As part of the annual Fotoweek/DC festivities, I signed up to have a senior photo editor at National Geographic review my portfolio. While I’ve certainly had a lot of people look at my work informally, this type of formal review is something I’ve never done. In fact, while I have an online portfolio, I had never really gone through all of my work to put together one, cohesive portfolio for a formal presentation. Needless to say, I am looking forward to the experience.
As I finish up my portfolio, I figured I’d blog a bit about how I put it together in case any of you will be going through this for the first time as well.
According to the portfolio review guidelines, we could have up to 30 images. Since my primary area of work is photojournalism, I decided to split my portfolio up into two logical sections: one complete photo essay and a collection of single images.
For the photo essay, I selected what I think is my best photo essay, A Parade For Child Martyrs. I’ve embedded a slideshow of the actual images I selected below:
For my single images, I selected photos based on two criteria:
You can see my final selection of single images below:
After I had selected the images, I had to decide how I was going to display them. We have the option of displaying them on a computer screen (bringing a laptop) or in print form. Since I obviously couldn’t bring my 23-inch Apple cinema display to the portfolio review, I opted for a print portfolio. This was going to require a little more preparation (and a lot more money) but, in my opinion, you really can’t beat big, juicy prints.
Before I ordered the prints, I went out to a local artist supply store to see what kind of portfolio cases they had. I knew I wanted to be able to carry it easily but I also wanted to be able to display my prints as large as I could. I opted for the 13″x19″ Itoya Art Portfolio Expo book. At 13″x19″, I could order large 12″x18″ prints and still carry it around. In order to center the image on each page, I also purchased some corners. Photos below:
In photojournalism, your photos are supposed to tell a story. However, the importance of good, accurate captions can’t be overstated. In order to make sure the reviewer had captions for all the photos, I decided to draft a document with all the captions next to their respective thumbnail. The document also includes a short blurb about me, a headshot, a link to my online portfolio, and my email address.
I’ve converted the document to JPG below for easy viewing online. Click the images for a larger version:
I decided to do it this way so that the captions are available but do not interfere with the photos. On top of that, this gives the reviewer something that they can take with them and refer back to. I’m also bringing business cards, as well.
If you have any other tips on how to prepare for a portfolio review, I’d love to hear them! Leave them in the comments below!