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We feel extremely lucky here at liveBooks to have so many talented photographers and creative professionals from all over the world using our platform. Lukasz Warzecha, a Polish born British photographer, does incredible photo and video work on mountaineering in some amazing locations. This week we are featuring his website (we love his integration of both photo and video!) Check out what he had to say about it below!

LW website 3

 

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

LW: Uncluttered, Modern, Fresh

LW website 1

 

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

LW: This has been a long process. I’ve been shooting professionally for over five years now and over this period of time I had opportunities to shoot on four continents and for a variety of clients. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Peter Dennen, Former Director of Photography at Aurora Photos and now running his own consultancy business (Pedro+Jackie). Peter has poured over 1000+ images and organized my work into galleries, the whole process took us a few months also because I’m normally super busy traveling and shooting.

LW website 4

 

Q: How often do you update your website?

LW: I try to update my page every 12-18 months, in between I’m usually adding some fresh images every now and again.

LW website 6

 

Q: What is your favorite feature that liveBooks offers?

LW: I’ve been a liveBooks customer for a long time now (four years, I think?!) and I just like the whole system. The look and feel of the galleries and the integrated video capability and the back end, plus email and FTP support.

LW website

 

See Lukasz’s full site here: www.lwimages.co.uk

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

The importance of having a mobile-friendly website for a photographer or creative should not come as a surprise. The percentage of mobile traffic has surpassed 50% on many sites, and Google (as they are known to do) is once again switching up their algorithm to cater to this growing number.

On Tuesday, April 21st, Google will start using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This means that Google will now start marking your site as mobile-friendly (seen in screenshots below) to determine if your site should rank higher in search results. To put it simply, if your website or blog is not mobile-friendly, it will be penalized by Google when a user is doing a search on a mobile device. Google says that it is doing this so that “users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

google_update

 

What does this mean for you and your liveBooks site?

To ensure that your site is not negatively affected by this new change when someone searches using a mobile device, it is important that you make sure Mobile 2.0 is enabled in your editSuite. Mobile 2.0 was built with this new algorithm in mind to optimize your mobile presence. It will transform your liveBooks site into a clean, easy-to-navigate, photo-centric experience for all users on all types of mobile devices.

 

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You will also want to check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to confirm the compatibility of your site and blog.

Additional Resources:

editSuite Help – Enabling Mobile Websites

Mobile Websites 2.0 FAQ

Google’s Mobile Guidelines

Google Webmaster Help Forum

5 Benefits of Mobile Websites

Need help enabling Mobile 2.0 in your editSuite? Contact our support team at support@livebooks.com

Todd Beltz, a commercial and editorial photographer who specializes in culinary, space, and travel images, has a website that is so colorful and eye-catching it seems to pop off the page – yet still manages to be extremely clean and easy to navigate.

Here’s what Todd had to say about his site – and don’t forget to head on over to www.toddbeltz.com to see more!

todd beltz website

 

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

TB: Minimalist, easy, clean

todd beltz website 1

 

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

TB: Choosing photos to put up on my website is a tough job as a photographer. I may find a picture I took to have special meaning and want to display it but it won’t particularly hold any interest to the viewer. So I generally choose photos that will hopefully draw the viewer in to want to see more.

todd beltz website 3

 

Q: How often do you  update your website?

TB: This varies depending on my work schedule, but I do try to update it with new material at least twice a month.

todd beltz website 2

 

Q: What is your favorite feature that liveBooks offers?

TB: I have a few favorites but if I had to pick one it would have to be the SEO that liveBooks offers.

todd beltz website 4

 

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

Artist Claire Rosen, who specializes in fine art, as well as fashion and advertising photography, and was named in Forbes 30 Brightest Under 30 for Art and Design in 2012 and 2013, has one of the most unique yet easy-to-navigate sites we’ve ever seen.

Here’s what she had to say about it – and don’t forget to check out her photography, it’s absolutely stunning!

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

CR: Branded, Functional, Cohesive

claire rosen website

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

CR: The images selected for display on the homepage were chosen to reflect a cohesive vision in my work that didn’t draw lines between fine art or commissioned projects.

claire rosen website 1

 

 

Q: How often do you update your website?

CR: I update my website as I have new projects or information to share.

claire rosen website 4

Q: What is your favorite feature that liveBooks offers?

