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The distinctions offered by various photographic societies and organizations such as the Royal Photographic Society (RPS), The Australian Photographic Society (APS), The Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB), and the Federation International de L'Art Photographique (FIAP), all provide rewarding routes to improved technique and ultimately greater photographic ability.

Photographers have their own personal reasons for seeking distinctions of various kinds. Some enjoy exhibiting their work and appreciate opportunities to display it for the benefit of others, some are highly competitive and driven by a desire to challenge fellow photographers, and others may wish to acquire letters after their names. However, the greatest potential benefits are the acquisition of knowledge and the development of personal skills.

The process of meeting the requirements for particular distinctions or awards brings aspiring photographers into contact with those of greater experience. Indeed, principal underlying objectives of all distinction and award schemes are to inspire photographers to achieve their potential, and to encourage the dissemination of expert photographic knowledge to those who seek help and advice. It is therefore surely the path to the achievement of distinction, rather than the award of the distinction itself, that holds the real key to success. Even those who fail to meet particular standards inevitably emerge as better photographers. Nevertheless, most successful photographers find the achievement of their chosen distinction extremely satisfying. Each one implies its own level of commitment and hard work, but the personal development and resulting recognition make it all well worthwhile.

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