Erin Cobb, Certified Professional Photographer | Huntsville, Alabama

A couple of weeks ago I got the news that I passed the Professional Photographers of America’s rigorous standard to become a Certified Professional Photographer.

I was thrilled…and not just because it makes me the only CPP in my zip code…

…and not just because it gives my clients and prospective clients confidence that they are working with someone who is active in her industry, serious about her continuing education, and knowledgeable of the technical aspects of her work…

…and not just because my certification came in a pretty gold tube and allows me to put those fancy “CPP” letters after my name now.

Although all of that is most definitely true.

(see? pretty gold tube!)

The real reason I was so pumped about the news is because it wasn’t easy. Then again, nothing worth being proud of ever is right?

For those who aren’t familiar with the process of becoming certified, it has two parts. There’s a written exam and an image submission portion. Both must be passed within two years of a candidate declaring his or her intent to certify. I knew that I had three chances at each portion within the two year period so I signed up for the written exam and did what obsessive time managers do: I didn’t study. (Shhh…don’t tell my kids). I figured it was a much better use of my time to wing it and study later if I didn’t pass than to put hours into it upfront. After all, I’ve been doing this professionally for six+ years now and I figured I had something to show for that. That bet paid off. I passed the test on the first try early last year.

A few months later I decided to take the same approach to the image submission: wing it and ask questions later. Turns out that wasn’t a great idea. I was not knowledgeable enough about the requirements and even though I approached the whole thing with a “let’s see what happens” attitude, I was pretty durn devastated to find out I didn’t pass. Just ask my children who wondered why mama was weeping uncontrollably from the couch for a solid weekend. (Slight exaggeration…although not much.)

Soon after that let down I joined a Facebook prep group, consulted with a few CPP colleagues and studied the specifics of the requirements even further. I set to work creating a new portfolio with renewed vigor and was feeling confident when I finally pushed “submit” back in February. Such a better feeling than winging it! Looking back at my failed portfolio from my first submission I still love the images in it…in fact, some of my favorite client work is represented there. But I know now that it didn’t fit the CPP image requirements and I’m elated that this portfolio does…


If you’re a photographer interested in pursuing the CPP process, I can’t recommend it highly enough! It was such a learning journey for me and I feel like a stronger photographer on the other side of it. I hope this porfolio example will be helpful…feel free to share it, pin it, whatever might help!

* I’d be happy to share my failed portfolio as well…just shoot me an email (erin at erincobb dot com).










Doug Congrats Erin! The reason you’re so pumped is the same reason you’re the only CPP in your zip code =)

The nearest one of only three is 30 miles away from me.

Be happy!

Susan Hey Erin! Congratulations! I’ve been ignoring my prompts to become certified myself, and so you’ve inspired me to start the process “for real!” I did a quick search for the fb group you mentioned and I didn’t have much luck. Can you point me in the right direction? I’m in CO.

Thanks, and congrats again!


ten on tuesday. » The PigBear […] Today on the business blog I posted about my journey into the Certified Professional Photographer pr…So if that interests you one iota you may want to check it out. My passed portfolio is over there […]

Mentor Monday- #AlabamaMakers -Erin Cobb | Tales Of A Peanut […] how her star has grown (Certified Professional Photographer, spots on ClickinMoms and The Creative Mama, and Heart Gallery Hero) she has remained a giving […]

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