PPA Degrees Make a Difference

PPA degrees help prove the effort that photographers put into their art.

Photography is not a static industry; new techniques and technologies always appear. The actions photographers take to earn PPA degrees help keep them abreast of the changes. If a photographer has reached this status point in the photographic industry—the receipt of a PPA degree—he or she has pushed beyond the norm.

Is not this the type of person you want to entrust your memories to?

Learn more:

Find-a-PhotographerWhat is the Merit & Degree program?
PPA’s Merit & Degree program recognizes photographers’ achievements in the profession. Created in 1937, this is the oldest PPA educational program. It is run on a point system, with merits standing as points that member photographers earn for various accomplishments. Merits are earned towards the degrees. After 25 merits, the photographer is eligible for a degree, depending on the types of merits earned (whether they were speaker, exhibition, and so on).

A PPA degree is not the completion of a university curriculum; it is a representation of the oldest and largest professional photography organization’s standards of excellence.

What are the different PPA degrees?
Photographic Craftsman (Cr.Photog.)

  • One of the highest recognitions for speaking, writing, or mentoring on photography; positions the photographer as an authority in the industry.
  • Awarded in recognition of service to the profession as an orator, author, or mentor.

Master of Photography (M.Photog.)

  • Celebrates superior photographic competence through a variety of channels.
  • Awarded through photographic competition, advanced education, and service to the profession.

Master Artist (M.Artist)

  • Recognizes photographic competence, with an emphasis on print enhancements.
  • Awarded through photographic competition, advanced education, and service to the profession.

Master of Electronic Imaging (MEI)

  • Recognizes photographic competence, with an emphasis on electronic images (computer graphics, enhancements, etc.).
  • Awarded through photographic competition, advanced education, and service to the profession.

Find-a-PhotographerHow do photographers earn merits?
Each type of merit is earned differently, as most are specific to different degrees. Click on the type of merit or scroll down to learn more:

Service merits—volunteer, serve, and learn:

Affiliate level

  • Complete courses at PPA approved schools as student, instructor assistant, or trustee.
  • Serve as print juror, jury chairman, or affiliate chairman of a PPA Affiliated Exhibition (judging) and/or Specialist
  • Exhibition of state or regional affiliate conventions.
  • Serve as convention chairman of state, regional, national or international affiliate conventions.
  • Serve as president of a local, state, chapter, regional, national or international affiliate.

PPA level

  • Serve as a convention chairman or volunteer worker.
  • Serve as a juror or jury chairman in the PPA Annual Judging for the International Print Competition.
  • Serve as PEC volunteer.
  • Serve as president, member of the board of directors, committee chairman, committee member, or as an elected or non-elected councilor.
  • Serve as chairman of a seminar (under 6 hours of programming = 1 merit; over 6 hours = 2 merits).
  • Photograph used for the cover of Professional Photographer.
  • Publish an article in the Professional Photographer magazine or other PPA publication.
  • Attend PPA conventions, conferences, and seminars (i.e., Super Monday, Make More Money in Photography, and Chicks Who Click).

Speaking merits—instruct and contribute:

  • Lecture at an affiliate convention or seminar (1-2 merits per program).
  • Give a program at a PPA convention or conference (5 merits per program).
  • Serve as an instructor for a weeklong affiliate school (5 merits).
  • Host a Super Monday class as an instructor (2 merits).
  • Publish an article in the Professional Photographer magazine or other PPA publications.
  • Serve as the affiliate newsletter editor or Webmaster and submit publication or Web site to the annual Affiliate Communications Competition. Earn an additional merit if you win in your category.

Exhibition merits—compete:
Note: No more than eight Exhibition merits can be earned in a calendar year.

  • Enter the PPA Annual International Judging and earn one merit by the Thumbs-Up System for photographic prints, transparencies, and albums. Entries become part of PPA's General Collection and are displayed at PPA’s annual convention, Imaging USA.
  • Earn an additional merit if the entry is selected for the Traveling Loan Collection.
  • Enter a PPA Approved Regional Affiliated Judging and score 80 or higher to earn a Seal of Approval. Such judgings are usually held in conjunction with affiliate annual conventions.
  • The entry with the Seal of Approval is then eligible for a merit when you submit it into the upcoming PPA International Judging.
  • An additional merit is given if the entry is selected for the Traveling Loan Collection.

Specialist merits—compete:
Note: No more than eight Specialist merits can be earned in a calendar year.

  • Enter competitions with retouched prints and artwork performed via traditional art media applied to a print or negative.
  • Enter the PPA Annual International Judging (get a Thumbs-Up) and/or the PPA Approved Affiliated Judging (score 80 or higher and submit to International Judging) in the Art-tech category.
  • Earn an additional merit if entry is selected for the Traveling Loan Collection.

Electronic Imaging merits—compete:
Note: No more than eight Electronic Imaging merits can be earned in a calendar year.

  • Enter competitions with digitally manipulated images. Entries may be submitted in the form of DVDs or prints conforming to the Photographic Exhibition Committee rules. The electronically created, manipulated, or enhanced images may be in these categories:
    Electronic Imaging, Print (any subject that can be submitted as a print)
    Electronic Imaging, Video (DVDs may include commercial, industrial, social event, or other productions)
  • Enter the PPA Annual International Judging (get a Thumbs-Up) and/or the PPA Approved Affiliated Judging (score 80 or higher and submit to International Judging) in the Electronic Imaging category.
  • Earn an additional merit if entry is selected for the Traveling Loan Collection.

Find-a-PhotographerCharge to New Degree Holders
Click here to read the charge to new degree holders.

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