Photo Editing, Design & Copywriting: Enhancing Eric Millette
Tuesday May 7th, 2013
by Sean Stone
All the way back in 2009, I worked with Eric Millette to create a dead-sexy print portfolio and leave behind. Eric was very pleased with the result, and let me know that he was thinking about re-editing his website, and would be in touch. Then, things got busy and the idea was pushed aside until a couple of months ago when Eric contacted me, fed up with his old site; he was ready for a totally fresh start.
I was happy to have the chance to work with Eric again, and it didn’t take long for me to see that, given the scope of the changes, I wouldn’t be working on this alone. Eric wanted a brand new site built, with a fresh edit of his latest work, a new bio, new business cards and an emailer designed. I brought in the expert assistance of our designer, Amanda Friend, and publicist/copywriter, Maria Luci.
Amanda and I started the process by helping Eric decide on a new website template. He wasn’t married to the idea of a custom site, as his last one had been. Instead, he was looking for the same features most photographers are: HTML, big images, strong SEO, and ease of use on both the front and back ends. Amanda considered our options and sent Eric a thorough breakdown of the three templates best suited for his needs. It was a tough call, but in the end, Eric chose APhotoFolio’s Design X. From there, Amanda got to work customizing the template. She and Eric had a discussion about his logo branding, and if it needed to be updated. After deciding his current logo and brand colors were fine (why fix what isn’t broken?), Amanda worked with Eric’s existing branding and the Design X template to make a site that was simple and modern—a clean and elegant stage for Eric’s new work.
While Amanda worked on the website, I began editing images. Eric shoots mainly portraiture, much of it corporate, and has a real knack for making fun, energetic images of subjects that often seem dull in photographs. Eric’s use of eye movement, bright color, and energetic body language was something I wanted to really play up, and I let these help me shape selections and image pairings. I chose to break the work up into two galleries; one featuring more traditional corporate, the other looser, featuring more regular folks and entrepreneurs. Eric and Maria talked it over and decided to call them simply “A Little Less Corporate” and “A Little More Corporate”.
Eric and Maria continued working together on a new bio. Before she begins writing, Maria will interview her subject, see where the conversation leads, and work with them to get a sense of the tone they’re looking for. I could hear Maria laughing hysterically during her chat with Eric, and apparently this is nothing new. Eric doesn’t think of himself as funny, but says other people seem to. So she chose to write something that was lighthearted without being too comedic or “out there”. She had more terrific material than she could ever use in a web bio, but wrote a clever and succinct account of Eric’s photo career, from age 13 to present. The following bio is now on Eric’s new “About” page:
In 7th grade, Eric’s cousin (a photo teacher) enrolled him in a summer school photo class (to keep him out of trouble). There, Eric found himself riding around in a 1970s van (featuring shag carpet) with a bunch of rowdy high schoolers and a 4×5, shooting pictures in the middle of nowhere. He fell in love with photography (and hanging out with high school girls), and continued with these summer courses until reaching senior high himself, when he could shoot year-round. The rest of Eric’s secondary school career was spent under the dim red light of the darkroom.
Bigger darkrooms at The New England School of Photography followed. Then it was on to assisting a wide range of photographers before striking out on his own. Throughout Eric’s now twenty-year commercial and editorial photography career, he’s shot everyone from world leaders to CEOs, and astronauts (or at least an astronaut).
Eric’s laid back style and ability to get along with just about anyone has allowed him to create a multitude of captivating portraits (and a couple humdrum ones), and to make even the most routine subjects appear intriguing (or at least palatable).
And while he doesn’t have any awards—since he doesn’t enter competitions —Eric does have a long list of notable clients including Adobe, Barron’s, Bloomberg, Burberry, Charles Schwab, Forbes, Kiplinger’s, LinkedIn, Mother Jones, Salesforce, and The Wall Street Journal. He also cofounded BigShotStock and Editorial Photographers (EP), two non-profit photography organizations.
When not shooting from some pretzel-like position, or attempting to be funny on set (he’s really not that funny), Eric likes to get as far away from technology as possible. With his wife and two sons, he can be found camping, skiing or polishing his archery skills—and would have been an adventure photographer if he didn’t hate lugging heavy gear so much. Originally from Boston, Eric currently lives with his family in a solar powered house in San Francisco. His weekends are spent at their remote cabin, letting his wife take the pictures (while he builds the outhouse).
With the web design, edit, and bio complete, the website was officially done and we were ready to tackle two final collateral pieces: the business card and emailer. Amanda worked up several designs of the business card, Eric chose a version which is clean, simple, and featured his distinct brand colors.
The emailer was another collaborative effort. I selected a handful of images and pairs for Eric’s consideration; he chose this diptych of new images, which speak perfectly to an e-blast! Amanda worked from an agency access template, but took advantage of graphic elements in Eric’s image to create this very fun “marquee” look. Maria worked up a few ideas for attention-grabbing subject lines and quick lines of copy to fit Amanda’s design.
We all had a great experience working with Eric, he’s a delightful guy and a terrific shooter. Any other photographers looking to make us giggle while overhauling their brand, give us a call!