What does it mean to be a "Master Photographer"?
Does it mean I consider myself a master at being a photographer? No. Personally, I don't think you ever "master" anything. Everyday there is something new to learn, a new way to do something, a new photographic toy to learn. Technically though, the Master Photographer degree has been given to me by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA).
How did I receive this prestigous award? It is simple to explain: you must attend at least 12 continuing education classes/seminars/conventions put on through PPA and it's affiliates AND you must have 13 prints accepted into the exhibition of the PPA International Print Competition (you can only enter 4 per year). Sounds easy right? For some it is easier than others. I know photographers who have been in business for 20 years and have still not been able to achieve this degree. For me, I was able to achieve it in 5 years and at the time I received it (1998) I was the youngest Master Photographer in Texas. Having images selected into the exhibit is very challenging and the competition is pretty tough. You have to be technically excellent and masterfully artistic.
I know you are pretty impressed right? Well don't be. God has given me the talent to be able to SEE light & compostition through my camera lens and create some exquisite images. But there are many things I do NOT excel at. I am a terrible housekeeper (just ask my husband) and I make large messes at the studio creating these images only leave it for my assistant to clean up (my assistant Rebecca is a true saint who never complains). I graduated from TCU having NEVER even taken a business course and here I was starting this business and had NO idea what I was doing. Thankfully, my father did all the business aspect of our studio while I learned, grew and became a photographic ARTIST. Fast forward 19 years and the retirement of my father and I have had to learn about business the old-fashioned way...by doing it.
When I started this business, I thought that being the BEST photographer I could be was the most important thing in the world. Although it is an integral part of my job, the most important job I have is to be a people person. To strive to make each and every client that walks through the doors of my studio so happy that they chose ME to be their photographer. Part of that happiness is that they LOVE their photographs and part is that they had a FABULOUS EXPERIENCE while they were here. We are constantly working with my small staff of 4 to go above and beyond to create that one-of-a-kind experience. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fall short (we are always a work in progress).
As usual, I have gone off on a tangent (writing...not such a strength for me). San Antonio has some fabulous photographers but only 8 or 9 of us are Master Photographers. Having this designation is not the end all-be all, however when you are choosing your photographer wouldn't you rather have one who is constantly learning and refining their craft? One who is still sharpening their skills by competing with their imagery? I can NOT imagine never wanting to learn or be the BEST that you can be at what you do. But there are those photographers out there. They have never been to a class, or a seminar but they call themselves a professional photographer. I challenge them to be better, to learn their craft and to educate themselves so they can be worthy of the title "professional".
So there, now you know what it means to be a "Master Photographer". It is not just a degree that I can put behind my name, but a state of mind, an attitude about my photography and my business. I still compete to this day and in January one of my bridal portraits was honored as one of the TOP 10 wedding images in the exhibition. This is an awesome achievement and I was extremely honored to have my image selected. So, even though I have received all of the degrees that PPA has, I still have personal goals to achieve and I hope I always will. Competition is good. It keeps us alive and growing.
Well, my rambling is complete for now. I hope you know know what those letters are behind my name and understand what they mean to me and the profession of Professional Photography.
M.Photog, CR, CPP, API
PS. The others are Craftsman Photographer (for teaching), Certified Professional Photographer, and Approved Photographic Instructor.
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This little blog of mine is a little insight into the daily world of Elizabeth/Artistic Images. Sometimes it's personal, sometimes it's business...but it is all part of my life. I would love it if you would follow the blog so you will receive email notifications of any posts, but no matter what, when you visit here, please feel free to leave a comment or two. Thanks for Visiting!
Have a Blessed Day!
Have a Blessed Day!