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Family portrait sessions should be fun! As photographers we can do more than just create beautiful images for our clients – we can make sure they enjoy their time with us. Ultimately, the experience families have while they’re with us is what determines if we are gaining clients who will want to come back to us again and again.
Growing up, I hated getting our family pictures taken. Uncomfortable clothes, stressed-out mom, cranky kids, and someone almost always ended up crying.
Until a few years ago, I dreaded taking my own kids’ pictures. I was the stressed-out mom, they were the cranky kids, and if someone was crying it was usually me. Why I decided to pursue family photography after all the itching and whining and the poking and the crying is anybody’s guess, but I’ve learned some things over the years, both as a mom and as a photographer, that have completely changed the family portrait experience. Now, I love family portraits – I love shooting them, I love being in them, and I adore looking at them after the session. My clients and my kids look forward to them. I’ve found that taking the time to prepare parents for their family portrait session can turn a potentially stressful situation into one that’s a lot of fun.
Make sure your clients know exactly what to expect from a session. Explain what will happen from the time they arrive at the session until they leave. Remind them that their children don’t have to be perfect at the session. The camera captures 1/250th or less of a second at a time – in between the wiggles and the goofiness and even the “I don’t want to!” there are always sweet moments. Ask them to trust that you can capture those.
I frequently tell my clients that I hope their family portrait session doesn’t cause them any stress, but if it does, all of that stress should happen before the session. Stress and tension have no place at a portrait session. Thoughtful selection of their photographer, their wardrobe, and a session date and time that works with their family’s schedule will definitely lead to beautiful images. However, once the session starts there isn’t much more parents can do to ensure success, other than having fun and showing affection to their kids.
Kids have minds of their own. Let clients know that you’ll try something for a while, and if it’s not working out you’ll move on to something else. Reassure them during the session that their child’s shyness or silliness is age-appropriate and that they’re not misbehaving.
Bribing a child before a portrait session almost never works. I explain to parents that by offering a reward to children before a portrait session, they’re often sending the message, “This is going to be painful. So painful, in fact, that I’m going to have to take you to ice cream/buy you a toy/let you play video games to make it up to you.” The problem with bribes is that children under the age of 5 don’t understand delayed gratification, thus the reward is ineffective and can quickly turn into threats, “Uh-oh, no ice cream!”
I believe a child over the age of 5 is completely capable of participating in the session without the promise of a reward. Ask parents to please not mention any rewards before the session. Find out prior to the session if they’re comfortable with you offering a small treat or prize to win the child over to get that last shot at the end of the session. Let everyone know that the session itself will be fun – no one needs a reward for having fun!
Remind parents that comments like, “This is really important to Mommy, we really want you to cooperate,” instantly gives the child complete control over the session. Instead, I encourage parents to say something like, “We’re going to go see Jessica today. She’s going to play some games with us and take our picture. It’s going to be so much fun!”
As the mom of many highly sensitive children, I encourage parents to make sure they’re not setting themselves up for unnecessary difficulty by asking their children to do things that make them uncomfortable. Sessions should be scheduled, as much as possible, when children will be well-rested and fed. Ask parents to make sure their children have tried on clothes before the session so that any problems resulting from uncomfortable clothing can be addressed prior to the session date. I also let parents know that we can always take a break from shooting if children just need a drink or a snack, a snuggle, or time to play for a bit.
Practice makes perfect. Ask your clients to make sure they let the new big brother(s) or sister(s) hold the new baby every day. If the older sibling is too little to hold the baby, he should be lying down next to the baby, kissing the baby, or at least talking to the baby every day. This gives the toddler or child a chance to get used to the baby. It also gives the parents an idea of how much cooperation they can expect from their older child or children. The clients will then come to the session with a much more realistic idea of just how cooperative the older children will be, which is especially important if the new big sister is still pretty much a baby herself.
Giving them just a little bit of guidance, we can help our clients avoid some of the common causes of family portrait stress. The less stress at the session, the more time there is for fun, and the more likely you are to win over a client for life.
Jessica Washburn’s images are pure, intimate, and above all beautiful. Finding and accentuating the beauty of her clients is always the inspiration for every session. While she enjoys photographing families and children of all ages, Jessica’s attention to detail, patience and absolute love for her subjects has made her especially gifted at newborn portraiture. Her newborn images display a unique sensitivity and sense of peacefulness.
To see more of Jessica’s work visit her website.
After all the lead-up to WPPI in Las Vegas last month, it seems strange that it’s really over. But as I look into the rear view mirror, I see it getting smaller and smaller as we drive our brand forward toward new product launches and what will likely be a healthy wedding season.
This was my first WPPI and everything that I was told to expect turned out to be true. The crowds were massive, the energy was high, the sessions were informative, and Las Vegas was the perfect town (and the MGM Grand the perfect locale), to host the event.
Unlike Imaging USA in Atlanta last January, Pinhole Pro’s presence at WPPI was as an integrated brand beneath liveBooks, Inc. and alongside Fotomoto. For the most part those who were looking for us managed to find us just fine, and when they did they were pleased to note that all of the Pinhole Pro products they’d come to love were on display to touch and feel.
You Asked. We Delivered.
WPPI also marked the unveiling of our brand new Horizontal Panoramic album, which is now available in Pro Studio. Log on to check it out now. You can even save 25% off it and all other Pro Studio product through April 15th when you use promo code PROWPPI. Enjoy!
All-Star Speaker Lineup
We were fortunate enough to have a wonderful lineup of speakers at this year’s event, including Wedding Photographers Stacie Kirkwood, Barrie Fisher and Jared Platt, commercial photographers Michael Grecco and Mark Wallace, and liveBooks CEO Andy Patrick. Our own Patrick O’Connor walked attendees through all the great custom tips and tricks available to all of us in Pro Studio, and Fotomoto Product Manager Piam Kiarostami spoke about the benefits of Fotomoto. Speaking of which….
Start Selling with Fotomoto
Trade shows are nothing if not an opportunity to sample and demo product, and one of our major points of discussion at WPPI was the integration of Fotomoto into liveBooks websites. It was great to see booth attendees’ faces continually light up as we showed them how they can sell photos through their liveBooks websites for free. Think of it as an extra source of revenue that you can set and forget.
For a sample of what I’m talking about, visit Jared Platt’s site and click the ADD TO CART button at the bottom of the screen. If you like what you see, and I think you will, I’d be remiss if I didn’t let you know that you can now save 50% off a Professional predesigned liveBooks website, which includes the integrated Fotomoto shopping cart option, by visiting liveBooks.com and entering promo code LBWPPI at checkout.
Our next major industry event will likely be the PhotoPlus Expo in New York in October, but we are looking into creating a trimmed down booth experience for smaller shows throughout the spring in summer. Please be sure to ‘Like’ us on Facebook and check our Events tab to stay abreast of our upcoming appearances.
Joe Franklin is the Director of Marketing at liveBooks and Pinhole Pro. When he’s not sending emails, optimizing landing pages and organizing events, he’s running the trails of the SF East Bay Regional Park district or shooting photos of whatever catches his eye.
Being able to create and deliver an elevator pitch is fundamental to any good marketing plan. In the final installment of a 4 part series, liveBooks Inc. CEO Andy Patrick discusses the value in being able to state your elevator when it counts.
Writing a photography proposal is a learned process. I still learn something new every time I need to write one. Everyone has a slightly different way of doing things, so you have to figure out what works best for you.
Writing an estimate is essential for large advertising jobs. Editorial jobs for magazines and newspapers often approach you with a predetermined budget. Wedding and portrait photographers often structure their form and fees differently. No matter what type of photographer you are, being able to appropriately charge for your time and expertise is essential. These tips will help you think about what, and how much, to charge a prospective client.
I try to keep everything simple by dividing my estimates into three sections: project description, usage rights, and fees. Here is my proposal writing process. First, I describe the project I have been asked to work on. I try to get as much information from the client as possible by asking the following questions:
Then I take this information and write a brief project description, so everyone involved in the project is on the same page. This also protects you from getting asked by the client to shoot more shots than you originally agreed to, etc.
