Photographic Awards and Distinctions

We often hear about photographers who have gained letters after their name – like LRPS, DPAGB, BPE5* etc. But what do these letters mean, and why, or how, did the photographers come to be using them? Here is a brief description of some of these awards and distinctions, and where they come from.

 

LRPS, ARPS, and FRPSthe Royal Photographic Society (RPS) Distinctions (http://rps.org/distinctions)

These are the three levels of Distinctions awarded by the Royal Photographic Society, based in Bath, England.

LRPSLicentiate of the Royal Photographic Society. The photographer has made a portfolio of 10 differing images that broadly demonstrate their possession of the skills needed to be a very good photographer, covering such things as depth of field, focus, action photography, portraiture and much more. Applicants must show variety in approach and techniques, but not necessarily in subject matter. Demanding but achievable for most dedicated photographers. The portfolio is judged by the RPS Assessors in formal public examination.

ARPSAssociate of the Royal Photographic Society. The photographer has made a portfolio of 15 images on a single theme, that demonstrates both the skills of the LRPS level and more, plus the development of a distinct style of photography. It requires a body of work or a project of  images of a high standard, and a written Statement of Intent.  At this stage creative ability and personal style (what makes your work unique to you), along with complete control of the technical aspects of photography must be evident. The portfolio is judged by the RPS Assessors in formal public examination.

FRPSFellow of the Royal Photographic Society. The photographer has made a portfolio of 20 (or 21 depending on the layout of the panel) photographs that demonstrate an exceptional level of photography on a possibly unique theme, not achievable by the vast majority of photographers. Requires a body of work or a project of a distinguished photographic and creative standard accompanied by a Statement of Intent. Fellowship submissions are open to Associates of the Society. The work is judged by the RPS Assessors in stages, in formal private examination.

 

CPAGB, DPAGB, MPAGB – the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB) (http://www.thepagb.org.uk/awards/)

These are the three levels of the Awards for Photographic Merit (APM) of the PAGB. The awards are held for life without any annual fee and holders are entitled to use the designated letters after their name.

CPAGB – Credit. Blue badge and certificate. Awarded for meeting the standard of good club photography.

DPAGB – Distinction. Red badge and certificate. Awarded for meeting the standard of Open Exhibition Photography.

MPAGB – Master. Yellow badge and certificate. Awarded for meeting the highest standard of UK amateur photography.

 

BPE1 – BPE5, ABPE and FBPE – the British Photographic Exhibitions (BPE) Crown Awards (http://www.britishphotographicexhibitions.org.uk/)

BPE1* to 5* – These awards are made to photographers who have had quantities of photographs accepted for exhibition by exhibitors who are members of the BPE scheme. The 1st level is for achieving 25 exhibits, the 5th level for achieving 300 exhibits.

ABPE – Associateship of British Photographic Exhibitions. Those who already hold a BPE5* award may apply for an Associateship when they have achieved the following since gaining the BPE5*: A further 100 acceptances in member exhibitions and twenty awards using at least ten different pieces of work.

FBPE – Fellowship of British Photographic Exhibitions. Those who already hold an ABPE may apply for a Fellowship when they have achieved the following since gaining the Associateship: A further 100 acceptances in member exhibitions and since gaining the ABPE, thirty awards using at least fifteen different pieces of work. These awarded pictures must not have gained awards previously or been used for the ABPE application.

To get further details of any of these awards, go to the relevant website.