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CREDIT: Martin Till ARPS

Associate (ARPS)


**Updated August 2020**

In response to the on going pandemic, The Society has made the decision for RPS House to stay closed to the public for the remainder of 2020. Please click here for more information

However, all planned assessments remain scheduled to take place at RPS House, allowing us to welcome back Print submissions as well as Images for Screen and Books. This is of course still subject to any possible further Government imposed restrictions.  

Licentiate Assessments | Associate Assessments | Fellowship Assessments

The assessments will take place at RPS House, but to help keep attending staff and panel members safe, we will be not be able open our doors to an audience.

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. 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 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 Photography: Photography which has been produced for a specific end 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. Fine Art Photography: Photography which communicates a creative vision.
  6. Landscape Photography: Photography that illustrates and interprets earth’s habitats, from the remotest wilderness to urban environs
  7. Natural History Photography: Photography which illustrates an element of natural world within an unrestricted, uncultivated and untamed environment.
  8. Travel Photography: Photography which communicates a sense of place.

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

The RPS is proud to announce a second season of free talks beginning on 24 September. Plus, if you've missed any of our previous 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

Jude Beck Wzk4mcp58ds Unsplash
CREDIT: Jude Beck on Unsplash

1:1 Online Portfolio Reviews

This service will resume from 4th January 2021


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. 

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. 

ARPS Assessment Fees

Standard Fee: £157
Members Fee: £110 

ARPS Assessment Days
ARPS Hanging Plan Template 555

Hanging & Sequence Plan Templates

A selection of interactive PDF templates, including the Images for Screen sequence plan. 

View Templates

Contact us

For help with your Associate application please contact:

Ben Fox
Senior Distinctions Assistant 
T: +44 (0)117 3164472

9am - 5pm Monday to Friday GMT.