Skye Commercial Photography Is The PR Person’s Friend…

We work with a range of PR companies, all with thrusting, dynamic and positive names ( in fact Thrusting, Dynamic and Positive could all be the name of a PR company. These companies are normally based in big cities like London, New York, Glasgow and Edinburgh, some in all of them. This is great for them because most clients are also in big cities.

However, sometimes they are not. Sometimes the client is on Skye or wants to use our island charms to help their company, product etc. Skye is a PR kinda’ island after all. Picturesque, recognizable and oh, so achingly Instagramable. That can be a step into strange and alien land for big city PR folk.

Once the companies based in all the far away big cities have been in touch with the “local” photographers based in Scottish cities (the nearest is almost a hundred miles away…) looking for an hour somewhere on the island they get in touch with us, real local photographers who can be at the Quirang at 7:30 in the morning without setting off at 2am or having to add anywhere between couple of hundred to five hundred  extra quid for accomodation to their hourly rate (if they are lucky enough to be able to book somewhere, indeed anywhere at short notice (it is an almost universal given of PR commissions that everything is last minute). It is Skye after all. The second most popular destination in Scotland. An excellent piece of PR and branding work).

The PR agency and their client have an idea of what they want and how to make that happen but they don’t know how things work here. Everything is that little bit different on the Isle of Skye.

One major advantage of a local photographer is local knowledge. We have a Plan B, C or D ready to roll. A second, third or even fourth alternative venue up our sleeve. We know people who can save the day. When the poo heads fanward we are there to either move the fan or step in at the last moment with a bag to catch the poo.

It can be the little things like asking the client what phone network they are on. PR folk live on their phones. It’s very rural here with mountains and the like getting in the way of mobile signals. Certain areas favour certain networks.  If their phone doesn’t work the PR person’s functionality suffers.

Knowing where does an excellent coffee or can cater for a large group for lunch at short notice. How to find the best location for a shoot that doesn’t take all day or guides to get to. Knowing when is best to catch a certain place or view looking at it’s most spectacular. All this and much more comes under the heading of local knowledge and it’s why having a local photographer can be a life or career saver.

Being able to answer questions like:

“Is it always like this?”

“When does it stop raining?”

and “Are the midges always this bad?”

with a cheery,


“Almost never”

and “Yes”

is always helpful.

The initial contact is quite often an Instagram message. Sometimes an email. You rarely speak to someone. There are a few possible reasons for this:

It’s the 21st century and that is how folk work nowadays.

It’s a lot quicker and easier.

The PR coal face is almost entirely worked by bright young things who are quick witted, highly qualified and very enthusiastic who prefer not to talk on phones if they can help it. They also come and go with frightening speed. If conversations are protracted you can go through a selections of Tabethas, Mileses, Emilys and Jonathons before a camera is pointed. To those of us who are lengthy of tooth Logan’s Run is brought to mind. I imagine they reach a certain age then the crystal starts to flash and it’s time to move. Emails are auto replied saying it’s been such a pleasure to work with you but to contact Amanda or Will for the rest of our journey.

There could be another reason for the almost entirely written communication. It could be that they are reticent to have a bash at pronouncing local place names. There are a few that can be problematic to people not used to the nuances of the Gaelic. Even on the island there are endless argument among locals about how to say stuff so what chance has a London/Glasgow/Edinburgh/New York person?

Actual audible realtime conversations usually only happen when one side gets a bit frustrated by the other. This normally has something to do with geography.

At some point there will be a plan about, for example, being somewhere at a certain time and being being somewhere else soon after. There is then some confusion when I say something along the lines of, and I am paraphrasing hugely,


Which brings about a (paraphrasing again),


“Can’t happen”

“Oh, but we have wonderful plans that rely on this happening…”

It at this point one of us phones the other and the conversation pings back and forth with things like:

“Clients needing to be somewhere else immediately after the shoot,”

“That’s when the crofter will be moving his sheep so the road will be blocked,”

“Having to be in Edinburgh for an important vote,”

“Single track roads,”

“That’s when the *insert any number of things* is being delivered,”

“Who by? They normally deliver in the afternoon…. a couple of days after you expect.”

“That’s when we can get the ship/boat/helicopter/unique and expensive McGuffin,”

“Lambing season,”

“Client cannot be exposed to even a single midge as they look like a leper when bitten by one!”

“But you are doing this in July at dawn/dusk”

And so on.

Sometimes I feel like I am the deliverer of doom but usually the client gets that I am trying to help. Usually.

PR folk are supremely pragmatic and adaptable which is an enormous help. Plans that moments ago were set in stone are ruthlessly lobbed out the window and a Plan B is quickly replaces it. There will be a flurry of Whatsapp messages and and a whole new reality is in place. The ability at that point to be able to adapt seamlessly to that new world order is uniquely a local talent that has saved many a PR person’s bacon. It’s what we are here for.

Sometimes just being positive, cheery and helpful when people are out of their comfort zone is enough to make a shoot run smoothly. Creative stuff should always be fun. Everything goes better when smiles are on faces. Though sometimes walking about with a big idiot grin on your face spouting a don’t-worry-be-happy mantra when the shit has managed to conclusively interface with the fan can be at best disconcerting and at worse unhelpful. It’s a fine line…

3 x 1 Group


Littlehouse Media

Frame Creates

Muckle Media

Taste Communications

Get in Touch…