Article

Top 11 Studio Photographer Certifications

This article explores the best certifications available for aspiring studio photographers to help them gain confidence and credibility in their work.

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are important for a studio photographer in the job market because they demonstrate that the photographer has a certain level of knowledge and experience. This can help them stand out from other photographers who may not have any certifications. Additionally, certifications can give potential employers an assurance that the photographer is qualified to do the job and will be able to produce quality work. Certifications also show that the photographer is committed to their craft, as they have invested time and money into obtaining them.

This article reviews some of the best certifications for studio photographers and explains how they can help to further their career.

What are Studio Photographer Certifications?

Studio photographer certification is a program offered by professional photography organizations and educational institutions that provides aspiring photographers with the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to become successful studio photographers. This certification typically includes workshops, lectures, and hands-on training in the basics of studio photography, such as lighting and composition. It also covers topics like digital imaging and post-production techniques. The certification helps aspiring photographers stand out from the competition by providing them with an official credential that verifies their skillset and demonstrates their commitment to the profession. Additionally, having a studio photographer certification can open up new opportunities for photographers, such as working with professional studios or even teaching photography classes.

Pro Tip: Before enrolling in a studio photographer certification program, research the curriculum and instructors to make sure it is comprehensive and up-to-date with the latest industry trends. Additionally, ask for references of former students who have successfully completed the program to get a better understanding of its quality.

Related: What does a Studio Photographer do?

Top 11 Studio Photographer Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Studio Photographers today.

1. Professional Photographers of America (PPA) Certification

Professional Photographers of America (PPA) Certification is a voluntary program designed to recognize and reward professional photographers who have achieved a certain level of proficiency in their craft. The certification process involves passing an exam, completing a portfolio review, and documenting professional experience.

The exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as digital photography, lighting techniques, posing, business practices, and copyright law. It takes approximately three hours to complete the exam. Once the exam is passed, applicants must submit a portfolio for review by PPA’s panel of experts. The portfolio should include at least 10 images that demonstrate technical and creative excellence. Applicants must also document at least two years of professional experience in the field of photography.

To get certified, applicants must pay an application fee ($150 for members/$300 for non-members) and an annual renewal fee ($100). Upon successful completion of all requirements, applicants will receive a certificate from PPA recognizing their achievement as a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP). This certification is valid for three years and can be renewed by paying the annual renewal fee and submitting any necessary updated documentation.

The CPP designation serves as an important credential that demonstrates a photographer’s commitment to excellence in the profession and provides clients with assurance that they are working with someone who has met rigorous standards set by PPA.

2. National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) Certification

The National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) Certification is a professional certification program designed to recognize the expertise and proficiency of individuals who use Adobe Photoshop. It is an industry standard for demonstrating advanced knowledge and skills in the use of this powerful software.

To become certified, individuals must first complete the NAPP Certification Exam, which consists of multiple-choice questions related to the features, tools, and techniques used in Adobe Photoshop. The exam covers topics such as image manipulation, retouching, compositing, color correction, and more. The exam typically takes about two hours to complete and can be taken online or at a local testing center.

Once an individual has passed the exam they will receive their official NAPP certification badge which they can display on their website or other social media platforms. This badge serves as proof that they have achieved a high level of proficiency in using Adobe Photoshop.

The cost for taking the NAPP Certification Exam varies depending on where you take it but typically ranges from $99 - $149 USD.

3. American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) Certification

The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) Certification is an industry-recognized certification program for professional photographers. It is designed to help photographers demonstrate their commitment to professional standards and ethics, as well as a level of technical proficiency in the field.

In order to receive the ASMP Certification, photographers must complete a comprehensive application process that includes submitting a portfolio of photographs and completing an online exam. The application process takes approximately two weeks to complete, although it may take longer depending on the individual’s experience and qualifications.

In order to get certified by ASMP, applicants must have at least three years of professional experience as a photographer or related field, as well as references from other professionals in the industry. Applicants must also submit a portfolio of photographs that demonstrates their technical abilities in photography.

The cost of the ASMP Certification varies depending on the type of certification being applied for (e.g., Professional or Associate). Generally speaking, Professional Certification costs $225 USD while Associate Certification costs $125 USD.

4. Professional School Photographers Association (PSPA) Certification

The Professional School Photographers Association (PSPA) Certification is a professional certification program designed to recognize photographers who have demonstrated the highest level of skill and professionalism in school photography. The PSPA Certification is an important credential that demonstrates a photographer’s commitment to excellence in the industry.

To become certified, applicants must complete a rigorous application process that includes submitting a portfolio of their work, passing an exam, and completing continuing education courses. It typically takes between six months and one year to complete the entire process.

