Monthly Archives February 2009

We are very excited to have JoeyL as our guest blogger today!

WARNING: If you’re familiar with Joey’s work, you know that he travels all over the world photographing many different cultures. His post today contains some National Geographic-y type images of natives, and since these natives don’t tend to overdress, there are a few images where the natives have exposed breasts. If you’re sensitive to seeing these types of images, then please don’t click the “Read the Rest of this Entry” button below. Even more importantly, now that you’ve been warned up front, don’t post complaints about the images (I’ll just delete them).  Now, here’s JoeyL!




Yesterday’s post about portfolio reviews raised a lot of questions about size, shape, look, content, etc., and I wanted to address a couple of those here, but before I do I want to reprint a comment posted yesterday by Jeff Revell (of, in response to the question, “…. can [you] give us some insight of how to best present a portfolio….. His comment was so “spot on” that I wanted to share it here. Jeff wrote:

“When you see folks standing in line for the portfolio reviews at Photoshop World, it’s always interesting to see how many different styles of portfolios there are. Some folks have their images on a slideshow on their computers, some have a large folio of mounted prints, sometimes it’s as simple as a photo album.

I think the real key to a good portfolio isn’t necessarily the way you present your images but rather which images you present. It’s hard to summarize your complete body of work in about 12 to 15 images but that is the best way to do it. Force yourself to really find your best work and edit your shots down to as few as possible while still being able to represent your entire portfolio. Forcing yourself to go through that type of selection will probably be harder than any portfolio review you ever receive.”

I think Jeff’s advice to limit the number of images is right on the money, especially since the person doing your review only has a limited time with you. If you have 20 images, they can spend a minute an image. If you have 60, you’ll be lucky to have enough time for your reviewer to even glance at them. This is definitely a case of “less is more.”

I had 25 portraits in my portfolio review with Joe. Today, there are a few less. :)

Another thing to keep in mind is to be prepared. If you’re showing a slideshow on your computer, don’t sit down with your reviewer and spend five minutes starting up your computer, launching your slideshow, arranging your images, etc. Have everything ready so once you sit down, in 15 seconds you’re both looking at images. I’ve done reviews where the photographer spent 10 minutes in front of me trying to get everything up and running. That means I only had 10 minutes to help her.

Also, don’t spend the first five minutes of your review apologizing for your work. This happens more often than not, and it doesn’t help anyone (least of all you). Let your work speak for itself, then let the reviewer do most of the speaking—-remember, that’s why you waited in line—to hear their suggestions and get their input and ideas on how you can develop as a photographer.

Portfolio Sizes
There were a number of comments about what’s the proper size for a printed book, how much of a border should there be, and so on. There isn’t an “international standard” for this, and like Jeff said above; everyone’s will be different. Just make sure whatever you show, in whatever format you choose, that it is professionally presented, so it doesn’t distract from your work. If you’re using a printed portfolio, make sure it’s neat and clean, and that stuff isn’t falling out of your book. Also make sure it’s at least letter-sized so the images are large enough for the reviewer.

Last Minute Tips

  • Also, don’t show more than one shot of the same subject in the same surroundings.
  • Start with some of your best work, and end with a really strong piece.
  • If you have to explain to the reviewer what the photo is about, or why you included it in your portfolio, it doesn’t belong in there.
  • Keep the look of your portfolio simple. If it’s a slideshow, skip the fancy transitions and just use a simple dissolve. If it’s printed, keep the layouts simple, the borders white, and leave the focus on the images (not what’s surrounding them).
  • Don’t include EXIF data (your reviewer doesn’t care what f/stop you used—they care what the image looks like).
  • If I had to choose an ideal number of images to present, it would be no more than 20 (even though I used 25. I wished I had followed my own advice).

Well, I hope that answers at least a few of the questions from yesterday.

… famous photographer, and one of the “It” guys; the amazing Joey Lawrence (also known as simply “Joey L”).

Joey has really made a name for himself with his very cool gritty photographic composition and lighting along with some top notch post-processing (a combo that’s hard to beat), which has made him one of the most in-demand photographers around, shooting for clients like Forbes, Warner Brothers Records, Kawasaki, NBC, Atlantic Records, and Arena Magazine (among others). Joey also writes a blog where he shares some behind-the-scene videos. Here’s the link to check out his blog, but make sure you check back tomorrow for his special guest blogging post. I can’t wait!