CR: That it is so easy to use and update that I don’t ever have to worry about it!

claire rosen website 2

 

Check out Claire’s full site: www.claire-rosen.com and follow her adventures on Instagram: @clairerosenphoto.

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

 

 

For the second installment of our featured website of the week we have Martin Sundberg, a photographer, director, and DP based in the San Francisco Bay area. He specializes in making photographs and films of people living an active life and pursuing their passions by land and by sea.

Check out what he had to say about his liveBooks site!

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

MS: Clean, functional, and eye-catching

martin sundberg website 3

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

MS: Initially I worked with a consultant to edit galleries and categories. Since then I have added and subtracted as I saw fit (which does not always make a gallery stronger) but it is so easy to play with and always exciting to get new work up.

martin sundberg website

Q: How often do you update your website?

MS: After ever shoot I like to drop my favorites into a “new work” category, and if they easily fit in the flow of one of my other galleries I’ll drop them in there as well. As bodies of work present themselves I will just try them out in new galleries.

martin sundberg website 4

Q: What is your favorite feature that liveBooks offers?

MS: The behind-the-scenes. Making new galleries and adding new images is so intuitive.

Martin Sundberg website 1

Check out more of Martin’s site here: www.martinsundberg.com.

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

 

 

March 30th, 2015

5 Traits of a Great Website Homepage

Posted by liveBooks

You know the saying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression?” Well that absolutely applies to your website. Which is why your homepage – the first page people land on – is one of the most important pages on your entire website. We’ve identified five traits that make for a fantastic website homepage. How many of them does your site have?

1. Clearly Answers Who You Are and What You Do

As photographers and creative professionals, visuals are going to play a huge role in your website homepage. Ensuring that you choose a photo or photos that clearly illustrate who you are and what your brand is about is imperative so that the user continues to browse your site. Do you do multiple types of photography? Or specialize in one area? Make sure the visuals you choose reflect exactly what you do and what you can offer to a potential client. You never want someone to land on your site and have to ask “what do they do?”

2. Dynamic and Always Changing

Users are smart. They can tell when a site hasn’t been updated in a while or if the content is old. It’s important that your homepage reflects that you are constantly completing fantastic new work and projects and posting it accordingly. In this day and age, styles, techniques, even gear changes so rapidly that it is extremely important to showcase that you are “with the times” in the types of photos you display.

3. Stellar Visuals

As photographers this is where you have a huge leg-up over pretty much every other industry. You take stunning visuals for a living! But how do you choose just one (or a few) for a homepage? One way is to let your ideal consumer or customer decide. Your idea of your best picture may be totally different from your target audience, so feeling out public opinion can sometimes make the decision a lot easier. Maybe run a poll on Facebook or Instagram between two photos and see which one gets the most likes. Another idea is to ask some close friends/family what three words come to mind when they land on your homepage – if those three words are in-line with your style and what you envision your brand to be, you know you’ve got the right picture. Plus, as mentioned in number two, your photo should always be changing, so you will have plenty of opportunity to show off your different shots.

4. Optimal for All Devices

These days, mobile phones and tablets are quickly becoming the preferred way to browse the web. To make sure that people coming to your site have the best experience possible, it is very important that your website is optimized for mobile devices. Not only should your site display beautifully on mobile, but it should also be easy to navigate so your consumer is able to get all of the important information they need. Make sure to enable Mobile 2.0 in your editSuite!

5. Clear Navigation

When a user lands on your homepage, what is the logical next thing you want them to do? Most likely check out your portfolios, then maybe read your bio or get more info on you, and last but certainly not least, contact you. Make sure that your navigation portrays these steps in a way that a user would look for them. Make it clear what each page of your site displays so that they don’t have to waste any time looking for what they want or need.

What are some other traits that you think are the most important to keep in mind when designing your website? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Here at liveBooks, we love providing creative professionals with the tools they need to express themselves, their brand, and their work. We are starting up a new weekly series where we will feature a different liveBooks website each week with details from the site’s owner about what went into its creation. We look forward to seeing the amazing things each of our clients can do with their liveBooks site!

This week we are featuring Mike Adrian, a destination wedding photographer who travels throughout Hawaii, California, Mexico, and Canada.

Mike Adrian Headshot

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

MA: Clean, Elegant, Romantic.

MikeAdrianWebsite

 

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

MA: Photos need to represent a powerful moment of connection between the couple. I want potential clients to be able to place themselves in the photo – let them feel that this can be their moment too.

