There are street photographers who are like ghosts. You don’t notice them and you certainly don’t notice them photographing you. They carry small cameras and they have learned the trick of focusing the lens by judging the distance between the subject and the camera and adjusting the focus ring based on that distance. Basically, they shoot from the hip, with wide lenses to compensate for framing defects as they don’t actually see the frame, they can only guess it. With such a behavior, it is normal not to see them. They are not paparazzi, but the people tend to control themselves when a person aims a camera at them. By shooting without their knowledge, you can capture genuine expressions which are the heart of street photography.
Stalk people. It’s not illegal on the street. See a person you like, walk with them, follow them until you can get a shot of them. Go for public places so you won’t get the police on your head. Try to follow facial expressions and move like lightning when one that you like comes up. It’s all in the expression, and that’s what you’re supposed to be hunting. Never take close shots. Make the subject and the surroundings a part of your composition. Some bland in, some stand out, but that’s the diversity and the fun of it. A suit and tie in an abandoned factory looks better than a homeless in an abandoned factory. Contrast is the key.
Carry small equipment. Do not go street photographing with big heavy cameras and lenses that look like bazookas, people will notice you right away. Use small cameras, the smallest possible, because quality is not an issue. the best street photography in the world has some of the worst image quality as well.
Always ask for permission afterward. Take your shots, then talk to your subjects. It is extremely unfair and annoying to them to find out they were photographed later on, when your work becomes public. Respect them and, if required, respect their privacy.
Well for one thing – you’ll be able to add three little letters after your name… Stephanie Gagnon, CPP – has a nice ring to it doesn’t it? With the growing number of photographers all over the country it can help to set you apart. Only about 3% of photographers in the USA are certified – that’s a very small number! And that’s not because the test is impossible to pass – it’s because there are so many new photographers with little to no education in the field. To be able to increase that percentage and be one of those who can say that they understand photography and passed their CPP examination and print submission would be a great achievement! It also shows other photographers (especially those who’ve been in the industry for a long while) that you value this craft and that you are committed to growing and improving.
What does it mean for your clients? Well let’s be honest. Not many of your clients are going to know what CPP means. And because they don’t know what it means – the might not know why to value that. But you can share that you’re certified on your site and blog. You can post a blog post and let them know what it means, what you had to do to acquire those three letters.
So what do you have to do. Well there’s a $200 fee to take the CPP examination. This fee gives you the opportunity to take the test as many times as needed within 2 years to pass it. The test is 100 questions and you have to score at least a 70% to pass. The questions cover everything from lighting to lenses, shooting scenarios, composition, design – all the things a professional photographer should know and use to create their clients beautiful, timeless, one of a kind images! once you pass the exam, you then have to submit 15 prints for review. 6 of these images are compulsory, meaning they are specifically set up as to what they want you to shoot and demonstrate in them. The other nine need to accurately reflect what you shoot for your clients.
Once you pass both of these, you will be declared a certified photographer! But it doesn’t end there! You will have to re-certify every 3 years by paying a $100 fee and fulfilling 15 education requirements throughout the course of those three years to maintain your title of certification. Why do they do this? To ensure that those who are certified are continuing to educate themselves and grow as individuals and artists!
If you would like to look into more information on certification – the PPA is a great source to find everything you might want to know about getting certified and the process. You can find their information here: http://www.ppa.com/cpp/ I hope you’ve found this really insightful and that you’ll consider continuing your photographic education.