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Frequently Asked Questions

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: 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: You certainly can and we welcome you to visit RPS House in person to view our Associate & Fellowship Assessments. However you can also watch our assessments via Zoom if you're unable to get to Bristol. all details can be found at 

Q: Are assessments held locally to me?
A: All Associate and Fellowship assessments are held at RPS House, Bristol. 

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