Last spring, Maine-based photographer Heather Perry came to Wonderful Machine to update the overall look of her website and portfolio and develop a stronger brand identity. After chatting with one of our project managers, Heather began work on our Branding Overhaul package, including a new logo, bio, web edit, and web template customization. Heather had a solid body of work for us to utilize, but the focus of her presentation pulled viewers in a few different directions at once — and also included her work as a painter.
I had been feeling really stagnant in the presentation of my work in the last few years, and while I have all the skills I need to create a new website for myself, I really wanted a fresh, professional perspective on my work and overall brand look. I decided to get an entirely fresh start by having the WM team come up with new logo, web edit, and website design. – Heather Perry
The whole project kicked off with Lindsay designing a new logo and laying some groundwork for the rest of the overhaul. The final logo consisted of her first and last name, between which would sit 3 vertical lines, each representing a different specialty of Heather’s.
The next step was for me (Honore Brown) to dig into Heather’s portfolio and develop a more streamlined approach to presenting her work. After we’d had a meeting to outline Heather’s marketing goals, I began to shape the preliminary edit with these goals in mind. Having an incredible body of water-related and swimming imagery to draw upon, we had discussed the idea of reaching out to clients like Speedo and other athletic brands. Working with this goal in mind, I developed a series of edits shaped around the idea of “Swim Stories.”
Although “Swim Stories” seemed at the heart of Heather’s work and an obvious place for me to begin, there was clearly much more to her portfolio to share. Heather has a keen eye for documentary storytelling and an obvious gift for portraiture. So I decided to organize additional edits by a “Travel” section and a section for “Projects” that largely showcased Heather’s portraits.
After sharing my preliminary edit with Heather, who surprisingly responded to my emails while she was on a swimming adventure in Hawaii (sharing a super fun picture of an octopus along with her feedback on my work), we got to work on the next round of editing. Once Heather was back in Maine, we had another meeting to go over the details for what we’d tackle next.
Honore came to my work with fresh eyes and shuffled things up presenting the work in a new way I hadn’t quite considered. She also had me freshen up the post production on a few of my frames to give them a more current look. Having Honore’s perspective on the collection I sent her was very encouraging. She saw things in the work I had missed or taken for granted.
Having spent a good deal of time with both Heather and her work at this point, I knew that it would be important to refine the way the edit communicated. It needed to equally emphasize her adventurous spirit, comfort in the water, and talent for subtle and beautiful abstraction with all of the reflective properties of water, as well as her ability to put people at ease in front of the camera. We both agreed that we were getting pretty close with the Preliminary Edit and that the round of editing would refine the sequences – including the addition of a few more swimming images to one of the Travel stories.
I work in a few very different photography genres and have often been at sea about how to present my work in a unified way that illuminates who I am across each of the genres. Honore was able to identify the thread of continuity throughout my work and make an edit that makes my web portfolio feel cohesive, even if a bit untraditionally so.
After moving through our final revisions, it was time for me to export the sequenced galleries and turn the process back over to Lindsay Thompson for Heather’s Web Template Customization.
This was one of the easiest web template customizations to date — with the help of Honore’s web edit and Heather’s spirit, we transformed her website into a stellar portfolio for her underwater, travel, documentary, and portrait work. After choosing a simple and elegant grid layout on a white backdrop, I went to work — adding pages, customizing galleries, and inserting photos.
One great takeaway from this project was incorporating sound with the photos — Heather created a gallery called “Sound Portraits,” where she paired portraits of industrial workers of all different professions with a sound-bite of their stories. We used a different format to display these photos. Instead of a masonry grid-style, we showed rows of three vertical portraits, with a soundbar (labeled with the person’s name) directly below it. This helped the gallery reflect the intimate and personal touch that Heather delivered while creating the project.
Another part of this project that I enjoyed was the small tweaks we did to customize the site. When we made Heather’s logo during her Brand identity service, we decided to add three colors — teal, light blue, and yellow. While looking at general pages like the overview or about page, you’d see all the colors together. However, when we dive into specific projects, the logo would change, and the three lines show one color representing each type of photography. Teal for Swim Stories, light blue for Travel, and Yellow for Projects. It was great to see that concept implemented on her site. I think that small detail (maybe I’m biased) makes her site stand out.
Here’s what Heather had to say:
Working with Wonderful Machine has been fantastic. Great communication and I felt that both Honore and Lindsay had a definite understanding of who I am as a photographer, along with an appreciation of my work. WM really is a great resource for the promotion I have always struggled to do for myself.