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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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Loft Photograph from Interior Designer Tamara Eaton's liveBooks Site

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.

How to Photograph Interiors: Five Simple Steps

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.

Freelance photographer Robert Caplin launched The Photo Brigade in mid-February as a place to bring together and highlight work being published on photographer’s own platforms (blogs). By placing a premium on viral capabilities through Facebook and Twitter, he’s helping build a huge network to publicize freelancers’ work.

Miki Johnson: How did the idea for Photo Brigade come to you?

Robert Caplin: As a fairly new blogger myself, I’ve been learning the ins and outs of how to actually build a following and bring traffic to my personal blog. After months of research and good old trial and error, I found the best way to increase my traffic and find readers was by sharing my link by way of social media like Facebook, Twitter, and referring links or stories on other blogs, such as this one. I quickly realized that if I combined my Facebook and Twitter networks, I was suddenly reaching a much larger potential viewership, which only multiplied when someone else decided to share or re-tweet my link.

Suddenly, not only was I reaching thousands of people through my personal network, but I was also reaching the networks of those who were kind enough to share my link with their followers. The viral nature of social media can really work to the advantage of photographers to get their work seen by the masses. So it went to figure that if photographers as a whole worked together to build a vast shared network, all would benefit by the added traffic it would bring their websites and blogs…and that’s how the The Photo Brigade came to me.

MJ: How long did it take you to make it a reality?

RC: Not long actually. My original idea was to start a blog, but that would take a while to design (because I wanted to do it properly) and it would take time to actually build a following. It occurred to me that I could test the concept quite easily by simply making a Facebook Page where I could easily share direct links to the cool blogs I was reading and people could easily subscribe to the feed by becoming a fan.

I also started a Twitter account. Over the next week The Photo Brigade page gained hundreds of followers and within weeks had over a thousand. I should also mention that this happened completely unsolicited and 100% organically, proving how well social networking can get the word out. It was obvious that not only was there a desire for a service like this, but also a genuine need.

MJ: It seems like a lot of work for something you do on the side of your own photography business. What makes it worth it?

RC: Well, to be honest it has taken a good chunk of my time to build … but that was the hard part. I should also note that I worked with my wonderful designer Laia Prats to create the brand and build the blogs using custom templates she tediously tweaked and designed. I couldn’t have done it without her help!

Now that the blog has been designed and content has been uploaded, the rest is really quite simple. There’s no lack of amazing photography out there. Given that The Photo Brigade was built to promote the work of freelancers, those photographers have been happy to share their work. Also, with a number of shooters submitting work, it’s almost as though it’s running itself. As Photo Brigade grows, I’ll be implementing some really great tools and resources for photographers and editors alike … but you’ll have to stay tuned to see what those are!

MJ: What has the response been like so far, from contributors as well as viewers, especially editors?

RC: The response has been very positive! The website is receiving steady traffic and it’s growing by the day. The same goes for contributors. Everyday I’m receiving emails from photographers from around the world, some I know and others I’ve never heard of, sharing their latest blog posts of their work.

Editors are a little harder to track and gauge because they’re obviously not submitting work themselves, though I’ve received a number of emails from editors praising the blog. There are also editors and directors of photography from major media outlets who follow the Facebook feed.

MJ: How do you choose photographers to feature?

RC: The featured photographers have either submitted their work from the submissions page, or I’ve reached out to the them personally. Because we receive many submissions, not every submission is featured. The best way to be chosen is to have a blog, as our mission is to encourage blogging. In your blog post we’d like to see a number of strong images with a well written explanation about the photography. We will pull 2-3 images as well as take some of the copy and post it on Photo Brigade teasing the blog.

It’s also encouraged for the photographers to supply a Twitter account so we can plug their account when we tweet to our followers about the post. By doing so, we’ll raise awareness for the photographer, and also help build the photographer’s social network. Many are adverse to using Twitter, but it’s one hell of a marketing tool. It would be silly not to tap into the millions of Twitter users out there, many of whom are photo editors and image buyers. We’re all about viral marketing and social media — the more we link to other people, the more visibility our blog gets, which trickles down to the photographers we feature.

It’s important to note that photographers should not be discouraged a submission isn’t accepted. Please continue to submit whenever you have a post you feel is worthy!

