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Meet Kevin Clark of Kevin Clark Studios. Now a commercial photographer, his training was originally in graphic design. In art school, he picked up a camera for the first time during an elective class and immediately fell in love. After art school, he set up shop in Vancouver. He first began photographing performers and actors, as the film and TV industry was just starting to take off in his area. His wife, Trish, was a makeup artist, and they teamed up to establish a strong niche in the market. The industry exploded in the ’90’s with the development of many Sci-Fi based shows and big budget feature films. Their actors stayed busy, and as a result, so did their studio.

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In 1999, they decided to go on an adventure and moved to Cairo, Egypt. There, the Clarks worked with advertising agencies, magazines and NGOs, while seeing parts of Egypt that not many people see. When Trish got pregnant with their first child, they moved back to Vancouver and re-established their business.

While they were in Cairo, Kevin had the opportunity to shoot some food photographs and really enjoyed it. As they continued shooting actors and head shots in Vancouver, Kevin also began establishing himself in the food photography industry. He started pursuing food photography after the crash of 2008 hit the Vancouver film industry, and currently, food photography represents more than half of his business.

See more of Kevin Clark Studios’ work on his liveBooks site at: kevinclarkstudios.com.

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

KC: All about pictures.

Q: How often do you typically update your website?

KC: Right now, I update it at least once every week or two.

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

KC: I looked for a simple image that represented our current style and made sure it would work well with the design of our site.

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Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8?

KC: I like being able to dump a bunch of pictures in a gallery to get a feel for the look right away. From there, I am able to easily adjust image order accordingly.
(Note from liveBooks: learn more about our in-line editing feature here!)

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

KC: We spent a lot of time looking at other photographers’ sites to get a feel of what we wanted. So, I guess my advice would be to research your peers and competition as a starting point.

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

Image via Pexels

Image via Pexels

If you’re anything like us, being productive is just a little easier when listening to music. There’s something about opening up your to-do list and plugging your headphones into your favorite playlist that helps you get things done. Because of that, we wanted to share what we are listening to this month with you. We consulted our liveBooks team and compiled a playlist of our current favorite jams.

So, whether you’re editing images, updating your liveBooks site or answering emails, we hope there is something on our August playlist that helps to keep you focused, inspired, and hustling. Is there a song that you have on repeat right now? Comment below and let us know!

What we are listening to August 2016

August 3rd, 2016

Meet the Team | Andrei N.

Posted by liveBooks

Meet the Team

andreinWe are excited to introduce one of our rockstar support reps today! Andrei has been working with liveBooks for over 8 years. He loves having the ability to learn and grow in his work environment, while testing and implementing new ideas. When he’s not spending time making the world a better place for his son, he can be found rehearsing or presenting a play!

 

Quick Facts:
Hometown: 
Brasov, Romania
Favorite liveBooks8 Feature: SEO Everything™
Favorite Quote:
“The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.”–Carl Sagan
Favorite TV Show: 
Mash, Perfect Strangers & Cosmos
You will never find Andrei without…: something to read and write or his camera

Posted in Meet the Team
August 2nd, 2016

In-Line Editing | Tuesday’s Tip

Posted by liveBooks

Tuesdays Tip

With the new liveBooks platform, it is easy to edit text and photo content while simultaneously working on your new custom design. Once logged into your liveBooks8 editor, navigate to Design and select the page that you wish to update. Not happy with your current text? With liveBooks8 In-Line Editing, change it up right from the preview screen. Add hyperlinks, bold or italicize words, or create lists to add to text as well. You also have the ability to swap out photos within galleries or single images using the “Change Photo” tool in the preview screen. The best part? You can do all this and more while viewing your most recent changes right on the preview screen. Make your desired changes to any editable content on the page and watch your site come to life through a live and interactive preview.

Read on below to learn more about the new and improved In-Line Editing feature on liveBooks8.

in-line editing

What is in-line editing?

liveBooks in-line editing feature allows users to edit content just as it will appear when published through the design portal. Simply select any item that is able to be edited and make changes in place. In-line editing makes editing and designing a cohesive site easy, as users tailor content and appearance to look exactly as envisioned, in one responsive design preview.

What can I change with inline editing?

In addition to editing text content, users are also able to customize typefaces, alter colors, add bullet points, and change text format and size. Easily create columns, edit container sizes, and add borders to pages to create a custom look on a site. Replace single images on a page and additionally switch out images within a gallery. With a powerful set of tools available, customization options are endless.

Easily swap out and customize images on your website.

Image swapping and customization is easy with in-line editing. 

If I don’t want to use In-Line Editing, how do I make content edits?

