Blog Off?

Do people still blog? I’ve been writing this one since October 2009, but does it still serve a purpose?

Over the years I’ve tried my best to inform and entertain my readers (still plural, I think), admittedly with mixed success, but of course it’s also been a way to keep Google happy.

On that score I have to admit it’s been useful for my Search Engine Optimisation. I’m just less convinced it still has the impact it once did. People are using different routes to finding photographers, but it has become a much more fragmented landscape, so which options might work?


Facebook for businesses (aka LinkedIn) has been a good way for me to keep in touch with existing clients. I can keep up with what they’re doing and I can update them on my latest news. I sometimes use it to message clients directly, though I still prefer email for keeping all correspondence in one place.

That said, LinkedIn is practically useless for finding new clients. People looking for a specific photographer for their needs will find LinkedIn a poor source of reliable information. More often than not a prospective client will canvass their network for recommendations, at which point there ensues a scrambled deluge of suggestions, most of which ignore geography or skill set – a photographer’s a photographer, right? End result, a mis-match and a lost opportunity.


Facebook is useful for keeping in touch with a wider friendship network and group interests and I use it to promote my personal project work, but corporate work doesn’t really work on Facebook. I’m careful where I use client work, and Facebook just isn’t the right place to post my commissioned images.


Just… no. Like Facebook, Twitter isn’t the best option for business use. It needs personality, which tends to exclude much in the way of a corporate focus. Again, it’s more useful to my personal project work and I like to promote other photographers there, at least those practicing fine art or documentary work.

Other Options

Should I start a podcast? *collective cry of NOOOOO! echoes back at me* Or a YouTube channel? *ditto, see previous*

Except YouTube is perhaps the more interesting option; less for my corporate work, but perhaps more useful to my personal project photography. I have no desire to be a “YouTuber”, but I can see how video might help create wider interest in that work. Which still leaves me wondering what’s best for the corporate work.

In (sort of) conclusion

It seems that while change has been a constant in the exciting world of SEO, that change is accelerating. Couple this with the fact that new platforms are constantly springing up, the risk is that social media is becoming too fragmented.

My gut reaction to all this is that continuing the blog posts is wise. Keeping my website fresh and compliant continues to be the best use of limited time. I also need to investigate new ideas; maybe even some old ones. Books and zines interest me, so they’ll be something I’m focusing on for the personal projects, but what of the corporate side? Perhaps print has a role worth exploring too. Many years ago I made Blurb books of my portfolio and they went down quite well.

So after 557 words, I ‘think’ I’ve concluded that I’ll carry on with the blog. Ideally I’ll use it to showcase my corporate work, but lockdown and on-going restrictions will make that a challenge. Things will pick up though, and when they do I want to be visible to new clients as well as existing ones.

One last thing…

On a bit of a side-note relating more to my personal projects, if you sign up to my takeagander newsletter here before the end of January 2021, you’ll be in with a chance to win a beautiful A4 print from any of my collections!

So cheer yourself up for free, sign up and have a browse to see if there’s a print you’d like on your wall.

Ta-dah! My new photography website (and blog integration)

It’s possible you’ve noticed this blog has been a little more sporadic than usual these last few weeks, but this  “sparodicness” has been caused by the combination of a major website redesign coupled with work assignments (Manchester was just one destination last week). The more observant among you will also have noticed changes in the way this very blog looks and in time I hope to be able to add more features to make it even more interesting (“how can this be?” I hear the crowd roar…)

Hopefully things will settle back into a pattern now, namely that I’ll publish on a weekly basis except where (as it’s always been) work commitments make this impossible, so thanks for your patience during the construction process and sorry for any inconvenience caused, as builders like to say.

silhouette against blue sky of construction workers lowering a RSJ into place on a building site.

Construction has taken a while, but I hope it’s been worth the effort

Morrissey posed the question “What Difference Does It Make?” and that question is pertinent to my website redesign and you deserve an answer, damn it! In a nutshell, what I’ve needed to do for years is incorporate my blog into my website to make it much easier for visitors to navigate between the two. You’ll notice that unlike my previous blog site, you’re not whisked off to a site separate from my main photography pages. It sounds simple to do this, but it’s taken some doing because at the same time it seemed sensible to redesign the entire website to make it all easier to navigate, informative and with a fresher look.

It’s worth remembering that my site is designed predominantly for people looking to book a commercial, corporate, editorial or PR photographer and the kinds of people who need me often don’t have time for fancy features to load. They need to be able to get in, look at what they need to see and then get in touch, all as smoothly as possible and with minimum fuss. I hope I’ve achieved this.

And in this age of iPhones and tablet computers I thought I’d better make the site responsive too, that is to say it doesn’t fall apart when viewed on a screen smaller than a laptop. All this takes effort and thought and one thing I’ve learned is that NEWS FLASH the web is not a perfect place. You get one aspect of your website right and another aspect keels over. As with anything, unless you have infinite funds you’ll have to compromise here and there. I hope I’ve kept compromise to a minimum and I have to say I’m pleased on the whole with how everything has turned out.


First, 200th and beyond

The view from the entrance of The Holburn Museum in Bath looking down Great Pulteney Street at sunset.

By happy coincidence my first post for 2014 is also my 200th, and I’m going to mark the occasion by taking stock of where my blog has been, and where I hope to take it in the coming year.

It was October 2009 when I first put finger to keyboard and wrote my inaugural, slightly apologetic article and while I’m no blogging superstar, I’ve had some really interesting times, made some friends and even gained some work through my writing. A fine example of this is the articles I’ve been commissioned to write for Wex Photographic as a result of one of my blog fans recommending me to them when they tweeted asking if anyone knew any photographers that could write. I’m still not sure I qualify, but I still write for Wex so I’ll keep hush and hope they don’t notice.