The second section is about usage rights for the images. Be sure to ask the client where the photos will be used. Will they be used on the web only? Print? A national billboard ad campaign? Obviously, the usage fee should be higher if it’s a national ad campaign vs. an email blast promotion.
After you discuss where they’ll be used, ask them for how long they’d like to purchase the rights to the photos. I usually provide 1-year, 5-year and full buyout options. Most companies assume they want a full buyout, but in reality they probably won’t be using the same photos in 5 years anyway. However if they want it for say a 6th year, they can renegotiate with you at that time. fotoQuote and BlinkBid are good programs for getting some estimated numbers for usage fees. It probably errs on the high side, but it’s a good starting point if you have no idea what to charge! In the third section of my proposal I list all the fees I will be charging the client. A general fee list includes:
Be sure to list out and charge for everything! If you’re involved in model casting, charge for it! If you’ve been asked to location scout, charge for that, too! You may want to consider using higher-end estimates so that you have room to negotiate and cover additional expenses that may come up at the last minute. It’s never a bad thing to come in under budget!
When thinking about budget, I usually try to get an estimate from the client up front. That way I know what I have to work with. Sometimes it’s not appropriate to ask, so use your best judgement. Also, consider the type of client it is. Is it a start-up company or a well-established brand? Just know there is not always a correct set amount to charge, because every project is different. Ask your photo community what they think, and realize that at some level writing a photography proposal is more of an art than a science.
Lastly when presenting a finished estimate to a client, make sure it has an organized look and feel on a branded document. If they ask, explain your fees with confidence, educate them on how costs are broken down and how you are worth every penny!
Kelsey was born and raised in Dallas. She received her B.F.A. in photography at the University of North Texas, and afterwards moved to New York City. She was named one of “Adorama’s ones to watch” in 2008, and also participated in several group shows. Recently relocating back to Texas, she continues to shoot for editorial and commercial clients by splitting her time between NYC and Dallas. Her portrait work can be seen on PinholePress.com and on her website. In addition to photography, Kelsey also loves snow, traveling, and playing her banjo.
Being able to manage and grow your contact database is essential for all working photographers. In part 3 of a 4 part series, liveBooks Inc. CEO Andy Patrick discusses some effective ways to manage and grow your database.
One of the greatest challenges new photographers face is learning to bridle their excitement to show everyone, everything they shoot. The difference between a good photographer and a great one is not what they shoot, but what they choose to show the world. Learning to edit your work is paramount to being a great photographer.
In the last century, there was a buffer between the amateur photographer and the rest of the world: the science of photography itself and the cost of production and distribution. Expensive labs, chemical heavy darkrooms, and the complexity of publishing one’s work made it difficult to publicize. Those who were willing to make the effort and spend the money did so very carefully, with assistance from industry professionals to insure their work was well received. These hurdles to publication slowed photographers down and forced them to reflect on their work before displaying it to the public at large.
Today, you don’t have to go through a gatekeeper to have access to the world. With the advent of Facebook, blogs and Instagram, the public is only a click away from seeing your latest shot. A photographer can snap a shot, alter it in Snap Seed and post it to the world in a matter of 60 seconds, for free, without any oversight, second opinions or editorial review.
And the world will act as your editor by following and un-following your feeds. Now you (the photographer) need to learn how to be a photo editor. You can do it, you have the skills, but you now need the discipline to be your own harshest critic and to accept nothing but the best, even when it hurts to hit the delete key.
After all, photography is the art of selection. When you are out in the field photographing, you have an infinite number of frame options available to you, and with your photographer hat on, you choose the location, the angle, the moment and even the exposure settings for each image you capture. When you get back to the Lightroom, you now have a smaller number of frame options available, but it is still the same act of selection that occupies your attention. The only difference is that the decisions you make in the computer can be contemplated over and are not as permanent as missing the shot in the field. If a photographer approaches the act of selecting in the computer the same way she approaches selecting at the camera (with confidence), the act of selection will be far less intimidating and much more fruitful.
I offer a few suggestions for being a better photo editor:
First, photographers select in the field by reviewing options in comparison to one another. In the old days, we used to make our selections in the darkroom using a contact sheet with 15-36 images being compared to one another at the same time. Reviewing images one at a time will never yield quick or informed selection decisions. The art of efficient, accurate and quality selection begins with this comparative review principle: we make better decisions when we see our options in comparison to each other.
Second, photographers in the field take an infinite number of options and select images from that infinite set. When options are placed before you in comparison, one option will catch your eye and that is the option you will explore. Back in the studio, the selection process is hindered when photographers scrutinize every possible image. Instead, determine what you are looking for (i.e. children in action, brides dressing, politicians lying, etc) and set those images in front of you. As you compare them to each other on the screen or in print, let the great images jump out and grab you. Those that do not are unworthy of your attention.
Third, you must be willing to “kill your darlings.” Too many photographers keep too many images because it cost them time and money to produce. But if the image is not impressive, it should not be shown. Your goal as a self-editor is to promote your great work and, like the gatekeepers of the 20th century, deny entry to the rest. Shakespeare’s character Polonious reminded his son that “brevity is the soul of wit,” and I am reminding you now, that brevity is the soul of a potent portfolio. Protect your brand by protecting your portfolio.
Don’t just think of your portfolio as the book you show your clients, or a website for potential clients. Your portfolio is anything and everything you put out into the public’s eye. This includes your printed products, magazine publications and advertisements, your Facebook pages, blogs, image galleries and Instagrams. This is where you make your impression on the public, which is why it is so important to be more critical of your own work.
Fourth, find someone you trust to review your work on a regular basis. This could be another photographer, a mentor, your print lab, a portfolio review session at a trade show, a camera club or even a password protected web forum. You don’t want a “yes” man to butter you up, but an honest and harsh critique. The public will be more than happy to critique your work, but getting that critique means that you have to show the world your mediocre work. Henri Cartier-Bresson said “showing your contact sheets is like taking your pants off in public.” Don’t take your pants off in public – it’s not good for your brand!
The world knows that you are putting your best foot forward. So, when you share images that are merely good, you are telling your potential clients that this is the best you’ve got. If you are not willing to reject the good that is mixed in with the great, you will be seen as mediocre at best. If you won’t judge your own work harshly, the world will.
Jared Platt is a professional wedding and lifestyle photographer. He has lectured at major trade shows, photo conferences and universities on photography and workflow. Currently, Jared is traveling the USA and Canada teaching photography and post production workflow.
Developing a brand is crucial to the success of any business. In part 2 of a 4 part series, liveBooks, Inc. CEO Andy Patrick discusses the value of branding and how to develop your personal brand.
The About section is an important part of your website. In part 1 of a 4 part series, liveBooks, Inc. CEO Andy Patrick discusses the value of a great About section and how to go about creating one.
Editorial and commercial photographer Kelsey Foster gives us some ideas on what you can do to revamp and tweak your photography brand, keeping it simple and consistent.
A good logo is very important and should be easily remembered by whoever sees it. Because it should be memorable put it on everything and don’t change it frequently. People often make the mistake of changing their logo because they find something that they like better or think it’s good to always be new and fresh. Don’t make this mistake! Clients might get confused and think they have the wrong photographer, especially if you have different logos on different things. Having a consistent logo is part of having a consistent brand. For example, don’t have an older logo on your website and a newer one printed on a portfolio.
Make sure your photos are sized correctly for the web to ensure a fast load time. People have short attention spans and I promise they will click out of your site if it takes too long. You should keep the design simple so that your imagery stands out. In regards to social media just be consistent. For example use the same logo, colors and branding on all your social sites. Simplifying your website and keeping all social media branding consistent is something you can easily throughout the year.
iPads are great and can be a very useful portfolio tool, but nothing beats hard copies of images. If you want to sell products you need to have your photos printed for the client to actually touch and experience. A huge portfolio can be too heavy to carry around so the little hardback books from Pinhole Pro are great. They are impressive in appearance and print quality. Small books are so easy to always have on hand and they fit easily in my purse! Notice I picked a neutral binding because it matches my photos best.
