Top 10 tips for a photography trip in Scotland

Mo Thomson

Contributor
Staff member
In addition to taking the right camera gear with you, here are 10 things you should consider when planning a photography trip in Scotland.

Wellies / waterproof boots​

When going on a photo trip, you might not plan on going off the beaten track into peaty bogs or watery situations, but if you follow you photography instincts, you can soon be caught out getting wet feet when in pursuit of photo.
It's best to wear wellies on the beach if you are walking along the waters edge, or you WILL get caught out, wet cold wet feet are never a good thing.
You can also dip into the water to get closer to the wave action.

Midge nets / midge spray​

Midges can really spoil any trip in Scotland, especially if you venture out around sunset or sunrise time, the wee blighters love coming out then.
Some areas are worse than others, especially the West coast, but if you have to venture out in from May to September, then come prepared with a midge net and apply some midge spray to exposed areas.
I tend to use a wee bit of Smidge spray on hands, wrists, ankles, around the neck and some applied around the face, but avoid getting it in your eyes and mouth.
If midges are spoiling the party, then try to keep moving, as they will detect the CO2 in your breathe and come for you if you stand around.
A good Scottish breeze will also keep the wee blighters at bay.
After a shoot, it's worth checking yourself over for ticks, especially if you are walking through vegetation areas with long grass.

Gloves / scarf / hat / snoot​

Scotland isn't known for it's warm climate, so always pack some items to keep you warm when out and about, you can leave them in the car if not required, but it's nice to have the option of layering up.
I currently use Sealskinz gloves, they keep my hands warm and dry, but still allow me to pop my index finger or thumbs out for camera controls and using my phone screen.
I prefer a snoot to a scarf, as they keep your next and chin warm and can go even higher to protect your face if getting blasted with snow or hail.

Thermals / Waterproof jacket / overtrousers​

For the coldest weather, wear some cosy thermal long johns underneath your normal trousers, but make sure you remove them when heading back indoors, otherwise you will get really warm.
You won't be taking many photos in the rain, but waterproof overtrousers are great when waiting for the rain to stop, as you will keep dry.
A good waterproof jacket is a great investment, I got mine at a local marina, if it's good enough for on a boat, it's good enough for me.
The secret to managing the weather is layers that you can add or remove.

Sunglasses​

I use polarised sunglasses, which help protect your eyes a bit more when taking sunrise or sunset photos, but never look directly at the sun.
As I use mirrorless cameras, I can safely look through the viewfinder, so that's what I tend to use, you can't do this with DSLR cameras.
Sunglasses are also useful on a windy beach, as the sand can sting when whipped up by a strong breeze.

Sun cream​

Talking of sun, make sure you have some suncream close to hand, as the sun can be strong in Scotland, especially during the long summer days.
You may not think you will get sunburnt in Scotland, but the sun can be strong.
Make sure you keep the cream off the camera and lenses though.

Drinks / Snacks​

There's a good chance you are going to be off the beaten track for a wee while, so make sure you keep hydrated and pack a couple of snack bars to keep the energy levels up later on.

Speak to the locals​

It's the best way to learn about the area and to find some hidden gems.
It's great to learn about the local way of life and culture.
I always shop locally and use the local cafes, it's a great way to meet some of the locals.

Check the weather​

One of the benefits of a Scottish climate is the ever changing weather.
Unless there is a high pressure parked overhead, the weather is likely to be very changeable at short notice.
I use Meteoradar to check the rain and ClearOutside to check the visibility and the likelyhood of cloud, rain and wind

Useful apps​

Check the local area beforehand using Google Earth / Google Maps / Street View
It's worth using programs like The Photographers Ephermis or Photopills to check sun / moon angles.

So that's my top 10 tips to plan ahead for a photography trip in Scotland, I hope it's of use to you.
I will be doing a blog post in future about apps and how to get some interesting camera angles with the sun and moon and objects in the sky.

Please sign up if you want to see my top 10 photo locations in North West Scotland.

round_the_bend.jpg
 
Last edited:

davidclapp

Active member
Premium Subscriber
In addition to taking the right camera gear with you, here are 10 things you should consider when planning a photography trip in Scotland.

