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Palm Springs Photo Festival Review at Photo Plus Expo

Monday November 14th, 2011

By Bill Cramer

The photo nerd in me is always excited to go to Photo Plus Expo at the Javits Center in New York each fall. It’s great seeing the latest gadgets, hearing Photoshop experts talk about cutting edge retouching techniques and once again ask the Canon rep when the new 28-70/2.8 is going to come out. But this year was special because I got invited to participate in the Palm Springs Photo Festival portfolio reviews, which took place on October 27-29. Though the cold slushy weather made me wish we were actually in Palm Springs, the event was a great opportunity for me to rub elbows with all sorts of industry folks.

The PSPF lined up 18 photographers in 20 minute intervals for me to meet. Most were just getting started in the business. Two recent graduates who really stood out were Mark Louis Weinberg who lives in Brooklyn and Felicia Tan from Houston. I met with some veteran photographers too, like the very talented David Lewis Taylor.

All of the photographers were interested in expanding their understanding of the industry and figuring out how they can best fit into it. For me, that meant doing my best to teach them about branding and marketing. I talked as fast as I could to cram as much advice into each session. I pointed out the strengths in their pictures and the weaknesses in their presentations so they could tighten up their message. Then we talked about who their likely audience was and how to best reach them.

During breaks, I got to hang out with some of the other reviewers. I was really impressed with the caliber of talent that Jeff Dunas of PSPF was able to attract. Shannon McMillan of GSD&M made the trip all the way from Austin. Michelle Egiziano was there from Spin. Ali Cohen from Kaplan Thaler Group. Allegra Wilde, who I knew from Workbook, told me about a very cool online portfolio consulting service she’s starting called Eyeist. I got to hear about Bernstein & Andriulli‘s foray into the China market by partner Gregg Lhotsky. Photo District News editor Holly Stuart Hughes was also there. And, most exciting of all, I got to meet Elisabeth Biondi, formerly visuals editor of The New Yorker (and before that, photo director of Vanity Fair), and Robert Pledge of Contact Press Images.

Louis Mendes, one of thousands of photographers attending the expo, looks for his next subject in front of the Javits Center. (He was recently featured in The New York Times.)

The throngs on the convention floor.

That’s me in the middle looking at Cynthia Lynn‘s iPad portfolio.

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