Again when putting together a portfolio you have to be consistent. Use the same logo, typeface, and colors. Always ask yourself, “Is this part of my brand?”
So, my advice would be to make your brand simple and consistent in regards to your logo, website, portfolios and promos. Ultimately your photography should speak for itself. The more consistent you are with your brand the more professional you will appear to a client, thus resulting in more business!
Kelsey Foster was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She received her B.F.A. in photography at the University of North Texas, and afterwards moved to New York City. She was named one of “Adorama’s ones to watch” in 2008, and also participated in several group shows. Recently relocating back to Texas, she continues to shoot for editorial and commercial clients by splitting her time between NYC and Dallas.
Make your post processing workflow as efficient as possible. Shoot with intention. Set a goal of getting it right in camera. Minutes spent correcting the exposure and adjusting the temperature are minutes that could be spent with your friends and family.
To obtain proper exposure practice makes perfect. I shoot manually and use flash for consistency. This makes post processing more efficient because you can generally apply the same changes to images with identical exposure settings.
To obtain accurate color utilize tools like ExpoDisk, X-Rite ColorChecker Passport, or the SpyderCHECKR. These tools will help get the color right in camera by minimizing the guesswork.
Cull smarter. The question is, do you eliminate the bad or include the good? The thought process is different and can keep you from providing your clients with too many photos. If there are very slight differences in similar images include only the best one… not 8 of the same photos.
Shoot less. It is not necessary to take 68 frames of the bouquet, edit them, and include them in the gallery. I’ve been there and done that. Know what you are photographing, how, and why. Keep these questions in mind to keep you from over-shooting. So make it easy on yourself. Get the shot and move on. That way you won’t have to waste time culling or editing images that will serve no purpose to the bride and groom.
As the owner of a photography business, there are many things that take up the precious minutes of your day. These include administrative duties such as contracts and invoicing, organizing finances, client interaction, creative duties and marketing. So how can I do all this without compromising the quality of work?
I started looking for opportunities to outsource some of my administrative operations. I discovered ShootQ and now my administrative work is a breeze. You know the saying “you never know what you have until it’s gone…” Well, I never knew what time I had until all of that extra work was gone. Granted, it took a very long time to set up, but once it’s done, you are golden.
For some photographers, outsourcing creative aspects may be the best solution. Companies like Colorati, Fotofafa, and PWD Labs can cull, color correct, apply creative actions and design album layouts. Outsourcing this facet of your business definitely takes a lot of courage, but if the thought of culling through 3000 images and editing 1000 of them sounds dreadful this will save you lots of time.
Another option is to hire an office manager to help you manage the day-to-day aspects of running your business.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to make your clients happy. If you set realistic expectations of how long the images will take for you to process there will be fewer phone calls and emails asking when these images will be ready.
Under promise and over deliver. Always set expectations so you can meet and exceed them.
Lastly, to avoid burn out you must make time for yourself.
Two years ago I would stay up all night every night editing because that is when the house was quiet. As a result I was not feeling my best and my personal relationships suffered. My priorities needed to be checked. I sat down and made a list of what was important to me and what I could do to make my life more enjoyable.
I try to exercise regularly. I find that maintaining an exercise regimen throughout the week keeps me happy and focused.
I limit business matters to set business hours. This is a work in progress. But keeping a schedule from 9-5 or 7-3 has helped me create boundaries between my business and personal life.
Don’t get bored with your work. Create projects to reinstate your love for photography. A different subject or even a different kind of camera can rejuvenate your creativity. Doing this will sharpen your technical skills and the creative stimulation will spill over into your work.
Owning a business is a lot of work but there are many benefits to being self-employed. Why do we do this? For many it’s because they love photography and being creative. Others love the business aspect. And some, like me, may love all aspects of owning a photography business – the creativity involved, the business planning, and most of all the freedom. The freedom to have a flexible schedule, the freedom to make as little or as much money as my efforts provide, the freedom to do what I love. If you are not deriving joy from owning your business then try and make some changes. Let’s make 2013 the best year yet!
Thu Tran is an Atlanta-based wedding photographer that has an affinity for details and all things pretty. She seeks to capture life and love with style and flare.
The Truth Told Project
One girl or woman is raped every minute in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The rape is not random, as you might think. It is a power play that targets those who are not in a position to fight back. The rebel and military groups use rape as a scare tactic and way to control and destroy local communities. The DRC’s society is so broken rape is now “normalized.” Millions of girls, women and men have been raped. Many more will be raped in the time it takes you to read these few paragraphs.
Photographer Sarah Fretwell woke one day from a nightmare and realized she was “supposed to go” to North Kivu, a warn-torn and mineral rich region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Shortly after, in December of 2010 she arrived and spent 50 days photographing and filming the girls and women of the DRC. She absorbed and chronicled their stories of terror and tragedy. Fretwell passionately formulated what is now called, “The Truth Told Project” (thetruthtold.com).
Her mission is to assist these girls and women to tell their stories. They want and need the truth told. Fretwell’s compelling photographs capture the pain, despair, innocence and hope of these women and children.
By using photography, videography, art and written words, Fretwell wants to generate conversation and bring awareness to something each of us can actively participate in to end.
The Africa Center at the Smithsonian has offered encouragement in her photographs and she has spoken at the 2012 SXSW Interactive Conference, but it is each of us as individuals that need to actively help in the cause.
“We vote with our dollars,” says Fretwell. Countries such as Rwanda, Uganda, Congolese soldiers, and foreign mercenaries profit from mineral resources because of the unregulated supply chains that feed the high technology consumption of the world.
Fretwell’s call-to-action is for all of us to be mindful of what happens when our technology thirst is constantly quenched.
To that end, Fretwell requests that we do the following:
1. Email your cell phone provider and let them know you want the option of a cell phone not made of conflict materials. You can email in one click right here: http://everence.com/showwide.aspx?id=12709
2. Visit the Conflict Mineral Company Ranking to see how your brands of choice stack up - http://www.raisehopeforcongo.org/content/conflict-minerals-company-rankings
3. Email your electronics companies in one click. http://www.jewishworldwatch.org/takeaction/congo/email-electronics-companies
4. Sign the Conflict Free Mineral Pledge and share it on Facebook. http://www.jewishworldwatch.org/takeaction/congo/sign-the-conflicts-mineral-pledge
Please visit thetruthtold.com to view additional compelling portraits photographed by Sarah Fretwell.
The program is actively seeking funding to expand its reach. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to offer your assistance and support.
On a visit to Cambodia in 2002 photographer Bill Smith was taken by a driver to the see the Phnom Penh Municipal Garbage Dump. This dump, located 20 miles outside the capital, was next to a village called Stung Meanchey. It was at this large garbage dump that Smith witnessed the horrible sight of hundreds of children digging through scraps for anything that could be sold. The children would go to the dump in the morning and not leave until the evening hours. They sifted through toxic trash and waded through dirty water to try and earn $10 a month that would help sustain their families.
The parents of the children had a lifespan of about 40 forty years due to working in the dump and being contaminated by toxins which would lead to TB, lung cancer and other diseases.
Smith and his wife Lauren, were shocked and decided to return to the dump and try and help at least one of these doomed children. They ended up sponsoring one child and then another and then another. Smith, his wife and friend Joe O’Neil soon formulated what would become A New Day Cambodia, a non-profit organization providing shelter, food and education to Cambodia’s garbage dump scavenger children.
Today, A New Day Cambodia (ANDC) has opened two centers that house over 100 children. The children go to school from 7am to 5pm six days a week. There are 14 full time staffers along with numerous volunteers that help teach English, geography, photography, and many other classes. The children receive medical care and meals along with exercise and athletic programs.
Please visit www.anewdaycambodia.org where you can see photographs and learn more about this extremely beneficial organization.
Have you ever noticed how animals have an emotional body language that we as humans can relate to? Working from her Berkeley studio, Tara Tucker creates art that reflects the subtle similarities between animals and humans. Her exploration into emotional / psychological states and relationship irony is a central theme in many of her works. Tucker goes to great lengths to research what animals look like and how they have been depicted in history. She strives for accuracy and at the same time, is a strong believer in not having rules in art. Her works are exquisite in detail and rich in story.
