Digital Photography Certification

Although certification is not necessary to gain employment in the field of digital photography, it proves your proficiency to employers and can improve your chances of getting a job as a digital or forensic photographer. Learn about your certification options and program prerequisites, as well as career prospects and salary statistics. Schools offering Photography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Certifications Are Available in Digital Photography?

You can pursue certification through the Professional Photographic Certification Commission (PPCC), which offers options related to professional photography or evidence photography. To achieve professional photography certification, you need to submit photographs showing off your techniques and skills. You also need to complete a multiple-choice exam covering camera technical terms, photograph setup, camera use and picture composition. Your certification needs to be renewed every five years; you can either satisfy continuing education requirements or take the exam again.

To earn your evidence photography certification, you also need to complete an exam and submit photographs. The exam features multiple-choice questions and covers the legality of photography, lighting, composition, camera systems and exposure. Certification is active for five years, and re-certification is available through the same steps as with the digital photography option from the PPCC.

The International Association for Identification (IAI) also offers forensic photography certification. To qualify, you need to have previous work experience as a forensic scientist and you need to have completed 40 hours of photography courses through a college or police academy. The certification process requires you to complete a written test and submit to photograph evaluation. Certification lasts five years; to renew, you're required to complete the certification process again and continue your education.

Certifications Available Available through the Professional Photographic Certification Commission (PPCC) and International Association for Identification (IAI)
Eligibility Requirements Previous experience as a forensic scientist, 40 hours of photography courses
Exam Topics Lighting, exposure, composition, camera use
Career Prospects Studio photographer, sports photographer; continuing education
Median Salary (2018) $34,000 per year*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 6% decline*

Source: *U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can I Do as a Certified Digital Photographer?

If you want to continue your education, you can choose from associate's or bachelor's degree programs in photography. Or you can directly seek employment as a studio photographer, advertising photographer, news photographer, sports photographer, photojournalist or photo editor. Depending on your certification and additional qualifications, you may qualify for a career in evidence photography or forensic photography.

What's My Job Outlook?

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), photography career openings are expected to decline 6% between 2016 and 2026 ( This decrease is anticipated due to the decrease in prices of digital cameras and an increase in the number of amateur photographers. As of May 2018, the BLS estimated that the median annual salary for this job was $34,000.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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