Friday, 30 December 2011

Procrastination - not today thank you!

Yesterday I wrote about the benefits that undertaking a 365 day or 52 week project could have on your photography.  Today I want to build on that idea and, in the final days of 2011 encourage you to not put off taking that first step.

This image is part of a 365 photo project I did. For those who may not be aware of the concept of a 365 project you should read my previous blog post to find out more.

Many moons ago I used to run and cycle for sport and enjoyment, so many years in fact that I have forgotten how long. Also until quite recently I have been a tad overweight which hasn't helped my eagerness to run or cycle either. Anyway, I digress.

I have had a project in mind for a long time and athletics forms part of the plot, so one day I decided to put some shorts on, set the camera on a tripod, go for a jog and test some lighting and compositional ideas. The image here may form part of the final composite image which will form a post at a later date. I had been procrastinating about this shot for too long, yet it took the best part of 30 mins for me to change, setup camera and lights and shoot, and I have been delaying it for weeks!

The above image was taken with a single Canon 580EX II Speedlite Flash Unitto light the ground in front of the runner (me!).

The reason for posting this image is because it reminds me not put off till tomorrow something I can do today. In future whenever I feel like putting something off till another day, I will remember this image and remind myself to get off my butt and go do it!

So, to all you procrastinators, get out there and accomplish what you have been postponing.  Hey and if its about practising with your camera why not have a go at a 365 or 52 Project?

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practise makes perfect better photographers.

The best way to improve your photography is to practice. The more often you practice the quicker you improve.  
There are lots of ways to help you undertake the practising methodology - why not try completing a 365 Project or a 52 week project for example.

365 project
The is where you take a photograph each day for a year. 

Does this have to start on 1st January each year? No not at all, you can start this at any time.  Its just about getting you to use your camera each day and learning the camera controls as well as the art of composition. Over time you will handle your camera more effectively and, rather than fiddling around with the controls trying to change a setting or two, you will be able to focus your mind on composing the image.

What if you can't see anything interesting to shoot? You will find your mind becomes sharper and you will begin seeing potential images everywhere.

What should you do with the photographs?  Why not upload them to Google+ or Flickr, there are other photographers who are also following the same daily routine and sharing your images with them can inspire them too.  If you get in a good group you can also ask for critique from them.

What if you don’t take a great photo one day?  This isn’t about beating the opposition, its about learning and sharing your learning with others.

If you want to have a go at a 365 and you are on Google+ you should head on over to this page at and see the details and also the list of others who have also chosen the same route you are considering - you won’t be alone!

If you would sooner post images to Flickr then just check out the number of groups supporting the 365 theme!

52 week Project
If you don’t think you can commit to a photo a day then why not consider a 52 week project.
There is an interesting article from a friend and great photographer Chris Bersbach about his journey on a 52week project over at Lighting Essentials and this is definitely worth reading.

At the risk of being accused of plugging Google+ you might also want to check out another approach to a 52 week project being run by Giuseppe Basile over on Google+.

Under your own steam

OK so you don't fancy posting your images out there for the world and his wife to see. Pick your own theme or themes to complete: water; colour blue; interesting windows; reflections; cars; etc. Just shoot images regularly.

One final point - don't beat yourself up if you miss one or two days or assignments, it doesn't matter. It only matters that you practice, practice, practice.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Market Trading

Do you like a nice piece of fresh fruit, or crisp fresh vegetables?  It kind of warms the spirit doesn't it when you feel the old hunger pangs on a warm summers day and you see a piece of fresh fruit.  No? Oh well it does to me!

Tameside has a great market trading tradition, including some fantastic fresh fruit produce sellers.  Most of the towns in the borough have a regular market stall day, and Ashton-under-Lyne is no exception.  Famous for its outdoor and indoor markets, if you go down to Ashton on any market day you are sure to be entranced by the wide variety of produce available. It doesn't really matter if you like apples or not as the local greengrocers sell some amazing produce these days, from all corners of the globe!  Mind you, I do like a nice crispy Braeburn apple.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Cycle Racing

Cycling racing in England has received real boosts in recent years with the successes of the Great Britain track teams and Mark Cavendish giving such outstanding performance in the Tour of France - to name two.  It is no surprise then that cycle racing in Tameside is on the up and up.

Tameside Cycling Development Group hold mid week races on a specially developed cycle track on Richmond Street in Ashton under Lyne.  The racing is quick and action packed, and a 1km circuit means the cyclists are round every two or three minutes. So only just time to get your camera out, pick your spot and get clicking!

Friday, 21 October 2011

What type of Photographer are you?

Do you apologise for your skills as a photographer?

What type of photographer are you - Professional; Hobbyist; amateur; freelance?

Why do some people feel the need to qualify what type of photographer they are with the statement “I am a hobbyist/part-time/amateur/so and so Photographer” as though it is in some way an apology for their skills? Professional doesn't mean better, it is simply an indication of earning a living.
Some people think a professional photographer must be better at making images than they are. Hey, you only have to look on Flickr or on Google+ and you will find thousands of images taken by people who treat photography as a hobby yet whose images are equally as good, if not better than those from some of the 'professionals'.

There are some 'professional' photographers who, in the current economic climate may be struggling to earn enough to live on, does this mean they have suddenly lost the right to call themselves a professional photographer, are their images not as good any more? They are still a photographer, still making images, still creating art.

