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From Photo to Print, Sean Scott on the Beauty of Our Own Backyard

Sean Scott has been traversing Australia in search of the perfect photograph for more than 20 years. From the far beaches of Western Australia to the driest routes of the central desert, Sean explores them all in his trusty 4x4 which drags a trailer stacked full of Canon RF lenses and cameras.

Across 2020, Sean was confined to his home state of Queensland, and he used the opportunity to capture the morning swells at Burleigh Heads, turning these moments into stunning prints in his nearby studio for locals to enjoy and purchase in his gallery. With the support of Tourism Australia, Sean also hit the road touring South-East Queensland to show his fellow Queenslanders the beauty of their own backyard and places to explore after months of isolation.

We caught Sean fresh off the road to chat about his career as a photographer, his favourite Aussie locations to capture, and his aspirations for the year to come.

How has your personal story shaped the work you do today?
I have always loved to show people things and places, and from a young age I found photography the best way to do this. I have had my own gallery in Burleigh Heads for 17 years and I am fortunate to be an ambassador for Tourism Australia, which means I get to spend a lot of the year touring around Australia capturing images.

What sparked your career in photography?
I got started in photography while I was working full time as an electrician. People started taking a lot of interest in my work, so I started selling my prints at local markets. Everything just grew from there. Three years after starting my market stall, I left my full-time job to follow my passion for photography and have not looked back since.

What's your go-to Canon kit for the road?
I carry a lot of gear with me on the road to ensure that I'm ready for any situation but my go to combination is the Canon EOS R5 and the RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM due to its versatility and ability to capture high quality and sharp images.

Take us through a typical day in your life, and how has this changed in recent months?
I feel quite lucky to be based in Queensland and throughout the year, not much really changed for me. A normal day depends on whether I’m on the road or at home. If I’m on the road, I’m usually up before sunrise looking for the best location to capture images while the light is at its best. Then I go exploring all day with my Canon camera kit in hand, finding interesting and inspiring things to photograph. If I’m at home, my whereabouts is dependent on the weather. From my base in Burleigh Heads, I’ve always got an eye on the surf and water clarity. If it’s looking good, then I grab my camera and head out to shoot somewhere local. If the water and weather aren’t working in my favour, you can catch me walking around Burleigh Hill, or in my gallery printing my images on a Canon imagePROGRAF TX 4000 printer.

Printing plays a huge role in your craft. When did you realise the importance of printing your images?
Early in my career I learnt the importance of being in full control of your own photographic journey, this is why I have been printing my own work for over 20 years now. It allows me to have the confidence that the final product aligns with my vision for it. I find that printing is a very cost effective way of displaying my work and gives the image a whole new life beyond the camera screen or phone screen.

As Australia begins to open up again, we’re all looking to take in more of our own beautiful backyard - what’s next on your destination list?
I’ve loved spending the past few months exploring Queensland, but Western Australia is next on my destination list. I’ve built a custom outback photography 4WD that allows me to live and work in very remote locations all over Australia. This 4WD has been my home over the past eight weeks as I’ve been on the road travelling Queensland. In my truck, I’ve been everywhere from the gulf to the outback and right across to the Great Barrier Reef.

Where are your top 3 “must see” Australian locations, and why?
1. Cape Le Grand National Park in WA. The water clarity and colour over there are like nothing you’ve seen before. The photography options with wildlife are endless.

2. Fraser Island in Queensland. Taking my 4WD and exploring this part of Queensland is epic. The water is crystal clear and there is just so much to photograph.

3. The Kimberley in Western Australia. This is a wild and amazing part of the country. You can explore and find places you have never seen photographed before and it really is a spectacular part of Australia.

What’s next for you and your work?
I’ve got a few trips lined up to kickstart 2021. First up, I’ll be heading over to Lady Elliot Island. Then, I have some trips planned for Fraser Island, which I love! In the meantime, I’ll also be planning my next road trip around Australia which will take place around March next year.

Where do you source your inspiration and recharge your “creative batteries”?
I get inspired by hitting the road and exploring places I have never been to before. Following my nose and being by myself surrounded by nature with great music really inspires my creativity and keeps me motivated to search for that next image.

What is a key life lesson that your career has taught you?
Stop and look around. It’s amazing how often I’m shooting an incredible scene and notice other visitors walking along but not taking the time to actually see where they are. I’ve found that beautiful moments are around us all the time, so if you stop and appreciate what we have, then you will be much richer for it.

What do you appreciate most about the Gold Coast/Queensland?
This is my home and I have lived here my whole life. I love hitting the road and touring around Australia and the world, but I also love to come home. The waves and beaches are as good as any place on Earth. The crystal-clear water and the rainforest in the hinterland offer limitless photographic opportunities and my local community of Burleigh Heads is a great place to call home. With great cafe’s, bars, restaurants right here, I really feel like I have everything I need and can’t see myself ever leaving.

Find out more about Sean and his work on his website and Instagram, and explore the R-Series cameras and lenses that Sean uses here.