Editing my portfolio website … With a little help from my friends at Agency Access
Getting started on my website edit has proven to be the most difficult part of the photo marketing process for me. In the past, I’d always dread facing a mountain of work like this. Not only did I have to look at all my own photos and decide who would relate the most to what kinds of images, I had to try to figure out what the “best” stuff was. I’d always be second guessing myself, and even if I asked friends in the industry to help, somehow I always believed that I knew better.
That’s the problem. I am, just like so many photographers, far too close to my own work. I have a sentimental attachment to certain images because I was there when they were taken. No one else in the world will ever have that same sense of fondness or nostalgia when they look at those images. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that those images are not strong on their own, it just means that my judgment can be clouded by emotion.
Fortune Favors the Brave
This is where I was fortunate to be able to turn to Jennifer Kilberg, who I have been collaborating with on my marketing plans for this year. Jennifer is my consultant/advisor/guru and was assigned to work with me via the Agency Access Campaign Manager Pro program. Lucky her! Actually, lucky me to be honest.
Working with Jennifer has been an easy process and she has opened my eyes to a new way of looking at my work, as well as how to present it to the world. While I had intentions to do a lot of what she suggested, let’s face it, the road to hell is paved with good intentions – it’s about getting it done.
Working as a team, talking and listening, editing the images together on Skype and apart, being open to her points as an editor and marketing expert … all of these things led to an easy-going work atmosphere and we got the job done efficiently.
Finding the Right Questions
Jennifer made me ask myself: Where have I come from? Where am I now? and Where do I see myself going in my career?
We decided to work on all the edits for my upcoming marketing campaign at the same time as the website edit. While this may have seemed like a lot more work than doing it separately, in the end it will save us both a great deal of time going forward. With all the images fresh in our minds, we were able to cross so many of our “To Dos” off our list by merging our editing tasks.
Jennifer took the time to dig into every aspect of my portfolio site. We decided on a few big changes and some smaller tweaks. I’m constantly looking at my website and therefore it’s easy for me to miss things that could use improving or changing. Jennifer on the other hand, came in with a fresh perspective and immediately saw that there was room for improvement.
Editing didn’t just involve choosing pictures. As you’ll see, my whole website was scrutinized, as were all the other marketing elements. But the image selections have officially been made and now I’ll be working on implementing the decisions that were taken.
How the edit unfolded
Edit in Progress
It’s Never Crowded Along the Extra Mile
Jennifer went the extra mile with me and consulted with some of her peers in order to get a better sense that she was giving me the right advice. Just knowing that she did this helped put my mind further at ease. The value of having a strong team of experts at Agency Access behind me really hit me.
Jennifer’s culling process took place as I was thousands of kilometres away in Europe. Thankfully, after my 3-week shoot my head was filled with all of the new photos I had just taken, so it was easier to come back to my office and look back on the older photos more subjectively.
During the edit we worked on limiting the amount of images in each section, giving each section a smoother flow from page to page. We decided to pair vertical images together to deliver a magazine feel to the site and limit negative space. The sections themselves got new names or were changed slightly to reflect the new feel of the edited images. Lots of thought and discussion were put into all these decisions and I am very eager to see the final result.
I now have my work cut out for me, but after this is done, the most time consuming part of the Campaign Manager Pro program will have been completed for me. Jennifer on the other hand will continue to work on email and direct mail list building, analysis of the email marketing statistics and telemarketing.
Some of what Jennifer suggested I reflect on before getting into the edit:
• What kind of clients do I want to go after?
• What are my strong points and weaknesses?
• Did I want to focus on lifestyle or travel photography more?
• What marketing materials did I need to achieve proper brand awareness?
With the answers to these questions, Jennifer was now in a much better position to do what she does best… Help photographers!
Working with Jennifer, I Learned:
That letting someone else edit your work is easier than doing it yourself
- How to create a flow to the images I’m presenting
- That sometimes less IS more
- It’s okay to let go and say goodbye to sentimental photos
- Not to see the edit through the eyes of a photographer, but rather through the eyes of a potential client
- Planning ahead saves time now and in the future
- The ability to recognize your weaknesses is a strength
- Delegating work to people with more aptitude for that work is the smart thing to do
“Change is the end result of all true learning.”
Is it a Whole New Me?
No, but I feel it is a new and improved me that I will be sharing with the world. This gives me confidence to move on to the next step of my marketing adventure with Agency Access. Without that confidence, marketing is pointless. As commercial artists we have to remember that we are selling our images and have to be able to deliver quality work every time that we are hired to create a new photo.
The images are a good selling tool, but your clients will be working with you. They will be using your photos for their promotion, advertising, marketing and other commercial reasons, but they work with photographers, not photos. My sales tools like my portfolio, my website and promos are things I have to believe will impress potential clients.
Having the confidence to stand behind your marketing tools is a big part of what is going to help you as a photographer get the work you need in order to survive in the commercial and editorial world. Thanks to Agency Access, I’m more confident than ever.