Vancouver, Canada-based fashion photographer Hugh Tull came to us for a Web Assessment, looking for help in polishing his website presentation with a specific request for advice on editing and sequencing his web galleries. Editing and sequencing images — that is, to present one’s work with a cohesive and a consistent voice — is one of the most challenging tasks a photographer faces. Sequencing strategies can vary widely depending on the nature of the work as well as the form that the final presentation will take.
Before I dove into the meat and potatoes of his galleries, I offered a bit of advice on his contact page.
Achieving the goal of a great edit and sequence is not unlike creating a great song … it needs harmony, rhythm, and variety. Each photograph should express, with the others, a clear purpose. A great sequence will convince clients that a photographer knows what they are doing and will nail any assignment that comes his way. A poor sequence, even if composed of great images, can appear scattered, random, or unfocused, and leave a client feeling disoriented.
Along with the other goals of the web assessment, this was my challenge in reviewing Hugh’s website. Hugh shoots really solid fashion work, that is clean, sharp, and technically refined, but his galleries had some inconsistencies.
One of my first observations when reviewing Hugh’s website was that he was using a linear, horizontal-scrolling gallery format. This format essentially forced him into sequence his images in a particular order for a portfolio that doesn’t really require narrative in the way that, say, a documentary series would. I recommended using a masonry-style format, which would release him of some of the burden of creating a specific ordering of images while allowing visitors to his site to get a reading of his work in a more streamlined way by seeing more of his photographs at once.
When dealing with a fashion portfolio, beyond the aesthetic and technical variations of the genre, one of the most important connections between fashion images is a common attitude. Fashion clients brand themselves chiefly along the lines of the attitude their customers want to embody. The emotional notes of a fashion campaign for The Gap, for example, might be considered fun and care-free. Alternatively, Levi’s may project a mood of romanticism in its representations of the American West. For higher fashion, attitudes take a different shape, sometimes becoming cooler and colder. A photographers’ fashion galleries are most effective when expressing the attitude that appeals to their ideal clientele.
With this in mind, I began examining Hugh’s Fashion gallery and loved what I saw. The first impression of this gallery was that he creates very strong work, but there were inconsistencies in the attitude of his pictures. I recommended to him that he remove some of the images that felt out of sync in the emotional tone they expressed.
I also offered suggestions on other areas of his site. Within his Videos gallery, he had some great behind-the-scenes material that clients love to see, but a few of the videos were more than five years old, which could give clients the impression that he isn’t as active with video work. I recommended he include only recent work samples to ensure the site felt current.
Finally, I took note that Hugh works within beauty and portrait segments as well, although these galleries weren’t yet as fully developed as his fashion portfolio, which inadvertently threw his presentation a little out of balance. To rectify this, I recommended Hugh include an overview page with selects from all his portfolios to give clients an immediate view of all the best he has to offer.
It was a genuine pleasure to work with Hugh in polishing his web presentation. It all starts by having the kind of strong work that Hugh has, and it ends with developing a presentation style that seamlessly fuses all the photographer’s various technical and creative offerings into a clear and succinct presentation that highlights the very best of what he has to offer.
If you ready for a web assessment with Greg or any of our consultants, please email Bryan Sheffield or give us a call at 610 260 0200!