As we strive to continue to improve upon our skills as professional photographers, there are opportunities to earn recognitions for our accomplishments. These recognitions come in the form of Certification and Degrees through our professional photographer national and state organizations. To become Certified, it is not required to be a member of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), but is encouraged.
The PPA and our state affiliate, Florida Professional Photographers (FPP), offer photographers the ability to earn degrees through their achievements and ongoing educational opportunities. These degrees are not to be confused with those awarded upon the completion of a set curriculum from a college or university. Degrees from the PPA and FPP are based on a numeric points system, with points being awarded in the form of merits for different types of accomplishments. An outline of degree types and requirements are provided below. Additional information may be found on the respective organizations’ web sites.
Certified Professional Photographer
As the leading certifying agency for imaging professionals, the Professional Photographic Certification program is recognized throughout the industry. When you see a photographer displaying Certified Professional Photographer seal, you can be sure that he or she is among the less than 3% of all imaging professionals who have successfully completed and maintained the requirements.
Those who have earned the Professional Photographic Certification have passed a comprehensive written exam measuring their technical expertise, and have successfully submitted their work to a panel of judges for review and approval.
Every five years, a photographer must renew his or her credentials by participating in continuing education programs and periodically submitting work for critical evaluation. This helps assure you that certified photographers maintain their level of expertise and continue to develop new skills and techniques.
As of the end of 2017, the JPPG guild had approximately ten professional photographers who have earned the Certified Professional Photographer designation. These photographers will have this designation listed on our Find A Photographer page.
For more information on the Certified Professional Photographer program, please visit PPA’s website page on Certification.
Degree Program from the Professional Photographers of America
The PPA degree program was created in 1937 and requires 25 merits to be eligible. Different degrees require different types of merits. Please visit the PPA web site for information on how to earn merits for the PPA degrees listed below.
Photographic Craftsman (Cr.Photog.): One of the highest recognitions for speaking, writing, or mentoring on photography; positions the photographer as an authority in the industry. Awarded in recognition of service to the profession as an orator, author, or mentor.
Master of Photography (M.Photog.): Celebrates superior photographic competence through a variety of channels. Awarded through photographic competition, advanced education, and service to the profession.
Master Artist (M.Artist): (Formerly known as the Master Electronic Imaging Degree) Awarded for superior photographic skills—demonstrated through the Artist Exhibition category of the PPA International Photographic Competition (with images evaluated for computer-applied techniques and proficiency), advanced education and service to the industry.
Degree Program from the Florida Professional Photographers
The FPP degree program is also set up to recognize outstanding achievements. There are also four different degree programs requiring different types of merits or points as well as different numbers of merits for each type. This information is provided below and information on how to earn merits for each type of degree can also be found on the Florida Professional Photographers web site.
Florida Education Degree (FED): Designed to encourage members to achieve a high level of professionalism through continuing education. Must earn 35 points to become eligible.
Florida Degree of Photographic Excellence (FDPE): Must earn 30 merits to become eligible. Minimum of 16 merits must be print merits; remaining merits may be print, service or membership merits. No more than 10 print merits may be earned in the same year.
Florida Degree of Artistic Excellence (FDAE): (Retouchers/Colorists/Technicians) A member must earn 30 merits to become eligible. A minimum of 16 merits must be specialty print merits, the remaining 14 merits may be earned with other print, service or membership merits. No more than 10 print merits may be earned in the same year.
Florida Service Award (FSA): A member must earn 30 merits to become eligible. A minimum of 16 of these merits must be service merits; the remaining 14 may be earned with other service or membership merits. Print merits may NOT be used.
Some merits may require you to submit a Merit Request Form to receive the merit. Download a Merit Request Form here.
Once you receive the required number and type of merits, you will be provided with an application for degree.