We absolutely love when we see our Palm Shop websites come to life – especially when their work & branding is as pretty as Leib Photographic! Michelle has the a beautiful, organic style and we love the way she made Positano her own!
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started in photography?
I fell in love with photography and art from a very early age. I first remember my father’s hand developed images and loved to browse through photographs of my mother at the local fruit market in New York, Alaskan wildlife from my dad’s travels and early images of a crazy little toddler (me!) and still later, my baby brother.
My love of the camera never ceased and I went on to pursue my bachelor’s degree from James Madison University, earning a major in art with a photography and watercolor concentration…and later, a masters degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, specializing in historical process photography and the book and paper arts. I later taught photography as well as functional art, advanced placement studio art and art history at Liberty High School in Bealeton, Virginia from 2002-2013. After the birth of my favorite photographic subject…my adorable little son, I retired from teaching to focus on being a mommy and on the business of photography. I still volunteer with Younglife there and have the joy of serving alongside some of my former students.
Why did you decide to redesign your website?
I wasn’t entirely unhappy with my website, but I knew it needed to better reflect my style, be a little more user friendly and capture a potential client’s attention in a way that would make them want to stay. Since I always favor a classic, clean look where the images would speak volumes, I wasn’t interested in what was trending as much as what would reflect my style…which is to provide enduring images with a romantic, joyful edge. After much research, I reached out to Krista and she introduced me to the Positano template and I knew it was a perfect fit! I also loved the blog format…my blog posts are important to me because I want to honor my clients and tell their story in a way that will make them want to read it again and again…so the blog was also an important part for me.
What is your favorite part of your new site?
I love the home page because it immediately reflects my style. If someone were to only see that, they would leave having captured the essence of my work. But what I love the most is the movement throughout the site. There is really a lot of information available on the site…from client reviews as well as those from other wedding professionals, personal information, how I work, etc…and you have the option of taking a stroll or skimming through and still taking away what you want/need from the site. This is one of the features that really drew me into Krista’s templates…they have a flow and movement that compliments my style.
Tell us about your ideal client:
I know that in the industry, a photographer is technically supposed to target a certain type of bride with a specific style…but I enjoy so many styles! I taught art history so it’s hard for me to only work with one “type” of bride and groom or one type of venue. So my ideal client is one who (no matter their style) values friends and family, is a gracious hostess, trusts me with their day and values their photography greatly. I put so much into helping plan for my clients’ day so that they feel comfortable and will remember the moment. I keep couples engaged and moving and give them prompts so that they will remember the joy of the moment rather than being prodded or posed. I LOVE a couple who trusts me to turn any photo anxiety they have into joyful anticipation for the next shot! I value group photos because those are the ones from my own wedding that I now use to teach my son about loved ones who are no longer with us. So I love to work with couples who also value their closest guests as much as their portraits together. I work with couples who spend 10% of their budget on me and those who spend 75% of their budget on me…but all of them value their images greatly. I prefer to work with couples who want images that will stand the test of time and honor their design choices.
Is there anything else you think people considering re-designing their website should know?
Yes! First, I have to put in a plug for both Krista (The Palm Shop) and Showit. I cannot say enough about the folks at Showit. The time and effort that was put into helping me set up my site and then troubleshoot my mistakes was above and beyond. I am still trying to figure out how to send their whole office a Christmas gift! Seriously, I can’t believe the kindness and professionalism they have shown me. I can say the same for Krista as well! I know she has a lot on her plate but she has been so incredibly helpful and her video tutorials are easy to follow. She must have laughed at some of my stupid questions along the way, but never made me feel that way! She always answered my questions and pointed me to videos I needed. And her hourly rate for additional help is worth every penny. I went into this not knowing how it would all turn out, but the biggest thing I can advice people to do is to find a template you will love for a long time, professionals who you can trust and a hosting site with outstanding service. I definitely found my dream team!