You can always tell when photographers get to shoot the subjects that they’re most interested in. Chicago photographer Cynthia Lynn does just that–people, pets, and beautiful places. Her images are colorful and welcoming, reflecting her own disposition. But even though the pictures on her website are strong, she was showing too many of them, so she came to me for help. It’s not uncommon to see photographers showing more images than necessary. It’s a natural inclination for photographers, who love all of their pictures and can’t bear parting with any of them. But in order to create the most impact for clients, sometimes less is more. In Cynthia’s case, she had four galleries dedicated to travel, plus a “lifestyle” gallery that was was a melting pot of food, places, and people snapshots. Simplifying was the main task at hand. After considering her professional goals and discussing the commercial opportunities for her pictures, we decided on having galleries dedicated to portraits, dogs, travel, interiors, and tear sheets (which we ended up calling People, Companions, Spaces, Places, and Published).
First, I tackled the people pictures. When sequencing her people images, I wanted to create a balance of their physical position, whether sitting or standing. It wouldn’t flow visually having five people in a row sitting in a chair, so I stayed conscious of this.
“Companions” was my favorite gallery to work on because it’s all dog portraits (no offense to humans, they’re great too). Because we can already see the reportage style by looking at Cynthia’s travel images, I wanted to show that she can effectively shoot in the studio and use artificial light. In fact, this was something Cynthia wants to shoot more of. At first I had a lot of images, as it’s difficult to remove cute puppies. But because dogs on a seamless backdrop can quickly become redundant, I chose a handful and mixed them in with her more conceptual situational images to make it more dynamic.
Travel, decidedly what a majority of photographers want to shoot, is tricky as it can spread across multiple specialties, from reportage to portraiture to lifestyle, and so on. With Cynthia’s edit, I found that pairing images together was more powerful than having them stand alone. By having that support, the images create a more balanced and energetic story.
In Home and Garden, lighting and color were crucial when deciding which images to include and which to remove. Because the purpose of the images are to show the space and the items which occupy that space, there shouldn’t be anything else to distract from that, especially any strong hues. I loved that Cynthia not only had images of each room in the house, but she also had great images of the actual space. It’s nice to be able to show transitional spaces rather than just isolated rooms.
To see before and after videos of Cynthia’s site, and to hear my analysis, please check out my screencast below: