Lake District & Broadoaks Wedding Photographer

How to shoot for your LRPS

How to shoot for your LRPS


I’ve been asked about this several times now and hence I’m adding it to a new Category of Camera Club Talks

please let me know if you’d like me to present this subject to your members


Every photographer at some point starts to measure themselves against other photographers, in exactly the same way every sportsperson does too. Unlike sports though, we don’t have times, weights or distances etc. to use as a measure, so many people will join a Camera Club and enter into competitions. Very quickly you’ll find some people become disillusioned as the images they love are getting nowhere, worse is that “obviously poor” images are winning, and worst of all is that all Judges are crap, biased or stupid (if yours doesn’t win that is !!!)

So what’s the great leveler then?

How do we find out if we are anything like as good at photography as WE think we are, and especially our MUMs think we are?

The solution is to create a body of work and submit it to an independent judge that will measure your standard of work against hundreds if not thousands of others, and if you’re good enough they will then award you in some way; usually leading to the use of ‘letters’ after your name

In the Professional field there are a number of organisations you can turn to for help, and indeed this is why as a Barnsley Wedding Photographer I have my LSWPP as a distinction awarded me by the Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers; but what if you’re not a professional, or you wish to aim for a distinction outside of your professional work? If that’s the case, then in my opinion there is only one serious body you should be looking to join…

The Royal Photographic Society – RPS

In the same way as all the major professional bodies the RPS uses a series of letters to denote their titles for their levels of distinction, and like most professional bodies these distinctions are:

Licentiate – Associate – Fellow


Here I’m only going to outline my own journey following my decision to aid a friend to attain her Licentiate with the RPS – LRPS – within 1-year of stating it as an aim, and then of course how I can help you to achieve it too

In the beginning…

There was a man (me) a woman (Sara) and an argument – so nothing new there then you’d think !!! But this argument concerned Sara’s then aim of ‘one day’ achieving her initial goal of gaining her LRPS and my assertion that anyone can do that given guidance and providing they are at least technically competent (more artistic flair is needed for the ARPS & FRPS), the argument then being that I thought Sara was not only close enough to be able to do so but that within 1-year I could guarantee her passing with my help

Challenge set – and challenge accepted

I then set about investigating what the LRPS was all about and decided that gaining that insight straight from the horse’s mouth was the best course of action, so I set up a meeting with the RPS’ regional coordinator for our area (Sara thought I was joking). After a very positive meeting in Leeds the game was afoot

Essentially, the ‘L’ requires a panel of 10 mounted prints showing a range of camera, processing & printing skills and one which can be laid out together as a cohesive set of 10 images; think of it as making 11 ‘images’ in total, 10 individual ones and 1 being the set of all 10 presented together

One ‘L’ of a day

To cut a long story short… while I aided Sara to some extent advising on shooting refinements for her planned shoots and even commentating on her processing, I did Sod all towards creating my own L-panel. While things progressed nicely for Sara it wasn’t until Christmas 2013 approached with Sara pointing out we were to have our panels assessed in Birmingham on Sunday 2nd March 2014 (about 9 weeks away) that I suddenly realised I was very quickly running out of time to shoot, process, print & mount my LRPS panel in time – EEK !!!

I then decided upon an additional challenge of my own, that on 29th December 2013

I would go to Leeds and shoot my entire LRPS panel in just ONE DAY


I had a good idea of what I wanted to shoot in Leeds, starting out with some long exposure pre-dawn architectural shots and progressing through the day with some ‘Street Photography’, product type shots and even capturing portraits of bus passengers. So off I went that morning, with a pal in Ricky too for company (and indeed gear safety). By the time I was sure I’d shot enough as a range and good enough images too I’d been shooting for around 6 hours, and I’d captured 52 possible images from which to draw just 10 as a panel, easy you’d think then – but NO

The problem I faced was not having 10 nice enough images but that 11th one, the layout of the panel itself, which is called the LRPS panel Hanging Plan, and trying to fit some really nice images together just made them stand out all the more as NOT sitting together nicely. In the end I felt I had no choice but to exclude many of the best images I’d taken on the day, and that’s annoying part of the discipline needed

Here’s some of my rejects from my LRPS panel



Once I’d chosen my actual LRPS panel I obviously had to have it printed and mounted, and that in itself caused some minor nightmares with the simplest of things – the sticking of the print to the mount and the mount to the backboard!!! I explain all about that on my How to shoot for your LRPS panel day course, details of which can be found here CLICK ME

As for the judging…

This takes place at an RPS Assessment Day, ours being in Birmingham at the new Photography Show

Your LRPS panel is put up in the order & orientation as shown in the LRPS panel Hanging Plan, the judges (mostly FRPS holders) firstly judge the Hanging Plan itself as an ‘image’, then they get up and go investigate close up, picking the images up and angling them to the light if needs be. They then may chat a bit between themselves (you can’t hear that sadly), and then they score your panel. The overriding judge then announces your name if you’ve passed, but they don’t mention you by name if its a fail. There’s a bit more to it than that, again I explain all about that on my How to shoot for your LRPS panel day course, details of which can be found here CLICK ME

Lastly, one judge passes comment on what they liked/disliked about the panel and they pick up on anything that could be improved upon


Oh, and here’s proof that Sara got hers too

I was the ‘Publicity Officer’ for our camera club and hence got this into our local newspaper the Barnsley Chronicle 🙂


So here’s the final LRPS panel that I shot on my day out in Leeds, and which happily passed with some nice comments of praise too

Firstly, the 11th image – my LRPS panel Hanging Plan

Then each image is shown larger in the order of my LRPS Hanging Plan from top left to bottom right


If you haven’t already attained some form of Distinction in your photography then I sincerely urge you to do so, the end result of being successful is great but its the journey it takes you on where the real benefit lies – go for it 🙂




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