case study

Carlow Website

Project Management
Managing photography and videography for a 500+ page website redesign
Photography by Rebecca Droke and Carlow University
Carlow University
Project Manager, Photo/Video

Project Overview

Creating new photography and videography

When the COVID-19 pandemic halted all in-person activities on Carlow University’s campus in March 2020, it curtailed my ability to make new visuals of campus life, including for a planned website redesign. As the university’s part-time contract photographer/videographer since October 2019, I was updating their photo and video collections while auditing existing assets on their website in preparation for the redesign when the pandemic began. 

Pivoting directions

Throughout the spring and summer, I reviewed and organized all the existing photos and tagged ones that could be potentially reused on the new website, which was in the planning stage. As the campus continued to operate remotely, I coordinated with key internal stakeholders to identify what critical assets could be made without students on campus, including leading the creation of a drone tour of campus. 

Scenes from around Carlow University including building exterior, cityscape, interior atrium and anatomy lab
Scenes from the drone tour. (Screenshots from video by Perspectrum, LLC)

Making recommendations

While I was producing a fully virtual hour-long commencement video in the fall of 2020, I was brought into discussions about using visuals on the website. Knowing the existing archive and recent photos/videos weren’t sufficient, I recommended using supplemental stock photography. In collaboration with the creative team, I problem-solved issues with the legibility of text on hero images and recommended typical aspect ratios on down-page images, which created more storytelling impact. 

Meeting the launch deadline

With a little over six weeks to source and prepare hundreds of images for the website, I conferred with the project leads on which tasks to prioritize, determined workflow and how to track progress. Through time management and organization, I identified images for each page, edited them to spec — including writing alt text—  and uploaded them. Afterward, I circled back to lower priority tasks.

Webpages with big, bright images of college and elementary school students from around campus
Examples of how photography was used on various pages. (Photography by Rebecca Droke)

After launch

I updated photos to better align with goals for specific departments across the campus. When the university reopened to in-person activities, I worked with the web manager and executive director of marketing and communications to prioritize academic programs to photograph and replace stock imagery. Additionally, with the web manager, we made adjustments to improve the presentation of photography on certain types of pages. 

The takeaway

Although the project direction changed dramatically from the onset, I adapted to the constraints caused by COVID-19. By being organized I had a clear understanding of the assets available and was able to make recommendations on how to populate a photography-rich design without the ability to make new photos on campus. Communication, organization and time-management were all key to meeting the aggressive deadline to source the imagery while adhering to specifications.  

Key insights and skills I learned in this project:

  • The stages of a website design and development project
  • Accessibility in design 
  • How to factor long-term feasibility into design decisions 
  • Project task tracking

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