Underwater Photography Workshops – My Tips

I thought the Red Sea workshop with Alex Mustard was brilliant to I thought of writing down my notes and sharing them with you.

This final post is a general one and has my lesson learned from attending the workshop, those that follow are generic tips that I think would be beneficial to anyone wanting to attend a similar experience.

Before the Workshop

The experience actually starts before you even attend the sessions key points for me include:

  • Ask questions about the workshop and how it works
  • Know your equipment
  • Take all the gear you have
  • Be fit and self reliant
  • Set your self objectives

I did not really ask many questions before going as Dr Mustard sent a very comprehensive document however this is not standard and it is better to ask in advance about the conditions, the dives, the type of training and generally how the workshops is organized. Some have talks, other have one to one, other are just dive trips where you ask when you need. Not all types fit everyone so better to make sure you go to one that matches your need.

Sadly even this time like in every trip I have come across people using their equipment or part of their equipment for the first time. The end results is wasted dives and opportunities, I cannot stress enough that testing your rig in a pool before going allows you to familiarize with it and make any corrections you need.

Pool Conditions
Pool Practice

Also take all the possible lens, ports, parts that may be useful. Once you are there you don’t want to have regrets about something you have left home. In my case all was there but I did not know about remote strobes otherwise I would have got myself a trigger as I have 2 Z240s.

Transformer Tray
In case of doubt exceed with equipment

In most of those workshops buddy system does not really apply so make sure you are self reliant and fit as the conditions allow to avoid embarrassing or even dangerous incidents. Once there dive within your comfort limit and if you don’t really have a buddy dive with a guide.

It is useful to know before you go what your objectives are, for example what type of shots you want to work on. This means you have something to do over and above the assigned tasks.

During the workshop

Once there you need to stay focused on your performance. Those are additional points to think about:

  • Deliver the assigned tasks
  • Go off the beaten track
  • Learn from other participants
  • Take notes

Sometimes during those workshop there are challenges or set shot that are suggested, this is your opportunity to compare your work with others and therefore you should make sure you deliver those also to find out if there are limits with your equipment.
In the Red Sea workshop were given the task of taking pictures of cardinal fish with eggs in their mouth. I realized I could not fill the frame because I lacked a mid range close up lens and my camera would not focus closer.

In addition to the suggested shots you should make changes to those and try something different even if not totally different.

Ras Katy Sunset

There are many landscape split shots but not many portrait so why not try one results can be excellent and it is easier with a small dome.

Other participants also will give a go to the same shots or have better editing skills it is worth to watch and learn.

My buddy was setting up a remote strobe I fired a few shots (unintentionally of course) so I got my own shot!

Finally take notes of what you did right and wrong and if you missed anything.

After the workshop

After the sessions are over still there is work to do over and above going over your pictures again.

  • Write down your lessons learned
  • Look at other people images
  • Order any equipment that you missed

Well it goes without saying that I put the notes together and summarized them here.

I also found great to connect to other people and then look at their gallery for other shots that we had not discussed before.

Finally I ordered myself an Inon UCL330, funny I had this lens and sold it not realizing the real use which is fish portraits!!!

That’s all for now if you go on a workshop soon I hope you find this useful.

7 thoughts on “Underwater Photography Workshops – My Tips”

  1. Interesting! I have been wanting to participate in his photography workshop as well (I admire his works). However, I can’t imagine if I have to do a same photo assignment with other five or ten participants. The thought that diving massively with all of them as photographers doesn’t sound pleasant to me. Was it like that? Or was it not more than five photographers get similar assignment/dive site?

    1. Well there have been some episodes as you can read from few of my posts however overall I don’t feel I had any big issues. Of course if this was a macro trip with critter hunting exercises it would have been much more frustrating. However once you pass that phase is more about how you to take a shot then actually taking that very shot at that time with that specific fish

  2. Nice article and good advice!
    How works the remote strobe, with cable or an optical system?
    How long it takes to setup the system underwater?

    1. The set up used on this trip consisted of a stone with a mounting ball on a gorilla pod. The strobe is connected through electrical cord to a remote trigger that is optically fired by your normal strobes. Depending on the shot you want to take you need to set it up take a shot make sure and move. Depending on depth or conditions this is a short or long job but nothing really impossible

      1. That’s open interesting shot possibilities!
        It is a DIY system or a commercial one? Do you have a reference?
        Can it drive any strobe? A strobe at time or multiple strobe is possible?
        I maybe ask too many questions, thanks for sharing.

      2. The one I have seen is called triggerfish it is a remote with a sync cord connection. In theory you can attach a twin cable and connect two strobes. There are different versions with and without battery. For Inon you are ok without battery that is also more reliable

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