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Master Photographer, What it Means, and THE GOWN that made me feel like a princess.

June 11, 2024

Ok, I’m not the best at self-promotion. I’d rather feel the joy of helping others shine through my lens. But, this has been on my list to explain what it means for at least six months.

The degree of Master of Photography is awarded by the Professional Photographers of America for superior photographic skills, advanced education, and service to the industry.

I love the degree charge, especially “Your workmanship has been accepted as representing the highest standards in the innovative and exciting art of professional photography. This honor should be held with the utmost respect, as it is both recognition and responsibility”. I’m both honored and humbled by this charge.

Earning a degree is a process that takes a significant amount of time and effort. For most people, including myself, it takes years to achieve. To earn the degree, you must acquire a certain number of merits (kinda like credits) for various categories. You must have at least 13 Exhibition merits. These are merits that are earned by entering images into PPA’s Merit Image Review. Each image submitted will be judged by a panel of trained jurors to judge the image based on 12 criteria including technical and artistic elements. I’ll leave it to say that the judging is tough, and they do not give merits easily. You must also have at least 12 additional merits (for speaking, exhibition, and/or service). These merits also take time to earn. I may do a different post with 12 merits. I earned many of my merits with client work, including babies, children, and seniors.

Because earning a degree is such a big deal, degree recipients are recognized at PPA’s annual Imaging USA Convention (a convention of about 10,000 photographers, vendors, and educators). This year it was in Louisville. Pete joined me and walked me across the stage. It was so crazy fun to walk across the stage. You can check it out in the video below. I’m at roughly 1:02:40. Doesn’t Pete look handsome in his tux? And thank you to all my Northern friends for coming to cheer me (and my other Northern degree recipient friends) on.

You can see me at 1:02:40.


If you’ve watched the video, you’ll notice that this is full glam. I’ve been dreaming of the dress for over a year before I earned the degree.

One night, after earning the degree, Avery and I were texting, and she got excited and started sending me dresses from Anthropologie. I’d never considered Anthro for formal wear, but she was sending some gorgeous options. So, I immediately went to and started scrolling. You know how you just know it when you see THE dress? When I saw this dress, I knew it was the one: a beautiful line, just enough sparkle, and the floral embellishments were one-of-a kind. Of course, I still had to go shopping in person to try other options, but my heart never swayed from THE dress.

Here are some fun moments from the weekend!

As a degree holder, I’m eligible for membership in the American Society of Photographers.

iPhone photos from the big night!

All the Northern people who came out to support us. We had 4 photographers earn their degrees this year! I’m so proud of the photographic community that we have and thankful for the friendship, support and community we have.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you!!!!!


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