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Doug Scott’s architectural photography is marked by a strong sense of life, dimension, shape, and materiality – and we think his website design perfectly embodies all of those things. We love the uncluttered, clean look and the ease of navigation so much that we just had to feature it this week!

Read below to see what Doug has to say about his site’s creation, and head over to www.dougscott.com to check out more!

Q: How would you describe the aesthetic of your website in three words?

DS: The aesthetic of the new website may best be stated as inviting, personal, and professional.

Q: How do you choose the photos that you display on your homepage?

DS: Image selection for the homepage (Portfolio) is in three steps; first, what images do I like, second, will those images reach a  meaningful market, and third, is my homepage representing a variety of project types. This last point is quite important considering some viewers may not choose to tour the “By Type” gallery.

Q: How often do you typically update your website?

DS: Once my initial refining has run its course with the new website (which is nearly daily although already published), I will settle into an update routine of anywhere from weekly to monthly. Of course, this depends largely on the content of the current shoots.

Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8?

DS: The overall appearance and function of the new site is more refined on the front-end. The backend editor is simpler, yet allows for far better control and offers many more design options. liveBooks was savvy in giving us creatives such a great editor. I am looking forward to a “Client Access” feature for reviewing proofs.

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone designing their website?

DS: To those preparing to design, consider grouping your images according to the menu(s) you will use. Upload them to the image gallery in the editor in these groups for easier selection during the population process. Secondly, if the depth of your archives allow, whittle away hard through multiple edits at what you actually present. In my case, personal fondness for a particular image must be balanced with the reality of the actual impact of an image – other objective team members can really help out here.

Have a website you’d like us to feature? Email us at social@livebooks.com!

Few things are as important on your photography website as your portfolios. Why? Because they showcase your actual craft and portray your images in the way you want your audience to view them. However, putting together effective and action-inspiring portfolios is much more than uploading images and throwing them into folders and calling it a day. So much goes in to selecting the images you want to showcase, the order in which they appear in the portfolios, and even the layout of the galleries. We have just a few tips for the best ways to get started creating the perfect photography portfolios – check it out!

Plan the Layout Before Uploading

Before you dive in to the process of deciding which photos will make the cut for your website portfolios, make sure you have a general outline or plan of how you want your galleries to be laid out. Do you want your images displayed in a slideshow format? In a collage? In a sliding format with visible thumbnails? Do you want full-screen images or photos with borders? This layout will most likely be subject to change once you actually begin building your portfolios, however using it as a starting point will get the ball rolling on how you want your images to be viewed.

High Resolution Images ONLY

While this should go without saying, make sure that the content you choose to populate your portfolios is only of the highest quality. This may mean sacrificing some of your favorite, more candid shots for ones that are clearer and more professional looking (those other shots belong on a blog or your social media accounts).  While higher resolution photos may make your galleries take just a few seconds longer to load, it is well worth it to wow your potential clients with stunning imagery.

Be Picky, Very Picky

As a professional photographer, all of your images are beautiful. However, take on the mindset of leaving your audience wanting more after they view your portfolios. Do not put up every single photo you have ever taken – be extremely picky when determining which photos make the cut. Better yet, have team members, friends, peers. and other people take an objective look at your images and tell you which ones have the biggest impact for them. Make sure to keep in mind your target audience when making final decisions – if you are a wedding photographer but like to shoot landscape photography on the side, do not clutter your website with a landscape portfolio when your target audience is engaged couples.

Order Your Images Strategically

Once you’ve decided which photos to include within your portfolios, you’ll need to decide where to put them. The order of your images is extremely important, and will have a subtle, yet extremely impactful, effect on your audience. Place your strongest photos at the beginnings and ends of the portfolio so that you will make the biggest impact at the beginning and leave a lasting impression at the end. Weaker photos should be placed in the middle because you cannot guarantee that your viewer will always click through the entire gallery.

