26/09/19 I'm Certified! But what does that mean? - Sian Tyrrell

Siân T. Blog - Tog Tales

I'm Certified! But what does that mean?

26th September 2019

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

I know this sounds weird, because I've been working as a photographer for 3 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 new 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!

My next goal is to achieve Licentiate status with the MPA.  This is the part that assesses the quality of my photographs.  The criteria and standards are strict!  They are looking at everything from composition to storytelling, from lighting to print quality.

It's going to take a while to prepare for this, I have to gather my images (with the help of my MPA mentor), print them and take them to an assessment day.  I'm hoping to do this by the end of the year - so wish me luck!

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