Bill Ecklund needed a way to diversify his portfolio, and the COVID lockdown provided him with the time to focus on this important aspect of his career. The Wayne, PA-based freelancer has always kept a busy schedule, but his shoots were predominantly centered around portraits. A mix of portraits, yes, but most of his best work fell under that single category.
The problem I faced is that far too many of the images on my website were culled from high school senior shoots, making it difficult for magazines to be convinced I could take the kind of portraits needed for a profile piece on, for example, an entrepreneur, business leader, or older professional. The portraits were too stylized to be editorial portraits and not stylized enough to be fashion or fine art.
Back in the fall of 2019, Bill set about widening the scope of his marketable photographic abilities. What’s interesting is that this took place during the busy season, which seems counterintuitive. Nevertheless, while the timing was bad, something else happened that, in retrospect, was perfectly timed. Bill was asked to take more interior photos, and though it further clogged up his schedule, he actually welcomed it.
Once senior portrait season hit, I was on photoshoots from July to December every weekend and most weekdays, taking photos of over 80 seniors. But I was also being asked to take more interior photos, and I was beginning to enjoy it as much as I did my senior shoots.
I loved the collaboration with designers, seeing spaces as a giant still life, trying to capture the “personality” of a room and using light the same way I would in a portrait. With the new perspective, I started to think more seriously about promoting myself as an interior home-and-garden photographer, and when the new year started, I decided to make that shift in a subtle way by redesigning my website.
The Philadelphian went through his interior work, creating a tight edit that put his best stuff front and center. He also went “live” with the gallery, which was previously private for potential clients.
My first step was to make my “Interiors” gallery viewable. Then, I went through the gallery to delete images and add new ones so only my best work was shown. From those, I revisited the raw files to re-edit and improve them and then re-upload them. What remained was to change my About page to reflect the new direction and then pare down my portrait galleries.
With that completed, Bill ultimately realized that what he needed was to create an entirely new website for his interior shots because having them on the same website as his portraits weakened the content of both. Once he put together his new interiors website, everything started to click; he could spend his time refining each site and making both the best they could be.
Everything fell into place quickly because having a clear focus for each site simplified the process. For the interiors gallery, I chose a unique theme (I use Format for site creation), and I continued the process of further culling the photos to show only the best. Then, I re-edited them and divided them into three galleries. I also did the same with my galleries on the Portrait website.
In both, I reworked the Personal section, including more projects that related in some way to the respective sites. The personal sites were important to me because, while I was narrowing my sites to a niche, the personal work gave me the freedom to show other interests and styles without watering down the focus of my site.
With a new look comes new goals, and Bill has shifted his focus to account for his ambitions. The phrase “quality over quantity” comes to mind, not as a way of saying that Bill’s prior work wasn’t of high quality, but more as a way of labeling his approach to landing new assignments. But Bill has always loved portraiture and is never going to stray too far from that photographic genre.
Before, the goal was to get as much work as I could to sustain myself as a self-employed photographer, so I’d showcase all of my photographic interests. Now, I know that I want to become an established interior photographer with the hope of incorporating portraiture into my work as it relates to the interior, architectural or home-and-garden work. The focus makes every decision in choosing assignments, personal projects, and marketing so much easier.
My hope is that, as I take more interiors, I can also take portraits as needed, such as portraits of homeowners, architects, designers, and hoteliers and perhaps lifestyle portraits that help clients promote their interior spaces. Before, my portraits led to me taking interiors — now I trust that the interiors will lead me back to portraiture, but this time as a way to support and enhance the other.
Check out more of Bill’s work at billecklund.com.
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