In addition to in-line editing options, users are also able to make changes to text on sites through our content editing page. Select the page you wish to edit and add, edit and format text, add and update images, add or remove blocks and more. Then, checkout the changes made to individual pages by navigating to the design page for a responsive preview.

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Is there a new liveBooks feature that you are excited to learn more about? Let us know at social@livebooks.com.

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Laurie Proffitt is a food photographer, located in Chicago, IL. With a simple and elegant style, Laurie uses her expertise to work with high-profile magazines, advertising agencies, restaurants & cookbook producers. This is her story:

Food photography has come a long way since I came up the ranks as an assistant in Chicago. The food was styled laboriously perfect, and the props covered nearly every inch of the background. I enjoy how the look has entirely loosened up since then. Now, it is appetizing to slightly burn cheese, splash sauce, and show a half eaten plate of food. I also love that a distressed baking sheet makes fabulous background, and national ad campaigns will show their product in to-go containers.

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It’s my job to find that visually appetizing element. At times, it is very editorial and messy; other clients manage the look of their brand with more restraint. As a food photographer, I need to approach advertising, editorial and packaging with different styles and different teams. Luckily for me, the pool of talented food stylists in Chicago runs deep. With that said, it’s my responsibility to pair the needs of my client with the best stylist and crew for each project. Collaboration between the art directors and my creative team is the key to success at my studio.

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Aside from the food being styled well, lighting is instrumental to enhancing the appetite appeal of food. My new studio workspace incorporates an 11×14 ft. opaque glass window. The light from that window is just stunning. I often like to accent the daylight with small grid spots to boost color saturation. The grid spots also create specular-highlights that add to the visual impression that the food is moist, hot, and juicy. Mixed lighting, in conjunction with selective focus, are my favorite tools.

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Another competitive piece of the puzzle is to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for the clients. The agency team and their clients are very busy people, and their work doesn’t stop just because they’re attending a photo shoot. Capture Pilot is an incredible tool to keep the clients in the loop while they work. So adjacent to the client table, I have a 50 inch TV, where the progress of our work is on view. Every one of my clients loves this!

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See more of Laurie’s food photography on her new liveBooks8 site at: proffittphoto.com.

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

LP: Fresh, Crisp, Impactful

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Q: How often do you typically update your website?

LP: I typically will update my homepage every few months. Ideally, I like to add finished ads or packaging examples to my “Print & Packaging” page promptly after they are released. A complete refresh of my website images occurs 1-2 times a year

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

LP: I feel it is essential to show diversity of work on my homepage. Additionally, I want to feature current work here, so returning visitors to my website immediately take notice. Another objective of mine, as a food photographer, is to showcase a range of food products. My hope is that each visitor to my homepage sees an image that speaks to their needs, so they’ll want to look deeper into my website.

With that said, I like to work from a master folder that ‘lives’ on my desktop. I actively add my favorite new images to this folder as they are created. Then, when it comes time to update, my new candidates are easily accessed. From there, my aim is to create a visually interesting sequence of images based upon the rhythm of lighter and darker images and related color themes. Once I am pleased with the presentation, I’ll ask my agent and a few other trusted colleagues to weigh in on my choices. Inevitably, adjustments will be made.

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Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8?

LP: I love the Mosaic Gallery layout. I knew immediately that it would give me a dramatically updated look from my previous website with liveBooks.

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

LP: It’s well worth your time to read articles on the subject of SEO. Research the best keywords for your speciality of photography. Be sure to populate all of the SEO info boxes that liveBooks provides. Enter descriptions for every image, submit your sitemaps, update your content regularly and get quality links back to your site….search engines love these things.

I’ve had great results by following liveBooks instructions for SEO. It is all about getting more traffic to your website while generating new business.

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

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Ann Belden earned her BFA in Painting and Drawing at the University of Michigan and has lived in San Francisco since 1976. She was a chef/owner of Ironwood Cafe and 101 Cafe Bakery in the Cole Valley neighborhood for thirteen years, then switched careers and became a food stylist while continuing to create fine art. See more of her work at www.annbelden.com

My background in fine art and restaurant cooking has served me well in the food styling world. Every job is different, and the ability to problem-solve on the fly is essential. I’ve been lucky to have strong mentoring throughout my styling career, and to have worked with photographers, designers, other food stylists, prop stylists, and art directors who have strong visions.

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I’m highlighting portfolio shots today. I feel strongly that it is important for food stylists to do this kind of (unpaid!) work in order to push ourselves and to show what we can do with food styling, when the constraints of advertising or editorial concerns are not present. We get to show what is possible while exploring our collaborative power with a given photographer.