Check out the fine details of her work here.
The liveBooks team is pleased to call attention to photography ambassador Jeff Sheng’s recent series of photos, “The Fearless Project”, which sheds light on “out” lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes at the collegiate and high school levels. The project, which chronicles the athletes from 2003-present, has been exhibited on campuses throughout the U.S., at Nike headquarters, and even at the 2012 London Olympics.
After nearly 10 years Sheng is bringing an end to the photography portion of the project with a Kickstarter campaign that has a $50,000 goal. Mr. Sheng said he intends to shoot 50 more athletes, add them to the 150 he’s profiled already, and then put all 200 or so into a self-published book by 2013.
To display the photos online Mr. Sheng uses a the liveBooks “Prime” Website, with additional pages and the built-in portfolio landing page.
To visit Jeff’s “Fearless Project” site and view the images, click here.
If you are like many photographers, you understand the need to leverage social media in your marketing mix, but maybe you’re uncertain of where to begin. Are your “tweets”, “pins”, or “posts” actually driving page views and business transactions? If so liveBooks has good news for you. In addition to empowering you with the ability to present your work in a professional manner, we also know social media for photographers.
Beginning next Thursday and continuing throughout November, we will deliver a series of posts that detail how you can engage your audience through social media channels, and in the process build brand recognition, loyalty and trust in a way that drives quality, meaningful traffic back to your site.
Sound good? Okay! Here’s what we have in store:
Week 1 – “Social Media for Photographers: Where to Begin?”
This week we will focus on the two most popular Social Media platforms; Facebook and Twitter and why they are important to your web presence as a photographer. You will learn the different uses for Facebook and Twitter, as well as some improvements you can make today with what you already have. We will conclude with a discussion of how to fit social media into even the tightest of schedules. This post will serve as a launchpad for our week two discussion of defining achievable goals for your social media strategy.
Week 2 – “Defining the Photographer’s Social Media Strategy”
The first step in any effective social media strategy is understanding what your needs are and defining what goals you want to achieve for your photography business through social media. The next logical step is to define who your target audience is. We will take you through this process and get you on your way to delivering relevant content that your audience actively engages with.
Week 3 – “Executing Your Social Media Strategy”
Now that you have your social media strategy defined, it’s time to ignite your social media wildfire. We will help you understand how to pace your content, react to your community’s feedback, and understand what the appropriate level of engagement and energy is that you can consistently give to Social Media. Even if you’re a professional photographer who can only devote 15 minutes a day, we can help you understand how to best manage your time and resources. By the end of this post you should feel comfortable executing your defined social media strategy to meet your social media goals.
Week 4 – “Social Media Measurement Strategies”
There are many different ways to measure your social media impact. We will begin by showing you how to track and understand basic social media data. Based on the goals you set forth in week one we will help you make meaning out of this measured information and determine ways that you can refine your strategy. To reach your goals faster and with a larger impact, you will learn which metrics are most relevant to your photography goals.
Week 5 – “Using Instagram To Promote Your Photography Business”
In week five we will discuss the value of introducing Instagram into your social media mix. We will cover the ins and outs of how photographers can use Instagram to increase their business. You will learn about mobile technologies and how Instagram may be your link to a larger photography audience. Our conversation will conclude with a discussion of 5 simple ways you can effectively introduce Instagram into your social media mix.
liveBooks would love to hear your ideas, questions and comments so post a tweet to @livebooks. And while you’re on the social media forefront, “Like” us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter. For more information on how you can use social media channels, and in the process build brand recognition, loyalty and trust, click here or call: (888)458-3678.
How does one become a better photographer? To find the answer I decided to ask industry veteran Gerald Ratto. For over half a century Gerald has used film photography to capture the world. Gerald is a former student of Ansel Adams, Minor White, Imogen Cunningham and Edward Weston; the list of industry legends he has worked with is extensive. His work has been displayed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and his client list includes some of the largest architectural firms in the world.
Gerald has worked with film since he was 12 and began photographing with a 15-cent box camera. Many of his most celebrated images (See his Children of the Fillmore and Vintage Collections) were shot traditionally. I began by inquiring about what differences exists between photographing with film and digital.
“Photography is really about seeing. We are in an age where people confuse photography with image capturing. When you hold up your phone or high megapixel camera are you really being a photographer? I don’t know. That depends on how intentional you are in the process. It’s easy to capture a huge amount of space today and then use Photoshop to retroactively tell a story, but something is lost in that process. You can make adjustments in Photoshop but you lose some of the expression because you didn’t really consider the content and the story that is being told.”
Is there any correlation between the physical developing process and the creation of an authentic photograph?
“Developing isn’t really a huge part of the process because of previsualization; seeing the story in your mind before you capture it with a camera. If you are doing it right you already know what the story is once you capture it. Then, it’s about going through a process to bring it from a small format to something people can see and display. Each camera is really the same. Each is simply a different instrument. If your process is the same then you can use different instruments to more accurately tell the story.”
Herein I realized the error of my initial question. The question is really not of whether we gain or lose something using film or digital methods, the question is how we remain intentional in an age where technology removes our limits. What are we doing as photographers to keep our content intentional and relevant?
I ask what advice Gerald can provide for how to stay relevant as a photographer.
“Photography is like discovery; every time you look in the viewfinder you’re closing in on an image that is part of something bigger—a little vignette of the greater world. You don’t want to go into any project with preconceived notions of what you are going to capture because by doing that you impose yourself upon the subject. Authenticity is the key to staying relevant. Allow the subject to tell the story and use your mastery of the instrument to capture it.”
Gerald’s work over the last 50 years showcases many different thematic elements; a testament to the depth of his abilities as photographer. I encourage you to take a look at Gerald’s portfolios and pay special attention to his mastery of light. From architecture models to portraiture, Gerald’s work showcases the breadth of his abilities as a photographer. As we finish up I ask Gerald what his favorite photo is. He smiles and replies, “The one I’m taking tomorrow.”
Gerald Ratto and his wife Marla manage a studio and reside in San Francisco, CA. You can view more of his work on his liveBooks site; www.geraldrattophotography.com.
liveBooks wants to know: how do you view your work as a photographer? What tools/best practices do you use to stay relevant? Share a comment on our blog and start a conversation. “Like” us on our facebook page and be the first to receive exciting liveBooks news and content.
If you’re like many photographers you’ve already experimented with social media, either on a personal or professional level. For many, the challenge is how to use social media more effectively; where to begin? Our goal this week is to highlight ways you can use Facebook and Twitter to get more business as a photographer. We will introduce how other photographers use Facebook and Twitter, discuss features of both platforms and conclude with suggestions on how to best manage your social media time.
Social media is an invaluable tool for any business because it enables the free and easy distribution of content in real time. For photographers, using Facebook as a platform provides an easy way to share one’s work with friends, clients and future clients. On the back-end of Facebook are analytic tools that provide valuable insights on how effective your different efforts are. One major advantage of using Facebook is that you can learn what types of content your target audience is interested in and craft your future messages around these subjects.
Wedding photographers at Emilie Inc. use their Facebook pages to post album previews of the weddings that they capture. By including links with these albums they can drive traffic back to their blog page and increase their SEO presence. Fraenkel Gallery uses their Facebook page to keep members abreast of different events and photo openings. As a photo-centric platform, Facebook provides the opportunity to be very creative with how you market your content. According to Facebook, posts that include links, photos and albums receive 100-200% more engagement than those that don’t.
Twitter is an exciting platform that allows you to share short messages, including photos, links and other media content. liveBooks client Chase Jarvis uses Twitter to supplement his video brand and share exclusive, on-scene content. Sport photographer Brad Mangin uses Twitter to energize his followers and talk about sports in real time. The key to using Twitter effectively is to keep your content catchy and interesting. You only have 140 characters to convey your message; research suggests that the most successful tweets are less than 100 characters.
Regardless of how you use each platform, doing social media well takes time. Below are three simple tips for being more effective with your social media presence.
