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April 22nd, 2016

Spring Cleaning for Your Website

Posted by Caity

Spring is officially here – the time of year where we can start putting away our winter coats and boots and get excited for warm weather, sunshine, and being outside. Spring is also the time of year that allows us to take inventory of the old, polish it up, sweep it out, and dust it off. This same concept of “spring cleaning”  should apply to your business as well – and most importantly your website. When was the last time you really did an overhaul of your site? If it’s been awhile, now is the perfect time and we’ve compiled a list of things to focus on first to get you started!

spring cleaning

Content Clean Up

Make a conscious effort to do a truly comprehensive content clean up. This can range from something as simple as going through your portfolios and galleries and deleting older photos, adding new work, or moving images around, to actually digging in to your analytics and seeing which pages get the least amount of traffic and editing from there. Website design trends are moving toward cleaner, simplistic, and clutter-free – so really evaluate whether each page of your website is absolutely necessary and providing value to your audience.

Update Your Events Page

One of the things we see all too often is event pages that are far outdated – even by a few years. Take the opportunity to make sure your website is updated with your upcoming workshops, speaking engagements, photo expeditions, or any other important events you’re partaking in. Nothing looks more unprofessional than inaccurate information on your website – plus, this will be a great way to promote the events you care about and hopefully garner more attendees.

events

Be Intentional About Calls to Action

One thing we’ve often noticed that’s missing from photography websites are clear calls to action. While most of the focus should be on your imagery, you also want to make sure you’re telling your audience what you want them to do. Whether that’s booking you for a job, project, ad campaign, or even buying prints, tell them what you’d like them to do and make it easy for them to do it. Have your contact information readily available in multiple locations on your website so that anywhere they look, they can contact you.

Check Your SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should be something you focus on all year ’round, but if it’s not your strong suit definitely take the opportunity now to pay extra attention. If your goal is to increase traffic to your website (which we think it should be!) then make sure your keywords, tags, descriptions, titles, and content on your website are working for you. If you’re not ranking as high with search engines as you’d like, it might be time to overhaul your old SEO tactics and start fresh.

Web design

Update Your Website Design

We know that completely changing your website design is a huge undertaking – but small, subtle changes can be made to create a fresh new look without all the stress of a total re-design. Switch up the images on your homepage. Change the names/titles of your portfolios. Add a new page – such as a blog – to your website. All of these changes will keep your website up to date, as well as give returning clients new things to look at and explore.

What “spring cleaning” are you conducting on your website? We’d love to know!

Photographer Codie McLachlan’s images tell a story, and we think his website does, too. Recently redesigned using the new liveBooks8 platform, we wanted to show off the clean-cut navigation, beautiful imagery, and sleek design in our featured website this week.

See what Codie had to say about his site and be sure to go to www.codiemclachlan.ca to browse!

Codie McLachlan

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

CM: The reason I picked the template that I did (I went with Satellite) was that it’s so clean and uncluttered. It’s important to me that a photographer’s website be as clean and free of distracting elements as possible, and the Satellite template is exactly that. So the three words I would use to describe my website’s aesthetic are clean, elegant, and straightforward.

Codie McLachlan

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

CM: Being a photojournalist, I wanted to showcase photos from a variety of photographic genres on my homepage, but I also wanted to pick aesthetically appealing pictorial-type photos. It took me awhile, but I narrowed it down to about ten images that I thought would show the wide variety of subjects that I handle day-to-day.

Codie McLachlan

Q: How often do you update your website?

CM: I probably don’t update my website as much as I should. When I was a newspaper staff photographer, it would be a matter of years. In fact, before going out on my own as a freelancer earlier this year, I’m ashamed to admit that my last update was in 2012 – four years ago! Now that the onus is on me to promote myself and sell my business, however, I anticipate the site being updated every couple of months at least.

Codie McLachlan

Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8?

CM: I really like the new liveBooks8 website editor. The old editSuite was all well and good, but it was a little clunky and the previous incarnation of liveBooks just didn’t have the degree of flexibility that my new site has. I could go in and rearrange the site to look completely different right now if I wanted to, and I wouldn’t have to call anybody or wait on a service ticket. With the new editor, the website layout is entirely in my hands.

