I’ve always enjoyed the process of editing for print. Unlike much of the work produced for online content, print edits require a very narrow focus with an eye toward creating a physical product. A photographer’s print portfolio needs to clearly define their photographic identity and weave together a series of images that is both emotionally engaging and directed toward an audience of potential clients.
I was particularly excited when the opportunity came up for me to work on Birmingham, Alabama-based member photographer Art Meripol’s book. Art shoots a range of hospitality, lifestyle, portrait, and architectural work, and was ready to rework his presentation from two books into one integrated portfolio that would blend his various specialties together into one impactful book.
My book had not been updated in over three years and a few of the images in the old book were going on 10 years old. Much of what was in that book was from the days where I was primarily a travel photographer. Since I no longer travel and try to primarily focus my work locally, my clients have changed. I’m not a specialist in any one arena.
It was clear to me from the beginning that Art had a strong sense of place in his work which we’d want to preserve while simultaneously reaching for an audience outside his regional market. After I had the chance to review Art’s website and questionnaire, the two of us jumped on the phone to discuss how best to focus the edit for his print portfolio. We talked about how the lifestyle work was of particular relevance for commercial clients, and that it would be a goal to keep a consistent upbeat mood throughout the edit.
I wanted a book that still represented me but I was unsure which images that would be. The longer I looked at recent work the harder it got to see how to bring it all together. I was intimidated by the process. I turned to WM for another perspective, one more informed with what is current and fresh, what art directors are looking for. I needed someone else’s vision to make it cohesive and ‘of a piece’.
After downloading and importing Art’s images into Lightroom, I began to sequence the work. It felt right to open with a series of lifestyle images that would set the tone for the rest of the edit. From there, I began to lay out groupings of spreads, including several diptychs that would add visual interest to the book design, and create some negative space to let things breathe a bit.
Much of Art’s lifestyle, hospitality and architectural work was horizonal, while many of his portraits were vertical. By utilizing diptychs for some of the portraiture, I was able to create an approach to the layouts that integrated the various specialties and kept things visually cohesive yet dynamic.
From the first edit she sent, I could see how Honore’s mind worked, and she brought back a result far and above what I would have done on my own. We had another phone call to talk about a few images and white space use, and soon she had another edit for me.
After two rounds of revisions, and a few more phone calls along the way with Art’s feedback, the edit came into focus. The only thing left for us to sort out was what image to end on. As mentioned earlier, Art’s work has a strong sense of place and a kind of positivity that felt important to communicate in the edit. For the final image in the book, I selected a sun washed cabin in the woods that felt extremely inviting and like it somehow both expressed the beginning and the end of something (perhaps the end of a long day or journey and the beginning of an adventure or a retreat).
I loved the way this photo gave a sense of closure to the book, and also was suggestive of several of Art’s specialties in one single image – feeling simultaneously related to hospitality, lifestyle, and architecture. Art was in agreement, and with that the edit was done.
I had some concerns about turning my work over to someone else but knew I had to. Otherwise, it wasn’t going to happen. But Honore truly listened to my concerns and desires for the book.
If you’re ready to take your marketing to the next level with print and email promos, contact our design professionals or give us a call at 610.260.0200.