For my senior capstone, I will be creating a website for my sister’s photography/videography business. Elena created her Instagram account, @lenamarkvids, a little over 2 years ago. It’s a space where she has evolved as a photographer and video editor, she has turned her hobby/passion into her own small business. Her main focus and passion have been filming and taking pictures of high school sports (men and women). But Elena has also diversified her content by creating more fun videos like school “day in the life” vlogs and she has done a lot of volunteer work with local organizations such as the Ocean County YMCA and the Toms River Police Department (but she doesn’t post the videos she creates for them on her account). I want the website to be a space representative of the work she does and to provide her with a platform to gain more job opportunities because right now she gets a lot of her work opportunities through word-of-mouth references. I’m creating this website that will not only enhance her credibility and serve as a space for her portfolio, but also showcase my creative and technical capabilities.
My capstone project will be an online digital project which I will be executing on the WordPress Platform. I picked this platform because I want Elena’s website to be accessible to her, I want to make sure she is connected to what is going to be her online portfolio and means of business. I’m planning on teaching my sister and creating a reference document for her so she will be able to maintain and keep her website viable. Additionally, WordPress presents itself as a cheaper option for her to afford.
For the scope of the project, I am hoping to create about 4-6 tabs (About Me, Portfolio, Contact, etc) along with a couple of subsections for those tabs (specifically Portfolio). I still have to meet with her and narrow down what she wants to put in the subsection but as of now I am predicting I will be creating sections for her to display the various men’s and women’s sports she has photographed and videotaped (which is about nine different sports total), and the other work she hasn’t published on her Instagram account. Ultimately, this website will feel like a glimpse into her archives, showing the best of her work.
As of right now, I have sketched out possible formats I would like to try and implement. These were inspired by the websites of these two photographers: Rachelcanalephotography and Graceleneastudios. Rachel’s website is going to help give inspiration on how to organize such diverse content. Elena reached out to me about shaping her website in a similar style to Grace’s, so her website is going to be used to help me figure out how to incorporate Elena’s modern and minimalist aesthetic without the site looking too “plain.”
I view this project as a culmination of the principles and practices I have learned in my Visual and Web design courses. Throughout my education in the COM department, I have learned a lot about applying design principles and incorporating accessibility into visual and website designs, and I have gained a better understanding of creating content for an audience. In previous courses such as Visual Design or Web Design, I have learned the importance of spacing, font, and color schemes and I have had practice in Canva, Adobe Audition, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Illustrator, Fillzilla, and Brackets due to those courses.
Some prior experience I have with website projects is from courses I have taken and a club I am currently a part of. Through my COM Web Design class, I grew familiar with HTML coding and I created my website (which is unfortunately not viable anymore so I have added screenshots).
I have worked with WordPress through my COM Theory/Practice (through Hawk cHill) and my COM Music Protest & Social Justice (Protest Anthems Podcast) course where I have uploaded articles, photos, and videos to a designated WordPress page. I have also recently started working with WordPress again with The Hawk Newspaper. I help with uploading articles and feature images to the website. This project will be a merging of the coding I learned in COM Web Design and using the WordPress platform. I will be challenging myself by creating and formatting a website in WordPress which is something I haven’t done before.
My research is going to involve a lot of tutorials on how to code and modify website templates in WordPress. These are some WordPress themes I might use and go off of: Argent, Stow, Shawburn, and Rivington. Within the site itself, they contain a lot of articles/tutorials that discuss how to navigate WordPress. Through the COM Web Design course a lot of what we learned was through watching Bill’s Web Design YouTube tutorials, so I have experience learning through video tutorials and referencing written materials. I think I will also have to do some research on copy rights, which I don’t have a lot of experience with.
Audience and Impact:
One of my goals with this project is to give Elena a designated space for people to see her work that isn’t through social media. The primary audience that I’m trying to make this website accessible to are the people interested in hiring Elena for a job whether that’s a team media day picture or for a video edit of a quinceañera. It will also help people see what kinds of things she can do which will be beneficial when hiring her, they’ll be able to model their requests off of some examples they see. Additionally, I’m picturing this audience to be a bit older, so I want the site to be easy for them to navigate and to get connected to her social media accounts (Instagram, Tik Tok, & YouTube). Having this website will make it infinitely easier for people to get in contact with her and gain an idea of pricing. My secondary audience would be her classmates and other student-athletes, while they might not always be the ones who are directly hiring her, they might be able to reference her to their parents. A lot of these students interact with her content through her social media pages.
This project is important because not only will it add to my portfolio of what I can accomplish, I see it as a means of solidifying my sister’s credibility as a photographer/videographer. Not only have I seen it first hand but my sister has also told me a lot of instances in which people write her off and dismiss her because they don’t view her as a “real” photographer. They assume because she’s a girl that she only shows up to sporting events for the yearbook or that it’s just a fun hobby for her. At the local level that she is working at, she is working in a male-dominated field. At sporting events, she often has to go above and beyond to prove her credibility (getting media passes) whereas the other male photographers don’t have to always go to that length because people assume they are their professional (despite some of them only going on the field to only take pictures of their grandkids). This project matters because I see it as another way of enhancing her credibility, and serving as an evolving space for her portfolio to grow. So while this project is sort of a labor of love, it is also a way for me to demonstrate my abilities to collaborate with a partner but also to showcase my proficiency/mastery in different areas of website construction and design.
Obstacles and Resources:
Some learning curves I foresee myself going through are learning to navigate the WordPress site and coordinating with my sister to get her materials for the website. The resources I will need to complete this capstone project are a website domain and a WordPress account.
- Week 4: Researching and sketching website designs. Creating a website map where I will organize the different sections of the website (About, Portfolio, Contact, etc). I will also discuss with Elena what kind of tabs she wants on her website and what kind of labels she wants on them.
*Between weeks 4 and 6 I want to coordinate with my sister (get her logo finalized) and discuss what photos/videos she thinks will be best for her website- this will be an ongoing process as she continues to work and get more coverage.*
- Week 5: Creating the website, working on interviewing Elena for her About page
- Week 6: Having at least 1-2 pages of the website formatted with some “example” content. (Working on About and possibly starting Contact page)
- Weeks 7: Adding another page of the website with content (formalizing the previous pages)
- Week 8-9: Working on the photography page (organizing the sports sections between action shots, media day pictures, and candids shots)
- Week 10: Continuing to work on photography pages. Start discussing the videos she wants to use for the video page.
- Week 11: Finalizing the photography page and starting the videography page (sports edits, school vlogs, TRPD, and miscellaneous)
- Week 12: Creating a quote document to help her finalize pricing, possibly adding a FAQ page. Continuing to work on the website pages and formatting
- Week 13-15: Continuing to organize the website (this is the grace period to catch up or revise anything)
- Week 16: Finalizing and fixing up small details. Creating a simple guide document to give her so she can continue to maintain her website.