This 16-page booklet features SC-based Ian Curcio's portrait work for corporate and commercial clients.
(updated December 2017)
Did you know that an editor can help you home in on the right images for contests and grants?
An objective, outside opinion and fresh look at work can help you craft a contest or grant entry that connects with the judges.
I've created contest edits for numerous photographers who went on to win World Press Photo, POYi, Communication Arts, and PDN Photo Annual awards.
Contests... Some are great. Some feel like they only exist to rob photographers of their precious income. Before you enter, carefully consider if it's worth your money. Stick with contests that have, in the past, recognized photographers whose work you admire.
Remember, the primary (commercial) benefit of entering a contest is getting your work in front of industry bigwigs who otherwise might not have seen it. You don't even have to win to enjoy that benefit, although, winning is preferred.
Here's a general timetable of contest deadlines throughout the year. Things change so make sure you go straight to the source for definitive info on deadlines, entry fees and eligibility.
Andrei Stenin International Photo Contest
American Illustration-American Photography
Aperture Portfolio Prize (entries accepted December through early February)
Art Directors Club Photo Contest
Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Awards
Hillman Prize for Photojournalism
Inge Morath Prize - Recognizing outstanding female photographer under age 30
National Geographic Storytelling Grant
New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA)
NPPA Best of Photojournalism
Pictures of the Year International (POYi)
PDN Photo Annual
Santa Fe Prize for Photography
Sony World Photography Awards
The Syngenta Photography Award
World Press Photo Contest
Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Documentary Prize (entries accepted February through May)
Foam Magazine Talent Call
FotoEvidence Book Award
CENTER awards (The Choice Awards, Project Competition, & Project Launch)
Big Picture Natural World Photography Competition
Leica Oskar Barnack Award
Communication Arts Magazine
The Renaissance Photography Prize (entries accepted March through July)
Spider Awards B&W Photo
Burn Magazine Emerging Photographer Grant
Canon Female Photojournalist Award
Gene Smith Grant (entries accepted January through May)
Getty Images Grants
Howard Chapnick Grant
ICRC Humanitarian Visa d'Or
POYi Emerging Vision Grant
CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography
Visa pour l'image - Visa d'Or award Pierre and Alexandra Boulat Association Grant
CARE International Award for Humanitarian Reportage
The Bayeux-Calvados Award for war correspondents
CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography
I recently wrapped up some marketing work with LA-based Jason Elias. He chose to do a postcard flipbook with Paperchase, and we wanted the edit to take the viewer on a journey through his work. From the "hero" images to the more quiet moments, the piece captures the dynamic, fun and sometimes intense work that Jason does for clients like Discovery Channel, Showtime, and others.
Read the interview with Jason at http://aphotoeditor.com/2017/12/11/the-daily-promo-jason-elias/
Overwhelmed by all the conference choices at Photo Plus this year? Check out my top picks for editorial and commercial photographers looking to expand their businesses.Read More
Source, assign, and edit photo shoots for editorial, non-profit, and corporate organizations.Read More
Updated October 2017
Thinking about attending a portfolio review event? Here is a list of review opportunities in the United States, organized by month.
When choosing which reviews to attend, keep in mind that some are geared more toward fine art photography and others are more commercial and editorial. Research the reviewers who will be in attendance to see if they are a good fit for the kind of work you do. Looking for tips on how to prepare for a review? Check out my Portfolio Review Do's and Don'ts
FotoFest Houston: International Biennial of Photography and Photo-related Art with portfolio reviews.
MOPLA Portfolio Reviews: A juried, annual portfolio review. Fresh Look pairs photographers with top photography experts in their respective fields for an in-depth conversation that provides professional feedback and critique in a casual, relaxed environment.
Photolucida Portfolio Review: Photographers at the mid-career level register for one-on-one meetings with the reviewers of their choice. Each review session lasts for 20 minutes and we limit the number of participants to assure that everyone receives 4 or 5 reviews per day for four days. It's a great way to network. Numerous photographers have walked away with opportunities to exhibit, publish and sell their work after attending the Portfolio Reviews.
