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Andrea Brizzi was born in 1950 in Firenze, Italy, where he studied Architecture. In 1977, Andrea moved to New York where he since been active as a photographer, specializing in Architectural and Interiors subjects. For the past decade Andrea has been based in both New York and Honolulu, while frequently traveling in the US, as well as Asia, the Near East and Europe. Long passed the million miles marker with one airline alone!

Q&A with Andrea Brizzi

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

AB: Minimalist.

Q2: How often do you typically update your website?

AB: 3-4 times a year – or whenever I send out a newsletter.

 

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

AB: I like to show the variety of projects I shoot, even within a niche photography specialty. I try to present projects my clients can relate to.

 

Q4: What is your favorite feature of liveBooks?

AB: Ease of use.

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

AB:. I believe a website aimed at business serves different needs from one directed at art directors or consumers. In the former case, mine, I am comfortable with a template which is not unique to my site and I see no need for bells and whistles. Art directors going through many competing sites might find the predictable format repetitive. Consumers (say, for portrait photography) expect more pizzaz.

See more of Andrea’s work here: www.andreabrizzi.com

Posted in Featured Website and tagged with , ,

Happy National Password Day!

Today we’re celebrating National Password Day, a salute to our most important online data and the crypto-keys that guard it. The average business user has at least 191 Open Sesames for their online accounts and hidden treasures, a true testament of how much of our activity takes place online. This contemporary status quo is the medium in which we’ve added a new and exciting feature to our websites: the Password Protection feature for private galleries, pages and items.

Password Protection 101

As photographers, we understand that some of your commissioned work is not for the general public, but for your clients’ eyes only, and we respect that. We also feel that your brand should accompany all of your work, and since your liveBooks site is the extension of your business, we figured it should also be the place to host your private collections. The Password Protection feature allows you to share galleries, pages or items only with those whom you’ve given the password to. It’s meant to ease the access to your private work while ditching the third image upload parties for your own personal cyberspace.

How to enable Password Protection

Go to your content editor and click on any page, item or gallery you want to make private. On the right side of the page you’ll see the Password dropdown field. Tick the “Require password” module and set your preferred password. Remember, this is a key you will share with your clients, so use something generic and simple. And don’t worry if you forget it: every time you access the protected page in your content editor, your password will be visible to you. Now your gallery, while still on your website, can only be accessed with the right key.

  • When the password protection feature is enabled on a page, a lock icon will appear next to its title in the content editor.
  • Using Password Protection on your home page will lock the entire website.

Just private, not hidden

Any page or item can be protected by a password on your liveBooks site. They will appear on your menu, in your dropdowns, on your pages, keeping your website’s style and feel. When you try to access them, a pop-up will notify you that until you type what you’re supposed to type, you shall not pass!

Once your clients enter the protected area, they can roam around the portfolio for as long as they want. For security reasons, we’ve added an extra layer of idle and off-site security: if you refresh the page or navigate to another one, the session will automatically close after five minutes. Don’t worry, you can login again with the same password.

 

Your pop-up style

When you first enable your password protection feature, the pop-up you’ll get will be set in plain neutral colors. Of course, you can leave it as it is, but you can use your brand palette to give it your look. To do this, go to your design editor, in Sitewide choose Style and the Password Protection setting will be the bottom one.

Take some time to play around with the style settings, colors, sizes and backgrounds. When you’re happy with the result, save, publish and you’re done!

Password Protection is available on all packages, so no one is left out of this wonderful and useful feature. Don’t have an account to test this on yet?

Go ahead and sign up for a free trial today!

We wish you all a happy and safe National Password Day!

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.

If online visibility for your website is what you want, proper SEO is what you need

Your website is relevant, your portfolios are updated, your photography is flawless; so how come so few come to visit? It all comes down to that super popular fellow who only listens to bits of your story, but is excited to share all info it has on you to whomever will ask – the search engine.

Yes, it’s definitely your friend, as long as it gets to know you. Introducing SEO, the one thing every photography website owner knows they need, but not too many actually accommodate it. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the information laid out for the algorithms that skim through each published page, indexing them. They go from link to link and figure out what each website is about, how reliable it is and thus, how relevant it is for the online seeker.

