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More Americans than Ever Visiting Scotland: Is it a Photography Haven?

orange setting sun in horizon over sea

We wrote last year about why Edinburgh was such a good spot for your next photography vacation, but it seems the whole country is proving popular for us Americans. 

Just last year, the figures for North American tourists in Scotland were up by 16%, having already been the top international source market measured by number of visits, nights, and financial spend. 

For the last few years, Scotland has been a haven for Americans, many of whom have fallen in love with its vast, green landscapes, its long and mystical history, and, of course, its reputation as the ‘home of golf’! 

We have to admit, we’ve been a little jealous when scrolling through various Instagram vacation posts. In terms of uploading vacation portfolios to our photo book maker, you won’t find any better in terms of sheer beauty, majesty, and mysticism. 

For those who are unsure, though, we’ve compiled a list of the favourite spots we’ve seen, with a few details on why they’re so good and what photography strategies you can try out.

Photograph the Fairy Pools 

One of the most beautiful spots in Scotland has to be the Isle of Skye, renowned for its dramatic sea cliffs, ancient monuments, and amazing natural landmarks. 

One of these landmarks is the Fairy Pools, a spectacular series of crystal-clear pools and waterfalls – which are known to have fairy sightings now and then! For those who like to take long-exposure shots, this is the perfect place to capture a dreamy, ethereal landscape photo, especially during the golden hour when the light is softer and warm.

Experience the Glencoe Glacial Valley

You probably won’t find a more ‘Scottish’ photography opportunity than Glencoe, which is known for its rolling hills, snow-capped mountains, ice-blue glaciers and, of course, moody skies! One of the best spots to photograph here has to be Buachaille Etive Mor, an iconic mountain known as ‘The Great Herdsman of Etive’. 

This is Scotland’s most photographed peak, with its interesting pyramid shape providing you with a great subject to frame your landscape shots. From the River Coupall bridge, you can get a particularly classic composition, including the river as a leading line that rushes all the way up to the peak.

Discover the History of Glasgow

Of course, Scotland isn’t all about wild scenery and vast landscapes – it has a wealth of history that can be found in any of its numerous cities. One of the most popular cities for US tourists – other than Edinburgh – is Glasgow, which has plenty of historic landmarks including Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow University, the Merchant City, and Necropolis. 

If you want to take some atmospheric, eerie Scottish photos, we’d recommend Necropolis as the best spot to visit – especially at night! This is an old Victorian cemetery filled with tombstones, mausoleums, and monuments. It’s also rumoured as a home for an ancient vampire who has a taste for children, but we guess you’ll find out about that when you visit!

Take a Swing at St Andrews

We mentioned before that Scotland is known as the ‘home of golf’, so if you’re into the sport, you can’t miss an opportunity to visit the Old Course at St Andrews. This is the oldest golf course in the world, with loads of challenges for both golfers and photographers alike. 

One of the best things about it is that it's situated right on the coastline of St Andrews, which means there are breathtaking views of the North Sea that juxtapose with the emerald green fairways. Iconic landmarks can also be utilised as subjects, including the Swilcan Bridge and the Old Course Hotel. Once again, this is a great spot for long-exposure photography, with options for a wide-angle lens and some intricate, detailed close-up shots – especially the Swilcan Bridge, which oozes history from every crevice!

Find the Monster at Loch Ness

The last location on our list has to be Loch Ness, home of the infamous Loch Ness Monster! While we’re not sure whether you’ll find an ancient plesiosaur living in the water, what you are bound to find is a great photography opportunity, especially from the banks of Urquhart Castle. 

This is a picturesque castle ruin located on the shores of Loch Ness, making it a fantastic subject for the surrounding landscape. Using the natural lines and shapes of the castle ruins, you can lead the viewer’s eye along the castle and out toward the loch, experimenting with various angles to include reflections or incorporate the castle’s intricate details. Who knows? Maybe you will spot the monster while framing your shot. But either way, you’ll be left with a great photograph!


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