MikeAdrianWebsite1

 

Q: How often do you update your website?

MA: Photos are generally updated every three months. Galleries are added or removed based on location, venue, or event style.

MikeAdrianWebsite2

 

Q: What is your favorite feature that liveBooks offers?

MA: The customer support is the best. I can have ideas for the website and the technical team is there to make the ideas become a reality. The ability to update the look and feel of my site based on my business needs is amazing.

Check out more of Mike’s site here: www.mikeadrianweddings.com

 

Interested in having your website featured? Email us at social@livebooks.com.

With nearly 100 million iPad, iPhone and iTouch devices in use across the planet, liveBooks’ CMO John Philpin was recently interviewed by TWiP host Frederick Van Johnson to find out how liveBooks is responding to the lack of Flash on those devices. As it turns out, it’s all under control. In the podcast, John and Frederick explore our new iPhone and iPad settings, which are now available to all customers through the liveBooks editSuite.

Frederick and John also discussed how liveBooks plans to advance along with the ever-changing world of technology that we are part of today – and what it all means to you as a liveBooks customer and a creative professional.

Interested in hearing more? Listen to John and Frederick in this podcast, which can be found on PixelCorps.tv.

Doug has written extensively on RESOLVE and his blog about the development of his photography business during his decades in the industry. So we were eager to talk with him about his newest endeavor, the Menuez Archive Projects. Below you can see a selection of images from the personal stock archive, which launched yesterday alongside his interactive portfolio site. If you’re in NYC, don’t miss the MAP launch party Thursday, Feb. 18, 6:30 at 526 W. 26th St., No. 304. And if you’d like to hear more about the archive, check out Doug’s interview with Heather Morton today.


Miki Johnson:
How did the idea for the Menuez Archive Projects arise?

Doug Menuez: After Stanford Library acquired my archive they began to preserve, research, and scan the 250,000 images from my Silicon Valley documentary project from the ’80s and ’90s. A few years ago they called and said their budget was cut and asked if I had any ideas for funding.

I was sitting on a couple hundred thousand model-released, timeless lifestyle advertising images that we’d often thought about doing something with, but I was always busy with assignment work. This was the catalyst. I was very lucky to meet an experienced and creative entrepreneur, David Mendez, and together we wrote a business plan around selling high-end stock to this growing niche in advertising. Amazingly, we managed to secure funding from investors despite the down economy.

MJ: Who do you imagine being the primary audience and/or buyers for the archive? What kind of imagery is it providing?

DM: Ad agencies seeking never seen before, intimate, emotionally-compelling moments from everyday life for high-end ad campaigns. We have been getting a lot of calls over the past few years as more big brand campaigns go to stock and creatives seek images that are more special and not so widely seen as what’s offered by the giant houses. We are a boutique and are bringing old fashioned research and service in our collaborations with creatives on their campaigns. You can search our archive easily, but you can also send your layouts and we will custom search and present the results to you.

We are including a lot of my personal documentary work that is released, and we just completed our first shoot in Miami, covering a wide range of stories, including a working mom, an afternoon with a Hispanic family, a teen house party, Parcours daredevils, an older boomer couple traveling, and much more.

What’s exciting is that we researched and found real stories of real lives, just as on any other personal project I do. These stories and images are therefore compelling and authentic, but also model released. We also have a variety of editorial material, some historical, some current, and we are selling limited edition prints of my fine art projects.

From the Menuez Archive Projects' first guest curated gallery, LOVE.

MJ: How does MAP fit in with your larger business plan?

DM: MAP is a huge breakthrough for me in that it allows me to develop all the work I’ve done over the years, and create revenue from material sitting in boxes. That new material from assignments and stock shoots will help me stay relevant and replenish the archive over time.

I have so many projects and images that it’s hard to finish any one thing. MAP will provide a platform to build on for the next phase of my career. That includes continuing to produce documentary projects, films, and books. More »

And now, our final of three moderated discussion posts, part of our Future of Photobooks project, in conjunction with FlakPhoto. It will be moderated by Bryan Formhals, who has also helped shape this post. As we’ve said, the future is ours to shape, so please help the community by adding your comments and sharing this post on Twitter, Facebook, etc. (You can also receive email updates of future comments by clicking “subscribe.”) To find out more about the Future of Photobooks project, read previous posts, and view the more than 45 blogs that have participated, check out our growing resource page.
Bryan_Formhals

Brooklyn-based (Minnesota-native) photographer Bryan Formhals is the founder and creative director of La Pura Vida Gallery, and a member of strange.rs, an international photography collective.

