After almost 4 years of shooting non-stop and building my online portfolio with both client and personal work, yesterday I had my first website review ever. Having your work reviewed is a very intimidating process, specially if you are a creative. Our pieces are like our babies, and who likes to hear that they have got an ugly baby? Fortunately, it did not go as bad as I feared and I just had to make a few changes here and there.
My website was reviewed by Raffaela Lepanto, a Milan based Photo Editor and Photography Consultant, as part of the LCN programme at Four Corners. Her first thought was that I was showing too much in an attempt to tell the world everything that I was able to do. And don't we all? I think that as creatives we don't like to be put in a box and be the person who "only does this". But, as she cleverly pointed out, showing the best you can do implies that you can also do everything else. Besides, it is a well known rule in portfolio making that you must only show your best work. So why would your website be any different?
Then we talked about simplifying my menu. For the longest time I wasn't very comfortable with how my menu looked as it felt too crowded, but I just didn't know what to take out and what to keep. She was brutal in her assertion: make it boring. And so I did. I took out all the different menu options that pointed to my different styles of shoots and past client work that never made it to the homepage as I always felt that they weren't homepage worthy. So if I wasn't willing to put them in my homepage, did it make sense to keep them in the menu anyway? No.
Finally, the About and Contact section needed a bit of tweaking. Like not talking in the third person on my blurb or showing my email address besides my contact form. Little things that you don't think about when making your website because it is impossible to put yourself in your clients shoes and know what they look for when they visit your online portfolio.
- I should only show my best work and the type of work that I want to shoot.
- I should keep the layout simple.
- I have to make sure that my client knows what I offer and how to get a hold of me.
All in all it was a very rewarding experience because you always have the feeling that your online portfolio is not there yet, but having an expert actually tell you what works and what doesn't makes a big difference.
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