When a photographer begins to build a large portfolio of projects, it sometimes can be hard to determine which images and campaigns represent their strongest work. Philadelphia-based photographer Steve Boyle specializes in commercial sports/fitness photography for brands and clients such as Peloton, Theraband, and Polar, along with editorial stories and portraits of professional athletes across a wide range of sports. He approached Wonderful Machine to conduct a Project Edit for two recently completed campaigns that he wanted to incorporate into the current galleries on his website.
The first project that Steve asked us to work on was a brand narrative campaign for Herbalife showcasing their products incorporated into various sports in a range of locales. An overall sunny and action-focused project, the shoots required Steve to bring a cohesiveness to various outdoor sports — such as soccer and swimming — along with indoor gym settings, like boxing and cycling. The second project came from a freeform editorial-style shoot with a popular Esports gaming team, which varied from the first project both in lighting and the overall action of the subjects.
I started out in the commercial photography world after studying fine art and art history at Philadelphia’s Tyler School of Art, carving my path through the industry by way of assisting other photographers, retouching, studio managing, and eventually photo editing and producing. I like to think that my background in fine arts blended with my experience in commercial photography lends me a great set of curatorial skills to lean on when working on edits like this.
My first impression was that both of these projects were great additions to Steve’s current site — the Herbalife campaign was a well-known brand and the project showed off Steve’s range of abilities through numerous locations and settings with a myriad of different types of athletes and sports. The Esports project was great in the sense that it was a unique and interesting peek into what is an overlooked professional sport, at least in the realm of commercial photography.
After our initial conversation, Steve and I agreed that my goal for this edit would be slightly different for each gallery — to showcase the best imagery while also conveying the number of different sports and locations that were covered for Herbalife, and then to showcase his best photos with the Esports team as a clever narrative so that he could appeal to more gaming clients. These images were unedited and from a single day with one team, so he hopes to add to the gallery as he shoots more of this type of work.
For Herbalife, we loosely wanted some images with product and branding and knew that needed to become evident as a whole gallery. Out of 150 images total, we planned to narrow this down to around 20 images for the final project gallery. We agreed that some of the locations and their respective models were not as strong and could be cut or used as filler if needed.
For Esports, we imagined a considerably tighter edit of 8-10 images curated from the 105 images he provided. While all of the images were visually interesting, I felt the smaller scope of this project didn’t need such an expansive edit to convey the story.
Along the way, Steve also asked for help in determining the layouts and gallery design to keep these projects consistent with the others on his site as well as my input on which images to emphasize with larger or smaller sizes in the galleries, which is a technique he incorporates in various other galleries on his site.
I aided in this by providing him with sample layout PDFs at the end of each round of edits mimicking his site’s gallery template, which was super helpful for us in curating our decisions for each subsequent round of editing. I think this is an immensely helpful tactic to employ for tight edits like this and helps us visualize each gallery as a whole when selecting the photos to display.
In the end, we hit our mark with 21 final images for Herbalife and 10 for the Esports team. We agreed that the edits were showcasing the best photos and conveyed each project appropriately, along with a concise curation of the numerous photos. Steve was very happy with the work and looked forward to implementing the edits onto his site.