Felipe Guzmán is a Mexico City-based photographer who specializes in still life, landscapes, portraiture, and video. In December Felipe approached us for a web assessment to get some help freshening up his site to present his work more powerfully to potential clients.
When we perform a web assessment for a photographer, we do three things: (1) analyze the organization of photographer’s images and its relation to the folder structure of his website, (2) evaluate the effectiveness of the brand identity the photographer has chosen, and (3) make recommendations for self-assigned projects that the photographer should take up to burnish his brand identity.
In short, first impressions are as important for websites as they are for individuals. The overall design, navigation, and branding of a photographer’s website will set the tone for how viewers experience their photography and will establish whether they are welcomed or put off by what they see.
As such, we went through Felipe’s entire site as well as his social media accounts. Our final deliverable to Felipe included a list of suggestions for his online platforms.
After learning from Felipe how he wanted to position himself, we looked at his branding and web presentation. We began by suggesting that he simplify the organization of his site into five specialty categories each corresponding to his goals. The galleries should be renamed Product, Architecture, Portrait, Landscape, and Motion. This solution simplified Felipe’s branding and made his site’s organization more intuitive.
To implement those changes, I made recommendations for a new web platform and template. Felipe decided to migrate from Zenfolio to a new site template that would present his work in a more modern way. For example, Squarespace offers templates that are clean, easily navigable, and immediately recognized within the commercial photo world.
Along with this, we decided that the site needed some changes in order to maintain image size consistency. In general, many of his images would have been more strongly showcased by being available in larger versions. As it was, only the architecture images could be seen in higher resolution. Additionally, a few of Felipe’s photos needed to be reprocessed because of color or clarity issues, while others contained a watermark that we suggested be removed. Potential clients will download these images for mood boards and inspiration, and anything inhibiting that usage should be eliminated. Nonetheless, we encouraged Felipe to make sure all of his contact information should be written into the metadata for each image.
Continuing, we addressed the wordmark and typefaces, some of which differed throughout the site. Consistency is key when developing your branding, and that applies to typography as much as anything.
At that point, we could then examine each gallery individually and assess the contents as well as the gallery titles. I made recommendations based on what’s trending in the industry and what criteria the publication, agency, and brand clients we work with use. I gave Felipe some suggestions on images to add or omit within each gallery. Some images were removed for redundancy, others because they weren’t strong enough for his target audience.
We suggested that Felipe change the title of his “Director of Photography” gallery to Motion. The latter label is widely used and recognized — not to mention more concise and encompassing — all of which is important because Felipe said he’d like to take on other roles in future motion projects, such as directing and editing.
After looking through Felipe’s site, we felt his strongest work was his environmental portraiture as well as the imagery in his Still Life gallery. We recommended that he explore shooting some self-assigned work that combines these styles because brands love to see their products being used by models in gorgeous locations.
During the Web Assessment process, we like to bring up the websites of other commercial photographers working along the same lines to provide some inspiration. I suggested Felipe take a look at the sites of Dan Chung, Patrick Heagney, Natalie Chitwood, and Corey Maywalt. They are four photographers that we think have quality websites not too different from the style that Felipe wants in his work and brand aesthetic.
Our Web Assessment process also took us through Felipe’s social media accounts and how they can be utilized to promote his art more effectively. We also presented the pros and cons of having a blog in 2020; Felipe chose not to have a blog on his updated site, instead preferring to devote his focus to his Instagram page.
Felipe took our recommendations and transferred his work to a brand-new web template. He also reorganized his galleries and incorporated updated edits of images. As we write this, Felipe is working on some new self-assigned projects in the brand narrative realm to beef up his portfolio even further.
We are looking forward to seeing how Felipe and his work evolve!