I recently attended the annual Professional Photographers of America convention known as Imaging USA. This 3-day convention draws over 12,000 photographers from all over the country and even the world. Besides the opportunities to network with other photographers, attendees can take classes and hear platform speeches on topics varying from lighting to posing to better business practices.
I’ve noticed a common theme at meetings such as these as well as on online photography forums: Maintaining the quality of professional photography. Back in the “day,” (read–prior to digital photography) it took much more than a decent camera and a “good eye” to be a professional photographer. Most film photographers studied photography in college and probably did apprentice-type work with an established photographer. They learned all the science behind image-making, and had the opportunity to use that science in the darkroom. In my home town (granted, it is a small town) there were only three photographers when I was growing up, and even if I counted those in neighboring towns I doubt there were more than 2 dozen making their living through photography in a 30-mile radius.
That all changed with the advent of digital photography. For the first time, we could actually see what the camera was doing during the image-producing process and impose adjustments as necessary. This was in many regards a revolution in the photography industry–making good photography available to almost anyone who could afford an SLR digital camera and a decent lens. What has happened in the decades since is an explosion in the number of people calling themselves photographers. I was among them. Although I started with a film camera and learned the basics, I did not have formal photography instruction in film. I got my first digital camera in 2005 and almost immediately found myself with photography “jobs”: prom pictures, family portraits, even a wedding! I learned as I went but truly felt out of my league. I decided early on to get more education and that is the path I have continued to follow to this day. I have attended numerous workshops, conventions, and photography schools and have studied with some of the industry-recognized best photographers in the world. I am currently working towards my Master’s degree in photography as well. I’ll keep you updated on my progress…
It is an exciting time to be a photographer, but it is certainly not an easy time. The market is flooded with photographers, and in order to stand out, it is essential to raise the bar on quality and differentiate yourself. For that reason, I set a 2015 goal to get my CPP degree, that is a “Certified Professional Photographer.” It’s much akin to a CPA for an accountant. To get a CPP, I took a 3-day intensive course–basically a semester of college, joined nightly study sessions, and took a 100-question exam. I’m happy to say I passed the exam with flying colors! The next step is image submission and review, which I will do in the coming months.
Boulay Photography has also expanded our offerings and added a Fine Art line of portraiture paintings. I wish you could touch the screen and truly feel these! Not only are they digitally painted, there is actual acrylic applied to them to give them the look and feel of a fine art painting. These have been very popular with both families and high school seniors. Here are a couple of examples:
If you would like to have your own family heirloom, give us a call: 615-289-6045 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are booking into the summer and fall right now for both senior portraits and family sessions. I look forward to hearing from you.