The Benefits of Underwater Photography Workshops

Are you just getting started out in underwater photography or are you a seasoned shooter who wants to take their images to the next level? Whatever your experience or ability, here’s an overview of underwater photography workshops in general, as well as at Lembeh Resort, and how an underwater photography workshop could benefit you…

What is an Underwater Photography Workshop?

Capturing Critters 2020 at Lembeh strait, Indonesia


The first thing to note is that this is not ‘school’! There are no compulsory classes and you are free to pick and choose what you take part in, or otherwise. That being said, we recommend attending everything that is on offer! 

A huge part of learning and developing your skills is through experimentation, trial and error, responding to feedback, and honing your technique. Underwater photography workshops provide you with the perfect platform for practice and improvement.

There is no better alternative to hands on experience in an environment that is 100% dedicated to your development. Reading informative articles and watching videos on YouTube can never replace the value of one on one time with your camera rig, underwater!

Underwater photography workshops are generally structured around core components, namely: presentations, underwater practice, feedback and critique sessions, troubleshooting/one-on-one sessions, and technical support. Not only will you have plenty of practice time, there is also time set aside for perfecting your existing skill set, learning new techniques, and reviewing your progress along the way.

Other components of a workshop include dining, relaxing, and time for socializing too!


Capturing Critters 2020


What Topics Do Underwater Photography Workshops Cover?


Depending on the pro, the type of workshop, regional diving highlights inc. specific marine species of interest, participant group preferences, and any goals set out by the specific workshop (e.g. to experiment with wide-angle lighting techniques), a wide range of topics may be covered. 

In the annual Capturing Critters in Lembeh Underwater Photography Workshop, some of the most popular topics to date have included (topics vary according to pros):

  • Underwater Photography: Best and Expected Practices
  • Basic Composition
  • Capturing Macro Imagery
  • Super Macro Critters and Subjects
  • Focus, Depth of Field, and Shutter Speeds
  • Natural Vs Artificial Lighting
  • Lighting Techniques
  • Color vs. black and White
  • Artistic Backgrounds: including filters, curtains, portraits, bokeh etc
  • Importance of Negative Space
  • Reducing Backscatter
  • Wide Angle Shooting
  • Shooting Close Focus Wide Angle Images
  • Split Images: Capturing Over/Under Shots
  • Blackwater Diving and Photography
  • Capturing Moving Subjects
  • Editing Techniques
  • Lightroom for Beginners: including set up and organization
  • Lightroom Folders and Image Bank Storage, Filing and Organization
  • Lightroom Image Editing: Light Corrections, Color Enhancements, Backscatter Removal, Clarity etc.


Capturing Critters 2020 Lembeh strait


Why Book an Underwater Photography Workshop and What are the Benefits?


If you are looking for reasons to book on to an underwater photography workshop, you only need to look at the benefits. All participants can (and will) gain from the following benefits and highlights of an underwater photography workshop:

1. Learn From Professionals

Underwater photography workshops are an opportunity to spend time with a professional who has probably experienced the same woes as you at one time or another! 

Professional presentations with Q and A sessions, and one-on-one time with a Pro, combined with group evaluation sessions, and hands-on feedback are invaluable to any shooter. This is a learning opportunity that few others will experience during their photography careers.

Most underwater photography pros are not available other than during workshops – these are truly unique events and Capturing Critters in Lembeh Underwater Photography Workshop is the ONLY annual workshop of its type that brings together 3 visiting pros plus an onsite Photo Pro and Photo Center Team.

You will also learn from the other participants around you – whether it be from their experience, their mistakes, or their successes!

2. Improve Your Underwater Photography

This goes without saying and it’s the goal of most people who attend. 

With one-on-one time with a Pro over an extended period of shooting underwater (3-4 times a day) your shots will improve. 

The constant shooting practice combined with consistent instruction, and ongoing assessment, evaluation, and feedback, will take the quality of your images to the next level.

You’ll also be learning and trying various styles of shooting and differing effects – thereby broadening your portfolio of images and developing your range of techniques.

Your knowledge base and understanding of both underwater camera equipment and photography principles will expand tenfold. Not only will this boost your shooting confidence from having an increased conceptual awareness, but it will show in your shots too!

Finally, you’ll take a deeper look into post-dive image editing so that even after diving, you can keep improving your underwater imagery.

