Transitioning Your Personal Project into Commercial Work and Back


This past summer, photographer Jen Pottheiser embarked on a personal project based on the people she encountered in her commercial assignments. In June and July, she spent five weeks documenting the lives of nine remarkable “Olympic Moms.” This group of women were training for the London Olympics and also raising children as they prepared to bring home the gold.

In the course of this presentation at the B&H event space, Pottheiser shows a trajectory of her work, touching on early personal projects and the resulting assignments. She began her professional career with a personal project, photographing athletes “20 & Under” at New York City sporting events. She used these first self-directed portrait assignments to pitch to the likes of SLAM Magazine and Sports Illustrated.

Transitioning to present day, Potthesier focuses on her commercial work with professional athletes, and how that evolved into the Olympic Moms project. Using images from her portfolio, she discusses the process of pitching personal work and how a meeting at the ASMP Portfolio Review was instrumental in allowing the Olympic Moms project to be seen. She also highlights the sort of production efforts that are necessary for both personal and commercial assignments.

This presentation is ideal for beginning and intermediate photographers as well as advanced shooters looking to fine-tune their skills.