Print Edit: A Balanced Book for Lauren V. Allen

Apr 19, 2018
Consulting Case StudiesPhoto Editing

When Lauren V. Allen became a Wonderful Machine member photographer, she knew immediately that she wanted to create a new print portfolio for us to take on our Portfolio Events.

I wanted a print edit because I bought this beautiful custom-made portfolio book last year and I didn't want it simply to sit on my shelf anymore. Even though I'm a young photographer, I am pretty old school. I don't think there are many things more impressive than a beautiful, well-thought-out, and well-edited portfolio book (except maybe a gorgeous roll of film freshly developed from the lab). 

After sitting down to learn more about Lauren, we were impressed with how far her work had come since she started shooting full-time in 2015. She explained that her background was primarily in photojournalism, but she found herself drawn to food photography by the stories that arise when food and people cross paths.

Photo of Lauren V. Allen's food and travel portfolio edited by Molly Glynn

Lauren lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but wants to expand her marketing efforts to appeal to national travel publications like AFAR, Bon Appétit, and National Geographic Traveler. Our photo editors set out to create a print portfolio that would speak to her love of food and also meet the needs of the travel publications she hopes to attract.

Lauren V. Allen's food and travel portfolio edited by Molly Glynn

Additionally, we decided to include photos from a personal project in the edit. Lauren has been collaborating with a friend and fellow photographer Mackenzie Ann Smith on a long-term project called The World in a Pocket, which tells stories of cultural identity through dumplings, empanadas and other pocket foods. The project does a great job of showcasing Lauren’s storytelling abilities, which are important for so many types of clients.

Food photos in Lauren V. Allen's portfolio edited by Molly Glynn

We began to curate the collection by narrowing down the best of Lauren’s food photography, including tabletop studio work along with food-oriented portraits; we then turned our attention to her travel stories. Initially, we were worried that an edit too heavy on her food imagery would make Lauren appear as a food photographer first and travel photographer second, so we worked to establish a visual balance by grouping her travel photos into short photo-narratives, utilizing several images from each location. The plan was to use the location stories to guide her book and incorporate food images to show a common thread.

Honey and bee photos in Lauren V. Allen's portfolio edited by Molly Glynn

The edit opens with a series of images that presents her technical skill as a food photographer before moving into the short collections that emphasize travel. Three double-page spreads were used to break up the layout, and each was chosen to highlight the categories represented in her book: tabletop food, travel, and the World in a Pocket. After sending Lauren the first edit, we had a detailed discussion about the sequencing and image choices and made several small changes before moving on to the printing and assembly of her portfolio.

Food photos in Lauren V. Allen's portfolio edited by Molly Glynn

Fortunately, Lauren already had a beautiful black screw-post portfolio with her wordmark debossed on the cover. To unify her brand, we created a title and closing page with the same design.

We printed the pages using Moab Lasal Matte paper, which comes pre-scored and pre-punched to smoothly fit into books like Lauren’s. The paper itself is smooth and bright white, which made the bold colors in Lauren’s edit pop without muddying any of her neutral images.

Lauren V. Allen's portfolio cover and photo editor Molly Glynn's hand

To put together Lauren’s double spreads, I needed to carefully adjust each page. Printing each page individually meant that I needed to align them in Lightroom before sending them to print (learn more about printing tips here: Expert Advice: Printing with Lightroom). I double and triple-checked each page to ensure the spreads would line up when the book was pulled together.

Screenshot of Lauren V. Allen's photographer portfolio layout

A few weeks later, Lauren’s existing cover arrived at our offices and it came time to assemble the final product. I compiled the book page-by-page, and when we leafed through it for the first time, we knew Lauren would definitely be a new staple at our portfolio events. Almost as soon as the screws were tight, the portfolio was whisked off to our meeting with Buzzfeed, and we’re sure it won’t be long before its next trip to NYC.

Lauren is thrilled with the final results, and is already making plans for the future:

It's sometimes hard to take two different genres and edit that into a cohesive flow... but since my edit and the printing, I now have so much new work! It's going to be time to make some new pages for my book really, really soon.

Looking for help with Photo Editing or Printing? Feel free to call 610.260.0200 or reach out!