As you may or may not be aware, there are portfolio reviews with editors, art buyers, consultants, reps, etc… (basically anyone important in the photo industry) that happen annually at the Photo Plus expo at Javits Center in NYC. This year, they have two different events – the Beginning Pro and the Emerging and Pro event – which apparently are two separate things. The Beginning Pro event is more like general advice for people new to the profession – guidance on how to proceed in their careers, such as direction of specialties and presentation. The Emerging and Pro is still advice, but it’s more like speed-dating, job interviews.
In an effort to move forward in my career, and as a result of a lot of internal mindset work, as well as hours of consulting and work on websites, I signed up for the Emerging and Pro reviews. The people at Palm Springs PF review everyone’s websites to make sure they are legit professional photographers and “up to par” (my words, not theirs).
SO, I get an email from the committee saying that they weren’t sure that I was ready for the Emerging and Pro event. They could see from my website that I was early in my career and that they thought I would be a better fit for the Beginning Pro event.
Naturally I was pretty upset because I have put a lot into my site and it took a lot to get to where I am… and I felt ready. So, I wrote back, and I stood up for my position and that I believe I’m ready. I asked them what about my website made them feel how they did.
We went back and forth a couple times, they gave me some useful feedback. I kept mentioning the fact that I’m working with a photo consultant right now (one that is reviewing at this particular event) to make my final image selections and lay out a print portfolio to show there. Eventually, they asked what images I would be showing, to send them a PDF of that and a list of the people I wanted to see. I put together a PDF with my favorite of my food photos and my favorites of my portraits, and sent that with a list of reviewers that are related to food photography in some way.
A few days later I got an email saying that I could do the Emerging and Pro event. They told me the food work was strong and the portraits were not as strong, and I was welcome if I focused on the food pictures and food related reviewers. I said ok, because that had been my plan all along.
So…. Then, my consultant got back to me after looking through my archive, and told me that he thought that I did have enough travel images to include and really do (present/market) what I want which is travel and food. So, we discussed the best options for reviewers and selected a few travel magazines, food magazines, a photo rep and a couple agencies and publishing companies, as appropriate choices.
I went and made my selections and sent in my backups. (I’m only doing 5 reviews because it’s expensive!)
I found out yesterday I’ll be meeting the director of photography at Bon Appétit, the photo editor at Family Circle and Budget Travel Magazine, as well as a creative director at Uniworld (agency), and a photo rep that reps food photographers – hope to perhaps score him as a mentor.

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