These are my top three tips to help you build your food styling portfolio, while strengthening your vision as a stylist: 

Photography by Holly Stewart | www.hollystewart.com

Photography by Holly Stewart | www.hollystewart.com

1. Look for inspiration everywhere: The photo above was inspired by a trip to a local farmer’s market. The produce was gorgeous, so we decided to create some moody, painterly still lifes before moving on to our planned shots. By breaking away from our original shot schedule, I was able to practice styling a new product while gaining a valuable image for my portfolio.

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Photo by Terry Heffernan | www.heffernanfilms.com

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Photo by Terry Heffernan | www.heffernanfilms.com

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Photo by Terry Heffernan | www.heffernanfilms.com

Photographer and stylist work in this manner to learn how to effectively communicate with each other while bringing out the best in one another’s work. The three shots above were done with minimal propping on a white seamless background, in order to highlight the food with few or zero distractions.

Photo by Nader Khouri |www.naderkhouri.com

Photo by Nader Khouri | www.naderkhouri.com

Photo by Holly Stewart Props by Diane McGauley | www.dianemcgauley.com

Photo by Holly Stewart | www.hollystewart.com Props by Diane McGauley | www.dianemcgauley.com

2. Learn your props (or consult a professional): A trip to a prop house together or a meeting with a great prop stylist can really help set the tone for your test shoot, and again, will tell you a lot about each other’s stylistic concerns and preferences. The two photos above were the result of collaborative propping choices, and are successful in communicating not just the delicious nature of the food, but also a kind of ease and elegance in the way its served.

Photo by Bill Baker | www.billbakerphoto.com

Photo by Bill Baker | www.billbakerphoto.com

Photo by Scott Peterson | ww.scottpetersonproductions.com

Photo by Scott Peterson | www.scottpetersonproductions.com

3. Don’t be afraid of failure: Finally, I’d like to add that there will probably be some test shoots that don’t produce a lot of great shots for your portfolio. You may not find a groove with that photographer, or you may both be a little dissatisfied with your choice of subject matter, surface, props, etc. It is all a learning experience, and the good news is that you can always try again, or chalk it up to experience with no harm done. Most of the time, if you keep at it, you’ll get at least one wonderful new shot for your website, while forging a new relationship or strengthening an existing one. Both will help your styling career for years to come.

Happy testing!

Ann Belden
Ann Belden – Food Stylist
annbelden@sbcglobal.net

July 27th, 2016

Meet the Team | Lily L.

Posted by liveBooks

Meet the Team

Lily HeadshotWe are so excited to introduce one of our fantastic support and customer service representatives, Lily! She has been with liveBooks since November of 2015 and loves having the ability to help clients showcase their creative passions with the world. Fun fact: Lily wanted to be a Broadway Actress as a little girl and always has a smile on her face!

 

Quick Facts:
Hometown: Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Favorite liveBooks8 feature: the new Mosaic Gallery layout! It is so customizable, giving your website a distinct feel
Favorite store: Anthropology
Favorite food: Cheese
Favorite TV show: New Girl (People tell Lily she reminds them of Zoey Deschanel!)

Posted in Meet the Team

Tuesdays Tip

Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is more important now than ever. Simply defined, SEO is the ability for online search engines to recognize your site through proper indexing. With a sound SEO strategy, you will be able to organically drive customers to your business, based on keywords and common search terms.

With a saturated marketplace, it is often challenging to drive your desired client base to your website. It is proven that just about 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results (imFORZA), so it is absolutely vital that you stay on top of your SEO game. Getting your site boosted in search engine results will result in a free rise in traffic to your website.

liveBooks takes the guesswork out of your SEO strategy. Our SEO EVERYTHING™ tool is here to help boost your online visibility, allowing users to connect with your site organically. Easily add title tags, page and image descriptions, and keywords to every aspect of your site. From your homepage, down to individual images, your site will be working to ensure that the right customers are seeing your site in their search engine results.

SEO EVERYTHING™ OVERVIEW

Quickly add tags, descriptions, keywords, image alt text and more to your website so that your site is easily searchable and indexed properly, resulting in increased traffic from search engines.

IMAGE/PAGE LEVEL

Add a title, description, keyword, and even a photo credit to every image on your site to ensure search engines can crawl all of your content.

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  • Title Tag – add words and phrases to explain to search engines what your website is all about, ensuring that you come up under the appropriate search term
  • Description Tag – provide concise explanations of the content of your web page for search engines to crawl through
  • Keywords – add words or phrases, relevant to your business, to be crawled and cataloged by search engines
  • Navigation Label – change the navigation label on your site’s URLs to specific pages on your website
    • For example, yoursite.com/about-us can be changed to yoursite.com/abouttheteam
  • Page Indexing – allow search engines to index your page
  • Follow Links – allow search engines to follow links on your page
  • Canonical Links – if someone tries to copy your content and paste it on their website, search engines will still recognize you as the primary owner of the content. This is especially important for websites that are constantly generating new, fresh content!