Codie McLachlan

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

CM: Look at other people’s websites for inspiration. The new editor allows you to edit right down to the page level, so you can make things look how you want, and it can be nice to have an idea of how you want it to look right off the bat. Do you want every portfolio page to look the same, or do you want variation? Would text add a desirable element to that photo essay? Do you want your menu at the top of the page, the bottom, the right or the left? There are so many choices. Also, make a simple Photoshop action to resize and prepare your images. Going through and changing image size for every individual image can be very tedious, especially for those who have tons of photos on their websites.

Codie McLachlan

See more of Codie’s work and adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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

Patrick McCarthy is a fashion and lifestyle photographer based out of New York City – as well as an accomplished nature and landscape photographer who has traveled the world to take beautiful images. This week, we are excited to feature his nature website so that you can see the clean, beautiful designs and the breathtaking imagery.

Read on to see what he had to say about the creation of his site, and then head on over to www.patrickmccarthynature.com.

Patrick McCarthy

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

PM: Tranquil, Ethereal, Alluring.

Patrick McCarthy

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

PM: I select images for my homepage that are representative of the entire body of work. Also keeping in mind that these images are going to be the first visual introduction for the viewer. The ultimate goal is to maximize the aesthetic impact, drawing the observer in, and encouraging them to explore the site further.

Patrick McCarthy

Q: How often do you update your website?

PM: My goal is to organize two or three trips a year. I have a long list of locations that I intend to visit. For me, it’s clearly a three step process. Step 1: I venture out into the natural world. This step can prove to be the most rewarding and artistically transformative. Step 2: Editing and constructing the images in Photoshop. This step allows me to demonstrate my technical skill, which enables me to create the desired pre-visualized images. Step 3: Arrange and organize the final image files. The objective is to achieve the most harmonious visual presentation for my website.

Patrick McCarthy

Q: What is you favorite feature that liveBooks offers?

PM: For me, the best feature that liveBooks offers is the ease of use. The navigation tools are fluid and seamless. The editSuite allows me to create and manage my portfolios effortlessly. It’s a pleasure to work with.

Patrick McCarthy

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

PM: My best advice for someone designing their website is to trust your instincts and follow your heart. No one knows your images better than you. Have fun with the process. Don’t over think it – it’s a work in progress. You can always make changes at any time.

Patrick McCarthy

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

 

 

April 4th, 2016

Building Your Photography Client Base

Posted by Caity

Building your client base as a photographer is a job that continues whether you’re just starting out or have been in the business for 30 years. You should constantly be seeking out new projects, work, and clients to fill out your portfolios give you a well-rounded client base. We thought it would be a good idea to offer some tips on the best ways to build your client base – that you can use as a new photographer or as a seasoned pro.

Utilize Social Media

Social media (when used correctly) will be your best friend when building up a client base. Figure out where your target client base spends their time and then get on those platforms. Are you a wedding or family portrait photographer? Get on Facebook and Instagram. Are you a lifestyle or commercial photographer? Make sure you blog about relevant topics to show your expertise and professionalism and then post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc to drive people back to your blog.

Don’t be afraid to follow or “like” plenty of other photographers in your industry so that you can get ideas, see their work, engage with their projects, and ultimately network and prove yourself a reputable person for them to refer clients to.

Also – make sure to always tag your clients in the things you post on social media. It keeps engagement high and allows their network to also see your work and become familiar with your name and business.

Set Your Pricing – But Run Specials or Promotions

Yo-yo pricing is never a good idea, especially if you want to build credibility in the industry. Know your worth as a photographer, set your pricing, and stick to it. If you’re a new photographer and want to book more clients, run specials or promotions to get people in the door – but make sure once you have a solid client base to make your pricing consistent with what your time and talent is worth. New clients will be attracted to your confidence in yourself and your work – and that will benefit you greatly in the long run.

