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Brian DeMello is a lifestyle photographer that has dedicated his career to photographing various outlets. From photographing foods to beauty products, his work portfolio ranges far more than your typical photographer. To see more of his work, visit his liveBooks8 website: www.briandemello.com
Reminiscing on my childhood, photography was always something that grabbed my attention. Whether I was looking through my great grandparents exotic vacation photos, flipping through the pages of National Geographic, or pestering the photographer who was taking my little league baseball photos, I could be easily entertained for hours by the process and results of photography. Fast forwarding past my high school and college years, I found myself working for a small graphic design shop in Newport, R.I. It was here that I found myself working alongside some of the top sailing and marine photographers in the world. Taking inspiration from seeing their work on a daily basis, I began investing more and more time and money into developing my own portfolio. Over the years I’ve found that I enjoy different styles of photography for different reasons. Early on in my career I struggled with the complexities of lighting studio work. These days I’m infatuated with the subtleties and analytics of complex lighting. A lot of the imagery that I produce will never see the light of day because it’s only purpose is for my exploration of a style, subject, or technique. On the flip side of my commercial work and explorations, I’m constantly developing a body of fine art images that is very personal and introspective. The development and evolution of this work has become a priceless escape from the din of everyday life. I hope to one day incorporate the fine art images into a series of books, but time will tell.
Q: How would you describe the aesthetic of your website in three words?
BD: Efficient – it allows the viewer to choose the exact path they want to travel right from the landing page, but also introduces them to my other work at the same time. Both of those aspects were foundational in redesigning my website.
Simple – the website isn’t meant to waste the viewer’s time. It’s easy to navigate.
Precise – it gives a client/potential client a sense of clarity on what to expect when working together
Q: How often do you typically update your website?
BD: Keeping fresh and new images on my site is very important to how I promote my work. I try to keep on a schedule of populating my site with 5-10 new images at a time or in a ballpark of once every 2-3 months. One of the final stages of my editing workflow is to upload a web-optimized image to my liveBooks image gallery. This ensures that when I’m ready to include new image in my portfolio, it’s already waiting for me on the back-end of the site. With the new liveBooks8 platform being accessible from my iPhone and iPad, I’m able to plan and accomplish the evolution of my website from anywhere and importantly keep the website up to speed with my social media teasers. That being said, I try to regularly post teaser images on social media as often as I feel the work is strong enough. That regularity varies from twice a week to once every other week depending on what project I’m pursuing. For me, this keeps a steady flow of “fresh teaser images” venturing out into the world without spamming my contacts with “updated website promos”.
Q: How do you choose the photos that you display on your homepage?
BD: Choosing images is difficult. Period.
Like it or not, photographers develop emotional connections to their imagery. For a photographer, the memories that surround the production of any given image permanently become part of that photograph. I’ve always had the confounding ability to remember incredible detail about my experiences as a photographer. The odor of garlic emanating from the kitchen at an on-location editorial shoot, the amazing humor of a fitness model as she holds a difficult pose, the stench of a burnt out water pump in a small studio. I remember the good and the bad alike. So when it come time to select images for a portfolio, art gallery, or the homepage of my website, the process is the same: I make 4×6 inch prints of every image in consideration then all the images are laid out in the studio floor. I can spend hours to days arranging and reworking until I have a selection and arrangement of images that work well together. I find that working with a jumble of images all but eliminates the personal memories that I have associated with each individual image. Sometimes I work the prints by myself, but for projects with a larger scope or impact, I’ll bring in other photographer friends to have second opinions.
Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8?
BD: That’s easy! The ability to work on my website from my iPad has proven to be quite a welcome aspect of the liveBooks8 platform. Having almost total control over the website design was a bit daunting at first because there was a fair amount to learn about the new interface. (Although I’m tech savvy, I have minimal web design knowledge). After spending a little bit of time “walking around” the design interface and menus, I had fairly quickly developed the foundation of what is now my functioning website. With that learning curve conquered, the ability to work on a mobile device quickly took hold. Over the course of a train ride from Boston to Washington DC and back to Boston, I has designed and organized an entirely new website on my iPad. A few extra minutes with Lily from Tech Support to clarify some SEO lingo and the finishing touches were done.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone designing their website?
BD: Think, take your time, and think some more! Be analytical! You are going to be judged on how your website carries your brand just as much as how it carries your portfolio. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes (and just as importantly, your prospective clients’ shoes) when you are designing your site. Think about how they work and how you can make their job and life easier. Being a photographer is who you are, but making a client’s life better is what you do. Don’t rush that…Take your time!
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