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Photography In Scotland (Tips, Tricks, And How To Be Ready)
We’ve got a lovely thread
called “Driving in Scotland”
(which I hope becomes a “sticky” someday) and I thought I’d start a new thread
on photography. Who doesn’t love coming home with a few great photos that share
your magical Scottish experiences?
Photographers – please add
to this thread, amateur or professional. Let’s make this a “braw” topic, and
maybe a sticky someday!
As a side note, I make
part of my living in the US
as a portrait photographer, and photography teacher – and teaching others is a
special thing for me. Photography (or any art) is gift that is meant to be
passed along to others. That’s how we enrich the world. Art is love.
- It doesn’t matter if you a DSLR (digital
single reflex) shooter or a Smartphone shooter, it rains a LOT in Scotland,
so protecting your gear is job number one. The rain often blows sideways.
- Have a good, strong, small umbrella (with a
push button) that you can use when exiting the vehicle.
- Plastic bags (or disposable shower caps) are a
must, to protect the gear.
- Consider bringing some silica jell bags with
you, to dry equipment out at night. Keeping your gear dry is the most
EVERY DAY (DISCIPLINE):
- Walk out the door every day with a fully recharged
battery and memory card.
- Backup everything every night to the cloud, a
USB stick, or a laptop.
- Start each day fresh and clean.
- Photography = The Study Of Light
- Check your sunrise/sunset times because they
will be earlier than what you have at home.
- Scotland is at a higher latitude, so the “sweet light”
may be a lot different than you think.
- Diehards that want the Northern lights need to
Google the particulars on that. There are lots of links. Just search for “Scotland
Northern Lights”. Typically you need to be up in the Orkneys (or
Shetlands) for that sort of light.
- Yes, a wide angle lens (16m – 14mm) will give
you lovely shots, especially in a place like Glencoe. Fog, clouds, moving
light – it’s amazing.
- If you only have a lens that only gives you 18
– 24 mm, that’s ok too – but consider trying a “pano stitch”. You’ll have
to post process that in Lightroom/Photoshop.
- If you are a smartphone shooter, don’t zoom in
– shoot wide. Check your camera phone for a “pano” setting. Learn how to
use that, and crop the photo.
- Tripod – of course! I use a 22” unit that fits
nicely in my carry-on luggage diagonally. Remote trigger a must.
- Sure bring the big glass if you want, but I
wouldn’t go past 300mm.
- Most of the wildlife in Scotland
isn’t “skittish” (maybe the stags), but puffins, squirrels, coos, and
other animals will be easy to shoot at a semi-close range. Your 70 – 200mm
will be fine.
- Doesn’t matter what you are shooting with, but
you are going to pick up a LOT of wind
noise if someone is narrating. Especially near the coastlines (super
- Consider buying an external microphone with a
“dead cat” (fuzzy wind-cover) for the microphone.
- Your sweet spot will be Edinburgh and Glasgow,
lots of candids and posed shots.
- Scots are incredibly friendly, so push
yourself outside of your comfort zone and ask for a photo. You might be
SMARTPHONE SHOOTERS (IOS/ANDROID):
- Try and leave that selfie stick at home.
You’ll find lots of lovely people in Scotland that are happy to
take your snap, and you’ll end up with a much better photo.
- There are plenty of “dry bag” systems for
smart phones that will suit you well. Just jump on to Amazon to find one.
I hope this was a good
start to this thread, and I hope you all find the magic and love that comes
through your camera lens.
World traveler, photographer, and humorist. I wrote an article
called “26 Funny Observations about Scotland” in September of 2016, that was
widely re-published. You can find it here on the Daily
Record. You can also find me on Facebook + Instagram