To Caption or Not to Caption

Providing additional details and descriptions of your photos is completely subjective; on one hand, it is nice for the viewer to have some more context surrounding the image and get a sense for your style. On the other hand, sometimes it’s better to let the imagery speak for itself. In determining whether or not to caption images always think about your target audience and whether the additional context will provide value in swaying them to make a decision to hire you, buy your work, or contact you. Whether you choose to include visible captions, always make sure to include keyword tags, titles, and descriptions for each photo so that search engines can pick up that content and rank you higher in search results.

Photographer Rick Brazil shoots for architects, designers, developers, magazines, and retail companies throughout the United States and Mexico – and his website design reflects all of the clean, beautiful imagery in an easy-to-navigate way. Since he recently redesigned his website with the new liveBooks8 platform, we thought it would be perfect to feature this week!

Check out what he had to say about his website and head over to www.rickbrazil.com to see more!

Rick Brazil

Q: How would you describe the aesthetic of your website in three words?

RB: Visual, Clean, Quality.

Rick Brazil

Q: How do you choose the photos that you display on your homepage?

RB: I went through a list of recent projects and picked the most visual of those images. I tried to stay with a theme of visually appealing architecture and imagery.

 

Rick Brazil

Q: How do you choose the photos that you display on your homepage?

RB: At least 2-3 times a year, depending on my travel schedule and quality of projects.

Rick Brazil

Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8?

RB: I love the new liveBooks8 format. It takes a little time to fully understand the capabilities of the new website editor, but it is fully worth the effort!

Rick Brazil

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone designing their website?

RB: Take the time to understand the process of building a quality website with liveBooks8, pick only your best photographs that you can create a unique, fully customized website that is beautiful and shows off your work in the best possible format!

Rick brazil

Have a website you’d like us to feature? Email us at social@livebooks.com!

Posted in Photography
April 22nd, 2016

Spring Cleaning for Your Website

Posted by Heather

Spring is officially here – the time of year where we can start putting away our winter coats and boots and get excited for warm weather, sunshine, and being outside. Spring is also the time of year that allows us to take inventory of the old, polish it up, sweep it out, and dust it off. This same concept of “spring cleaning”  should apply to your business as well – and most importantly your website. When was the last time you really did an overhaul of your site? If it’s been awhile, now is the perfect time and we’ve compiled a list of things to focus on first to get you started!

spring cleaning

Content Clean Up

Make a conscious effort to do a truly comprehensive content clean up. This can range from something as simple as going through your portfolios and galleries and deleting older photos, adding new work, or moving images around, to actually digging in to your analytics and seeing which pages get the least amount of traffic and editing from there. Website design trends are moving toward cleaner, simplistic, and clutter-free – so really evaluate whether each page of your website is absolutely necessary and providing value to your audience.

Update Your Events Page

One of the things we see all too often is event pages that are far outdated – even by a few years. Take the opportunity to make sure your website is updated with your upcoming workshops, speaking engagements, photo expeditions, or any other important events you’re partaking in. Nothing looks more unprofessional than inaccurate information on your website – plus, this will be a great way to promote the events you care about and hopefully garner more attendees.

events

Be Intentional About Calls to Action

One thing we’ve often noticed that’s missing from photography websites are clear calls to action. While most of the focus should be on your imagery, you also want to make sure you’re telling your audience what you want them to do. Whether that’s booking you for a job, project, ad campaign, or even buying prints, tell them what you’d like them to do and make it easy for them to do it. Have your contact information readily available in multiple locations on your website so that anywhere they look, they can contact you.

Check Your SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should be something you focus on all year ’round, but if it’s not your strong suit definitely take the opportunity now to pay extra attention. If your goal is to increase traffic to your website (which we think it should be!) then make sure your keywords, tags, descriptions, titles, and content on your website are working for you. If you’re not ranking as high with search engines as you’d like, it might be time to overhaul your old SEO tactics and start fresh.

