For those who have gained certain qualifications over the last five years. You could be awarded an LRPS or ARPS without having to submit a portfolio!

"I see the ARPS as the next step in my career. When you get your degree it seems quite final, and as a freelance photographer you can feel as if you're out there by yourself. But being part of the Society and having my Distinction means I feel part of something that's ongoing."  Ed Smith ARPS


The only courses recognised for exemption by The Society are as follows:

Licentiate (LRPS)

Associate (ARPS)

  • HNC / HND in Photography
  • BTEC Extended Diploma Photography
  • Photographic Foundation Degree
  • 2:2 BA (Hons) Degree in Photography
  • If you are a current LBIPP
  • If you are a current LMPA
  • If you are a current LIPF
  • Photography A Level - Grade A or A* / Scottish Highers
  • C&G Level 3 Diploma in Professional Photo Imaging 7512-03 500/6950/0
  • C&G Level 3 Diploma in Photography 7512-03 500/8079/9
  • C&G Level 3 Diploma in Photography and Photo Imaging 7512-03 500/6949/4
  • NCFE Level 3 Diploma in Photography (601/0377/2)
  • Also accepted is a combination of any C&G level 3 certificates courses completed that are more or equal to the 400 Guided Learning Hours:
    e.g. 7511-31 Level 3 Certificate in Photo Imaging (290 GLH) or 7511-29 Level 3 Certificate in Photography and Photo Imaging (220 GLH)
  • OCA Photography (any combination of Two Awards required at level 2 (HE5) or level 3 (HE6).
  • Scuola Romana di Fotografia


  • BA Hons Degree in Photography with 2:1 or above and a 2:2 if you were awarded a 2:1 equivalent in your major project.
  • Combined BA (Hons.) Degree (80% Photography) with 2:1 or above
  • Sculoa Romana di Fotografia
  • MA in Photography
  • If you are a current ABIPP
  • If you are a current AMPA
  • If you are a current FBIPP
  • If you are a current FMPA 
  • If you are a current AIPF
  • If you are a current FIPF



Applying for an Exemption

If you qualify for an exemption (see above) then the next step is to make an application. Please download a copy of the Exemption application form, which is available below. You then need to send the application along with photocopies of all relevant certificates. The accompanying evidence must state your full name, the award gained and place of study.

Courses not listed will not qualify for exemption and all course certificates must have been awarded after January 1st 2013

The Royal Photographic Society's Council then need to ratify your application, this is done on the 10th of each month. After this point the Distinction is awarded and your membership application is then processed. A letter of confirmation, Certificate and lapel badge will be sent within seven working days of the Council Meeting.

Overseas applicants only who wish to apply upon completion of an International course must supply:

·      A URL (Web link) to the relevant course details

·      A copy of the course certificate

·      A link to your personal website (if available) 

These details will then be looked into for exemption consideration by The RPS Education advisor. The process can take up to 4 weeks to complete.

Prices for Exemptions are: £32.50 for LRPS and £50 for the ARPS (once they get your exemption you will need to become a member of The Society). 


Showing 4 article(s)

Exemption - Application Form

For those that have been approved for Exemption by our Distinctions Department.

Jan 2018
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Exemption - Guidelines

All the information you need to submit an Exemption application.

Feb 2016
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Alberto Alicata ARPS

RPS Journal Exemptions Feature

Vol. 155 RPS Journal September 2015

The Society supports great new work from international photography students.

Sep 2015
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Ed Smith

RPS Journal Exemptions Feature

Vol. 154 No. 11 RPS Journal December 2014

Ed Smith ARPS talks about his experience of the Exemptions process.

Aug 2014
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David Hurn Swaps
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