions. Then you submit a portfolio of 15 images to a panel of judges. Some of the images must demonstrate a specific skill, such as short lighting or high-key, and others are of your choice. They must all be from paying clients, with no person duplicated.

Once you pass the exam and your portfolio is accepted, you are Certified, and can list the initials CPP after your name. You will have to periodically re-certify to prove that your skills have not become stale.

I will tell you that the exam is not easy, nor is the passage of the folio review. It's designed to be a real barrier to entry. You need to demonstrate that you have both the knowledge and skills to be called a "Professional" by your peers in the industry.

I encourage every photographer to work towards Certification. The process of studying the material makes you think and learn about your craft, and the attention to detail in your composition and editing will improve your image quality regardless of your intention to submit the image for certification.

One great tool for CPP exam preparation is Jaime Rowe's study guide.. I used it in preparation for my exam and I did extremely well on my first attempt, passing with flying colors.

She has given me a coupon code, STUDY20, which if used, will give you 20% off of the price of the study guide.Click here to visit Certified Photographer Academy and order the book.

And even better, she's allowing me to give away one FREE BOOK to the winner of a contest. It's a $47 value.

To participate in the contest, you have to correctly answer this question:

I have a camera set at ISO100, f/8 and 1/100 second shutter. I want to reduce the depth of field from the current camera setting. Which setting would give me the same exposure value with reduced depth of field?

A. ISO400, f/8, 1/400 sec
B. ISO100, f/4, 1/200 sec
C. ISO100, f/16, 1/25 sec
D. ISO100, f/4, 1/400 sec
E. ISO200, f/8, 1/50  sec

Email me at johnhuegel AT with your answer and if you are the first correct response, you will win her book!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

New Web Design

I have finally completed my conversion of websites and domains. I purchased a web service from Creative Motion Design which includes these features that I was seeking:
- Support for iPad, iPhone
- Mobile phone support built in
- Single content manager that deploys to all platforms
- Integrated shopping cart
- Native HTML support - no flash
- Very flexible web design capabilities

I am very happy with this. I moved my old blog into the structure and am busy putting lots of good content inside the website to drive high SEO results.

I'm near the top of page one on most of my key search words regarding Seniors and Weddings, so I'm quite happy with the outcome. I have even integrated my classes, books and other education related products and services into the new design.

I have used and recommended several web hosting methods over the years, and this is the right balance for me - easy to manage, all in one spot and mobile friendly. They also host the platform. All I have to do is keep the domain current, which I am doing very inexpensively on GoDaddy.

Thanks to the great folks at CMD for putting up with my endless questions during the transition.

Check out the new website here, and give me your feedback please!