I’m just back from a trip to New Hampshire and Vermont and, no, I am not running for President! En route to visit my amazing daughter and grandchildren, I made a side trip to see first-hand a gallery photographic print exhibit by my friend and client, Thomas Wilson, an excellent photographer (and now a competent print maker) by any measure.
Tom has traveled with me several times on my photography adventures and has taken a few of my workshops offered in my Havre de Grace, Maryland studio. Tom’s photography demonstrates a well-trained eye and good sense of composition. So I was eager to see how his first formal gallery exhibition worked out.
As a professional photographer and teacher, I get a tremendous sense of satisfaction when my students or clients take that first step toward sharing their art with others beyond friends and family. This is always a major step, fraught with anxiety. Am I good enough? How will I know which work to exhibit? Will people like my work? Will they like it well enough to part with their hard earned money?
In this case, Tom had taken our Portfolio Development workshop, a long weekend in which we help advanced photographers learn to edit their own work, choose their finest images and then leave the workshop with a professional, graphically exciting portfolio that shines.
In his first showing of his portfolio to a high-end art gallery owner, Tom scored a win and was invited to exhibit at the impressive Patricia Ladd Carega Gallery in Sandwich, New Hampshire. His feature show, with 16 of his framed prints on exhibit, drew rave reviews and solid sales.
If there is anything to be learned from Tom’s experience (and others who have taken our Portfolio Development workshop), it is that the most difficult thing for a photographer is self-editing. Weeks before the workshop actually meets in our studio, the four participating photographers submit a 50-image sample of their best work to us for critique. We then help them cull that down to 30 images, from which they end up with 12 images that form the structure of their finished portfolio.
Past attendees have landed their very first magazine photo assignments from showcasing their portfolio to editors, been invited to participate in exhibitions, and have even been honored with solo shows.
So, whether you take our workshop or work with another qualified professional to learn the skills involved in self-editing, I strongly recommend you do so. It’s hard work, for sure, but the results speak for themselves.