Brand Ambassador Dylan McBurney

“However much I love taking photos of landscapes, I don’t want to pin myself down to one specific discipline”

Meet SIGMA Ambassador Dylan McBurney

- SIGMA Ireland

Twenty-five-year-old Dylan McBurney studied at Queen’s University School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in Belfast, kicked off his career as an engineer at Intel, is now working as a fulltime engineer for the startup Movetru, and is also a gifted all-round photographer. This ambassador for SIGMA Ireland feels at home in the world of automotive, travel, adventure, commercial, and landscape photography. Who is this driven, energetic young man who seems to be able to fit more than 24 hours into a day? 

It was during a study trip to China in 2019 that Dylan caught the photography bug, and he hasn’t been able to shake it off since. ‘I was selected to travel to China as part of my university studies to take part in design workshops at leading Chinese universities. At the time, I had a GoPro and I remember thinking it would have been a great idea if I had a proper mirrorless camera for the trip. I took a lot of photos and videos during the trip, and I absolutely loved it. Once I was back in Ireland, I immediately bought a camera, joined a university photography club, and met other people who had caught the photography bug too. We organized photography walks and trips, and one thing led to another.’

Late bloomer

Dylan started spending more time reading up on photography techniques, watching hundreds of YouTube tutorials, and also experimenting with all sorts of techniques and compositions in the field. Dylan – who describes himself as a late bloomer – became better and better in no time at all and quickly made his own mark with his eye-catching style. And with that came his first commercial assignments. Today, Dylan works for brands such as Porsche and Peugeot, as well as for travel agencies and hotel chains. Thank to these clients, Dylan now travels around the world with some regularity. One moment he could be in the most northerly settlement in the world in Svalbard before jumping on a plane to Bali. And he does all this alongside his fulltime job as an engineer, working from 9 to 5, five days a week, for the ambitious startup Movetru. Are Dylan’s days sometimes longer than those of the rest of us? He breaks out into a wide grin. ‘It can indeed be tricky to combine it all properly at times. It requires a lot of organization and, above all, good planning. I schedule a lot of my photography work for clients on weekends and I carefully select and edit images, which often makes up most of the work, between everything else. I also travel and participate in other hobbies such as model car racing and mountain biking during weekends and on my days off.’  

As a keen car enthusiast, Dylan really enjoys doing work for Peugeot and Porsche, ‘but’, he says, ‘I absolutely love shooting awe-inspiring and atmospheric landscape pictures. That truly is my biggest passion. And not just shooting those images, but everything else that goes with it. Such as the hikes, being at one with the elements, the peace and tranquillity of nature...’

‘Many photographers choose a niche,’ Dylan continues. ‘I prefer being active across a broad range of areas. However much I love taking photos of landscapes, I don’t want to pin myself down to one specific discipline. I really can’t miss out on commercial, lifestyle, or automotive photography either.’

SIGMA 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS | Contemporary

Much of the photographer’s work is done using the SIGMA 24-70 mm DG DN | Art and the SIGMA 100-400 mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS | Contemporary. The latter is his favourite without any shadow of a doubt. ‘The 100-400 mm is less versatile than the 24-70 mm, but I love the compression of the telezoom lens. It allows you to bring something in the background right to the fore. It’s brilliant, for instance, if you want to add extra emphasis to a spectacular mountain range in your photo. You can also put a small person in a huge scene or put a huge mountain behind a small road. It’s all about showing scale.’ 

‘It creates such a cool impression,’ Dylan continues. ‘Working with this type of lens was new to me, but I’ve become hooked on it. It adds a completely different look and feel to your pictures. I was in the Dolomites earlier this year and this type of telezoom lens is a fantastic tool, especially in such an impressive and rugged landscape. It produces absolutely fantastic abstract results, and you can look for compositions that you would normally be less likely to make. It is the lens I use the most without a doubt. It is attached to my camera body as standard.’ 

Dylan is someone who has both feet firmly on the ground, but that doesn’t mean that he never dreams of working as a fulltime photographer. ‘It would be a big step that I don’t want to take at the moment. Photography started out as a hobby, and it soon got out of hand.  It has turned into a serious business today and it is not uncommon for me to work with high-profile clients. I hope to continue doing this for a long time but, for now, alongside my fulltime job as an engineer. Reflecting on it, I feel so fortunate and thankful to be where I am today. I truly believe if you work hard and stay focused you can achieve anything.’ 

Source of inspiration?

Lastly, we want to hear from Dylan who his biggest source of inspiration is when it comes to photography. It’s a question he can answer immediately: Luke Stackpoole, a British photographer who can be found on Instagram under the name @withluke. Dylan tells us: ‘I really love the way he edits his images, his compositions, and the stunning destinations where he takes his photos. He has been my biggest source of inspiration from the start. One day, I hope to be a similar source of inspiration for other young or novice photographers. The SIGMA ambassadorship will certainly help with this. The moment I was invited to be a SIGMA ambassador was the best moment so far in my career as a photographer. I can’t put into words what it means to me. It has given me the opportunity to work with a brand that I’ve been using and have loved since I started taking photographs. For me, SIGMA’s quality is in a class of its own. It’s truly unbelievable. Its sharp focus, its ability to blur backgrounds... I love it!’ 

You can find out more about Dylan here

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