A Web Assessment is a service designed to provide global feedback on a photographer’s website and overall brand presentation. It’s a great way to get a strong sense of what type of impression your current website is making and to understand which clients you are likely to appeal to with your existing curation and design. A few months ago, I had the opportunity to work with Burlington, Vermont-based travel, agriculture, industrial, and portrait photographer Oliver Parini to provide just this type of feedback.
As with every Wonderful Machine consulting project, my process began with a review of Oliver’s consulting questionnaire and an evaluation of Oliver’s website and social media accounts. Since our web assessments are set up to be Zoom-based interactive critique sessions, I took careful notes in order to prepare and put together a list of the major points that I wanted to convey to Oliver when we met.
It was clear to me that Oliver’s site represented the strength of his editorial work, including clients like Yankee Magazine and The New York Times. He had a consistent visual style and a strong sense of place that runs throughout his work and provides a compelling and cohesive look to the website. As a photo editor with a background in commissioning work for magazines, I immediately connected with Oliver’s sensitivity to his subjects and his ability to tell stories in a naturalistic, yet-elevated style.
The branding on Oliver’s site, however, was less clearly defined and did not feel unique to Oliver’s visual style. During the web assessment discussion, I wanted to make sure that I provided feedback about some of the ways that the font choices and logo design could eventually be developed to show off the same visual sensibility and character captured in the photographs. I wanted to make sure that as Oliver continues to work toward reaching out to more commercial brands, he understood the value of strong branding and what this might look like for him.
In addition to a discussion of branding, I also wanted to make sure that Oliver was aware that his Architecture gallery did not fit seamlessly into the rest of the portfolio. We talked about the pros and cons of keeping this work on the website, and how it could still be used as a hidden gallery link for selective marketing if it was removed from the website. By removing Architecture from the website, Oliver would also be committing to presenting himself as more of a specialist in the travel, agriculture, and industrial genres than as a generalist who can do a little bit of everything. This shift toward appearing as more of a specialist with well-defined areas of expertise is also an important part of focusing your portfolio toward reaching a wider audience of commercial clients.