Jaclynn Wilkinson


Portfolio Review 2020



For today’s “recent work” share I’m going to share about my Portfolio Review at WPPI 2020 last month.

Here is a Link to the 2020 WPPI 16×20 Print Competition Award Winners to see what my photos will be up against in coming years. The work will blow you away! ♥

These were my curated top 25 images I presented to my reviewer.

Here are the questions I asked him:

Q: Why would one have a portfolio? Is it truly an honest representation of your overall work if a seasoned photographer selects their top 25 images among hundreds of thousands?

A: A photographer with that many images in their portfolio would not have just one portfolio. You would develop portfolio’s to sell your work that were specific to the purpose of that portfolio.

Example: This portfolio was developed for the purpose of entering competition. They are my 25 most “competition worthy” images for the purpose of competing against other photographers in an overall technical competition.

I would not select the same images if a bride asked to see “my portfolio” and I knew they were having an outdoor wedding in the woods. In that scenario, I would send a very different portfolio to sell my work that made sense to that portfolio request. If you have a common request to see images in a certain scenario or are developing a portfolio to show someone for a specific purpose, you would prepare a collection of images that serve that purpose.

I would never share these images with someone who owned a Barn Wedding venue as examples of my work to say I’d like to collaborate with them or be on their preferred vendor list. I would show a curated portfolio of my top 25 images from BARN WEDDINGS to make that connection. Make sense?

Having portfolios make far more sense to me after this conversation with my reviewer.

Q: Aren’t complete galleries a more honest representation of our work? Should potential brides have access to a curated portfolio on my website?

A: ABSOLUTELY. You should share complete galleries with potential clients to give them a complete view of your work rather than just the best of the best. You don’t want them to think every single one of your photos look like your top 25. However, use a portfolio to showcase your favorite kind of work. Attract and repel the right couples for environments that inspire you as an artist. Once you’ve gotten them to reach out from there, be sure to share complete galleries as well.

Note: For now, my competition portfolio and my portfolio for future brides is the same. That will change as time goes by in 2020!

Q: Are Custom Crops appropriate for a Portfolio?

A: For a competition portfolio ABSOLUTELY. It would be insane to take the flexibility of this off the table for a competition portfolio.

I watched SEVERAL custom crop images (probably 50%) be judged in competition. I even saw the judges say, on multiple accounts, that they wish a crop were different…referring to a custom crop as they held their papers up to show what the new crop would look like.

Because my studio also specializes in printing, custom crops are more appropriate to show my brides than the average photographer. I have the ability to print the images I custom crop properly, in studio.

You would never deliver a custom cropped image to your clients in their digital gallery. When they went to print it at anywhere on their own, they wouldn’t be able to get it to print properly. Having a ton of custom crops in your “attracting brides” portfolio may not be a good idea as they likely won’t understand the technical side of printing said images but hire you because your work looks “different” in the custom sizes. This could become problematic.

Custom Crops for competition? YES YES YES. For client galleries? NO NO NO.

Q: Black & White Vs. Color?

A: For competition images, a photo should only be in color if the color is a major contributing factor to telling the story of the image.

I am really excited to be in this curating stage of my career! It has been so fun analyzing my greatest work and seeing where I have to improve. Better yet, knowing how to proceed in improving!

Even if WPPI does not offer Portfolio Reviews next year, I will seek out someone I respect to do this with Feb 2021.

We only had fifteen minutes and mine was cut to about ten. These ten minutes was worth flying to Vegas for. I will actively seek out competition portfolio reviews in the future and highly recommend you hire an artist you respect to do one with you, annually!

Portfolio Review 2020

Portfolio Review 2020

Previous Posts:

The New Blog Schedule

Introducing: Love in Ink

Mirrorless Vs. DSLR

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