• Start small: It’s easy to get excited about social media, and just as easy to burn yourself out on it. Only expand once you have a good handle on one or two platforms.
• Focus your time: Set a daily goal for something you want to accomplish through social media. Maybe you announce exciting news every Monday or add 10 new followers throughout the week. Setting small goals will help you stay focused on improving your business.
• Have fun: If you aren’t enjoying creating content, chances are people aren’t enjoying reading it. Use your abilities as a photographer to create energy around what you do.
From this point, liveBooks wants to help you build your social media strategy. Tune in next week as we take you through developing your social media goals. Each blog post in this series will build on the last one and help you get a little bit closer to achieving an effective social media strategy.
Many interior designers avoid developing their web presence because they don’t have good images of their work. If you don’t have the resources to hire a professional photographer, your next best option may be to do it yourself. Here are five simple steps to help interior designers learn how to photograph interiors.
1. Start by purchasing a good camera and tripod — If you are planning on taking interior photos, do it right with a camera that can produce high quality images. We recommend the Canon G12 ($450 msrp); a good entry-level camera that can shoot HD images and manages light well. A tripod will help you reduce noise from “camera shake” while allowing you to step away from the camera and observe your interiors. Using a timer may also help you if you don’t have a steady hand.
2. Focus on one subject for each photo — One of the easiest mistakes you can make is trying to capture EVERYTHING in one photo. Think about the different ways your design highlights the room and focus your images around these elements. As a designer, many of the elements you focus design around (flow, colors, contrast, angles, materials, lighting) will be of more interest to your clients than capturing the entire space of a room. Eliminate any items that distract from the subject of your photo.
3. Use natural light to showcase the room— Unless you have proper training, complex flash systems and lighting will be nothing but trouble. Experiment using natural lighting and try to capture your rooms from different angles throughout the day. Once you get more comfortable with your camera, you will learn what times throughout the day warrant the best results. Your tendency may be to turn on all of the lamps to add additional light; don’t. Your camera is equipped to help you and will work best with a balanced quality of lighting.
4. Don’t edit your photos on scene— If you are new to photography your images likely won’t turn out perfect; you will need to do some basic editing. If you use a Mac computer you can do basic editing using a program that is often preloaded on your computer called iPhoto. If you don’t have access to iPhoto, free applications like Pixlr can help you make adjustments to your photos.
5. Borrow ideas from the pros— Pinterest is a great way to gather inspiration for your photo shoot. Create a pinboard of interiors that you love and take notes on what aspects of a room you want to capture. By doing this prep work you will begin to recognize themes between your photos and professional interior photos.
liveBooks provides simple, easy to use, website platforms for artists, photographers and interior designers. See more examples of how interior designers use liveBooks at success.livebooks.com. Hear it first; join our Facebook and Twitter communities to receive real-time liveBooks news and updates.
If you were looking to learn how to enhance your brand and attended this year’s ASMP Photo Review last Saturday in Golden, CO, you didn’t leave disappointed. For those of you who didn’t make it, keynote speakers included liveBooks CEO, Andy Patrick, and Wonderful Machine CEO, Bill Cramer. Photographers from across the country were engaged in presentations about branding, SEO, marketing and social media to name a few of the topics. If you missed it, liveBooks has captured a few key insights from our CEO’s presentation at this year’s event.
Hopefully these tips have captured your interest and helped you think more about your brand. You can begin building your web presence today with liveBooks! Sign up for our FREE 14-day trial here. Hear it first; join our Facebook and Twitter communities to receive real-time liveBooks news and updates.
Today, liveBooks is proud to announce the acquisition of Pinhole Pro and Pinhole Press. For creative professionals this acquisition presents a valuable opportunity to extend your brand through the combination of a premium online and offline product suite. You may be asking, what opportunities does this present for my business? To help, we put together this introductory blog post that tells you a little bit more about our new integrated company.
United by a shared vision of elegant design, superior product quality and simplicity of use, liveBooks and Pinhole Pro are a powerful combination. liveBooks clients will now have a full line of professional quality photo books, calendars, cards and other highly valuable marketing materials at their finger tips. Have confidence producing a wedding album for your own clients–or perhaps promotional postcards–with the best digital print quality around. Pinhole Pro enhances your brand by extending your product offerings beyond your website. If you haven’t looked through the suite of Pinhole Pro products or downloaded the Pro Studio software, take a look here.
For current Pinhole Pro clients, the opportunity to expand into web media through liveBooks is invaluable. If you are new to using liveBooks, you will find our drag and drop platform simple to use and easy to update. Your work will be displayed on a platform that is as beautiful as it is powerful. Check out how Scaler presents your work in the most visually compelling way. Our industry–leading SEO will help you get more web traffic and our friendly customer support will be there if you have any issues.
And, for all clients and a wide variety of home consumers, Pinhole Press will meet personalized gifting needs with its full array of invitations, photo-books, frames, calendars and new children’s educational products. How about fun wine labels for your next party? The opportunities to customize are endless; visit Pinhole Press
Over the coming months you will begin to see the liveBooks and Pinhole brands integrate, making it easy for you to streamline your web, mobile and print design needs. As our two companies grow together you will experience a more intuitive, innovative and creative–product with lots more to come! To our new liveBooks and Pinhole clients, welcome. We look forward to the future of growing together!
Defining your social media strategy begins with knowing you. This week we’ll get you on the path to building a useful strategy that aligns with where you want to take your photography business. If you haven’t done so already, check out my Week 1 post, Social Media for Photographers: Where to Begin, as I’ll build on that information this week and each week throughout this series.
As often as we see and interact with social media, it’s uncommon for us to think strategically about how we use it. If you’re like many, you dabble across the different social media platforms and wonder which ones you should be focusing on to get the most return. This is where many photographers go wrong. Instead of asking, “What social media do I need to be using?” you might instead ask, “Why do I need social media for my business in the first place?” It’s a simple question, and one that’s often overlooked, but even attempting to answer it will help you begin to look at social media as a tool for achieving your larger business goals. And when you begin to do that, you are definitely on the right track.
Before you can game plan your social media attack, you must first understand why you’re in the game to begin with. Try following these three steps to (re)frame your social media strategy.
1. Identify a series of end-goals and set a time frame for achieving them. Keep it simple, but definable. For example, “I want to increase the amount of wedding-related inquiries I have by 15% over the next three months,” or “I want to expand my client base 50 miles beyond what I normally do now.” List timely goals and prioritize them.
2. Identify what’s limiting you from reaching these goals. Maybe you feel you need to have more people see your work, or you feel like you don’t have enough exposure in public venues. Be clear about what you think is holding you back. Doing so will help you focus on overcoming such barriers.
3. Identify what you’re currently doing to be successful. As you begin to define your process, and to implement social media strategy, you should start to see some success. Document your methods of achieving that success and build on it. Then continue to try new ideas.
Once you’ve identified your businesses goals and begun to think about ways to achieve them through social media, you can begin to look at specific platforms for achieving success. For example, you might use real-time Twitter updates or Foursquare promotions to encourage people to check out your location. Or, you can use Facebook to build your community and advertise an event. Whatever you come up with, you’ll be much more effective with your social media time by connecting it to real, measurable business goals.
In conclusion, it’s important to recognize social media as a series of tools and not a be-all-end-all marketing solution. At the end of this exercise you should have a clear idea of what larger goals to focus your social media efforts around. If you’ve taken the time to define the “why” of your social media strategy, the “who” and “how” will naturally follow. Good luck!
NOTE: Tune in next week for Part II of this post, when I’ll help you segment your social media market and clarify action steps to reach the various segments.
Last week we looked at getting you started defining your social media strategy. Hopefully by now you’re starting to have a clear idea of why you need social media in the first place. Answering why you need social media by aligning with your larger business goals will get you on your way to having a more valuable and dynamic social media presence. Next, you can determine “who” you’re going to market to and “how” you’re going to connect with them.
