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Interior and Architecture Photography

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Don Riddle is a photographer/videographer specializing in advertising photography and image capture for the travel and hospitality industry. Some of his clients include Four Seasons Resorts and Hotels, Ritz Carlton Resorts and Hotels, Rosewood Hotels, Marriott International, and Hyatt Hotels. To see more of his work, visit his liveBooks8 website: www.donriddle.com.

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While studying to be an accountant, I enrolled in a photography class at the University of Utah. I instantly fell in love with photography and decided that life as an accountant might not be for me. I moved back to Southern California and enrolled in Brooks Institute of Photography. This started me on a path to a 20 year career of creating images.

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

DR: Clean, simple and large! I love the full-page images.

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Q: How often do you typically update your website?

DR: I try to update my website every 6 months rotating in newer images from recent projects.

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

DR: Homepage images need to be impactful and current. I try to keep some of my most inspiring and new images right there in front.

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Q: What is your favorite feature of liveBooks8?

DR: The ease of design. I liked the ability to start out with a blank slate and customize the site to my liking. It didn’t take long to learn how the design software worked. That was a big selling point for me.

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

DR: Ease of use for the viewer! I think it is very important that art buyers viewing a site can easily navigate the site. I will quickly leave a site that is too confusing to figure out. You don’t want to give anyone an excuse to move on to the next site. It needs to be instantly apparent how to navigate through the site.

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

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Dale Clark is the top Commercial Photographer specializing in Interiors and Architecture in Columbus and Central Ohio. Dale’s work has been featured in various publications including The Wall Street Journal, HouseTrends Magazine, Dream Homes, Columbus Underground, Popular Photography, and Shutterbug. Dale holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Wright State University and attended Kettering University (formerly GMI) for Graduate Studies. We are very excited to share his business story and how it came together seamlessly with the liveBooks 8 platform:

I started Arc Photography in 2008 after 20 years of managing a large-scale automotive manufacturing operation. Photography, especially Architectural photography, has always been a hobby and passion. I made the decision to leave the corporate life and dive into Architectural photography full-time in 2008. With a lot of long hours, hard work and persistence, Arc photography has turned into one of the highest volume Architectural/Residential photography companies in Ohio.

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

DC: The website is clean yet bold. Very basic to allow the images to stand out and speak for our business. (Clean, bold, basic)

Q: How often do you typically update your website?

DC: I generally update 4 to 5 times a year, sometimes around seasonal changes.

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

DC: I display what I consider my best work while showing my general style that clients can expect to see.

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Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8?

DC: Besides the wonderful liveBooks web page designs, the new dashboard is super intuitive.

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

DC: A good website will focus on YOUR work and not add “noise” to your presentation. A good website is intuitive so that anyone can explore what you have to offer effortlessly.

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Would you like to be featured on our blog? 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.

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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.

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