My LRPS Story by Yvonne Green
I had been thinking about trying for an ‘L’ for a while, and after much encouragement from a friend and fellow photographer who has achieved ARPS, I decided to go for it. Early in the process I went along to an RPS Advisory Day as an observer to get an idea of what was required.
I then started to look through existing prints in my collection. Initially I had about 20 potential candidates which I printed postcard size and then experimented with different combinations and layouts.
I decided that I needed some experienced critical eyes to look at some potential images individually and at my attempts at arranging them into a panel. I was told that Chichester CC had an RPS Special Interest Group that could help with this – so took my images along to several meetings. I found this experience very useful in getting an idea of what standards the RPS would be looking for.
I eventually decided on 10 prints and a potential layout for a panel, I also selected five “spares”. These I took along to a SE region advisory day at Crawley Down. A very useful day. When it came to my panel going up on the stand, I was as delighted when the assessors approved it for submission with only a couple of minor changes and suggested a couple of swaps with my spares. They said that they thought it was looking like a well-balanced panel, commented positively on my seeing eye, my control of depth-of-field, and the range of colour and tone within the presented images.
This boosted my confidence that I could achieve my goal, and on returning home I filled out and sent off the application form to book an LRPS assessment for a couple of months hence. No going back now!
I reworked the two that needed some minor improvements and printed up the spares. After much checking of each image for anything that may be picked up under close scrutiny, I decided on the final 10 and proceeded to try out different layouts. Once I had decided on what I thought worked as the best layout, I packed them carefully into a print box with the layout sheet. Then a few weeks before my booked Assessment Day, two friends joined me for a day out to Bristol, during which I personally delivered my submission to the RPS Distinctions department.
On the day of my Assessment, I felt very nervous and apprehensive as I sat through panel after panel as they were being assessed, a few of were recommended, some were referred for resubmission and there were a few which were not successful. Finally, it was my turn (I was number 15). I am so glad I took a friend with me because when it came to my turn, once it had been scrutinised, I didn’t actually realise that they had said my name which meant I had done it! I was delighted to receive such positive comments from the assessors on the day and was over the moon to have been recommended.
The images I chose to include in my panel were mainly from the natural world - wildlife and landscapes. I felt that they demonstrated a wide variety of approaches, techniques and creativity, and also balanced harmoniously as a panel.
I found the whole experience hard work, stressful at times but very rewarding and I learned so much. It improved both my standard of photography and my confidence in my abilities.
My favourite and most creative image – Wings in Motion (No 2)
I love experimenting with motion blur and ICM in camera, this picture is of graylag geese in flight using a slow shutter speed and panning the camera. Very little post processing was required just removing a couple of distractions and deciding on the best crop before printing
The one that got away – Cornish Rock Abstract
I had initially included this rock abstract because the colour tones balanced the Svalbard landscape on the bottom row but it just didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the panel so didn’t make the final version and I swapped it for one of my “spares” - the ice on a puddle macro (no 9).
Yvonne’s technical tips
- My “riskiest” image and the one I spent most time on was the Svalbard landscape – I pulled out all the detail and texture I could from the white snow using adjustment layers and curves using Photoshop and made sure there was no “paper white” in the final print.
- Colour calibrate your screen, soft proof in LR and use the correct paper profile to ensure what is printed is what you expected and is up to standard.
- Having a number of experienced eyes look them over for anything I may have missed was very useful.
- Do pay attention to the RPS guidelines so you know what they will be looking for. Look at each print close up and upside down and check for any faults and imperfections – they will be closely scrutinised by the Assessors under bright lights. Make sure they are all perfectly printed and are well presented in their mounts. Use the same type and quality of paper for each print.
- Your panel is your 11th image – it must work cohesively when looked at as a whole and should appear well balanced in terms of arrangement and colour tones.