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On The Table Read, “the best arts magazine in the UK“, photographer Gim Liu talks about his business, Gimagery, specialising in long exposure photography, and what inspires him.

the best creativity magazine in the UK, the best book magazine in the UK, the best arts magazine in the UK, the best entertainment magazine in the UK, the best celebrity magazine in the UK, book marketing UK, book promotion UK, music marketing UK, music promotion UK, film marketing UK, film promotion UK, arts and entertainment magazine, online magazine uk, creativity magazine

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed Gim Liu about his life and career, his work in his photography business Gimagery, and what inspires him.

Gim Liu on The Table Read
Gim Liu

Tell me a bit about who you are.

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My name is Gim Liu, I am 33 and I am a photographer from the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. I am also a rapper, videographer and author of my book ‘A Beginner’s Guide to After Dark Photography with Gimagery’.  I have always been interested in exploring new countries and I am currently writing this in Romania which is my 45th country. I took the interest of being a world explorer and combined it with my love for photography. They both go hand in hand and are an excellent combination because the possibilities to take photos are infinite.

I am an internationally known, multitalented professional photographer who is based in the UK. Although my extensive portfolio comprises of hospitality, commercial, travel, landscape and architectural photography, I am a long exposure specialist and have established myself as an expert in this field. As a renowned photographer I have been featured by some of the biggest entities in the photography industry such as Digital Photography Review, Light Stalking,, The Photo Argus, PhotoWhoa, Northlight Images and PictureCorrect.

Having attracted a considerable following, I became best known for my artistic creativity by using techniques that result in producing unique images that intrigue and captivate. My supporters have become accustomed to my trademark use of light sources to create the illusion/impression of movement in my photos and bringing static objects to life. I am the pioneer of two long exposure photo types I created which are outlining and trajectory.

In the photography world, my greatest desire and ambition is simply to inspire creativity. This aim is facilitated by enlightening readers of my articles and clientele of my one-to-one experience packages to the discipline of long exposure photography. They receive expert knowledge and are left fully equipped with the skills to create eye-catching images. Taught with the reputable and self-developed after dark photography formula, I ensure an in-depth theoretical and practical understanding of the process is acquired. Readers and clients appreciate my comprehensive systematic approach, easy-to-understand writing and teaching style along with the ability to give explanation on complex and often confusing aspects of photography.

You can see my work on Instagram @gimagery_ and I offer photography services along with fine prints on my website

What is the name of your photography business?

Gimagery by Gim Liu on The Table Read

The name of my photography business is Gimagery.

How did you come up with that name?

The realisation of needing to put all of my work under a name resulted in the birth of ‘Gimagery’. I also decided that because I do more than just photography such as videography, rap and literature, it was not just a name but a term; ‘The creative use of imagination by innovative scholar Gim Liu to be visually descriptive in many different forms’. This term enables me to define the broad range of Gimagery.

So, why Gimagery? The name Gimagery was chosen simply because it uses creative and interesting wordplay. It incorporates my name Gim with the word imagery.

Why the snake as a logo? There are three different meaningful reasons for using the snake as the logo. The first reason is simply because the snake can form the shape of the letter G. The second reason is because I was born in the Chinese year of the snake. The third reason is because the idea of putting all of my work under one name and eventually making a website came about in the year of the snake in 2013.

The Gimagery slogan is: ‘Imagine. Explore. Create.’. These three words perfectly encapsulate and accurately describe the brand. Not only does this slogan represent imaginative, exploratory and creative actions of Gimagery, it is also the process of producing unique and interesting work.

  • First you imagine – using one’s imagination to visualise an idea and paint a picture of it in the mind.

  • Next you explore – setting out to search for and discover how to bring the idea to life while also considering the possibilities, options and fine details.

  • Finally you then create – performing the course of action needed in order to cause the idea to come into being as it was imagined.

When did you first get into photography?

I have always been interested in photography but I properly got into it when I bought my first DSLR camera back in 2009. Ever since that moment, I haven’t stopped taking photos. I am always looking at taking the next photo and thinking what to do next. Starting from just a hobby, photography then turned into an obsession followed by a lifestyle.

What inspires your photographs?

This relates to my modus operandi.The way I think about what to shoot solely comes from the philosophy behind my work. My perception of photography is that it is like art and poetry. Along with capturing moments, it can and should be used to express yourself. Long exposure photography does exactly that, it gives you the ability to create and capture something unique in an artistic way. The beauty of it is that you are restricted only by your own imagination and creativity. It is also my favourite type of photography because I am forever fascinated by the vibrant colours and the different light streaks and trails produced by the camera.

