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Cassandra Plavoukos was born and raised in southern New Jersey. Her interest in photography started in grade school and continued throughout high school, shooting film back then. When she graduated, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in the business side of fashion, as she didn’t think that a career in photography was possible at that time. Cassandra lived and worked in New York City for 16 years.

Cassandra Plavoukos continued taking pictures, and was shooting digitally by this time. She relocated to Los Angeles in 2003 and continued working in the fashion industry, taking pictures on the weekends to fulfill my creative passion.

Then, her first child was born in 2005. Instead of a traditional “baby book”, she self-published a book of poems entitled, When You Grow Up, which expressed her hopes and dreams for his childhood and beyond. She illustrated the book with images that she had taken of his first-year milestones. The images were taken with a point and shoot camera. The book was successful among family and friends and was sold online as well. The book was also accepted into a book fair. To celebrate, her husband bought me my first DSLR, a Nikon D90, and encouraged her to continue shooting. With a new camera, she knew she had to up her game.

Cassandra Plavoukos began to really look at her images with a critical eye. She knew she could do better. Her mentality shifted. She began to focus on “making” pictures instead of “taking” them. She started looking for photography classes to learn more about photography and landed at UCLA extension where an instructor by the name of Josh Sanseri encouraged and inspired her even further.

After completing the Environmental Portraiture class there, she wanted more intense study, and enrolled in the certificate of photography program at Santa Monica College. After completing that program, she started taking classes at Julia Dean, which is now the Los Angeles Center Of Photography. Her daughter was born in 2009 and knew by then that photography was something she wanted to pursue full time. She decided to leave the fashion industry. Then, she incorporated Cassandra Plavoukos Photography, got a liveBooks website, business license, tax registration, and never looked back!

Cassandra Plavoukos now focuses on dance, athletic, fine art fitness and creative portraiture and couldn’t be happier doing what she loves.

Q&A with Cassandra Plavoukos

Q1: How would you describe the aesthetic of your website in three words?

CP: Clean. Modern. Minimalistic.

Q2.How often do you typically update your website?

CP: Once or twice per month.

Q3. How do you choose the photos that you display on your homepage?

CP: I try to showcase the most recently commissioned or self-assigned work to highlight on my homepage. Keeping in mind the overall aesthetics of the site, I consider not only how the images will sit together, but how they will work together to give the best “overview” of the contents within.

Q4. What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks?

CP: Hard to choose! I love the drag and drop design as well as the varied portfolio views, but because I update my site so often, I think I would have to say the site wide styling and page-level styling features.

Q5.What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone designing their website?

CP: Let liveBooks do it for you! But know who you are as an artist and what defines your work. This will help you to work with them to create the best website possible.

April 11th, 2018

Website of the Week – Erin Derby

Posted by liveBooks

Erin Derby discovered photography in high school, and the second she walked out of the darkroom with her first GOOD photo, she was hooked. Derby knew it’s what she would do with her life. In college, she was the photo editor of the daily university paper, and after college she moved to NY where she pursued both art and commercial photography.

Erin Derby feels lucky to be able to shoot various subjects that really interest her, rather than being forced to only pick one genre.

Q&A with Erin Derby

Q1: How would you describe the aesthetic of your website in three words?

ED: Modern, bright, dynamic.

Q2: How often do you typically update your website?

ED: I do a major update every year, which involves a total overhaul. And then throughout the year I do mini-updates…Approximately every month or so. Depends on what new work I want to share.

Q3: How do you choose the photos that you display on your homepage?

ED: I pick something that is new and that I’m personally really excited about, and can’t wait to share. It also needs to be big and bold and striking. It needs to really set the tone for the site. And it needs to be NEW!

Q4: What is your favorite feature of liveBooks?

ED: My TWO favorite things are that the site looks so professional and polished without any effort, and updating it is extremely easy and immediate.

Q5. What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone designing their website?

ED: Don’t overthink it. Don’t spend months debating and delaying it. Just get it up there. You can always make changes.

