CAPTIVATING SCOTLAND… Seen through the eyes of a photographer



Scotland Seen Through The Eyes Of A Photographer

Take a photography holiday in Scotland and follow in the footsteps of some of Scotland's best photographers to discover what ticks their boxes

Written by: Linda Jackson

Royal Mile Edinburgh © Chris Robson

Superb golf courses, great fishing, quality whisky, vibrant tartans, Aberdeen Angus, shortbread, bagpipes, kilts, haggis and Highland cows… are just a few of Scotland’s world-famous assets.

There’s the effervescent Fringe event, the renowned Military Tattoo, lively Hogmanay celebrations, and myriad Scottish castles... the list of attractions luring visitors to Scotland is endless.

But for many the country offers far more meaningful, more mesmerising, awe-inspiring reasons to return time after time to holiday in Scotland.

Captivating reasons you can’t touch, wear, eat, drink, or dance to: namely unbelievably spectacular landscapes, seascapes, vast skies, clarity of light, and sense of space. 

With so much natural beauty in Scotland it’s no wonder it is home to many professional photographers.


Rubha Hunish © Marcus McAdam

It just takes a five-minute chat to a landscape or wildlife photographer in Scotland before inspiration and creativity sets in with a bang: you want to dash off immediately with camera in hand. Whether you go it alone or enrol on a Scottish photography tour; have one-to-one photography tutoring; take a photographic workshop in Scotland, or hire a photographer’s hide in Scotland, cherished memories of your holiday are guaranteed to be captured in images that won’t fade over time.

Marcus McAdam

Marcus McAdam

Landscape photographer Marcus McAdam is based in the Isle of Skye; on his doorstep is a kaleidoscope of landscapes that take your breath away.

Not tied to a geographical location when he returned from working in China he chose to settle on the Isle of Skye: its vast variety of landscapes proved irresistible.

“You don’t have to go far to satisfy your creative side” Marcus says. “Skye is a geographically small place on a global scale, but it’s blessed with so many beautiful landscapes, beaches and mountains; you can literally walk around a corner and the landscape changes.” Shooting landscapes, Marcus says, is the best way to get to know your camera. With landscape photography people must learn to control the camera to compensate for the light, which they can’t control.

Scotland is blessed with a range of wildlife from badgers, birds of prey and red deer to dolphins, basking sharks, Minke and Orca whales, to name but a few species. The red deer rut in Scotland is a particular draw in autumn: expect lots of noise and, if you’re skilled, spectacular wildlife photographs.

Landscapes don’t move, whereas with wildlife photography you have a fleeting moment to capture that image: a landscape will sit and wait for you, an eagle will not.

Stunning landscape photographs will not be in short supply in Skye: there are dramatic rock formations on the Trotternish Ridge (such as Old Man of Storr); red cliffs of remote Rubha Hunish; and Neist Point lighthouse on its dramatic rocky peninsula. A location with endless options and viewpoints that sends photographers’ creatively wild is The Quiraing, an ever-changing landscape offering 101 different interpretations.

Some techie tips from Marcus include: simplify life with a digital camera by forgetting the automatic buttons plus 90% of the instruction manual content, treat it as a film camera; atmospheric conditions are important so shoot very early morning or at the end of day when the sun is low and shadows are long, it’s the key to good landscape photography. Marcus offers tailor-made tuition, workshops, plus advice and critique services on the Isle of Skye.


Peter Cairns

Peter Cairns

“Expensive cameras do not mean good wildlife photography” says Peter Cairns, award-winning nature and conservation photographer based in the Scottish Highlands:

“It’s quite difficult for anyone to pick up a camera, wander around a forest on a speculative basis and bump into wildlife. You’ve got to be dedicated, willing to put in a high level of commitment: wildlife photography is 80-90% preparation and 10% execution, pressing the button is just a formality.”

To produce the stunning images he does Peter’s patience, dedication and love of nature must be exceptional, his images certainly are.

Although enjoying close encounters with most wildlife, Peter has a particular interest in osprey, white tailed eagles, and red squirrels which he has worked with for 15-16 years.

One of Peter’s favourite images shows what a tough time red squirrels have in blizzardous conditions in Scotland. The photograph was taken from Peter’s purpose-built squirrel photography hide in a pine forest clearing: he also has a crested tit hide. The two hides can be rented combined: red squirrel photography in the morning (best time November-April when their coats are coloured a rich russet), crested tits photography in the afternoon: at the end of day photographers should have an in-depth collection of two Scottish species. A knowledgeable naturalist, Peter offers a range of photography experiences in Scotland.


Chris Robson

Chris Robson

Away from the Scottish Highlands, Edinburgh-based photographer Chris Robson has been interested in buildings and architecture since he was at school.

Architecturally, anything goes, his interest is across the board, from ancient to modern, but he’s captivated by abandoned mansions. 

“Dusk is particularly good for architectural photography, especially if the building is floodlit” Chris says “Choose a building that enables you to create a good composition; light is very important, as are shadows and nightfall is a good time as there’s a little bit of blue left in the sky, but not quite dark.” Creating the composition, light and shadows are all important factors; as is being aware of which way the building faces.

