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Katie Adkins a is a documentary and fine art photographer in Rapid City, South Dakota. She attended Savannah College of Art and Design and has worked extensively as a freelance artist in addition to working with well-known photographers such as Martin Parr and National Geographic Alex Webb. To see more of her work, visit her liveBooks8 website: www.katieadkinsphotography.com.
I started out in this industry through serendipitous events. In 2008 when the housing maker crashed, the large architectural company I was working for let go of the majority of its staff. I was one of those let go. While devastating at the time, in the end it was an opportunity to reevaluate what I really wanted to be doing. I took the opportunity to go back to school and get my Masters in Photography and haven’t looked back since then. I took every opportunity I could to see how other photographers worked by assisting and taking them out for coffee to pick their brains. By immersing myself in the art world, I was able to meet people who have helped me succeed and get to where I am today. Today I am a freelance photographer, shooting for newspapers, magazines, and private clients. I am also lucky enough to have an amazing day job where I am Assistant Curator at the contemporary art gallery. Most importantly, I work as a fine artist. I have had several solo exhibits and been a part of numerous group shows. Being immersed in the creative world has been the most fulfilling and best decision I have ever made.
KA: Contemporary, relaxed, and unique.
KA: I update my website about once a month or more often if I have been shooting a lot. The liveBooks software is so easy to use that it only takes a second to update, rearrange, or remove content. There is no point in having a website with stagnant information. Having an easy-to-use design platform keeps your work relevant and keep visitors coming back.
KA: Your homepage is a crucial part of your website – it is a teaser for what visitors can expect if they delve further into your site. It is important for this to be not only an accurate representation of the rest of your site but you also want it to be exciting, eye-catching, and unique. The thing to keep in mind is you don’t want to “give it all away” on your homepage, you want visitors to want to see more. It is also really important to keep it all clean. Luckily, this is easy to do with the liveBooks8 design options. In my case, I am showing several images from each of the portfolios on my page. This gives visitors an overview of my work and hopefully, makes them want to click on my portfolio pages and view more.
KA: My favorite new feature on the liveBooks website is the design platform. You can make updates on the actual page and see how they look without having to view your page in a separate window. This not only saves times clicking back and forth but it allows you to make changes and adjustments and instantly to see how they look. Once you have made your changes, you simply publish and those changes go live.
KA: My best advice for someone who is just starting our designing their website is to choose a website that best represents you and what you do. It is really easy to look at another artist/photographer’s website and think that you should do the same thing because their website looks really cool. However, it is important to think about your own work, you own message and your own goal of having a website. Am I using my website for clients? Am I using my website to sell my work? Or, as in my case, am I using my website as an online gallery space. What works for the commercial photographer will not be the same thing that works for a wedding/portrait photographer. The website design I choose best reflects my documentary approach to photography. The layout of each of my pages helps to tell a story, a quality I also use in my art.
Have a website you’d like us to feature? Email us at email@example.com.
Gaelle Morand is a photographer based out of California. Her work ranges from travel and entertainment portraiture to editorial and fashion. She’s worked with clients such as Universal, Island Def Jam, and Epitaph Records, as well as celebrities such as Olivia Wilde and Dita Von Teese. To see more of Gaelle’s work, visit her liveBooks8 website: www.gaellemorand.com.
My work in photography gives me access to people’s lives in ways that pull beauty out of the ordinary – I’ve done series of images framing close in on faces from cultures so different that the minute details tell an unexpected story. The subject might be a Tibetan nomad, or a musician headlining a rock band – to me these subjects are equally fascinating. I’m as interested in documenting culture as I am in finding what makes one person’s journey unique within that culture. I also have a long history in the motion picture industry, in CGI – mostly in lighting and look development, which I suppose is the common thread with my work in photography. In movies as in photography, I try to bring a cinematic perspective to my work. I enjoy crafting intricate studio lighting setups in service to an impeccable style. (Though I’m quite a fan of natural light, too!) I’ve been fortunate with opportunities to travel, and to meet a wonderful cross section of people and cultures. I’m looking forward to continuing that journey, camera in hand.
GM: Personal, Crafted, and Vivid.
GM: It’s very unpredictable! It could be four times a month or four times a year, depending on where I’ve been and how much shooting I’ve been able to do.