As a photographer, each of your marketing goals is in someway tied to a market segment. To attract new segments you may want to focus your energies around platforms in which content is very rapidly shared like Pinterest or Twitter. New clients will be roaming across these platforms to quickly find content and information that aligns with their interests. If your goal is to further develop conversations and deepen the relationships with your existing customers, you may consider using networks like LinkedIn or Facebook. Determining who you want to market to will help you determine which platform will be the best to use. Below are three tips to help you do this.
1. List your top three revenue sources in the last six months and how you currently communicate with them. For example, galleries, online purchases, studio drop-ins etc…
2. List the top three types of customers or groups of people you want to attract. Some of these people may already be in your top three revenue sources.
3. Begin listing similarities and differences between your current and desired customers. You can start by asking questions like: How do they shop? What do they say about my work? What do you want them to say about your work? What marketing efforts are you already using that you can you further leverage?
Remember that social media is an avenue and not a destination. In most cases you want use these platforms to drive people to your website where they can make a transaction. Once you have decided “who” you want to market to you can focus on “how” to get them.
1. Do a little research: Talk with your clients and find out how they like to use social media. What platforms do they use and why?
2. Keep an eye on the competition: Look at how your competition is using social media. How do they add followers and build their online community? What kind of content do they post?
3. Keep it simple: Based on the time allotment that you developed as a result of our week one post, focus your energies on crafting messages across the platforms that your market uses most. It is much easier to add to your social media mix than downsize and refocus if it becomes too much to maintain.
As we suggested in week 1, start slow and build out your strategy. At the end of each week look at the progress you’ve made toward your larger goals. Has social media helped you get closer to being successful? Document any successes and failures you have along the way and learn from your mistakes. You may find that your goals are changing, and so then will your social media strategy. This is good! The more you can align your social media efforts with your goals as a photographer, the more dynamic you can be at responding and using social media to enhance your business.
For the latest news from liveBooks, and for added information and access to tools that will help you grow your photography business, stay connected to liveBooks through Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
If you have been following our Social Media miniseries you are undoubtedly excited to start executing your new strategy (if you haven’t already). This week liveBooks is going to help you improve user engagement by looking at two of the variables you can control: what content you share and when you share it.
Few other marketing platforms let you reach so many people so quickly and for such a low price point as social media. It is important when you’re starting to use social media that you publish a variety of content to see what sticks best with your audience. As a photographer you’ll have a lot of visual content to share. Research suggests that images promote higher engagement than any other type of post. In addition, you can try sharing information about different causes you support, things you find inspirational or other cool projects you know about.
To improve engagement you can and include Twitter handles, Facebook tags, and other hashtags to your posts. Tagging others can often work as social currency and people are in turn happy to tag and share your stories. Also, you can try focusing your postings around different themes. For example, if you’re expanding your commercial photography business into high fashion you might try devoting your Friday posts to fashion-related themes on your Facebook or Pinterest profile. Maybe you connect with a local fashion blogger and share his/her content on your Facebook page. You can then see what types of content your followers are latching on to.
Remember that social media is SOCIAL! Think of each post that you put up as part of a larger story you are telling about your brand and the other social communities you align with. Your followers want to share good stories and will reward you when they feel connected to the type of content you’re posting.
I love creative Twitter campaigns because they happen in real-time. These days the more creative you can get about how to engage your audience, the more successful your efforts will be. Here are some great examples that you might be able to draw inspiration from:
As you can see, there are many fun ways to create buzz using Twitter. If you don’t feel like planning a full social media campaign, try to incorporate these tips into your marketing efforts.
So you have all of these ideas to spice up your posts, but when should you be posting to get the most out of your time? The answer to this depends on what you’re posting. If your message is about an upcoming workshop, consider posting on Sunday or Monday when people are planning out their week. If you have a serious call to action you might consider posting towards the end of the week when people can take time to follow up with your content. If your clientele is largely working professionals, you might focus your posts around later times in the day when professionals are available and tuned into social media. Be diligent about posting and find the times that work best for your audience.
Stay tuned next week as we help you use tools to monitor your social media presence. If you haven’t already, join the conversation and let us know what is working for you at email@example.com. For the latest news from liveBooks, and for added information and access to tools that will help you grow your photography business, stay connected to liveBooks through Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
As a photographer your time to devote toward social media may be limited. Most photographers I know have commented that they wish they had an extra hour (or 10) in their day to catch up on editing photos, updating their web page, or _______(insert 1 of a zillion things you are busy with). So why devote time toward social media if you can’t measure the effect it has on your business? In this post we’ll help you measure the value of your time and interactions so that you can make better decisions about how to market your photography business.
Time is one of your most valuable assets
Time will help establish a benchmark for measuring the return on investment of your social media efforts. How much time do you spend on social media and what do you value that time at? If we assume you devote an average of 5 hours a week on social media (20 hours a month, 240 hours a year) and your hourly rate is $25 your social media marketing efforts may be costing you at least $6,000 a year. This seemingly “free” form of advertising is not free. So lets be strategic and start measuring social media.
How do you measure social media?
Part of why it’s hard to measure the value of social media is that there is no universal unit of measure across the different platforms. If I may be so bold, I’d advocate that until some universal unit of measurement exists (share your thoughts) the only way to measure the value of social media is to value your input of time, research, and advertising funds for each social media platform and compare this to your possible return from other forms of traditional marketing.
Value of time invested + Investment in education/research + Cost of paid advertising and social media tools= The monetary cost of your social media marketing
Facebook offers some of the most insightful analytics tools of all of the social media platforms. Still the challenge is to understand what each insight actually tells you. Two insights that I have found helpful are “unique users by frequency” (clarifies within a specific time period how often each unique users engaged with your page) and the “friends of friends” (gives you total possible reach of your page). These are stats that any good media channel should be able to give you about their readership or viewership. Compare what your social media investment is to the coverage you could receive from other channels for a comparable investment.
Another valuable insight you can gather from all social platforms is the cost of social referral. By using Google Analytics you can see the amount of unique visitors you receive through each link you put up. Sum the amount of time, research, and advertising you invested in a specific landing page and divide this by the amount of unique visitors you received for each link to value your cost per referral. How much is it really costing you to get people to view your unique content?
Hopefully by now you have a better idea of how to make sense of what your Social Media results are telling you. Remember that unless you quantify your investment of time, research, advertising options and available funding, you won’t be able to accurately assess the true gain/or loss on your social media efforts.
Stay tuned next week as we focus on Instagram as part of your social media presence. If you haven’t already, join the conversation and let us know what is working for you at firstname.lastname@example.org. For the latest news from liveBooks, and for added information and access to tools that will help you grow your photography business, stay connected to liveBooks through Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Old are the days of post cards, rotary telephones, floppy disks and a slew of other media making devices, and yet few disruptive replacements have solicited such an array of reactions as the cell phone camera. Amateurs, prosumers, and experts alike now find themselves X-Pro filtering their way through Instagram; another form of social media that is hard to measure and even harder to monetize. This week liveBooks wraps up its series on social media with a look into Instagram and the role it plays in a photographers’ social media mix.
The role of mobile devices continues to change the landscape of marketing for businesses and professional photographers. Since Instagram is largely consumed on a mobile platform it is important to develop the dialogue around how mobile devices are influencing the landscape of social media and how it is consumed.
Mobile social media tends to be consumed and produced as short snippets of information. Photos, links, videos and other manifestations of social content are viewed, shared or dismissed as quickly as they’re posted. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, which have both a web and mobile presence, Instagram only operates on a mobile platform and is therefore optimized for a primarily mobile viewing experience. Is your content optimized to tell a quick short story, or is your work better seen in a larger collection? This is an important distinction to make when deciding if and how to add Instagram into your social media strategy.
The goal with marketing on Instagram is to add followers and create awareness that will lead others to your web presence. Because Instagram doesn’t allow outbound links on its commenting platform you will likely not see an SEO bump that you can directly correlate, even if you’re receiving a lot of attention. With this being said, you can still include your website with your profile page and put a comment on your content that encourages your followers to view your website. Hashtags are the most Instagram-friendly way to share your content and can be a useful way to spread your message.