Palm Springs Festival Portfolio Review: As part of Palm Springs Photo Festival, Over 1,000 Portfolio Reviews with industry professionals will be offered during the week. Prices start at $250 for 5 reviews.
NYC Fotoworks: Bi-annual portfolio review where photographers can have 1-on-1 meetings w/ industry professionals.
PhotoPlus Expo: Designed exclusively for emerging and professional photographers, this is a great opportunity to meet and present your work for critique and receive the advice of the industry's top professionals. Takes place at the Javits during Photo Plus Expo.
Filter Festival Portfolio Reviews: Participants sign up for twenty-minute face-to-face reviews and receive candid advice about their work, as well as information on getting their photographs exhibited and published.
Atlanta Celebrates Photography Portfolio Reviews: the ACP Portfolio Review and Walk offers artists the opportunity to meet with highly respected curators, dealers, editors, and agency representatives from across the United States and beyond. The Portfolio Walk (following the review sessions) gives participating photographers the opportunity to present their work to the general public at an evening reception, open to all. On hold for 2017 with new format to come in 2018.
American Society of Media Photographers: Annual portfolio review in New York for commercial photographers that is free for members.
CENTER's Review Santa Fe: The three-day, annual event offers participants a minimum of nine portfolio reviews, inclusion in the Review Santa Fe 100 online resource, a reception at the New Mexico Museum of Art, and a reception at Photo-eye Books and Prints.
Medium Festival of Photography, Eye to Eye portfolio reviews: Eye to Eye portfolio reviews offer an opportunity for photographers to receive exposure and feedback about their work from influential gallery directors, curators, and industry professionals. Takes place in San Diego.
PhotoNOLA Portfolio Reviews: Annual event that coincides with PhotoNola. Offers twenty-minute face-to-face meetings with gallery owners, editors, publishers and museum curators from throughout the U.S.
Portfolio Reviews at The Center for Photography at Woodstock: As a benefit of membership, CPW staff are available for in- person portfolio reviews. Intended to provide constructive feedback, portfolio reviews are a great way to receive professional advice and guidance. They also feature portfolio reviews by Skype!
American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) and American Photographic Artists (APA) members might have local portfolio review offerings depending on your chapter. Furthermore, both ASMP and APA often provide discounts for members that attend portfolio reviews.
Are there great portfolio review events that I am missing? Contact me and I'll add them.
30-minute portfolio review sessions (with or without video -- that's up to you and if you feel like wearing PJs or not).Read More
Print and email promos that grab clients' attention.Read More
Attract the right clients with a portfolio that clearly shows who you are as a photographer.Read More
Get answers to advance your business with a Skype or phone session.Read More
Shine a light on your best work to attract the kinds of clients you wantRead More
Shine a light on your best work with editing, marketing and critique packages tailor-made for you.Read More
Director of Photography responsible for managing in-house team of photo and video editors, as well as 350+ professional architectural and interiors photographers, videographers and VR/360 content creators.
Partnered with careers team to produce a custom image library for use on redesigned careers and HR pages. Shoots took place in three location, using real employees as talent.
(Originally published in 2014) I just returned from 4 days of photo-related festivities in NYC. The mothership of the week is the PhotoPlus Expo at the Javits convention center, with other events happening around the same time to capitalize on having so many photographers in town at once. Every night there are parties and book signing and openings.
Aside from all seeing old friends and meeting new creatives and photographers, I spent most of my time during the day doing portfolio reviews at the PDN/Palm Springs Portfolio Review. This was probably my 15th organized review event and I thought it'd be helpful to give some guidance on how to get the most out of one.
I also reached out on twitter and facebook for creatives' pet peeves. Below are some of the most popular answers.
