The benefits of attending an Advisory Day.

Advisory days are intended to provide guidance to RPS members and non-members who are considering applying for a Distinction. They offer an opportunity for you to view successful submissions and receive personal guidance on the standard of your work and preparation of your panel.

How the Western Region Advisory Days work:

The advisory days in the Western Region are run by volunteers from within the region. We try to ensure that our Advisory days are conducted in a relaxed and informal manner. Our aim is to try to hold at least 3 Advisory days a year at Fenton House, in Bath; but this can vary depending on availability etc.

Due to the size of the room and for fire & safety reason we only have space for 30 visitors; these are split roughly into 7 spaces for associate panels, 13 for licentiate panels and 10 for observers or partners etc – all on a first come, first served basis. It’s worth noting that they are always oversubscribed resulting in a waiting list for each event, even for the observer spots!

(Please note this was prior to the move to Bristol and the outbreak of Covid-19. Details will be amended when RPS House in Bristol re-opens!)

My advice would be to book a place as soon as you start thinking about putting a panel together and as soon as the dates for your chosen subject become available especially if you are aiming for Associate level.

What are the benefits?

Advisory days are a great way of learning what’s required for a Distinction before you submit your body of work on an Assessment day. They provide an opportunity to view successful submissions and evaluate the standard required at each level so you can compare your own work to see if you have reached the necessary benchmark. Not only that you can also receive personal guidance on the quality of your work, how to prepare your panel and observations on how the panel could be improved (where applicable) to reach the criterion.

What sort of advice will you receive?

That really depends on the body of work you’re presenting and how you present it but the advice given will vary at each event, however, the most common subjects discussed include:

Composition and technique

Focusing issues

Lighting patterns

Skin tones and colour balance

Printing problems and how to avoid them

Mounting and presenting your work

Creating a coherent panel

Your statement of intent (not required for Licentiate)

Some of these subjects I have briefly touched on in the posts, Digital v Print and Preparing a panel for qualification.

(During the day the advisors will be completing a form and making notes on each of the panels as they are reviewed to avoid any confusion and misinterpretation on what has been discussed. Everyone that attends will receive a copy of this form.)

Can you just come along and watch?

Of course you can, if you’re not yet ready to submit your panel and are wondering what you have to do etc you can attend as an observer. In many ways you’ll have an advantage as you’ll be able to view what makes a successful panel AND pick up all the hints and tips given to other attendees making it easier to put your body of work together – my advice would be to bring a notebook and pen.

Once you’re happy with your panel of work and the feedback you have received, the next step is to book your Assessment Day. This can be done by completing the application form and then contacting the Distinctions office to book your place 🙂

Writing a Statement of Intent for an Associate panel is the subject of my next post.

** Disclaimer Notice: Please note that the views and observations in this series of posts are purely my own and are not in any way, shape, or form sanctioned by the Royal Photographic Society, The Societies or any of the other photographic organisations or associations. So please check the criteria of your chosen organisation before submitting for your qualification – Good Luck.

Amended 15th June 2021 to reflect the move from Fenton House, Bath to RPS House, Bristol.


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