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Jeff Lewis 10

Jeff Lewis is an adventure and rock-climbing photographer located on the East Coast of Canada. He travels throughout the Western United States and Canada to capture fascinating images. He also dedicates his time to conducting photo tours and private workshops. To see more of his liveBooks8 website, visit www.jefflewisphotography.ca.

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I first started with photography after a trip to SE Asia to go rock climbing. I wanted to be able to capture my travels and the landscapes around me to show people how amazing this world really is. When I returned from that trip, I began to shoot photos of my home, Jasper National Park, as well as when I would go climbing with my friend. After a few years working in the “real world”, I decided full-time photography was the path for me and I haven’t looked back since.

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

JL: Clean, Focused, Simple.

Q: How often do you typically update your website?

JL: I usually do updates 2-3 times a year, unless I complete a new body of work I’m excited about, then I’ll add it right away.

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

JL: I want those that visit my site to get a sense of who I am and what I do right away. As I mostly shoot landscaped and climbing, I try to choose the best images from those categories to show on the homepage. Hopefully those few images are enough to entice a longer visit, where someone can take a deeper look at my work.

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Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8?

JL: One of my favorite features is that I can go to the Content section, add a page and then make it invisible. That way I can work on it until I’m ready to launch, or until I have enough content so that it is not empty when I publish it. Also, the ability to publish with one click is quite nice as well.

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

JL: Take the time to make sure you have everything the way you want it. With the ability to make pages invisible or not publish changes right away, you can view your changes on your own before you publish to your entire web audience. I think it’s important when viewing a website to know that it’s a finished product and not a “work in progress”.

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

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Keith Ketchum 11

Keith Ketchum is travel, lifestyle and action sports photographer. He obtained his degree in Studio Art from University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) where he drew, painted, designed, and focused in photography. He has worked for clients such as Travel + Leisure, ESPN, New York Post, Rolling Stone Italy, Surfline, Free People, Engadget, Freesurf, KaiKini, Jawbreaking, Slide, Kauai Lifestyle Magazine, Indie Swim, and ESM. To see more of his work, visit his liveBooks8 website: www.keithketchum.com.

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I got my start in photography through surfing. I traveled most winters to get away from frigid North Carolina, where I’m from, and would bring a cheap film camera, a couple of surf boards and a journal. Eventually disappointed with the quality of work I was producing at such beautiful location led to an investment in better equipment. This in return led to a decent portfolio and my first official staff photography job with a surf, art, music, and fashion magazine. That was a fun job. It was an eclectic group of creatives from different outlets coming together to form a quality publication. What started as a regional magazine eventually went world wide for a couple of issues. This all happened while I was studying studio art (drawing, painting, photography, design, etc) at UNCW. The magazine lasted until shortly after I graduated college before dying, like most print does, but by then I was established shooting fashion, weddings, assignments from other publications, fine art, and had a little studio space. My wife and I moved Kauai for a change, to settle down and start a family. It was always one of those places that felt more like home than home. I always called it my neverneverland. It’s also hard to take a bad photo here. We’ve been here for a few years now and I’m extremely happy with my work and the people I get to work with on the island and from around the world.

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

KK: Clean, effective, and quality.

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Q: How often do you typically update your website?

KK: I try to keep things fresh on my blog and depending on how busy I am, I skim back over the recent assignments posted there and pick the best few images from my website. Sometimes I update every month and sometimes a few months go by before I’m able to sit down, catch my breath, have a glass of wine and go over recent work with Bimini, my wife, asking which images she likes best.

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

KK: Homepage images are like the teaser trailers of your website. They are very important and extremely difficult to decide on. You want to get the audience interested with composition and color (a.k.a.: eye candy) without giving too much away. You want to show what you do but only slightly. They have to click a few buttons to get the full effect. I also try to pick generic images that people can put themselves in. So, slightly pulled back vs. up close and personal.

kauai wedding photographer, kauai fashion photographer, kauai photographer, keith ketchum, keith ketchum photography, hawaii photographer, hawaii fashion,

kauai wedding photographer, kauai fashion photographer, kauai photographer, keith ketchum, keith ketchum photography, hawaii photographer, hawaii fashion,

Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8?

