So hello and thanks for finding Real Edinburgh in the myriad of Edinburgh based photography websites, no mean feat in itself.
So what do you want to know? My name is Grant, I’m responsible for this site and the Real Edinburgh Facebook page. I’m not yet strictly a professional photographer in the true definition of the term but I’m there or there abouts.
Real Edinburgh started out as a little side project of mine a few years ago. I was bored of the usual landscape photography so over the winter of 2010 set out on a street photography project in the city centre, hence the name, Real Edinburgh. Fun as it was, it ran it’s course, mainly on a WordPress blog but there was a little Facebook page as well. When I say little, I mean little. It was sat at about 35 likes, I wasn’t really updating it and had only started it to see what pages was all about.
Then something happened. In a little over half an hour one day the page jumped up 300 likes. Unusual to say the least so a little Sherlock work was required and I found the fast growing and already popular Lost Edinburgh facebook page had shared my little page and people seemed to like it. Since this happened I felt sort of obliged to keep it going…
Those early days were a learning curve, I had no idea what to post up or how to speak to people over Facebook but it kept going and I was sitting happily at a couple of thousand likes after a few months, which was nice, if a little daunting.
Then the sunset of October 9th happened. I was on Calton Hill for the sunset and what a sunset it was. It was incredible. I’ve never seen one like it before or since and I came home with a huge clutch of shots from that night and duly posted one up about 10pm… then all hell broke loose. That image went everywhere, and I mean everywhere. It racked up hundreds of comments and in excess of 12,500 likes in a little over 24 hours, the page too shot up to over 6000 likes overnight. A little daunting when I next came to post.
At the same time Facebook were being very kind and the page was exploding. Likes were rolling in faster than I could ever imagine and the page climbed from 15,000 to 55,000 in just a couple of months. It’s slowed down now with Facebook changes but it continues to grow and I continue to post.And so it began, a gradual climb, the likes kept coming in and the page kept growing. By the tail end of last year I was getting asked for prints so with a little legwork (or maybe fingerwork since it was all done on the internet) this site was born.
It’s been a rollercoaster of a time, from a hobbyist photographer to semi professional in a short time. Shooting with Nikon pro-sumer kit to moving up to professional kit has also been interesting. I try to keep the page and my photographic likes as varied as possible. Landscapes of the city are far and away my biggest passion but I also like to dabble in astrophotography and macro photography. Video is the latest thing I’m dabbling in which links in nicely to flying quadcopters to get aerial footage!
I’ve been published in lots of national and local publications now which is nice, from the Evening News and Scotsman to the Sunday Times, BBC and STV online, had images on STV news and even Sky at Night. I had the lead press image for the last 2 years for the Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations and in fact my image is the lead image being used by Visit Scotland for Homecoming 2014. All of which I’m quite chuffed at!
So where from here? Well, at the moment building up a sense of community via the Facebook page is the important thing at the moment. I’m also keen to develop the teaching side of things as I enjoy it so much. As for Facebook? Well, it’s been good to me, offered me a lot of opportunities so I’ll keep plugging away there. For myself as a photographer, my hope is simply to keep developing (see what I did there?) and learning to be the best I can be, keep showing off this fantastic city to the online world and see what happens!
You are more than welcome to join me on the journey!