With that being said, when I try to come up with an idea of what to shoot, it must have the potential to result in at least one of the following:   

  • Create the illusion/impression of movement
  • Bring a static object to life in some way
  • Produce an image that is unique and unusual in appearance
  • Will have qualities that intrigue and captivate
Gim Liu Photography on The Table Read
Gim Liu Photography

These points are the underlying fundamentals which my ideas are based on and in my opinion are what make a great photo.

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Additionally, the source of my creative inspiration entirely comes from within. It primarily comes from trying to outdo myself and create better photos than I made previously. The satisfaction of your idea coming to life, it being a success and seeing what you have created on the camera screen is indescribable! This is exactly what spurs me on.

Are you working on a particular series or do you go where the mood strikes?

I am not working on a particular series at the moment and kind of go where the mood strikes. Typically when I do a shoot it is due to coming up with some creative ideas to experiment with and see if the photo/s turn out to be anything remotely like it was envisioned. 

What lessons have you taken to learn your craft or are you self-taught?

I haven’t actually taken any lessons to learn how to do my photography and I am completely self-taught. When I first started off in long exposure photography which was a while ago, I may have watched a tutorial or read an article about how to put together a device to create steel wool photos but that is about it.

How has your work changed or developed since you started?

It has changed and developed quite significantly. When I started in long exposure photography, I began by shooting more simple stuff like steel wool photos, the light trails of vehicles driving past and light painting words/patterns with a torch. As I gained more experience, I got more advanced and started manipulating the outcome of photos with different light sources. I ended up creating two different styles of photos which are my own. I named them outlining and trajectory. Here are descriptions of what they involve:

An outlining photo is where a line or set of lines are drawn to mark out and show the border or outer shape of an object. This is achieved by using a torch or sparkler to draw the outline of the object while taking a long exposure photo. A torch or sparkler is the light source used to create the effect and enables the outline to be displayed. There is something magical about displaying the outer shape of a static object, especially when creating the impression of its movement. Such photos leave the viewer in awe of its beauty and wondering how it was created.

A trajectory photo is where the path of a moving object (typically a ball) is displayed in an image. The line or curve resembling the path that the object took is made visible by a sparkler attached to the object. It is thrown/hit/struck/kicked/rolled while a long exposure photo is taken. The sparkler attached to the object coupled with the action made to move it enables the camera to capture the movement made by the object and show how it travelled. Undertaking a trajectory photo leads to producing an eye-catching image which has a wow factor about it. Such photos are very unusual to see which makes it interesting for any viewer to look at.

Do you work in a studio or do you prefer taking pictures outside?

Gim Liu Photography on The Table Read
Gim Liu Photography

I do both but I definitely prefer to take photos outdoors as I there are infinite locations to use when shooting outside.

What brand or equipment is an essential part of your photography work?

For my photography work, my Canon 7D Mark ii DSLR camera, my Hama branded tripod and Canon branded wireless remote are essential. In addition to this, light sources are also essential such as torches and sparklers.

Is your photography business your full-time job or a side hustle?

My photography business is more of a ‘side hustle’ but it is strange because I don’t really view it as work as it is my passion. In future, it could definitely become my full-time job and this year I have taken great strides towards that becoming an option.  

Are your family and friends supportive of your creative work?

Yes my family and friends are supportive of my creative work, they love it as do my supporters.

How do you sell your photographs?

I sell my photographs in the form of premium canvases on my website

How do you promote your photography business and find new customers?

I primarily promote my photography business on Facebook and Instagram to find new customers. It also happens when I meet people, so in person too.

Are you proud of your work and what you’ve achieved so far?

Yes I am definitely proud of my work and what I have achieved so far. I have built up an extensive portfolio comprising of hospitality, commercial, travel, landscape and architectural photograph over the years.

Do you have any goals for the future you can share with us?

Unfortunately not as I have just completed my two biggest goals this year which was to create my own photography website and also to get my book ‘A Beginner’s Guide to After Dark Photography with Gimagery’ published. I would say in general my goals are staying the same which is to carry on taking creative and the most interesting photos possible which is rather challenging itself to keep coming up with original ideas. Another one would be continue to inspire creativity in others from my own work.

Gim Liu on The Table Read
Gim Liu

Do you have any special career highlights you’d love to experience again?

Not specifically no. Winning some awards would be one but I have not managed to get any as of yet!

Share all your work and social links so readers can find more:

Link to my book on Amazon:  




Book video trailer:

Author profile:

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