MJ: You just added three university blogs. Why was that important and how do you see them growing?

RC: While I was answering these questions, we decided to start one more! My friend and fellow photographer Chip Litherland is helping me run the Colorado Photo Brigade, which will feature the University of Colorado at Boulder. I decided to branch out further and focus on universities because there are so many photography students producing amazing work on a daily basis. I figured I could use the same concept to create a community of students, alumni, and faculty to showcase the work coming from each school as well as former students.

Obviously I’m only a team of one, and don’t have time to moderate all these blogs and make a living myself, so I enlisted the help of eager students at each university who are closer to their classmates and can encourage them to blog. The regional branches also create a wonderful place for everyone to see the end product of what each institution is producing. Each post is tagged and categorized…so if you want to reference a particular class (photo 101) or search only for alumni work or just the class of 2002, you’ll be able to. Check out our regional blogs: Ohio, Missouri, and Rochester, all with their respective Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Many more to come!

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to last week’s “After Staff” series on RESOLVE. That includes everyone who commented, asked a question, or emailed us with feedback. I was excited to hear that people had not only learned a lot, but also felt less isolated after reading about so many former staffers’ experiences — many even got in touch with people featured in the series and started up offline conversations.

We hope these conversations continue and that “After Staff” and RESOLVE will continue to be a place you come to for community as well as resources. If you’d like to look back at any content from last week, a permanent page with links is here. A few highlights from later in the week included very personal insights from David Leeson, his first public comments about leaving the Dallas Morning News last year, and a no-holds-barred interview with the inimitable Bill Owens.

~Miki Johnson

On a final note of moving on to bigger and better things, we asked our panel of former staff photographers this question. Please share your own stories — as you can see, you’re not alone. Follow the “more” link to see all photographers, and check out Monday’s “Group Therapy” for photographers’ back stories and websites. Click here for a list of all other “After Staff” posts.

  • What is your favorite thing about what you are doing now? Are there things that have been hard to adjust to?

Nanine Hartzenbusch
I love that my work hours are flexible. I have a nine year old son I enjoy spending time with so I schedule my work during his school day, and schedule only one photo session a day on the weekends. I miss having newsroom colleagues, but have joined a photographers networking group for creative support. I also regularly get together with clients or potential clients for coffee…

My favorite thing really about having my own business is just that — that I can take the skills I’ve acquired over 20+ years and do something different with them. I can provide storytelling images of children that will be cherished by their families for years to come.

David Walter Banks
My favorite thing about what I’m doing now is that my only limit is myself, and I know that as long as I’m doing everything I can to produce and then market that work, then I can continue to grow. The model of climbing the ladder and being held down by superiors no longer exists. My close second favorite element is definitely personal projects. I believe that I have found more time and realized how vitally important it is to work on personal projects completely outside of client influences. Strange as it may seem, these projects also seem to endear you way more in the eyes of those clients.

Stuart Thurlkil
I love when we are done with a project and our clients express how happy they are with the final results. I am an affirmation junky and love when what I am doing makes others happy. It is really gratifying to do work that people respect and appreciate. It is amazing when a client gives you creative freedom to run with your vision.

I had a hard time at first with the identity shift out of newspapers. I considered journalism a calling. I had been a journalist for a long time, and transitioning towards running my own business had many unexpected challenges. I realize now that I will always be a story teller and journalist at heart and that I will continue to create images that speak to our social, economic, and cultural condition. The amazing thing has been how many people have wanted me to do this for their family, company, publication, etc. More »

Rachel agreed to speak on behalf of LaCour Photo, which she founded with husband Andrew and fellow ex-staffer Mark Adams. LaCour’s fast rise is a testament to the success photojournalists can have in the wedding market. Of course, being whip smart and always eager to help doesn’t hurt either. When Rachel was helping brainstorm this series, I threw out some broad topics and was amazed to get all this back.

Ask her about technique, workflow, marketing, or anything else that’s on your mind — I’m sure you’ll be equally impressed. Leave a question in the comments section, along with your website if you have one, and she’ll respond asap, also in the comments, so others can benefit from the good advice.

