Interview With Chris McLennan

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Chris McLennan is a New Zealand based commercial travel photographer servicing clients all over the globe. With over 50 different countries on his list of shoot locations, his images and stories bring the world just that little bit closer for us
Interview by Tiffany Reed Briley

Hey Chris! It’s so nice to meet you! To get us started, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in the south island of New Zealand and I have been working as a full time travel photographer for 28 years.  My work sees me shooting everything from landscapes to cultures and wildlife. I also photograph adventure sports in a variety of locations around the globe. In addition, I host photo tours in the South Island for photographers.

Where was the last place you photographed?


The last place I photographed was the Noosa Festival of Surfing in Australia for Tourism Queensland. This was an amazing event featuring all types of surfing including tandem acrobatics and dog surfing.

What was the last image you printed?

The last images I printed at BayPhoto were large aluminium landscape prints which are displayed in a store in Vail, Colorado. They ranged from 20x28 to 30x40 inches in size.

What’s your next goal for your photographic journey?

My goal for my photographic journey is to continue to evolve my work and share my passion with others. I will also be expanding my use of drones to create new angles and mix up the way we look at things.

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What inspires you to photograph?

I am constantly inspired by the world around us and all of its treasures. I love being able to capture the world through my own eyes and to share this with others. I believe everyone sees things differently and the constant challenge is to share my vision with others. My goal is to hopefully inspire others to appreciate the beauty of our planet and the need to look after it!

Interview With Chris McLennan

If we looked inside your bag, what gear would we find?

This varies dependent on the shoot. Normally I have with me two Nikon D810 camera bodies, a 14-24mm lens, a 24-70mm, a 70-200mm f/2.8, a 300mm f/4 and a 20mm.  I also carry two SB 500 speedlites. There are also a selection of filters in my bag along with bungy cords, velcro tape and when gearing up to travel for a long haul, a trusty bottle of Tabasco sauce to help out the airline food.

Do you have a favorite location that you love to go back to?

Yes, I have several favorite locations – my homeland of New Zealand, Alaska and Africa, but there are so many. 

If you had to define your style or approach to photography, how would you do that?
I have developed my own style over the years, I have had no formal training so everything that I do has been learnt first hand. I rarely look at tutorials or photography sites and prefer to create my images my way. I try to keep up with technology and I also enjoy developing my own unique ways of shooting and viewing the world.

Interview With Chris McLennan

Where will your travels take you next?

My next six months involve contracts in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Alaska, West Virginia, Africa and the Maldives.

What advice would you give to those who are just starting out in photography?

Stay true to yourself. Follow your dreams and don't let anyone tell you it can't be done. Most importantly, however, if you want to survive as a professional, then you must be one. You have to deliver good service, quality and make sure you are paid a fair price. Discounting and undercutting is the main downfall of people starting out. This can lead to getting initial work but quite often it leaves you not being able to afford to continue on your journey.

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