Portfolio Review Dos and Don’ts


  1. 01. stephen mallon

    November 1, 2010

    i love the fact that one of our reviewers just said if you don’t have your portfolio on an ipad, don’t even bother showing it to me. LOL

    next folios will hopefully have a 4 hole punch LED screeen the same size as my book so we can flip from print to video physically!

  2. 02. Jasmine

    November 1, 2010

    @stephen, that is funny! I know, you ask 5 people, you get 5 answers. But seriously, I couldn’t see a thing because the glare was so harsh. Especially noticeable when people have lots of dark areas in their photos.

  3. 03. Manuello Paganelli

    November 1, 2010

    Jasmine thanks for bringing us along and for sharing your vision with us. This was a very informative ride. Glad I didnt buy that ipad.

  4. 04. Kevin Steele

    November 2, 2010

    Hi Jasmine, I did the set of reviews last week (Rob Haggart has my summary on APE) and found that keeping my iPad in my lap with supplemental work and outtakes worked well. The print book is first and foremost on the table while the iPad can be pulled up if needed to either show the set of shots to support an editorial feature or behind the scenes of a commercial set. As well there are projects that just do not fit the visual theme of the print book that can be shown. Thanks for the tips.

  5. 05. Ellen Boughn

    November 2, 2010

    Thanks, Jasmine, for this post. A copy should be given in advance to anyone preparing for a portfolio review at any venue. I’d like to emphasize your last piece of advice-’Don’t argue with constructive criticism’.I didn’t have that frustrating experience in the NY reviews last week but recall an extreme example at PhotoLucida. Defensive photographers are losing an opportunity to learn when they prefer to argue with the reviewer than to listen…whether they agree or not.

    It’s difficult to learn when you already think you know everything!

  6. 06. Brian Stevenson

    November 2, 2010

    Hi Jasmine,

    All of your suggestions are excellent and are right on target with my own experience last week at the NYCFotoWorks Reviews (I wanted to make it over to the Palm Springs Event at Jacob Javits too but thought I was going to be shooting a job early this week when I bought my ticket and didn’t think I’d have time for the extra day).

    Like Kevin, I had an iPad as a backup to my print portfolio. The iPad had a completely different body of work that I didn’t think fit with my print portfolio but which I wanted to get some feedback on. I pulled it out after I showed my print portfolio and I think it worked well. The response to the work I had on the iPad was very well received and I didn’t get the sense that art buyers or editors were put off by the way it was presented.

    Additionally, I met an established agent who said she bought iPads for all her photographers and those are what she now often takes with her to client meetings. She said it’s much easier to take an armful of iPads for several photographers than it is to take a pile of their books. I don’t know if that’s something other agents are doing or if that particular agent’s clients are as enthusiastic about the idea as she is or not but it may be an interesting trend to be aware of.



  7. 07. Jasmine

    November 2, 2010

    @brian, I know other agencies aren’t using print books anymore either, mostly because of the expense of messengering them all over town. I think this is ok for editorial but not commercial clients.

    I like how you and Kevin are using the iPad, as a supplement to a main portfolio. I think it’s great for that.

  8. 08. david bram

    November 3, 2010

    I’d like to add a couple of thoughts.

    At this point in time, I’ve been a reviewer at PhotoNOLA, Review LA, Review Santa Fe, Fotofest and ACP. I love doing reviews and meeting photographers in person.

    With that being said, please keep in mind the following:

    1. You chose to sit with me and to get my opinion and advice.
    2. Ask me the questions you are having a hard time answering yourself
    3. Remember that I have to carry home your “leave behind” (as well as everyone else that I sit with). Give me the option of a card or a disc.
    4. Know very well what it is I do and why you wanted to sit with me.
    5. We only have twenty minutes together. Let’s make the best of it.

    Also, this is a important to me, if you ever get a rude/mean/inconsiderate review, please tell the organizers. You, the photographer, have paid to be at the event and you are supposed to be treated with respect and kindness. I might not like your work or be able to use it, but I still have to talk to you like an adult, in a respectful way. If a reviewer is over the top harsh, you have to tell the people in charge.

    I could add a few more things but I’ll stop here.

  9. 09. Jasmine

    November 3, 2010

    @david bram, all good points, thanks for sharing.

    You reminded me of another tip I forgot: If the reviewer says they don’t want the leave behind, don’t try and force them to take it.

  10. 10. Nikbarte

    November 5, 2010

    Thanks for your professional tips published on your blog.

    I have a simple question for you.

    When do you think a photographer should try to show his portfolio?
    You said: “You only get one chance at a first impression, don’t rush it if it’s not the right time”.

    What kind of feelings push a photographer to show his art work? ….and feel that it’s the right time?

    Thank you.

  11. 11. Aaron Lee Fineman

    November 5, 2010

    The last time I showed my portfolio at a review it was on my iPhone, granted I was showing a collaborative multimedia piece that I got some amazing feedback on which got me working on the next upgraded piece.

    That said, if you intend to show anything with audio make sure you bring something to disinfect the headphones between viewers.

  12. 12. Gary Crabbe / Enlightened Images

    November 5, 2010

    Jasmine: This is a great post. I’ve done several of the professional Portfolio Reviews for NANPA (as a reviewer) and the points you make are spot on. When I would start my reviews, I generally ask two questions. What do you most want to get out of this review, and what’s your Mission Statement? Then I see how well their portfolio communicates their mission statement.

  13. 13. Neil Snape

    November 29, 2010

    Hello Jasmine!

    Actually sat in with you for twenty minutes in NY.
    IT was Robert Bacall that asked me what I was doing for promotion, blogs, social networking etc. Up ’til now I hadn’t ventured into it.
    Since back I’ve put up a blog, and actually my first post was a recap of the reviews!
    All of what you say is so true.
    The only exception ( still true) is the see only the reviewers you want to see.

    The way it works with Palm Springs reviews is you get 3 of 5 with your choices , the others are alloted. You were one of my choices of course.

    Look on my blog if you like. I’d love to have the styling of this blog, well done>

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