• THE PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY TO SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS WITH MATT BUCKLEY

    June 1, 2022

    Matt Buckley is a digital creative with a track record of delivering high quality content for a range of clients across a number of sectors including lifestyle, travel and outdoor leisure. Working alongside brands to develop a unique and eye-catching visual style, Matt predominantly shoots content with the story at the forefront, whether it be photos or video to engage the audience and develop a unique connection with the brand. His work has been used extensively across his client’s social channels and Matt has also shot a cover for the Telegraph Magazine on behalf of the Highland Liquor Company. Most at home in the mountains and wilderness, Matt tends to collaborate with brands that have nature and adventure at their core and he shoots content that enables brands to clearly communicate their values to their customers.

    Matt Buckley 

    I’ve been on many trips to the Scottish Highlands over the past years, it’s a place that I am incredibly fond of and a huge contrast to where I spend most of my time; the outskirts of London. It’s something about the landscape that inspires me; it’s bleak, rugged and unforgiving but it just feels right. On this particular trip, I was heading up to shoot for a number of clients. I brought a huge variety of kit to cover all eventualities and locations; I’d be shooting on the water, fancy restaurants and up 3000ft mountains. I primarily shoot for brands in the outdoor leisure and luxury goods sectors and the highlands of Scotland make a great backdrop for these kinds of shoots. I was joined by 2 of my close friends and girlfriend; we’ve all known each for years and its always great when we go on a trip together. 

    The biggest challenge when shooting in mountainous areas is always the weather; one minute it can be bright sunshine, the next the cloud has dropped and the rain has set in. Maximising your time for the conditions is a skill in itself but it all stems from being organised. Making sure the cameras are always charged and cards always clear so that when a window of good weather appears, you can get out and capitalise of it rather than rushing about trying to find a charged battery or discovering your memory card is full from a previous shoot. Reading and interpreting weather forecasts is also a useful skill when operation in mountain environments; even if it only provides a vague idea of what the weather might be, it can save a lot of time when planning and make sure you don’t get into difficulty out on the hills!

    I’ve always found it’s difficult to convey the size of the mountains and the general location, so I always find including a person in the shot gives the viewer a point of reference to begin to appreciate the scale of the environment. As my work has transitioned from personal photos to more commercial shoots, I find my focus changing from holiday pictures to seeking out the most unique angles to give my content the edge in an increasingly crowded world. Everyone loves to see the view but now I am thinking about the tight, detail orientated shots alongside capturing stunning vistas to provide the client set of versatile and striking assets. 

    I normally always shoot using a zoom lens, but on this trip I found myself more and more reaching for a prime whether it be a 50mm or 85mm. Whilst a zoom is great for capturing everything from wide angle to telephoto, it often becomes the easy way out and I was finding I wasn’t pushing myself creatively. Using a prime forces you to seek out the unique angles and shoot in a way that was new to me and I found myself really enjoying the process of using a prime. I was forced to really think about my composition and framing more which was really refreshing. It was made easier by having the ability to carry a range of lenses in my f-stop Ajna pack so I didn’t have to worry about ever missing a shot because I didn’t have the right lens. 

    I would describe my visual style as quite spontaneous, I don’t like to overly plan my shoots down to individual shots. Obviously if the client is wanting a specific shot I will engineer the situation to give me the best angles etc, but I much prefer to leave the talent to interact naturally as I feel this produces much more organic images. I will often have an idea of the kind of shots that I want to capture on a shoot and I will ensure to position myself to get the best opportunity of capturing it but more frequently I find myself providing minimal direction to the talent because the more comfortable they are, the better the end result will be. 

    Whilst I am predominantly a photographer, I also shoot video frequently and I find almost the opposite approach is needed. I will direct much more on a video shoot because you’re capturing a much greater period of time than an image so its much more unlikely that the talent will do exactly what you want without asking. Going forward, I’m looking to further develop my style and portfolio and hopefully work with more brands that share a similar philosophy. I’m also looking forward to travelling a bit more as the world begins to open up again post COVID.

    You can check Matt's work on his Instagram and Website.

    linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram