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Portfolio Reviews

Thoughtful critique of your photography to help you grow and strengthen your craft.

Personal Deep Dive Review

In a Deep Dive portfolio review you’ll send me your images and I’ll take time to look them over and provide my commentary right on the images. We will then work together to schedule a time where we can get on Skype and spend an hour discussing them. If you send raw images with sidecar files I’ll be able to show you some processing tips as needed. We’ll also allow for about a 15 minute buffer of time to iron our any technical wrinkles and the like. I’ll record the session and send you the download link shortly after we are finished. You can do whatever you want with the recording. Limit 12 images.

Standard Review

In a Standard portfolio review you’ll send me your images and I’ll take time to look them over and provide my commentary right on the images. I will also provide an audio recording of my thoughts so that you can listen to my explanations for why I made the suggestions I made. It will be about 20 minutes of commentary. Some images may not receive any commentary while others may require 10 minutes or more. It all depends on your collection of images. I’ll send you a download link for the images with comments and the audio file as a single zipped file. Limit 12 images.

Questions and what to expect. Preparing yourself and your images.

Why you? How can you help me improve my work?

Good question. I’m a photography and design professor at a private university in southeast Washington State. I’ve been teaching for over 11 years and I have a passion for helping others achieve new accomplishments in creativity and photographic expression. I have a M.A. in Digital Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design. I’ve been shooting professionally for over 20 years focussing mostly on the travel and outdoor genres of photography.

How do I know I’m ready for a review like this?

If you’re ready for another opinion that’s going to be honest and critical, yet also encouraging and supportive, then you’ve come to the right place. If you’ve been told many times by your friends and family that you’re “such a good photographer” but you want outside confirmation and advice on how to make it even better, then you’re ready for a review.
If you’re looking for a simple pat on the back or you’re unwilling to to accept criticism then please don’t sign up just yet.

What technical requirements are there?

You’ll need a computer with an internet connection to send me your files. If you purchase the Deep Dive option a web cam would be nice so we can each each other, but it’s not necessary. You’ll still be able to see me at least. You should also have a decent microphone (most modern computers work just fine with their built-in mics). As needed, we can connect via your iPad or other tablet or device and we’ll usually be able to have a good conversation still. If you want to see any processing tips, I recommend you have a good high-speed internet connection to your desktop computer. If you’re wondering if your setup is “good enough” I recommend you do a test Skype call with a friend and get their feedback on the technical quality of the call.

How do I send the images?

I recommend using a service like DropBox or Google Drive.  You can also Zip the files and use a service like WeTransfer to send them to me.

What software do you use/recommend?

I recommend any software that you are comfortable with, so long as it has professional level editing capabilities. I use Adobe products, so Photoshop and Lightroom Classic are my go-to apps. But if you use the new Lightroom CC, OnOne or CaptureOne I’m sure we’ll be fine. If you use something else please let me know and I’ll do my best to customize my responses for the software you’re using.

What format should the images be in?

At a minimum you should send full resolution JPG images. This would be the full amount of resolution you can send after your edits are done. If you’ve cropped over 25% of the image out of the frame a subtle “heads up” may be nice so I can take that into consideration when I give my feedback. If you send raw files, please be sure to also include the sidecar files so I can see your edits. You can also send DNG images. If you’ve done some photoshop work you can send your layered files. Please beware that individual file sizes over 250MB may incur an additional fee simply to accommodate for the download time.

Should I prepare a statement about my images?

The best thing you can do as you prepare for this review is to write yourself a simple artist’s statement. This may seem to be a daunting task and some will think I’m foolish for mentioning it. But look at it this way. If I don’t know your purpose and goals as an artist how can I adequately judge your work and give you meaningful feedback? An artist’s statement can be very simple but it should be more than two or three sentences. This isn’t a requirement, but in my opinion it would allow me to provide so much more value to you as a photographer trying to advance your skills.
A good artist’s statement provides purpose to the images and communicates your goals as an artist. Yet not in a general sense. Go beyond the “I want to make pretty images” types of statements and include the WHY you want to do such a thing. What about your photography motivates you? What causes you to do what you do? If you can tell me that, my advice and feedback will be much more valuable to you. If you’re struggling with this and would like help, schedule a private coaching session so we can do a deep dive into what makes you tick as a photographer.

