Resolve

A collaborative online community that brings together photographers and creative professionals of every kind to find ways to keep photography relevant, respected, and profitable.

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Elizabeth Craig is a Beauty, Boudoir, and Fashion Photographer based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her work ranges from weddings to portrait photography. She specializes in boudoir photography – capturing ordinary women in extraordinary ways. During her photoshoots, women of all ages are made to feel like super models while having their hair and make-up done professionally. To see Elizabeth’s work, visit her liveBooks8 website: www.elizabethcraigintimates.com

I am a mother, wife and photographer. My husband taught me everything “photography” 12 years ago. We began shooting weddings together, which we still do today. About 7 years ago, I began photographing beauty and boudoir portraiture and fell in love. This is my primary focus now and I get to live everyday doing what I love.

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

EC: Clean and simple. I wanted the focus to be on the photography and nothing else, which is why I hired liveBooks to custom-design my site for me.

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Q: How often do you typically update your website?

EC: Usually about 4 to 5 times a year. Sometimes more.

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

EC: The ones that get an immediate good reaction when seen for the first time. The ones that have a clear and powerful connection in the eyes and that are visually interesting.

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Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8?

EC: Definitely that it has an HTML5 responsive platform and has a very user-friendly site editor. I like that I can get things changed on my site quickly so I can save time. That’s huge.

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

EC: Keep it very simple and all about the photos. Doesn’t matter how awesome your logo is if your photos aren’t being displayed properly! It should be incredibly easy to navigate and clutter-free.

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

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Living in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Joshua Holko is a full-time Professional Nature Photographer who specializes in polar photography. Joshua is a fully accredited AIPP Master of Photography and member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers (AIPP). He has won countless awards for his photography including being names the 2015 Global Arctic Photographer or the Year.
Joshua is officially represented by Philip Kulpa and the Source Photographica Gallery in Australia and Aspen, Colorado.

To see more of Joshua Holko’s work visit his website: www.jholko.com.

Photography is at its core a still medium that we use to tell stories. The problem with much of the photography that is referenced in the blog post “Will the Real Landscape Photography Please Stand Up” is that there is no story being told by the photograph. Or rather, the story is one of technical perfection and a pretty picture.

Photography is the art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place or thing. It frequently has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them. And that brings us to the art of seeing. An art that is being lost in a sea of technical perfection. Sure it takes technical skill to set up a camera and tripod in a beautiful location with great light and make a pretty picture. It takes artistic skill, however, to create an evocative photograph with emotion and mystery.

Creating images with mystery and emotion starts with seeing with better eyes. Weather, light, and composition all play a vital role in the process but the real emotion is going to come from the story you are trying to tell with your photograph. I wrote in my book review of La Nuit du Cerf (Night of the Deer) about how photography is a subtractive process and what we exclude is often more important than what we include. Photographs are often successfully emotive because of what the photographer chose to exclude, rather than what he or she has included. Giving a sense of something is often far stronger than showing the whole thing. Leave something to the imagination of the viewer in your photographic compositions and you will find your images become stronger, more emotive and mysterious. The story does not have to be completed in a wide-angle frame that encompasses absolutely everything. It is often well worth letting the viewer fill in the blanks in their minds’ eye. After all, no photograph can compete with the stimulated imagination. The more you can fire the imagination of the viewer the more successfully emotive your photograph will become.

I cannot recall who it was who was first quoted as saying “Don’t photograph what it is. Photograph what else it is” but this statement is great advice we should all keep in mind when we are out taking photographs.

I have judged many photographic competitions over the last few years and without a doubt those photographs that are more successful are the ones that tug on my emotional strings. These photographs create a connection with the viewer that is deeper and more meaningful than the feeling a pretty picture might impart.

Learning to see with better eyes takes time but is something we can train ourselves to do. Looking at photography books or attending galleries (not just photographic galleries) and exhibitions are two good ways to improve your vision. Look at how other photographers whom you admire interpreted a scene or subject and analyze what it is that created the connection for you to the work. Think about what is is you are trying to say with your photography before you click the shutter. I frequently ask workshop participants what their photograph is about when they ask for feedback on their images – I often receive a blank stare in return. If the photograph doesn’t know what the image is about, how is the viewer supposed to know? It might be a photograph of a Penguin and that well be the answer, but the real answer should be about what the photographer is trying to say about the subject.

