PREPARE FOR PORTFOLIO REVIEWS

Consider this experience as a chance to build relationships with professionals who respond positively to your work, and an opportunity to build a community of fellow artists.
Prepare well, and you’ll make the most out of it!
BEFORE REVIEW
SET YOUR OBJECTIVES
  • Be clear with yourself about what you want for your work, but also be realistic with your goals.  
  • Are you seeking technical advice and guidance, or information about clarity of content, print quality, editing, and sequencing?  
  • Are you seeking gallery representation for the work? Do you wish to have an exhibition? Are you looking to publish the work? 
EDIT YOUR PORTFOLIO
  • Limit the number of photographs you are showing. Fifteen to twenty prints in a body of work is a good range.  
  • Present a thematically unified or otherwise cohesive body of work. If you have more than one series with you, first show the stronger work, or the work you think that reviewer will be more drawn to. Usually, there is only time to go through one body of work.  
  • Every image in your portfolio should be strong. Editing and sequencing your images is very important for how the reviewer will understand and experience your work.
PREPARE YOUR PORTFOLIO
  • It is very important to present your artwork in a professional manner. Bring original prints, not Xeroxes or laser copies. 
  • Try to print images at the same size and on the same kind of paper. This helps make your work more cohesive.  
  • Reviewers may want to handle your prints, so bring a set that you’re okay with other people touching.
  • We recommend a print size of  8″ x 10″ up to 16″ x 20.”
  • It is not necessary to mat your prints, but if you do, mats should be well cut and clean.  Do not show your work in plastic sleeves.  
  • If you are showing any video work that needs a laptop or iPad, you must bring your own device with a fully charged battery. You will likely not have access to an outlet in the review room. If you are showing three-dimensional work, you need to take into account the time it will take to pack and unpack the work, and the size constraints of the review table.
PRESENTATION MATERIALS
  • Design and produce a simple promotional card with your email, mailing address, website, phone number, and an image of your work that you can give to reviewers. The image is important – most reviewers will remember your images more easily than they will remember your name.  
  • Make sure to bring enough cards for reviewers, fellow artists, and for anyone else you may meet.
PRACTICE YOUR PRESENTATION
  • Remember, you only have 20 minutes to introduce yourself and present your work. It’s a good idea to run through your presentation with a friend or a peer ahead of time, not only to practice how you talk about your work, but to test the sequence of your portfolio.
GET TO KNOW THE REVIEWERS AHEAD OF TIME
  • Do your homework. Start by reading the reviewer biographies on the MOP website, but go beyond that – look at the exhibitions they curate, the essays they write, and what artists they work with or represent.  
  • When ranking reviewers, prioritize those who you think will respond best to your work and be most useful to your objectives. 
DURING REVIEW
BE PROFESSIONAL, AND REMEMBER WHY YOU’RE THERE!
  • Be on time for your appointment! You will not get extra time if you show up late.  
  • Don’t make the mistake of talking the entire time without showing your work. Reviewers can look at your work while you are talking.  
  • Be mindful of the time limit with each reviewer; you will want to have time within the session to receive feedback.
BE READY TO TAKE NOTES
  •   Bring a notebook and pen or pencil. Consider bringing a sheet with thumbnails of all the images to mark which images reviewers responded to most strongly.  
  • If you prefer to audio record the reviews, always ask the reviewer’s permission first.  
  • Whatever note taking or recording format works for you — do it. You want to take home as clear a memory of each discussion as possible.
THE LAST FEW MINUTES OF THE REVIEW
  • It is okay to ask the reviewer for their card. It’s a good idea to take pictures of any cards you get with your phone in case you misplace them. Remember that the Colorado Photographic Arts Center does not give out reviewer contact information.  
  • Ask the reviewer if you can add their name to your email list.  If the reviewer requests more information, ask what format they prefer to receive — physical mail or email.  
  • If you have other materials — booklets, exhibition catalogues, etc., ask the reviewer if they want it. Do not assume the reviewer wants to keep them.  
  • Don’t burden a reviewer with a bulky packet or books to take home from the event. Offer to mail it to them at their office after the event.  
  • Be mindful of the appointment after yours; do not overstay your time.
AFTER REVIEW
REFLECT AND RESPOND
  • Write a thank you note or email to every reviewer you saw. Do not expect that reviewers will respond to you. If they don’t respond, it does not mean they don’t like your work. 
  •  If a reviewer asked for more materials, send them as soon as possible.  
  • Keep in contact with the reviewers who request it.  
  • Read your notes, and reflect on the advice you receive.

If you still have questions about the reviews, please contact: 

Trina Campbell

CPAC Education & Programs Manager, reviews@denvermop.org

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