As the above graphic illustrates, once you have completed your green First Steps, your options really open up to you. You are now ready to start opening some of those doors.  So what would you like to do: landscape photography, commercial or fashion, fine art, or portraiture? With so many doors to open, how will you decide?  We suggest an open minded exploration of all the opportunities that are out there for photographers.

TPPA’s annual Texas School, I Heart Photography Conference and Expo and the year-round TPPA Events provide amazing connections to some of the most successful photographers in the world! These photographers are as diverse as they are talented, and you have the opportunity to learn from them for a couple of hours, an entire day or even a week!   Join TPPA! Go! Learn!  Now is the time to start investigating the various photographic disciplines and learning how the successful photographers apply their skills and knowledge in their approach to their craft.

At the intermediate level, you start applying the fundamentals you learned during the First Steps and actively putting those skills to use while refining your technique across a broad spectrum and for specific disciplines. Growth at this level is prolific.  Typically, we anticipate a rapid improvement in the quality of your images and a surge in the creativity of your images if you are really applying yourself.

We have identified the following Intermediate Success Badges in your pursuit of the craft:

Intermediate Success Badges


Lighting Applications – Includes an understanding of various light sources (constant light, speed light, studio strobes, natural light) and the appropriate use of each type of light source to achieve a desired effect. Also includes the mechanics of using modifiers to alter the light source to create desired patterns and qualities.


Posing Proficiency – Includes the creation of a posing repertoire for individuals, couples, families and group. Also includes creating masculine and feminine poses as well as corrective posing techniques.


Flash Mastery – This badge includes skills needed to completely control the output and quality of a portable flash. Includes complete operation in manual mode, all aspects of off-camera flash, use of multiple strobes and why, and the benefits and shortfalls of various remote trigger types.


Lighting Interpretation – This includes the application of all lighting types and modifiers to create a visual statement in keeping with the subject matter, mood and visual strength of an image. This includes the ability to create lighting patterns (broad, short, Rembrandt) that flatter the subject as well as control of lighting ratios and lighting for detail and texture. Also includes a full understanding of low key and high key lighting and how to achieve it.


Composition Arts – This includes the skills to create strong compositions through subject placement, foreground and background interests, color balance, and more.


Digital Finishing Arts – These skill sets include the ability to retouch images with a high degree of proficiency including use of layers and brush adjustments, as well as background enhancements, background extractions, head swaps, removal of unwanted elements, sky replacements or enhancements, tonal and color adjustments, added textures and image softening.


CPP Pathway – This includes a continuation of study for the exam and declaring your CPP candidacy and sitting for the exam. Also included is the understanding and preparation for Image Submission. This would also include the creation of the compulsory images as well as an evaluation of your own client images for submission.


Image Competition – This includes the early stages of preparing and entering images in competition. At this level, participants seek a deeper understanding of creating and editing images and their final presentation for success in competition. Also includes understanding judges feedback and how to apply image critiques to create even stronger images.


Business and Marketing – Developing a Marketing Plan, Pricing for Profit, Developing a Growth Strategy, Community Involvement, Partnerships, Alliances and other ‘Business Builders’, expanded product lines.

Before we move on, take another look at the graphic at the top of the page and notice this gold bar at the top of the stairs:

logoTPPA encourages participation in photographic endeavors which enhance one’s credentials as a professional through Certification and in advancing their art through print competition.

Through participation in TPPA’s education programs relating to Certification and by participating in the TPPA annual print competition and related educational programs, it is TPPA’s goal to see that each and every member has the educational preparation to become PPA Certified and the CPP_logophotographic skills and creativity to earn the Degrees offered by PPA.

TPPA encourages those entering the profession to also become members of Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and complete the PPA Certification program and to participate in the International Print Competition in working towards the PPA Craftsman and Masters Degrees.

As you begin your journey to collect the Intermediate Success Badges, we recommend joining PPA and taking advantage of the programs and benefits that they offer.  Benefits include the above degree programs as well as free equipment insurance, low-cost liability insurance, the Indemnification Trust and much more.  All of these are important programs and benefits for photographers who start dealing with the public and charging for their work.

Next:  Expert Steps