In the modern era, portfolio reviews have become big business in the photographic world.
In this week’s episode of A Photographic Life United Nations of Photography(UNP) founder and curator, Grant Scott, discussed the business of portfolio reviews. He explored the positive and negatives of paying for a review, and explained his aim to create a free feedback community for photographers.
Overpriced portfolio Reviews
Scott stated how he has seen portfolio reviews being offered for as much as £150 for a 20 minute Skype conversation.
In my opinion, these kind of prices are absolutely damaging to how we view this market within the industry. For £150 I would be expecting an extensive, detailed analysis of my work, something I do not feel can be achieved in 20 minutes.
We also need to think about who is completing the review. A couple of years ago, I entered 5 images to a LensCulture street photography competition as in return I would get a “free” portfolio review. Now the problem with that review was that I never knew who conducted it. I was only told that it was one of the competition judges.
In reality, I learnt nothing from that review. I was also £35 out of pocket and didn't even know if the reviewer was someone who's opinion had any worth.
Free Portfolio Reviews
In the podcast, Scott proposed the idea of having a database of photographers that worked together to give open and honest feedback. The highlight of this community is that the feedback would be free.
It would give photographers who had worked hard over the years the opportunity to give back. It would allow them to give up and coming photographers an opportunity to develop.
On paper, the concept sounds great, right? If someone with experience wants to pass that knowledge down for free, power to them. However, I do not think we ought to aim to eradicate paid reviews (I did not feel that’s what Scott was suggesting).
Portfolio reviews are good to have as an attainable means of income in the photographic world for professional and experienced photographers. Earning money from reviews is something we can all work towards. In an industry that doesn’t always pay well or offer a stable income, it is extremely important for the industry that we try and preserve as many income streams as we can.
In my opinion, a database of respected photographers who offer well-priced reviews would be the better approach.
That way the income stream remains strong, and people are not getting ripped off in the process.
If you enjoyed the content of this post, please sign up below so you can stay on top of all things new!