How many images should I send?

It somewhat depends on your specific genre of images you’re submitting. My goal is to see no less than 8 images and no more than 12. This gives you some flexibility but also keeps us focused on the task at hand.

What makes a good portfolio?

A good portfolio is one that is concise, tight and focused. Yet it also has variety. If you have several great shots of a particular waterfall, just show me your best one, unless you have a specific reason to show me more, such as a vastly different angle, light or weather. Two images that are very similar and of the same subject should not be in your portfolio. You should have a distinct genre that you can define and include in your artist’s statement. By providing yourself with focus you’ll start to more accurately define yourself as the photographer you want to be.

How about multiple portfolios? Can you give feedback on multiple portfolios?

I can, but I prefer to do one at a time. If you’ve got two genres you’d like feedback on such as street photography and landscape, then let’s talk. I can probably work in two portfolios for an additional fee, but it’d still be less than two full reviews.

How quickly will this happen?

I will plan to provide the initial review within 14 days of portfolio submission. For the Deep Dive I’ll email you to work on a schedule for us to meet via Skype. Hopefully it can all happen within two weeks of purchase.

The product purchase page says there’s none left? Now what?

I keep the “inventory” low on this to keep from getting overwhelmed. You can either check back in a month or so when I update the product listing, or sign up at the bottom of this page for my email list and I’ll make announcements there from time to time. The “out of stock” situation is only temporary and it will be loaded again soon. I just keep it low to keep from getting a serious backlog.

What if I can’t make our scheduled time for the Deep Dive session?

Let’s face it, life happens. I include one free “rescheduling” as needed. If something drastic happens and you need to delay for a longer period that’s fine too. You can delay up to six months without any problem. Rescheduling notices that provide 48 hours or more before the session won’t qualify as a “rescheduling” event. For the second rescheduling that happens within a 48 hour timeframe there is a $25 fee. If I have a issues and need to reschedule twice with less than 48 hours notice then you’ll get an additional 15 minutes added to our session.

Do you offer a refund policy for these portfolio reviews?

If you’ve paid but not yet sent your images then you can cancel and get all but a $15 processing fee refunded. If you’ve sent your images and I’ve looked at them already then no, there’s no refund possible.

Can I gift a portfolio review?

Absolutely! Just go ahead and buy it like normal, but then email me the particulars and I’ll take care of the rest.

Is my portfolio review private?

Yes, it’s completely private between you and me only. Only under rare and very special and arranged circumstances would I publish the review. You would need to expressly give consent to have the review published by me. I may talk in very general terms about the review process and advice I’ve given folks on my podcasts but I will not release any type of specific identifying information. I give you my consent to share this review as you see fit.

I’m not a travel or landscape photographer. Is this still a good idea?

Probably not. I characterize myself as a “Travel/Outdoor” photographer. If your images fit either of these categories then we will probably be a good fit. If you’re a wedding or portrait/commercial photographer I just don’t think my advice will be very valuable to you.

If you’re a fine art photographer in other genres I imagine we’ll be fine. Feel free to send me a link to your website and I can give you an idea as to whether or not I think we’d be a good fit.

What risks are involved?

It’s entirely possible you don’t like my critique. You may think I’m way off base. I will do my best to explain where I’m coming from but also, I have years of experience in helping students understand why something isn’t working and how something can be improved. That’s why I offer audio feedback or the Skype sessions only and not just written feedback. You’ll get to hear me and the tone of my voice and that helps in understanding the critique.

I think I’m ready to buy, what else should I be thinking of?

Be sure you’re only sending your images. After all, this is intended to help you grow as a photographer. Also, be open to discussion of your images and I’m sure you’ll have a great opportunity to grow. And finally, consider only sending me images that you’ve created in the last year or so. Photos from 10 years ago was you as a photographer 10 years ago. I’d rather provide guidance, feedback and advice for where you’re at now in your photography journey.