If you have been reading my previous blogs on the RPS distinctions system, you will know that I recently submitted a panel of 10 images for assessment for the Licentiate distinction (LRPS). Well, two days after the assessment (which I did not attend due to living over 500 miles from Bath where the assessment took place), I received an email telling me that I had been successful. My first feeling on reading the news was one of relief, that I didn’t have to reprocess and reprint any images and send them off to Bath or even have to go through the whole procedure again. This was followed rapidly by a warm glow of satisfaction that I had actually achieved an objective I had been working towards for many months, almost a year in fact.
The collection of images I submitted is shown in my previous post here. However, I decided to rearrange the Panel somewhat before submitting, finally settling on the three row arrangement shown below.
To what do I attribute my success? I think the following are essential steps to a successful outcome in this process:
- carefully read and re-read the LRPS Guidelines, paying particular attention to the technical standards expected.
- attend at least one, preferably two Advisory Days to get a feel for what kinds of images are suitable and how to arrange them into a panel. I attended one Advisory Day as an observer, then a local RPS Photo Forum at which I showed some images to get informal feedback. This weeded out a few of my hopefuls. By the time I attended my Advisory Day for formal advice on my prospective Panel, I had a pretty good idea of which images I wanted to include and roughly how to present them as a panel.
- make use of the forums on the RPS website. I received some good practical advice here on how to constuct a panel. I found this to be one of the most difficult parts of the process, as there are no written guidelines on how to arrange a panel, yet there seem to be quite definite expectations which can only really be glimpsed by attending an Advisory Day.
- you can also read my previous posts to see my thoughts and get detailed tips and advice as I went through the various stages of the process.
Would I recommend applying for an RPS Distinction? Definitely, but be prepared to put in the groundwork and be impervious to relentless criticism. Don’t expect any praise; the best you can hope for is that the assessors can’t think of anything bad to say about your images; then you know you have succeeded.
I’ll be spending the next few months trying to work out what constitutes “personal style” in preparation for an ARPS submission.