3. Access to Toys! (Facilities and Gear)

It’s not unusual for underwater photography professionals to be supported by camera or scuba gear manufacturers and as such, they are often traveling with a suite of toys that participants may also try out and experiment with. The Backscatter Authorized Photo Center at Lembeh Resort is also a hotspot during workshops and has items and accessories available to trial and use, rent, and purchase.

4. Maximize Your Camera Rig and Accessories

Making a large initial investment in a camera body, variety of lenses and ports, underwater housing, trays, arms, floats, lights, and strobes is a great start – but it won’t guarantee you produce the stellar images that you have been dreaming of.

Knowing how to set up your rig for optimal results and how to use each component individually, and as part of your combined gear, is essential. Under the watchful eye of a Photo Pro, you’ll discover capabilities you didn’t know your rig possessed, as well as new ways of using your gear that will make it work better for you underwater.

5. Phenomenal Diving & Travel Opportunities

Attending underwater photography workshops is a great way to travel, with purpose. Not only will you visit some of the most impressive scuba diving destinations on the planet, but you’ll be doing it with a purpose – and take home stunning images as a reminder at the end of it.

Underwater photography workshops rely (of course) on having underwater photography subjects available to shoot. When traveling for a workshop, and considering the expense involved, the photography subjects should be impressive and abundant – and that’s why underwater photography workshops are held in some of the most renowned regions in the world. 

If you want to attend a shark and wide-angle workshop, what better destination than Belize? If it’s muck diving and macro critter opportunities that you are looking for, look no further than the Lembeh Strait in Indonesia (see location sections below). 

Underwater photography workshops provide countless travel opportunities – often to regions you may not otherwise explore. Time to pack your camera… and your passport!

6. Memorable Experiences

It’s not only the diving, the professional photographers, the resorts, and the marine life that will leave you spellbound. The overall experience of attending an underwater photography workshop is a unique and highly memorable one that you’ll want to repeat…

Around the workshop components, you’ll find that you spend time getting to know the other participants and lifelong friendships and travel partners have all started out of workshop attendance!

Experience more… as part of a workshop group, you may find that opportunities present that otherwise may not. For example, traditional buffet nights or dance displays may not take place for individual visitors but are performed on special occasions and for groups.

While workshop evenings are always filled with photography ‘chatter’, you’ll most likely also enjoy incredible dining that reflects the location, and there may be opportunities to visit local villages or natural beauty spots too. Make the most of your dry day before flying, and see what else there is to explore in your chosen locale!


Capturing Critters


Who Should Attend a Workshop? (Anyone who wants the benefits above!!)


Absolutely anyone and everyone – but most specifically, anyone who wants to take their underwater photography to the next level and who wants to reap the rewards from any of the benefits listed above!

Note: While most workshops cater to all photographers, look out for workshops catering to any specific needs or preferences that might appeal to you – or not. Examples include specialty macro, muck, shark, wide-angle, or even compact camera workshops.


Blue ringed octopus by Alex Tyrrell

Alex Tyrrell: Blue ringed octopus

Introducing Underwater Photography Workshops in the Lembeh Strait

When it comes to underwater photography workshops that focus on shooting macro, muck diving, and unusual marine species, there can be no better destination on the planet than the Lembeh Strait.

The Critter Capital of the World, a Muck Diving Mecca, and the Twilight Zone are just a few of the names that have been given to this stretch of water over the years due to its high density, and diversity, of rare and unusual marine life.

Diving in Lembeh is unlike diving anywhere else as every dive reveals countless species of critters that have made their homes on Lembeh’s famous black sand, muck diving slopes.

To put things into perspective, Lembeh isn’t just home to frogfish, it’s home to 8 different species of frogfish. There are at least 12 species of octopus, numerous crustacean species that cannot be found anywhere else on earth, 3 species of pygmy seahorse, countless numbers of nudibranch species, and new discoveries are continuously being made. 


Hairy frogfish by James Emery

Hairy frogfish by James Emery

Some of Lembeh’s most iconic species include the hairy frogfish, Pontohi pygmy seahorse, the Lembeh sea dragon, Mandarin fish, Bobbit worms, Rhinopias scorpionfish, flamboyant cuttlefish, tiger and harlequin shrimps, ornate ghost pipefish, harlequin crabs, and where do we start with octopus? Here are just a few… wunderpus, mimic, blue ring, hairy, long arm, starry night, and coconut octopus… and the list goes on!

To see and shoot just a select few of these critters might usually involve lengthy boat trips but dive sites in the Lembeh Strait are within close proximity. Dive site names tend to denote an entry point and the site runs into the adjacent sites on either side. Boat travel times to some of Lembeh’s most talked about dive sites are just 5-15 minutes from Lembeh Resort.