Web design

Update Your Website Design

We know that completely changing your website design is a huge undertaking – but small, subtle changes can be made to create a fresh new look without all the stress of a total re-design. Switch up the images on your homepage. Change the names/titles of your portfolios. Add a new page – such as a blog – to your website. All of these changes will keep your website up to date, as well as give returning clients new things to look at and explore.

What “spring cleaning” are you conducting on your website? We’d love to know!

Photographer Codie McLachlan’s images tell a story, and we think his website does, too. Recently redesigned using the new liveBooks8 platform, we wanted to show off the clean-cut navigation, beautiful imagery, and sleek design in our featured website this week.

See what Codie had to say about his site and be sure to go to www.codiemclachlan.ca to browse!

Codie McLachlan

Q: How would you describe the aesthetic of your website in three words?

CM: The reason I picked the template that I did (I went with Satellite) was that it’s so clean and uncluttered. It’s important to me that a photographer’s website be as clean and free of distracting elements as possible, and the Satellite template is exactly that. So the three words I would use to describe my website’s aesthetic are clean, elegant, and straightforward.

Codie McLachlan

Q:  How do you choose the photos that you display on your homepage?

CM: Being a photojournalist, I wanted to showcase photos from a variety of photographic genres on my homepage, but I also wanted to pick aesthetically appealing pictorial-type photos. It took me awhile, but I narrowed it down to about ten images that I thought would show the wide variety of subjects that I handle day-to-day.

Codie McLachlan

Q: How often do you update your website?

CM: I probably don’t update my website as much as I should. When I was a newspaper staff photographer, it would be a matter of years. In fact, before going out on my own as a freelancer earlier this year, I’m ashamed to admit that my last update was in 2012 – four years ago! Now that the onus is on me to promote myself and sell my business, however, I anticipate the site being updated every couple of months at least.

Codie McLachlan

Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8?

CM: I really like the new liveBooks8 website editor. The old editSuite was all well and good, but it was a little clunky and the previous incarnation of liveBooks just didn’t have the degree of flexibility that my new site has. I could go in and rearrange the site to look completely different right now if I wanted to, and I wouldn’t have to call anybody or wait on a service ticket. With the new editor, the website layout is entirely in my hands.

Codie McLachlan

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone designing their website?

CM: Look at other people’s websites for inspiration. The new editor allows you to edit right down to the page level, so you can make things look how you want, and it can be nice to have an idea of how you want it to look right off the bat. Do you want every portfolio page to look the same, or do you want variation? Would text add a desirable element to that photo essay? Do you want your menu at the top of the page, the bottom, the right or the left? There are so many choices. Also, make a simple Photoshop action to resize and prepare your images. Going through and changing image size for every individual image can be very tedious, especially for those who have tons of photos on their websites.

Codie McLachlan

See more of Codie’s work and adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Have a website you’d like us to feature? Email us at social@livebooks.com.

Patrick McCarthy is a fashion and lifestyle photographer based out of New York City – as well as an accomplished nature and landscape photographer who has traveled the world to take beautiful images. This week, we are excited to feature his nature website so that you can see the clean, beautiful designs and the breathtaking imagery.

Read on to see what he had to say about the creation of his site, and then head on over to www.patrickmccarthynature.com.

Patrick McCarthy

Q: How would you describe the aesthetic of your website in three words?

PM: Tranquil, Ethereal, Alluring.

Patrick McCarthy

Q: How do you choose the photos that you display on your homepage?

PM: I select images for my homepage that are representative of the entire body of work. Also keeping in mind that these images are going to be the first visual introduction for the viewer. The ultimate goal is to maximize the aesthetic impact, drawing the observer in, and encouraging them to explore the site further.

Patrick McCarthy

Q: How often do you update your website?

PM: My goal is to organize two or three trips a year. I have a long list of locations that I intend to visit. For me, it’s clearly a three step process. Step 1: I venture out into the natural world. This step can prove to be the most rewarding and artistically transformative. Step 2: Editing and constructing the images in Photoshop. This step allows me to demonstrate my technical skill, which enables me to create the desired pre-visualized images. Step 3: Arrange and organize the final image files. The objective is to achieve the most harmonious visual presentation for my website.

