Behind the Lens – Craig Mason

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His natural aptitude for photography led Craig on a different career path after leaving the real estate industry. From weddings to calenders to magazine shoots, his creativity is truly inspiring …

What was the very first camera you ever picked up and took some shots with? 

I first owned a Pentax MX; it was a great SLR that lasted for quite a few years.

How did you kick start your professional photography career … what led to the development of East Coast Photography? 

I started East Coast Photography after leaving my 15 year real estate career in Forster. I had enough of the ‘complaints department’ and decided on a change of direction.

I had just finished an aerial shoot for Great Lakes and Manning Tourism offices, so decided to market the aerial images I had shot from this job. My first professional wedding shoot was for another local photographer who had double booked himself; I shot this (large) wedding and instantly fell in love with shooting weddings.

What types of photographic work does your business specialise in? 

The majority of East Coast Photography’s business is weddings. But I have lately had a real run on commercial work – and must say am loving shooting for FOCUS – it gets me out from the gallery and meeting new and interesting people.

What training/courses have you done to help hone your skills over the years? 

I am mainly self taught. Back in the film days, I wasted lots of dollars experimenting, but it certainly taught me how to judge exposure without a light meter. Since those days, I have attended seminars by some of Australia’s greatest photographers, Ken Duncan and Peter Eastway – Landscape, Robyn Hills – portrait, Jerry Ghionis, and Yervant Zanazanian for wedding photography.

These days I am teaching people myself, on how to use their cameras to get better results. Many people own great digital SLR cameras but are not happy with the results they are getting, so I explain how light and camera settings interact to achieve great results, in a simple and relaxed style. Many of my students are now taking wonderful images.

As a photographer, what do you believe is the most challenging part about your work; and conversely, what is also the most rewarding? 

For every hour I spend out shooting, I usually spend 2 hours in front of the computer processing the digital files, and although rewarding, I much prefer to be out shooting.

The rewarding side is with weddings seeing the smile and happy tears from a bride (and sometimes groom) as they look at their proof images after the wedding.

Another reward is the sale of my landscape images. With some of these images, I have put many hours into revisiting the location to get the best light and atmospheric conditions; it is very rewarding to have people purchase these images and comment on how sensational my work is.

Many locals know you through your images in Manning-Great Lakes FOCUS. What are some of the other projects you’ve been busy with lately; in particular, tell us about the calendar you’ve produced …

I’ve been producing calendars of the local area for 5 years now. This year’s edition features photographs (aerial and landscape) from not only around Forster and Tuncurry, but also our neighbouring areas such as Pacific Palms and Seal Rocks. I have also incorporated 2 photographs shot with a simple (yet effective) GoPro sports camera.

These calendars have a huge demand, with many locals purchasing them to send overseas to friends and relatives – truly showcasing our beautiful area internationally. These calendars can be purchased from local newsagencies, Great Lakes Tourism at the Gallery (7/41 Wharf Street, Forster) and online at

What equipment would you never be caught on a shoot without, and why? 

Well, there is the obvious camera and lens LOL, but I recently killed my tripod of 25 years. I spent 10 days without a replacement and although I don’t always use it, I really noticed during that time what a valuable tool in a photographer’s arsenal it is.

What’s something (or someone) you’ve always wanted to shoot, but haven’t yet managed – and why would you like to achieve this?

I have captured some amazing storm photographs over the years, but I have a couple of locations in mind I want to photograph with an approaching storm/lightning. I do feel it’s important as a photographer to have personal projects to work on (as a work in progress thing). I am working on one at the moment and will be starting another in January.

These projects I feel keep the mind open and fresh and certainly give much self satisfaction.

Thanks Craig.

For more info or to view Craig’s work, please visit

Call Craig on 6554 9703 or 0411 846 084.

Interview by Jo Atkins.


This interview was found in issue 70 of Manning Great Lakes Focus

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