Anyone obsessed with Pinterest boards about interiors, home decor, architecture, or modern spaces would want to pin everything from Donna Dotan who specializes in architecture and interiors. Donna was planning on attending the Palm Springs Portfolio Review at the Photo Expo in NYC. But there was one minor problem–she didn’t have a print portfolio. I was very excited to help Donna a Print Edit. As much as I love web edits, nothing beats editing for a book. It’s an experience, thumbing through the pages and looking forward to each image. It’s a tangible visual, a piece of art and hopefully a gateway to potential commerce.
Donna wanted her book to be in the hands of commercial and editorial clients such as interior designers, architecture firms, hotels, and magazines like Dwell, Elle Decor, and Travel & Leisure to name a few. She has a fantastic library of work, so the biggest hurdle was selecting images that would resonate with her potential client list. We wanted to create a book that showcases her ability to shoot modern spaces–inside and out, residential and commercial.
The process was a collaboration between Donna and me. As an editor, I wanted to create an edit that rings true to her as a photographer and also shows work that’s relevant for clients. We both wanted to open the book with a modern structure to ease the viewer in, letting them know that what they’re about to look at will be fantastic architectural and interior photographs.
After the first round of edits, Donna wanted to include images of retail shops, storefronts, commercial sites, and some luxury lifestyle. Though the work was good, it didn’t add anything to the edit, but rather weakened the book. Because the clients Donna would be seeing were primarily editorial, we wanted a book that would zero in on them and commercial spaces would distract from the main objective. Instead of grouping the images by residential projects, I wanted to mix them up and show variety. I did this by using the exteriors and cityscapes as transitions, as if we were touring several homes and spaces.
At the same time, we didn’t want to blend residential spaces with commercial spaces. Though it was an architectural and interior book, we still wanted a solid structure. We started with residential and moved on to commercial. We seamlessly ended with resorts and hotels, which is something she wants to continue capturing.
I’m so happy with how it turned out, both inside and out! Hong, thank you SO much for all of your help with my edit. I got some great feedback at the Palm Springs portfolio review at the Photo Expo in NY. One person initially asked me if I “do this professionally,” and then I took out my book and he said “well that answers that.” What a great response.
Oftentimes photographers will try to show that they can capture everything. However, I always remind them that a website will take on that responsibility. A book should be concise and compelling. Remember, Hemingway’s best work consisted of 6 words–“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
See more of Donna’s work on her website!
Wonderful Machine: Expert Advice: Print Portfolios