To kick off 2013 with a bang, Birmingham-based photographer Stephen Devries decided to celebrate with a new web edit from Wonderful Machine. Stephen is an incredibly talented photographer, and already had a strong foundation in place, but was at the tail end of a transition from shooting weddings to focusing on food, fashion, lifestyle and portraiture. He’d already set up a website using A Photo Folio’s Design X platform but needed some assistance with gallery organization and photo sequencing. I happily stepped in to offer some guidance.
Before I looked through the 600+ images Stephen sent over, I called down to Birmingham to discuss his current presentation and what he had in mind as far as an upgrade. The general design of his website was great. Design X offers photographers a clean and simple layout that draws visitors in and keeps them engaged with large, scalable images and intuitive navigation. There were, however, a few issues I immediately noticed. His portfolio was organized into four sections: Lifestyle/Fashion, Portrait, Food/Travel and Tears. After spending time looking through each, I recommended that he divide up each category, and distinguish a new corporate gallery separate from his portraits. He enthusiastically agreed.
After I dissected his collection of images, I began the process of pairing and developing sequences. I decided to start with portraits. In Stephen’s case, there were two ways to go. He has a nice variety of environmental portraits that show off diverse subjects in different settings. Many of these shots however, didn’t depart far from his lifestyle work, and would have seemed redundant in a separate category. Luckily, he also had a great set of grittier black and white portraits that helped show off his range of talent. So I used these in his portrait section.
Next I took on the task of breaking down and rebuilding the galleries he’d consolidated. When Stephen first launched this site he didn’t think his food/travel/lifestyle/fashion work was comprehensive enough to be housed in independent galleries. However, all it took was a fresh eye to see that a new approach was all he needed. There was more than enough work in each of these categories to string a cohesive and engaging narrative together. For example, by transferring some of his lifestyle work to his food gallery, I created a sequence that beautifully transitioned from farm to kitchen to table.
I took the same approach to building Stephen’s other galleries—carefully crafting stories and cohesive edits in each one. Finally, I put together a tears section. Using images that represented all of his work, I built a general outline of Stephen’s offerings. I thought this would be a nice way of showcasing his diverse talents without having to use redundant images in an overview gallery, which I strongly advise against.
After all was said and done, we ended up with a whooping seven galleries: lifestyle, food, portraits, fashion, corporate, travel and tears. Stephen was very happy with the direction I’d taken his website. He now had a succinct yet comprehensive presentation that will only help to add distance between where he was as a wedding photographer and where he wants to go in the wonderful world of food, fashion and lifestyle photography.
View Stephen’s updated website and galleries at stephendevriesphoto.com.