For a long time I had been toying with the idea of gaining recognition from the Master Photographer Association for my work. But where do you begin, how good do you need to be, am I good enough? all questions and fears that delayed my submission of photos…….photos, not just photos I found out, I had to submit a professionally produced working profile EEEEEEK. I thought I could just show someone my work, get a pat on the back, told how great I was and that I was the best thing they had ever seen then receive a certificate to confirm I’m incredible – OUCH, how wrong was I. Firstly I had to be mentored where my work was torn to shreds and my ego flattened. It was harsh, how the truth hurts. I picked myself up, took the critique sheet and pushed it right up into his exit hole. I thought they can keep their recognition. But thats not what I wanted, I actually felt at a loss. I knew I had the ability I just needed shaping. What the MPA mentor had said to me was actually spot on, it just hurt. I parked the idea of qualification for year and decided to really work on what he had said to me. It wasn’t about being able to use a camera, it was about being a perfectionist, professional photographer who can use a camera to capture perfectly the ideas and vision that I wanted to be created. It was’t until Ray Lowe from Ray Lowe Studios (The studio where I was taught to photograph weddings) gave me a nudge and kindly decided to mentor me to a standard where I was good enough to submit my work (not my original mentor).
So with some good advice, mentoring and some hard work I was ready.
So what next? Well we had decided on my images (10 images from one wedding showing the ability to pose subjects, control composition and control light and 10 images from various different weddings) and my working profile was printed so it was just a case of booking my assessment.
That’s it, it was booked, the count down had begun. My grading was to take place at the Photography Show Birmingham NEC. Perfect, I could sit in the crowd and let the panel of judges asses my work then announce if I had passed or not. Well I was wrong again. I had to go into a separate area of the show and hand my work over into a closed room where 4 evil flame breathing judges with 500 years experience between them were to scrutinise my work and leave me sitting outside in a long corridor waiting for what seemed like a lifetime. The memories of being outside the schoolmasters office came flooding back to me. Finally the door opened and I was invited in. My work was displayed in two rows of ten on the wall with the judges lined up ready to eat me. Time had gone really slow all of a sudden and I was now travelling in slow motion. “You’ve passed”. I was back in the room. I must have looked white. “You’ve passed” the main guy said to me, “you can stop worrying now” I must have looked like I was about to pass out.
The relief was immense, the last year and a half of mentoring and developing had all been worth it. I’d passed and was now a recognised, qualified, professional photographer.
The judges were actually really lovely and had nothing but kind words to say about my work.
So whats all this mean for my clients. Well I can tell you until you have been mentored, gone through the learning and development process, your not ready to take the responsibility of someones images and take someones money for the privilege. It really does develop your skills and ability. Thats why us professionals are professionals and not hobbyists. The judges are at the top of their game, they have been there, seen it, done it and wear the T-shirt. They are the elite and have invited me into their exclusive club. It gives my clients the assurance of quality and creativity.
I am a professional photographer taking professional photographs and super proud of it.
My submission is below.