As I posted a couple of weeks ago, I recently updated my website galleries and design. Scott Willson, Managing Director of Sandbox Studio, and former new Media Director at The North Face, took a look and said this: "Great website. Did you update it? I remember you had a good one, but this seems more structured and cohesive." That's exactly the response I was hoping for from a leader in my chosen adventure industry. So how did I get there?
It's always a big undertaking for me to overhaul my website as it seems to be something that collects small amounts of odds and ends over time; here an image, there an image, until there's no cohesion or flow. Sitting down to revamp things, I did a lot of research and then spent a lot of time looking at other websites and images. Only then did I establish a direction and start putting things together. However, this post isn't about the process I went through in forming my new galleries (snooze), but rather a total dump of the resources I found helpful when evaluating my own work. Most of these are videos, so I hope it helps.
VALUABLE PORTFOLIO RESOURCES
Portfolio critiques, reviews, and changes I found to be most helpful. Wonderful Machine posts videos of this process by their Photo Editors to their YouTube Channel. I watched them all, but this one was from a photographer in the outdoor industry.
As far as portfolio reviewers go, I would put Allegra Wilde near the top of the list. This is a long watch, but a great resource for understanding what art buyers and editors are looking for and what your images are saying.
Zack Arias recently posted his process for creating his new portfolio and I found a lot of what he said to be helpful. Head over there and have a read.
WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT EDITING MY WORK
A couple of things I discovered along the way:
- If you're stressed out about limiting content within your galleries, remember you can always create blog posts and use social media for sharing the images that nearly made the cut.
- Don't try to be all things to all people. Find your niche, and your style, and serve them both. If an image doesn't fit well within a gallery, push it aside. Make sure people know exactly what they're going to get if they hire you.
- Use a blog. This will help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and allow you to share more work without feeling like you're cramming it into the corners of your website.
- If you need it, get some outside help. Hiring an editor can be pricey (as much as a new camera). I used Eyeist (see Allegra Wilde video above) and for $150 had my website reviewed by a professional editor. I selected Amy Silverman the Photo Editor for Outside Magazine because she's in the industry I'm interested in. Before she started she asked me lots of questions about my goals and direction and then recorded my review. This was an added benefit. Hearing an editors voice walk through her process helped me a lot in trying to understand her thoughts and perspective.
- Lastly, take time out between review sessions. Don't expect to sit down and hammer all of this out in one sitting. You won't be happy with the results and you'll likely be making emotional choices instead of artistic ones.
Hope that helped. If you have any other thoughts I'd love to hear from you.