Make sure your prints look great. This is especially important when seeing galleries.
Leave behind a well-printed leave behind. Invest in a graphic designer to help you create something that looks professional. Just because you know Photoshop doesn't mean you are a designer. If you are seeing a dream client, kick it up a notch and leave something more unique than a postcard. However, don't go overboard. See below.
Keep notes. By the end of a long day, all the reviews can start to blend together. Make a separate page for each reviewer and mark down which images they pointed out liking, where they paused a bit longer, what questions they had about your work and specific feedback they gave you. You may also want to record audio of each meeting, if the reviewer is cool with that.
Don't default to an iPad presentation. After having looked at about 20 people's work this weekend, I’ve seen that the iPad is not necessarily the best way to show still photography. The glare in some rooms makes it very hard to see the photos, especially if your images tend to be dark. I often found myself looking at my own reflection instead of the photos.
Also, unless the iPad presentation is really slick, it can feel like not enough care was put into the portfolio. I mean, let's admit it, how hard is it to create a folder of images for someone to flip through? When I see a beautifully printed portfolio, it lends the photographer some legitimacy, makes them at least appear to have invested a lot of time and effort into their work, all which helps me take them more seriously.
Everyone spends so much time on their phones now, consuming an almost endless stream of imagery. It doesn’t feel as unique to be swipe through an iPad. Print feels special.
All that said, pay attention to your budget and don’t spend the extra money on printing if you can’t afford it.
Don't force your leave behind on the reviewer. Some people flew in for the event and may not want to tote a bunch of promos and books back. Or they may feel it's environmentally wasteful and rather not have the extra 'stuff' in their lives. Or they just may not have liked your work enough to want to take a promo. Ask if they'd like a card, but don't push it. Also don't just offer a huge and bulky leave behind. If you want to make something big, it's also nice to offer something small like a postcard.
Don't make excuses. Popular examples include: "I didn't bring my strongest work." "I didn't have time to put together much, but this should give you an idea." or "I just found out about this event."
Don't argue with constructive criticism The people looking at your work know what they are talking about. They may all have different opinions, but that is valid considering that people come from different backgrounds and that visual art is very subjective. You may not agree with someone, and that is ok, but don't tell them that they are wrong.
Photographers, what about the typical speed-dating format would you change? Do you get enough out of the reviews to justify the expense (if it was a paid review?)
Reviewers, what are your pet peeves? Can you share any review success stories where you ended up working with someone after a review?
Want to get ready for a portfolio review? Contact me to learn how we can fine tune your portfolio, create a great promo and get the most out of the time and money you're investing.