If architecture ticks your photographic boxes then you’ll be in your element in Scotland: you’ll find constructions dating from Neolithic times to modern day; ancient castles, tower houses, Romanesque style churches, Victorian botanical glasshouses, Palladian style houses, unusual contemporary buildings, and ‘Glasgow-style’ buildings designed by Scotland’s most noteworthy architect – Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Some of Chris Robson’s favourite Edinburgh photographs include the Scottish Parliament, the Edinburgh skyline, the Royal Mile, Usher Hall with its modern extension, and the Bank of Scotland Headquarters, The Mound. The Riverside Museum and Doulton Fountain and People’s Palace are favourite Glasgow subjects.


Keith Fergus

Keith Fergus

Don’t dismiss any time of day, advises landscape photographer and writer Keith Fergus who lives on Glasgow’s outskirts.

“Make the most of the time you have. Get up early, stay out late: you’ll get more form, textures, shadows, much more clarity and see a lot further. During bright summer days head to the coast when skies are blue and big and the sea powerful, and when light is flat in autumn head into woodland; in spring search out wild flowers.”

Using a tripod is a ‘must’, you’ll be more creative and can concentrate on the photo (and not worry about your stance) is one of Keith’s techie tips. Get away from automatic mode and you make the decision on exposure, aperture, and point of focus. Buy a hot shoe spirit level too - it saves so much time; and spend one-to-one time with a professional photographer, you’ll learn a lot.

Macro subjects Keith really enjoys. “With macro photography, make sure the composition is correct, even if the subject is just a leaf you’ve still got to try and throw the viewer into that picture. Think about colours, focussing and exposure; it’s critical.”

Mountains and coasts are Keith’s favourite hunting grounds for images. One of his favourites was taken at Loch Lochy, a scenic location 15 miles north of Fort William. He became more intrigued with a boat the longer he spent there and, although he had been concentrating on wider loch and mountain landscapes, when he used a longer lens and honed in on the boat cutting out all the sky, the orange and gold background colours burst to the fore creating a striking contrast with the black boat. It pays to be creative… it has its rewards. As for photographing lochs: there are tens of thousands in Scotland, so no shortage of material.

Keith organises one day workshops in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Arran, and around Loch Lomond & the Trossachs, as well as along the Ayrshire, Galloway and East Lothian coastlines.


Tim Winterburn

Tim Winterburn

The best investment in photography you can ever hope to make is booking a tutoring session with a photographer whose style you really like.

That is the advice of landscape, outdoor sports, and commercial photographer Tim Winterburn who also loves photographing people in the middle of nowhere, people in the environment generally, and especially during the Caledonian Challenge, a charity event. Tim is based near Inverness and has a goody bag full of photography tips for us amateurs: Try and recce where you are going to photograph in advance and go back at different times of day and year, the angle of the sun has an absolutely massive play on even things like sunsets.

For serious landscape photography get in position before the light; in good time; be ready; and predict what you think might happen. Eliminate distractions; make sure there is one thing that is clearly the focal point of the image. Everyone is guilty of being too cautious with getting in close; it’s really easy to err on the side of caution and leave in too much information. Don’t waste too much money on a camera body; invest instead in good lenses.

“Most of all I love to shoot the west coast and the whole of northern Scotland in particular: the light is the best in northern Europe; there are no buildings to get in the way, contrast and colours are just phenomenal without parallel, particularly on the west coast because it’s so remote, mountains are sharp and jagged”.  Tim has some great shots in his photo library; one of his favourites was taken at Findhorn where, purely by chance, he captured a striking image of an abnormally pink sky above a beach cloaked in snow. The intriguing pink sky lasted just two minutes.


Seeing Scotland through the eyes of a photographer is great, following in their footsteps even better...

Going home with a portfolio of spectacular images is rewarding, submitting an entry into our photographic competition could be even more so… get inspired, get creative, and get rewarded.

Use our luxury hotels in Scotland as a base for photography holidays

For a variety of landscape images of Scotland or photographs of Scottish islands, ride on The Royal Scotsman train and take a cruise around the Scottish Highlands and Islands with MV Hebridean Princess.

To capture stunning images of Skye in all its glory, stay at our luxury hotels on the Isle of Skye or the Western Highlands – Inverlochy, Airds Hotel and Kinloch Lodge

For photographs of Scotland’s cities stay in our luxury hotels in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and near Aberdeen consider The Edinburgh Sheraton; Hotel du Vin at One Devonshire in Glasgow and The Marcliffe near Aberdeen.

Images of rolling countryside can be captured by staying at our luxury hotels in East Lothian and Perthshire – Greywalls, Gleneagles and

To photograph seascapes stay at our luxury hotels such as Knockinaam Lodge in Ayrshire, Crinan in Argyll and The Old Course Hotel St Andrews in Fife.

Picturesque lochs can be photographed by staying at our Inverlochy , Rocpool Reserve and Pool House.

Luxury Scotland
Tel: +44(0)1786 821 860 
Fax: +44 (0)1383 825 700

become a fan on facebook   follow us on twitter   google +


LUXURY SCOTLAND and the Roundel are registered
trade marks of Connoisseurs Scotland Limited.