The Professional Photographers of America says its certification for drone pilots, the first of its kind, is designed to help photographers better validate their capabilities to clients.
The nature of photography is changing, and at least one group is adapting its certification strategies to keep up with the latest trends.
This week, the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) announced that it was adding a Certified Drone Photographer designation.
The offering is designed to allow PPA members to show a certain skill level with unmanned aerial vehicles. The designation—which will be administered with an online exam—requires that drone owners have a remote pilot license, general liability insurance, a registered drone, and at least 30 hours of flight time under their belts.
“Photographers who earn this credential do so for three primary reasons,” PPA explained in a news release. “First, it gives them an edge in advertising their services, as certification promotes trust in the minds of clients and consumers. Second, it is a way to justify the price of services offered by the world’s top photographers. Finally, the peer validation step that is required to earn the certification signals to the photography world that you truly care about your craft.”
The two-year designation comes at a time when some of the rulemaking on drone use is up in the air. In May, a federal appeals court struck down the Federal Aviation Administration’s drone registration requirements for hobbyists, finding that small drones fell under the “model aircraft” designation, which the FAA is prohibited from regulating. (The PPA certification does require its members to register their drones, as the use would be considered professional, rather than hobbyist, in this context.)
For those looking to get the new designation, PPA offers a variety of resources on its website, including through its PPAedu video library. The certification program requires a $75 application fee, plus $25 to take the online exam.