Summary: There’s a surf photography workshop or course to suit your experience and budget, if you can get to it.
Surf photography courses are one of the best ways to improve your surf photography. Often they will be a better investment than a new camera, lens or water housing.
There are lots of different surf photography courses and surf photography workshops that you can attend if you’re in the local area.
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I’ve looked into the options and if you’re looking for an in person course o workshop there might be something available for you already. Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to attend any courses or workshops on this list myself, but I do get asked about courses by readers of this site so I’ve done my best to find a variety of options.
If you’re interested in one of the courses I recommend taking a good look through the schedule and the structure to make sure it suits you. In my experience course organisers are always willing to explain the details if you get in touch with an enquiry.
The nature of waves and swell means that many of the surf photography courses and workshops available don’t have specific dates and locations. You might need to track down details for the latest events, but these links should be a good starting point.
Art Brewer Action Surf Photography workshop
Summary: Surf and lifestyle photography tuition, on location in a small group from veteran surf photographer.
The School of Visual Arts puts on a regular workshop with surf photography legend Art Brewer. The location changes but always features somewhere with great waves that’s also rich in culture. If you want to learn more about Art Brewer and his surf photography, I recommend watching this lecture.
This year the surf photo workshop is in Salina Cruz, Mexico, and it’s 5 days of instruction on the specifics of surf photography with a focus on the business side.
I don’t think this would be as useful for beginners who are still getting familiar with their equipment. If you’re comfortable with the basics and want to dive into more advanced techniques and get insights from a veteran of the surf industry, this is a fantastic opportunity.
Price: US$ 3,500
Location: various (in 2018 it’s in Salina Cruz Mexico in August)
Duration: 5 days
Requirements: You must have a camera and a laptop.
Zak Noyle Aquatography Surf Photography Workshop
Summary: Free, large group based practical and theory workshop for all experience levels
If you’re lucky enough to be in the area these free surf photo workshops look like a great way for all levels of surf photographer to get some instruction and inspiration from one of the highest profile surf photographers working today.
Zak Noyle is based in Hawaii but the Aquatography workshops have also been held in California in the past. The format may change slightly but in past events it’s been free to sign up for the first day of the course, featuring some classroom based theory sessions, then a limited number of attendees can put theory into practice on day two.
It’s supported by Zak’s sponsors SPL water housings and Canon cameras, and everyone taking part on day two gets to try out a water set-up from those companies.
If you’re able to get there I’d definitely try and get along to one of these workshops. They look like great fun and will help yo improve your surf photography.
Location: various (Hawaii and California so far)
Duration: 2 days
Requirements: Your own equipment is not required but is recommended
Russel Ord and Warren Keelan – Ocean Photography Experience
Summary: Mostly water based practical surf photography workshop on surf and other types of surf photography and the photo business for fairly experienced water photographers.
An Australia based workshop hosted by two experienced surf photographers. You might already follow the Instagram accounts of Russel Ord and Warren Keelan, or you might have seen their work in various magazines and websites.
This workshop looks like it’ll set you up for a variety of different styles of photography and cover the business side too.
Water photography is the main focus and it looks like you’ll get a hcance to work on many different types. Between Ord and Keelan’s work you can find action shots, pulled back line ups and artistic abstract wave photographs.
Price: AUS$ 1,195
Location: Australia, NSW
Duration: 2 1/2 days
Requirements: You need to be comfortable in waves, have a camera, housing, laptop, wetsuit and swim fins.
Russel Ord – One on One Ocean and Lifestyle Photographic Training
Summary: hour long sessions with professional surf photographer to work on what’s most important to you
These hour long sessions with Russel Ord sound like a great way to focus on the exact parts of surf photography that you want to concentrate on. I can’t tell from the website if it’s available online or in person or either, but there’s no location specified so I’d assume it can be done on-line from anywhere.
You can buy a one off hour for AUS$ 150, or get a series of 12 (referred to as a yearly subscription) for a reduced rate of AUS$ 1,200, so that could really help if you’ve got a project in mind or want to work on something over the course of a year.
Price: AUS$ 150 for 1 hour, AUS$ 1,200 for 12 hours
Location: No specified
Duration: 1 hour sessions
Requirements: No specific requirements
Tim Nunn – Surf, Adventure and Environmental Photo Workshops
Summary: A range of workshops in locations across Europe focused on documenting surfing and plastic pollution
Tim Nunn runs a variety of surf photography related workshops. They’re based in some of the better European surf locations, and offer a variety of themes and durations.
Price: Various (GBP£ 50 – GBP£ 250)
Location: Various (Europe)
Requirements: Generally no equipment needed, but recommended.
Stan Moniz Surf Photography Workshop
Summary: California based surf, astro and landscape photography courses
Stan Moniz is a surf and landscape photographer based in California who shoots using Sony cameras and Aquatech housings. His workshops are organised through Samy’s Photo School.
The samysphotoschool.com website is blocked for people browsing from the UK. I’ve asked when they’re going to unblock the site via Instagram, but I haven’t had a response yet. I used a VPN that is based in the US to access the site and get information on Stan’s workshops.
There are a couple of surf workshops listed on Stan’s site for 2018, but they’re not listed on the Samy’s photo school site. I’d recommend getting in touch via his website for more information.
Chris Burkard – Online and Private Adventure and Surf Photography Workshop
Summary: Outdoors adventure and travel photography focused workshops and courses with some surf photography specific content
Chris Burkard might be the most high profile photographer on this list. He definitely has done surf photography specific workshops in the past but they tend to be more focused on outdoors, adventure photography these days from what I can tell.
The most surf specific content you’ll find on line is part of his creative live course which deals with water housings and shooting in the water. It does cover some surf photography tips, but it’s definitely aimed at a more general crowd. You can see the video titles and course breakdown on creative live here.
Price: various – e.g. 5 day Colorado workshop is US$ 5,900, Creative live online video course is US$ 99
Location: various – e.g. US, Norway, Iceland
Chris Eyre-Walker One on One surf photography workshop
Summary: Sydney based one on one instruction, water and land based photo shoots and workflow sessions
I haven’t seen much of Chris Eyre-alker’s work, but he seems to have a similar style of adventure photography to Chris Burkard, which makes sense as he interned for him in the past.
The workshop sounds like it concentrates a lot on the practical side of taking surf photos, so if that’s what you’re after, and you can get to Sydney’s Northern Beaches, this could be a good option.
Price: AUD$ 1,000 for 2 days, AUD$1,500 for 3 days
Location: Australia, Sydney’s Northern Beaches
Duration: 2 days (about 15 hours of instruction) or 3 days (around 20 hours of instruction)
Requirements: your own camera and editing equipment, no housing required, minimum age: 13
Other surf photography courses and workshops
I also found references to surf photography workshops from Peter “Joli” Wilson in Australia, Brian Bielmann in Hawaii and Lucia Griggi in Europe, but they don’t seem to be running any currently.
I also attended a surf photography workshop with Mike Searle a few years ago, you can read about it here.
If you know of any more surf photography workshops or courses let me know in the comments below, or by email at email@example.com