Photo Editing: Samantha Wolov
Samantha Wolov is a beauty and fashion photographer with an art history background so, to her, knowing why is often as important as knowing what. After I had sent her the final edit for her mini print portfolio, she replied, “I like hearing about thought processes. Can you tell me why you picked the images you did? You probably see something I don’t.” I was incredibly excited that she was so curious and engaged in the process.
Samantha approached our designer, Mark, about creating a mini book that she can mail out or use as a leave-behind at meetings or events. She requested a simple and sleek design that would showcase both her beauty and fashion images. Because it would have less than 20 images, the challenge was to select ones that could stand alone while simultaneously creating a cohesive story. The clients she wanted to send these to consisted of Baron & Baron, Marie Claire, Sephora, and Barney’s, which in her words were “a mix of editorial and commercial clients, all with a focus on luxury.” With that in mind, I treated this project as if it were a small-scale fashion magazine. A majority of Samantha’s work already had a luxurious feel to it, and my next step was evaluating images based on content and overall look. Some questions I asked myself were: “Is this high fashion? Will her clients book these models? Is the styling appropriate?” Considering the limited amount of working space, I wanted to be sure to present images that showed her range–being able to shoot in a studio, on location, color, black and white, fashion and beauty.
I was immediately drawn to the first image and knew I wanted to start the book with it. It’s high fashion and incredibly striking to the eye. Going into this, not only was I looking at composition, lighting, and colors, but the expression of the model did make or break the image. I was a fan of the second model’s androgynous look.
Transitioning from black and white to color needs to be done thoughtfully. I decided to use shape as a connection point, which in this case was the model’s arm positioning. Aside from that, the muted dark blue and orange colors were a fantastic start to the rest of her book, leaving behind the more edgy couture styles.
During the editing process, Samantha was pleased that the mini book was a deviation from her main portfolio, with the images and sequence contrasting. It’s important to keep in mind that a website and a print book shouldn’t be the same. A website is a place for all of your best work to live, while a portfolio is a place you tailor for specific clients. It’s unnecessary to include every image you’ve ever shot in a portfolio. What isn’t a part of the collection can always be found on your website.
Towards the end of the book, the tone transitions to “softer” fashion, which I felt presented versatility. I wanted to end the book the way it began: with a strong beauty shot. The curve of the nude woman’s back coincided with the previous picture, and the shapes progressed well. I settled on the last image as the concluding one because both the model’s skin and the colors are immaculate.
No matter the size, more factors go into coordinating a portfolio than one would think. The correlation of images needs to be thought of as a strategy to reach clients and leave an impression, and I think that’s what we did here with Samantha’s mini book.