Abitoffthemapp Camera Bags & Straps | Photography

City lawyer who escaped to become an award winning photographer. Now runs Abitoffthemapp Photography, the London Photo Festival and the London Photo Gallery. Purveyor of photography products: leather camera bags, leather camera straps and limited edition prints. My Etsy Shop is: Abitoffthemapp & MappofLondonUK

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Writing about your photographs.

Do you dread having to write about your photographs or avoid having to do it altogether?

You are not alone.  When I am entering competitions or exhibitions, I try and skip the part that asks for a description of the image or come up with some random sentences which ultimately do not say anything at all.

Here are some questions to ask to yourself when writing about your photography:

  1. What led you to take the photograph?
  2. What is it about?
  3. Did you plan it or was it spontaneous?
  4. Where there any ‘unusual’ circumstances behind the image?
  5. Where and when was it taken?

And it goes without saying; remember to check your spelling and grammar!

It’s a skill worth learning and it is an important part of exhibiting your photography because people are intrigued about the story behind the image and if the viewer has a connection with the image, it enhances their visual experience.

This struck me at one of our earlier Festivals when I noticed a man looking intently at an image and he kept returning to the image several times during his visit, clearly struck by the subject matter.  I went over to talk to him & he said that he’d visited the memorial pictured in the image (it was taken in Washington). The image also contained the reflection of a young man reading the names on the memorial and I went on to explain that the young man was the photographer’s finance who was tragically killed not long after the photograph was taken.

The man was silent for a moment and then said; ‘Despite the sad circumstances, I am pleased I know that because it has made the image even more special and powerful to me’


© Amanda Webster


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How to Prepare for a Portfolio Review

Portfolio reviews are a great way to get face to face feedback on your work and to ask specific questions to an objective professional that relate to your photographic practice. By having a dialogue about your work and taking on feedback you should gain greater clarity about your creative direction.

* Be prepared for constructive criticism.

* Time passes very quickly during a review, so make sure you are clear on your objectives – why you want to attend a review and what you want to get out of it – and that they are reasonable given the short time (often only 20 minutes) that is available to you. Have a couple of specific questions ready to ask.

* Give a very short summary of your vision and practice as a photographer so the reviewer can understand your aspirations as a photographer.

* Often sessions offer a range of reviewers with different backgrounds and specialties. Research the background of the reviewers so that you can be sure you get the right match between yourself and the reviewer. There is no point in spending time with a gallery curator if you are looking to find pure commercial work.

* If you are serious about your aspirations as a professional photographer present a portfolio rather than an iPad so that the great quality printing and effort it has taken to create can be appreciated. This is particularly important if you a fine art photographer as the quality of the object is as important as the image itself.

* Ensure the portfolio itself is practical to use and flick through. If the reviewer has to fiddle around trying to pick up prints it wastes time and distracts from the job at hand.

* How many images? Between 20-30 for a 20 minute review.

* Really listen to the feedback you are being given as you are there to gain valuable insights and help. Try not to be defensive as it lessens the opportunity for the reviewer to pass on pearls of wisdom.

* Make sure you are really honest about your level of experience so help can be appropriate to your skill set.

* Take notes and make sure you have a business card to leave behind

Thanks to Zoe Whishaw for her pearls of wisdom.  The London Photo Festival will be holding Portfolio Reviews during the Festival on Saturday, 24th May – details on how to book will be announced on their website soon.




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Top 5 Tips for Surviving Redundancy

Here are my top tips for surviving redundancy, I have many more but here are some to think about

1.Unemployment Insurance

If it’s not too late, sign up for unemployment insurance.  This will kick in after you have been made redundant but ensure that you read the Terms and Conditions properly before signing up and there are no onerous clauses that will prevent you from claiming (i.e. you have to lose your job on a Tuesday with a full moon etc.)

2.  Get a Life (Coach)

When this was suggested to me, I was rather indignant – why would I need to pay someone to show me how to run my life?!  But without a shadow of a doubt, this was the best thing I ever did.  I would not be where I am today if I had not enlisted the help of a coach.

3. Network

It really is about who you know.  I attended as many networking events (the majority of them are free) as I could, I always worked on the premise that if I met one interesting person or learnt one new interesting thing/lead, then the event had been worth it.  It’s also a good way to get yourself out of the house and away from the computer.

4. Get your CV rewritten

I had had the same format for about 15 years and it was a format that had worked for me but once I’d changed it, I noticed that I started to get more interest from prospective employers.  I got a professional company to rewrite mine and they did a fantastic job.

5. Be nice to yourself!

They say that when you are made redundant, you will go through the same processes as grief and loss, so be nice to yourself and set up enjoyable things for you to do every week – let’s face it, you cannot apply for jobs all the time.  Go to a museum, art gallery or treat yourself to a nice glass of champers!