With 40+ million total users and 2+ million users per day, maybe you want a piece of the action but are unsure of whether or not it fits your photography business goals. The way it’s designed, Instagram is great for sharing your work and serves as another “free” venue for marketing; however, Instagram isn’t for everyone and as a photographer you will need to make some decisions about what types of content you feel comfortable posting. Check out this great article featuring liveBooks client Ed Kashi talking about what he likes and dislikes about using Instagram as a professional photographer.
If you find yourself on the rocks here are 5 simple ways to introduce Instagram into your social media mix.
This post concludes our series on Social Media for Photographers. Let us know how you felt about this series, send your feedback, ideas, comments, and suggestions to Resolve@livebooks.com. For the latest news from liveBooks, and for added information and access to tools that will help you grow your photography business, stay connected to liveBooks through Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
As the end of the year approaches it’s an opportune time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the next. We decided to check in with longtime friend and celebrity photographer John Russo to see what his most memorable moment was this past year and what he plans to do in 2013. And the answers sound fabulous!
What was your most memorable moment from this past year?
Shooting the Hugo Boss Fragrance Campaign and getting to travel all over the world to do it.
What is your biggest goal for 2013?
To play more tennis and see the Greek Islands!
How has liveBooks changed your business?
liveBooks plays a huge role in my business. My clients love how my photographs are displayed. We are constantly uploading new images to our site. It’s so easy and fast!
As the end of the year approaches it’s an opportune time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the next. We decided to check in with longtime friend and fine art and commercial photographer Claire Rosen to see what her most memorable moment was this past year and what she plans to do in 2013. We are looking forward to seeing the conceptual fashion shoot with real giraffes!
What was your most memorable moment from this past year?
My most memorable moment of 2012 was playing with baby tigers while on a fashion shoot in Thailand. The photo below is from that shoot.
What is your biggest goal for 2013?
To create a conceptual fashion shoot with real giraffes!
How has liveBooks changed your business?
liveBooks has been an essential part of my business as it relates to my online visibility and the way I connect with people. Most of the time, sending a link to my website is the first point of contact whether I am requesting a meeting with a potential client or reaching out to a new stylist, modeling agency, location etc. With liveBooks I am confident that my work will look good on any screen or device, and that the site is a clean design that is easy to navigate. I also appreciate not having to spend time fussing with it and when I want to add new images or projects it is a super easy workflow for me.
Story: “A Leopard Among Tigers”
Credits: Photographer: Claire Rosen, Model: Josie of Red Models
Location: Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai Thailand, H&M: Chai Surasen, Styling: Kate Lee
As the end of the year approaches it’s an opportune time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the next. We decided to check in with longtime friend and director and photographer Justin Francis to see what his most memorable moment was this past year and what he plans to do in 2013.
What was your most memorable moment from this past year?
I had a chance to travel to Argentina for a B.o.B. music video back in February. Normally when you direct a video you are given the job specs and the location is already decided. This, however, was one of the rare cases where my concept dictated the filming location. So I was there for a week – shooting, scouting, working with incredible talent in South America. I have been fortunate to travel around the world for one job or another. It is without a doubt the biggest perk of being a Director/Photographer!
What is your biggest goal for 2013?
My goals remain the same from year to year – to get better across the board and to do work that I can be proud of.
How has liveBooks changed your business?
On a basic level, liveBooks has provided me with an incredibly versatile platform to view, edit and showcase my work. But beyond that, liveBooks has acted as a sort of loudspeaker – getting the word out about both me and my business. Most creative people I know would rather be creating stuff instead of talking about themselves. liveBooks allows me to focus on my work and I leave my marketing and web presence to them.
Check out Justin’s behind the scenes coverage of Carly Rae Jepsen’s video.
The beginning of a new year is an opportune time to reflect on last year and set goals for the year ahead. We decided to check in with longtime friend and director and photographer Mark Fisher to see what his most memorable moment was last year and what he plans to do in 2013. (We are really looking forward to the documentary firm!)
What was your most memorable moment from the past year?
Aside from the birth of my son, my most memorable career moment was being selected for PDN 30. This is one of my favorite ski photos from this past winter. Griffin Post skiing Pyramid Peak at sunset in Valdez, Alaska.
What is your biggest goal for 2013?
To continue to expand and grow my business in the United States and abroad. I’ve just launched an aggressive marketing campaign with the hope of reaching many new and diverse clients. But my most important goal is to complete my first documentary film, “64.5*North, an 1100 mile self-supported Alaskan Snowbike Journey”.
How has liveBooks changed your business?
liveBooks has grown with me. When I added motion 3 years ago, liveBooks was right there with me. Actually they were ahead of me. When I completed my rebranding last year, they were able to help me transform my vision into a reality with a custom designed website. liveBooks hasn’t so much changed my business, they’ve allowed me to seamlessly execute and share my business vision with the rest of the world!
The beginning of a new year is an opportune time to reflect on last year and set goals for the year ahead. We decided to check in with longtime friend and photojournalist Christopher Morris to see what his most memorable moment was last year and what he plans to do in 2013.
What was your most memorable moment from this past year?
From the past year, oddly enough the most memorable moment for me came, when I was able to pull off getting a model onto the floor of the Republican Convention in Florida. Shooting for the French fashion magazine L’Officiel. Anyone who works or is involved in the world of politics will understand the near impossible feat of being able pull this off. Here is an image from the Convention.
What is your biggest goal for 2013?
How has liveBooks changed your business?
liveBooks, is a very liberating experience for me. The seamless ability to edit and re-edit my work, is priceless. It has given me the opportunity to showcase my work in a style and format that suits my ever changing workflow.
Early in my career I attended Imaging USA. It was my first time at a major national photography convention. One of the companies I worked with asked me ifI would come to Imaging and work with them in their booth. I jumped at the opportunity.
I love big photography conventions like Imaging USA, WPPI and PhotoPlus Expo. The energy and camaraderie, the environment and the atmosphere, all blend together to create an electric feeling that charges my creativity.
In recent years I have had the opportunity to speak at Imaging USA, both from the stage with platform presentations and also on the tradeshow floor at various booths.
As a speaker my perspective hasn’t changed. When I’m not speaking, I’m eagerly moving from seminar to seminar seeking nuggets of wisdom that I can apply to my business and further position myself for long-term success.
There are two things I find extremely useful to do when it comes to conventions:
1. My advice is to browse the speaker schedule now and pre-select two or three seminars each day. Bring a note-pad and go with the intent to learn. It’s January, the start of the year, the slow season for most of us and there is no better time to make adjustments and improve your business. Find inspiration and walk away in a better position than you’ve ever been before. There is no better investment than investing in yourself.
2. In recent years there seems to be a divide between the old-school photographer and the new photographer. Whether it’s a division based on photographic style or business style, it exists and anyone who doesn’t notice it is blind.
Many times I’ve heard young photographers say, “I’m not going to listen to this photographer because their work and my work couldn’t be more opposite.”
Point made, but the reality is, very few 90-minute seminars are going to teach you how to shoot differently. The old-school photographer is here today because of years of doing it right. Long-term success in this industry does not happen accidentally. And the inter-generational conversations that can take place between new and old-school photographers are worth their weight in gold.
My recommendation is to seek out photographers who are more experienced than you are, listen to them, learn from them, and if they’re willing to impart knowledge, be a sponge and soak it up.
It has been my good fortune over the years to rub shoulders with countless more-established photographers and numerous industry giants. It has happened sometimes at their seminars or sometimes through an introduction by a mutual friend. Some have taken interest in me and even invited me to dinner or coffee.
I remember one specifically, who casually invited me to dinner after we bumped into each other in the hallway. I graciously agreed and then walked around the corner, pumped my fist in excitement and called my wife back home to tell her the good news. That two-hour dinner changed my entire approach to business and gave me the focus and determination I needed to grow faster, push harder and climb higher.
My wife Joy and I are super-excited about Imaging USA 2013 and we hope you are too. Look us up and come say hello. I will be delivering a platform presentation on Sunday afternoon, and on Monday I will be speaking at the Pinhole booth. I look forward to meeting you!
