Great Landscape Photography Locations in Scotland
Published: Thu Feb 24
The Scottish Highlands are an increasingly popular tourist destination, and with the power of smartphones, capturing its beauty has never been easier for tourists and locals alike. With more and more amateur and professional photographers using social media as their online photography portfolio, the team at Happy Tours thought we'd lend you our expert opinion on the best landscape photography locations in the Scottish Highlands. Whether you're an avid instagrammer in search of aesthetic spots for a selfie, or a professional photographer scouting for shoot locations, read on for our top 5 great landscape photography locations in Scotland—plus some honourable mentions.
1. Glenfinnan Viaduct
Lets face it, this iconic railway bridge is a must see when visiting the Scottish Highlands for landscape photography. Whether you attribute it to the Harry Potter films or not, there is something captivating about the viaduct and its surrounding environment. Completed in 1901, the Glenfinnan Viaduct demonstrates the skilful work of late-nineteenth-century civil engineers. With its grand arches and columns forged of concrete, the sweeping curvature of the illustrious viaduct makes for stunning Scottish Highlands landscape photography. If you time it right, you can even capture the trains which pass over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, including the Jacobite Steam Train. The active West Highland Railway Line, of which the Glenfinnan Viaduct forms a part, connects western Scotland from Glasgow to Fort William, and on to Mallaig. At the time of its creation, this line made the difficult journey across mountainous terrain much more accessible.
For photographers the Glenfinnan Viaduct offers a dramatic and picturesque backdrop featuring rolling hills and clusters of deep green woodland. Purple heather and the burgundy exterior of the Jacobite steam train offer natural colour contrast against the earthy greens and browns which dominate the landscape. The repetition of the viaduct’s tall arches mimic the undulations of the natural environment around it. Such an earthy colour palette and dramatic curvature make for, in our opinion, the top pick for Scottish Highlands landscape photography. Why not bring your camera along on a Glenfinnan Viaduct and Great Glen Tour with Happy Tours?
2. The Old Man of Storr
The Isle of Skye is home to a whole host of great landscape photography locations. However, to narrow it down to the very best, we’ve opted to feature The Old Man of Storr and Fairy Pools. Both locations, accessible on a Happy Tours Isle of Skye Tour, are testament to the profound beauty that can be found all across the Isle of Skye.
The Old Man of Storr, found near Portree on the Isle of Skye, is popular not only with photographers, but with hill walkers and hikers too. The route to these interesting rock formations is an uphill one, with high likelihood of encountering mud along the way. On a misty day, your view of the Old Man may be limited, so plan your trip by checking the weather before setting off. For photographers, a waterproof camera bag is highly recommended; conditions on the west coast are changeable. That said, assuming you avoid low-lying mist over the Old Man of Storr, the opportunities for Scottish Highlands landscape photography are fantastic. Whether you want pictures of the rock formations up-close or a more classic view over the surrounding water and hills with a higher vantage point, Happy Tours highly recommends a visit to the Isle of Skye, and the Old Man of Storr in particular.
3. Fairy Pools
Our second pick from the Isle of Skye is Fairy Pools, which can be found beneath the Cuillin Hills. The pools get their intriguing name from local legend, wherein Chief of the Clan MacLeod married a fairy. To this day it is said that fairies and mystical creatures are attracted to the green and blue luminescent water found there.
While this natural attraction is a popular choice for hill walking and wild swimming, its mountainous backdrop and lush blue water makes it ideal subject matter for Scottish Highlands landscape photography too. Capturing the flowing water at the pools is an opportunity for photographers to try out long exposure shots with shutter speed adjustments. The short waterfalls filling the pools are framed with rugged rock faces, moss, and a touch of purple heather. And unlike the Old Man of Storr, we think the mystical Fairy Pools look extra atmospheric with a touch of mist over the Cuillin mountains. While dull weather might dampen you, it certainly won’t detract from your chances of great landscape photography here.
4. Glen Coe
Another treasure of Scottish Highlands landscape photography known for its stint in the Harry Potter films and being the home of mountaineering in Scotland, is Glen Coe. A trip here offers a treasure trove of photographic possibility as well as the chance for plenty adventuring. However, a particular favourite landscape photography location of ours can be found at the entrance to Glen Coe featuring Black Rock Cottage. This charming black and white cottage on the edge of Glen Coe’s magnificent slopes, offers accommodation to climbers and hill walkers on their expeditions. It’s isolation amid such a vast landscape is a touching reminder of nature’s supremacy and recalls a primitive Scotland. We highly recommend a visit to Glen Coe with your camera if you’re a keen explorer willing to search high and low for that perfect photograph.
Kintail, but specifically, the Five Sisters of Kintail, is our fifth pick for great landscape photography locations in the Scotland. The interestingly shaped peaks along the Glen Shiel mountain range are a great feature for photographers to exploit in their images. With Loch Duich at the foot of these impressive mountains, photographers can play with reflections for an even greater sense of drama. The strong horizontality of this stretch of mountains, combined with the sharp vertical projections of mountain ridges and surrounding trees, are exciting compositional features for photographers to explore on a trip to the Five Sisters. Visit the Five Sisters on the way to the Isle of Skye with Happy Tours’ Isle of Skye Tour.
Narrowing the great landscape photography locations in Scotland down to just 5 was difficult, so here are a few honourable mentions we couldn’t neglect to mention.
The colourful Tobermory, located on the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides, is a great location for those landscape photographers seeking bold colours and quaint village architecture. The rainbow coloured houses lining the shore of Mull’s capital make for some of the most effortlessly bold Scottish Highlands landscape photography.
The Fyrish Monument
Found on Fyrish Hill near Alness, the Fyrish Monument is an eighteenth century trio of arched gateways inspired by The Gates of Negapatam in Madras, India. The monument is a stunning subject for photographers when accompanied by a sunset, story clouds, or snow laden background. Visit the Fyrish Monument and Tobermory on a personalised private tour with Happy Tours.
For photographers wanting to capture all these stunning Scottish Highlands landscape photography locations and more, the team at Happy Tours can accommodate you and your camera. To see the Old Man of Storr, Fairy Pools, and Kintail all in one spectacular photography day trip, join Happy Tours for one of our Isle of Skye Tours. To see the Glenfinnan Viaduct, Happy Tours offer a dedicated Glenfinnan Viaduct and Great Glen Tour. For close up views of Glencoe and any other sights you’d like on a personalised itinerary, contact Happy Tours to arrange your own private tour. We hope to see you and your camera in our tour bus soon!