Rachel LaCour Niesen

www.lacourphoto.com

As a photojournalist, I have pursued projects focusing on rural communities in Latin America and the Southeastern United States. My work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times Magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle. I earned a degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri, where I was named one of the Scripps-Howard Foundation’s Top Ten Young Journalists.

When I stumbled upon wedding photography, I quickly traded my front row seat to world history for a front row seat to family history. Along with Andrew Niesen and Mark Adams, I started a wedding photography company, LaCour, which was named among the “Top Ten Wedding Photographers in the World” by American Photo magazine. I’m also a co-founder of ShootQ, innovative web-based studio management software designed to free photographers from the tedious tasks of managing their business.

Click here for a list of all other “After Staff” posts.

David Leeson is known for a lot of things — his Pulitzer-prize winning photojournalism, his trailblazing video storytelling, his photo blog of intimate self-portraits. What he’s never been known for is pulling punches. After 30 years on newspaper photo staffs, his departure from The Dallas Morning News last year was difficult, and he doesn’t pretend otherwise. But he’s also reconnected with old passions through his new endeavors, and thankfully shares that experience with the same intimate honesty. Click here for a list of all other “After Staff” posts.

US soldiers take a break from the invasion of Iraq with a leap into a desert irrigation pond. ©David Leeson/The Dallas Morning News

Miki Johnson: How long were you a staff photographer and where? Did you think when you started that you’d be a staffer for life?

David Leeson: My career in newspapers began on Nov 20, 1977 at the Abilene Reporter-News in Abilene, TX. When the newspaper hired me, I was 19, a full-time college student working a part-time job sweeping floors at a local jewelry store.

I had no portfolio or degree and was unfamiliar with the term “photojournalist.” I was an avid amateur photographer, however, and built my own darkroom in my parents’ home when I was 17. The newspaper photo staff knew me as someone who would occasionally show up with a contact sheet of images from an event. I was never discouraged that they didn’t use my photos — I was happy just to be shooting.

I fell in love with photojournalism when I realized the power a camera could possess in the hands of a compassionate photographer. My life became consumed with perfecting my skills, including my heart, mind, and soul, for the purpose of affecting my community with images that would hopefully make a difference.

That essentially describes my 30 years in news photography. The last few years were dedicated to helping my profession navigate difficult changes, a new era fraught with demands for rich online content, declining readership, shrinking resources, and more work. I didn’t enjoy the work but believed it was important to give back as much as possible to a profession that had given so much to me. Besides, I saw my industry facing extinction and I was ready to do whatever I could to change the tide.

“I feel that I failed. I have wondered many times what I could have given that might have made the difference.”

Unfortunately, I feel that I failed. My grief was more than the loss of something I loved — newspaper photojournalism — it was the feeling of having failed to be everything I could possibly be. I have wondered many times what extra part of myself I could have given that might have made the difference. My solace today is in realizing that I can still impact the industry from outside its walls. Perhaps, in fact, it is the ideal place for me to do it.

But the further I get from my life in newspapers, the more I realize that the best I can be is to be who I have always been, a small voice hopefully providing something of value to my world. In many ways, little has changed in my life. The day I knew that my career as a newspaper photojournalist had reached the end, I told my boss (and friend), the director of photography at The Dallas Morning News, that I had never been dedicated to a newspaper. Rather, I had always been dedicated to the ideals of photojournalism: through credible and ethical image making, we can bring needed change to the world.

I did believe I would likely retire as a newspaper photojournalist at The Dallas Morning News. But understanding that I am still in active service to my profession, even though I am no longer on the DMN staff, has softened the blow. The loss of a title did not change who I am.

First Gulf War - Iraqi prisoners of war - shot at night against burning oil fires. ©David Leeson/The Dallas Morning News

First Gulf War - Iraqi prisoners of war - shot at night against burning oil fires. ©David Leeson/The Dallas Morning News

MJ: What are you working on now? What is the biggest difference between what you’re doing now and what you were doing as a staffer?