The first step in getting PSPA Certified is to submit an application, which includes providing proof of experience in the field of school photography, such as a resume or portfolio. Once the application is approved, applicants must pass an exam that tests their knowledge and understanding of school photography standards and practices. After passing the exam, applicants must complete three continuing education courses related to school photography topics such as lighting techniques, posing strategies, and digital workflow management.

The cost for PSPA Certification varies depending on the applicant’s experience level but generally ranges from $200-$400 USD. This fee covers all costs associated with taking the exam and completing the required courses.

5. International Freelance Photographers Organization (IFPO) Certification

The International Freelance Photographers Organization (IFPO) Certification is a professional designation that recognizes the skills and experience of freelance photographers. It is awarded to those who demonstrate a high level of proficiency in the field of photography.

To be eligible for IFPO certification, an applicant must have at least two years of experience as a freelance photographer, or have completed an approved course in photography. The applicant must also pass a written exam that covers topics such as digital photography, lighting techniques, composition, and business practices.

The IFPO certification process typically takes three to six months to complete. To get started, applicants must first submit their application online or by mail. Once the application is received and reviewed by IFPO staff, applicants will receive an email with instructions on how to register for the written exam. After passing the exam, applicants will receive their official IFPO certification card in the mail.

The cost of obtaining IFPO certification varies depending on whether you are applying as an individual or through an organization. For individuals, the fee is $250 USD plus applicable taxes; for organizations, it is $500 USD plus applicable taxes.

6. Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) Certification

Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) Certification is a professional certification program for wedding and portrait photographers. It is designed to recognize photographers who demonstrate excellence in their field and provide them with the recognition they deserve.

The WPPI Certification process consists of two parts: a written exam and an image review. The written exam tests the photographer’s knowledge of photography, lighting, posing, composition, business practices, and more. The image review requires the submission of 10 images that demonstrate technical proficiency as well as creative vision.

In order to become certified, photographers must pass both the written exam and the image review with a score of 80% or higher. The certification process typically takes 3-6 months to complete depending on the amount of time it takes for the photographer to prepare for the exams and submit their images for review.

The cost of WPPI Certification varies depending on whether or not you are already a member of WPPI. For non-members, certification costs $395 USD plus any applicable taxes. For current members of WPPI, certification costs $295 USD plus any applicable taxes.

7. Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) Program

The Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) Program is offered by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). It is a voluntary certification program designed to recognize professional photographers who have demonstrated technical competence and proficiency in the field of professional photography.

In order to become certified, photographers must demonstrate their knowledge and skills through a comprehensive written exam, an image submission evaluation, and an in-person interview. The written exam consists of multiple choice questions that cover topics such as lighting, posing, composition, digital imaging and more. The image submission evaluation requires submitting up to 20 images for review by a panel of experienced CPPs. The in-person interview allows candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and experience with the PPA Code of Ethics.

The entire process typically takes between 3-6 months depending on how quickly applicants complete the requirements.

In order to apply for the CPP Program, photographers must be current members of the PPA and submit an application fee of $150 USD. Once accepted into the program, applicants will need to pay an additional $250 USD exam fee.

Overall, becoming a Certified Professional Photographer can help build credibility within the industry and provide recognition among peers and clients alike.

8. Certified Digital Photography Instructor Program

The Certified Digital Photography Instructor Program (CDPI) is a certification program designed to train and certify individuals in the field of digital photography. It is offered by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). The program consists of two parts: an online course and a hands-on workshop.

The online course covers topics such as camera settings, lighting techniques, image editing, and more. It takes approximately 8-12 hours to complete.

The hands-on workshop is held at PPA’s headquarters in Atlanta, GA. During the workshop, participants will learn about digital photography equipment, studio setup, workflow management, and more. This part of the program takes 2 days to complete.

To become certified as a CDPI instructor, participants must pass both parts of the program with a score of 80% or higher. Upon successful completion of the program, participants will receive a certificate from PPA that can be used for professional development or job applications.

The cost for the CDPI program varies depending on whether you are already a PPA member or not. For non-members, it costs $299 plus any applicable taxes; for members it costs $199 plus taxes.

9. Adobe Certified Expert in Photography Program

Adobe Certified Expert in Photography Program is an online certification program created by Adobe to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of expertise in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. The program is designed to help digital photographers, retouchers, and other creative professionals demonstrate their skills and knowledge of the Adobe Creative Cloud applications.

The program consists of two parts: a written exam and a practical exam. The written exam covers topics such as color management, image editing, retouching, file management, workflow optimization, and more. The practical exam requires participants to complete a series of tasks using Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.