Referral Program

Having some sort of referral program in place is a wonderful way to not only allow your clients to help market for you, but to reward them for doing so. Depending on how much you want to increase your client base, you can decide the type of program you want to offer. If you’re just starting out and really want to gain new clients, being more aggressive in the type of “rewards” you offer (such as a free session, 50% price discount) might be appropriate. If you’re a seasoned pro and are just looking to expand your current base a little bit, you can be more choosy in the type of program that you offer (maybe an electronic Starbucks gift card).

Much like setting your pricing and sticking to it – always make sure to crunch the numbers before you begin any sort of referral program so that you can make sure you won’t be losing money.

Network With Local Businesses

Networking with local businesses is a fantastic way to get your name out there in the community, and depending on the type of photography that you do can be extremely helpful in finding new clients.  Bartering your services can be mutually beneficial because it allows you to build your portfolio, gives local businesses an opportunity to have professional-quality photos for marketing purposes, and will serve as a good way for them to refer you to clients or even let you advertise your services in their place of business.

Make sure you choose businesses that are relevant to the type of photography you do or would like to do. If you’re a wedding photographer, consider networking with a local hair salon or makeup studio that typically gets a lot of bridal clients. If you’re a lifestyle or sports photographer try making connections at your local sporting goods or running shop.

Focus on Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) should always, always, ALWAYS be a focus no matter where you’re at in your photography career. However, when you’re trying to build or expand your client base, putting more time, effort, and resources into SEO will be well worth it. Who is your target client base? Make sure that your website, blog, and any other content on the web mentions those keywords in an appropriate manner.

Caption all of your photos with descriptions and keywords, and make sure your website is optimized for search engines to crawl. The new liveBooks8 platform offers SEO Everything tools to ensure that your website performs the best that it can on search engines and walks you through where and how to input all of the important aspects of SEO.

Do you have any other tips we should know about?

Fine art photographer Michael Zide has some of the most thought-provoking and calming photographs that we’ve ever seen – and his website design follows much the same theme. We wanted to feature his website this week to show off all the gorgeous black and white aesthetics he employs, as well as his clean-cut navigation.

Read on to see what he had to say specifically about his site – and head on over to www.michaelzide.com for more gorgeous shots!

Michael Zide

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

MZ: Elegant, Persuasive, Striking

Michael Zide

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

MZ: Currently my homepage has only one large image, a night time photography conveying some of the feelings of wonder, mystery, and surprise that I felt when I made this photograph.

Michael Zide

Q: How often do you update your website?

MZ: I update my website as I find new photographs to feature or have things of interest to share. Its ease of use allows me the freedom to make changes as frequently as needed.

Michael Zide

Q: What is your favorite feature that liveBooks offers?

MZ: What drew me to liveBooks was the simplicity and the “smartness” of its designs. It enhances the look of professionalism like no other website design I know.

Michael Zide

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

MZ: Keep things simple. It can be a very challenging and daunting task to create a website that supports the quality of your work and is an accurate reflection of how you wish to be perceived. I cannot speak highly enough of the help the liveBooks staff gave me at every turn.

Michael Zide

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

 

March 22nd, 2016

liveBooks.com Is Brand New!

Posted by Caity

Things are extremely busy these days here at liveBooks. The other week we announced the launch of our new liveBooks8 HTML5 platform and we are hard at work migrating our clients over. Last week, we completely re-branded and re-launched liveBooks.com – and we hope you’ve taken a look and love what you see!

The new homepage features some amazing video content from our fantastic clients, as well as a cleaner, easy-to-navigate menu.

You also now have the opportunity to see all the new features of liveBooks8 and get a sneak peek of how the website editor functions.

Plus, you can preview all the new templates that are available with the platform via the website templates page so you get a feel for some of the beautiful new designs.

Let us know in the comments what you think of our new website – and feel free to email us at social@livebooks.com!

Photographer Mimi Haddon has one of the most eclectic, colorful, and eye-popping sites we’ve ever seen. We absolutely love the simplicity and intrigue that comes with every new page – which is why we chose her as our featured website this week.

Check out what she had to say about her site and make sure to head to www.mimihaddon.com to see more beautiful photos!

