Thursday, 24 February 2011

Lots of club members have letters after their names...

...including some of our members. 

This is a slightly edited version of an article by the PAGB that appeared in their June 2009 bulletin. I've added links to the various societies and their distinctions.

The Royal Photographic Society (RPS) is the oldest and most prestigious photographic body in the world.

  • LRPS (Licenceship) is awarded for a good level of basic skill and competence
  • ARPS (Associate) is awarded for a high standard of technical competence and individual creative ability.
  • FRPS (Fellowship) is awarded for exceptional standards of excellence and distinguished ability.

Irish Photographic Federation (IPF) is the organising body for amateur photography in the Republic of Ireland offers its own distinctions which are 

  • LIPF (Licenceship), 

  •  AIPF (Associate) and 

  • FIPF (Fellowship).  

These are equivalent to the similar range of RPS awards and are open to photographers all over the world.


The Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB) is the co-ordinating body for the 15 UK Federations with their affiliated clubs. Southgate Photographic Society is a member of the East Anglian Federation (EAF);  one nearby Federation is the Chilterns Association of Camera Clubs (CACC).   Lecturers and Judges listed in the PAGB Handbook have their association  initials shown in our Programme.

The PAGB runs its own Awards for Photographic Merit:

  • CPAGB (Credit) requires very good club photography.
  • DPAGB (Distinction) is judged at the level of Open & International exhibitions.
  • MPAGB (Master Award of the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain) is awarded for an exceptional standard of photography to which few (amateur or professional) can aspire. 

APAGB (Award of the PAGB) is granted for meritorious service to the PAGB, its constituent Federations and their clubs.

Federation Internationale de l'Art Photographique (FIAP) is primarily European and makes its awards primarily on success in International exhibitions.

  • AFIAP (Artiste) is given for a large number of acceptances and at least one award.
  • EFIAP (Excellence) EFIAP/Bronze, EFIAP/Silver, EFIAP/Gold and EFIAP/Platinum requires even more acceptances and awards..
  • MFIAP (Master) may be the most difficult award to achieve In amateur photography Fewer than 100 MFIAP have ever been awarded and there is only a handful in the UK.

ESFIAP (Excellence of Service) and HonEFIAP are awarded for exceptional service.

Photographic Society of America  (PSA) was founded in 1934 and has members in 60 countries.

British Photographic Exhibitions (BPE) are typically organised by a club or by a number of clubs in the same geographic area. They offer a Crown Award  Rating system -  BPE1* 25 points, BPE2* 50 points, BPE3* 100 points, BPE4* 200 points, BPE5* 300 points

Photographers who achieve BPE5* are eligible, upon reaching the accepted aggregate, to apply for ABPE  (Associate) and FBPE  (Fellow).

Professional Associations

The largest associations in the UK are the Master Photographers Association (LMPA, AMPA & FMPA) and the British Institute of Professional Photography (LBIPP, ABIPP &FBIPP).