My Marketing Adventure: Surviving the Website Edit

Editing Thousands of Images Was Hard Enough … On To My New Website

Just Do It

For me, one of the very best things about the Campaign Manager Pro program from Agency Access is the simple fact that my CM Pro consultant Jennifer Kilberg lit a fire under me to get things done. I work with a lot of creative-type people and most of them are like me – they take on more work than they can handle and start too many projects at once. I knew that I had a lot to do in order to prepare for the upcoming marketing campaign we were organizing, but where to begin?

As you can see in part 2 of my Marketing Adventure, Jennifer and I did a lot of work on my portfolio website in deciding what images to keep and what images to get rid of. We added new photos, new sections, changed my bio, updated my client list, added social media buttons, and tweaked the look to keep my brand uniform across my marketing and promotional materials.

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Jennifer kept me focused and on track throughout the entire process, allowing me to get the job done far more quickly than if I had tried to do it alone.

First Things First

The plan was to have my portfolio website take on a similar look and feel to the branding of my blog, but a bit more clean and simple. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fun vintage look and feel that my designer Nikola Lazarevic came up with for my blog. And, it’s filled with stories, informational articles, reviews, information about fine art prints, equipment lists and much more. But my portfolio site has a different goal from the blog. I wanted it to be clean and easy to navigate, with my big photos really adding to the “wow” factor. The KISS principle of “Keep It Simple Stupid” applies here.

We began at the beginning … always a good place to start. The splash page had the same lettering and feel as my luggage tag logo, but as Jennifer pointed out, why not the actual logo? Time to change that.

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With this first step, we made a rather small tweak. In autumn of 2009 I changed my brand font from Century Gothic to Public Gothic but for some reason, I neglected to change the font on my name in the top left corner of my website. This small update makes total sense and now ties in well with the logo.

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Adding and Subtracting

As detailed in my Marketing Adventure Part 2, I spent days amassing, editing and culling images to get to the point where I was happy with what I sent to Jennifer to edit. After looking at everything – and I mean EVERYTHING – we selected images that we wanted to showcase on my portfolio site, reorganizing its sections and sub-sections.

We began with the People section:

Old:

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Sub-sections “one” and “two” contained images where I had either one or two people in the photos; not the best titles since they could have several meanings.

New:

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It was best to be more descriptive with titles like “relax” and “explore.” The people images I am now showing on the site fit quite well under those titles.

It was time to move on to the travel section.

Around the World

I’ve visited a number of inspiring places including Mexico, Jordan, Savannah, Florida, Austria, Hungary, and Germany since the last time I had updated the portfolio site. It was time to add some new photos and re-arrange the subsections under the Travel heading:

Old:

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New:

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Jennifer liked my idea of adding a “Quick Tour” sub-section under Travel. As usual, she improved upon the idea by calling it “Around the World.” I like it! By including some of what we considered to be the best of the best in this section, a visitor who is in a hurry can quickly peruse my best travel work. If they want to see more, then they can browse through the rest.

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I have so many new photos to work on that it will literally take months to finish the post production work on them. For now and in the future, I’ll add new work as it becomes available under the cleverly titled “New Work” section. With the New Work section I can keep visitors up-to-date with where I have been recently and hopefully this keeps people coming back for more.

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Double Up!

Another change to the layout of the site was to pair up the vertical shots on one page. Having just one vertical photo left too much negative space – and since we’re used to seeing double-page spreads in our printed portfolios, this was kind of a throwback to that kind of layout. It was a fun exercise and I love the result!

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“We have escapist fiction, so why not escapist biography?” – John Kenneth Galbraith

I wanted to lose my original bio from my portfolio site. In fact, I wanted to dig a deep hole, drop it in there and cover it with salt so that it could never grow into anything more abominable than it already was. I hate writing these things, truly I do. I remember thinking I’d try something different when I wrote my bio for my blog. The truth is, I wrote that bio as a lark; I just put it in there as some place-holder text instead of a bunch of Lorem Ipsum text. When I actually started to get positive feedback on Twitter and via email about the bio, I decided to keep it because people found it amusing.

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I’ve read dozens of pompous and pretentious bios and swore I’d never create a bio that sounded like that. I take my work very seriously, but personally, I am MUCH more laidback. I take pretty photos of nice looking people and spectacular places. I want my bio to simply reflect who I am and what I do.

It’s a Social Thing

Since I am heavily involved in social media, it only makes sense to have the links on my portfolio site. I’ve always had them on my blog, but it is also quite important to have them on my main site. Who knows if someone browsing my portfolio will actually go to my blog? Since I do actually get work from LinkedIn and especially Twitter, it is important to let everyone know how to find me. Google+ is now becoming a great place to network with photo industry people and I want to connect with as many people as I can there. Now that I have over 50,000 followers in social media, it is important to keep the momentum going. Every chance I have of getting people to notice me and connect with me is a positive thing.

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Taking Stock

After landing the cover of National Geographic in 2011 and adding a few other new clients to my list, I felt the need to update my Client List + Stock section on my site as well. Getting that cover was a bit like winning an Academy Award; just mentioning National Geographic helps elevate my reputation as a serious travel photographer.

Finally, next to the Getty Images and Corbis logos, I added an image link to my PhotoShelter stock photo archive.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas A. Edison

The whole process of launching my new portfolio site took weeks to accomplish. Without the help of the Agency Access CM Pro program, I really doubt that I would have ever completed the website edit. Being a commercial photographer today requires more skills than ever before, and marketing is a huge part of the skill set that we need in our photographer’s tool kit.

Now I’m preparing to market myself properly – a huge but vital undertaking. It’s time to concentrate on my email promotions, direct mail promotions and PDF portfolios. I’ll be working on those with my designer extraordinaire Nikola and will have an update on that process in part 5 of my Marketing Adventure.

Marketing requires a plan and a lot of hard work. With the effort on my part plus the great team behind me at Agency Access, I feel like I’m on my way to a great new year.

Look out 2012 … Here I come!

About Ken

Ken Kaminesky is a Montreal based lifestyle and travel photographer. He shares his latest photos and writes about his travel adventures on his popular blog. His photography has been featured in prestigious newspapers and magazines such as the Daily Telegraph, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Scientific American, and recently a cover of National Geographic Magazine. With upcoming trips to Jordan, Mexico and Austria, Ken’s plan to take over the world is all coming together. Ken Kaminesky Photography

Related Articles:

Part 3: My Marketing Adventure: The Elevator Pitch for Photographers

Part 2: My Marketing Adventure: Part 2

Part 1: My Marketing Adventure: Part 1

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