21 today...

Okay, first of all I must apologise for the lack of blog posts over the last couple of months. I know it's a cliche but I've been busy. Picked yourself up off the floor now? Stopped laughing? Good, then I'll get on with it. Read on for a chance to win a FREE portrait shoot, worth £125!
Today, December 21st 2012 is a rather special day for me. If I'm totally honest, I only noticed the significance of this date a couple of weeks ago. Why? What has this to do with photography? How can this win you a free shoot? Well, read on and you'll see...
On December 9th 1991 I  returned to the UK after a few months in Kenya. I was there with my army regiment, the Scots Guards, and while I was there I saw so many sights which I wished my £12 compact camera could have done justice (as if...) From leopards and elephants in the jungle, zebras and giraffes on the plains of the Maasai Mara to the beautiful sunrise on Mt Kenya as I flew past in a Gazelle helicopter shortly before our return. Memories which will stay with me forever (not to mention the friendship and brotherhood of the other 29 men who were there with me out there) but, sadly, the photos won't. I knew I was limited, but hey - taking photos wasn't a priority out there. On the way home, I promised myself that I would save my money and buy a 'proper' camera as soon as possible, that way I could do justice to any beautiful scenes I witnessed in the future.
Still with us? Great, I'm getting to the point...
When we returned to our barracks, and sifted through weeks worth of mail, I discovered that whilst I was in Africa I had been given a lovely big tax rebate! Needless to say, the very next morning (December 10th - the penny's dropping now, isn't it?) I made my way to the local camera shop and told the sales assistant EXACTLY what I wanted ("Er, a proper camera, with different lenses to let me take good photos" or something along those lines) I left with a Canon EOS1000F (just like this one below), 35-80 and 70-210 lenses all wrapped up in a nice wee blue bag.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I walked down the high street, 21 years ago today, feeling like David Bailey! The world was mine to capture and explore with my new toy. It was an entry-point SLR but, to me, it was simply the greatest thing ever! I spent an incredible amount of money reading every magazine and book that I could lay my hands on, buying different brands and type of film, filters (oh, God, there were some terrible ones!), gadgets and miscellaneous crap that I thought would make my work better. I hounded the battalion photographer, who took me under his wing (Thanks Digger ;) ) and helped me so much. Within a year, I was taking the official photographs for the Royal Guard at Balmoral, which gave me incredible access to private and public occasions with members of the royal family including HM The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and more. Nerve-wracking? Yes! Did I cock some of them up? Absolutely! But, thankfully, I got more right than wrong so it was deemed a success.
Since leaving the forces, my photography was a hobby which consumed me. I shot sports, portraits, friends' weddings, still-life (definitely NOT my thing!) landscapes, pets - you name it, I tried it. Over the years, my friends and family have humoured my passion for shoving a camera in their faces with very few complaints. And all the time, helping me to hone my skills which have made me the photographer I am today (still working on getting it right, but I get a higher percentage of 'keepers' nowadays ;) ) My kit has grown and evolved since then - it's all digital nowadays, of course (although I still keep a film camera handy just in case). We've got wireless this & that, internet, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr so we can share our photos within seconds - during a wedding breakfast, I usually manage to share some of the bridal portraits taken a few minutes earlier, so the couple's friends across the world can see them (no more waiting weeks to get a roll of film back from the lab!)
So, it's been 21 years since I bought that first camera - big deal! Well, actually, when I consider how fortunate I have been and how much I've achieved with the help of my friends and those clients who saw something in my work which they liked enough to book me (especially since my photography has been my main job since early 2011) - I have truly achieved a lot. I've photographed stars like ACDC, Pink, TV star Ross Kemp, One Direction, N-Dubz, HRH The Duke of Kent and several of our armed forces Heroes, like Sgt Gary Jamieson who lost 3 limbs due to an IED in Afghanistan. I've shot world-class athletes, some of Europe's most beautiful models and even managed to shoot a Playboy playmate along the way. I've had work in magazines and books across the world - including 2 books which have used my work to illustrate creative techniques. And just published today, I am proud to have my work on display in British Vogue magazine, where one quote reads: "Kevin Wyllie is a visionary photographer who can make your big day that little bit more special"

Yes, that one knocked me for six when I read it at first!
So, now that you know WHY today is so special to me, I'll get on with the main reason for my post - I want to give something back.
I, like you, see so many companies who work their backsides off to get a client and then don't care about them afterwards - am I right? Well, I've decided to say 'Thanks' to everyone who has ever stood in front of my camera over the last 21 years, everyone who has 'endured' hearing my chant "just one more shot..." and everyone who has chosen to book me for the future. Without you guys, I could NEVER have gained the experience I have - whether behind the camera or from a business point of view - to let me achieve the things I have done. I will be giving away 3 FREE portrait shoots, complete with a free 6"x4" print - worth £125 each! All I want you to do is send me an email to: kevin@ksgphotography.co.uk and help me to get a wee bit better. I need you to tell me 2 things -
1) What I did RIGHT and 2) What I could do better (If we haven't shot yet and you've already booked your wedding with me, you can still tell me about your KSG experience until now).
Closing date for entries will be midnight on Monday 17th December 2012. All entries will be put in a hat and the first 3 names picked will each win a free portrait shoot for up to 4 people. Simple as that.
Remember - this is only open to existing clients and those poor souls I've pestered for all these years!

KSG Photography
Making a fraction of a second... last a lifetime

Oh, and an extra special 'Thanks' to my long suffering wife, Silviya, who not only puts up with my 24/7 obsession with these small black boxes we call cameras, but who also encouraged me to finally take the plunge and follow my dream. Love you XXX

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