Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society!

I'm delighted to announce that I have been recommended to receive the LRPS and can use the title once the council of the Royal Photographic Society has approved it!

For those who haven't heard of the distinction, LRPS:

LRPS (Licentiateship of The RPS) - images of a high standard of photographic execution - demanding but achievable for most dedicated photographers. Applicants must show variety in approach and techniques but not necessarily in subject matter.

A little lower down is a short account of the process and my experiences, but those wanting to simply see the pics:

My final panel of shots is here:



Having had no formal training and certainly no qualifications in photography I wanted to see if my photographs were good enough for a Royal Photographic Society Distinction.

The Initial Process

I applied for an LRPS assessment day in Bath in November. Normally members would first attend an advisory day, but as there were none with availability it was agreed I'd send 15 digital shots in to get advice from an assessor.

I was in a quandary whether to concentrate on portraiture or send in a variety of subjects. I was allowed to send in 20 shots in the end (10 models, 5 candids, 5 random subjects - macro / landscape etc). The advice came back to put together a panel of portraits.

The advice took a little while to come back and it was cutting it fine for the November assessment, so I postponed until a January assessment.

This was my original choice of shots:

I got each printed out using Loxley Colour on Matt prints - all A4 size for consistency . I ordered a set of 10 double mounts from eBay which also had a backing card to help keep them flat in the window mounts. I used masking tape and double sided tape to assemble the prints.

I went for Matt prints as I'd been warned about the glare from the spotlights at Fenton House.

The Assessment

I turned up at the RPS, Fenton House in Bath and handed in my stack of prints with a layout plan.

I grabbed some breakfast and returning to find about 25 other people waiting in the reception area,
After a short while we were ushered upstairs to a room with a projector set up for digital images and a wall organised for the display of prints in two or three rows.

At the front were 5 assessors, the chairlady and a moderator. Everyone else sat behind them and we were warned in the introduction to keep noise to a minimum during the assessment process.

Firstly there were a few sets of digital images - I had originally thought I might submit files, but had been warned that it seemed a smaller percentage of these passed. On the day, none of them passed, although I personally thought they weren't strong sets of photos.

After this, photos were placed on the wall in sets of 10. The assessors first observed the whole panel and later scrutinised the prints close-up. The assessors would take it turns to give a quick appraisal to the audience of their initial thoughts on the panel, and then they all sat in silence filling in assessment forms.

The forms are then handed to the chair lady. If the panel was not successful she would explain why, but if it was successful she would ask if the photographer was in the room and then congratulate them.

It was quite a tense affair and I felt a little anxiety just before each set of prints was placed on the wall in case they were mine!

Just before lunch, my time came. The summary comments from the assessor were generally positive - especially commenting on how I had managed to get a wide variety of shots despite sticking to the theme of portraiture. She also commented that the first shot and last shot had some issues with strong highlights, and the second shot lost a little detail in the vignette. (The first shot was meant to have highlights, although they look more pronounced on a print than on the digital image).

The Result

Everyone else I saw either passed or failed, my guess is about 45%-ish passed that morning.

In my case they said that the prints were of a suitable standard to attain the LRPS except one which all the panel felt had a technical fault. The chair suggested I talk to her at lunchtime to discuss re-submitting one print.

Apparently the 10th print had too strong a highlight on the left hand side and this needed replacing. I could email three potential replacements, one of which would be recommended as a replacement.

The Final Push!

I sent my three digital images and then printed and mounted the recommendation. This was then sent to Bath and then on to the chair. I heard today that she felt the image was of an appropriate standard and I should there receive my LRPS once ratified by the council!

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