The low barrier for entry as a professional wedding or portrait photographer is an issue that has been prevalent for the last 8 or 9 years. Anyone can go to Costco, pick up a Canon Rebel with a kit lens bundle, buy a domain name, print up a few business cards and BAM! You’re a professional photographer. No matter that this “professional” photographer still shoots in “P” (for “professional,” of course) mode, uses a free Photoshop Elements that came with their laptop software and relies on the pop-up flash.

Actually, that sort of sounds like how I started, but luckily, before I set myself loose on some unsuspecting bride, I picked up a mentor and second shot in over a dozen weddings before booking my first wedding. My photography education came in the form of “street cred” if you will, but under the watchful eye and tutelage of a photographer that had been shooting weddings for the better part of 15 years.

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In the seven years, I’ve been a professional photographer, there has been quite a need and photography forum chatter about wanting needing, official certification courses for professional photography, specifically wedding photography. And today, WPPI has launched a certification program geared specifically for wedding and portrait photographers.


Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) has partnered with the New York Institute of Photography (NYIP) to bring you an online certification program.

The Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Certification (WPPIC) will be offered exclusively to all WPPI members and aims to become the industry’s gold standard for setting a new level of professionalism that will guide the artistry and business practices for wedding and portrait photography worldwide.

The program will consist of two parts: a fundamentals section which will cover basic photography such as shutter speeds, shooting modes, metering, etc and the second part will be focused on “consulting with and receiving feedback from WPPI Masters” who will provide various in-depth tutorials on working with clients, lighting, composition, etc. The program can be completed in three months, but there is not a deadline to complete the courses. There will also be a portfolio review and final exam before you would be officially certified.

The WPPIC online certification course has a one-time registration fee of $299; annual U.S. PHOTO+ membership to WPPI is $125 with a slightly higher international rate. For more information or if you wish to apply for the certification program you can register at

What are your thoughts of certification for professional photographers? Leave a comment below!