Mimi Haddon

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

MH: Color, Costume, Life.

Mimi Haddon

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

MH: My cover image on my homepage is a notebook, which I really love. My work is a sort of diary of my life, my thoughts, my fantasies – the notebook is my attempt to convey that.

Mimi Haddon

Q: How often do you update your website?

MH: I go through waves. Sometimes I go months without updating it. When I have a solid project to upload then I will add it. I try to keep the site as edited and simple as possible so it is easy to navigate. I have many artistic interests, so it’s easy for me to want to throw everything up on the site, but I had an excellent professor in college who said, “you’re only as good as your worst piece.” This was in terms of putting your portfolio together. It’s a way to force an artist into editing their work, which is perhaps the most difficult but important process in presentation.

Mimi Haddon

Q: What is your favorite feature that liveBooks offers?

MH: I love the ease with which I can upload my work. It’s a clean and beautifully designed platform. I  also love how easy it is to create a quality web gallery. I use this often to shoot quick portfolios of a specific work to clients.

Mimi Haddon

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

MH: Less is more. I started off as a graphic designer and studied the art of visual communication for many years. When a client looks at your site, you want to show a confident, solid body of work. This of course ties back to the art of editing. If you have someone you trust, ask for help in the culling process.

Mimi Haddon

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

Award-winning photographer Andre Baranowski’s work has been featured on the covers of national and international publications such as Saveur, Departures, Garden Design, Better Homes & Gardens, Shape, Men’s Health, and many more. We were so impressed with his clean and easy-to-navigate website design that we just had to feature his website this week!

Check out what he had to say below and then head on over to www.andrebaranowskiphoto.com to see more of his amazing pictures!

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

AB: Simplicity, Beauty, Authenticity.

Andre Baranowski for Tiffany, New York.

Andre Baranowski for Tiffany, New York.

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

AB: I think a photographer is as good as his last job. I try to publish on my website the best work I have done and at the same time try to get more work just like that.

Q: How often do you update your website?

AB: As soon as I create something I am very pleased with, and have a good response from my clients, I update my website.

Andre Baranowski for Standard Hotel Miami

Andre Baranowski for Standard Hotel Miami.

Q: What is your favorite feature that liveBooks offers?

AB: Simplicity and speed of interaction with liveBooks as well as the choice of aesthetics.

Andre Baranowski for Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

Andre Baranowski for Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

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

AB: We live in a busy and complicated world saturated with irrelevant information. Make it beautiful, simple, and fast.

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

 

 

March 7th, 2016

Must-Have Apps for Photographers

Posted by Caity

In today’s world we are rarely ever found without our cell phones within arm’s reach. It seems our devices have become an extension of ourselves in every possible way – relying on them for even the most basic of functions. While many things we do on our phones can be frivolous and unnecessary, there are actually a lot of ways in which they enhance and make our lives easier. We’ve compiled a list of must-have apps specifically for photographers – to make your lives easier and your businesses run smoother.

The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE)

The Photographer’s Ephemeris is incredibly valuable for natural light shooters and landscape photographers. The app uses your current location ( or prospective shooting spot) to tell you the heading and angle of the moon, the hours of twilight, the size of shadows, upcoming celestial events, golden hour times, and more. This app also has a “visual search” feature which will tell you the exact date and time the sun and moon will be in a specific location in the sky for a given shooting spot.

$8.99 – iOS

$4.99 – Google Play

 

Easy Release

If you’re a street photographer or work with a lot of models, Easy Release is the perfect on-the-go app for you. With Easy Release, you can set up a custom release form (or multiple ones for different situations, depending on the type of work you do) that can be signed using a finger. This will instantly generate a PDF document that you can email to everyone that require a copy of the release. Bonus: major image houses like Getty and iStockPhoto approve of its use. However, we always encourage you to consult a lawyer on any legal matter to make sure your releases and contracts are legally binding.