Garrett and his wife, Joy, have their own photography business in Chattanooga, TN. They focus their attention on those who can help them continue to grow: wedding planners, venues, bridal salons, florists and other vendor partners. Their work has been published in more than 50 wedding and industry publications, and they were recently named one of the top 20 destination photographers by Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine.
Join Garrett Nudd and wedding planner Lisa Stoner at the upcoming Imaging USA in Atlanta when they deliver their platform presentation on January 20, 2013, at 5 pm titled Friends with Benefits, Leveraging Vendor Relationships to Grow Your Wedding Business.
From the launch of our very first portfolio website for New York studio photographer Ric Cohn in 2003, liveBooks has consistently focused on innovating products and services that allow creative professionals to express themselves while more effectively running their businesses. In the early years this came in the form of re-imagining how photographers could leverage the latest web technology to reach a global audience and ultimately book more jobs.
Informed by modern design principals we strove to provide a visually striking, yet simple and intuitive user experience for both the photographer, and those viewing images. Our websites intentionally placed the viewer’s focus on the image, with as few visual distractions as possible. The photographer could easily update images using an online interface that was equally free of clutter, relying on a simple drag and drop tool reminiscent of arranging transparencies on a light table.
Over the years we have spoken with tens of thousands of photographers, and other creative professionals, about their businesses. These conversations have informed many decisions around our products and services, and helped us evolve into an even more valuable resource for passionate image makers. We developed greater design flexibility which allowed for more interesting ways to integrate creative vision and brand. Countless months were dedicated to developing the most search engine friendly sites in the industry, along with personalized SEO consultation services to help assess a client’s current situation and devise a strategy to rise above the competition. As video gained importance in the world of the photographer, so did our support for a wide range of display options. And of course, the proliferation of mobile web viewing was met with dedicated interfaces designed specifically for those devices.
2012 saw the acquisition of Pinhole Press and Pinhole Pro, which further extends our range of products past the web and into the world of print. It also expands our team to include more top talent and innovative thinkers. So what’s in store for 2013? I think it’s safe to say that the coming year may be the most exciting yet! Inspired strategy meetings are buzzing, white boards are being filled and refilled, designs are being circulated, and prototypes are being tested and improved upon, all in an effort to translate a decade’s worth of experience and passion into valuable tools. As liveBooks clients, your needs and experience with the brand will be invaluable as we shape our path forward. We look forward to hearing from you as we evolve our new platform in order to meet your needs from web to print. What is the next generation of liveBooks? Of Pro Studio? How can we expand our product offering? What additional revenue opportunities can be gained from greater exposure of your work? These are just a few of questions we’re working hard to resolve and we welcome your input along the way.
We are grateful for all the committed liveBooks and Pinhole Pro users. In a very short amount of time, Pinhole Pro’s small brand has carved out a nice place for itself, combining high quality press products with an easy user experience. And, we’ve just begun. If you are not yet part of the Pinhole Pro community, please give us the chance to demonstrate why so many working photographers choose us as their most valued partner on the web and beyond.
Here’s to an exciting and prosperous 2013!
Matt Bailey is a senior-level professional with 20+ years of experience in creating and executing on growth strategies that build long-term, sustainable value. As Co-Founder of liveBooks, Matt has been with the company since 2004 and has been instrumental to the development of product and strategic direction.
liveBooks has a long history of commitment to photojournalism, philanthropy and social change. Our CEO Andy Patrick took over the International Fund for Documentary Photography (IFDP) from Mother Jones Magazine in 2001. The IFDP was a grant program started by photographers Ken Light, Michelle Vignes, Marc Riboud, Sebastiao Salgado and journalist Kerry Tremain. In 2001, Andy integrated the IFDP into FiftyCrows, a non-profit he founded to support documentary and photojournalistic photographers that were documenting social issues around the world.
Andy and his wife contributed over a million dollars to assure that these important photographic essays made their way into the world and that great storytellers had an opportunity to continue their important work. FiftyCrows and the IFDP has supported many great photographers including Ed Kashi, Jack Picone, Marcela Taboada, Andre Cypriano, Stephanie Sinclair, as well as in the early years amazing photographers such as Joseph Rodriguez, Donna Decesare, Nan Goldin, and Shahidul Alam.
The grants have been used for many things including financing the continuation of a story that otherwise would not have likely seen funding from traditional means, to starting organizations such as what Shahidul Alam did in the early 1990′s in Bangladesh. From this was born The Chobi Mela International Festival of Photography and the DRIK Picture Agency.
In 2004 Shahidul Alam, Chris Rainier, Wade Davis, Andy and others formed the National Geographic All Roads Photography Awards. All Roads has supported countless indigenous photographers in their efforts to document their own cultures.
So today, it is with great anticipation and excitement that we share with you one of our favorite events, the Chobi Mela International Festival of Photograpy. If you get a chance – GO! The festival takes place in Dhaka, Bangladesh and opens on January 25th. What sets Chobi Mela apart from other other photo festivals is that it is not only truly international, but is also perhaps the world’s most demographically inclusive festival.
In keeping with ethos of DRIK, Chobi Mela has always symbolized a struggle against hegemony and oppression. The theme for Chobi Mela VII is Fragility. It will feature photographers from 23 countries and every continent except Antarctica. Exhibitors include well known photojournalists and new ones alike.
Mr. Alam said he created the Chobi Mela festival primarily so Bangladeshi photographers could be more widely exposed globally, extending to international audiences. “I wanted to create a bridge,” he said. “But it also gives us a chance to take stock of this remarkable transformation that is taking place within photography in Bangladesh.”
Congratulations to Shahidul and his amazing team… our hearts our with you!
Mike Horn is acknowledged globally as one of the greatest modern day explorers of all time. In short his feats include traveling solo around the equator, ascending two 8,000 meter summits in the Himalayas without additional oxygen, circumnavigating the Arctic Circle, and being the first man to travel (without dogs) to the North Pole in permanent darkness. All of which were done without motor transport.
After 20 years of solo exploration, covering nearly every inch of the planet, Mike was ready to turn his dream into a reality: The PANGAEA Project (Pan Global Adventure for Environmental Action). The PANGAEA Project is a 4-year circumnavigation of the world through a series of 12-scheduled expeditions, each to different terrain including mountain, desert, ocean and the arctic. For each expedition Mike and his team select students between the ages of 15 and 20 to accompany him.
The goal was to show the younger generation the most beautiful places on the planet, the fragility of the ecosystems and the impact that human activity has on the environment… and do something to improve it!
Working for the Pangaea Project I have had the opportunity to see, first hand, the most beautiful places on the planet and witness lives that have been positively impacted and changed forever.
When asked about the project, it’s virtually impossible to put in words all of the incredible experiences I’ve had. The great thing about the younger generation is that they have their own eyes, ears, feelings, personalities, and unique way of learning. What I take out of an experience may be completely different than the next person. Sometimes the only way to really express these things is through the photos we take.
A few months back we chatted with Chase Jarvis and team about how awesome it would be to put a book together with photos taken by our young explorers and team throughout the entire expedition. Then we would be able to see the 4-year expedition though the eyes of those who were involved.
I was thinking what a great idea, but impossible to get photos from hundreds of people and choose the best ones to properly tell the story. It would take months if not longer. Chase’s team told us about liveBooks and their affiliation with Pinhole Pro. Pinhole Pro allows the average photographer (like myself) to make beautiful photo books and have them delivered in as little as two weeks.
Initially, I was a bit skeptical, especially when Mike said it needed to be finished before the expedition finale in Monaco (which was 3 weeks away). With nothing to lose I decided to simply attack the project. I sent out 100’s of emails, shuffled though thousands of photos, (that could seriously make the front cover of any Nat Geo Magazine) and dove into Pinhole Pro.
After the photos were selected I started the creation process. First I downloaded Pinhole Pro’s Studio’s software then I uploaded the images. Next I chose the book size, number of pages, type of paper (recycled paper is an option) and the front cover. It wasn’t long before the book was finished!
I would highly recommend using Pinhole Pro to anybody wishing to document a special memory or occasion to treasure it forever.