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April 18th, 2017

Spring Cleaning | Tuesday’s Tip

Posted by liveBooks

Tuesdays Tip

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

Content Clean-Up

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

Update Your Events Page

One of the things we see all too often is event pages that are far outdated – even by a few years.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

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Calls to Action

One thing we’ve often noticed that’s missing from photography websites are clear calls to action. While most of the focus should be on your imagery, you also want to make sure you’re telling your audience what you want them to do. Whether that’s booking you for a job, project, ad campaign, or even buying prints, tell them what you’d like them to do and make it easy for them to do it. Having a button on your pages can be an ideal way to lead customers to your end-goal: contacting you!

Update Your Contact Information

If you’ve recently moved your studio or changed your contact phone number, it may be time to look over your contact page. Is your new contact information up-to-date? It can become easy to overlook this simple step, but doing so may cause you to lose a great deal of clients!

Also, try to have your contact information readily available in multiple locations on your website. Customers don’t want to search through countless pages to find your phone number or address. Remember – adding a map to your pages can be an ideal way to attract new customers!

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 SEO Optimization

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

Experiment With New Website Designs

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

Want to explore other design templates? Take a look at all of our responsive templates now to begin!

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What “spring cleaning” are you conducting on your website? Email us!

Tuesdays Tip

liveBooks understands that leading clients to your WeddingWire storefront so they can review you is an important part of your business! This is why we created a simple way to add a ‘Review Us’ button to your website. To begin, follow the steps below:

  1. Log into your WeddingWire account
  2. Click ‘Request Reviews’ under the ‘Reviews’ tab
  3. Under the ‘Review Us Button‘ heading, customize your button color
  4. Click ‘Get the Code

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5. Copy the HTML code
6. Open the liveBooks dashboard
7. Click Content
8. Click on the page you wish to add your ‘Review Us’ widget to
9. Click the green “+” icon to add a content block to the page

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10. Highlight and click the HTML content block

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11. Paste the HTML code you copied from your WeddingWire account into the HTML box. For more information on how to use this content block, click here!

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12. Save and publish!

Is there a new liveBooks8 feature that you are excited to learn more about? Let us know at social@livebooks.com!

January 17th, 2017

Getting Started | Tuesday’s Tip

Posted by liveBooks

Tuesdays Tip

Starting to build your website on a new platform may seem like a daunting task. From the content to the design, we can see where it can get overwhelming. This is why our liveBooks8 platform offers easy-to-use tools that will make it easy to start creating content and perfecting your website’s design. In addition, our 24/7 Knowledge Base offers you articles, tutorials, and tips to help you along the way. Take a look at our video below to begin exploring all the features your liveBooks8 website has to offer!

Posted in Editing / Tuesday's Tip

Tuesdays Tip

The liveBooks8 platform allows you to swap out images, edit text, and change layout all within the Design view of your website editor. With this tutorial, you’ll be able to swap out images from the design view on your liveBooks8 dashboard quickly and easily.

  1. From the main dashboard view, click the design view.
  2. Select the page you wish to change images on.
  3. Move the mouse over the image you wish to swap out and click the change image icon.

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4. You will be prompted to pick the replacement image from the image library.

5. Choose the image you want and click add images.

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6. View your changes and click publish!

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If you have any questions while publishing your site, we urge you to contact our Support team at support@livebooks.com!

Tuesdays Tip

What’s next once you have finished creating your website? Publishing it for everyone to see! This instructional video shows you how to add your domain name to your liveBooks settings and helps set up all DNS records to correctly point to your liveBooks site. Note: GoDaddy is used in as the registrar example but all settings and changes apply to any domain provider.

If you have any questions while publishing your site, we urge you to contact our Support team at support@livebooks.com!

Tuesdays Tip

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol used to transfer computer files between clients and servers on a computer network. Though liveBooks is not currently offering an internal storage solution, we do recommend various options and platforms for cloud storage and file sharing. Some external options will allow to you to attach storage to your domain and link it via FTP.