$9.99 – iOS

$9.99 – Google Play

 

 

Instagram

We know, we know. Instagram isn’t necessarily an app just for photographers. However, we think it’s important and beneficial enough for your photography business that we had to include it here. Instagram is a way to showcase your amazing photography with the world – literally. Utilizing hashtags correctly can result in thousands of new followers and tons of engagement with your work – which can all lead to increased business and name recognition. Plus, by following other photographers or hashtags that are interesting or relevant to your business, you could learn new things, become inspired to try a new type of shot, and even network with people around the world. We could go on and on about the importance of this app, especially for newer photographers looking to establish themselves, but we urge you to check it out for yourself. Already have an Instagram account? Follow ours – @liveBookswebsites – so we can follow you back and #regram your best pics!

Free – iOS

Free – Google Play

 

iWatermark

With the increase in photo sharing on social media, there is a higher risk that someone might be able to steal your work. However, we believe that the benefits of sharing on social media gar outweigh the potential risks, and with apps like iWatermark you can further protect yourself. This app gives you the ability to add your logo to images before you post them. You can either water with text or imagery (like your logo) and save the photo back to your camera roll or share it directly to social media from the app.

$1.99 – iOS

$1.99 – Google Play

 

Photographer’s Tools

Photographer’s Tools provides easy access to some of photography’s most commonly used properties. This app includes a depth of field calculator, sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset times, twilight, blue, and holden hour windows, plus an ND filter calculator for determining how much to compensate an exposure. We also really love the clean, uncluttered format that the app presents everything so that you can quickly access what you need and get back to what you really want to be doing: shooting.

Free – iOS

Free – Google Play

 

Wireless Mobile Utility

This app creates a two-way wireless connection between Nikon cameras and iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. This means that pictures taken with the camera can be downloaded to any iOS device, and the camera can be controlled remotely, using the iOS device. Plus, the photo sharing feature makes it super easy to upload pictures to social media sites and attach them to email messages.

Free – iOS

DropBox

We think any cloud storage app is always a great idea (long gone are the days of crashed hard drives and losing all of your work!) DropBox is our favorite because it lets you access all of your photos, documents, and videos from anywhere and share them easily. Plus, you can access any file you save to DropBox on any of your devices, computer, phone, tablet, etc.

Free – iOS

Free- Google Play

 

What are some of your favorite photography apps that you just can’t live without? Let us know in the comments below or feel free to email us at social@livebooks.com.

February 29th, 2016

liveBooks8 Is Here…And It’s Awesome

Posted by Caity

liveBooks8 – our new responsive, HTML5 platform – is here and it has all the bells and whistles. Information about migration to the new platform will be coming to your email in the next few weeks, but for now, we thought we’d give an overview of some of our favorite new features of liveBooks8!

Varied Content Modules

You’ll have the ability to add as many content modules as you’d like. You can pick from our pre-configured modules or create your own by combining our image galleries, videos, or text blocks.

liveBooks8

liveBooks8

SEO Everything™

liveBooks8 has incredibly advanced SEO tools – yet they are so easy and simple to use. You’ll quickly be able to add title tags, descriptions, keywords, image alt text, and more to your website so that your site is easily searchable and indexed properly. Click here for more in-depth info on liveBooks8 new SEO tools.

liveBooks8

Unlimited Images and Galleries

Photos are the stars of your website – and we want you to have all the tools possible to make them shine. You will be able to add unlimited images to your galleries, then quickly design and customize their layout so that every single one looks great on the page. All images that are added to your website are auto-categorized and saved in the image library. Plus, you can easily add titles, descriptions, and tags to every image on your website to boost your SEO.

liveBooks8

Drag and Drop Design

Easily move your content sections, items, and images to create the exact website and layout you want. No need for file attachments; you’ll simply drag and drop images directly from your desktop to your browser!

liveBooks8

Easy Responsive Preview

One of the coolest features is the ability to preview your site in desktop, tablet, and mobile views before you publish it – this gives you the chance to make sure your site looks perfect on every device before it’s live!

liveBooks8

liveBooks8

If you haven’t been contacted about migrating your current liveBooks site to liveBooks8 – hold tight! We appreciate your patience and will be reaching out very soon to get you started with your migration options.

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