It’s April 2021. The sun is shining, the skies are blue, and I stare out my window wishing for a little taste of the outside. It’s been a year since, you know, all this started and it feels as though nothing has changed — pandemic-wise at least. But despite my woes about these seemingly never-ending days, I find that there is much to celebrate, and today I’m celebrating my one year anniversary of working with Andrew Waters!
Based in Woodstock, Georgia, Andrew is a portrait, sports, and travel photographer. Coming from a fine art and design background with an established career as a graphic designer, he came to us looking for help with finding his voice as a photographer. “Who is Andrew’s target market? What kind of work does he want to produce?” These were the questions we were looking to answer.
I really wanted to have an objective and clear look at my existing work to get a better idea of my strengths and weaknesses. From there, I wanted to work on building a portfolio that played to these strengths, and then start to work on areas where I needed to dig in more, with a clear guide as to where my work could go.
To start off, I evaluated his website, social media, and branding to help identify where his strengths were and what areas needed improvement. Having worked for Turner Sports, Andrew already had a solid sports portfolio. It was clear he has a strong eye for dynamic compositions and the skills required to capture exhilarating moments.
I saw lots of great moments like these in his Sports gallery. However, when we navigated to his People and Travel galleries, we stumbled on a startling contrast in style and voice.
There was a photojournalistic feel across all the galleries, but it was hard to see those connections immediately. The varying subject matter clashed with each other, and the design and layout of the website made it harder to fully appreciate the galleries and images in their entirety. Thus, we had our work cut out for us!
Essentially, we stripped down Andrew’s website and portfolio to their bare bones, focusing on his strongest images that would be most relevant to his dream clients. Then, we rebuilt everything from the ground up. We scrolled through numerous photographer websites and researched list after list of potential clients to identify what areas of specialty and types of projects were most appealing to Andrew. We also reviewed self-assigned work — as well as older projects in his archive — and geeked out about games and movies (not really relevant, but pretty fun).
As happens with Creative Coaching, it took some time before Andrew and I found the right rhythm and pace. The more we looked at other photographers and Andrew’s own archives, the easier it was for us to piece together what made up his photographic style and voice: muted tones and moodier imagery but with a warm, occasionally retro vibe — a bit gritty but still polished. He was able to execute a variety of shoots that brought a diverse but cohesive portfolio that would appeal to both editorial and commercial clients. It was great to see it all come to life!
I really got a better idea of where my work fits in the market and where my strengths lie. It was wonderful to have someone sit down and objectively organize and sequence my work. Just getting a different point of view of your work is refreshing. I also enjoyed going through my archives with an intent of finding images that never saw the light of day. I found some really great stuff in that process, and it was exciting to unearth images and then share them with Jemma to see where they could fit into the bigger project.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, most of our time in Creative Coaching was spent on refining Andrew’s People gallery, though we were really itching to get our hands on landing some brand narrative test shoots with local companies. When we weren’t working on his portraits, we revisited his Travel and Sports galleries and tightened up the edits there.
Can you believe that so much can change within a year? Not that we’re done yet — in fact, now that we’ve reached our creative benchmark, we’ll be diving into getting Andrew’s work in front of the right clients!
Here’s what Andrew said about his Creative Coaching experience:
What was your favorite self-assignment project that you’ve worked on?
I did a series of environmental portraits during the late summer at night called “August in Atlanta.” It was just me and the subject; we worked quickly to avoid imminent rain showers, and it reminded me how fun it is to just shoot and be in the moment.
Would you recommend Creative Coaching to others? How likely would you be to recommend it?
I would certainly recommend it. I probably leaned on Jemma for both Creative Coaching and a bit of mental therapy, too! We’ve laughed at how ambitious we were last spring, and how quickly those plans changed. It was a great experience and I am very happy with the growth and outcome from it.
What was working with Jemma like?
Fantastic. Truly. My calls and interaction with Jemma have become the one of the highlights of my week. For me, it’s good to work and throw out ideas and have someone to bounce them off of. It has allowed me to just create and not overthink too much. Jemma will quickly say what’s working and what isn’t and then we just move on. We’ve gotten to the point now where we just text each other random ideas and thoughts about photography and pop culture. I really value our relationship and am thankful it came together in such a crazy time.
Need help overhauling your portfolio and website to attract dream clients? Send us an email to see how we can be of service!