Spending a lot of money on a camera, lenses, underwater housing and strobes is no guarantee that you will be able to capture drop-dead gorgeous images the first, second or even the tenth time you use it. Sometimes reading a book just doesn’t replace first-hand experience. After all, you didn’t learn to dive or drive your car from a book or trial and error did you? The same goes for underwater photography. I’m sure that every other photographer out there has had help from someone else, so why shouldn’t you?
Underwater photography workshops are the perfect place for you to learn, experiment and hone your skills. They allow you time to make mistakes and not only offer you the chance to learn from the photo pro leading the workshop but also from everyone else learning along with you.
How are workshops structured?
This is generally very fluid, taking into account each participant’s skill level. A normal day would consist of a morning talk on an area of underwater photography such as lighting, subject selection, macro or wide angle photography. In between dives, a photo clinic is normally available where you can chat with the photo pro and ask all the questions you want. The evening is a time for reflection over your images of the day, with an ‘image review’ providing the opportunity to discuss the nitty gritty and gain some really specific advice. You may be given a theme for the day such as portrait, silhouette or patterns which is a great way to focus on particular skills and help to build your portfolio of images.
Where possible, it’s good to have a relaxed diving program that allows you to dive when you want and for as long as you need. This differs from your average dive trip where boat or resort schedules rule. On a photo trip you are in the water at the best time for your photography and can revisit sites so if you miss the perfect angle or subject the first time, you can try again.
The diving is very relaxed and you quickly learn that it’s ok to spend time with your subject and that you can see the rest of the reef on the next dive.What do you need?
Of course, a camera in housing as well as some external lighting with a strobe and maybe some close-up or wide angle lenses. Of all the photographic genres, underwater photography requires some editing afterwards so a laptop to view and edit your images is very handy, if not essential. The best thing you can come with is an eagerness to learn and to have fun - after all you are on holiday!