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Too many images, too many series, and badly combined images are the top three mistakes photographers make when assembling their professional portfolio. This is the experience of portfolio consultant Sally Brownbill who will present at the Head On Photo Festival seminar and portfolio reviews in May.
Brownbill works with photographers at all stages of their career looking for an effective approach to designing a commercial portfolio.
While technology has increased the ability to cut out the human element in portfolio presentation, she believes it is unwise to underestimate the benefits of face-to-face interaction.
“Photography is not just about taking photographs,” she said.
“The industry we're involved in is very much people-based and having a portfolio gives you the opportunity to cross that line and start meeting people. We are all really good at sitting at computers, looking at websites and emails and iPads and phones but it is really lovely – from the perspective of the art director, designer and photographer - to have an opportunity to actually meet with someone. Especially for jobs where you might be travelling together or when an agency has difficult clients. They want to know about the nature of the photographer too.”
During the Head On seminar on May 5 Brownbill will present on why photographers need a portfolio and the various ways they can be put together. She will also provide insight on who to approach contacts with your portfolio and how – another skill photographers struggle with.
She said it can be dangerous to attempt to second-guess what an art director or agency might want based on their current talent or product. The key is researching the agency and clients but also presenting what you yourself would like to be doing for them.
“On their website you might see a lot of edgy black and white fashion photography and you'll go in with that. This is the mistake photographers make all the time. They have the edgy black and white photographer already. Don't go in there and try and do what they are doing - do what you do.”
During the seminar Day 1 on May 5, Brownbill will present examples of portfolios she has designed and demonstrate how to match images to size and image sizes. She will discuss the best ways to present your portfolio and give tips on the industry as a whole. She is also available to advise on specific portfolios as one of 13 professionals conducting short and sharp portfolio reviews on May 7.
Sally Brownbill trained as a commercial photographer at RMIT worked in the UK and came back to Australia and began her own agency representing some of Melbourne's top photographers. Following this she began working with designers, art directors and copywriters. Throughout this time Sally lectured in photography for 13 years at RMIT. She equips photographers with marketing strategies including web design and branding if needed and also guest lectures to a variety of universities and courses.