The nail biting is over and the frayed nerves are getting back to normal and I’m happy to report that I got my LRPS.
For those who haven’t been keeping up with my increasingly neurotic blog posts, I’ll explain, but before I do here is my hanging plan and my panel.
For non-photographers, the LRPS is the Licentiateship of the Royal Photographic Society. The first of three distinctions they award. It involves submitting a panel of ten images, and five judges critique it and decide whether it’s good enough.
To save you digging through all the old blog posts here is my story in the form of the ten stages I went through to get my LRPS.
1. Take some photographs, preferably thousands. Can be over a weekend or 15 years.
2. Select 50 or 60 that you think meet the criteria the RPS sets, see link
3. Print these at 6″x4 “and drive your wife mad covering the house with them
4. Select 10 that are perfect, lay them out in a hanging plan. then throw them away.
5. Select another 10 that are even better and loving print and mount them at the display size you’ve chosen . Realise your printer is total rubbish, throw away the prints , then send the files to a bureau and then mount the new ones instead.
6. Take your 10 babies to an RPS Advisory Day and be prepared to have the printing, mounting and composition ‘constructively critiqued’.
7. Return home despondent, vow to give up photography and swear that print bureaus are the spawn of Satan. Then spend £400 on a printer and some new paper.
8. Reprint everything plus another ten just in case. Mount everything.
9. Lovingly layout your prints on the dining room table and rearrange and swap them until you run out of time and/or a divorce lawyer calls every hour citing neglect.
10. Drive down to Bath convinced that yours will be the worst panel on the day.
So, in the end. I was successful but what tips can I pass on?
– Print lots of 6″x4″ images. You can’t do a panel on screen in the early stages
– Select images that work together not your ten best images.Your top ten undoubtedly won’t work together as a coherent panel.
– Discard anything with blown highlights. I mean this.
– Don’t choose your latest shots. The judges won’t know. One of mine was nine years old.
– Change your mind and then change it again. Only 2 of my original 10 made it to the final panel.
– Get fanatical about blown highlights. The judges will fail you in a heartbeat for these. Don’t think they won’t notice as they view the images from 6″ away.
– Follow the rules of panel building e.g pairs, ends, central shots etc. The Advisory Day and RPS Forum are great places to learn about this. The judges look for these. Avant garde panels do get through but they are Marmite, so why take the risk.- Attend an Advisory Day. It is worth it in spades even if like me your prints were ripped apart for poor printing.
– Post ideas on the RPS forum and you’ll get useful, constructive criticism.
– Don’t worry about sleepless nights. I woke at at 2am convinced that one shot was out of focus. It wasn’t thankfully…but I still checked.
– Every print counts. Be obsessional about quality. One technical issue is a re-submission, two is a fail. And have I mentioned blown highlights?
– Prepare well in advance but check your submission. The day before my Assessment Day, I realised that one print was crooked in the mount.
– Then shut your print box and you’re off to Bath. Allow plenty of time as parking is dreadful.
So that’s it. The day was a blur but I walked away successful. They even asked to keep back my panel to show at RPS Advisory Days over the coming months which was the icing on the cake.
So now it’s time to hang up the camera for a few days and sit back and think of nothing photographic. Well I might just have a gentle read of the submission guidelines for an ARPS……