As I mentioned last week, we have started a new weekly series where a long time photographer, Evi Abeler, who has fallen in love with food photography recently, will share her journey to becoming a professional food photographer, her activities and what she learned in the week. Last week Evi shared with how she started food photography and explained how to start food photography.
Today, Evi shares her thoughts and experience of a portfolio review event by American Photographic Artists.
APA (American Photographic Artists) Portfolio Review
Yesterday morning I attended the APA portfolio review. Once a year the New York chapter invites photography professionals such as photo editors, agents, art buyers and consultants to review portfolios. Photographers pay a fee and can sign up for three reviewers of their choice.
During the event I got to meet one-on-one with Clare O’Dea (C20 Agency) Frank Meo (thephotocloser.com) and Erica Mellow (SapientNitro). Each session lasted for about 20 minutes, so it was quite important for me to plan what I wanted to get out of it. Especially since I get a bit nervous in these situations I always like to have a little cheat sheet. My main goal was for them to help me put together my next promotional piece: a set of postcards that will go out in an handmade parchment paper envelope to about 50 photo editors or art directors of food magazines and books.
Here is my cheat sheet:
1. practice presenting photographs
2. get feedback on images
3. pick favorite cards
4. get referrals to other art buyers, editors, etc.
5. Have fun!
Here are the cards they picked:
What I learned:
All of my reviewers were real sweethearts and said that my work is ready to be send out into the world. (Yipee!) They focused on the cards, picked their favorites and made very useful suggestions. They said that 6 cards feel right for my promo pack and they all loved that my contact info was big and handwritten on the back of each card. As you can see all reviewers picked my herb/spice + writing shots. One reviewer encouraged me to include more of my non-food sill life images as well eg. stack of kitchen towels. Another good advice was to include a hand written note in the package letting the recipient know what I like about their publications, why I want to shoot for them and that I will follow up with an email and a call about a week later. (The call part feels rather scary to me. I will have to practice with my friends!) I am very happy that I went, it was a very positive atmosphere and I got some great connections, feedback and referrals out of it!
I had learned about these reviews during grad school. They are organized all over the world by different groups. Some are huge, like Photofest in Houston and some are small like this one sponsored by the New York chapter of APA. If you are considering to attend one or would like to find out more about them I would like to recommend reading Mary Virginia Swanson’s notes on reviews and Jörg M. Colberg on portfolio reviews. Mary Virginia also has a list of reviews at the end of her post.
Test Shoot with a Food Stylist
So much has been going on this week. While I was preparing for the review I happened to find out that a food stylist lives a few blocks from me. So far I have done all the styling myself, but since I am not a cook nor stylist I have reached my limits and need to start looking for a team. So, I contacted her to see if she would be interested in doing a test shoot with me…and yes she is! (yippee)
I will let you know how that went next week!
PS: Thanks for all the encouraging and helpful feedback!
Over to You
Have you attended a portfolio review event? How was experience? Share your tips and experience below. Would you like to attend an upcoming portfolio review event?
Diary photo by gato-gato-gato