SYP: Tips for an online portfolio review – ‘Format’ Webinar 

SYP: Tips for an online portfolio review – ‘Format’ Webinar 


This was an hour and a half of a recorded webinar and forum from July 2021 on the Format website. I was keen to view it as I have had two portfolio reviews post BOW and am preparing 2 more for A1 of SYP. These external reviews have been the most beneficial reactions to my work when reviewing all my feedback.

Meeting notes

Camila Brown – Experienced photography curator.

  • Emphasis more on online assessment because of the pandemic.
  • Will be different for different platforms. It is a discursive meeting with curators and editors. Have good contacts. It is not just about showing your work.
  • 20mins – 20 images – more than one series or work in progress
  • Ordering and sequencing is important and needs to be justified. 
  • You can hold up a print – do show them.
  • May be asked to present as a PP and then save it as a PDF – make sure in the correct format. Avoid TIFF and use JPEG at 150DPI.
  • 2021 using Picter to upload to. 
  • Include background shots – installation or print shots or book. PDF mock book. Do you have a book format of the work? How you might hang it. Do you have installation shots of your work in situ? Do you have framed shots. Do you have a series in your home that I can see?
  • NOTE: Tailor your work to your reviewer – read your reviewers bio.
  • Fine art v commercial portfolio reviews. The latter is slick.
  • Lens Culture images and text have a parity but more image on Format. More important.
  • Format – 150 words on series – artists statement 300 words. See this as an elevator pitch. Makes sure you include what – why and how of your practice. Don’t use art speak – be direct and communicate clearly.
  • Developing a language for your practice and work – take control of your own artistic voice – don’t expect others to do that work for you. 
  • Have strong digital images – explain it in a compelling way.
  • What are you trying to say with your work – the message (Barthes). What is the story you are trying to tell? 
  • Why are you making this work – how did you come to create this work? What inspired the project?
  • Why should the viewer care? Am I showing this in a different way to others? What are you making me think about that deserves attention? Why is your voice the best one to transmit this information.
  • Bio CV
  • What patterns are in your work – what do you like best about what you do?
  • Be confident in your work
  • Editing your work – sequencing – 2-3 series of work.
  • I like to see work in progress and unresolved and undeveloped work.
  • You may not like the criticism.
  • Leave a weblink or card – a pull up from my Institute! Business card.
  • Ask the reviewer if you can record the appraisal.


Background details can go on links to individual images.

Can show video – 2 minutes online or in presentation.

My learning

This is the best thing that I have seen on this subject.

Image attributes matter

Size, medium, type of paper, materials, help reviewers to see the materiality of the work

My message

It is about me and my voice and practice. An Insider. Politically engaged work. USP. Empathy. I think that I understand this area. 

Bio – CV. Can see the value of CV but I don’t have much 

New work

I have some written developmental ideas and will press on with them – time will be an issue. 

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