Siân T. Blog - Tog Tales

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I'm a Master Photographer!

But what does that mean?

Updated 26th May 2020

This week I received the news I've been waiting for - The Master Photographers Association (MPA) has admitted Yours Truly as a Licentiate Qualified Master Photographer. 

Having achieved my Certified Professional Photographer status back in September 2019, getting qualified has been my goal ever since and I am so delighted to have made it.  

"Back-up!" I hear you say "this sounds weird" - because I've been working as a photographer for 4 years now and surely that makes me a professional right?

Well yes and no.

Photography is an unregulated industry.  Unlike being a doctor or a lawyer, you don't have to have completed a professional course to work as a photographer, anyone can set themselves up as a professional photographer and there's nothing to stop them.  On the one hand that's great - I haven't got a college diploma or a degree in photography and this lack of regulation allowed me to start my business based on a bit of talent and a lot of enthusiasm.

The downside of the situation is that it makes it hard for you, the customer to know what you're getting when you hire a photographer.  So, to give you more confidence, professional associations like the MPA assess photographers in both their photography skills and in their business practices. 

To get my Certified status I was assessed on the following things:

- My motivation, enthusiasm and drive for photography

- Customer service, including how I manage the whole process of your shoot from initial enquiry through to delivering your prints

- Risk management and Health and Safety

- My public liability and professional indemnity insurance

- My client satisfaction, feedback and use of my images by my clients (thank you to everyone who wrote a few lines for my application - you're all wonderful!)

- The quality of suppliers and partners including printers, makeup artists and others

- My marketing and development plans for the business

All this means that you can trust me with your business!

To get my Licentiate status with the MPA, a selection of images, which had to be taken for my clients and be indicative of what I do for them, was assessed by a panel of judges.  The judges are all highly experienced photographers themselves and they were looking at both my technical capability and my creativity.

The criteria and standards are strict!  They looked at everything from composition to storytelling, from lighting to print quality and decided that I know what I'm doing!  In addition they looked at my Creative Profile, a document outlining my approach to photography, my future plans and my personal work - to get a feel for who I am and why I do what I do!

You can see my assessment panel below.

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All this means you will get beautiful photographs that you will treasure!

Of course, this doesn't mean I'll be resting on my laurels.  Within the next two years I want to apply for the next level in the MPA Qualification system - Associateship, so there's lots of work to do before then!

I'm also looking at applying for Licentiate status with the Royal Photographic Society for my non-portrait work, so watch this space on that.

Art is, naturally subjective, but when you're looking for a photographer it's nice to have reassurance that they know their stuff.  Instagram can be misleading, sometimes showing only the one or two shots per session that really worked best.  So I hope that being a Master Photographer gives you confidence that you'll get brilliant images AND a really enjoyable experience!

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