Behind the Camera with Mark Sampson

A Q & A with Photographer Mark Sampson

Why did you choose golf courses as your main focus?


Golf has always played a major part in my life from playing since the age of 8 and representing South African Universities later in life to teaching the game in London. I just have a strong affinity to the game and the industry and love being involved. The shooting of courses came naturally as my photography career grew.

What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

Well to be honest I wish I had started taking photos 20 years earlier. Right now however it would have been to not be so shy in the early days and just dive in talking to people in the industry and networking better. I guess it comes with experience as well as believing in your work.

Why do you take photos? What inspires you?

I love showcasing nature’s beauty. Nature and wildlife have always been a massive passion of mine and allowing people to see that, who otherwise may not have the opportunity, is my biggest motivator. Golf courses are just an extension of that and hopefully doing justice to some of the great golf course architects and the vision that had in mind when creating the course motivates me. I recently had the pleasure of shooting a new course in Mauritius and designer Peter Matkovich drove me around. It was such a thrill to listen to him talking me through the vision he has versus what you see and decipher when looking at each hole. His new course at Heritage, which Louis Oostehuizen has also assisted with, is simply amazing.

What do you want to say with your photographs, and how do you actually get your photographs to do that?

I simply want to showcase the beauty of a course and layout. Its not only up to me but nature playing along with the correct weather and the course being in good condition. It is a team effort producing quality photos I just ned to be at the right place at the right time and that all comes down to knowing the moods of the course, area and seasons.

How can golf courses benefit from the content that you create?

I always say how can they cannot. Not only because of the quality but simply how else do they speak to their market? It still amazes me the perception many courses have  with regards to the value of marketing their course properly. This being through the correct channels using imagery and video content. The return on their money with the use of this content on all of their assets from score cards, email signatures, websites and social media is returned ten fold.

What kind of tools do you use for post processing? Explain your work flow.

Its pretty simple. I download the images from the camera or drone, select the images and edit in Lightroom and then Photoshop. Thats it.

Among your works, which one is your favourite? Why?

I love Mauritius so I am biased towards some of my recent work there. The courses combined with the unique locations and proximity to the ocean really make the images stand out. In South Africa the big names always rise to the top so course like St Francis Links, Royal Johannesburg and Kensington and Pearl Valley stand out.

To learn more about Mark Sampson Photography, check out his website here.