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Calls Deadline 08/2021 English Festivals Photography Portfolio Reviews

Helsinki Photo Festival Portfolio Review

DEADLINE: Aug. 31, 2021

DEADLINE: Aug. 31, 2021

The Helsinki Photo Festival Portfolio Review is an annual international competition to discover, exhibit, and publish new talents in photography.

About Helsinki Photo Festival

Helsinki Photo Festival is a cultural non-profit association and a platform that was created to advance and disseminate information about photography. The association helps artists to connect with audiences and experts in the field of photography. It provides artists with access to an international network and enables them to find new ways to work, get published and exhibit both abroad and in Finland. Annually, Helsinki Photo Festival produces a 12 week photography festival during the summer and autumn season. In just a few years, the festival curated over 100 artists, including emerging and award-winning photographers from over 50 countries, and has attracted a large number of spectators to explore photography in both outdoor and indoor exhibitions. From an audience of a few thousands in 2018, the festival expanded into a spectacle of about a million spectators in 2020.

The festival aims to showcase unique and magnificent fine art photography that has not been seen in Finland before. The curated exhibitions take place around iconic landmarks, warehouses, art centres, galleries, parks and waterfronts located in the metropolitan areas of the city of Helsinki. In 2021 the festival expanded to Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen. The program includes curated exhibitions of international and Nordic photography as well as artist talks, workshops, seminars and portfolio reviews, inviting all photo enthusiasts to experience the winning extraordinary images and share their passion for photography.

About Portfolio Reviews 2021

Portfolio reviews are paid review sessions with leading experts in the field of photography, including curators, festival directors, magazine editors and photobook publishers.

Photographers of all levels are invited to showcase their work and to get professional feedback. Additionally, Portfolio Reviews provide the participants with the opportunity to network with people who may be able to help with their career development. In some cases, participating might even lead to exhibitions, book publications and more. The 2020 Portfolio Reviews led, for example, to Samet Durgun’s highly successful book release ‘Come get your honey’ published by Kehrer and David Barreiro’s solo exhibition at iconic Finlandia Hall during Helsinki Photo Festival 21. Opportunities for critique, guidance, and professional connection are available within a wide range of photographic markets, such as portrait, product, fine art, travel or fashion photography, among many others.

Portfolio Reviews are a part of Helsinki Photo Festival’s program and take place on September 3, 2021. The event will be held in Finlandia Hall’s Terassisali. However, as COVID-19 travel restrictions might prevent some of the jurors or applicants from attending the event in person, it is also possible to participate digitally.

Photographers are invited to apply for one (1) or more reviews. Each individual appraisal will take on average 20 minutes. The fee for participating is €38 (per review), €76 (2 reviews), €114 (3 reviews). A pack of 5 reviews is €190.

Please note that this is a one-day event only. In case of overbooking of a juror, we can refer you to another juror from the same field or schedule an alternative day for the review.

What Winners Receive

The first prize winner of this year’s Portfolio Reviews will be exhibited solo during Helsinki Photo Festival 2022. The winner and up to three runners-up will be also featured in the festival’s online gallery on helsinkiphotofestival.com. The winning portfolio and a few selected images of up to three runners-up will be promoted on Helsinki Photo Festival’s social media channels, Facebook and Instagram, which can reach up to 5000 followers alone. The highest voted portfolios may also be offered the opportunity to participate in the Helsinki Photo Festival limited edition print program in 2021/22. The winners will be announced online as well as contacted in person via email by September 5, 2021.

The Competition Criteria

When examining entries, the jury of reviewers will consider the following criteria:

  • Impact
  • The lighting
  • The story it tells
  • Its technical quality
  • Creativity
  • Composition & style
  • Use of colour
  • Presentation

How to enter the contest

  • 1 submitted project equals → one review
  • 2 submitted projects equal → two reviews
  • 3 submitted projects equal → three reviews
  • 4 submitted projects equal → four reviews

If 5 projects are submitted the selected reviewer slots are guaranteed.

The selection process will be organized as follows:

  • Applications through Picter until August 31st, 2021. The total number of submissions is limited to 60, participants are selected on a ‘first applied – first served’ basis. All participants are invited to Helsinki for face-to-face meetings with reviewers. Those who will not be able to travel, will have a chance for a video conference.

The participants can choose the preferred reviewers for their projects, however, the organizers can assign other reviewers for submissions with less than 5 paid reviews. Only the participants finalists who paid for 5+ reviews will get reviews with their selected preferred critics, and for submissions with less than 5 paid reviews the organizers will assign a critic based on availability.


  • All participants have to pay 38€ fee for each project, i.e. review when they do the submission of their project. Each project can contain a maximum of 15 pictures. The face-to-face meetings with experts (reviews) will be organized in Helsinki on September 3rd and each review will be 20 minutes.
  • Selection of the Winner: During the portfolio review sessions, each critic will select the best portfolio in his opinion. In a final meeting the critics team will choose the best 5 finalists portfolios, 1 winner and 4 follow up finalists. The winner and finalists will be announced during the weekend, September 5th, 2021.

APPLY HERE