Q&A with Photo Editor of the World, Amelia Hennighausen

Interviews with Photo Editors January 19, 2011 12:11 pm

What is the most effective way for a photographer to get you to look at their work?

Unquestionably, the Web.

The big question is: how does a new or unrepresented photographer get his/her website to be reviewed?

I do like printed postcards (skip the envelope, saves my time, and a tree) and I do like simple email announcements with links. But if you don’t have your own contact list, I suggest you have an online gallery review, and hopefully feature, your work via email. A few I love are Feature Shoot, Visura Magazine, Jen Bekman Gallery and Photography Now

What are your likes and dislikes when looking through a photographers website?:

I like a simply designed, well functioning website that lets the work speak for itself. Few fonts, nicely edited, and absolutely no music.

Often, we only have a few moments to review multiple photographers’ sites, and anything that seems cumbersome gets you tossed from the selection. If I can’t get to your portfolio in 20 seconds or less, I move on. Some assignments are decided within several minutes, so why make your work difficult to get to, or try and tart up your site?

Ideally, the website has individual links to images and isn’t one big repetitive flash site. If I have a particular idea in my mind, and am defending my choice of photographer to an art director or editor, I want to be able to send a link to the exact image I had in mind. If I can’t do that and have to send the whole site to review, the idea I had may not come across to the AD/editor and the project will go to someone else.

Sounds absurd, but if the other images distract your client, they can’t “see” your potential for a particular idea, and you get passed over for the shoot.

Is it helpful for you to meet with photographers in person?:

Absolutely. If I am working with someone new, I want to meet them whenever possible. There’s an element of trust and a sense of possible collaboration that comes from face to face chats.

What’s your outlook on the editorial industry for the new year?:

Right now I am often seeing companies, especially corporations, slash their budgets. We’re talking half of what they paid two years ago, and those budgets weren’t
extravagant, with few exceptions. They want more for less and want to keep the bottom lines profitable. But at what cost? Are we sacrificing quality? I say yes, that frequently happens. And what does that say about respecting photographers and their efforts?

Portfolio, iPad or paper?:


I’m not hedging bets here, they all have their merits. But I do enjoy a good portfolio review, while discussing the work.

(Amelia was kind enough to share some of her recent production work with us)

I usually work on serious subjects in news and science, along with lifestyle shooting, fitness, fashion, celebrities, architecture, portraits, still life, etc.

These shoots allowed me to indulge the lighter side of creating fashion concepts and executing them. For this shoot I made a pattern of magazine covers and had it printed on Tyvek. We then had incredible costumers make it into a 1950s retro style cocktail dress and styled it to match. Sonja Pacho was the photographer.

Photo by Sonja Pacho

For this series, I requested a dress for a “socks only” issue, and the model was quite game in going through the standard poses with this ridiculous dress on. Jesse Winter shot both of these series.

Photo by Jesse Winter

Here we have someone who never modeled before, and she let it rip! The photographer was really game, he does whatever it takes to get the shot. By the end of the shoot, he had seeds flying and pumpkin all over the place.

Photo by Jesse Winter

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