Be honest with yourself about if you are really ready to show the work. Maybe you need another year of shooting before you start showing your book to art buyers, art directors and photo editors. You only get one chance at a first impression, don't rush it if it's not the right time. Ask people who you trust for their honest opinion.
Research your reviewers and make sure that your work is relevant to what they do. You have 15-20 minutes, often with some pretty influential and powerful creatives in the industry, don't waste it. Would you roll up to a job interview without knowing anything about the company?
Have a purpose for each review and communicate that purpose to the reviewer when you sit down. Example: "I've been following your magazine for years and feel my work would fit in. Do you think I'm ready to shoot for you, and if not, what needs improvement?" Or, "I would love get feedback on the book and recommendations for colleagues in the industry who may respond to my style of work." Or, "This is a new personal project that I'm working on, would love to know if you think it's ready to show to galleries."
Come armed with 1 or 2 specific questions that are pertinent to your reviewer's area of expertise.
Do bring the actual portfolio that you intend to show to clients. Some of the reviewers are potential clients (duh!), and they're not going to give you a pass because you intend, later on, to make a better book. So don't bring a crappy book that you bought at Staples and then say that you are going to change it later. The whole point of the portfolio review is to get feedback and how can someone give you good feedback if what they are looking at isn't what you actually intend to show?
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 assume conditions will be perfect for showing an iPad. After having looked at about 20 people's work this weekend, I am now convinced 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 or with black borders. I often found myself looking at my own reflection instead of the photos. Also, unless the iPad presentation is really slick, it feels 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.
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 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.
Lauren and I recently completed updating her website: http://laurenedith.com/. We reworked her galleries to emphasize her mix of interiors and spaces, with a focus on California and it's indoor/outdoor lifestyle. I love the way it came out, and now have some serious wanderlust for a trip to Northern California.
Check out the beautiful photos of the factory where handmade wallpaper is crafted (in the Work, Shop gallery). Stunning!
Event coverage production, from assembling a team of photographers to the editing and distribution of images to PR and social media.Read More
It's been three years (!) since the last Texas Photo Roundup, an event that I co-produced for four years with the talented, hard-working photographers Kimberly Davis and Matthew Mahon. Would I ever do it again? Well, I'm not sure. It's a TON of work but also incredibly satisfying work. Bringing together art buyers, photo editors and photographers from around the country was an amazing experience that reminded me of why I love the photo community.
Over the four years we produced a wide variety of events, including workshops, portfolio reviews, lectures, gallery talks and silent auctions.
Photographers who spoke or taught included:
Portfolio Reviewers included esteemed professionals from a wide range of ad agencies, magazines, and museums, including:
Garden & Gun
Harry Ransom Center
The New Yorker
The New York Times Magazine
Wired and more...!
Check out some of the photos and videos from the events.
Photos by David Weaver and Dennis Burnett. Videos by Dennis Burnett and Stephanie Rausser.
Bay Area-based Vivian Johnson specializes in interiors and editorial images that highlight the California lifestyle. We have worked together numerous times over the last few years to update her portfolio and create email marketing campaigns.
Looking for some self-promo inspiration?
Check out my pinterest board of great photography promo ideas. From large-format newspaper promos to simple postcards, this board features examples of great design and image choices.
Have something you'd like to add? Contact me!
Other great resources include:
- Under Consideration blog
- APhotoEditor's Instagram feed features tons of well-designed promos that were mailed to founder Rob Haggart
- PDN's Promos We Kept feature
- Dwell's Promo Daily - hasn't been updated in a while but still a great source of inspiration
Want to make a cool promo that will grab clients' attention?
Nelson, BC-based Kari Medig recently reached out to me for a website update. We have worked together before and I always enjoy seeing his new work. He has a beautiful approach to portraiture, capturing people in their environments in a way that gives the viewer a deeper understanding of the subject. His work has appeared in Outside, AFAR, Monocle, Telegraph Magazine, The Atlantic, The Globe and Mail and he has shot commercially for Google, Rogers Wireless and The North Face.