GM: I try to select a set of vibrant and diverse images that somehow work well together. They can be very different as far as the subjects are concerned, but are tied in by a similar or complimentary color palette.
GM: Without a doubt, it’s being able to try it all by visualizing various layouts. The interface is easy to use and you can get great results quickly. Customizing options seem endless and designing becomes very exciting.
GM: It’s obvious, but less is more! It’s about showcasing the best work and keeping the layout clean and simple.
Have a website you’d like us to feature? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Casey Curry is a celebrity, portrait, and fashion/beauty photographer based in Los Angeles, California. Casey has worked with A-list celebrities such as Michael Caine, Kate Winslet, Billy Bob Thornton, and many others. To see more of work, visit his liveBooks8 website: www.caseycurry.com.
I’ve been studying light and taking pictures since I was the was a child although my start in the industry began with an assisting job for David LaChapelle. His creative approach fused with the talented photo crew he surrounds himself with set the bar for the level of production I wanted for my sets. From then, it’s been a slow burn of testing, developing my craft, and shooting commissioned work. As my aesthetic matures, so does my need to push the limits of what I can deliver for my clients – this can only be found through constant testing. I’ll often watch a film or look at a classic painting and think, “Oh that look would be great for this band/upcoming project.” It’s a continual path of discovery. I never stop learning.
CC: Clean, minimalistic, modern.
CC: Since I started constructing the layout and curating work, it’s been a daily effort. From here on out, I plan on updating my site on a bi-monthly basis.
CC: The homepage is intended to give viewers a taste of each section of the website. Additionally, each image is meant to showcase the diverse approaches I’m capable of.
CC: It’s been years since I use the old liveBooks, so I can’t attest to how much it differs. I can, however, say that it is the best self-managed website I’ve user, and I’ve used quite a few of them. The functionality is superior. It is not only user-friendly, but also technically superior with the built-in SEO and design customization capabilities.
CC: Although it’s important to stay true to yourself, get feedback from peers in your field – or better yet, from those you draw influence and aspiration from. I always try to surround myself with people who I feel are better than me, and I took the same approach when building my site. Also, you need to strictly limit the content you display (that’s where the help of others can really come in handy). It should only be the best of what you have to showcase and it needs to take your viewers on a cohesive journey. A good portfolio is one that doesn’t feel disjointed and doesn’t ever get boring.
Have a website you’d like us to feature? Email us at email@example.com.
Jillian Faulkner is a portrait photographer based in Calgary, Canada. Her specialty is concentrated in children and family portrait photography. She established Jillian Faulkner Photography in 2010 and has been dedicated to her practice ever since. To see more of her work, visit her liveBooks8 website: www.jillianfaulkner.com.
I am rarely found without my Canon camera in hand and if I really think about it, my first interest in photography started back when I was about 10 years of age and received my first camera as a birthday gift. It began a strong and committed interest in visually capturing all the fascinating and unique moments in life. In my early twenties, I was a high performing sales representative both in the hair care and cosmetics industry applying a keen eye for what is visually appealing with a strong sense of style and fashion. It was not uncommon for me to have my camera out and ready to capture the behind the scenes action at one of our fashion shows or during a global make up artists presentation of a new launch. In 2006, after the birth of my first son, I decided to get more serious about my photography and further developed my skills with lots of practice and more advanced training. My new love was capturing on camera images of sweet little hands and feet and munchkins running about and exploring the world with fresh eyes. With friends and family regularly asking me to take pictures at important celebrations and of their own families, I launched Jillian Faulkner Photography in the fall of 2010. Since then, my passion for the art has grown even stronger with each visit from new and repeat clients. My passion truly lies in taking portraits of infants and children. They are all so full of life with developing personalities, beautiful innocence and tremendous potential. A perfect portrait done just right can show all of that to the world and I feel so blessed that my days are filled doing exactly what I love!
JF: Classic, authentic, and joyful!
JF: Typically every few months, but it’s much more often now with the new liveBooks8 platform. I love that I can change out old photos with new ones easily and customize the looks of my portfolios to have every little detail just right and done to my liking. With a strong background in visual arts and fashion, this is a very big thing!
JF: I have a tendency to choose the images which reflect the majority of my work – portraits that “stir the passion” and which generate the strongest emotions as well as remind me of certain moments in the studio, with clients or from my own life.