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The Netflix of Photobooks

Bryan was a natural choice to moderate the discussion on photobook funding, since his post, The Netflix of Photobooks, includes a forward-thinking collaborative funding option with real potential:

“I wonder if some type of joint venture could be organized amongst bloggers and photography organizations to share photography books? I’m not talking about Steidl books here, more like the the Photography.Book.Now winners and other on-demand books. I would love to look at all these books, but there’s no way I can buy each of them. But there maybe a few that I would buy if I could see them first.

His comment alludes to several larger questions: It’s easier than ever to create and print an entire book yourself, but will those books ever sell enough copies to be a financial boon to the photographer? To do that, there needs to be a much more efficient and wide reaching way to connect interested buyers with individually produced books.

Jörg Colberg (Conscientious) and Hester Keijser (Mrs. Deane) have taken a fundamental first step toward helping bring buyers together with at least one kind of photobook — independently produced ones that can’t be bought through online chain stores. Just yesterday they launched The Independent Photo Book, a blog where photographers can send their books and zines, along with information on how to purchase them, creating a simple online clearinghouse.

One remaining question for the endeavor, and one I’m sure Jörg and Hester will address as the project continues, is how do you draw people from outside the small photography and blogging world into the site?

The ‘Hold It In Your Hands’ Factor

Bryan’s comment also highlights a deeper problem with selling a physical book in the online world. I agree that I’d be more likely to buy a book if I could hold it in my hands first. I’ve settled before for being able to see a digital version of every page (instead of the one or two you can see on Amazon, etc.), but the ideal is to look through the physical book. As David Bram points out on the Fraction blog, “The print quality of the book is as important as the content of the book itself. If the photographs are not well printed in physical book form, the potential buyer needs to know this.”

What would be a good way to get books into potential buyers’ hands? What about a traveling pop-up shop that brings independently produced books to towns around the world? Are there photobook festivals that are affordable and approachable for industry non-insiders where you can see a large number of books in a short period of time?

Assuming that photobooks continue to be financial viable for larger publishers, though, most will likely continue to be bought online through major bookstores like Amazon. Todd Walker (the mediator of our CONSUMPTION discussion) suggested an interesting dilemma that stems from this process. Since books purchased online are often reduced to a “thumbnail” image, is this a system that disadvantages complex images, favoring simple, graphic ones that read well at smaller size?

Blurb Your Way to Big Publishers

The increasing ease with which photographers can create their own books also helps them take the step up to these larger publishers and markets — so the self-published book might not turn a profit, but it can help procure a larger run that might. Nathalie Belayche gave an example of this model in her post on Food For Your Eyes:

Robin Maddock couldn’t wait to find a publisher for his book Our Kids Are Going To Hell and so he did a Blurb book, as a dummy and to make a test. A few months later the book was redesigned and came out with the help of a brick-and-mortar publisher.”

Jonathan Worth, whose blog explores alternate funding models for photographers, weighs in with this:

“The generation currently breaking into the industry have inherited a fond nostalgia for analogue processes (think Holga, Lomography or witness the dramatic rescue of Polaroid ). Developing and exploiting this demand is one of the areas that photographer’s business practices can and should focus looking forward. The book is just one element of this.” Are there photographers who are working this angle right now?

Funding the First Steps

All of these models rely on the same assumption — that a photographer has the money to print a book in the first place. What about funding the initial investment needed for printing, especially not print-on-demand?

Bryan suggests the microfunding model could be a powerful tool. One encouraging example is the 13th issue of Hamburger Eyes (a San Francisco-based street photography magazine), which was funded through Kickstarter last summer. The magazine met it’s goal in only three days and even took in an extra $1,000, allowing them to print a larger magazine than ever before.

In this situation a magazine has an advantage over a book since it has serial issues that have gained them a loyal following. How can photographers build the same kind of audience for a single book (that is likely to include just their own work, not lots of potential funders’, like Hamburger Eyes)?

I would look at something like the We English blog that Simon Roberts created in the year running up to the publication of his book by the same name. Although he worked with publisher Chris Boot, he built a loyal audience by asking for ideas on how to photograph “Englishness,” offering a print to the first 150 people who sent him ideas.

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