It typically takes around 3-4 months to complete the program depending on the individual’s experience level with the software. In order to get certified, participants must first register for the certification program through the Adobe website. After registering, they will receive access to study materials and practice exams that they can use to prepare for the written and practical exams.

The cost of the program varies depending on which version of the software you are using (Photoshop or Lightroom). The cost for Photoshop is $199 USD while the cost for Lightroom is $99 USD.

10. Nikon Professional Services Program

The Nikon Professional Services (NPS) program is a service dedicated to the needs of professional photographers and filmmakers who use Nikon equipment. It provides exclusive benefits, such as priority repair services, access to loaner equipment, discounts on new products and accessories, and more.

To be eligible for the NPS program, you must be an active professional photographer or filmmaker using Nikon equipment in your business. The application process takes approximately two weeks to complete. You will need to provide proof of your professional status and submit your application online.

Once accepted into the NPS program, you will receive a membership card with your name and NPS number printed on it. This card is valid for one year from the date of acceptance into the program and must be renewed annually.

The cost of joining the NPS program varies depending on the country where you reside; however, most countries require an annual fee ranging from $50-$100 USD.

11. Canon Professional Services Program

Canon Professional Services (CPS) is a program designed to provide professional photographers and videographers with the highest level of service and support. It offers exclusive benefits, such as priority repair services, loaner equipment, discounts on Canon products, and access to technical experts.

To become a member of CPS, you must have purchased at least one qualifying Canon product within the past 12 months. You can apply for membership online or by calling their customer service line. Membership is free of charge.

Once your application has been approved, you will receive your CPS membership card in the mail within 10 business days. This card will give you access to all of the benefits associated with CPS membership.

The benefits of CPS include priority repair services for camera bodies and lenses; loaner equipment while yours is being repaired; discounts on select Canon products; access to technical experts; complimentary cleaning and checkup services; and invitations to special events.

CPS members also get access to exclusive promotions and discounts from industry partners like Adobe, B&H Photo Video, Digital Photo Pro Magazine, LensRentals.com, Lowepro, Manfrotto Distribution USA Inc., Samy's Camera, Think Tank Photo Inc., Westcott Lighting Equipment LLC., and more.

Overall, Canon Professional Services provides professional photographers and videographers with an array of valuable benefits that help them stay productive while maintaining their equipment in top condition.

Do You Really Need a Studio Photographer Certificate?

The short answer is no. You do not need a studio photographer certificate to become a professional photographer. However, having one can be beneficial depending on the type of photography you are pursuing and the level of experience you have.

For starters, if you are just starting out as a photographer, getting a studio photographer certificate can give you an edge over other photographers who may not have one. It shows that you have taken the time to learn the basics of studio photography and that you understand the technical aspects of it. Plus, having a certificate from an accredited institution adds credibility to your portfolio and resume.

On the other hand, if you already have some experience in photography and want to specialize in studio work specifically, then getting a studio photographer certificate can help demonstrate your knowledge and skill level even further. This can be especially useful for those looking for jobs in commercial or editorial studios where having proof of expertise can make all the difference when competing against other applicants for positions.

In conclusion, while it is not necessary to get a studio photographer certificate to become a professional photographer, it can certainly be beneficial depending on your situation. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether or not investing in such certification would be worthwhile for your career goals and aspirations.

Related: Studio Photographer Resume Examples

FAQs About Studio Photographer Certifications

Q1. What types of certifications are available for studio photographers?

A1. Types of certification available for studio photographers include the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) credential, the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) Certification in Studio Photography, and the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) Master Photographer designation.

Q2. How do I become certified as a studio photographer?

A2. To become certified as a studio photographer, you must meet certain educational and experience requirements, as well as pass an exam administered by the relevant certifying body. The exact requirements vary depending on the organization offering the certification.

Q3. How much does it cost to get certified as a studio photographer?

A3. The cost of becoming certified as a studio photographer varies depending on which certifying body you choose and what materials or services you purchase in addition to the exam fee. Generally speaking, expect to pay between $250 and $500 for certification from PPA or ASMP, and up to $1000 for WPPI's Master Photographer designation.

Q4. How long does it take to get certified as a studio photographer?

A4. It typically takes between 3-6 months to complete all of the steps necessary to become certified as a studio photographer, including completing any required education or experience requirements, taking an exam, and submitting your application materials with payment if applicable.

Q5. Are there any other benefits associated with being certified as a studio photographer?

A5: Yes! Being certified can help you stand out among your peers in terms of credibility and professionalism, while also providing access to exclusive industry resources like discounted rates on equipment rentals or insurance policies specifically tailored for professional photographers. Additionally, some organizations offer additional support services such as mentorship programs or networking opportunities that can be beneficial when starting out in your career or expanding your business down the road.