JF: It is hard to pick just one as there are so many new outstanding improvements that I love! I would have to say my favourite update is having the ability to easily customize and fully control all the design elements on my website. From fonts to page layouts to color schemes, it is all very easy to modify to ensure my work looks exactly how I want it to.
JF: First, know your brand – your website should showcase your work. How you identify yourself and your work to both the industry and to your clients is crucial to growing your business. Second, make navigation around your website easy. Have samples of your work easy to find and live contact links to make it simple to get in contact with you. You only have a few moments to make a great impression!
Have a website you’d like us to feature? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cameron Karsten is both a photographer and film-maker. His work ranges from portraiture to lifestyle photography. He had worked for clients such as Discovery Channel, Bank of America, Delta Air Lines, and Microsoft. To see more of Cameron’s work, visit his liveBooks8 site: www.cameronkarsten.com.
I began my career as a writer, spending my twenties backpacking around the world in search of stories, characters, and experiences. I began a blog, attained followers, sold travel articles, and by the advice of someone, I was encouraged to post photographs with my written stories. At this time, digital photography was gaining momentum, so I traded in my Nikon film camera for a small point-and-shoot. I kept writing but slowly overtime, I had the desire to tell stories with photos instead of words. This led to a 2-year program in commercial photography, which led to assisting and digital-teching for professional photographers, which has now grown into a career as a commercial photographer. I still write and have a love for the craft, but I now shoot motion alongside my photography. When I step back, they’re all a form of storytelling, so I’m grateful for each trade.
Q: How would you describe the aesthetic of your website in three words?
CK: When I switched platforms to the new liveBooks8 I was seeking something clean, simple, and bold. These would be the three words I’d use, and maybe throw in elegant as well.
Q: How often do you typically update your website?
CK: Typically I update my website every couple of months, but it also depends if new work I finish fits within my projects and portfolios. Sometimes it’s sooner, sometimes it’s later, but I look at it and analyze the content every few days, seeking a better edit or a new perspective that’ll improve my presentation. But I admit; I am my own worst editor.
Q: How do you choose the photos that you display on your homepage?
CK: I want the homepage images that represent my projects and portfolios to be striking and to me that carries a sense of emotion with regards to light, shadow, and lines. Most of them are during sunrise or sunset, or are dramatic in the sense of scale and design. Obviously, I’m looking to attract creative directors, art buyers and project managers to dig deeper into my website whether it’s a personal project or commissioned portraiture.
Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8?
CK: My favorite new feature of liveBooks8 is the fullscreen homepage allowing the images to be big and bold. I want the first glance at my website to be striking and be utilizing the full screen with scrolling images, this becomes effective.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone designing their website?
CK: If I could offer advice on designing a website, I’d say utilize peers and professionals to help you edit your work. I’ve put my photography in front of many peers and strangers, receiving a whole gamut of feedback. It has shaped how I present my work, as well as helped hone my skills as a storyteller. The liveBooks8 support staff was also diligent throughout the process of transitioning my website to the new platform, which I appreciate and I’m grateful for.
John Johnston is an advertising and editorial photographer based in Denver, Colorado. His client base includes Chipotle, Ford, Forbes, Guiness and Newsweek. To see more of his work and liveBooks8 website, visit: www.johnjohnstonphotography.com.
I’m originally from Southern California, but now live in Denver with my wife and two girls. I went to art school to be a painter/printmaker, but decided to go into photography. I fell in love with it and found a way to do both photography and my artwork. I shlepped bags for photographers out of school and decided that I was ready to go out on my own. I called everyone I worked with and told them that I was done working with them to pursue my own career. I have been shooting now for 16 years. I shoot advertising and editorial work. I love meeting people, I love going places, I love that I get to live in a creative world. I am really fortunate to do so many fun things every day.
JJ: Clean, honest, storied
JJ: With the new site it is a lot more often. I like to update with at least a group of 6-8 images. If there is something I am super excited about, I will update it right away.
JJ: There is definitely a connection to the photos. They can be brand new or something that is a little older. There is always a story about the location or maybe the person I met. I add the photos that make me happy.
JJ: Overall it’s pretty easy to get around. Its simple enough that you could change the entire look of the site in just a few minutes.
JJ: Keep things simple. Try and make it easy for people to navigate through your site. They probably won’t stay long, don’t confuse them with lots of buttons or menus.
