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Old 27-06-2011, 09:03   #1 (permalink)
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Joining a Society? or a Club?

I have seen a couple of websites now for photographic societies, one being the Royal Photographic Society and the other being the Society for Wedding and Portrait Photographers.
Has anyone experience of either of these? Are they worth joining? I can see a list of the benefits of joining on their websites, but what are they like in reality? Both are around the 100 per year mark; is it money well spent or not worth it? If you were going to join one or the other, which would it be and why?
Would the money be better spent joining a local club? Any and all advice appreciated
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Old 27-06-2011, 20:21   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Joining a Society? or a Club?

I have not subscribed to either. I believe both offer the opportunity to earn distinctions and provide support in the form of magazines, lectures etc. but you have read up all of this anyway. I would have thought that joining the SWPP may be of value if you are a professional wedding or portrait photographer but probably of little value if not; they frequently write to me to try to persaude me to join. For the RPS, their distinctions are recognised nationally and to some extent internationally. Many amateurs (usually Club Members) and some professionals will try to gain these distinctions to mark their progress in photographic achievement. However, for amateur Photographers, there are other options such as the Photographic Allliance of Great Britain (PAGB), British Crown Awards (BPE), Federation Internationale de L'art Photographique (FIAP) and Photographic Society of America (PSA). To attain PAGB awards or FIAP awards you will need to be a member of a Club which is afiliated to the PAGB (most are); this is probably also true for BPE. You can join the PSA directly rather like the RPS but It costs whereas membership for the PAGB and FIAP will be hidden in any Club membership subscriptions but will be very much lower than the RPS or PSA.

Personally, as a Club member I have followed the PAGB, FIAP and BPE routes so far though I may consider joing the RPS or PSA sometime. If you earn distinctions from the PAGB, BPE or FIAP, you keep them for life but distinctions earned with the RPS ceases if your membership lapses (not uncommon for some retired members). These distinctions will generally only be recognised by Photographic Club Members which is one reason why you rarely see them mentioned on Forums because most members of the public will not know what they are. Some may seek distinctions to advertise their success to others though I think the majority use distinctions as a goal to help develop their photography. Nevertheless there is some satisfaction just gaining a few acceptances in an international Exhibition on the other side of the world and even greater satisfaction if an award (certificate, medal) is earned.

I hope that this helps.

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Old 27-06-2011, 21:20   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Joining a Society? or a Club?

i will be joining the RPS as i intend going for my LRPS.
I dont intend joining the other one as its one of those things that anyone can join and slap the logo on their web site to say they are a member, it doesnt make you a good wedding photographer and as far as i know their distinctions are not nationally recognised, yes anyone can join RPS but you have to earn your distinctions and they are recognised in the photographic world.
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Old 28-06-2011, 08:31   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Joining a Society? or a Club?

Not something I've bothered with so far and it hasn't made any difference to my commercial website. I did look at joining the RPS, but not worth the price for me.

I am however a member of my local camera club and that makes me go out and shoot different things.
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Old 28-06-2011, 09:19   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Joining a Society? or a Club?

Seems to me that a local club is as good as anything, especially if they are affiliated to PAGB. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 28-06-2011, 13:57   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Joining a Society? or a Club?

Good luck. If you have a few clubs in your area, try them all, you can usually go for a few weeks free so that you can see where you would fit in the best.
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Old 28-06-2011, 15:57   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Joining a Society? or a Club?

Sometimes its worth joining a camera club or should I say Photographic Society if there is a local one near you after all we are interested in photography and often enough we all like looking at pictures and your local camera club can provide all this. I have been a member of my local camera club for 40 years or more but I got tired of it all and resigned 14 months ago, but I am still a member of the RPS in fact I am a FRPS which I worked hard for many years ago, the RPS have many members and they have all sorts of things going on around the country and they hold and run many workshops which are very well attended and you normally pre book these, most local clubs start in September and finish in April. If you log onto the MCPF or Photographic Alliance of Great Britain they will point you in the right direction to all your local Photographic Clubs, I hope this helps you.
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Old 28-06-2011, 17:05   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Joining a Society? or a Club?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fionaB View Post
i will be joining the RPS as i intend going for my LRPS.
I don't intend joining the other one as its one of those things that anyone can join and slap the logo on their web site to say they are a member, it doesnt make you a good wedding photographer and as far as i know their distinctions are not nationally recognised, yes anyone can join RPS but you have to earn your distinctions and they are recognised in the photographic world.
Fiona,
Just my opinion on the LRPS. This award can be obtained easily by anyone who can produce a panel of ten prints of a good reasonable quality and of no particular merit. To get the award will cost you proably over 100 this is a way of making money and to encourage you to go and try for the ARPS which is much harder to get and may take two or three attempts all at more money for the RPS. The PAGB credit is harder to get but is not as costly.
It is a matter for yourself to decide, personally I would rather spend the money on a new lens or something.