The thing is, when I first started my blog I wasn’t terribly confident and having foolishly decided it should be weekly, I wrote on whatever subject popped into my head on the morning of the day of publication (Tuesdays). To be fair, that’s still how I write it, but looking back I’ve amassed quite an archive of work to which I really should afford a bit more respect.

To whit, I have decided this is the year to jump from to (something I know I should have done ages ago). This will allow me to improve layout, design and features, add video on occasion and make it all more attractive to an even wider audience. At the same time I really should ensure all the articles are tagged and searchable, as some are currently not.

While a general tidy-up and redesign will be a start, I can’t pretend I’ll be any more organised about writing it – I rarely reach Tuesday morning with a ready article and some weeks I’m just too busy with work to write one at all, but I feel a strange obligation to what I started and, more importantly, to the tens of people who come here each week seeking my pearls of wisdom, my self-promoting blurbs, or random rants.

Of course, now that I’ve said I’ll do all this, I’ve made a rod for my own back and will just have to get the heck on with it. It may take a while, but bear with me and watch this space. In the meantime, thanks for sticking around and I look forward to entertaining you for another year.

A Brief Interlude

Cue tacky music while there’s an interlude in my blogging. I’m away next week on holiday, so I thought I’d give you next week’s blog early, and just use it to give you some links to other useful/entertaining blogs that I’ve also enjoyed immensely.

First up is Jaded Snapper, a local newspaper photographer who has run the gauntlet of top local stories, from the church fete to the giant charity cheque.

Or, if you’re planning a wedding, why not give Derek Pye a call? You’ll see why you wouldn’t want to when you visit his site. Not updated as much as it should be, but then Derek is probably busy shooting weddings.

If photography-related cutting satire is more your thing, try The Russian Photos Blog. Beware if you’re the kind of business that likes to run dodgy rights-grabbing competitions or you’re a micro-payment stock photo agency though. You might be the subject of a future article.

Finally, for a soberererer (easy for you to say, you’re not drung…) view of the professional photographic industry, news views and general bits and bats, I highly recommend the Neil Turner and Black Star Rising blog sites.

And now, I’m off for a week of R&R in Austria. Please behave while I’m away, and try not to miss me too much.

Auf wiedersehen!


Two for the Price of One!

self portrait of tim gander

Your leader is speaking; please be seated.

Hello my lovely, loyal readers.

This is just a quick update to bring you the thrilling news that not only can you read my semi-cogent ramblings here, but also now at the Warehouse Express blog site. The articles I submit there will not be featured on my main blog, though I’m sure I’ll find an excuse to link them from here, so if you want to keep up with my every utterance, you’ll just have to bookmark the Warehouse Express blog page. Click here for the first exclusive article I’ve posted there just for you…

And that is all. Move along now, there’s nothing else to see here.


DIY or Die Trying

If you’ve read my previous two posts (using stock and using commissioned photography for your website) you’ll have a fair idea where I stand when it comes to shooting your own photos or getting a friend or relative to do it for you.

To sum up the main pitfalls, perhaps the biggest risk with getting a friend/relative/pet to take a few snaps for you as a favour is that having put them to the trouble, if the shots turn out so terrible they make you want to tear out your eyes, you’ll still feel beholden to use them – to promote your business. Oh dear.

The problem with taking them yourself is you might feel they’re excellent shots, but you’re too close to the action to be your best critic. You know what was involved in taking the pictures and what hard work it was, and you’ll be terribly proud of the results, but no one else will see that. They’ll just see the photos for what they are, however good or bad.

Having said all that, some business owners will always opt for DIY to save the expense of using a professional, so I’ll set out some basic pointers to help you make the best of your efforts.

  • Plan ahead:

Work out what pictures are required, maybe talk to your web designer if you have one, rather than taking thousands of random shots and hoping for the best. Which people, services and processes are key? Don’t forget though that a photo of your office building/machinery/entire staff contingency isn’t necessarily going to make more business for you. This isn’t about what pleases you about your business, it’s about what attracts clients and customers.

  • Choose locations with care:
tim gander on telephone

The phone-cam look; not good.

So often you’ll see business portraits of people who have been lined up against a wall and shot Mafia-style. You can see the fear in their eyes! Or they’ve been surprised at their desk, mid-phone conversation, mouth gurning in an embarrassing contortion, or more likely miming a swear word. The flash has obliterated their features, and the red-eye is excruciating. Try taking them to a more relaxed location. Keep them distant from ugly or distracting backgrounds, use shaded daylight to avoid squinting and ugly shadows, and use the telephoto function to crop in close so their face fills the majority of the frame.

bath commercial photographer tim gander portrait.

Still not pretty, but a better photo.

  • Stay legal:

If you want to photograph people or locations not directly connected to your business, make sure you have either model releases or property releases where necessary.

  • Think quality:

As tempting as it might be to set your camera up so you can get 10,000 images on a single memory card, the quality will drop dramatically and this will show in the end result. You might also need the pictures for print publications too, and this will require even better quality than web use. Also, for the love of Sweet Jesus, don’t (DON’T!) take photos on your mobile phone with the hope of getting anything that resembles professional quality. It’s just not going to happen.

This short article can only cover the most basic of basics, but if you’re using non-professional photography in your business, perhaps another option would be to get a corporate photography trainer in (such as my good self) to at least train someone up to improve the results you’re getting. It could be a one-off session gets you on the right track, and at least when I leave the building, the skills stay with you. Drop me a line today to find out more.