I took early retirement a year or so ago and that has given me the luxury of being able to spend more time with a camera in my hand. I sell images via a picture library, some for use in calendars and some for articles in magazines, and so my main earnings are coming from the sale of photographs. I could not live on the income from these sales, my image making has not changed, I am not better than I was the day before, but suddenly I am able to add the qualifying statement 'Professional'.

We are all in the business of making images, whether it is an image of your pet, a member of your family, or a landscape in a gorgeous sunset, just be proud of your images. Please don't put yourself down by adding anything before the term photographer unless you wish to indicate what type of images you take - HDR; B&W; street photography; portraits; etc,. You are a photographer; an image maker; an artist; call it what you will, but please don't let yourself fall into the trap of feeling that you have to apologise for your skills as a photographer.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Photo Competitions - Don't lose your copyright.

Before you enter photographic competitions you don't need to look into some sort of crystal ball, but you should always read the Terms and Conditions of entry.

Some, not all, competitions have conditions that effectively give away your copyright! Some actually state that by entering the competition you are signing over your copyright to the organisers or maybe they are claiming the right to use the photo for ever for ‘free’! You won’t even be paid a penny.

Submit your photographs to such competitions and you lose valuable rights to your photo. If they have claimed the copyright it's no longer yours, you could actually be sued for using it in future. Or maybe they have claimed the right to use it freely forever, to make money from it by licensing it to others, but you'll never see one penny of that money earned by licensing your photograph.

The good news is that a lot of competitions are safe to enter without losing your right to own the copyright. An organisation called Pro-Imaging is fighting the bad practice by some competition organisers by investigating the Terms and Conditions of the competitions. The ones that are safe to enter are listed on their Rights On List, and the ones to avoid are listed on the Rights Off List.

(If the competition you are thinking of entering is not listed, use their contact form and they will check it out for you!)

Saturday, 8 October 2011

See no Evil

A little departure today, time to reflect.

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.  You have probably heard the saying, but how many of us think of those senses in terms of luxury?  Well I had a challenge today to shoot an image representing luxury and this image came to mind.  Why?

I am one of the many fortunate ones who can hear (although diminishing now with age), see (with glasses), and speak (although perhaps a little incoherently at times).  I class myself as extremely lucky to still have these senses.  Unfortunately there are many who have lost one or more of these abilities, some were born without them, some have lost them through illness or accident, whilst some of our soldiers have either laid down their lives or have lost one, or more, or in some cases all these senses we take for granted.  For some of them I am sure it would seem a luxury to be able to hear, see or speak.

I hope I can always think of others who are perhaps less fortunate than me and never take my health, my life, or my good fortune for granted.  Peace to all.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The golden nectar

A Kilderkin Sir?
A what you might ask.
A Kilderkin, have you never heard of it?
Well suffice to say I hadn't until I visited Hornbeam Brewery in Denton.

Yes, its true, Denton has its very own brewery.  Started in 2007 Hornbeam brewery in Denton is one of a number of craft micro breweries in Tameside producing real ales.

Housed in Denton's famous old hat factory, Hornbeam has steadily grown and has already achieved several awards for its award winning cask conditioned real ales.

Don't think that you can only buy this range of real ales if you live, and drink, in Denton.  Hornbeam are spreading their wings and selling to other areas in the North West. In this day and age of financial uncertainty it's great seeing local businesses thriving.

Fancy a tour of the brewery, then better leave your car at home because they offer a tour of the brewery followed by as much ale as you can drink! mmmmm now that's tempting!  Hey, and they also produce several special beers every month, so I might be going back there on a regular basis.

By the way - just to put you out of misery, a Kilderkin is an old English unit of volume equal to half a barrel, or two firkins - or to put it another way approx. 82 litres - certainly enough to last you quite a while.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Creative Commons

Unless otherwise stated, all images on this site are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

This means that you are free to download and share my work as long as it is not used for commercial purposes, and you provide credit to me as the photographer.

So go on knock yourself out, download the images - just remember to give full attribution against the image and point back to me at:

If you wish to use the image for commercial purposes, send me an email for all commercial licensing info.

Just in case you want further clarification:
So, you are free to use the images on your desktop or blog, just for fun, but you must
1) Link back to
2) Credit the image to Steve Gill

Now listen, about that blog - if you are using it for a business purpose, to sell something, to advertise a holiday location etc. or as a background for your business pages, then I'm sorry but it's not OK to use one of my images without a commercial licensing fee. Just email for details, I won't bite!

Fund raising campaign or marketing campaign;
A background image for a website about garden tools or another product range;
Printing an image.

You may use my images in two ways:

With Creative Commons you are free:

To Share: Copy, Distribute, and Transmit the image
To Remix: Create Derivative works of the image

Under these conditions:
Attribution: Attribution to Steve Gill Photography must be made along with the image.

Non-Commercial: The image must not be used for commercial purposes under any circumstances. For clarity on what defines commercial use, please see the Sample Accepted Uses below.


Blog Post describing a trip to Wales
An individual using an image as a desktop background for the computer monitor


‘Commercial Use’ regarding the use of images online or offline is defined very broadly. The determination of commercial or non-commercial use is based on the contextual use of the image. The determination is NOT based on the tax-filing status of the entity using the image nor on whether or not a financial transaction takes place.

Commercial use of my images is allowed only if expressly granted by Steve Gill Photography. All commercial uses will incur a licensing fee.

All licensing inquiries should be sent to Steve via email