Nation’s leading photography association to reward the makers of wedding images with a degree specializing in wedding photography
Nearly half of the membership of Professional Photographers of America, the 150-year-old nonprofit photography association, identify as Wedding Photographers. With this in mind, PPA has created a new degree designed to encourage and reward the hard-working wedding photographers within the membership and to help them stand out in the wedding photography field by earning a credential that signifies mastery of the education and experience needed to obtain a degree through PPA.
PPA recognized the need to add to its slate of degrees, which currently includes Master of Photography (M.Photog.), Photographic Craftsman (Cr.Photog.), and Master Artist (M.Artist) as 52% of PPA members (representing 16,000 photographers) report weddings as at least part of their business. Almost half say it is 1/3 of their business.
PPA’s degree system is based on merits obtained through teaching, service, and photographic competition. PPA IPC Manager Rich Newell explains that “there is a perception going on that wedding images do not earn merits or place in the International Photographic Competition (IPC). Furthermore, many wedding photographers believe ‘beautiful brides’ are more important to a photographer’s success in image competition than technical excellence. PPA’s Council has focused on re-engaging this key segment of our membership and rewarding their hard work with a chance to show off this new credential.”
PPA’s Council appointed two action teams to investigate options with adding a wedding category to the IPC. After months of study, it was recommended that PPA create a Master of Wedding Photography Degree (M.Wed.Photog.) as the first step in re-engaging wedding photographers in the association. The council vote was cast at Imaging USA, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Wedding photographers will be judged by a panel of their peers, a group of wedding specialized jurors. All images must be made by the entrant in connection with an actual wedding.
PPA believes this is the best way to celebrate 150 years of their association’s history, to create yet another program reaffirming their commitment to members and the industry. The new degree will be included in the 2019 competition season, with the first degree awarded in January of 2021.