Since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, we have been running our meetings through Zoom conferencing. On 13 October we took a first tentative step back towards “normality” by running a trial “hybrid meeting” – members who wished to attend in person met as usual at Greenleas School and other members joined in via Zoom.

This was a Members Evening and was all about the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) and, in particular, the RPS Distinctions.  Full details of these Distinctions can be found on the RPS website and they are Licentiate (LRPS), Associate (ARPS), and Fellow (FRPS).

To kick us off, Chairman Mike Kitchingman told us how he achieved his LRPS.  He started by telling us how he began his LRPS journey.  He moved on to the four Licentiate Criteria (Camera Work and Technical Quality, Visual Awareness, Communication, and Overall Impression) and the various requirements for print submissions, digital submissions, and book submissions.  Mike decided to make a print submission.  This would require ten prints to be displayed in a presentation layout.

He told us about the sort of images required.  Normally the RPS like a variety of subjects.  But Mike decided to base his submission on architecture.

Mike had just reached the stage of booking a first “advisory” (an opportunity to have a working submission critiqued by Assessors of the appropriate Distinctions panel) when Covid intervened.  In the event, Mike had an online advisory, after which he reworked his proposed panel, and then a had a second online advisory.  And his Assessment was also done online as a “Panel for Print”.

As we know, Mike was successful.  He showed us the ten images he used together with the hanging plan for presenting them.

Mike now wants to go for ARPS.  He explained that there is plenty of material on the RPS website about how to apply and the various requirements.  There are also submissions to look at.

After all that, Sally Kitchingman then gave us some more general information about the RPS.  She and Mike are both members.  There are of course annual fees.  But membership opens the door to lots of benefits.  In addition to being able to apply for Distinctions and other qualifications, these include

  • Technical Talks,
  • Workshops,
  • Events,
  • Festivals,
  • Exhibitions, and
  • Groups (where like-minded members join together to explore particular areas of photography).

Sally encouraged everyone to look at the RPS website.  It has lots of helpful material.

Finally, Tricia Meers presented ten of her images as they would be shown for a digital submission for LRPS.

RPS assessments are generally assessed in front of an audience.  To assess a digital submission, the ten images are displayed in numerical order for seven seconds each.  The whole submission is then displayed again in similar fashion.  The Assessors then have an initial vote (using green and red cards), have some discussion, and then have a final vote.

Assessments are carried out anonymously, with the applicant’s name being announced only after a successful assessment.  Unsuccessful applicants receive a feedback letter explaining why they were unsuccessful.

David Manning ARPS then provided a brief critique of Tricia’s submission.  His overall advice for a print submission for LRPS, where Assessors see each image for only such a short time, was to go for simple images.

RPS Website –

RPS Distinctions –

If you didn’t know, you can also post your comments at the bottom of the page. Engage with other Members and share your thoughts on the entries and judging. 

NB: Members can watch the recording of the meeting in full on the ‘Members Only’ section of the website.