Have a website you’d like us to feature? Email us at email@example.com.
Family portrait sessions should be fun! As photographers we can do more than just create beautiful images for our clients – we can make sure they enjoy their time with us. Ultimately, the experience families have while they’re with us is what determines if we are gaining clients who will want to come back to us again and again.
Growing up, I hated getting our family pictures taken. Uncomfortable clothes, stressed-out mom, cranky kids, and someone almost always ended up crying.
Until a few years ago, I dreaded taking my own kids’ pictures. I was the stressed-out mom, they were the cranky kids, and if someone was crying it was usually me. Why I decided to pursue family photography after all the itching and whining and the poking and the crying is anybody’s guess, but I’ve learned some things over the years, both as a mom and as a photographer, that have completely changed the family portrait experience. Now, I love family portraits – I love shooting them, I love being in them, and I adore looking at them after the session. My clients and my kids look forward to them. I’ve found that taking the time to prepare parents for their family portrait session can turn a potentially stressful situation into one that’s a lot of fun.
Make sure your clients know exactly what to expect from a session. Explain what will happen from the time they arrive at the session until they leave. Remind them that their children don’t have to be perfect at the session. The camera captures 1/250th or less of a second at a time – in between the wiggles and the goofiness and even the “I don’t want to!” there are always sweet moments. Ask them to trust that you can capture those.
I frequently tell my clients that I hope their family portrait session doesn’t cause them any stress, but if it does, all of that stress should happen before the session. Stress and tension have no place at a portrait session. Thoughtful selection of their photographer, their wardrobe, and a session date and time that works with their family’s schedule will definitely lead to beautiful images. However, once the session starts there isn’t much more parents can do to ensure success, other than having fun and showing affection to their kids.
Kids have minds of their own. Let clients know that you’ll try something for a while, and if it’s not working out you’ll move on to something else. Reassure them during the session that their child’s shyness or silliness is age-appropriate and that they’re not misbehaving.
Bribing a child before a portrait session almost never works. I explain to parents that by offering a reward to children before a portrait session, they’re often sending the message, “This is going to be painful. So painful, in fact, that I’m going to have to take you to ice cream/buy you a toy/let you play video games to make it up to you.” The problem with bribes is that children under the age of 5 don’t understand delayed gratification, thus the reward is ineffective and can quickly turn into threats, “Uh-oh, no ice cream!”
I believe a child over the age of 5 is completely capable of participating in the session without the promise of a reward. Ask parents to please not mention any rewards before the session. Find out prior to the session if they’re comfortable with you offering a small treat or prize to win the child over to get that last shot at the end of the session. Let everyone know that the session itself will be fun – no one needs a reward for having fun!
Remind parents that comments like, “This is really important to Mommy, we really want you to cooperate,” instantly gives the child complete control over the session. Instead, I encourage parents to say something like, “We’re going to go see Jessica today. She’s going to play some games with us and take our picture. It’s going to be so much fun!”
As the mom of many highly sensitive children, I encourage parents to make sure they’re not setting themselves up for unnecessary difficulty by asking their children to do things that make them uncomfortable. Sessions should be scheduled, as much as possible, when children will be well-rested and fed. Ask parents to make sure their children have tried on clothes before the session so that any problems resulting from uncomfortable clothing can be addressed prior to the session date. I also let parents know that we can always take a break from shooting if children just need a drink or a snack, a snuggle, or time to play for a bit.
Practice makes perfect. Ask your clients to make sure they let the new big brother(s) or sister(s) hold the new baby every day. If the older sibling is too little to hold the baby, he should be lying down next to the baby, kissing the baby, or at least talking to the baby every day. This gives the toddler or child a chance to get used to the baby. It also gives the parents an idea of how much cooperation they can expect from their older child or children. The clients will then come to the session with a much more realistic idea of just how cooperative the older children will be, which is especially important if the new big sister is still pretty much a baby herself.
Giving them just a little bit of guidance, we can help our clients avoid some of the common causes of family portrait stress. The less stress at the session, the more time there is for fun, and the more likely you are to win over a client for life.
Jessica Washburn’s images are pure, intimate, and above all beautiful. Finding and accentuating the beauty of her clients is always the inspiration for every session. While she enjoys photographing families and children of all ages, Jessica’s attention to detail, patience and absolute love for her subjects has made her especially gifted at newborn portraiture. Her newborn images display a unique sensitivity and sense of peacefulness.