Patrick McCarthy

Q: What is you favorite feature that liveBooks offers?

PM: For me, the best feature that liveBooks offers is the ease of use. The navigation tools are fluid and seamless. The editSuite allows me to create and manage my portfolios effortlessly. It’s a pleasure to work with.

Patrick McCarthy

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone designing their website?

PM: My best advice for someone designing their website is to trust your instincts and follow your heart. No one knows your images better than you. Have fun with the process. Don’t over think it – it’s a work in progress. You can always make changes at any time.

Patrick McCarthy

Have a website you’d like us to feature? Email us at social@livebooks.com!

 

 

Building your client base as a photographer is a job that continues whether you’re just starting out or have been in the business for 30 years. You should constantly be seeking out new projects, work, and clients to fill out your portfolios give you a well-rounded client base. We thought it would be a good idea to offer some tips on the best ways to build your client base – that you can use as a new photographer or as a seasoned pro.

Utilize Social Media

Social media (when used correctly) will be your best friend when building up a client base. Figure out where your target client base spends their time and then get on those platforms. Are you a wedding or family portrait photographer? Get on Facebook and Instagram. Are you a lifestyle or commercial photographer? Make sure you blog about relevant topics to show your expertise and professionalism and then post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc to drive people back to your blog.

Don’t be afraid to follow or “like” plenty of other photographers in your industry so that you can get ideas, see their work, engage with their projects, and ultimately network and prove yourself a reputable person for them to refer clients to.

Also – make sure to always tag your clients in the things you post on social media. It keeps engagement high and allows their network to also see your work and become familiar with your name and business.

Set Your Pricing – But Run Specials or Promotions

Yo-yo pricing is never a good idea, especially if you want to build credibility in the industry. Know your worth as a photographer, set your pricing, and stick to it. If you’re a new photographer and want to book more clients, run specials or promotions to get people in the door – but make sure once you have a solid client base to make your pricing consistent with what your time and talent is worth. New clients will be attracted to your confidence in yourself and your work – and that will benefit you greatly in the long run.

Referral Program

Having some sort of referral program in place is a wonderful way to not only allow your clients to help market for you, but to reward them for doing so. Depending on how much you want to increase your client base, you can decide the type of program you want to offer. If you’re just starting out and really want to gain new clients, being more aggressive in the type of “rewards” you offer (such as a free session, 50% price discount) might be appropriate. If you’re a seasoned pro and are just looking to expand your current base a little bit, you can be more choosy in the type of program that you offer (maybe an electronic Starbucks gift card).

Much like setting your pricing and sticking to it – always make sure to crunch the numbers before you begin any sort of referral program so that you can make sure you won’t be losing money.

Network With Local Businesses

Networking with local businesses is a fantastic way to get your name out there in the community, and depending on the type of photography that you do can be extremely helpful in finding new clients.  Bartering your services can be mutually beneficial because it allows you to build your portfolio, gives local businesses an opportunity to have professional-quality photos for marketing purposes, and will serve as a good way for them to refer you to clients or even let you advertise your services in their place of business.

Make sure you choose businesses that are relevant to the type of photography you do or would like to do. If you’re a wedding photographer, consider networking with a local hair salon or makeup studio that typically gets a lot of bridal clients. If you’re a lifestyle or sports photographer try making connections at your local sporting goods or running shop.

Focus on Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) should always, always, ALWAYS be a focus no matter where you’re at in your photography career. However, when you’re trying to build or expand your client base, putting more time, effort, and resources into SEO will be well worth it. Who is your target client base? Make sure that your website, blog, and any other content on the web mentions those keywords in an appropriate manner.

Caption all of your photos with descriptions and keywords, and make sure your website is optimized for search engines to crawl. The new liveBooks8 platform offers SEO Everything tools to ensure that your website performs the best that it can on search engines and walks you through where and how to input all of the important aspects of SEO.

