Picture Soup Blog

The online destination for your [photo] imagination.

Hanging Out a Shingle in the Digital Era

with 13 comments

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.

Tristan Cairns' website homepage. Photography Ⓒ Tristan Cairns.

“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.

Photography Ⓒ Tristan Cairns.

Photography Ⓒ Tristan Cairns.

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.

Matt Mills McKnight's website. Photography Ⓒ Matt Mills McKnight.

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.”

Photography Ⓒ Matt Mills McKnight.

Photography Ⓒ Matt Mills McKnight.

“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 Info. page from Jake Rosenberg's website. Photography Ⓒ Jake Rosenberg.

“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.”

Photography Ⓒ Jake Rosenberg.

Photography Ⓒ Jake Rosenberg.

“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.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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.


13 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by MarciJHait. MarciJHait said: RT @PictureSoup: Need a new website? Check out the article about @livebooks on picture-soup.com – http://wp.me/py5xM-mX […]

  2. Excellent site

    tristan clothing

    April 17, 2010 at 3:35 am

  3. Nice!

    tudor clothes

    April 17, 2010 at 10:01 pm

  4. Ha-ha!! I Was just browsing around, wondering if an online photography course was of some interest for me, and came across of this – an interesting read, thankx!

  5. I really enjoyed this post. I can tell you put in a great deal of effort and time into this post. I will be back to read more as you post more!

    Andrew A. Sailer

    April 21, 2010 at 8:16 pm

  6. You have a very interesting blog here. I`ve already bookmark it and I hope you constantly update it with fresh content. Thank you and keep up the good work.

  7. Interesting blog you have here. I was able to find your blog through Google search engine. I was in the look of something similar.. I hope you`ll keep updating your blog.

    Photo Studio Equipment

    April 22, 2010 at 1:19 pm

  8. Though I’m guilty of skimming through most of your posts, I think you are a super writer. Everything you write seems proper with correct punctuations and all. Keep up the good work.

  9. Resources like the one you mentioned here will be very useful to me! I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful.

    Franklyn Corneau

    April 30, 2010 at 10:37 am

  10. valuable information and excellent design you got here! I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts and time into the stuff you post!! Thumbs up!

    Toshiko Vanelderen

    May 1, 2010 at 10:00 am

  11. Awesome opinion. I got to your blog with bing while i was researching for cheap web hosting. I will recommend your site to our clients and I am sure they will think the same about your work on this site.Regards

    Rickey Roats

    May 3, 2010 at 4:02 pm

  12. What a great resource!

    emt training

    May 8, 2010 at 2:30 am

  13. I was performing a search about this topic, and happened to come across this website. I’m impressed by the blog. I am going to spend some time exploring, and will definitely be bookmarking this blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: