The Helsinki Photo Festival Portfolio Review is an annual international competition to discover, exhibit, and publish new talents in photography.
31 August 2021
8:59 AM

By clicking "Start Submission", you agree to be contacted by the host regarding this opportunity.

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 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.


Selection Notification
2 September 2020
Call for entries open
13 August 2021
Submission deadline
31 August 2021



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    Biography with up to 1500 characters

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    CV with up to 2000 characters (or PDF file)

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    1 to 5 projects per submission

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    10 to 20 files per project

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    Project description

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    Select your preferred portfolio reviewer

Confirmed Reviewers

Alexa Becker (DE); Acquisitions Editor for photography and art books for Kehrer Verlag. Becker obtained her Master's in Art History from the University of Heidelberg. She started her career at Kehrer in 2003, where she is responsible for selecting and acquiring new photography-related projects. Mrs. Becker provides artistic and marketing advice for photographers concerning the content and style of their work at several international portfolio reviews. She enjoys helping photographers and others appreciate the special qualities present in their work - in particular discovering novel, genuine visions of the world. Mrs. Becker serves at several international portfolio reviews as a reviewer and sits on a number of online juries.

Nela Eggenberger (AT); Chief Editor at EIKON -- International Magazine for Photography & Media Art.
Eggenberger studied Art History in Vienna. Since 2013, she has been the Chief Editor of EIKON -- International Magazine for Photography and Media Art. Previously, she was involved in various editorial activities, e.g. for Frame. The State of the Art, MUMOK, WestLicht (all based in Vienna). She was a publisher of 5×5. Photo Tracks (2016) and worked on exhibitions in cooperation with KUNST HAUS WIEN (Pas de Deux, 2015), BAWAG P.S.K. Contemporary (Fragile, 2013, with Gregor Ecker), among others.

Christian Bobst (CH); Photographer
Christian Bobst originally studied graphic design. For almost 15 years he worked for major advertising agencies in Switzerland and Germany. In 2010 he started working as a freelance documentary photographer. Since then he has produced numerous photo reports and assignments in Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America. His work has been published in magazines, daily newspapers and online media such as GEO, Stern, The Guardian, National Geographic, Die Zeit, NZZ, LensCulture and 6mois. Christian has won numerous international and national photo awards. In 2016, he won the 2nd prize of the World Press Photo Award in the Sport Stories category, in 2020 he was awarded at the POYi, in 2017 at the NPPA as well as with the vfg Swiss Photo Award and the photo prize of the canton of Solothurn and many more. Christian Bobst lives in Zurich and is a member of the photo agency laif in Germany.

Hannamari Shakya (FI); Visual Storyteller / Writer / Publisher
Shakya is a Helsinki-based visual storyteller, multidisciplinary artist, author and creative director; photographer, documentary filmmaker, writer, producer, curator, educator and publisher with an interest in societal issues, human rights and questions related to identity and belonging. Shakya uses visual storytelling as a way of engaging more intimately with these issues. She holds an MA in Culture and Art.

Moritz Neumüller (AT); Barcelona based Curator, Educator and Writer in the field of Photography and New Media.
Neumüller has worked for institutions such as MoMA New York, La Fábrica Madrid and PhotoIreland Festival. He is the Academic Director of the Photo Department of IED Madrid, and a regular contributor to magazines such as European Photography, foam and Photoresearcher. Since 2010, he has been running The Curator Ship, an online resource for visual artists. Recent curatorial projects for Daegu Biennial (Korea), Photobook Week Aarhus (DK), and The Birmingham Library (UK).

Rafael Rybczynski (DK); Curator and the Artistic Director of Helsinki Photo Festival.
Rybczynski has been building his professional career in the cultural and creative industries for over 20 years. He is known for fostering emerging and established talents. He has worked for artists, brands and startups with new products and services, creativity and innovation, events, sourcing and publishing digital and visual content. In 2017, he founded Helsinki Photo Festival and since then has been at the helm of this project. Rafael has an MSc degree in Interaction Design.


What is the entry fee to submit to Helsinki Photo Festival's Portfolio Reviews?

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).  Pack of 5 reviews (€190).

When does the call open and close?

The call opens on August 13, 2021 at 11:59 AM Eastern European Time.

The call closes on August 31, 2021 at 23:59 PM Eastern European Time.

Where can I sign up for a Picter account?

Visit to sign up for a free account.

I would like to submit more than one project. Is it possible?

The open call allows submission of one (1) portfolio only. There is no limit to how many images can be included in the submitted portfolio. However, as each individual review takes approximately 20 minutes, we do not encourage our applicants to submit too many photographic works.

Can I edit my portfolio once it has already been submitted?

No, all submissions are final. In the event of uncertainties, please contact

What happens to work that is selected?

Each photographer will have five appointments, each with a duration of twenty minutes. The appointments will be held one day only and are held with strict punctuality. The reviews will be given in English. The organization will do its best to arrange appointments with the reviewers preferred by each of the photographers. The organization will send each participant a personal schedule close to the dates, once we near the dates of the event.

If I am not selected, will I receive feedback and suggestions for my work?

Due to the large number of entries, it is not possible to provide personalized feedback for artists.

What happens to the work that wins the competition?

If your portfolio is selected to be amongst the winners, you will be notified on 5th of September 2021.

31 August 2021
8:59 AM

By clicking "Start Submission", you agree to be contacted by the host regarding this opportunity.