Awards & Distinctions


The distinctions available to photographers must seem a bit bewildering to many! The Four main bodies granting awards for photographic merit all have very different approaches.

  1. The Royal Photographic Society (RPS) offers 3 levels of distinction:
    Licenciateship (LRPS, 10 images judged),
    Associateship (ARPS, 15 images judged)
    Fellowship (FRPS, 20 images judged).

All three levels are awarded based on judgement of a panel of pictures, presented either as prints or as a slideshow of projected images.

Images for LRPS aim to demonstrate proficiency in a range of techniques.
Careful presentation of the images, which must hang together as a coherent panel, is required.

Panels of images submitted for ARPS & FRPS must form a coherent panel in terms of both content (i.e. on a theme) and presentation (i.e. how they hang as a panel of prints or flow as projected images). For ARPS & FRPS a “statement of intent” is also required to introduce your ideas and explain your approach to the theme.

There are various submission categories, including Contemporary, Applied, Creative, Travel, Pictorial, and others.

Advisory days are held by the RPS to offer guidance in advance of submission.

Entrants can attend the Judging days.


  1. The Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB) similarly offers 3 levels of distinction:
    Credit (CPAGB, 10 images judged),
    Distinction (DPAGB, 15 images judged) and
    Master (MPAGB, 20 images judged).

Each individual image is scrutinised by a panel of 6 judges, who each score each image on a scale of 2-5. Thus the scores possible for each image range from 12 (6 x 2) to 30 (6 x 5). Some individual images may score <20 but this can be compensated by other images scoring highly.

For CPAGB a cumulative minimum score of 200 points is required to pass (average of 20 points per image, since 10 images are judged). The standard required is “good club photography”.

For DPAGB a cumulative minimum score of 300 points is required to pass (average of 20 points per image, since 15 images are judged). The standard required is “open exhibition photography”.

For MPAGB a cumulative minimum score of 450 points is required to pass (average of 22.5 points per image, since 20 images are judged). The standard required is “the highest standard of UK amateur photography”.

Prints or projected images can be submitted and there is no restriction on content.

Advisory days are held to offer guidance in advance of submission.

Entrants can attend their Judging day and keep count of their rising scores for themselves. Nail-biting stuff!


  1. The Federation Internationale de L’Art Photographique (FIAP) offers several levels of awards based entirely on the number of international salon acceptances a photographer has received in FIAP accredited salons.

The first level is the Artiste (AFIAP) which requires a minimum of 40 salon acceptances obtained in at least 15 different salons and utilising at least 15 different images.

The next level is Excellence (EFIAP) which requires 250 acceptances in at least 30 salons in 15 different countries and utilising at least 50 different images.

Just in case that doesn’t satisfy you, there are several further levels in the Excellence category:
EFIAP/bronze (400 acceptances with 100 different works),
EFIAP/silver (700 acceptances with 200 works),
EFIAP/gold (1000 acceptances with 300 works) and
EFIAP/platinum (1500 acceptances with 400 works)!

Bearing in mind it costs at least £10-20 to enter each salon, chasing levels could become a costly obsession!

Salons vary in the number of sections offered and you can typically enter up to 4 images in each section. Most salons have Open Colour, Open Mono, Travel and Nature sections but many salons now also promote specific themed sections such as Portraits, The Environment, Women, etc. A typical salon entry would amount to 8 or 12 images (4 images submitted into each of 2 or 3 sections).

The FIAP website lists all the forthcoming salons and give details of the various sections, entry costs, whether DPI &/or prints, together with links to the various salon websites. The individual salon websites give specific requirements in terms of image size, etc and allow for online entry and payment.

It is easy enough to try your hand at salon entry. Simply identify your 4 best colour and 4 best mono images. Then look at the FIAP website to identify a suitable salon somewhere in the world. Check the salon website for their specific requirements, resize your images accordingly and upload them online. Pay. Then wait eagerly for the judging and notification dates! Prepare for elation/despair! It is all strangely exciting!

Once you get going, you might then enter a circuit (a collection of several individual salons in one or more different countries) whereby your images are entered into each of the component salons. This means your entry of say, 8 images automatically go into 3, 4 or 5 different salons and your chances of acceptances is multiplied. Now your 8 images are automatically entered in 5 different salons (= 40 entries!). This is an easy and economical way to gain acceptances. Beware: salon entry, like any other pleasurable experience, can be addictive! And costly!


  1. British Photographic Exhibitions (BPE)

“The BPE exists to encourage photographers to enter exhibitions and to recognize successful entrants via the issue of the Crown Awards photographic distinctions.

Exhibition members share ideas, promote each other’s exhibitions and generally work together to promote competitive photography.”

BPE Salons are similar in format to FIAP salons but have an exclusively British entry and utilise British judges. Many say the acceptance rate is lower than FIAP salons.

20 Member Exhibitions:

Alba Photographic
Basingstoke Camera Club
Bebington Salon of Photography
Beyond Group Open
Clay Cross National Proj Image
Cotswold Salon (Monochrome)
Dingwall National Proj Image
Frome Wessex Salon
Guernsey Salon
Neath & District P.S. Salon
Robin Hood Open Digital
Rushden Open Photographic
Shrewsbury Open Photography
Solihull Open
South Birmingham Open Digital
Southport National
SRGB-Print Celebration
Vale of Evesham National
Winchester National
Yardley Photographic Society


BPE1 Crown Award – 25 points (acceptances)
BPE2 Crown Award – 50 points
BPE3 Crown Award – 100 points
BPE4 Crown Award – 200 points
BPE5 Crown Award – 300 points

ABPE (BPE5 PLUS a further 100 acceptances & 20 awards using at least 10 different pieces of work)

FBPE (ABPE PLUS a further 100 acceptances & 30 new awards using at least 15 different, new pieces of work)

If you feel like giving any of the above 3 distinctions a go, there are plenty of decorated and distinguished members within DPS who would be happy to advise. Just ask around! Chasing distinctions is both rewarding and fun.

David Sadler

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