Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Portfolio Reviews

The above image was taken many years ago in New Hampshire. The reason I took it was because I thought it would make a nice picture to hang on the wall. It had a great line, stormy sky, and the birch trees provided great contrast.

I am frequently asked to review portfolios. I always start out by asking what the photographer was trying to accomplish with the portfolio and what they expect me to take away from the viewing experience. I have yet to have one have an answer to those basic questions.

Closely related to these questions is why did he or she choose to take this picture. The answer doesn't have to be philosophically intense. Maybe it's as simple as I was trying to take a pretty picture to hang on the wall.

If there is no purpose to the portfolio, why are you wasting my time reviewing it. I can tell you what I like and don't like but I have no basis other than my own biases for evaluating your images.

My point is that a portfolio has a purpose. Be prepared to answer the above questions. It will also force you to edit your work. Remember, one of the most important pieces of photographic equipment is the wastebasket. Learn how to use it. (Not literally, but philosophically!)