In the previous 6 posts I have looked at reasons why you should aim for a photography qualification, how to select, print and panel your images, how to create a hanging plan and write a statement of intent, and what goes on at an RPS advisory day. Hopefully you’ve now submitted your own application, printed your images and are now awaiting your Assessment day.

What happens on an RPS Assessment day?

Well, officially an RPS Licentiate or Associate assessment day will go something like this.

LRPS and ARPS assessments start at 10.30am. Print and book submissions can be brought with you on the day of your assessment but must be handed in by 10am.

After handing in your work, you will be seated in a room with the other applicants and their guests.  Each individual panel of work will be displayed systematically and anonymously at the front of the room throughout the day.  Panel members discuss each body of work in turn in front of the audience.  Once they have come to a decision the Chairperson will then provide feedback about the panel. If your application is successful you will be congratulated, if not then the room will be told why the portfolio was unsuccessful this time (you will remain anonymous).

FRPS assessments are reviewed without an audience allowing the assessor the debate the panel more openly. Full details are explained in the FRPS Guidelines.

June 2021: this has all changed slightly with the move from Fenton House, Bath to RPS House in Bristol. I will update after my next visit!

What really happens:

Well! After you have handed in your submission you are invited to wait with the other applicants.  Having handed my panel in at 9.40 I had to wait until 10.20 before we were invited to enter the assessment room. I stood and waited patiently for what seemed like an eternity, each of those 40 mins lasted an hour! The majority of my fellow applicants were also very nervous and talk was minimal and sometimes a little awkward, even though we were all there for the same reason.

Once seated the nerves really started to kick in and not knowing where you are placed in the running order doesn’t really help. Also in the room were the 5 panel members, a moderator and an adjudicator from the Creative panel. There were 9 of us being assessed that morning, it turned out I was number 4 so didn’t have to wait too long.

I could see my hanging plan being handed to the moderator so knew when my images were about to go up. It was at this point that my heart virtually stopped then raced at a stupid pace, my mouth became devoid of all forms of moisture and I broke out into a hot sweat. All of which is pretty silly really as I’ve done this several times before but for some strange reason the body goes into a little world of its own.

The Result:

My panel was then viewed, discussed and the result given, at which point I could have been described as an incoherent, blubbering wreck – well not quite but it took a while for the bones to stop rattling!

The morning produced mixed results with some successful and others not, with a referral and a re-submission thrown into the mix.

And the outcome – I’ll tell you in the next post 😉

My successful Creative Associate panel 😀

** 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


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