DL: There is little difference today from the life I was living the last few years of my career. My position at The Dallas Morning News could best be described as “research and development.” I spent inordinate amounts of time on finding new workflows and methodologies to help speed the process of rich media integration. Oddly, I found that I enjoyed that kind of work, although I knew it failed to “scratch my itch.” More »

As usual, Rachel went above and beyond when I asked for some helpful tips for photojournalists transitioning from the newsroom to the their own wedding photography business. For more advice, ask Rachel a question over at Expert of the Day. Click here for a list of all other “After Staff” posts.
A signature image from LaCour Photo. ©LaCour

A signature image from LaCour Photo. ©LaCour

You are the enterprise story

Transitioning from full-time staff photographers to business owners is one of the greatest challenges the LaCour team has faced. Mark, Andrew, and I have experience in editorial, where the editorial staff doled out assignments and the road map for our careers was well-defined. But what happens when that road map is ripped out from under you like a rug? Suddenly, you’re faced with an unfamiliar challenge: charting your own course by becoming a business owner.

We viewed this paradigm shift as an opportunity to pursue entrepreneurship.

Since the term “enterprise story” is familiar to photojournalists, it’s a helpful lens through which to see your transition from staff photographer to business owner. Enterprise stories are created by journalists to explain or contextualize issues or events. Enterprise stories require big-picture reporting and the ability to identify and articulate comprehensible patterns. These are also the skills required to build a business.

A successful business owner, like a successful journalist, cannot just be an “order filler” who simply executes someone else’s vision. They must come up with their own ideas. They must be enterprising, big-picture thinkers who have a vision and can strategically implement their own initiatives.

Being an entrepreneur is the ultimate enterprise story, with a twist. The story this time is YOU.

Our personal journey has been filled with epiphanies, many having little to do with the actual process of photography. Most of what we’ve learned involves important business principles. We’d like to share some tips and tools you can use to make a smooth transition into entrepreneurship.

Camaraderie is Critical

As staff photographers, we had the security blanket of teamwork to keep us motivated. If we had a bad day, or a bad assignment, there were fellow staffers who helped rally for the next, better opportunity. Plus, there was a newsroom team, helping generate story ideas and assignments to keep you busy. As a business owner, it’s easy to feel isolated and disconnected. There’s no built-in support network. And there’s nobody telling you what to do. That’s why camaraderie is a critical component of business ownership. More »

I was impressed by all the things the photographers we asked were doing in addition to their main photography business. I chose just a few to illustrate the range of ideas people are pursuing. Please share your own stories — as you can see, you’re not alone. Follow the “more” link to see all photographers, and check out Monday’s “Group Therapy” for photographers’ back stories and websites. Click here for a list of all other “After Staff” posts.

  • Are you pursuing work beyond video and stills?

Pouya Dianat

Personally, I’ve had a few ideas for books, I’ve shot video, looked at starting a stock archive of my sports work, and explored every avenue of where my photography can take me. Currently some of the work I’m doing in my free time may be best suited for an art gallery, but as football season comes around I’ll be implementing my stock archive of sports images. I’ve toyed with starting video projects as part of a 501c(3) venture, which has a classification under which literary, artistic projects can be funded. Looking at grants that also go in hand with non-profit status, there are a lot out there. Bella Pictures is a great resource for people interested in going this route.

Michael Mulvey

I was sponsored by Bella Pictures to speak at the National Press Photographers Association workshop in Las Vegas earlier this month. There are so many people within the media who are going to be in transition this year. It was very nice to help people navigate through some of the land mines. The wedding business will never be the business that our parents bought into. That has already changed. And the changes in future wedding photography could be lead by former photojournalists. As a collective we are just very good at what we do and it takes time to teach good storytelling.

I would certainly be happy to pass more information along, as I did in Vegas. In order to ensure that my wedding business is successful, I also realize much of the future success will be in multimedia. You can see various aspects of multimedia and video creeping into wedding photography. It is not unlike the changes happening with online newspaper content. Quick videos and audio slide shows will be a permanent part of the future wedding business models. I am working to get myself at a level that will not only be competitive but possibly groundbreaking.

David Walter Banks

I have been speaking with a few different conferences and workshops about speaking, and have plans to work with some colleagues on a few different ventures outside the already established workshops. I believe that in a time where print media as a whole is up in the air, it’s important to diversify. This goes beyond the speaking or conducting workshops and flows into the realm of art photography print sales, producing books, and even working to generate a model of online content that is actually profitable. More »

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