So last week Joe McNally was down here at the Kelby Training Studios recording a new online class, and between tapings I asked Joe if he would mind sitting down with me for a few minutes to give me a portfolio review (gulp!).

This wasn’t my first portfolio review with Joe; he had given me one about two years ago, and it was a real turning point for me, and I wanted to have him take a look at some of my more recent work. I told Joe not to sugarcoat it or go easy on me because we’re friends, and he assured me he would give it to me straight.

He spent about 25 minutes with me, and I have to tell you; it was incredibly helpful, and I learned things I couldn’t have learned any other way. He absolutely gives you the straight scoop; the good and the bad, but that’s exactly what I needed, and I honestly believe what I learned in that 25 minutes will change how I approach my photography from now on. I was really frustrated with an area of my photography, and Joe helped me see things in a different way, and mentally break through that barrier.

Now, the reason I’m telling you this is this; you might be thinking to yourself, “Oh yeah, sure, it must be nice to be able to have someone like Joe McNally sit down and give you a one-on-one review,” and honestly it is. But the thing is; you can have Joe review your portfolio, too. Believe it or not, Joe does one-on-one portfolio reviews, for free, at Photoshop World. Every Photoshop World, including the one coming up at the end of March.

It’s not just Joe, it’s people like Moose Peterson (shown above during a portfolio review), and Jim DiVitale, along with some of the top photographers in their fields, and while they give you the straight scoop on your work; they’re not there to tear you down, or make your feel bad—they’re doing this to help you become a better photographer, and if you’ve never had a portfolio review by a pro; I promise you, it is an amazing experience that (if you follow their sage advice), will make you a better photographer.

When I’ve done week-long workshops, I always include a one-on-one portfolio review for my students, and when I read the final evaluations at the end of the workshop, invariably the students note that having their portfolio reviewed was one of the most valuable parts of the workshop.

Anyway, if you’re going to Photoshop World, I just can’t encourage you enough to take advantage of this, and have your portfolio reviewed by one of these experts. These are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so make sure you sign up in advance for these free, yet absolutely invaluable insights into your work. If you’re not going to Photoshop World, it’s not too late (here’s the link).


Happy Monday everybody!

  • Sunday Was Super!
    OK, so this first thing has nothing to do Photoshop, but I’ve got to share it; a good friend of mine hooked me, and my best buddy Dave Moser up with Super Bowl Tickets. Not just Super Bowl tickets; but Club Seats on the 45 yard line!!!! (Believe me; I know I’m an incredibly lucky guy).  It was an amazing night (with perfect weather for football—just beautiful!), and even though my team lost, it was still a blast!!! (Dave took the shot above with my iPhone). As much fun as the game was, what was really amazing to see was how they put that huge stage, video wall, massive audio system, and lighting together for that Springsteen halftime show. Incredible!!! It was a sea of people really hustling, and seeing the halftime show live is a whole different experience! OK, now for some real news.
  • New Dates for My Lightroom Live Tour
    I’m coming to Denver and Portland, Oregon with my Lightroom 2 Live Tour at the end of April. I still have to check on the exact dates, but I think Denver’s on the 29th, and Portland’s on May 1st, but I’m not 100% on the exact dates (I’m not sure they’ve posted them yet). Anyway, I’m also launching a new Photoshop Tour, which will kick off in Washington, DC, in May (more details to come about that, too). Either way, we’ll post all the dates for our upcoming Kelby Training Live events later this week, so keep an eye out (here’s the link for now).
  • How to Clean Your Camera’s Sensor
    Moose Peterson has done a really great two-part video series on how to clean your camera’s sensor, and it is just fantastic. He really did a kick-butt job with this, so make sure you check it out over at Moose’s News Blog (here’s that link).
  • Only 18 More Days to Save $100

    There are just a couple of weeks or so left to take advantage of the $100 off Early sign-up registration for Photoshop World (Hey, a hundred bucks means more than ever now, eh?). Here’s where to sign up now.

  • Learning CS4’s Camera Raw
    Just a quick update: I finished up my CS4 Camera Raw online course this weekend, and although it’s 3 hours and 15 minutes long, I honestly think it’s one of the best online classes or DVDs I’ve ever done. I tried something new in how I’m teaching it, and it turned out even better than I had hoped. I’m taping a video clip about it this week, so when it’s done I’ll run it here on the blog, but I just wanted to give you a “heads up” that will have it up live at Kelby Training Online very soon. Thanks to everyone who suggested the idea for this course. I’m psyched!

That’s it for today, folks. I hope you have a really great Monday!