Qualified with The Master Photographers Association

22nd March 2016
It is with a great deal of excitement that I can tell everyone that on Monday 21st March I qualified with The Master Photographers Association with a Licentiate.
I've been working a while towards this, and while being a fully qualified member now, this is just the start of an exciting stage of development for me.

The MPA is the UK's leading qualification body exclusively for the professional wedding, portrait and commercial photographers.

I have passed with Licentiate with The Royal Photographic Society and The Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers in previous years, but decided last year that the MPA was the route I wanted to take and concentrate on, as it is the body of professionals that encourage, teach and also looks at all aspects of your photography business.

For this qualification, as well as submitting a panel of 20 wedding photos (I'll show those at the end of this blog along with criteria), I had to put together a workbook which covered business plans, health & safety, ideas for growth, marketing and tell the story of how I got too where I am, and where I want to be - and most important - how I intend to get there.
It really was a great exercise in standing back and looking at my whole photography business and how I can move it forward.

In any kind of business you obviously have to be good at what it is you are doing, but also be good at marketing, workflow, communication and so on. The MPA encourages all aspects of this.

I've always said I'll never stop learning, I've always got one or two photography books, watching training videos, attending seminars, and can often be found in the garden trying out different off camera flash set-ups or taking photos of Shambles (my dog) at f1.2 to hone my focusing skills at such narrow depth of field ! Every day is a learning day :)

So I attended my assessment day as part of the big UK Photography show at the NEC in Birmingham. This one, more than the other two L's I passed, was way more nerve wracking as my photos and workbook were taken into the judging room, judges including the MPA President Steve Walton, and I had to wait outside while they scrutinized my work.

I was than called inside to be told the good news... I'd passed !
But then Steve went through all my photos one by one pointing out ways to improve them, which was very useful, then I was presented with my Certificate... yes ... I'm certified again !

All in all a great experience, and one I am totally chuffed to have achieved, I have worked quite hard for this, improving my photography with every wedding.
In saying that, because of the criteria, a few of the photos are a couple of years old now, and I genuinely feel I have improved already...
As Frank Spencer said "Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better."

So work starts now to go up to the next level... let's see how 2016 pans out and I'll spend another year studying & practicing every single night.

Big thanks to The MPA, the mentor system and everyone along the way we have worked with at weddings that has shown faith in what we are doing.


Here's the full panel of photos... the criteria that had to be met was 10 photos from one wedding, to include a group posed shot and a signing register shot. This was a little more difficult than it seems as certain weddings and the way we shoot, with about 70% of the day being candid & reportage, most of the weddings I would have liked to have used as the "10 from the same wedding" couldn't be used, but Angela & Gary's wedding was lovely, and had no problems using it , except it was 2 years ago.
The rest of the photos could be made up from no fewer than 5 other weddings.

These 3 images were pointed out as being the favourites of the judges...

So, there we go, three L's under my belt, and already making plans to go for the AMPA as soon as I feel ready.

I have to admit, I don't think I'll be using my full photography title of Grahame Smith LMPA LRPS LSWPP though... just call me Niffy.

Thank you to everyone we've been around on this journey so far !

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