Purple Lemon Photography

Becoming a Certified Professional Photographer

Thursday, August 23, 2012
I have been photographing for as long as I can remember, documenting everything from little things (like pine needles, ornaments on a tree, and stuffed animal fuzz) to big things (moving vans as we left Indiana for Kansas when I was 11, houses, oceans).  I didn't understand how our basic camera worked, and I pushed it beyond it's limits. I didn't realize why the camera always made my creative photographs look blurry.
Then I figured that out.  I would take self-portraits and force my family to sit in front of the camera.

My neighbors were not as unwilling as my parents.

I photographed friends and family. I got my first "big" picture framed when a dear friend printed a photograph as an 11x14. That was HUGE!  I took the senior photos of a classmate, and it was projected on an even HUGE-er screen.

As a freshman in college, I photographed my first wedding. It was terrible and I lacked any kind of reasonable system, but I loved it.  My professor probably thought I was insane- I learned later that he is a well-known wedding photographer and knew what he was doing and I definitely didn't. He at least told me to take a tripod. Thanks, Dominique!
I got a job as an assistant wedding photographer, and trained as a lead. Learned so much, and it led me to start my own business.

At each step I wondered if I was really "professional" - and even still today doubts creep in.  I'm young, and I know I always have a lot more to learn in this ever-changing industry.  I hear stories from clients, unfortunately way too often, that previous photographers didn't act professionally- no guidance, no creativity, never got the images finished, or were just confusing.  Though it saddens me that so many fellow photographers have fallen into this category, I am glad that my professionalism stands out.

I have been in process of becoming a Certified Professional Photographer, for quite a while, and I am finally there.  I have a title beyond Nikki Dukes, superwife-awesomemom.
Nikki Dukes, CPP

After passing the image evaluation phase, I wrote, "The most intimidating and nerve-wrecking part for me is over. I have passed a portfolio review by masters in my craft and have been seen fit to be called professional. I cannot express how unbelievable that is to me- others have said it's no surprise, but for me, it really is."

I was almost there.  Just a test away.  I called upon my awesome-high-school-test-taking-skills, studied hard, made some old school flash cards, learned many helpful things along the way, and took my #2 pencil to the exam site.

I passed, with a sigh of relief, on the first try.  Both of the hardest parts of earning certification I did on the first try.

Now I get to live up to it, continue in professionalism and high standards in the photography industry, and work to earn my re-certification here in a few years.

Press Release

For Immediate Release
August 23, 2012
Local Photographer Earns Certification

Nikki Dukes of Purple Lemon Photography in St. Louis, Missouri has earned the Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) designation from the Professional Certification Commission.
Dukes earned this designation after meeting rigorous requirements measuring her artistic and technical competence. The Professional Photographic Certification Commission currently recognizes less than 2,000 Certified Professional Photographers.
About her certification, Dukes says, “In an age where everyone has a camera or a friend testing the waters of starting a business, I want to show that hiring a photographer with professionalism, technical skill, and creativity are worth the investment. I have worked to ensure that I am qualified to be sought out as a Certified Professional Photographer.
The Professional Photographic Certification Commission (www.certifiedphotographer.com) is the leading body for certifying imaging professionals. Certified Professional Photographers must complete a written examination, finish and image evaluation and adhere to a stringent code of conduct. Certification must be renewed on a periodic basis, ensuring continuing confidence in the professionalism of Certified Professional Photographers.
For more information: Nikki Dukes
Purple Lemon Photography

Fall Sale with Rare Weekend Shooting Slots!

Thursday, August 16, 2012
Be sure to mention this ad to take advantage of our limited time offer of digital packages (no need to purchase prints) at a sale price!

I love pregnant bellies.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012
I do. I really love pregnant bellies.  Though sometimes mine gets in the way, and I kind of heave it up in the air when I walk (and sheesh, I know...I've got a lot of time ahead of me and I can expect mine to get HUGE).

Erin let me photograph her lovely, round belly last week.  It was hot day for for two preggos to waltz about a lake, but let me tell ya- I'm loving these!  Just a few more weeks and we'll get to know what cute bundle is hiding in there- boy or girl? Your guess is as good as mine...
Erin totally went with it for this idea (and Kevin, her husband, proved to be an excellent assistant for this), and I so glad they trusted me!
One of the goals of this session was to show their relationship through romance and nature.  Now, granted it was hot outside, but this is downright steamy. :)

 Again, Erin trusted me, and let me say, I love it! 

Megan & Chris

Thursday, August 2, 2012
What a treat for yet another lively summertime wedding with a charming couple surrounded by wonderful family and supportive friends!  Megan and Chris wanted photos that showed the action of their day, full of exciting and special moments, embracing, and the laughter with the people they love.  With colors that matched the vibrancy of not only the season, but of this couple, here is glimpse into their day.
 Can't beat these umbrellas and clutches! Paired with these girls' personalities, we've got a winning set!

 Megan's father and brother walking to see Megan for the first time in her gown.
 How handsome is he?
 What a great little moment Casey saw...
 On to a gorgeous set of portraits. So sweet! I just love the Megan's expressions all day, but here she just seems so full of tenderness towards her new husband...

 I just love how Megan looks at her Dad...
During one of the very best Best Man speeches I've ever heard (from a Best Man who has never been in a wedding)...
 Love this!