Meet 'The Collective:' Matt Horspool on Making Your Landscape Photography Unique
By Ellen Clipson - 6 min read
As one of EyeEm's Premium photographers, Matt Horspool's outstanding adventure and travel photography captures the eclectic experiences found when discovering new places. Here are his key tips for make the most out of your travel photography.
Based in Sydney, Australia, Matt’s diverse photographic collection includes aerial photography, underwater shots, and portraits. Having travelled to 46 countries, he has learned the importance of prioritizing professional and creative growth. Here are his insights on how to stay focused and make the most out of every photo opportunity.
Travel Photography Is About Being Ready for the Unexpected
You learn so much more from shooting different styles of photography. That’s how I have lived my life – wanting to learn new things all the time. I try and bring that into my photography so that when I am on the move and there is a photo moment, I have got the skills to capture that style of image.
If it’s a shot that I have planned, particularly night or drone photography, or if I have been to the location before, I know exactly how I am going to edit it. If I’m at a new location, or perhaps the light is unexpectedly good, I’ll be running around frantically and not thinking about the post process. The main things I always take with me, are my two Olympus bodies, lenses (MFT) that range from 7ml all the way up to 300ml (14mm - 600mm 35mm equivalent), a tripod, and a drone.
The excitement of discovering new places is enough to motivate me. Mountains and outdoor landscapes are definitely my preference. But if I am going to the city, it has to be a mega city, something really dense. I love shooting with the zoom and so I rarely shoot wide, unless it’s a close-up and needed, or underwater.
I particularly love shooting in the morning or late evening, when there’s a haze. Sunsets are obviously easier because you’ve been able to scout out the area beforehand, and you’re not running around in the dark. But there is something magical about seeing a sunrise with fewer people around. This makes a huge difference, especially if you’re on tourism campaign, as you want to capture a unique perspective.
I don’t just use the drone as my only camera. I see it as a smaller extension or a different viewpoint. A lot of people just shoot the top down, but I like to use it in a way that people think the shot could have been taken from the top of a mountain.
“If I can pair the story with beautiful images then people are more likely to remember it.”
When it comes to underwater photography, I free dive a lot. As there are no bubbles fish and marine life aren’t scared of you. In a way, you are just like another sea creature. It’s really calming being at the bottom of the seabed, and it’s really incredible at night.
I try and keep things simple because the light works differently underwater as it reflects off everything. In Australia the water visibility is poor, and the particles in the water can make things hard. You have to get quite close or use a very narrow aperture to try and keep things sharp. I might do five dives, and only get two photos that I’ll use.
It’s only been in the last five years or so that I have started taking photos seriously, and therefore I have begun to see cultures and the people differently. Although I haven’t actually been there yet, India has been at the top of my list. In a way, this has influenced how I approach shooting color and people now.
I appreciate history in a way I never had before. I hated history at school but now I have learned about why certain scenes or landscapes are there, and so I can inform other people. If I can pair the story with beautiful images then people are more likely to remember it. So I take the time to talk to the people I meet on my travels and learn more about the history of the area and get a better feeling for the culture. This allows me to approach getting a photo in from an entriely new angle.
I recently did a local tourism campaign in a different state in Australia. The four days involved the most draining and hectic schedule I’d ever had. The weather was really against us, and there was an enormous amount of driving in between each location. It is this trip that taught me the most about managing time, managing my own stress and working with other people.
I tried to focus on getting one really good shot that the brand could use as opposed to my normal running around and getting a million different shots. I had to look for the positives in the bad weather, and how I could use it to bring another element to the shot, rather than see it as an omen.
If I know that I’ve got a big project coming up, I will make sure that I am physically preparing. You are often faced with very long days, sometimes you don’t get to eat good food, or get much sleep. If I am fit, I can cover much more ground. I can carry a heavy backpack with more water, more food, and more camera gear, or I can run between spots if I need to. People often neglect their own health, but as a photographer I have found it’s one of the most importance things if I want to capture the moments that matter.
Matt is part of ‘The Collective’ which showcases EyeEm’s most exciting and upcoming talent. Get a glimpse of their outstanding work here. To see more of Matt’s work, visit his EyeEm Profile or Instagram.