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CREDIT: Martin Till ARPS

Associate (ARPS)


**Updated June 2021**

Assessments of print, digital and book submissions are taking place, including new audience attendance online. Please email booking forms to

We can accept delivery and collection of Portfolios Monday - Friday, between 9am - 4pm. Please let us know before leaving to deliver or collect your portfolio from RPS House. You may wish to combine your trip with a visit to our current exhibition. Tickets must be booked in advance.

Licentiate Assessments | Associate Assessments | Fellowship Assessments

To help keep attending staff and panel members safe, we will be not be able open our doors to an audience.

For more information about our position on the COVID-19 outbreak please click here

The Distinctions Team

The Associate distinction requires applicants to submit a body of work/project consisting of 15 images and a written Statement of Intent and a Presentation Layout. The images must be of a high standard.

Associate Criteria

  • A Statement of Intent that defines the purpose of the work, identifying its aims and objectives.
  • A cohesive body of work that depicts and communicates the aims and objectives set out in the Statement of Intent.
  • A body of work that communicates an individual's vision and understanding.
  • A high level of technical ability using techniques and photographic practices appropriate to the subject.
  • An appropriate and high level of understanding of craft and artistic presentation.

The Associate distinction is split into various specialist areas, which we refer to as genres. Many of the genres have additional specific criteria. It is important to read through the Associate Guidelines and the Genre Definitions documents for further information.

Associate Genres & Definitions

The genre definitions below are written to give you the widest creative freedom so that you can select the genre in which you are most likely to succeed. Assessments at Associate are divided by genre so that they are assessed by the appropriately skilled Fellows of the RPS.

  1. Applied and Portraiture Photography: Photography which has been produced for an intended purpose.
  2. Contemporary Photography: Photography that communicates a visual realisation of a stated argument, idea or concept.
  3. Documentary Photography: Photography which communicates a clear narrative through visual literacy.
  4. Film: The work can be created in any moving image format including film, video, and digital media.
  5. Landscape Photography: Photography that illustrates and interprets earth’s habitats, from the remotest wilderness to urban environs
  6. Natural History Photography: Photography which illustrates an element of natural world within an unrestricted, uncultivated and untamed environment.
  7. Travel Photography: Photography which communicates a sense of place.
  8. Visual Art Photography: Photography which communicates a creative vision.

Which genre should I apply for?

We'll be happy to help advise you, but due to high demand we can only offer genre advice via our Distinctions Facebook page until further notice. Please post six images from your proposed submission and your statement of intent and a moderator will offer advice. 

RPS Distinctions **Official Group**

Be inspired...

Distinctions Talks Live 2

Distinctions Talks: Live

If you've missed any of our talks, you can catch up here. 

Distinctions Talks: Live

Hazel Mason FRPS, Travel panel member, explains what travel photography means to her and outlines what is needed to put together a successful Travel panel.

Linda Marshall ARPS says the journey towards her becoming an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society began with a talk at her local camera club and explains where she got the inspiration for her successful Fine Art panel.

Jo Kearney ARPS explains for her successful Travel panel it was essential to have a plan..

Rob Friel ARPS explains how he became an Associate by using a camera phone to shoot through the windows of a fast-moving train.

Sarah Dow ARPS suffered the loss of both parents, four cancers, a husband with major health problems and finally divorce. She tells Peter Hayes FRPS that working on her Associate submission helped her come through all the distress she suffered.

Recommended Resources


Advisory Days

COVID-19 UPDATE - A number of advisory days have been postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19. Please double check with the event organiser before booking.

Panel Members

Panel Members

Panel Members are our volunteers who assess the submissions for each distinction. They also provide online advice and attend our advisory days. 

Panel Member List
09 Whoosh!
CREDIT: Lin Collins LRPS


If you have a burning question, we've possibly already answered it. Have a look through our Frequently Asked Questions to see if we have. 

CREDIT: Louise Knaresborough LRPS

Observer Tickets

Join us on our assessment days and observe from the comfort of your own home.

Search our assessment dates here
Philip Field Arps 12
CREDIT: Philip Field ARPS

Assessment Days

Associate Assessment Days are held throughout the year. Follow the link to view a list of all our up coming dates. 

Please note: Priority booking is reserved for Members of the RPS. Non-Members can apply from 10th July 2021. 

Associate Submission Fee: £110 

ARPS Assessment Days
Certificate & Badges

Replacement Certificates & Badges...

Duplicate Certificates and Lapel Badges can be purchased from the Distinctions Department. This is particularly useful if either are lost, damaged or you just want a spare. 

To purchase, please email with your name and membership number stating which item you're after. For Certificates, please also include your name as you would like it to appear. 

Certificates: £25 each 

Lapel Badges: £10 each

Both prices above include postage

Contact us

For help with your Associate application please contact:

Ben Fox
Senior Distinctions Assistant 
9am - 5pm Monday to Friday