liveBooks offers photographers more affordable website options
Article by Diane Berkenfeld. Images as noted.
Since its inception, website design/hosting company liveBooks has created sites for more than 7,000 photographers and creative professionals. liveBooks recently added a new option for photographers and creative artists who want a professional website to market their work but can’t afford a custom designed website—a subscription based service offering pre-designed templates.
The company explains that it is able to offer these affordable, flexible payments for the pre-designed options after having secured $5 million in funding from both strategic and private investors. The subscription based service means no up front commitment of a large sum of money, which is the norm with many website design companies and is the case with liveBooks’ custom designed sites. The pre-designed website payment choices include $39 per month, $399 per year or a one time payment of $1,199 plus $90 per year hosting. Custom designed sites typically begin at $3,200.
These more affordable web solutions are popular with younger pros, just out of college, as well as established photographers and designers. We spoke with three photographers who have chosen to go with liveBooks’ pre-designed sites.
Tristan Cairns – www.tristancairns.com
Tristan Cairns, a student at the Art Institute of Atlanta found the “Edu | LiveBooks” offerings to be very affordable. He then upgraded after graduation to one of liveBooks’ pre-designed templates.
“I found that liveBook’s pre-designed sites are current with today’s trends/styles,” he says. “I use famous photographers’ website layouts as a standard of measurement from which to judge others.” He explains, “Most of the commercial photographers that I follow are the ‘trend setters’ in the industry so it is important for me to have a website that shares the same style if I am to remain current in the commercial world; LiveBooks met my criteria.” Having a website that is organized, uncluttered, and easy to navigate is important and will present a better image for a photographer, over competitors who have sites that are not as professional looking.
Matt Mills McKnight – www.mattmillsphoto.com
Matt Mills McKnight, a 2009 graduate from San Francisco State University is both a journalist and photojournalist. He’s also expanding his repertoire to include more commercial work. Matt’s site is unique in that his words are as important as his imagery.
In his junior year of college, Matt designed his own first website. He notes that, “It worked at the time, but was extremely clunky and without warning would sometimes load broken images. After a while I started to think that my browser was the only one it actually worked on.”
“Before I pulled the trigger (or shall I say pressed the shutter) with liveBooks, I made it a point to [shop] around. There were a few other companies that offered websites at similar price points, but didn’t have features like using a multimedia tab that doesn’t require you link off-site to another page. The search engine optimization, client access section and ready-to-use google analytics were one of the many pre-built features that landed me with liveBooks,” he explains.
Jake Rosenberg – www.jakerosenberg.ca
Jake Rosenberg, a 2009 graduate of OCAD is focusing on fashion and lifestyle photography, with a desire to become further entrenched in the fashion advertising world. Jake had used a carbonmade online portfolio, but needed a more professional site to represent his work.
“The liveBooks site allows me more freedom to categorize my work,” he says, and, “it looks much more professional.” He explains: “It allows me to upload online galleries, have client’s access, and use my personal domain… liveBooks also hosts my site and creates personal emails, which is great.”
“Livebooks makes everything so simple, even someone with very limited technical knowledge would have no trouble using their services,” Jake says. “Livebooks offers a huge variety of pre-made sites that cater to so many different styles of photography. It really wasn’t difficult to find one that suited my needs,” he adds.
All three photographers noted how easy the liveBooks site system is to use. Because the sites are templates, you don’t have flexibility over every single aspect of your site, but enough control to come across as a serious pro.
Jake says two hours was all it took for him to get his site ready to publish. “It was amazingly simple,” he says. “The back-end of the site is probably my favorite part of liveBooks. They allow you to stay so organized and since it is all hosted online, you can really update your site or do maintenance on it from anywhere in the world as long as you have an Internet connection.”
Matt explains: “You can either bulk upload your images through the administrative dashboard or do a single file at a time. If your files have any caption data embedded in them, it automatically saves that on upload. Then you just organize into folders, name your portfolios for the site and drag and drop. Click save and you’re off and running!”
“I have control over what music I play for certain pages, background colors, information window colors, transparency levels for drop down menus, the site’s title, how photos transition from one to the next, menu animations, loading page graphics, links, etc.,” adds Tristan.
The few cons that the photographers spoke about were a finite number of images per portfolio, as well as a lack of control over font selection and a fee for uploading a photographer’s logo, because those are considered customizations.
For more information about liveBooks, click here.
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Just Announced: liveBooks websites will be viewable on the Apple iPad
When Apple unveiled the iPad, Flash-based website users voiced a collective moan at the announcement that the iPad would not support Flash. liveBooks announced this morning that the version 5.9 upgrade, which will be rolled out to new and existing customers in early May will allow web browsers to view liveBooks users’ Flash-based websites on mobile devices including the Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.