Two years ago as I sat around a large farm table during a weekly team meeting at work, we were all asked a single question, "what is your goal." Our leader, Garlan Gudger, with his question, was also issuing a challenge to each of us. One by one he went around the table prompting each one for an answer. As my turn approached, my mind raced ... what was my goal?
Until I was confronted with this question by someone expecting an honest answer, setting a specific goal was not something I thought about. I would have said that my daily goal was to simply make it through the day. I was working 25 hours a week at the store and another 35 on my photography. I was tired, exhausted actually, and quickly reaching burn out mode. When my turn to answer came, I couldn't. I did not have a goal. As Garlan continued to move around the table, it suddenly occurred to me that there was something that I wanted to do. I directed the question back to myself. "I want to get my certification in photography", I declared. Garlan looked me straight in the eye and said, "then do it!" His directness threw me off guard and in my mind I quickly started coming up with excuses of why I couldn't do it. This might be too difficult. I would have to study hard and at "my age" I wasn't sure I could wrap my brain around all the technical information I knew I would have to learn. But I had verbalized my goal so it was set!
This past week I receiced the following email from PPA (Professional Photographers of America):
First of all, thanks for taking part in the Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) program's most recent Image Submission Review. Secondly...CONGRATULATIONS! Your images passed the rigorous standards that our Certification Committee judges have set!
As I am sure you are aware, this is a significant achievement for those who pursue excellence in the photographic industry. And with this final step successfully taken, we are honored to welcome you as a new CPP!"
What started as a challenge became a reality and I could not be more thrilled! My two year journey to certification was not easy. Becoming certified is a two step process that includes a written test followed by an image portfolio submission. I was still young in my photography journey, but not so much in body and mind, so I had to study hard for the test. Going back to school is not something I've ever wanted to do but I did my homework and passed the test! The next step was to submit and pass a portfolio of fifteen images, all of which had to demonstrate specific elements of photography. Initially, I thought this step would be easier... I was wrong! It was quite brutal and some of my images did not pass the first submission. I continued to work on the images I knew I needed for re submission and thankfully, on the second round of submissions, I passed!!
What does this all mean? For myself, it means that I set a goal and accomplished it. For my clients, it is an assurance that when you hire me as your photographer, you are hiring a trained professional. I have the knowledge, training and equipment to capture precious moments for you and your family and provide quality products that will become family heirlooms. Why would you want less?
What's next? I will continue on a path of learning! Having earned my CPP does not mean that I know it all! I hope that I NEVER stop learning and growing as an artist. Each session for me is a challenge and an opportunity for growth. Continued education is important to me and I have several conventions and work shops lined up for this year. In addition to my client work, I schedule creative sessions for myself. These sessions allow me time to experiment with new ideas and creative lighting that I can then use with my clients. I love everything about this industry and have plans to grow my business in the coming months and years! And, I have set a new goal! I have started down the path of working towards my Masters! I have no pretty pictures to post today... just this one large logo that I am proud to put out here for all to see!!