Lets look at this photograph of mine on Gentoo Penguins in the sea ice near the entrance to the Lemaire Channel in Antarctica as an example. This photograph is about “being left behind”. It tells the story of the Gentoo Penguins in their environment. We know (even though they are small in the frame) that there are penguins because of their distinctive shape. We know they are in Antarctica because of the giant icebergs in the background. We know they are in their natural environment as they are walking across the sea ice. Yet, it is that one lone penguin that is lagging behind that creates the emotion in the photograph. When this photograph was judged at the 2014 APPA Awards, the judges giggled and commented about the story being told. The mere fact the photograph elicited giggles speaks to the emotive content. The photograph subsequently received a Gold Award.

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Now, if you put your thumb over the screen and cover up that lagging penguin then suddenly the story is now nowhere near as strong and the real power and emotion of the photograph is gone.

The same applies to the overall composition of this photograph. To the left of the large iceberg just out of frame is a large island. To the right-hand side is a mountainous peak, likewise just out frame but neither of these elements are important to the photograph so I excluded them to simplify the frame and distill it down the essence of what I wanted the photograph to be about. I wanted to tell the story about the penguins on the ice with the little feller playing catch-up. Excluding these extraneous elements not only cleaned up the frame, but it also left the imagination to fill in the blanks about what might lie just to the left and right. Our mind’s eye fills in the blanks and at least in my own case, I imagine the sea ice continually stretching out in both directions. This is far stronger than seeing the Island and mountain that are just out of frame.

Learning to see with better eyes is a core aspect to creating emotion in your imagery. Learning to use the elements available is another. Those who have travelled with me to the Polar regions know I relish bad weather. Snow, blizzards, and dramatic weather provides the perfect canvas to create emotive imagery. It doesn’t have to be Polar though – a breaking rain storm or the edge of weather will almost always provide an opportunity to tell an emotive story. The take-away to remember is that the weather provides only some of the feeling and drama to the photograph. It is your composition and choice of what you include and exclude that is going to tell the story. Remember, like all good stories, a photograph should leave the viewer wanting more. That is the key to getting emotion and mystery into your photographs.

 

Posted in Photography
September 21st, 2016

Gabriel B. | Meet the Team

Posted by liveBooks

Meet the Team

80514720 We are happy to introduce Gabriel, one of our outstanding Production Designers! He has been with liveBooks for almost 9 years now. He loves the work he does and he has his colleagues to help keep him inspired each and everyday! He loves being with other people and on his free time, you can usually catch him laughing with friends, watching a movie, playing video games or cycling.

Quick Facts: 
Hometown: Brasov, Romania
Favorite liveBooks Feature: The Items and Simple List widgets, which allow users to easily create pages with a nice design and utility.
Pets: A cat names Dicky!
You will never catch Gabriel without…: His glasses (mostly because he can’t see much without them!)
Favorite Quote: “Someone once told me that the power in all relationships lies with whoever cares less and he was right. But power isn’t happiness and I think that maybe happiness comes from caring more about people rather than less”

 

Posted in Meet the Team

Tuesdays Tip

Have you been wondering what a portfolio landing page is? This simple list tool helps your viewers see a glimpse into your portfolios before actually clicking into the portfolios themselves. If you are a travel photographer, you may choose to have your photograph of Machu Picchu represent your “Peru” portfolio while having the Eiffel Tower represent your “France” portfolio. Whichever type of photography you choose to display on your liveBooks8 site, know that this tool is a great resource to help streamline your viewer’s choices and help them navigate your website more easily.

Check out this and more of our liveBooks8 tutorials on our YouTube and Vimeo  channels now!

Posted in Tuesday's Tip

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Michael Zide is a Landscape Photographer who has chosen to depict most of his work in black and white. For the past 30 years, he has dedicated himself to perfecting his vision for landscape photography. During this period, he spent time in Martha’s Vineyard and other parts of the East Coast capturing his most iconic photographs. He now dedicates a grand majority of his time to running workshops, mentoring, and speaking about the art of landscape photography.
To see more of his work visit: www.michaelzide.com.

