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Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Updates

A temporary section for FAQs surrounding the changes we're making during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Q: Are any advisory days taking place?
A: For the time being we have had to cancel all volunteer led activities which would result in a groups of people. This will change in time and in accordance with government advice. 

Q: Are any Assessments taking place?
A: All assessments that were planned to take place between March and July have been cancelled. All applicants that were booked in for an assessment taking place between March & July have been contact via email by the distinctions team. Please email if you have not been contacted and provide you name and the date of your cancelled assessment. Please also provide your membership number if you're member.  

Q: I sent my Submission to you before my assessment was cancelled, do I need it to be returned?
If you sent your prints to us before we cancelled the assessments, please don't worry. You should have received an email stating that we have received your work. Your submission will be kept in our store room until we are able to resume the print assessments in the Autumn or until we are able to return it to you once travel and social distancing restrictions have been lifted. 

Q: I haven't sent my Submission to you yet. When should I send it?
A: Please do not send anything to RPS House just yet. Once restrictions have been lifted, we hope we will be able to return to normal and be in a more convenient position to receive your prints. 

Q: I want to apply for an assessment, where should I send my application form?
A: Please do not send your application form to us in the post. Where possible, please complete the form on your computer and email a copy to To assist with the ease of processing applications, please also consider paying for your assessment via PayPal. 

Q: I'd like to attend an assessment taking place in the Autumn, will this be ok?
At the moment, we are unsure if assessments will be open to an audience. All applicants will be contacted nearer to the assessment date or earlier, once we're able to make an informed decision on the best practice to follow regarding small or large gathering of people. 

Q: I've heard that there are alternative assessments taking place, how and when will they be run ?
All assessments taking place at RPS House have been cancelled between March & July. Alternative dates for remote assessments have been set up. These Assessments will be run remotely via Zoom. The Assessors will view the work in their free time 1 week before the Assessment Date. On the day of the assessment, an online meeting will be held, including The Panel Chair, Panel Members, Distinctions Member of Staff and a member of the Distinctions Committee. The assessment will continue to take place using the usual two vote process with a healthy discussion taking place between the two votes.

The New Assessment dates are:

27th May (FULLY BOOKED - a new date is being arranged) 

Associate & Fellowship 
Travel - 3rd June 
Natural History - 11th June 
Fine Art - 17th June 
Documentary - 24th June 
Contemporary - 1st July 
Applied - 8th July 

General Questions

Q: Can I apply for the Associate distinction if I don't already have the Licentiate?
A: Anyone can apply for the Associate regardless of whether they have a Licentiate distinction or not, but we would only suggest doing so if you have a number of years of photographic experience. However, the final decision is entirely down to the applicant.

Q: Can I use my Associate images for my Fellowship submission?
No, your Fellowship submission needs to be a different body of work.

Q: Can I mix monochrome and colour images within my proposed panel?
A: Yes you can. This is perhaps more appropriate for the Licentiate distinction due to the nature of the criteria.

Q: I need a mentor, can you put me in contact with a panel member?
A: The RPS doesn’t officially provide a mentoring service, we can guide you and give advice and guidance throughout your application.

Q: Do I have to wait two years before I apply for an another level of Distinction after I've been successful?
There is no time period set. Although it’s generally suggested to wait and not rush into it.


Q: Do I pay more for membership when I gain a Licentiate, Associate or Fellowship?
No, your membership subscription does not change.

Q: For my Fellowship submission, do I have to submit to the same genre as my Associate submission?
No, You can change genres.

Questions about Print Format

Q: What's a Hanging Plan?
A: A hanging plan is a visual reference for your presentation of prints. It displays your images as thumbnails printed on A4 paper, representing the desired layout of your printed images. It is used for reference by the Chairman and Distinctions Staff. We've created some templates for you to use click here to view them. 

Q: What size prints should I submit?
We suggest that an A4 print is more than adequate for assessing. However, the final print size is for the applicant to decide on. It's worth bearing in mind that the maximum height between the display rails is 23" (585mm). Each display rail is 21ft (6.4m) in length. 

Q: What's the maximum dimension of the display area?
The maximum height between the display rails is 23” (585mm). The maximum length of the display area is 21ft (6.4m).

Questions about Images For Screen

Q: What's a Sequence Plan?
A: A sequence plan is a visual reference for the order in which your images will be projected. It displays your images as thumbnails on an A4 page, representing the numerical order of your digital images.
Please note: It is important to remember that Images For Screen are displayed in sequence, one image at a time.  

Questions about Assessments

Q: Where can I find assessment dates?
A: You can find assessment dates on the individual distinction pages.

Q: Can I observe an assessment? and if so, how do I book?
A: Our Licentiate and Associate assessments are open to observers. If you would like to attend, please contact us to book a seat. 

Q: Are assessments held locally to me?
A: All Associate and Fellowship assessments are held at RPS House, Bristol. We hold a couple of Licentiate assessments each year within our regions, but all other assessments are also held at RPS House, Bristol. Assessment dates can be found on the following pages:

Q: Can I bring spare images to the assessment?
Please do not bring any other images to an assessment, all you need is; 10 for LRPS, 15 for ARPS & 20/21 for FRPS. 

Q: Do I need to attend the assessment?
A: You don’t need to attend the assessment. However, we recommend attending as you will see other submissions, hear what happens and hear the panel member’s comments.

Q: Can I submit more than one portfolio?
No, you can submit only one submission per assessment. However, you can submit to other genres.

Questions about Advisory days

Q: What are Advisory days?
A: We offer a number of advisory days throughout the year, across the UK. With these days we will assist anyone who is working towards a distinction. Advisory days are an opportunity for any potential applicant to receive advice regarding their proposed body of work.

Q: I don’t live in the UK and can’t attend an advisory day. What can I do?
A: We host a number of overseas advisory days where the applicant receives video feedback. To check availability, please contact Andy Moore