Tag: portfolio

Opportunity and Hazards Attending Portfolio Walks

“You get only one chance to make a first impression.” This adage rang through my head as I walked through a sea of photographers with work on view at the 2014 Society for Photographic Education (SPE) portfolio walk. These increasingly popular events are often held over a two- to three-hour window during a photography festival or conference. They tend to be casual and are usually open to the general public for free, in contrast with the more structured (and fee-based) portfolio review. As an informal event, a portfolio walk is more in line with introductory networking opportunities than as a venue for print sales. Here are a few lessons I noted last year, as well as helpful tips from eight of the SPE student scholarship recipients I corresponded with to research this story. Read More

Getting to the emotional core


A friend recently attended a portfolio review event for photographers. In reporting back on her experience, two things were very apparent. First, her work was very well received, which was a “pleasant surprise” to her. While the reviewers varied in terms of exactly which images they were drawn to, there was near unanimous agreement about one problem with her presentation, which is what I am going to build this week’s blog entry around, a lesson every photographer should heed. Read More

Surviving and Thriving as a Professional Photographer

In last week’s blog explored how I came understand and even embrace a couple guiding ideas about making a living as a photographer. The first of those is to accept (or even ideally embrace) the fact that what I do as a professional photographer exists within an ever changing, constantly shifting framework. Change is a constant and so I simply have to accept that. The second insight is that, for me, institutional affiliations, external validations of my skills and conventional certifications are not that much use in my own photography. That works for me. It may not be the same for other. With those two ideas in mind, this week I will offer some thinking points for any professional photographer (or professional photographer in the making) who is looking at the current business of photography and asking themselves, where can I fit in? Read More

Should I become a Certified Professional Photographer

I have worked in and around photography almost my entire working life. I took a few short detours away from my beloved medium, but those went nowhere fast. A recent email prompted me to look back over my career for insights to share with the photographer who wrote me. Looking back, I noted two important trends, lessons I wish I knew way back when I was starting out, but I did not. I am heartened by the thought that at least I can explore and explain those ideas now, for others to learn from. Read More

Surviving “Hell Week” in fine-art photography

The phrase “Hell Week” refers to a number of similar rituals, among them the initial time of hazing in college fraternities, the most rigorous component of the United States Navy SEAL training program, a police academy’s most rigorous training regimen, the technical week of theatre rehearsals or the most common usage, the week of intensive conditioning before the start of any season of a sport. There are undoubtedly other examples of this ritual of hard work, emotional stress and personal challenges. The first “Hell Week” that I survived was at the start of my first of two seasons playing water polo in sunny Southern California. A couple of friends recently survived what I have come to think of as the “fine-art photography” version of “Hell Week.” Read More

A photographic collaboration ten years in the making

Ten years ago, I became part of a collaborative project photographing an exquisite old building in Tucson, Arizona. For me, photographing the building was the easy part. All I had to do was draw on the skills I often use in my previous “light studies,” my ongoing series of photo essays on the light and atmosphere of different places. The hard part was collaborating with two other photographers, while keeping my eye on the long-term prize, the finished project. It took a long time but the effort is near coming to fruition. Read More

The importance of portfolio review events (part two)

In the first part of this two-part posting, I explained the basics of organized portfolio review events. Today, I am writing to share some of the things I learned having been on both sides of the portfolio-reviewing table, as a reviewer and a review-ee. Many (but not all) of the errors I allude to are mistakes I actually made at one point or another. Read More

The importance of portfolio review events (part one)

A portfolio review is when you show your work to another person (duh). A portfolio review event is a more formalized event where reviewers (editors, curators, image buyers, agents, etc.) gather in one place with explicit plans to look at the work of the review-ees (in our case, photographers.) Portfolio review events have a long and important history in the world of photography. They have also recently turned into something of a big business. Having been both a reviewer and a review-ee, I can offer perspectives from both sides of the portfolio-reviewing table. Read More

Welcome to the Wells Point

What exactly is The Wells Point? It is podcasts and free information for aspiring and accomplished photographers. These materials have been designed to stimulate your creativity and improve your craftsmanship.

The phrase the Wells Point also refers to an important tool to better appreciate how light, time of day and the resulting light's direction can be utilized to immediately improve your photography.

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