SITE LEVEL

Your liveBooks8 site will allow you to edit your site title, site description, set your search settings, and choose the most accurate Schema.org organization type to help search engines better index and leverage your content.

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  • Site Title – edit how the title of your website appears in search engine result lists
  • Description – edit how the description of your web pages appears in search engine result lists
  • Option Edit Search Settings – site verification codes help validate your identity to third-party sites and services such as Google, Bing, Pinterest, and Twitter
  • Schema.org – choose the most accurate schema.org organization type for your site to help search engines better index and leverage your content

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Meet Jason Halayko. Originally born in Victoria, B.C., Canada, he has called Japan home for the last 14 years. He currently focuses on shooting action sports for companies like Red Bull, which has him photographing everything from skateboarding to breakdancing. In addition, he can often be found taking portraits and photographing the streets, saying that he really enjoys anything that gets him behind the camera. His introduction to photography was back in high school, when his friend advised him to take a beginner photography course. It was a great class that taught Jason the fundamentals, and has since developed into a dynamic and action-packed photography career.

Check out all of the interesting things Jason has to say about what went into the creation of his new website, and then be sure to head over to jason-halayko.com to see his exciting portfolio.

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

JH: Clean, simple, intuitive.

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

JH: I typically try to choose the newest photos, with the biggest impact, to show on my homepage. This is to try to hook viewers into checking out more of the website.

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Q: How often do you typically update your website?

JH: I typically update my website whenever I get an image I really like and want to show to the world. This could be once a week, or every couple of months. It all depends on what I am shooting.

Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8? 

JH: I think my favorite new feature of the site is the ability to quickly and easily change the layout of the photo pages to fit my design preferences.

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

JH: I would say keep it simple, and more is not better. Only use your best photos that you are most confident in, as viewers will quickly get bored if they have to search through a lot of mediocre images.

Wes Agee of the United States of America performs in front of the Shitenno Temple in Osaka, Japan on March 22nd, 2014

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

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Jim Shoemaker worked as a graphic designer for nearly 20 years before transitioning to photography. He has spent the last 12 years photographing throughout the western United States. His images have appeared in LensWork, Outdoor Photographer, American Photo, Nature Photographer, Silvershotz, Black & White, Rangefinder, Sierra Magazine and many other publications. His work can be seen at: www.jimshoemakerphotography.com.

As photographers, we often discuss the placement of the subject within the frame, which elements are included or excluded, and what is happening at the edges of the frame. But, trying to capture the essence, or the experience of a subject deals with more than knowing the Rule of Thirds. Its the ability to tell a story, and its the difference between making a picture and taking one.

Cedar Creek Grist Mill, Washington

Cedar Creek Grist Mill, Washington

When I’m photographing in any given location, there are things going on outside the scope of my frame that are influencing me. There is the temperature, sounds of wildlife and the aroma of wildflowers. All of my senses are engaged in the moment. My job is to convey that sensation via a photograph viewed by someone who has maybe never been to this place while making them feel as though they were there. To make them feel as if they know the place.

This connection between subject and viewer is vital, whether the subject is a person, a landscape or an architectural structure. It is especially important for landscape work, because if the viewer doesn’t feel a connection, they won’t care about the subject, nor feel the need to protect it. Two methods that I employ to communicate experience of place are creating a mood and point of view.

Creating a mood helps tell a story. For example, let’s say I’m photographing in one of my favorite national parks, Death Valley. If I want the story to be about the harsh environment and its rugged ecosystem, I’ll photograph during the middle of the day when the sun is high and there is high contrast and stark shadows. If instead the story is about how “Death Valley” is a misnomer and there is great beauty and abundant life, I’ll photograph before and during sunrise, and during and after sunset to get pastel, cool colors and low contrast. Choosing an appropriate lighting style renders the landscape in a way that supports the narrative.

Death Valley National Park, California

Death Valley National Park, California

El Pescador Beach, Malibu, California

El Pescador Beach, Malibu, California

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Malibu

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Malibu

Point of view is about camera placement. I order for objects to look larger than life and more iconic, I like to have the camera lower than average eye level. I also look for opportunities to have objects, such as branches, enter the edges of the frame to give the viewer a sense that they are emerging from one place to another. I want them to feel enveloped by the implied surroundings that lie outside of the frame.

Mt. Adams, Trout Lake, Washington

Mt. Adams, Trout Lake, Washington

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Owl Creek Pass, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Owl Creek Pass, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

There are many techniques that can be used for effective storytelling and for finding your voice as a photographer. The above are merely examples. Connecting the viewer with the subject is far more important than simply making a pretty picture. As Ansel Adams once said; “A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is a true expression of what one feels about life in it’s entirety.”

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