Dive conditions in the Lembeh Strait can be extremely favorable for underwater photographers. There is little to no current making both moving around and remaining stationary a breeze. The comfortably warm water temperatures reduce the cold that can also set in when not on the move.

However, Lembeh’s fine sediment bottom composition can be easily stirred up and reduce visibility. Run off from the land during rainy periods can also limit visibility. To err on the conservative side, photographers should expect visibility between 10 and 15 meters – not an issue when shooting macro!

Read more: Discover 9 Species of Frogfish in Lembeh, Indonesia


Underwater photography camera room

Lembeh Resort and Underwater Photography Workshops

Lembeh Resort not only offers luxury accommodation in the Lembeh Strait but it also offers a complete suite of facilities for underwater photographers and enthusiasts. Here is a ‘snapshot’ of the camera and imaging services that are on offer at Lembeh Resort – inside and outside of underwater photography workshops:

Photo Center and Dive Team: 

– The only Backscatter Authorized Photo Center in Asia

– Photo Center offering camera, housing, lights and accessory rentals and purchases, onsite repairs, onsite 3D printing of small components, professional support and assistance, full workshop support. 

– Full-time onsite Photo Pro

– Full-time onsite Marine Biologists

– Marine biology and underwater photography trained Dive Guides

– Spacious camera room with individual workspaces, lights, and power points

– Varied diving options including single dives in the Lembeh Strait, two or three tank dive trips, day trips to Bangka, east coast Lembeh trips, blackwater diving, bonfire diving, dusk and night diving, and Mandarin fish dives.

Boats and Crew:

– Padded camera storage and fresh water on boats

– Dive guide and boat crew experienced with underwater photography gear handling

– Waterfront resort on Lembeh Island

– Easy access to dive sites and short boat journeys

– Boats are easily boarded and are moored on the resort jetty – close to the Camera Room and Dive Center

Resort and Accommodation:

– Dedicated presentation area with a projector (in addition to the main restaurant area which also has a projector screen and presentation facilities).

– Accommodations with well lit desk spaces and electricity points for post-dive editing

– Exquisite dining throughout – with thoughtfully considered dining options and times selected around workshop components. Dietary requirements can be carefully catered for.

These are just a few of the services and facilities available at Lembeh Resort. According to the workshop specifics and the pro(s), other services may be available. Ask for more details when booking your place.

Read more: Diving into the Dark – Night Dives Options in Lembeh


underwater workshop 2024 Lembeh resort


Are You Ready to Join Lembeh Underwater Photography Workshop 2025?

Capturing Critters in Lembeh UW photography workshop is back in January 2025 for what will be our 12th year running!! As each year passes, we find it harder to believe that what started out as a seed of an idea to host three photo pros, has now been running for over a decade!

As usual, the workshop is designed to benefit all levels from beginners to those who are further along in their development, through to semi-pros. We are extremely excited to be hosting three more world-class Photo Pros in 2025: Ron Watkins (USA), Paul Duxfield (UK), and Renee Capozzola (USA). The week-long workshop will once again be packed with incredible diving, Pro presentations, and one-on-one instruction and feedback.

Join us for the ONLY annual underwater photography workshop of its kind – here at Lembeh Resort. Enjoy superfluous facilities for underwater photographers combined with a stunning resort setting, luxury accommodations, incredible dining experiences, and exclusive service.

Meet the pros and find out more about the Capturing Critters in Lembeh 2025 underwater photography workshop, including prices and workshop inclusions.


2025 Workshop Schedule and Dates

  • Pre-Workshop: January 8th10th (time to relax and unwind after traveling and enjoy some of Lembeh’s famous dive sites.)
  • Workshop: January 11th – 17th (Capturing Critters in Lembeh 12th Annual Workshop)
  • Workshop Extension: January 18th – 19th (Additional Day Workshop Extension)
  • Post-Workshop: January 20th – 21st (Stay additional nights and enjoy extra diving days or some time to relax and explore more of North Sulawesi)



If you are ready to book your place on the January 2025 Capturing Critters in Lembeh Underwater Photography Workshop – contact us at

Our reservations team looks forward to assisting you!


If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also enjoy some of our other articles about underwater photography and capturing macro imagery in the Lembeh Strait.

Find the Best Dive Lights for Lembeh Diving

What is the Best Focus Mode for Underwater Photography

Macro Underwater Photography Lighting Tips