Wellies / waterproof boots​

When going on a photo trip, you might not plan on going off the beaten track into peaty bogs or watery situations, but if you follow you photography instincts, you can soon be caught out getting wet feet when in pursuit of photo.
It's best to wear wellies on the beach if you are walking along the waters edge, or you WILL get caught out, wet cold wet feet are never a good thing.
You can also dip into the water to get closer to the wave action.

Midge nets / midge spray​

Midges can really spoil any trip in Scotland, especially if you venture out around sunset or sunrise time, the wee blighters love coming out then.
Some areas are worse than others, especially the West coast, but if you have to venture out in from May to September, then come prepared with a midge net and apply some midge spray to exposed areas.
I tend to use a wee bit of Smidge spray on hands, wrists, ankles, around the neck and some applied around the face, but avoid getting it in your eyes and mouth.
If midges are spoiling the party, then try to keep moving, as they will detect the CO2 in your breathe and come for you if you stand around.
A good Scottish breeze will also keep the wee blighters at bay.
After a shoot, it's worth checking yourself over for ticks, especially if you are walking through vegetation areas with long grass.

Gloves / scarf / hat / snoot​

Scotland isn't known for it's warm climate, so always pack some items to keep you warm when out and about, you can leave them in the car if not required, but it's nice to have the option of layering up.
I currently use Sealskinz gloves, they keep my hands warm and dry, but still allow me to pop my index finger or thumbs out for camera controls and using my phone screen.
I prefer a snoot to a scarf, as they keep your next and chin warm and can go even higher to protect your face if getting blasted with snow or hail.

Thermals / Waterproof jacket / overtrousers​

For the coldest weather, wear some cosy thermal long johns underneath your normal trousers, but make sure you remove them when heading back indoors, otherwise you will get really warm.
You won't be taking many photos in the rain, but waterproof overtrousers are great when waiting for the rain to stop, as you will keep dry.
A good waterproof jacket is a great investment, I got mine at a local marina, if it's good enough for on a boat, it's good enough for me.
The secret to managing the weather is layers that you can add or remove.

Sunglasses​

I use polarised sunglasses, which help protect your eyes a bit more when taking sunrise or sunset photos, but never look directly at the sun.
As I use mirrorless cameras, I can safely look through the viewfinder, so that's what I tend to use, you can't do this with DSLR cameras.
Sunglasses are also useful on a windy beach, as the sand can sting when whipped up by a strong breeze.

Sun cream​

Talking of sun, make sure you have some suncream close to hand, as the sun can be strong in Scotland, especially during the long summer days.
You may not think you will get sunburnt in Scotland, but the sun can be strong.
Make sure you keep the cream off the camera and lenses though.

Drinks / Snacks​

There's a good chance you are going to be off the beaten track for a wee while, so make sure you keep hydrated and pack a couple of snack bars to keep the energy levels up later on.

Speak to the locals​

It's the best way to learn about the area and to find some hidden gems.
It's great to learn about the local way of life and culture.
I always shop locally and use the local cafes, it's a great way to meet some of the locals.

Check the weather​

One of the benefits of a Scottish climate is the ever changing weather.
Unless there is a high pressure parked overhead, the weather is likely to be very changeable at short notice.
I use Meteoradar to check the rain and ClearOutside to check the visibility and the likelyhood of cloud, rain and wind

Useful apps​

Check the local area beforehand using Google Earth / Google Maps / Street View
It's worth using programs like The Photographers Ephermis or Photopills to check sun / moon angles.

So that's my top 10 tips to plan ahead for a photography trip in Scotland, I hope it's of use to you.
I will be doing a blog post in future about apps and how to get some interesting camera angles with the sun and moon and objects in the sky.

Please sign up if you want to see my top 10 photo locations in North West Scotland.

View attachment 345
This picture is very reminiscent of a classic American wilderness picture. I can’t remember exactly where, something like Snake River in Yellowstone. S-bend river to a distant mountain
 

My first hands on with the Sony A7Siii camera

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