Erin Derby has been with liveBooks since 2007! See more of her work here: www.erinderby.com

Based in the New York City area, Erik Rank specializes in photographing food & lifestyle images, environmental portraits for magazines, catalogues, and advertising clients. Erik has extensive experience in producing a photo shoot from start to finish with ease. His over 25 years in the photography business allows him to put all his resources together for the main goal of creating a beautiful and dynamic photo for his clients.

“I got interested in photography in high school when my mom made me take a photo class rather than have a study hall where I probably would fool around and get in trouble. At first I didn’t like it, mainly because my mom made me do it but I fell in love with photography and I never looked back.”

Erik has a “Just” series on Instagram that are images that he takes with his phone of images he sees through the course of the day.

“I didn’t really have titles for the photos I was taking so I called it Just xxx… of what ever the subject was/is. For example, an interesting shadow, a bowl of colorful rubber bands at the checkout counter at Whole foods, my martini I am about to drink, my walk during a snow storm and and interesting arrangements of pipes on an orange wall as I get out of my car in a parking lot. It’s ‘Just’ stuff like that, things that I see all day and find visually interesting.”

The Just series can be found on his Instagram account: @ewrphoto.

Q&A with Erik Rank

Q1: How would you describe the aesthetic of your website in three words?

ER: Light, Airy, Story Telling

Q2: How often do you typically update your website?

ER: Not often enough, but probably twice a year.

Q3: How do you choose the photos that you display on your homepage?

ER: They are often edited to death and just select my the quality and the feeling I get from that image or images.

Q4: What is your favorite feature of liveBooks?

ER: One of my favorite new features of the website is how it scrolls up and down. I fell that this is the way people view images these days, on an iPhone or an iPad.

Q5: What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone designing their website?

ER: “Less Is More” – I feel I have that problem I feel I have too many images on my website but it is very hard….even trying to take your own advice.

See more of Erik Rank’s work here.

Michael Kirchoff grew up with a deep love of photography since he was a child. During a high school photography class he decided to make it the focus of his life, though he really didn’t know it was something that he could actually make a living doing. He began working at various jobs in the industry, from rental houses, to assisting, to production, because it’s what he loved (and had bills to pay!).

After several years Kirchoff started shooting product and still life work because he was simply patient with what that entails, and was fascinated with lighting and the challenges that that presented.

About ten years ago, however, he had lost a few of my big clients during a downturn in the economy, and took it as a sign to start making photographs that “quite frankly, came from the heart and passion that had started me down the road to photography as a career. I’d always made images for myself throughout my life, but this time I made fine art photography the direction I wanted to go.”

He also figured it would give him an opportunity to continue doing commercial work while showing potential clients that I could put more art into the images that I made for them. At the moment, fine art photography is where he is, and commercial work comes in only occasionally. He likes the mix and strives to get to a place where the work is split 50/50.

Q&A with Michael Kirchoff

Q1: How would you describe the aesthetic of your website in three words?

MK: Clean, simple, easy to navigate, where the images come first.

Q2: How often do you typically update your website?

MK: I do tweaks to the site a couple times a month normally. A few times a year there is a major change or overhaul made, depending on the amount of new work I’m looking to show. There are many artist statements on the site and I find myself writing and improving those quite frequently. liveBooks makes that super simple to do.

Q3: How do you choose the photos that you display on your homepage?

MK: Images on the homepage are usually signature photographs from the different bodies of work in the portfolio section. Also, a few that have sold well as a prints over the years. The slideshow feature for the homepage works well for this and is simple to sequence.

Q4: What is your favorite feature of liveBooks?

MK: Navigation tools that make sense. Larger images that jump off the page while still loading quickly. The ability to mix text with images. These are all very important to me.

Q5: What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone designing their website?

MK: Have patience. When I started I became frustrated quickly because I wasn’t sure which tools were going to apply to what I was trying to do. liveBooks has many options, so take your time and try them out before making any final decisions. You can put a site together rather quickly, but one that you will be happy with has to be thought through. Thankfully, the people at tech support were able to answer the loads of questions I had.

liveBooks actually has more to their sites than I need at the moment. Though, as I branch out into new forms of expression, I know that they are already there to support and showcase what I want to do as a photographic artist. I have plans to put some of them to use soon, and I know they will be there to help.

See more of Micheal Kirchoff’s work here: www.michaelkirchoff.com

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