Portfolio review requests & responses.

George Archer georgearcherphotography.com – info@georgearcherphotography.com

Karl Taylor – karltayloreducation.com – contact@KarlTaylorEducation.com

Chris Hill – tcb-chrishillphoto.com – Contact via Facebook – Responded

Tim Thursfield – Staff photographer Express & Star – Responded

Competition – The headbanging bride

George Archer Photography

George Archer began his career as an apprentice newspaper photographer.

Winner of the “Most Promising Newcomer” in the national BT press awards.  He was a senior photographer on the Coventry Evening Telegraph for  6 years.  He has spent the last ten years working as a freelance photographer.

Taken from georgearcherphotography.com/about
Sent 31st October 2018

Dear Mr Archer, 

My name is Nik Andrews and I am a 54-year-old degree student currently studying photography at Staffordshire University. As part of my final year, I have to contact professional photographers such as yourself to ask if they will give my portfolio a critique to help in my progression as an image maker. Would this be something you might have the time to do? If so I will forward my portfolio as a PDF for your attention. Many thanks and Kind regards Nik Andrews

21st November 2018 No response. Second email sent.

Hi Mr Archer, 

I wondered if you had received my email about possibly reviewing my student portfolio and if you would still consider taking a look at it for me to offer me any constructive criticism on how I might improve on my work? I have a deadline of 30th November where I need to conclude my project work for hand in. If you could spare some time to do this please respond to this email and I will gladly forward my PDF portfolio for your attention. 

Kind regards 

Nik Andrews

29th November no response. 

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Karl Taylor

Karl Taylor is a professional photographer with over 20 years experience and he is commissioned by leading global companies for his precise attention to detail and his exquisite control of light. Recognised as an expert in the industry Karl is a global ambassador for Hasselblad Camera Company and Broncolor Lighting.

Taken from: karltaylor.com/karl-taylor/
Sent 31st October 2018

Hi Karl & team,

My name is Nik Andrews and I am a 54-year-old university student, as part of my third year, I need to contact four or five photographers who have influenced me to ask if they would take a look and critique my portfolio.

I know that you are all very busy, but I am sure you also understand that as a student this is something that can help me greatly progress as a photographer. If this is something you would be able to do for me then I will forward a PDF of my portfolio.

Kind regards

Nik Andrews

Received 1 November 2018
Hi Nik,

Thank you for getting in touch and for being a member of Karl Taylor Education, we hope you enjoy all the content we have on our site.

Could you please provide us with some further information on your university course as we have never before been asked to critique for a university student before, only answer questions about photography that would go towards their course evaluation.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Best regards

Sent 1st November 2018
Hi Emma,

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I am a mature student at Staffordshire University (Leek Road Campus) studying BA Photography (Hons).

We are currently doing a module called “Individual Practice”. as part of this module we are asked to make contact with four or five professional photographers and ask them to critique our portfolio.

The module lecture is Nicholas Lockett and his email address is nicholas.lockett@staffs.ac.uk  should you wish to contact him for more information about the course.

We have been directed to ask the following questions.

An overall impression of the portfolio
Are there any images that stand out and why?
Are there any images that should be re-shot to improve them, and how?
Are there any images that should be dropped, and why?
Any other thought, observations or words of encouragement?

We are also told to ask our reviewers to be straight, honest and direct.

I hope this gives you a little more understanding of what I need to accomplish to compleat this module and I thank you wholeheartedly for your time and consideration.

Kind regards

Nik Andrews

Received 8th November 2018

Thanks Nik,

I will forward this on to Karl for you and see what he can do.

Best regards

29th November 2018 No further response

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 Chris Hill

Photography is my life and passion as a professional photographer and  photography lecturer based in Wolverhampton England.

From published work, shows in galleries, weddings, events,  family portraits and even training future photographers, I bring my expertise, passion and unique personality and style to every job I undertake!

Sent via Facebook Messenger 31st October 2018

Hi Chris, Hope you are well, as mentioned when I saw you the other week I need a few photographers to critique my portfolio. If you have the time please take a look at my PDF and let me know what you think.

Recieved 22nd November 2018

Hi Nik, Below are the answers for your portfolio critique.

  1. An overall impression of my portfolio. – A rounded and balanced portfolio showing a range of photographic skills. The work within the portfolio shows that you clearly know how to use you camera to a high standard in a range of different environments and settings, but  as a general portfolio a lot of the images are very similar, to help you stand out from the crowd it would be great to see you showing images that really push you creativity and separate you from your peers and fellow photographers as a highly skilled contemporary image maker. 
  2. Are there any images that stand out and why?The portfolio has a few stand out images that show a level of creativity and show a good understanding of lighting i.e image 6 & 14.
  3. Are there any images that should be re-shot to improve them and ideas of how? The live event stuff looks good, but I would consider putting in some stronger ‘directed’ portraits if you are going to market yourself as a portrait photographer. I would consider removing the the shot of the bird (as while a sharp shot) it is a bit messy in its composition and perhaps not have it as your opening portfolio shot.
  4. Any other thoughts, observations or words of encouragement. In general terms it is a considered portfolio that shows a range of your skills , but if you were to use this as your professional portfolio to sent to potential clients for business you may wish to consider the construction of your portfolio itself and what it conveys to the viewer i.e:

1: Don’t have all of you portfolio images on the cover , I’ve seen your portfolio small scale before I have even started to go through it (some people would say that is a good thing  but as I can enlarge them to look closer, I don’t think it adds anything)

2: Keep the slides plain. The power point slide really dates/cheapens the whole portfolio. Blue is a really strong/ distracting colour. Maybe consider just a simple white/light grey for the background as this will keep it slick and professional and the images will be the main focus.
3: Make the opening paragraph more of an artist statement (I know you have one) Talking about who you are as an image maker. You don’t  need to put ‘I have a keen interest in photography’ …….. you have a photographic portfolio we already know you have an interest.
Hope this helps you out. I look forward to seeing where your Uni studies will take your photographic practice. Its great to see that so many of your images that you took at college you regard so highly that they are still in your portfolio.
Hope you are enjoying your time at uni.
 Tim Thursfield

Group Chief Photographer at Shropshire Star and Group Chief Photographer at Express & Star

Sent via Facebook Messanger 31st October 2018

Hi Tim,

hope you are well. I met you during your photo shoot outside the wolves ground with Dicky Dodd a couple of weeks back, I asked you to take some pictures of Rich while I took some of you and him. I am a degree student studying at Staffordshire University on my third year. As part of this year’s projects we are asked to contact four or five photographers to ask if they would take a look at my portfolio and provide some constructive feedback on what I could do to improve my work. If you could let me know if you would be happy to do this for me I will forward my PDF portfolio.

Kind regards


Received 16th November 2018

Hi Nik,

Apologies for the late reply regarding your work.

Your portfolio is very impressive. You obviously have a good eye for composition, plus you have a clear understanding of required shutter speeds and aperture depth of field.

You have demonstrated that you have the ability to cover a large variety of subject matters. Have you covered any sports events?

Your understanding of lighting is also clear. This was also demonstrated when you commented on my recent pic asking if I’d used off-camera flash. Regarding the portrait pics, I tend to prefer the crops a little tighter, but this is purely a personal point of view an no reflection of your ability. It may also benefit you to experiment with a few more ‘dangerous’ lighting techniques such as the main light as ‘low lighting’ and boosting with a powerful rear light etc…

Overall, your ability and technical understanding is excellent.

Tim Thursfield
Group Chief Photographer
Midland News Association.

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