According to what keywords you’ve used in the SEO fields, it will determine a ranking for your website. You already have a great photography website, but does the SEO formula agree? There are a few things you can do to put your foot in google search’s door and say “Alright, I’m here!”

It’s SEO Everything™ time!

The liveBooks websites are all about ease of access to your content, and SEO fits right in the whole scenario. It’s a platform used mainly by photography professionals, a career that stresses on the visual advantage over linguistics, which usually makes indexing a little harder, but we have many ways to go around that. It’s called SEO Everything and it truly is everything you need to get your photography website running at the speed of SEO. (There’s no such measurement unit, but we figure it’s fast. Superfast.)

First things first: check that your website will be indexed by search engines. This feature is automatically turned on, but we’ll go ahead and double-check just in case.

  1. Go to settings, then click on the SEO tab.
  2. While we’re here, let’s make sure that your website title and description are filled in. We’re determined to make the title visible for search engines, so our advice is to make it easy to read: business name + the keyword that describes your field of work (“Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” is a great example, even though we’re positive it wasn’t intentional). What you write in the description is up to you. This is the place where keywords are not important and it’s the only place where you don’t need to worry about google’s piercing scanners. The description appears under your website name in search results. (http://goo.gl/3HBg5R)
  3. We can now proceed to the reason why we’re here: the first field in the search settings field. You want your website to be found, so the first option should be turned on. (http://goo.gl/cENHbu)
  4. Finally, scroll down to the last field, Schema.org, and choose the appropriate organization type to be featured by this tool in indexing your website. (http://goo.gl/HkQJAU)

SEO for your pages

Now we’re ready to take on the great adventure of page and image SEO. This is an important journey to make, since we’re dealing with a photography website where written content is usually scarce. To give an overall perspective, the SEO algorithms behave best in a page containing around 600 words, so we’ll have to make up for it if you choose to let your photography do the talking without inserting text blocks to your galleries. Still, a few words are in order here, a few well written and descriptive words which will serve as your copy-paste material for the keywords field and will never again be seen on your website.

Before you move any further, get writing! Remember, capitalization is unimportant here, but spacing and spelling is. The recipe for a proper keyword sequence is keyword comma space keyword comma space and so on. (ex. wedding photography, engagement photography, ceremony photography in AZ, etc.)

In your content area click on a page and you’ll see a SEO & Settings dropdown field on the right side. This is where you stunning copy-paste skills will come in handy. Fill in these blocks with the keywords and description you’ve set. Do this for all pages. It’s tedious, we know, but you only do it once. Okay, you do it every time you create a new page or item, but trust us, it matters.

SEO for your photos

Now, we’ve said SEO Everything and we mean it! Don’t think we forgot the most important actors in your show: the photographs. In your image library click on the eye icon that appears when you hover over with your mouse and you’ll see a pop-up with the image info. We’ll focus on the first two fields: the title and the description. liveBooks allows google to index this info even if you choose not to show it on your website with the image info on hover option. This is a great feature that not all photography platforms can take pride in having, so we’re boosting over here.

  1. Fill in the title first; it should be descriptive (sunset wedding on Cape cod, floral arrangement at reception, newly weds take wows, etc.).
    Notice how the examples we’ve given contain more words connected to your business, not just photography. That’s because as much as you want people to find you for their specific need, you also wouldn’t mind to have a prospective client bump into your work while googling for a flower arrangement and finding a great photographer to capture the spirit of their big event. and coming back to our buddy google and its power to validate your website, this is a great way to convince it that you are a proper professional who understands the entire ensemble of your work field.
  2. The description, on the other hand, can differ from image to image and it is up to you to make it as detailed as you want to give an even bigger picture.

Extra tips

  • You should have one website for your business so that google doesn’t get mislead
  • If you’re doing a blog, use your website as the platform for it instead of an external page. Feel free to use outside links to projects.
  • Keeping track of your ranking and optimal keywords is a must when reaching for a greater audience. The liveBooks professional plan includes real-time analytics, so you won’t have to bother with 3rd party tools.
  • Changes won’t happen straight away, it takes time for the algorithms to find your updates and index them.

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