It’s so easy to get lost amongst the thousands of images of exotic beaches and flourishing greenery when you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed. It’s even easier to end up wishing that you were there, witnessing those views for yourself. How often do we end up dreaming about being in another country instead of thinking about what Scotland has to offer?
In 2017, Rough Guides ruled that Scotland was the most beautiful country in the world. Up against other countries such as Peru, Croatia and Switzerland, Rough Guide readers voted that Scotland’s beauty was superior to them all.
Surprising? Yes, Scotland’s dreary weather can sometimes seem never-ending, but in its wake, we are left with luscious fields of green and rolling hills decorated by large swaths of forest. Our rich history has left us with a tapestry of iconic destinations, such as Edinburgh Castle, Eilean Donan Castle, and even Stirling’s very own castle and Wallace Monument. Our expansive coastline means that there are countless beaches to wander along and admire.
All in all, Scotland has a lot of views that won’t fail to impress, and maybe it’s time to update your feed if you want some inspiration on where to go next!
Here are just a few names to acquaint yourself with on your mission:
Ali Horne @ali.horne
Boasting 109 thousand followers, Horne’s feed currently displays rich hues of orange and blue, his work perfectly displaying the range of photographic opportunities that Scotland offers. Horne was driven to pursue photography thanks to Glaswegian photographer Colin Prior and his photography-loving mum, who gifted him his first camera.
Although Horne studied marketing at university, his talents have seen his “unexpected” career in photography taking off.
“Having grown up on the west coast of Scotland, I love this area of the country the most with its diverse mountain ranges and beautiful islands. The likes of Glen Coe and the Isle of Skye are popular but for good reason and are great places to explore the outdoors and enjoy nature. I also really enjoy going to Perthshire in the autumn time with the change of colours.“
What are some of your favourite technical tips for other photographers?
“The rule of thirds is quite a standard practice when you ask someone about a photography technique, but it can be really important to understand and know of when first starting. Composing an image around the four main areas of a picture helps frame a shot much more clearly, making you learn about your work and what you are shooting.
There is another famous phrase used that says ’The best camera is the one you have on you’. No matter where you are, always bring something with you that you can use, whether that is your phone, compact camera or DSLR. Being able to capture a certain scene or moment on the spot can sometimes be your favourite photo, when you are least expecting it.
Another good tip is to always have some form of tripod with you, especially if you are shooting early or late at night, to avoid blurry photos!”
Dan Munro @danscotland_
Munro’s pictures promise a moody, mysterious atmosphere. Inspired by previously mentioned Ali Horne, Munro also looks to Max Rive and Peter McKinnon for inspiration. With more than 16,000 followers, Munro follower count only seems to keep growing.
A lot of my inspiration really comes just from the Scottish Landscape itself. I never started taking photos first before exploring. I did a lot of hiking and walking way before I took a camera with me. And that’s where my passion for this awesome Scottish scenery comes from.
Munro credits Glencoe’s “incredibly dramatic scenery” for being one of his favourite areas, as well as Perthshire in the autumn, Ullapool and Achmelvich.
How did you first get into photography?
I used to walk up the same hill behind my house most nights in summer in highschool. And I just had a really old iPhone I used to take with me. And as the sun would set, I would mess about and try to capture it on the phone. That is where it all started for me.
Hamish Morrison @hamishmorrison
A Skye-based photographer, Morrison takes full advantage of one of the most stunning landscapes that Scotland has to offer. Truly something to drool over, Morrison will make you wish you were in Skye with one upload. As well as citing old-school Scottish mountaineering shots as inspiration, Morrison names fellow Instagram users Alex Strohl, Benjamin Hardman and “really anybody that is able to achieve a uniqueness in documenting their lives and the world around them.”
Where are your favourite areas in Scotland to photograph?
Skye is always the top of that list. Not just because it’s where I’m based but because of its diversity of landscapes within a relatively small area. From tall and jagged mountains to an incredible coastline, it just has it all. Following close behind would be areas such as the infamous Glencoe and the vastness of the North West, the Sutherland and Assynt areas are a true depiction of how wild Scotland can be.
Advice for other photographers:
Focus on story and composition and try to avoid being generic, try not to take an image because you’ve seen someone else take the same one – look for new angles and new perspectives, it’ll make you stand out from the crowd. Most of all just stick at it, if it’s something you want to pursue, then just keep shooting, enjoy it and improvement will come.
Matthew Foster @matthew.foster85
Foster only has 15 posts to his name, and yet so far, his account guarantees consistently brilliant shots. Chris Burkard, Tom Khaler, Jack Antsey and Giulia Gartner are the names that Foster draws inspiration from, pointing to Burkard’s principle that “every photo should tell a story” as something he continuously aspires to do.
A huge fan of Skye, Foster promises “big plans” as a result of future adventures to the island. The North Coast 500 also provides Foster with a lot of material, being so “accessible” for the Inverness-based photographer.
Foster’s father is a wildlife photographer who inspired his son to follow his passion. Although Foster temporarily put his love of photography to the side to pursue sports, he has recently returned to the world of photography and his passion has been rekindled.
Try to shoot at sunrise and sunset because you’ll be blessed with some amazing scenes. Plus, never leave a location early because the weather is bad, try and stay a while because you never know you might just get that perfect shot.
These are just a few of the photographers on Instagram showcasing Scotland for all its natural beauty. The platform sees more and more people displaying their work for the world to admire.
Maybe it’s time to take advantage of the country around you and see what you can do with a camera. Who knows what you might discover.