Would you hire a Certified Professional Photographer over someone who's not Certified?
Only 3-4% of professional photographers have gone through the steps to become Certified. This involves passing a comprehensive written exam measuring technical expertise as well as submitting qualifying images of the photographer's work to a panel of judges for approval. In many industries, you wouldn't consider hiring a non-certified person (doctors, accountant, etc). Does it matter to you if a professional photographer is certified?
For me, the answer would be no. I would hire a photographer based on his work. As opposed to other professions, in the case of photographers, because we are speaking of visual images, it is quite easy to assess if his work is good or bad or, if you like it or not. If I really love and find his photographs unique, I would hire him certified or not.
Speaking as someone who works sometimes as a photographer I don't see any evidence at all that customers or buyers of imagery are interested in certifications or memberships of 'professional' bodies. Its much more about the quality and relevance of your work, ability to work with their budget and of course personalities.
My answer is also no. I would hire a photographer based on the quality of his/her work and how well his/her technique and style matched the vision I had in mind. In my book, those kinds of tests mean pretty close to diddly. The average person can memorize the information, brain-dump it into the exam and immediately forget 98.75% of it right after the test--done it myself and I'm sure I'm not alone there. I think what matters is how well a photographer can apply and use the technical information when shooting photos.
"Certified Professional Photographer"? Sounds like a rip off course for people that need a certificate to boost (their) self-esteem. The business people that come up with such programs are looking to make money off of these students first and foremost. Secondly the goal is to plant seeds in the consumers mindset. "Make sure your wedding photographer is a (certified professional photographer) or you run the risk of buying inferior work!"
The average person selects a photographer based upon referrals, their portfolio/experience, the amount they will charge, and their personality. Not to offend anyone but the truth is no one puts a photographer on the same level as a doctor, lawyer, tax accountant, dentist ..etc On a side note I would not hire a DJ simply because he went to a DJ school and earned a certificate either.
Actually, it's not a rip off course. It's a certification from the same organization that certifies CPAs, doctors, etc. But thanks for your comments.
KDeus, According to your question you stated only 3-4% of photographers bother getting the certificate. I'd imagine there are tons of (top) photographers working for magazines/newspapers that would say it's a waste of money. Difference of opinion.
I honestly do respect your opinion! I do agree that there are many top photographers who aren't certified. Was just curious what the perception outside of this industry is.
I do some photography and it's really not important that a photographer have the title of "Certified Professional Photographer", but that you look carefully at their portfolio. Portfolios tell a story of whether the photographer is multidimensional, one dimensional, sloppy, scared, a perfectionist. You can tell a lot about a photographer from their portfolio. Ask around (has anybody heard of this photographer and if so, what do they think of his/her work)? If you like what you hear and see, hire them. Trust your gut more than the title of "Certified Professional Photographer". Anybody can say or claim anything:)
Photography is both equal parts technical knowledge (f-stops, ASA speeds, lens capabilities, filters, focal length, depth of field, lighting) and artistic sensibility. Simply put, if a photographer does great work, his or her name will get around your town. Just ask around. Trust your instincts, make sure you look at their portfolio, double check their credentials (ARE THEY REALLY A PHOTOGRAPHER OR IS THIS BORROWED OR STOLEN WORK JUST TO GET THE JOB). Trust me, this has happened to people.
I give my business to whomever does it best. I have taken some fabulous pictures with just my iphone. There are certain things that really don't need to be certified for the average person.
As a photographer, I would say no. Perhaps in certian settings/jobs being Certified would mater, and by certian I mean hollywood professional photographer. Anyone can study f-stops, lighting techniques and framing to get certified but photography is more of an art form. When looking for a photographer for a special event ask for a portfolio. Most will have one either online or one available in an actual portfolio binder. Grade their work that they show you, their experience, ask for references. Photography is a competative industry to break into and most of us starting out couldn't afford to pay for a certification if we wanted too. My clients have told me that they choose me due to personality, and quality of work. Mainly personality though.
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