KK: It’s hard to narrow down one favorite new feature about liveBooks8. I love how simple and designs are. They are clean and they let the images do the talking. The Scaler quality is amazing. I also love how easy it is to update, enter metadata, upload, view the mobile version, jeez…like everything.

kauai wedding photographer, kauai fashion photographer, kauai photographer, keith ketchum, keith ketchum photography, hawaii photographer, hawaii fashion,

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

KK: My advice for most anything art related, website included, was given to me when I was young from photographer Aaron Chang. “Less if more”. Many art instructors in college would eventually give the same advice. I think over time and I came to realize the true meaning of it, but those would be the wise words passed down from creatives I look up to. “Less is more”.

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

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Michael Holtby is a Travel and Wildlife Photographer based in Denver, Colorado. His work has been exhibited in the Camera Obscura Gallery in Denver and has published a variety of print portfolios including a coffee table book called One Planet, One People. To see more of his work, visit his liveBooks8 website: www.denverphotography.com

I have been taking photographs seriously since 1968 when I traded a kayak for a Pentax Spotmatic. My mentor was a student of Minor White and inspired me to do more than snapshots. In the early 1980s, I attended the Colorado Institute of Art in Commercial Photography and was initially a Studio Product and Portrait Photographer. At this point, I am retired and can now take assignments only selectively, related to my primary interests: travel, ethnic cultures, and wildlife. I sell my work with gallery showings, but primarily I would describe what I do as “personal work”.

Mike Holtby 1 (Papua New Guinea)

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

Colorful, impactful, and joyful.

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How often do you typically update your website?

I update my site usually about once every three months, usually following a lot of travel shooting. However, since updating to liveBooks8, I’ve been tweeking it every couple of weeks.

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

I try to display photos on my homepage that grab your attention, but also represent the various galleries.

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What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8?

My favorite feature of liveBooks8 is the ease with which I can modify my website, add to it, and display galleries. I also love the video gallery that allow viewers to quickly peruse or choose a closer look.

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

The average time people are on a website is likely to be short, so tailor your site to hook viewers with a quick look.

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

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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 15th, 2014

A Visit to the Island of the Sharks

Posted by liveBooks

Cocos Island was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997 and has no inhabitants other than the Costa Rican Park Rangers who strive to stem off illegal fishing within the protected area surrounding the island. With little resources and only one boat available to them they do their best under circumstances to keep the marine environment thriving. Photographer Li Westerlund takes us on her latest trip.

There are many hidden wonders in the world still to explore even for the most adventurous. As a photographer and scuba diver with the love of remote dive-areas, my passport is filled with all kinds of destinations which makes immigration officers at the airports on my return raise their eyebrows. Places like Komodo, Alors and Northern Sulawesi in Indonesia, Papua Guinea and Sudan’s Red Sea waters to mention a few. One of my absolute favourite escapes is located about 35-40 hours of open water travel by boat off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Its name is Isla del Coco, or Cocos Island, at times referred to as the Island of the Sharks.

Whitetip on the lookout

Whitetip on the lookout. Image courtesy of Li Westerlund.

The abundance of marine life surrounding Cocos island, which is the only emergent island of the relatively minor Cocos Plate, comes with some of the strongest currents you will encounter as a diver. Thus in many ways this marine preserve not only provides one of the most intensive adrenaline rushes but also some intriguing challenges for divers and underwater photographers.

Abundance of life

Abundance of life. Image courtesy of Li Westerlund.

In August of this year I made my fifth trip, deliberately choosing the rainy season – and does it rain in Cocos Island! – with the hope of encountering enormous schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks that grace the pinnacles around the island. There may not be a real on or off season for encountering these sharks and we all have to remember that the sea gives you what the sea wants to give you, not what you desire when descending into its depth. My preferred time though is between July and September, which also coincides with the time of the year when in the past I’ve encountered the giant whale sharks. And for this year, my trip truly became the trip of whale sharks.

Whaleshark in the deep

Whaleshark in the deep. Image courtesy of Li Westerlund.

Even though we saw scalloped hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, tiger sharks, whitetip reef sharks, yellowfin tuna, the enormous school of jack fish that is always present, bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales on the surface, the mantra “May the whale shark be with you” was forever coined among some of us. There are several destinations around the world known for whale shark encounters but most only permit encounters while snorkelling or scuba diving in fairly shallow waters, when they come closer in to feed on plankton. Yes, the biggest shark on the planet lives on the smallest plankton, which is quite incredible in the bigger scheme if you think about it.

