Attending an Advisory Day with The Royal Photographic Society


Ever since I gained a Licentiateship (LRPS) with The Royal Photographic Society back in 2012 I have had the desire to work towards the next distinction; an Associateship. For the past year or so I have been putting together a panel of prints which I hope might achieve the required standard. My proposed panel includes the above image.

As part of this process The RPS strongly advise attending an Advisory Day, where your panel of 15 images together with a Statement of Intent can be presented to Panel Members of The RPS. They give advice on whether or not your work is ready for submission or if more work is required. If the latter, they will give an indication in their opinion as to what needs to be addressed. This can vary from major changes or just a few minor tweaks.

On Sunday I attended an Advisory Day at the headquarters of The RPS in the lovely city of Bath and presented my panel, with I have to say, a certain amount of trepidation. There are a number of other photographers in the same room and the RPS panel members can quite rightly be constructively critical of a person’s work; after all that’s the very reason for attending. Nobody likes criticism in front of others but there is little point going for an Assessment only to fail by some margin, and many do apparently.

My panel is based around my ‘Churches Project’ and was entered in the Conceptual and Contemporary Category. I am pleased to say that it was well received and considered to be a strong panel worthy of submission, subject to changing three out of the fifteen photographs. It was considered these three were slightly weaker images when compared to the others and I agreed. One picture was changed at the Advisory Day from a selection of other prints I had taken with me, so that just leaves me with the task of sourcing two other prints, which hopefully shouldn’t be too difficult. I believe the Statement of Intent, the technical quality, printing and presentation are likely to meet the required standard but you can never be sure. I have to say I was very relieved and pleased with the feedback.

I have already booked a place for my Assessment in April next year, so I have a little while to wait to find out whether or not my panel will qualify me for an Associateship. There can be no guarantees but my fingers are crossed and I will of course report on the outcome in roughly six months time.

In the meantime here is a quote taken from the RPS website regarding the standard required for an Associateship –

“ARPS (Associateship) – images of exceptional standard and a written Statement of Intent (what you hoped to achieve). This is a significant step up from the LRPS.  At this stage creative ability and personal style (what makes your work unique to you), along with complete control of the technical aspects of photography must be evident.  It is at this level that you can first choose to submit your work to a particular specialist category.”

You can see a Gallery of my LRPS Panel by clicking here.


6 Responses to “Attending an Advisory Day with The Royal Photographic Society”

  1. Vicki

    I love the simplicity, texture and light of the vase image above, although part of me would like to see the image more oblong (than square). But that’s a personal preference and I don’t have your skill with B & W (or colour, if it comes to that).

    I particularly like the ripples of sand and sea in the images from your link. In fact, a photographer, amateur or professional, who can make a very simple subject look stunning is always my idea of a good/great photographer.

    Same with a still life in photography. The sort of image like ‘Tranquility at East Head’ is another example I really like.

    Liked by 1 person

    • alan frost

      Thanks Vicki. I always appreciate your kind words.

      The 5×4 crop of the vase was done to conform to the panel I was creating and to make it fit in with other images. As a stand alone image it might work better 4×3. As you say very much a matter of personal choice. Pleased you took a look at the ‘L’ panel and liked some of the work even though those pictures are now 4/5 years old!

      Thanks again. Alan


  2. LensScaper

    I thought I had posted a comment on this Post a few days ago. I know I wrote one but the Mac ran out of battery and maybe it got lost in the process. It sounds to me as if you are almost there with your ARPS, with just a couple to images to find – well done and well deserved, Alan. Things have changed very significantly since I got my ‘A’ back in the late seventies. There were no advisory days, no statement of intent. I was very lucky as I had got to know Bob Moore (who subsequently became President of the RPS) and he was my sounding box/mentor and I vividly remember going up to the Birmingham area where he lived and we played around with a panel of prints on the floor of his living room and I came away with a very clear idea of finalising the panel.

    The booklet of guidance for applicants at that time said that the requirements were: ‘photography of a good technical standard…a sound knowledge of the principles of arrangement, lighting and camera technique must be evident….consistency and evenness of print quality, mounting and presentation.’

    And finally the panel should contain ‘examples of two or three types of work’. No requirement for evidence of personal vision. It was much more about mastery of the technical aspects of camera work and the ability to produce high quality exhibition sized prints.

    The bar has been raised very substantially in the last 40 years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • alan frost

      Thank you Andy and I have my fingers crossed for next April.

      I think you are absolutely right about how the bar is now set at a much higher level. The general standard of work being presented even for a Licentiateship is very high and is more akin to the requirements which were set for an A panel back in the 70’s. Possibly higher, I don’t know. Arguably digital has made things easier, although perhaps everyone now thinks they are a good photographer just because they own a camera!

      Putting a panel together has certainly been both challenging and rewarding particularly as the statement of intent is a key element of the overall submission. Whether or not I am successful I do intend writing about the process on this blog as my experience of the process may assist others.

      Thanks again – Alan


      • LensScaper

        The computerisation and availability of complex yet affordable cameras has meant that photography is available to all and we can all take competent images. So the criteria had to shift to the ‘vision’ of the photographer. I think the work, the experience and the concentration of the mind on a specific project will be of benefit whatever the outcome – although I’m sure you will have a positive one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • alan frost

        I couldn’t agree more Andy. Having one or more projects is very stimulating and rewarding. A project provides purpose and defines who you are as a photographer. I am considering making a couple of illustrated books in the future – which should be a very interesting and hopefully satisfying thing to achieve.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: