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Creative Process Within the Portfolio Build With Odessa Cozzolino

Case Study: Odessa Cozzolino

Odessa came to Agency Access as a consumer photographer wanting to move into the commercial marketplace. She was not ready to market commercially and really did not have her visual voice established. We started the process with a free 15 minute consult so I could learn more about what Odessa’s goals were and to see what product would be the best to suit her needs. We both were on the same page that she needed creative direction, as well as content to support her marketing goals. Odessa signed up for a three-month portfolio build.

Below is a selection of images that represented where Odessa was before we began the process.


Phase I:

The next step was to see what style of work Odessa was connecting with. First, Odessa gathered up tear sheets so we could visually communicate her goals.  We looked at the color palette, subject matter, expressions, lighting and overall feel of the imagery. With this we wrote a positioning statement to use as the guiding light in the edit and the shooting portion of the program.

OC2Positioning Statement:

 Odessa Cozzolino is a portrait photographer who specializes in real soulful imagery. Her photographs are authentic and raw and create a sense of intrigue to the viewer. She sees beauty in the everyday. Her images primarily utilize natural lighting, which showcase a sense of production and style. Odessa finds unnoticed moments that last. Her work can be seen in editorial magazines to commercial advertising.

Phase II:

We then edited Odessa’s existing images with the positioning statement in mind. It’s always a reality check to see what one’s goals are vs. what content one has that matches that goal.  We addressed the gaps that she was missing to get started shooting.

OC3Phase III:

We worked together weekly for three months to review her concepts, edit her new images, and discuss any obstacles along the way.  This is the work she shot during the next three months.

OC4The “Aha” moment:

Once Odessa was finished shooting we went back into her tears and compared her new images with the original tears. As you can see these are not identical but give the same feeling and energy as to what she is attracted to. The images with the red box around it are Odessa’s images. The “Aha” for us both was, we did not go after trying to replicate the tears, we were guided by the feel and vibe of the tears, which she nailed.



“Going into this portfolio building process I told Jennifer that I felt like I had lost myself as a photographer. I no longer knew who I was and had no vision. I used to know, but I didn’t anymore.

The tear sheet exercise was eye opening. During the exercise I was certain there was no cohesion, and yet in the end, almost magically, I had chosen a through line, a vision, an aesthetic. It was amazing and transformative.

Through the process I have found myself as an artist again. It’s a process I wish everyone could experience, no matter what their calling. Jennifer guided me through a system that allowed me to find myself, not for her to tell me who I was, and that is a true gift.

 With many many thanks.



To view more of Odessa’s work, visit her site.


Jennifer Kilberg

Jennifer Kilberg’s unique insight into the photo industry is a result of her extensive experience and understanding of all aspects of photography since joining the industry in 1996. In 2004, Jennifer started FluidVision Inc. and has worked with a diverse international client base of photographers and illustrators of all styles and specialties. As a strong communicator, Jennifer enjoys working with all types of personalities, and her loyal client base is a testament to her ability to build long-term relationships. Jennifer has worked with Agency Access clients since 2009 in both Campaign Manager programs and other types of consultations.

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