To see more of Jessica’s work visit her website.
After all the lead-up to WPPI in Las Vegas last month, it seems strange that it’s really over. But as I look into the rear view mirror, I see it getting smaller and smaller as we drive our brand forward toward new product launches and what will likely be a healthy wedding season.
This was my first WPPI and everything that I was told to expect turned out to be true. The crowds were massive, the energy was high, the sessions were informative, and Las Vegas was the perfect town (and the MGM Grand the perfect locale), to host the event.
Unlike Imaging USA in Atlanta last January, Pinhole Pro’s presence at WPPI was as an integrated brand beneath liveBooks, Inc. and alongside Fotomoto. For the most part those who were looking for us managed to find us just fine, and when they did they were pleased to note that all of the Pinhole Pro products they’d come to love were on display to touch and feel.
You Asked. We Delivered.
WPPI also marked the unveiling of our brand new Horizontal Panoramic album, which is now available in Pro Studio. Log on to check it out now. You can even save 25% off it and all other Pro Studio product through April 15th when you use promo code PROWPPI. Enjoy!
All-Star Speaker Lineup
We were fortunate enough to have a wonderful lineup of speakers at this year’s event, including Wedding Photographers Stacie Kirkwood, Barrie Fisher and Jared Platt, commercial photographers Michael Grecco and Mark Wallace, and liveBooks CEO Andy Patrick. Our own Patrick O’Connor walked attendees through all the great custom tips and tricks available to all of us in Pro Studio, and Fotomoto Product Manager Piam Kiarostami spoke about the benefits of Fotomoto. Speaking of which….
Start Selling with Fotomoto
Trade shows are nothing if not an opportunity to sample and demo product, and one of our major points of discussion at WPPI was the integration of Fotomoto into liveBooks websites. It was great to see booth attendees’ faces continually light up as we showed them how they can sell photos through their liveBooks websites for free. Think of it as an extra source of revenue that you can set and forget.
For a sample of what I’m talking about, visit Jared Platt’s site and click the ADD TO CART button at the bottom of the screen. If you like what you see, and I think you will, I’d be remiss if I didn’t let you know that you can now save 50% off a Professional predesigned liveBooks website, which includes the integrated Fotomoto shopping cart option, by visiting liveBooks.com and entering promo code LBWPPI at checkout.
Our next major industry event will likely be the PhotoPlus Expo in New York in October, but we are looking into creating a trimmed down booth experience for smaller shows throughout the spring in summer. Please be sure to ‘Like’ us on Facebook and check our Events tab to stay abreast of our upcoming appearances.
Joe Franklin is the Director of Marketing at liveBooks and Pinhole Pro. When he’s not sending emails, optimizing landing pages and organizing events, he’s running the trails of the SF East Bay Regional Park district or shooting photos of whatever catches his eye.
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.
There are few areas of photography that are as crowded right now as the world of weddings. The portrait and wedding photography market has grown exponentially in recent years, and with more shooters shifting in from other shrinking markets, that trend is likely to continue.
For those emerging photographers who are passionate about wedding photography but don’t know how to distinguish themselves from the growing crowd, we’re happy to announce emerge, a new contest for emerging wedding photographers — and not just because it’s the brainchild of liveBooks ;)
The emerge Photo Competition is special because it gives photographers the opportunity to tell an entire picture story through multiple images, uploaded into website portfolios in five categories: wedding preparation, details, venue, the kiss, and favorite wedding. Winners will also receive a full suite of tools to help them get their business off the ground and take it straight to the stratosphere.
A panel of wedding industry leaders and magazine photo editors will crown 15 winners total, three in each category, who will receive a prize package worth $1,400, including:
a one-year subscription to a liveBooks predesigned website,
a one-year subscription to a Pictage account,
a one-year subscription to a ShootQ account,
a 2011 WPPI VIP pass,
a Think Tank Photo Belt,
and a $100 Asuka Book gift card.
The top photographer in each category will also receive an advertising package from TheKnot.com valued at $1,200 and a professional photography kit from Sony valued at $2,000.
Check out more details here. Deadline for entries is May 31, 2010 and we’re looking forward to announcing the winners soon after. Good luck!