Web assessments are a great way for us at Wonderful Machine to deliver a detailed critique of a photographer’s existing presentation along with helpful strategies to move forward. Hopeland, Calif.-based photographer Yvonne Boyd came to us looking for just this type of feedback. Although many features of Yvonne’s site, such as a great logo and clean design, achieved her goals effectively, there was a high volume of images to navigate through, and within each gallery, the focus needed to be tightened. In addition, a slight reorganization of the navigation was in order.
Before addressing her portfolio, I wanted to provide some specific feedback on the branding and the overall impression of the site design. Yvonne has a fabulous logo with a ton of personality that is well-suited to her brand. I encouraged her to reorient the navigation from the side to the top to maximize the logo’s impact and let it breathe, rather than crowding it into the upper-left corner. I also encouraged Yvonne to consider other font choices and colors to reinforce her graphic identity.
After examining the branding, a few things jumped out at me as great ways to streamline the presentation of Yvonne’s work on the site. As a photo editor, I am sometimes short on time while reviewing a photographer’s website and hope to quickly identify their areas of expertise. It can be frustrating to encounter categories on a website that are so broad and include such diverse types of work that they leave unclear what aspect of the portfolio they represent.
For these reasons, I recommended that Yvonne remove her gallery of Recent and Random Work. In addition to showing very diverse work, this gallery also included some images appearing elsewhere on the site. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to never present the same image twice on your website. I recommended eliminating this section and sorting out commercial work into her specialty galleries.
The next step would be to talk about the existing image edit in the primary specialty galleries of Yvonne’s site: Portraits, Interiors, and Landscapes. In terms of navigation, I recommended that Yvonne lead with the galleries on Portraits and Interiors as they showcased relevant client work. After, we culled the number of images in each gallery to highlight environmental portraits, bright interiors, and agricultural landscapes to appeal to potential commercial and editorial clients.
After tackling branding and the portfolio, it was important for me to also give some guidance about the Contact and About pages of Yvonne’s site. I recommended that Yvonne eliminate the form from her contact page and instead hyperlink her phone number in order to create a direct line of communication. I also suggested including her location on the page as a way to help boost SEO.
Yvonne’s About page clearly expressed her sense of humor and made her seem approachable. All good things! The only changes I recommended were to tighten the description of her shooting style to be more specific to advertising and editorial clients. When describing yourself and your work emphasize what you shoot and how you approach assignments. Anyone who has read your About page should come away with a general sense of who you are, where you are, and what you shoot.
As with all of our consulting projects, after I had provided all of this feedback to Yvonne in the form of a narrated video assessment of her website, we scheduled a phone call. These calls allow us to answer any questions that may have come up while watching the video assessment, as well as to strategize about the next steps for the photographer.