Carrick McLelland : An Interview

Carrick McLelland is a multi-talented photographer and creative director based out of Europe with his company Ground Level Up

Who are you and what do you do?

Carrick McLelland

Carrick McLelland

My name is Carrick McLelland, I am a Photographer and Creative Director working predominantly in video production for the online and social media audiences.

 What do you love about photography?

My favourite thing about photography is that it gives you an opportunity to make a statement about yourself as a person without having to say any words, it allows people to make an opinion of you based on what you choose to capture in an image. This can be a good or bad thing depending on how people look at it I guess.

Do you prefer digital or film? Black and white or colour prints?

Whilst having a huge appreciation for film photography I'd definitely say my loyalty's lie with digital. This is probably due to the nature of my work, however, I still never turn down an opportunity to shoot on film if the situation allows for it. When it comes to black and white vs colour, I wouldn't say I have a preference for one or the other. I definitely think certain subjects and scenarios are suited to black and white rather than colour and vice versa. However, I do think when a photo has a large range of colours within it I'm personally more inclined to have the photo remain in colour. Overall I'd say most of my photographs have a colour output, but there are a few which I like to output in black and white and these tend to be photographs of people. 

Who are some of your favourite photographers? 

I love to follow the work of Jordan Green, Dean Martindale and Tom Mitchell. What I like about their work is their ability to capture expression. I feel photographing people is much more than just being able to frame a shot. I feel you need to build a certain level of rapport and communicate with your subject in order to achieve results that demonstrate expression. I'd be lying if I said I didn't take inspiration from these photographers.

What has been one of your favorite photos to shoot?

The two things I enjoy photographing the most would be people and cars. Both subjects allow me to really experiment with lighting and both subjects are completely different from each other.

Talk to me about Ground Level Up and how that came together

I founded Ground Level Up in February 2015. This is my primary occupation and what takes up most of my time. Ground Level Up specialises in producing branded and commercial video content for the online and social media audiences. We tend to work within travel, lifestyle, music and commercial sectors. 

The idea to form Ground Level Up came about after living in London for 1 year where I was studying part-time as well as freelancing as a photographer. Upon moving back to my home in Scotland I started working more in video production and it got to the stage where it made sense to form a name to work under so I could then start growing a team and develop a style. 

What's one awesome or funny thing that happened on a film shoot?
We were on location filming in Italy earlier this year. We had one of our drones up filming an aerial shot of a hillside town. Long story short the drone malfunctioned and tried to land itself when there was a 70ft high tree right below it. The drone got completely caught up and stuck in the tree 70ft feet above the solid tarmac. We tried getting a ladder (it wasn't high enough) we tried throwing things at it to knock it out the tree and catch it with a bed sheet held by four different people. 

This also didn't work. Just when we were about to give up a Lithuanian boy no older than eighteen came out of nowhere. He noticed we were struggling to get the drone out of the tree. He then said to us that he could climb. Now bear in mind, the drone was at least 70ft high in this tree and if he fell he would be falling onto the solid tarmac. There wouldn't be any coming back from that in one piece if he fell. 

The boy was a nutter. No matter how much we tried to discourage him from climbing the tree he did it anyway. He eventually got to the drone and moved it free from the tree and four of us caught it below with a bedsheet. Safe to say if it wasn't for him that drone would still be up there getting used as the base for a birds nest or something. He got 30 euros and a pat on the back for is heroic efforts. 

What makes a good story?

People. We've always said to our clients that if there is any way to create a good story about a brand or business, people need to be able to relate to it. People relate to people so we always try and keep this in mind when planning productions for our clients

Fun Questions

If you were stranded on an island what five items would you have with you? 

Film camera, iPod, earphones, whiskey, hula hoops. 


If you had a superpower what would it be?

It would be great to be able to read peoples minds. 


If you could have lunch with anyone in the world who would it be?

Marshall Mathers (Eminem)


Which is better tea or coffee?

If I had to choose one to have for the rest of my life it would be tea. So I guess tea. But I don't hate coffee.