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Old 28-06-2011, 17:57   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Joining a Society? or a Club?

Lets not get carried away with the distinctions that the RPS offer, they are open to any person who wants to have some some letters behind their name, its been a long time since I got my LRPS and it certainly was not easy when I applied, but I got it, 12 months later I got my ARPS, and 3 years later I got my Fellowship all my work was in monochrome and done by me in my darkroom after hours of hard work and lets not forget you have to go out and get the pictures first! At the end of the day I had achieved something through my photography and of course I had a portfolio of pictures to prove it! which I still have to-day I often look back on them which bring back all those memories of a fantastic time I had getting those pictures to-gether, of course money wise it was expensive even in those days with a young family that needed feeding and a morgage to pay for, but it was good fun.........so if any body feels like having a go for a distinction they the should be given all the encouragement in the world.....so have a go fionaB
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Old 29-06-2011, 14:05   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Joining a Society? or a Club?

In my area there is Bromley, Bexleyheath and Orpington clubs. Does anyone have any experience of any of these? I think I might try one when they start back meeting again, see how I get on.
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Old 29-06-2011, 14:55   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Joining a Society? or a Club?

Try them all, they will all be different and so will the members, look to see who has a programme you like the look at and see how friendly people are when you go.
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Old 04-07-2011, 01:29   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Joining a Society? or a Club?

fionaB, You are one of quite a few on this site who don't need to join any club or association, except as an instructor.
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:52   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Joining a Society? or a Club?

There are several people on here who dont NEED to be in a society to learn anything, but they WANT to join a society to gain recognition and distinction for their work. In some ways its like a tradesman joining the guild of Mastercraftsmen or somesuch......and adding the words "Royal Photographic Society" to your webpage or advertising surely holds a whole lot of prestige?
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:19   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Joining a Society? or a Club?

Adding letters to your site really doesn't do a lot commercially. Most pro photographers I know have never bothered & have never been asked by potential clients. Your portfolio is what prospective customers are looking at, not letters. But that's just my experience.
A few members of my photography club have gone for their LRPS and gone no further with their photography, but just keep paying out to keep the letters. Now if you had to submit a certain standard every year to keep them I could see why they would mean something.
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Old 04-07-2011, 14:20   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Joining a Society? or a Club?

This is a true story. A friend of mine who is a very good photographer submitted a panel to apply for He ARPS qualification. He took his panel personally to I think Bath so that he could watch the judging of the panels. His panel consisted of B&W infrared pictures taken on a Nikon camera which had been converted to take only infrared pictures and were printed on an Epson R2400 printer. His turn came round and the panel put up and one judge went round every picture looking into the corners with a magnifying glass and after a few minutes turned to wards him and said " It's Good to see that some people are still working in the darkroom" My friend just smiled and nodded a thank you and was awarded his ARPS.
So take what you like from this true account.
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Old 04-07-2011, 15:15   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Joining a Society? or a Club?

Well some people can be fooled by the quality that that is coming off some of the printers that are available to-day, first of all I congratulate the person who gained his ARPS at least he has achieved something through his photography!

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Old 05-07-2011, 14:44   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Joining a Society? or a Club?

Although the judge was mistaken about the source of the images but this is irrelevant anyway and it is the quality and composition as well as the balance of the panel which were the criteria for the award. The panel obviously met the standard. I cannot easily tell when viewing a mix of ink jet and darkroom prints at a international Exhibition though I do not walk around with a magnifying glass.

I would certainly encourage others to try to earn photographic distinctions as they are an excellent challenge. On the other hand one should not become obsessed as there are many excellent photographers without distinctions and some may have earned there disctinctions a long time ago.
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