Chicago-based photographer Beth Rooney was a good example of a photographer whose website wasn’t keeping up with her work. Our conversation began after I visited her site and found that she was actually using two separate but very similar portfolios. She explained that she began her career as a photojournalist, but had been capturing more and more food over the years. As her food portfolio developed, she began to merge the content but not the sites. Beyond the similar images, like so many photographers Beth was showing too much, thus taking away from her beautiful imagery.
We spoke at length about the types of clients she hoped to reach moving forward. I suggested the time had come to reconsider her whole presentation and combine her work into just one portfolio site. Beth agreed to a Web Edit and I began reviewing her food and photojournalism work.
Even though I saw a journalistic quality to her food images, I wanted to make sure that they received separate, prominent attention from her straight photojournalism projects.
Working through the food work first, I decided to separate two sections. One is a bit more rustic, the other more urban and chic. I called these “Farm” and “Table” because…it’s just so hot right now. The work in “farm” is geared towards storytelling and documentary, while “Table” focuses more on beautiful spaces, perfect plates, and chef portraits.
Editing the photojournalism side of the equation was a bit more complicated. Beth was showing several long-term projects in her portfolio, and consolidating these took time and consideration. In the end, I edited her reportage down to a handful of projects. They were most dedicated to the long-form, documentary approach that she hoped to be hired for in the future. The goal was to present her as a skilled photojournalist, without looking like a newspaper photographer.
Beth was very happy with the edit, and, after some follow-up discussion, chose a new template offered by her provider, Neonsky.
For a complete before and after website critique, please check out my screencast below:
See more of Beth’s work on her website!