Ever had a portfolio review? It’s one of the best ways to get a better understanding of your own work as a photographer and learn from professionals what you can do to improve.

Here we’ve put together a little guide on portfolio reviews, how to prepare for them, and when you can have your work seen.

What’s a portfolio review?

Simple: During a portfolio review, you sit down with another photographer or photo editor to talk about your work. Beforehand, you decide what you want to present and compile it into a portfolio. In the past, this used to be a physical folder of printed images, but these days it can also be a digital collection or even a social media profile.

Why is it so important?

Having a portfolio review means getting a professional’s opinion on your work. You get to lay out what you’re shooting, how you do it, and talk about how your current approach serves those goals. But more than discussing just individual pictures with you, a portfolio reviewer will look at the overall visual language of your work and how your photos work in context.

Photography has become incredibly accessible: Thanks to advanced digital cameras and smartphones, it’s become a lot easier to take a good photo. Because of that, it’s become more important than ever to contextualize your shots: To shoot in a way that lets them work together and to combine individual pictures for a greater visual effect. Reviewing your portfolio means considering all of your work together, and it can be an eye-opening experience—both to see how it is perceived and to put it together in the first place.

Portfolio review with Mustafah Abdulaziz

Portfolio review with Mustafah Abdulaziz

How do I prepare?

The good news: If you regularly take photos, you’re already prepared. You will have a body of work that you can present during a portfolio review. The only remaining challenge is to pick which photos you should present. Naturally, a review doesn’t offer enough time to go over thousands of photos. Look over your work and decide which photos you’re most proud of, which ones represent your specific visual language, and put them together as a collection.

What do I need to bring?

You have to bring your photos—but you’re free to choose how you want to present them. Some photographers prefer to print their shots and arrange them in albums, others create a digital showcase, whereas some just show their EyeEm profile. Just think of what’s best to show—not just the individual images, but their common visual language and your unique vision.