Case Study- Kim Tonks Photography

We met Kim Tonks of Kim Tonks Photography at a networking event in the Galleria. After taking a look at her amazing portfolio, there is no denying she has talent. Kim Tonks is a pet photographer based in Houston, Texas and has extensive experience working with animals and experience photographing a variety of animals– not just dogs. 

You can then understand our excitement when she called us to ask us to help with her website! We scheduled a discovery call and determined from our conversation that Kim wanted a warm welcome to her digital presence.

First, let’s give you a little background to this project. Her website is created in Zenfolio which is a platform many photographers are drawn to. The simplicity of setting up gated photo galleries for clients is a feature that leads many photographers to choosing Zenfolio. However, you have to know Zenfolio is the clunkiest content management system (CMS) we’ve had to work in. Zenfolio has templates you can implement, but to customize the site is INCREDIBLY difficult. So much, in fact there isn’t a whole lot of documentation on how to customize a Zenfolio site.

Reason #5972 you want a real developer on the team, not just a designer with experience in WordPress. [Do You Need a Designer or a Developer?]

Now that you have a background of the technology we were working with, we are going to share with you the journey of how we completed this project successfully.

Kim had a great vision for her homepage and most of Zenfolio’s templates require the homepage to be the actual portfolio of the photographer. Though a portfolio is important to a photographer, Kim wanted to share her story and invite people in, and we totally agreed.   

Our full-stack developer, Alex was able to adapt the frontend with custom code to override Zenfolio settings. What many Zenfolio forums say you can’t do, he did! He will tell you bluntly,“It takes time, research and the know-how.” The question has never been can it be done; it’s always how to make it happen. In short, he made it happen.

To achieve this warm, inviting welcome to the Kim Tonks Photography homepage, Gulf Coast Pixel used colors that were calm and allowed Kim’s creative photography to take center stage. We created some interest and hierarchy with typography varying the font, sizing & line spacing. We determined that what others were saying about Kim’s work was very valuable, and we were able to highlight their testimonials with individual boxes and drop shadows. Finally, we can’t leave out the key component in user experience and marketing design and that is the call to action (CTA). We added a dual CTA– one to view Kim Tonks’ portfolio and one to contact her. After researching the user persona, we discovered (and knew from our own experience) that those looking for photographers are very interested in viewing styles and quality within the portfolio. More so, Kim Tonks Photography has an incredible gift to show the world.

Let’s check out Kim Tonks Photography’s homepage before the Gulf Coast Pixel magic touch and after!


Y’all, we are so proud that Alex cracked the literal code of zenfolio and gave Kim a warm welcome to her pet photography website. It really is a peek into what it’s like to work with Kim. We can’t wait to work with her again in the future.

If you want to know more about how we can ramp up your digital presence, check us out here. If you want to check out more about Kim Tonks Photography, you can find here here.

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