I came to photography in my early twenties, one of those course changes that took me by surprise. My interests suddenly changed from pursuing a career in the medical sciences to a growing interest in the arts. For someone without an aptitude to draw or paint, photography offered me the perfect path to developing my creativity and artistic self-expression. Drawn to landscape photography from the very beginning, I moved to Martha’s Vineyard when I was in my early twenties and began a 12-year project to create my own visual interpretation of this well photographed East Coast icon.

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In time I became the staff photographer for a weekly newspaper and developed many of the skills necessary to eek out a living in the world of freelance. Moving to Amherst, Massachusetts in the early 1980s, I specialized in marketing photography for educational, healthcare, senior living, and business institutions. From my time on the Vineyard to the present, I have taught photography both full-time and in workshop settings.

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

MZ: Attractive, Professional, Useful

Q: How often do you typically update your website?

MZ: I change the site as my photographic galleries need updating or my current “happenings” need to be announced. I would say that happens every few weeks.

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

MZ: The photographs on my homepage serve as a portal into my vision of the landscape. I choose them as representatives of the surprising moments I have found and photographed over time, hoping they keep the viewer’s attention and spark their imaginations.

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Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8?

MZ: With SEO capability being so important, the new design was created to create a more user-friendly method of enhancing your internet visibility.

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

MZ: Know what purpose you want your website to serve. Keep its appearance elegant and informative. Keep it easy to navigate through, allowing the viewer to take in whatever message you are hoping to communicate.

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

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I tumbled into photography while I was struggling to stay in New York after arriving from India with less than a dollar in my pocket and a visa that only lasted a month. In 1968, my plans were to become a fold singer; New York City was full of hippies and music was everywhere. This lady was listening to me sing in the village and asked me if I would come and audition at the United Nations’ choral group. I got the part and she got me a job as a messenger and took care of my visa problem. I won the grand spires in a photo-contest that led me to a job in the United Nation’s Photo Unit as a darkroom technician.

I had worked for 20 years as a photojournalist and I had a nervous breakdown after my coverage in Rwanda in 1994. At that point, I wanted to turn my camera towards nature and wildlife. Since I come from India and tigers are endangered, I decided to turn my photography towards documenting the tigers. I am also very fond of cats.

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This tiger documentary was a coincidence. Mary Fereira who is a United Nations Television (UNTV) documentary producer approached me and asked if I would be willing to share my tiger images and let them follow me while I was in the jungle in India and film with me. So last year they did the filming in India. During the 30 years I worked with the United Nations, I was a photojournalist covering crisis around the world of less fortunate people who suffered during wars and natural disasters. So to be featured as a wildlife photographer was a challenge and thrill.

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I want people to be aware of the delicate situation of these tigers existence in our ever changing world and needs. I want people to realize that we all have an obligation to protect our wildlife and the land we live in. There is an ancient saying that this Earth is given to us on loan and we must take the responsibility to nurture and safekeep it for our children and their children.

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Even though I have retired from my regular job as a photojournalist, I still work everyday in my studio in Yonkers. I make presentations at universities, schools, conduct workshops, and teach photography. As I am writing this, I am getting ready to leave for China on an invitation to make a presentation to 1,400 students in Beijing next week.

To see more of John Isaac’s work, visit his website: www.johnisaac.com

September 14th, 2016

David S. | Meet the Team

Posted by liveBooks

Meet the Team

37674824We are excited to introduce David, a support and project manager, to you today! He has been with the team for eight years and loves the fact that liveBooks enables artists to display their beautiful work while making a living doing what they love to do. In his free-time, you can find David playing with his daughter, DJing or producing music. (Listen to some of his great music here!)

Quick Facts: 
Hometown: Boulder, Colorado
Favorite liveBooks 8 Feature: Control! Every detail of your site can be adjusted and customized within the new editor. This allows our clients to really brand their sites and stand out.
Favorite TV Show: Stranger Things
Pet: Babadook (a betta fish!)

Posted in Meet the Team

Tuesdays Tip

Adding forms to your liveBooks8 website is an easy and effective way to get in contact with your clients. Whether your clients need to get in touch with you regarding quotes or want to send you a direct message regarding your work, the liveBooks8 platform makes it simple for you to add a form to any page on your website. In order to add a custom form to your website, we suggest you use Wufoo, an HTML form-builder that we offer a connection to. Follow the steps in this instructional video that outline how to sign up for a Wufoo account, create a custom form, and embed it to your liveBooks8 site.

