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Thursday, January 13, 2011

If it's Florida it's FOTOFusion

I came down to West Palm Beach just ahead of the newest New York snowstorm to attend FOTOFusion, a photo festival targeted mostly to amateur and semi-professional photographers in the area.

Yesterday I sat on the Alison Zavos panel: "Cut Through the Noise: Smart Marketing Strategies for Photographers," with Julie Grahame, and while the audience was kind of small, it was enthusiastic. I had a really good time talking about what I see as included in the idea of social media: portfolio reviews and promo cards. After all, one-on-one contact with art buyers, photo editors, gallerists and the like is social, no?

It's important that photographers think clearly about what they're looking to achieve when they consider attending a review. Who do they want to meet? Is their work ready to be presented? Does it have a cohesive focus or subject? Is it a real body of work? Can the photographer talk about their work in a clear and concise way?

I know there are those who see portfolio reviews as a rip-off industry. I don't see it that way. So many photographers work in a vacuum, and having trained, outside eyes view their work is vitally important. Additionally, if you chose the right review, you can get person-to-person contact with people who you would not normally have a chance to talk with. It can be the thing that really moves you forward and allows you to pitch yourself to potential clients.

Promo cards were another thing I talked about. Having spent many years as a photo editor sitting in ugly offices or at cubbyholes I loved getting great promo cards to pin up on my walls. These were the photographers I hoped to work with, and their cards were always staring me in the eyes while I worked. I often cannot understand the choices people make when printing promo cards. And I never understand why more thought isn't given to what they expect to come from the card, rather than the graphic design of the card. By that I mean do the image or images you've chosen really represent who you are as a photographer? And if I'm looking right at your card, doesn't it make sense to have all your important info (URL, cell number, email address) right in front of my eyes also?

I came down here with Alison, Julie, Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio to do my own panel (with Michael Itkoff as well), and that one is tomorrow. But today we had the most exciting event of the festival so far.

In the middle of Jason and Helen's talk:"A 930km African Photography Odyssey" their presentation of their incredible walk across the country of Gambia, an alarm went off and a disembodied voice announced we had to leave the building immediately due to an unspecified emergency.

We spent about fifteen minutes milling outside with more people than I've seen at this festival, until we were let back in to hear Jason and Helen finish their talk. It was like a grade school fire drill.

Tomorrow is my panel, and I plan on blogging more about what I've seen and done. I like seeing people I know, hanging out and eating meals with my friends, and everyone is really friendly. Add to the fact that Florida is the only state with NO SNOW, and I'm happy as a kitten with catnip.

More to come from here, so stay tuned....

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9 Comments:

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January 31, 2011  
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February 03, 2011  

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