#183 – Royal Photographic Society Portfolio – part 1 getting some good advice

After nearly 3 years of on and off work putting together a portfolio for submission to the Royal Photographic Society for an Associate distinction (ARPS), I finally submitted it and had it accepted. So how did the journey start? I’ve been involved with my local photographic society for several years, and although a number of people in the club were either LRPS or FRPS, I’d never really seen the benefit of joining. However, the more I heard about it, the more the journey appealed to me. So, I muddled together a selection of images and attended a Distinctions Workshop held by the RPS in Manchester.

Distinctions Workshop

I’d already been advised by two Fellows (who also sat on the awards panel), to go straight for the ARPS, rather than the LRPS first. This was heartening  to hear, so I attended a Distinctions Workshop in Manchester. Here I took along 25-30 digital images, and these were reviewed by a number of Fellows, who again said they were of a high enough standard to be considered for an Associate distinction, with the ‘Applied’ category probably being the natural place for them given my style of pictorial documentary.

As I was using my urban exploration photos, I had thousands to choose from, but I needed to select not only my very best images, but ones that fitted together as a set, and demonstrated the necessary variety of approach. To be fair, this narrowed it down dramatically, plus I already had a few favourites.

By sheer coincidence, my photographic society were starting a series of distinctions workshops with Margaret Salisbury, another Fellow who has spent many years on RPS panels, as well as mentoring people. There are few people in a better position to offer qualified (and very forthright) advice as Margaret, so this was a great opportunity.

At this stage, all I had was a long shortlist of images and not much else. I hadn’t realised at this stage the amount of work that would need doing to the images to bring them up to the required standard. I’d never done much in the way of local adjustments to images, beyond the odd bit of dodging and burning – I’d focussed more on global adjustments. Even though I’ve spent time in darkrooms, I’d never really got into the habit of making large-scale adjustments to digital images, but this was all about to change!

Learning Points

Get some advice. I’d highly recommend going to an RPS distinctions workshop for advice, and maybe even a reality check.

Don’t rush the process. Take your time, as you’ll get more from the journey.

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