Master Family Photographer

It is with great honor that I share with you that I am now a Master Family Photographer. I have been awarded a Certificate of Mastery in the Field of Family Photography by the NAPCP. The National Association of Professional Child Photographers.

NAPCP Master Photographer Certificate

Master Family Photographer Certification Criteria

The images submitted represent over 10 years of my photography career. The requirements for this certification were quite specific. NAPCP was quite intentional in designing this Certification. The goal is to ensure that the portfolios submitted would be those developed over years of Professional Level work.

This was not a competition among other photographers. Each photographer who submitted a portfolio was critiqued and judged on his or her own merits.

No Family included Twice

No family, family member, or group can be represented more than once.

This was a big one for me. I have families I have photographed literally from newborn through tween years! Yet, only one image for that family would be allowed. This even limited the use of two different images featuring siblings of the same family. The rule was one image per family. Even if each image was of a different child from a different session or year. It was clear. One submission per family.

Different locations for Family Photography

Each location must vary.

Now, when I first read this I thought – but my POOL!

It was clarified that locations needed to *look* different, be used in different ways, have variety, a different feel.

So, no, I could not submit 25 underwater images from the same pool. But. I *could* use images taken in different areas of my pool, at different depths, at different times of day – which changes the colors of my pool and the backgrounds of the imagery.

And of course, I have been a photographer for over 10 years. I *do* know how to work in a studio and outdoors on dry land.

I just prefer to stay wet most of the time these days!!

What does becoming a Master Family Photographer actually mean?

And some might say. Well. That is great Renee. Congrats! But. Um what does it mean for us as your clients. Why do the photos you took ten years ago matter today?

I will share this.

When NAPCP announced that they were going to begin offering these Certifications, I jumped for joy! I was absolutely thrilled! And do you know why? Because having a Certification at this level gives you, the mom or dad looking for a Family Photographer whom you can trust, a huge advantage.

Here is a National Professional Association that is saying. Look Mom or Dad, we have done the first level of research for you. We have gone through this Photographer’s work and can now say, yes, they are a great Professional Photographer. We have looked beyond ONE award winning image. It is our job to look beyond the last three amazing sessions they shared online. And it is our job to really examine their work from multiple angles. We can’t guarantee you will have an amazing experience, please do your research as well. But. We gave you a big head start!

Worth the Effort?

Some may think. Wow. That sounds like a LOT of work! And. It was!!

So. The question is. Was it worth the effort?

Absolutely yes.

And not just for the pretty badge.

This process forced me to look back over my entire body of family photography work from the last ten years. It reminded me of why I became a Family Photographer in the first place. It reminded me of how very far I have progressed over the last decade. But also, how much I have loved photography from the very beginning.

I have really good images from ten years ago. The entire galleries were definitely not what I produce consistently today. But. There was a light and a spark there. Life may not have allowed me to work consistently as a Professional Photographer over the last three states, three homes, three kids, and fourteen years. But there was something there from the beginning that I have been able to protect, nurture, and grow.

And this process reminded me of just that.

So yes. It was 1000% worth the effort.

Thanks for jumping in!

So, a huge thank you to all of the many clients who have let me into their lives over the years. You are my inspiration, my joy, my why on this crazy journey!

Renee Stengel Photography | Charlotte Underwater Photographer
NAPCP Master Family Photographer
NAPCP Master Family Photographer
NAPCP Master Family Photographer
NAPCP Master Family Photographer
NAPCP Master Family Photographer Gold Seal


  1. […] I am honored to share with you that the NAPCP, the National Association of Professional Child Photographers, published an article submitted about Underwater Maternity Portraits in this month’s issue of Inspired Magazine. I am proud to represent this esteemed Professional Photography Association as both an Ambassador for the Charlotte NC region as well as a Master Photographer. […]