To start creating your custom form, follow this link: www.wufoo.com.

Is there a new liveBooks feature that you are excited to learn more about? Email us at social@livebooks.com.

Posted in Tuesday's Tip

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Gustavo Paixão began his career in photography eight years ago while he was in college. The last five of those years were focused in the fashion industry. While growing up, he loved fashion and dreamed of becoming a fashion photographer. Fast-forward to today and he has now achieved his goal of becoming one of Brazil’s top fashion photographers. He truly enjoys seeing the idea of a great photoshoot running through his team. The combination of the clothes, makeup, photographic references, and the concept all coming together is a fabulous idea for him!

To see more of Gustavo Paixão’s work visit his liveBooks 8 website: www.gustavohpaixao.com

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

GP: There are three key words that describe the style of my website: simple, easy, and fast. I was looking for something easily accessible for those who wanted to see my portfolio with a friendly and soft interface. After spending my time looking for web designers, I visited the liveBooks8 website, saw the templates and it was love at first sight. It had exactly what I wanted.

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Q: How often do you typically update your website?

GP: As I’m busy with the photography workshops, I’m taking a break from the portfolio actualization. But normally, I update my portfolio monthly.

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

GP: I’m a perfectionist when it come to my work. I choose the pictures that will go on my portfolio according to the quality of the makeup, clothes, retouch and the time they were taken. It’s not good to choose old pictures because a more experienced professional can note the difference in quality from one work to another. Believe me – your work quality may change a lot in 6 months!

Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks 8?

GP: I love the full customization so much!

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

GP: Pay attention to all the customization options. Although the templates look simple, all of them offer a lot of features to make your website look more professional!

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

September 9th, 2016

The Life of a Stylist by Gretchen Bell

Posted by liveBooks

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Gretchen Bell is a wardrobe and prop stylist based in Seattle. Her client list includes Kraft, Levi’s, Target, Chevrolet, Amazon, Omni Resorts and Tommy Bahama. To see more of her work, visit: www.gretchenbell.com

In some ways, I feel I was destined to become a stylist. As a child, I was always wearing fashion trends before anyone else and modeling in local fashion shows. When I was about 13, I remember reading an article in Seventeen Magazine about the woman who was the stylist for The Cosby Show and thinking that would be my dream job, little did I know!

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Photograph by: Christopher Bell

In college, my major was television Communications, so my career began working in video production as a production assistant and doing graphics for the news at the NBC station in Minneapolis. I then spent several years working as a modeling agent, before taking a job as a studio manager and producer for a successful advertising photographer, Craig Perman. It was there that I began styling commercial photo shoots for many large national and international clients and really learned about all aspects of production. So my whole career has really been about seeing things in a visual way.

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Photograph by: Greg Montijo

In a great photograph everything matters, the color of a shirts, the kind of coffee cup, the style of the shoe, the position of the elements to one another. Everything in a photograph is helping to convey a client’s message or tell a story and that is my job. That is the fun and the challenge of being a stylist. What is going to make a photograph funny or moody or nostalgic and how are my props and wardrobe going to help do that? People don’t realize I might spend hours looking for just the right underwear that will be funny on teenage boys or searching for the perfect feathers for a still life shoot because it all matters. That is why stylists bring so many choices to the set for every shoot, so we can figure out what best helps tell the story.

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Photograph by: Christopher Bell

It is very much a collaboration to tell a great story and it’s not always successful. Everyone is bringing something to the table at the shoot and when we all have a clear and concise vision, I think then it makes for a great photograph. As a stylist, I am coming to a shoot with my interpretation of what my client wants, but also run through a filter of my personal style. If a client wants playing cards, there are lots of playing card options out there. It is really fun to see a shoot come together successfully and see how elements from each member of the crew helped create that moment.

To me being a stylist is really about being part of a team; I can’t do my job without the rest of the crew. My props and wardrobe are only as good as the talent booked for the shoot, the lighting, the photographer, the makeup artist, the vision of the client and the layouts. Again, everything matters.

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Photograph by: Melissa O’Hearn

 

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