by Ben Ko, June 2, 2019

Topic: How are you presenting your work to potential clients and the world? Is it digital, print, or both? Did you hire a third party to help curate and shape the presentation of your images? How was that experience? Do you find buyers to be more impressed by one medium over another? We will explore these questions and more.

WHAT CLIENTS AND AGENCIES WANT (Photo Brigade Talks at Adorama)

These two videos are each about 1 hr long and well worth-watching. They talk about what clients look for and where they look, and it goes way beyond the traditional portfolio.

Reaching Clients: What Works in today's Competitive Market

“In today’s market the challenge to be seen with relevance has never been more challenging and necessary! From seasoned pros you’ll learn what is necessary to break through the clutter in a streamlined way that makes sense and is doable. They’ll be giving you workable (functionally and creatively) strategies that will fit your “process” so that you can remain committed to the execution of your marketing outreach.”

My notes:

Two panelists

  1. Glenn Batkin

    1. people don’t read emails

    2. get into award shows

    3. instagram is more important than your website

    4. important to submit your work to award shows

    5. agency buyers are looking at award shows and books like CA

  2. Norma Jean Markus

    1. linked in profile

      1. “i don’t know what i was doing as an agent before linked in”

    2. more is not better

  1. Instagram 

    1. should be fun, experimenting while website should be curated within an inch of your file

    2. see the photographer’s personality

    3. clients may look at instagram before or instead of yr website, instagram is easier to navigate

  2. Research yr client, do your homework, say thanks!

  3. Other

    1. source books

      1. Le Book (




    2. Search engines



      3. Production Paradise (

      4. Found Folio (

      5. Boulevard Quarterly (

      6. Wonderful Machine (

    3. Where else clients are looking


      2. winners of photography competitions

    4. indiscriminate email blasts, inexpensive mailer not worth it

Get Your Marketing on with ASMP

“Is your marketing working for your business? Have you come to terms with the new social media climate? What marketing tactics should you adopt? Which techniques should you leave behind?

The Photo Brigade in collaboration with ASMP NY present this special marketing panel (2 art buyers and an artist’s rep) at Adorama's Event space that will discuss topics such as the changing photography landscape, social media, relationship building, portfolios, cold calling, and marketing etiquette, and much more”

  1. How are photographers marketing?

    1. Clients looking more on the web (esp. instagram) the last 5 years

    2. A photographer’s rep says she is encouraging clients to send print to differentiate from the digital stream, however she acknowledges that offices these days don’t have the shelf space to hold books and printed material anymore

  2. Is email marketing effective?

    1. Often not, agencies receive tons of emails

    2. If you do send an email, make sure an effective image is way at the top so they might see it before deleting it.

    3. Don’t email more than once a month

  3. “Snackable content”

    1. bite size delicious content for social media

    2. the things that perform well on instagram are shot on cell phones

  4. Phone calls

    1. Don’t do cold calls, would prefer an initial email that shows yr work

    2. Don’t show up at the office without a meeting

  5. Do you need a rep to meet a client?

    1. You don’t need a rep but if you don’t have a rep it can be harder because buyers may look to artist reps first

    2. Benefit of having a rep: the rep takes care of the business end, the photographer doesn’t have to be the bad guy

  6. Social media

    1. Some creative directors won’t work with you unless you have 100,000 followers (true for some global brands) per artist rep

    2. [I was at a conference where it was stated that creative directors are getting more savvy about how people are buying followers so they are trying to pay more attention to engagement than to follower numbers. - Ben]

    3. Art buyer: follower count doesn’t matter for editorial

  7. Building relationships

    1. Artist rep goes to shows where client will be as another way to help the photographer meet the buyer and establish a face to face relationship

    2. Art buyer: “I’m shocked by a photographer who I meet once then they never follow up again”

  8. Has social media replaced the website?

    1. No. You need both.

  9. Are source books still relevant?

    1. One buyer who does commercial, corporate work, emphatically said yes: LeBook, At Edge, Found, etc. When she was in fashion, no.

    2. One buyer said no, as a photo editor you should be looking beyond the agencies.

  10. If you could advise photographer on one thing in marketing

    1. art buyer: know who you are as a photographer and show your best work

    2. art buyer: send me a quick note, not a 4 paragraph long email, and show yr knockout best work attached/embedded that will load easily with a link to yr site

Portfolio Review


I’ve used a web service called four times since 2013 and highly recommend it. I used it once for an older version of my website, twice for exhibit editing, and once for a client project.

Go through their list of reviewers:

See their pricing (and for ASMP members, discount that by 15%):

You have various options: you can have a Skype call with the reviewer, or you can have them record their review and you can listen to the review through the eyeist website.

For discount code for ASMP members (link is password-protected members only). See


from 2012, two short videos giving overview on portfolio review process from photographers and editors point of view

marketing trailer showing what a NYC Fotoworks portfolio review is like

New York Times Lens Portfolio Review

The reviewers are primarily from photojournalism world (e.g., NYT, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, New Yorker). The videos show the reviewers talking about what they are looking for. Each video is about 6 minutes.

Tips on how to survive a portfolio review (Time)

Tips in writing

Wonderful Machine

Portfolio Review Do’s and Don’ts by a Portfolio Reviewer

Palm Springs Photofestival Reviewer Tips

Photographer’s Tips based on experience at Palm Springs Photo Festival

ASMP’s Tips on Portfolio Reviews

Magnum’s Tips

British Journal of Photography’s Tips

Fstopper Tips