Do you have any other tips we should know about?

Fine art photographer Michael Zide has some of the most thought-provoking and calming photographs that we’ve ever seen – and his website design follows much the same theme. We wanted to feature his website this week to show off all the gorgeous black and white aesthetics he employs, as well as his clean-cut navigation.

Read on to see what he had to say specifically about his site – and head on over to www.michaelzide.com for more gorgeous shots!

Michael Zide

Q: How would you describe the aesthetic of your website in three words?

MZ: Elegant, Persuasive, Striking

Michael Zide

Q: How do you choose the images that you display on your homepage?

MZ: Currently my homepage has only one large image, a night time photography conveying some of the feelings of wonder, mystery, and surprise that I felt when I made this photograph.

Michael Zide

Q: How often do you update your website?

MZ: I update my website as I find new photographs to feature or have things of interest to share. Its ease of use allows me the freedom to make changes as frequently as needed.

Michael Zide

Q: What is your favorite feature that liveBooks offers?

MZ: What drew me to liveBooks was the simplicity and the “smartness” of its designs. It enhances the look of professionalism like no other website design I know.

Michael Zide

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone designing their website?

MZ: Keep things simple. It can be a very challenging and daunting task to create a website that supports the quality of your work and is an accurate reflection of how you wish to be perceived. I cannot speak highly enough of the help the liveBooks staff gave me at every turn.

Michael Zide

Have a website you’d like us to feature? Email us at social@livebooks.com!

 

March 22nd, 2016

liveBooks.com Is Brand New!

Posted by Heather

Things are extremely busy these days here at liveBooks. The other week we announced the launch of our new liveBooks8 HTML5 platform and we are hard at work migrating our clients over. Last week, we completely re-branded and re-launched liveBooks.com – and we hope you’ve taken a look and love what you see!

The new homepage features some amazing video content from our fantastic clients, as well as a cleaner, easy-to-navigate menu.

You also now have the opportunity to see all the new features of liveBooks8 and get a sneak peek of how the website editor functions.

Plus, you can preview all the new templates that are available with the platform via the website templates page so you get a feel for some of the beautiful new designs.

Let us know in the comments what you think of our new website – and feel free to email us at social@livebooks.com!

Photographer Mimi Haddon has one of the most eclectic, colorful, and eye-popping sites we’ve ever seen. We absolutely love the simplicity and intrigue that comes with every new page – which is why we chose her as our featured website this week.

Check out what she had to say about her site and make sure to head to www.mimihaddon.com to see more beautiful photos!

Mimi Haddon

Q: How would you describe the aesthetic of your website in three words?

MH: Color, Costume, Life.

Mimi Haddon

Q: How do you choose the photos that you display on your homepage?

MH: My cover image on my homepage is a notebook, which I really love. My work is a sort of diary of my life, my thoughts, my fantasies – the notebook is my attempt to convey that.

Mimi Haddon

Q: How often do you update your website?

MH: I go through waves. Sometimes I go months without updating it. When I have a solid project to upload then I will add it. I try to keep the site as edited and simple as possible so it is easy to navigate. I have many artistic interests, so it’s easy for me to want to throw everything up on the site, but I had an excellent professor in college who said, “you’re only as good as your worst piece.” This was in terms of putting your portfolio together. It’s a way to force an artist into editing their work, which is perhaps the most difficult but important process in presentation.

Mimi Haddon

Q: What is your favorite feature that liveBooks offers?

MH: I love the ease with which I can upload my work. It’s a clean and beautifully designed platform. I  also love how easy it is to create a quality web gallery. I use this often to shoot quick portfolios of a specific work to clients.

Mimi Haddon

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone designing their website?

MH: Less is more. I started off as a graphic designer and studied the art of visual communication for many years. When a client looks at your site, you want to show a confident, solid body of work. This of course ties back to the art of editing. If you have someone you trust, ask for help in the culling process.

Mimi Haddon

Have a website you’d like us to feature? Email us at social@livebooks.com!

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