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Article reposted in partnership with Wonderful Machine.

Wonderful Machine is a production company with a network of 700 photographers around the world, including many photographers who use liveBooks. Today we’re featuring Lou Bopp and one of his latest projects.

Passion projects are an important part of any photographer’s portfolio, and St. Louis based photographer Lou Bopp is no exception. Every year, he makes the time to photograph a subject that fascinates him.

Lou says, “My projects are something that interests me and would make for a compelling story. This particular project was based on my curiosity about absinthe and all of the myths & the dark history that surround it. So I decided to go to the source.” 

The mysterious nature of absinthe dates back to the late eighteenth century France, where the high-proof spirit was believed to have hallucinogenic qualities. This led to several countries banning the liquor, although recent years have seen a resurgence in Europe and the United States.

In November, the St. Louis photographer let his curiosity lead him across the Atlantic to a small town on the French-Swiss border, where he was granted permission to shoot at Distillerie Armand Guy.

“Pierre Guy was my main contact and is the 6th generation to work at his family’s distillery– how cool is that? And although their copper stills & absinthe recipes have been in the family from the get-go, not many of my other pre-conceived visions came to fruition.”

Despite the taboo surrounding absinthe, Lou found that the distillery was a place full of warmth and community.

“Every day after the distillery closed, people from their neighborhood– retired workers, friends, etc. appeared and had a makeshift absinthe party. The absinthe table was open, most people brought cheeses, breads, sausages, or whatever they had. They were great people, it was an absolute blast.”

Shooting went smoothly, even with Lou’s limited French and solo operation. He found that working on his own meant he pushed out of his comfort zone and found new ways to solve problems. The learning didn’t end at the lens, either. Lou discovered some of the best tricks for drinking absinthe, including a surprising way to dilute the drink. 

“At least in Pontarlier, one of the homes of absinthe, the key is the pour. First, you use a tall glass that blooms near the top, with a stem. Next you pour your absinthe, then you pour clean, ice-cold water from a pitcher high above the glass. It can be messy & splashy but oh so good!”

The project has just made its way into a gallery on Lou’s site, and he’s written his own post about his experience on his blog. Now, he has the chance to sit back and appreciate the final product. Perhaps he’ll even celebrate with a glass of his new favorite drink.

See more of Lou at!

Additional Credits
Retoucher: Danny Hommes, Pixelography
Pre- and Post-Production Support: Kathy Reps

Organizing portfolios can seem like a daunting task. It may seem difficult to choose the amount of portfolio galleries necessary to showcase all of your work. With some planning and organizing, your images and portfolio galleries will begin to take shape before you know it!

Here are 3 steps to get you started:

Categorize your work before uploading to galleries

This first step is sometimes overlooked when starting off your website. If you’re able to categorize your artwork or images into categories, portfolios will soon develop. For example, if you are a wedding photographer, you may choose to categorize your weddings based on the bride and groom’s last name. You may also choose to sort them by season, location, or year. Whatever means you choose to sort your images, ensure that you have a cohesive system in place on your entire site.

Bulk uploading your images onto portfolios

Once you are able to organize your work on your computer, bulk uploading will become easier. This allows for a multitude of images to be uploaded to your website’s gallery/portfolio at a time.

Adding Image Details

Adding image details to your images can help index your work in a more organized way. Attributing the correct information will also help search engines pick up on what your image is related to and will help explain what you’re trying to show the world. Ultimately, these simple steps will help boost your images’ SEO.

Get more details here on how to implement each step.

February 8th, 2018

SEO Best Practices

Posted by liveBooks

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become one of the most important things you can invest your time into when maintaining a website. Simply defined, SEO is the ability for online search engines to recognize your site through proper indexing. With a strong SEO strategy, you will be able to organically drive customers to your business, based on keywords and common search terms.

Following SEO best practices is critical to building your online presence and attracting customers to your website. The higher a website appears in search results, the higher the number of visitors the page will receive from the search engine. Here are 5 best practices to follow:

  • Use Keywords: What are your customers searching for online? Be specific as possible. If you’re a wedding photographer in Virginia, use “Virginia Wedding Photographer.” Just make sure you aren’t going overboard with keywords, otherwise Google may flag as spam.
  • Add Metadata: You wouldn’t buy a book without reading its title, and search algorithms feel the same way. Page titles and meta descriptions help search engines understand how relevant a page is for specific keywords, and also help searchers determine if a page will provide the information they’re looking for. Manage your SEO details here.
  • Update Your Site: By refreshing the content on your site, you are showing Google that you are relevant. Make a reminder to refresh your content once a month!
  • Optimize for Mobile: Google wants you to provide the best user experience, so the better the user experience on your site, the better you will rank with Google. With liveBooks, your site is already responsive.
  • Analyze: By setting up Google Analytics, you can see how your visitors are finding your website and the search terms they are using to find you. Diving into your website’s user data can help you make changes to your website that increase conversions and can provide valuable insight about what content users find useful, and what sections of the site aren’t performing well.

liveBooks is proud to boast that our built-in SEO tool offers our clients the ability to customize their SEO settings on a photo, page, and site-wide level. liveBooks SEO Everything™ tools allow you to quickly add title tags, descriptions, keywords, and image alt text to your website.

All liveBooks sites automatically include micro-data that search engines, web crawlers, and browsers can extract and process to provide a richer browsing experience for users. Learn more about liveBooks SEO Everything™ tools here.

Craig van der Lende has been a photographer since the early 70’s. He graduated with a business degree and got a camera from his parents for graduation. It took a year for him to realize he wouldn’t be happy working for someone else. In that year, he got valuable training in the computer industry and that started a life long interest in computers and tech.

His first photographic work was in journalism followed by studio product and people, followed by large format large set studio contract furniture followed by table top and food for national ads. The national ad work slowed down at the same time 9-11 happened and, for a time, Craig considered living off my investments.

That changed after he spent a couple weeks in Africa for an NGO documenting clean water projects and micro finance recipients. That trip made him realized that’s what made him the happiest – being a photographer. Craig decided to rebuild and rethink his career. Craig got back to his journalism days, added video and began choosing projects and clients based on the experience he would have and where the final project would take me next.

Today, he shoots a bit of everything – stills and video location and studio.

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

A1: Clean, functional and diverse.

Q2: How often do you typically update your website?

A2: I try to update at least once a month, sooner if I have a project I am excited to show.

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

A3: I show what I am most interested in shooting at the time. I have been showing a video on my home page that shows high tech manufacturing.

Q4: What is your favorite feature of liveBooks8?

A4: Video integration.

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

A5: Show what you want to shoot and what sets you apart from everyone else.

I appreciate the liveBooks SEO. I get most of my clients from web search and don’t reach out to people for new work often. My liveBooks site has brought in most of my new clients.

See more of Craig van der Lende’s work here:



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