Hammerhead in for cleaning.

Hammerhead in for cleaning. Image courtesy of Li Westerlund.

Compared to other encounters with whale sharks, what mesmerized me the most diving with them in Cocos was the thrill of mingling with them in the greater depth of the ocean and how gently, gracefully, they interacted with us divers. How they were curious and almost inquisitive, and not anxious or troubled by our presence. The monsoon rain pouring down over the island affected the visibility most times, making lighting quite challenging for photography but it also creating an opportunity to capture these magnificent creatures in the mysterious fashion they suddenly appear from the depth.

See more images from her trip in her series “Gentle Giants of the Deep” and “Galenaea” at www.lifethrills.com.

wolf-picture-001The Natural History Museum in London announced this week that it is stripping wildlife photographer of the year of his £10,000 prize because they believe his prize-winning photo was made with a hired tame Iberian wolf. Photographer José Luis Rodriguez strongly denies that the photo was staged, according to organizers, but the images was still removed from the exhibition of winners at the museum. Jörg Colberg at Conscientious uses this story as a jumping off point to examine our expectations of “truth” in photography — it’s worth the read.

The Court of Human Rights declared Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 unlawful, Giles Turnbull reported Tuesday on the PhotoCineNews blog. Section 44, which became law in the UK in 2000, gives police officers the right to stop and search anyone, for any reason, inside a designated but undefined “area” and has been the source of frequent conflict between police and photographers. Despite the ruling, the law and its enforcement is unlikely to change soon, Giles says. Photographers are not turning down the pressure though, continuing the very successful I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist campaign, with a rally in London’s Trafalgar Square planned for later this month.

OleilPDN reported Tuesday that the French picture agency Oleil had closed after 15 years. While agency closings are hardly uncommon these days, this comment from the Oleil website forces us to confront the full weight of what they suggests for the industry: “The press economic crisis has now made the production of photo-stories impossible.”

We can’t help but wrap up with a couple positive stories from liveBooks. CEO Andy Patrick has been appointed to the Board of Directors for Mohawk Fine Papers, an industry leader that is particularly dedicated to environmental responsibility. We’re also excited to announce the integration of Get Satisfaction with our support dashboard. Get Satisfaction‘s dynamic support communities with easy social media integration have been sweeping the Web — if you’ve ever seen one of those vertical “Feedback” tabs on a website, you know what we’re talking about.

Posted in Agencies / Contests / Nature Photography / Photography and tagged with

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of giving a presentation to members of the conservation, media, and photography communities as part of the WildSpeak program at The WILD Foundation‘s World Wilderness Congress in Merida, Mexico. WildSpeak was created by the International League of Conservation Photographers, four days of presentations showing conservation organizations the power of visual storytelling and persuading them to make more room in their budgets for collaboration with conservation photographers.

The presentation I was part of, “New Media and Creating the Groundswell,” focused on using new online tools to disseminate conservation messages. The other speakers introduced me to several fascinating initiatives that I want to share with the RESOLVE community — by synthesizing photography, education, technology, and social action, they highlight trends that I believe will become increasingly important as the new media landscape evolves.

ARKive_WildscreenCollect and Contextualize
ARKive
is an initiative by Wildscreen to create a digital library of text, photos, and video of a huge number of the world’s animal and plant species. In some ways, the vast number of images available online do not become truly useful and powerful until they are organized and searchable in a collection like this.

LandScope_MapOrganize Geographically
Frank Biasi, director of Conservation Projects for National Geographic Maps, demonstrated two projects he’s working on that are using maps as the main navigation tool for a site. The Global Action Atlas helps connect people with social action opportunities in specific areas of the world, and LandScope.org is a map-based resource for the land-protection community and the public. As geotagging becomes automatic and people interact more across all geographic barriers,  information organized around a map structure will undoubtedly increase.
WildCoastMash Up Media
WildCoast is the perfect example of a non-profit taking their message far beyond the common trap of “preaching to the choir.” By signing up a sexy model and a Lucha Libre celebrity, this organization focused on saving coastal ecosystems won major victories for sea creatures. They also disseminate much of their information as comics and animated videos, something that Médecins Sans Frontières has also explored with their beautiful graphic novel, The Photographer.

Pandemic_LabsCreate Endless Collaboration
Matt Peters, the founder of Pandemic Labs, which ran social media strategy for the entire Wild9 congress, wrapped up with a wonderful presentation about the way online information tools can help keep people who connect at events like Wild9 connected and moving forward with their ideas long after the sessions end.

The Wild9 Live page collected blog posts in three languages, tweets about Wild9, live streams of many presenters, and Qik videos streamed from delegates’ cell phones, letting people from around the world (they received hits from around 80 countries) feel like they were part of the congress. And, possibly more important, now all that information is archived and available online. You can see the presentation videos at the Wild9 USTREAM page and even check out my presentation about creating clean, easy-to-navigate websites that drive visitors to act, not just look.

There aren’t many photographers who are also branding consultants or art directors at a successful design firm. Since Steve Coleman is all three things, we thought he’d be the perfect person to help photographers understand and strategize their branding efforts. His first post explained exactly what a brand is (and isn’t). This one will help you define your brand attributes.
One of Peter Lik's "destination" galleries showcasing his landscape photography.

One of Peter Lik's "destination" galleries showcasing his landscape photography.

As I explained in my first post, a brand is not a logo or a website or a design. A brand is a promise, what people trust, feel, and believe you or your product to be. Branding is how you express that promise to people. Here’s some tips to help you define your brand — only then can you express it through branding.

First, your brand will ultimately be defined by other people, mostly your customers and potential customers. They will make up their minds about you and you will usually have to live with it. Your job in building your brand is to try and influence them before their minds are made up. It is easier when they don’t yet know you and harder when they do.

Therefore, your brand can not be just anything you want it to be. It needs to be based on some truth about you, as well as client needs. Otherwise your brand will be rejected as not credible. Your brand also needs to be flexible so that it can evolve as you or the market change over time.

For example, while Polaroid’s brand was successfully built around innovation in instant imaging, its brand become too closely associated with chemical imaging in the minds of consumers and has struggled to stay connected with people in a digital world.

“When they need what you’ve got, you want them to know exactly who to call.”

Second, be clear about what you need your brand to achieve at a strategic level. For most people this will be to set you apart from your competitors, to make you top of mind and memorable. By default, a brand should also say who you are not. A strong, healthy brand never tries to be all things to all people. Strategically your brand offers a way for clients and potential clients to quickly and easily categorize you. When they need what you’ve got, you want them to know exactly who to call. Ideally your brand should also make you look like the original or the best solution, making it hard for others to copy you.

Here are some great examples of photographers who have done this successfully.


Terry Richardson has one of the strongest brands I have ever seen. He has no logo and no real design to his website. Yet he stands out. He is unique, highly memorable. He shoots some of the world’s most famous people with a small, inexpensive digital camera. Why is his brand so strong? In a world full of smartly presented photographers who all look, shoot, and feel similar, Terry is distinctly different. (Check out the video, where Terry talks about his approach and his new Belvedere Vodka campaign.)

Another example is Australian landscape photographer Peter Lik. In a market saturated with great landscape photography, much of which never sells, Peter’s business generates more than $30,000,000 per year (US!!). Peter’s photography, while brilliant, is hardly the sole reason for his success. The essence of Peter Lik’s brand is the creation of a photographic experience. In particular, his galleries are must-see destinations. What you buy is not just a beautiful picture but a small part of everything that you experience in Peter’s world.

The critical third stage in defining your brand is determining what the attributes are that make up your brand. Attributes are like brand DNA. These are the tangible and intangible, emotional and functional characteristics that you and your business, product, or service are — or could credibly become. If expressed and managed correctly, these attributes become the reasons for people to trust and do business with you.

Here’s an example. I asked 10 people who know of Peter Lik to give me 20 words that describe what they believe him to be. I put every word, including those repeated, into Wordle, which creates a prioritized word cloud showing most-used bigger and least-used smaller. This this is a visual representation of Peter Lik’s brand attributes, according to these 10 people.

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You’ll notice that the functional description of him as a “landscape photographer” is rated low. From a brand perspective, this is excellent because being a landscape photographer is just the cost of entry, it is not enough to define him as unique. Peter has purposefully built his brand around the attributes that help set him apart. That is how a strong brand works.

So, how do you determine your attributes? Here are eight questions that will help you find them. More »

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