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Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Updates

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

Q: Are any advisory days taking place?
A: **Updated JUNE 2022** Some Advisory days are taking place but mainly online. Please visit Regional web pages for more event info or click here to view all planned Advisory Days. You may also wish to consider applying for a one2one Portfolio Review which was set up in response to the cancellation of advisory days. 

Q: Are any Assessments taking place?
A: **Updated JUNE 2022**Assessments of print, digital and book submissions are taking place, including audience attendance online. Please email booking forms to

Licentiate Assessments | Associate Assessments | Fellowship Assessments

Q: I want to apply for an assessment, where should I send my application form?
A: **Updated JUNE 2022** Where possible, please complete the form on your computer and email a copy to

Q: Where is my Certificate?
A: **Updated JUNE 2022** UK Applicants applicants should receive their certificate within a few weeks of the assessment taking place. Certificates for international applicants will be sent at the same time via normal postal service, however there may be some delay depending on individual country postal restrictions due to covid-19. 


Q: My assessment has been cancelled but I've already sent my portfolio to you, do I need it to be returned?
If we've cancelled an assessment and you've already sent your prints to us, 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 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 Portfolio to you yet. When should I send it?
A: **Updated JUNE 2022** All submissions, regardless of format, must be received at least 21 days ahead of the assessment. Any submission received after the 21 day cut off date will be rescheduled for the next available assessment. 

Portfolios can be personally delivered to us at RPS House. Please email to inform us in advance of when you would like to deliver your portfolio. All portfolios will then be stored for a minimum of 72 hours before being unpacked.  

You may wish to consider paying for return postage. if you wish to add this to your booking, please send the £18 return postage fee to via PayPal↗.
Please include a note with the payment, stating your name, assessment date and "return postage" i.e. John Smith_050521_Return Postage.

Q: I'd like to attend an assessment, will this be ok?
A: **Updated JUNE 2022**
 Absolutely, please visit our Observer Tickets page where you will be able to find link to attend in Person or via Zoom


General Questions

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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, please click here for information about out 1:1 Portfolio advice service

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: What are the available pathways for gaining a Distinction?
A: An Applicant can achieve a distinction through many different Panels and Formats these are:  

1. Image lead Submissions, which consist of:

  • Submitting a body of work in the form of still images to an Assessment. (Either Print, Digital or Book)
  • Film, Digital & Multimedia – Submitting a body of work in the form of moving image to an Assessment. 

2. Applications lead by Academic or Professional Qualifications and Written based submission.  

  • Research – Submitting a written document via the Research Panel. 
  • Creative Industries Qualification – Application of Academic Qualification and experience within the Creative Industry. 
  • Imaging Science Qualification – For those working in the field of scientific imaging.  
  • Exemption – Achieving an Academic qualification of the appropriate level of a recognised course. 

Each pathway or Panel has its’ own individual Criteria and Requirements.  

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

Q: What's the cost of an assessment?
Members currently have priority booking for all assessments. Any remaining spaces will be opened up to Non-Members on a set date. Please visit the Assessment dates pages for more information on when this will happen. 

Licentiate Submission fee £85 | Concession* £42.50

Associate Submission fee £120 | Concession* £60

Fellowship Submission fee £170 Concession* £85 

*Full time student | 25 & Under | Disabled 
(proof of status required) 

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

Q: Why do I have to be a member of the RPS to use my Distinction post-nominals?
A: The Distinction post-nominals (Licentiate: LRPS, Associate: ARPS and Fellow: FRPS) and those associated with our Qualifications, are recognition that an individual is a member of a Learned Society, and have had their photography assessed by their peers. They show not only that a person has reached a specific level of expertise, knowledge and understanding; but also that they are committed to maintaining these; continuing to play a part in a world leading photography charity and community, promoting photography for everyone; and observing our code of conduct. It’s not the same as a one-off qualification such as a university degree, but more akin to that of other learned societies. When a person leaves the RPS, they may continue to informally refer to their previous success in passing a Distinctions assessment, but it is appropriate that they stop using the post-nominals.

Questions about Print Format

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Q: What's a Presentation Layout?
A: A Presentation Layout 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: LRPS | ARPS | FRPS

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 Digital Format

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Q: What's a Presentation Layout?
A: A Presentation Layout 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: LRPS | ARPS | FRPS

Questions about Assessments

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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: **Updated January 2021** Due to the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic, none of our assessments can currently be attended in person. However, we are streaming our assessments via Zoom so you can observe ALL assessments from the comfort of your own home. Please click here to view a list of all our planned assessments and to book an observer place online. 

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.
**Updated January 2021**
Regional assessments have been suspended due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. We hope these will return in the future. 

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.

All applicants will be supplied information on how to observe their assessment online, roughly one week prior to the assessment date. 

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

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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