Brooke Shaden 20 Day Portfolio Challenge….Week 1

Late last year I had a portfolio review done by none other than Brooke Shaden herself, it was a wonderful experience and I came away from it, with a new found confidence and knowledge that I really did have something to offer. She sent a followup email about doing her 20 Day Portfolio Challenge, which I jumped on. It is basically a Private Facebook Group, she emails us a link daily with questions and exercises and we carry them through write stuff on the FB wall, post images, ask questions etc. Then every 5 days she recaps with a video and even more exercises. So far it has been challenging and soul searching, I realise that while I think I am getting somewhere I have a lot of room to grow, and that is a good thing!

Day 1 – What are my strengths and weaknesses? 

I really need to learn to ask for what I want, seriously I am such a chicken shit sometimes, I need to be braver……..that’s my word for this year, braver. If I want it, ask……take it a step further than I ever have before. I don’t do self portraits, I HATE having my photo taken, but I am moving beyond that slowly, I just had a portrait session with another photographer, one who I trust and knew would make me feel comfortable.  baby steps and all that

I am imaginative and creative, I am wild and free, I think outside the box and I can very good at what I do, my talents are beyond great in Photoshop and I think I can quite confidently call myself a Master.

Day 2 – Style Words

Warm, colourful, imaginative, fantasy, whimsical, surreal, fairy-tale……….these are words applied to most of my images, occasionally creepy, weird and nightmarish.

I love the surreal, fantasy, whimsical and fairy-tale, I would love to perhaps add, brooding, dramatic, story telling and cinematic in there as well. Something to work on for future edits.

Day 3 – Critiquing Yourself

  1. First, choose ten images to form your portfolio. Let these be the images you are most proud of. Other factors for selecting images could be: groupings from a series, color, location, popularity, etc. I have discovered that my favourite images all come from my own ideas and photos, perhaps as I have a more vested interest in them?
  2. Think about where you want your images to end up (magazines, book covers, galleries, etc.) and pretend that you are the director from one of those establishments (an editor, publisher, gallery owner, etc.). Putting yourself in their shoes, what do you think they would say about your portfolio? I don’t think most of my art is wall art……I would love to have it as CD/DVD covers or book covers. Even as images in e-books, now that would be cool. Some of my stuff, say the animal art might be nice hanging in a child’s bedroom.
  3. Portfolio reviews are often broken into several parts: strengths, weaknesses, and business. We have already looked at strengths and weaknesses and have discussed overall style. Look at your images in terms of sell-ability. Which images do you feel best fit into the genre you are looking to create? I feel that most of my images are eclectic, apart from my series most of my images are all over the place, the colouring and edit are similar and possible recognisable…….but my work is constantly evolving.


My favourite shots from, 2016….Avalon which was one of the best shoots I did I wrote a blog post, but haven’t even got the images on my website, as you can see my images are very surreal and whimsical with a fantasy edge to them

Day 4 – Identifying Technical Problems

When looking at your portfolio of roughly 10 images, can you identify a recurring technical issue? For example, in my work, I frequently have trouble with cutting hair off of a background. Even if it isn’t obvious in the images, what techniques have tripped you up in the past?

I guess my biggest Technical issue I have is when it comes to printing, I have lots of art by have not really printed much, actually if I was to be honest apart from a few small 12″x12″ and one canvas, I have not printed anything. Should I even print on paper and frame it or stick to canvas. What does everyone else do? I do not really exhibit my art in galleries other than online.

Day 5 -Outside Perspective

I actually had a few people critique my website, picked up a few new fan (always a good thing), but they also felt perhaps my website is a bit eclectic and hard to focus on any one given thing. The upshot is perhaps I need to either specialise a bit more of start splitting things up, Photography on one website and Digital Art on another…..but then I have photography which is fine art……blurred lines.

So a lot of thinking going on already and it’s only day 5. This is just a snap shot and we are all on a slightly different journey of discovery. Next week I’ll cover the next 5 days.

~ Julz