One of my favorite things about working at Marathon & tradeshows is the variety of photographers I get to talk to from all over the country. From brand-new hobbyists to full-time professionals, all share the same passion for photography as I do.

But what about people’s opinions regarding the Professional Photographers of America Degrees? Certification? Print competition? I’ve heard opinions of all types about these choices. Mostly good mind you! But occasionally I’ll come across some who feel it’s not for them. It’s for old photographers. It’s not motivating to them. One person’s floor is another person’s ceiling. 

The Degrees, Certification and print competition is not for everyone. It doesn’t mean you can’t be successful if you aren’t a member or don’t work towards a degree. It just gives you some tools to better yourself and do it a little faster.

Let’s look at print competition. Why would anyone risk the humiliation of putting an image into a competition for others to judge and score right? But this is such a valuable learning tool. The skills you hone from this improves your photography, which benefits you and your customers. 

Why become Certified? By meeting the requirements of this program you have not only proved you have the technical skills that meet the standards of this degree, but you have also made your life easier as you can more quickly identify how to solve complex technical & artistic situations you encounter in the future. Plus you have something you can promote to set yourself apart from the competition.  

What about PPA Degrees? Achieving the various degrees proves you have the discipline and determination to be a high achiever. It means you are consistent and dependable and highly skilled in whichever degree you earn.

Do you know what all these have in common? Confidence. When you put this sort of effort and passion into this craft it not only educates you but gives you complete confidence in yourself. Confidence is such an intangible and valuable thing. 

PPA has provided the tools to help you achieve. It doesn’t happen overnight. The journey is as valued as the reward, in my opinion. Everyone has a different way of being motivated. I personally love the way PPA provides that motivation. I love the comradery of it all. You definitely aren’t alone as a PPA member. 

Look into your local state photography organization. Much like PPA, they usually provide state degrees and other achievements that will motivate you and educate you along the way. You won’t realize it at the time but you’ll make lifelong friends who support you for the rest of your career.     

So are the PPA Degrees & Certifications worth it? Yes! More than you’ll ever know.

Interested in learning more about the Professional Photographers of America? Check out their website here –