He has been lighting up Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with his breathtaking shots of Croatia ever since he fell in love with the country just over two years ago.
Travelling photographer Yuya Matsuo, who is from Tokyo in Japan, has been promoting Croatia to 160,000 + fans on social media through his lens since 2014.
Yuya has spent around 6 months in Croatia over the last two years, visiting Zagreb, Split, Zadar, Dubrovnik and Istria.
He is currently in Split on the Croatian coast and we caught up with him to try and get some tips on producing spectacular photos.
When did you first visit Croatia?
I discovered Croatia completely by chance 2 years ago. After I finished my business in Hungary, I decided to take a long vacation. And because it was the beginning of the winter, I wanted to go to somewhere warm. So I was browsing through the place on Mediterranean coastline and stumbled upon the place inside Diocletian’s palace.
I always dreamed of living inside World Heritage site, so I took that opportunity and booked the place in Split for 1 month. I loved the city so much; I ended up staying for 2 months. That’s how I discovered Croatia.
What do you like most about Croatia?
Croatia has beautiful landscape, rich history, and crystal clear sea. In addition, there are the people. I’ve interacted with many Croatian people and they are all kind and welcoming to me.
Their willingness to help other is impressive. I always say this, but there are many destinations in the world which are truly beautiful and breathtaking but it’s the people that make the place special.
How did you get into photography?
One word answer is “Split”. When I was in Split, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of Old Town and that made me want to know how to capture this beauty in photos. That’s how I started to learn photography and started to seek out different places to take photos. Split is where I started to travel as well.
Can you make a good living with your photos?
Yes, I can.
What software and camera gear do you use and what do you use for processing?
I use Sony a7ii & a6000, and LG G4. Almost all photos are edited with Lightroom.
What motivates you to continue taking pictures?
Satisfaction and persistence to take the best photo on the location.
I often go to the same location over and over again to take the best photo I could possibly take. And also, I love taking, processing, sharing photos. I am doing what I love everyday.
Is there any message you try to get across with your photos?
I always try to send positive messages through my photos because there is enough negativity in the world. I hope, through my photos, I can make people interested in the place, and for local people, I want to make them realize and rediscover the beauty of the place where they live through my eyes.
When you are out taking photos how much of your work is instinctual versus planned?
If I am visiting the place for the first time or for a few days, it’s mostly spontaneous.
Whereas, if I am staying at the place for longer period, I start to scout the best time and location, so it’s about 50:50.
Out of all your photos, which one is your favorite and why?
A photo I took in Brooklyn, New York. I saw photos of this spot from my fellow photographers. And when I visited New York, that was one of the must places I wanted to go. When I got there, the weather was just perfect.
What about your favourite photo you took in Croatia?
Sunrise I took in Motovun. I stayed in Motovun for 2 days. Because I was traveling a lot, I remember I was so tired and sleepy, but I knew I could get great shots if the weather was right. So I woke up before sunrise 2 days in a row. The last day, I got the perfect shot.
What is your favourite place in Croatia?
Split, for all the reasons above. Split is where I first visited Croatia, it’s where I started to learn photography. And my love for Croatia and the Balkan region started there as well, so it will always be a special place for me.
Will you keep coming back to Croatia?
Yes, for sure. Every time I go back I find something new and exciting in Croatia. And I have many support from many Croatian people. It’s always great to hear from them.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started taking photos?
What camera you have doesn’t really matter to take photos. DSLR, smartphone, old point-and-shoot, whatever you have as a camera, you can go out and enjoy taking photos. Some people get obsessed with gears, and I sometimes get caught up on that too. And I have to keep reminding myself that it’s really the subject, location, and timing that matters the most.
How has social media played a role in your photography?
Social media plays an important role in my photography. When I started to learn photography, I simultaneously started to grow my presence in social media because I knew it will take a huge part in my career.
I love how I can instantly show my work to thousands of people, get feedback, and communicate with my fans. I meet new and interesting people all the time through social media. Sometimes, we meet in person, and some of them are even my best friends.