Planning Your Reviews

Look over our PORTFOLIO REVIEW Program. These one-on-one consultations, in 20 minute increments, are offered throughout each day by important industry experts. This is where you can show your work to museum curators, collectors, art directors, editors, ad agency creatives, leading photographers, educators, gallery owners, reps and others who can offer you a valuable critique and advise. This is one of our most popular features. Take a look at the list of our Portfolio Review faculty and make a list of the reviewers you’d like to meet. You will be able to sign up each morning for reviewers working that day. If there’s someone very important to you who will be reviewing on Mon-Wed, and you’re enrolled in a workshop, you might consider taking a short break from your class to take the review. If your workshop will be on location on one of the reviewers days, this may not be possible, but we’ve tried to assure each reviewer is available on at least two different days. Look carefully at the Review faculty list, sorted by affiliation on our Portfolio Review page. There are two schools of thought:

1). Take reviews from those you think can get you work.

2). Take reviews from those whose credentials indicate their critique will be most valuable for you.

My thinking is that the second scenario is the more appropriate in most cases. Also consider that though you may be a commercial photographer, and tempted to show your work to reviewers from the commercial sector, you might be well-advised in finding out what experts in different disciplines than yours say about your work. They may have a different take and this might prove very valuable. By the same token, a fine-art photographer might find a good reception for his or her work from the commercial sector. You may also open up an entirely new direction for yourself by doing so.

When you’re considering registering for Portfolio Reviews – don’t discount the benefits of showing your work to advertising agencies. Although this seems elementary, we have noticed that many more attendees show work to galleries and museums than advertising agencies. Of course we all hope to have museum and gallery shows of our work, and the work we hope to show is often very close to our hearts, however, remember that having shows in museums and galleries can cost you money, while receiving an advertising assignment can make you money. Sometimes an ad campaign can make you enough to pursue your personal work for a year or more!

You may be saying to yourself, “I’m not an advertising photographer. I don’t know anything about that world.” First – we have seminars and one-day workshops that can address many of your questions, so have a look and consider attending them. Second – consider this: The trend in recent years for advertising agencies (and thus, their clients) has been to look more and more at fine art photography for ideas to inspire them in creating their campaigns. Why? Because the work comes from a different place – it’s unusual and can have great impact. Agencies are always on the lookout for new work – the new styles, interesting points of view, something they’ve not seen before. Where will they see that? Not by looking at other ads placed by other agencies – they’ll find that in books, museums, galleries and review programs like ours. This is critical – they come to the Palm Springs Photo Festival to review work in order to stay abreast of trends, know what’s being done out there – by photographers like you.

Presenting your work, whether fine-art or commercial to advertising agencies who are represented at the Palm Springs Photo Festival represents one of the most unique opportunities available to you. Other review programs, most in fact, are directed solely at fine-art. The Palm Springs Photo Festival is the only national event that addresses both art and commerce equally. Why? We believe photographers today should be looking in both areas for their livelihoods and outlets for their creativity. In the past this wasn’t feasible. Today it is, and we at PSPF are firm believers in the fact that today, photography is photography. Great commercial work can have fine-art applications and great fine-art work can have lucrative commercial applications. Don’t limit yourself. Take advantage of our Portfolio Review program and make it a point to show your work to representatives of both camps. It can mean a major shift in your future.

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