Third-party storage and sharing services recommended by liveBooks:

Note: If you are looking to host private proofing galleries for your clients, doing so with ShootProof or RedCart could be an option for you. 

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Attaching storage to your domain and linking via FTP:

If you prefer to setup your own solution with your registrar or another company that sells cloud storage, the process is as follows:

  1. Purchase a storage solution from a provider you have chosen (i.e. goDaddy cloud storage)
  2. Link this storage area to their domain via a cname like ‘proofs.domain.com’. Each provider will have specific ways to do this with your registrar.
  3. Once setup, you can use an FTP client like FileZilla to access this storage area.
  4. If you want to, you should be able to link Adobe Lightroom and a public folder on this FTP storage area. This could be used to upload and share HTML web galleries.

Note: The registrar can be different than the storage/FTP company and it can be different than the website hosting company. There are no technical issues with this. If you choose a provider that says otherwise, this is due to their business policy, not the fact that it cannot be done. 

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Chuck Haney is a professional freelance photographer/writer based in beautiful Whitefish, Montana. He travels extensively across the United States and Canada in pursuit of the finest and most intriguing images. His provocative use of natural light in landscape, wildlife, and outdoor sports images have drawn national acclaim and have landed him many assignments including advertising campaigns.

Chuck’s finest images grace the walls of many residential and public spaces. His travel and outdoor lifestyle articles have been featured in numerous national and regional publications; adding to 13 coffee table books, over 190 magazine covers, and numerous sole-photographer calendars to his credit. Chuck enjoys teaching a series of popular photography workshops across the country each year. To view more of Chuck’s work, please visit his liveBooks website: www.chuckhaney.com. Follow Chuck on Facebook and Instagram!

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My career in landscape photography began gradually. I would go for bicycling excursions in nearby Glacier National Park and see all these wonderful scenes unfold before my eyes. Soon, I was returning with my SLR camera in tow. This was in the early 1990s when I learned to shoot with film and manual settings.

For me, a perfect landscape image is one that places the viewer into the scene by using a wide angle lens and lots of depth of field. The best shots have fleeting magical light that happens briefly during stormy weather patterns and invoke an emotion. It’s also important to carry the correct equipment. I, for one, cannot leave my home without a sturdy tripod. I always mention to my workshop students that a good tripod is your friend for life.

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As for my projects – there is no single one that I can choose as my favorite. Actually, whatever I’m working on at the time is my favorite project. The scope of my portfolio is wide and vast and I enjoy the fact that I work on such a variety of subject matter. One week I am shooting city images for my new book, “Portrait of San Francisco” and the next week I find myself searching for interesting barns for stock use in calendars.

I shoot at a wealth of interesting places; my favorites vary based on the time of the year. I love shooting in the deserts in Spring, the Great Plains in early Summer, hardwood forests of the Midwest in Fall and ski action or quite winter scenes near my hometown of Whitefish, Montana.

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I am passionate about my craft. I think this is well-represented in my Portfolios pages on liveBooks, which highlight my favorite and most popular images. I think a photographer does best when he/she shoots subjects that they enjoy…You can tell that I have a zest for many subjects!

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One piece of advice that I can give to fellow landscape photographers is to get to know your location by being patient and to take a closer look at what is really around you. You will discover a whole new world that could easily just slip by without careful consideration and reflection.

Want to be featured as one of our guest bloggers? Email us at social@livebooks.com!

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

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

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

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

MZ: Attractive, Professional, Useful

Q: How often do you typically update your website?

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

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

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

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Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 9th, 2016

The Life of a Stylist by Gretchen Bell

Posted by liveBooks

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

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

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Photograph by: Christopher Bell

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

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Photograph by: Greg Montijo

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

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Photograph by: Christopher Bell

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

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

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Photograph by: Melissa O’Hearn

 

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