Last week I was fortunate enough to be in Chicago to participate in one of the best photography festivals and portfolio reviews around - Filter. This festival keeps getting better and better, and with a new location, an awe-inspiring keynote by Carrie Mae Weems, a roster of rockstar reviewers, and tons of talented photographers, Filter is knocking it out of the park.

Coming home, I was sorting through all of the leave behinds I received from photographers during the portfolio reviews. Leave behinds are marketing materials to leave with each reviewer at the end of your session. I was blown away by some and underwhelmed by others, and I thought it would be helpful to share the good, the better and the exceptional.

A great leave behind has an image that will jog the reviewer’s memory and your contact information and website. It should look professional and preferably be memorable or distinctive in some way, but should not be large, bulky, or otherwise difficult to bring home. Reviewers may see dozens of photographers and will most likely not want to bring back CDs, printed packets of information, or other cumbersome items. Your website should have the images you have shown, and if the reviewer wants more information, he or she can contact you after the event. You can always make discs of your images and print detailed information about your work in case someone asks for it, but a simple postcard or small work sample with your contact information should more than suffice for a solid leave behind.

Robin Apple gave out a deck of cards with her image on the front, which was whimsical and fun, just like her work. The sticker on the outside of the card case gave you her name, but I would recommend putting a name and website on the image on the card (small, unobtrusive) in case the case or sticker get removed along the way.

Robin Apple gave out a deck of cards with her image on the front, which was whimsical and fun, just like her work. The sticker on the outside of the card case gave you her name, but I would recommend putting a name and website on the image on the card (small, unobtrusive) in case the case or sticker get removed along the way.

Joanne Barsanti gave a small sample print, which is a really nice and thoughtful leave behind - something the reviewer will definitely want to keep.

Joanne Barsanti gave a small sample print, which is a really nice and thoughtful leave behind - something the reviewer will definitely want to keep.

She was smart to not only include the image information but her contact info and website as well, making this a print and business card in one.

She was smart to not only include the image information but her contact info and website as well, making this a print and business card in one.

Really nice, clean card from Victor Yanez-Lazcano with a signature, memorable image from his series.

Really nice, clean card from Victor Yanez-Lazcano with a signature, memorable image from his series.

Really well-done packet from Becky Jane Davis. There was a signature image on the front, and a lot of info, including a small print (right-hand side) on the inside. This was more than I needed, but I was very impressed with the thoughtfulness and presentation.

Really well-done packet from Becky Jane Davis. There was a signature image on the front, and a lot of info, including a small print (right-hand side) on the inside. This was more than I needed, but I was very impressed with the thoughtfulness and presentation.

This pocket gallery from Mel Keiser was by far the most creative leave-behind I have ever seen. Ever. And all of the reviewers were talking about it and hoping they would get to have one. The circles are images from her project, attached with velcro so you can move them around to different places in the "gallery".

This pocket gallery from Mel Keiser was by far the most creative leave-behind I have ever seen. Ever. And all of the reviewers were talking about it and hoping they would get to have one. The circles are images from her project, attached with velcro so you can move them around to different places in the "gallery".

These were images from other projects that became the gallery attendees.

These were images from other projects that became the gallery attendees.

Knock-out image by Andrew Miller on the front of his 5x7ish card with his contact info on the back. #nailedit

Knock-out image by Andrew Miller on the front of his 5x7ish card with his contact info on the back. #nailedit

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