The best surf photography workshop or course

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.

I’ve looked into the options and if you’re looking for an in person course or 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.

The Learning surf photography online course

I’ve just launched the online, Learning surf photography course to help you skip a lot of the frustrating trial and error that I went through in my first 10 years of surf photography.

I’ve been running learningsurfphotography.com since 2012, and I’ve heard from hundreds of people like you with questions about cameras, lenses, housings, and techniques. I’ve taken everything I’ve been asked about, and added the most important things I’ve learned myself, and wrapped it up in an easy to use course.

I’ve split all those things up into sections with individual lessons in each one, with a video, example photos and some resources for people who want to dig deeper.

There’s over 9 1/2 hours of video and over 250 example photos as part of the course, and there’s an option to get additional, one-to-one online coaching too.

If you want to jump in and start practising the fun, rewarding parts of surf photography, check out the Learning surf photography course page  and find the right course for you.

Price: US$149.99 for the recommended course (other options available)

Location: Online

Duration: Over 9 1/2 hours of video content, plus extras

Requirements: Internet access (videos and audio versions of the course can be downloaded for offline use)

Link: Learning surf photography online course

Shannon Glasson – Intro To Ocean Shooting

Summary: An introduction to various surf and ocean photography techniques for a maximum of 5 participants.

It’s on Saturday the 27th of April, starting early, at 6am, and there will be some Salty Surf housings available for you if you’ve got a compatible camera body and lens.

Here’s a bit of Shannon’s bio from the site:

Shannon Glasson is a 19 year old female photographer from Cronulla, Australia. She has an incredible connection with the ocean and a fearless approach when it comes to shooting at heavy, open-ocean reefs.

It sounds like a great way to explore a variety of different aspects of surf photography, and the price is really reasonable for a day of tuition with lots of opportunities for one on one time with a tutor.

Price: AUS$ 295

Location: Bronte Beach (Sydney, Australia)

Duration: 1 day

Requirements: DSLR or mirrorless camera, Water housing (might be some available if you’ve got the right camera), Wetsuit/swimwear, swim fins, Laptop

LinkIntro to ocean shooting with Shannon Glasson

Ted Grambeau & Phil Thurston – The 2019 Surf Ocean Lifestyle Masterclass

Summary: Two great surf photographers in an amazing location for a week of surf photography tuition.

There’s classroom sessions and time on the beach and in the water. AquaTech are providing housings and cameras to supplement your own gear if necessary too.

The subjects cover all the usual surf action and surf lifestyle shooting.

The price includes breakfast and lunch and a couple of dinners, but no drinks. There’s also something called “Supervised Creative Lab Time special” – I’m not sure what that is, but it sounds like some post processing tuition should be on the cards.

You’ll need to cover the costs of airfares, hotel transfers, most dinners, drinks, snacks, tips, travel insurance, and anything you want to surf or take photos with.

The WSL event at Keramas is happening a week after the workshop, so I’d guess there’s a good chance some of the pro’s will be in town to practice, and you could always hang around after the workshop to take some photos too.

Price: USD$3,750 for workshop and accommodation, or USD$3000 for the workshop only

Location: Keramas, Bali, Indonesia

Duration: 8 days, 27th April – 4th May

Requirements: Comprehensive travel insurance

Link: Ted Grambeau & Phil Thurston – The 2019 Surf Ocean Lifestyle Masterclass

Russel Ord and Dom Mosqueira – Tahitian Ocean Photography Adventure

Summary: 6 days at one of the worlds most photogenic waves, with expert one on one time with two pro surf photographers, great accommodation, and a local guide and boat driver.

This seems like the best way to get a crash course in elite surf photography. If you’ve got the cash and the time, I don’t know of a better way to get this kind of experience. It’s a unique opportunity, and there’s a maximum of 9 places, so check it out while you can on the link below.

You get food, accommodation and transport for the duration of the stay, but you’ll have to cover the airfare to Tahiti, Visas if required, any alcoholic drinks, and transfers to and from the airport.

There is a note at the bottom that cautions people against booking flights until the experience is confirmed to be proceeding, so I’d definitely get in touch with Vagabond photographic before booking anything, just in case.

Price: AUS$ 6,900

Location: Tahiti, Teahupo’o, French Polynesia.

Duration: 6 days (it’s from the 22nd to the 29th June 2019)

Requirements: You need to be a competent swimmer, have a camera, lenses, housing, laptop, swim fins, tripod and travel insurance.

Link: Russel Ord and Dom Mosqueira – Tahitian Ocean Photography Adventure

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$ 995 for early bird tickets, then AUS $1,195 after the 2nd of July.

Location: Australia, NSW

Duration: 2 1/2 days (it’s from the 13th to the 15th of September 2019)

Requirements: You need to be comfortable in waves, have a camera, housing, laptop, wetsuit and swim fins.

LinkOcean photography experience with Russel Ord and Warren Keelan

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.

I originally wote about this one in 2018, but it looks like the course is running again in 2019. In 2018 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 was in Salina Cruz, Mexico in August)

Duration: 5 days

Requirements: You must have a camera and a laptop.

LinkArt Brewer Action Surf Photography workshop

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.

Currently, the website states that theres no current workshop, but asks you to check back later for news on future events.

Price: free

Location: various (Hawaii and California so far)

Duration: 2 days

Requirements: Your own equipment is not required but is recommended

LinkZak Noyle’s aquatography surf photography workshop

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.

As there are a few different types of workshops the best place to keep up might be social media like Facebook or Instagram.

Price: Various (GBP£ 50 – GBP£ 250)

Location: Various (Europe)

Duration: Various

Requirements: Generally no equipment needed, but recommended.

LinkTim Nunn – Surf, Adventure and Environmental Photo Workshops

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.

Price: Unkown

Location: California

Duration: Unknown

Requirements: Unknown

LinkStan Moniz Surf Photography Workshop

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

Duration: various

Requirements: various

LinkChris Burkard – Online and Private Adventure and Surf Photography Workshop

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

LinkChris Eyre-Walker One on One surf photography workshop

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 ben@learningsurfphotography.com

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