What is A Master Photographer Certification?
To be named a Master Photographer, I nervously submitted a very specific portfolio of images to a group of peers in National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP). Its a professional group solely for photographers, currently in business, that work with children in some capacity.
The master photographer certification is a program NAPCP runs for several categories just once a year. Its not a contest, its not by popular vote. It is a very specific set of criteria that must be submitted and then reviewed by a panel of professional photographers.
The first time I submitted a portfolio, I was terribly nervous. I didn’t know what they were looking for, what to expect but I put myself out there for the Master Family Photographer Certification with hopeful anticipation. I was sitting in a quiet mess hall at a church camp when that email through. I JUMPED out of my seat and danced! I couldn’t even bring myself to tell my friend what was going on for what seemed like 5 whole minutes!
Table of Contents
Master Photographer Child Category Requirements
This time, I submitted for the master photographer in the Child category. Requirements included:
While each artist’s style should be apparent, the portfolio should be diverse in nature with different scenes, subjects, poses, and expressions. The objective is to demonstrate the artist’s skill and mastery of shooting in a variety of different settings and situations, exhibiting mastery of the specific niche of child photography.
Each image must have completely different subject(s), pose, scene, and overall feel.
At least 20 of the images submitted should be of only one subject (child).
For the purpose of this category, subject(s) should be 4-15 years
A maximum of 5 images will be allowed to contain an adult(s) or additional child(ren).NAPCP Website
Even with 12 years of experience and work I found this very tricky! Particularly as a family photographer, most of my images have an adult or sibling them. To find 20 high caliber images of just one child alone was hard. OH! and they had to be between the ages of 4-15. No toddlers allowed.
Hi! I’m Alison, your chaos coordinator, toddler briber, and parent commiserator. Oh! And Oahu family photographer!
As the ringleader of my own 4-boy circus, I know how hard getting family photos can be.
I run my photo session like a party. I give you something TO DO so you don’t feel awkward wondering, “Where do I put my HANDS?!”
Dad is playing with the kids, everyone forgets what’s ACTUALLY happening, and you look amazing bc you’re actually enjoying yourself. #whoknewphotoscouldbefun
Fast. Fun. Done.
Child Master Photographer Feedback
Every portfolio submitted receives feedback from the judging panel. The feedback I received was deeply thoughtful and encouraging to me! Remember, I have never met these judges, they haven’t met me. But this is what they had to say about my work:
Beautiful portfolio that showcased your mastery in lighting, posing and composition. Highly engaging and impactful photographs. It’s also very evident you have a strong connection with your subjects. Bravo!Portfolio Feedback
I was moved! For them to say my work was “highly engaging and impactful” made me so proud! But most of y’all, they could see a “strong connection” with my clients. Just through photos.
Benefits of a Master Photographer Certification
Submitting work to strangers is nerve – wrecking. BUT to receive affirmation from incredibly gifted photographers even further along in their careers is invaluable. Its welled up a sense of pride in my work, but also a resolution in my approach and style. There’s no more looking left or right at the style and work of other photographers because I have found my niche.
For the client, the master certification validates a number of qualities in a photographer including:
- Interpersonal skills – very necessary for kids!
- Understanding developmental stages
- Flexibility to work with the unexpected
The Images that Earned Me Master Photographer:
More Child Photography Resources
I'm a USMC spouse, South Carolina native, recovering homeschool mama of a 4 boy circus. They've taught me the most important facet of family photography: KEEP IT FUN!