Picture, Perfect

Published February 1, 2016 in DIVING & SNORKELING, Underwater Photography

There are good reasons why many of the world’s most accomplished underwater photographers return to Wakatobi time and again. At the top of their list is the diverse and abundant array of subjects found on our reefs. Equally prized are the stunning underwater topographies and clear water, which allow for breathtaking wide-angle images. And then there’s the top level support and infrastructure that streamlines the logistics of all phases of the image making process. But you don’t have to be a pro to take advantage of Wakatobi’s photo opportunities. Shooters at all levels from novice on up their game by taking advantage of our on-site photography services to create memorable images.

PDEM and guests_WS

Both single- and multi-day underwater photography programs can be tailored based on an individual’s goals and skill level. Photo by Walt Stearns

Professional help

Underwater shutterbugs looking to learn or improve their imaging skills during a stay at Wakatobi can choose from a full range of pro photography services. These include securing the services of a private dive guide, and scheduling one-on-one workshops and in-water sessions with Wakatobi’s resident photo pro, Marco Fierli. Based on an individual’s goals and skill levels, Marco can tailor both single- and multi-day programs. For example, a three-day program can begin with two morning dives with Marco, followed by an additional afternoon dive and daily photo review session. A workflow and editing course can be scheduled per day and can entail 1-2 evening hours in the Longhouse studio. Specifics covered can range from instruction in the basics of underwater imaging and the foundations of macro photography to advanced techniques such as close-focus wide-angle shots and super-macro work. Additional programs include video techniques and coaching on post-production procedures in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.

Guest Bruce Hootman enjoyed the opportunity to hone his skills as well as engage in post production sessions with Wakatobi’s photo professional. Photo by Bruce Hootman

“Taking a photography class "vastly restructured the way I see the world and take any photograph,” says Phia Sherry, who took this picture during her course. Photo by Phia Sherry

Taking a photography course “vastly restructured the way I see the world and take any photograph, says Phia Sherry, who took this picture during her course. Photo by Phia Sherry

Working with Marco helped me to hone the techniques and skills I have been developing over the years in underwater photography, says guest Bruce Hootman. According to Bruce, who owns Underseas Scuba Center in Villa Park, Illinois, and has been an avid advanced underwater photographer for many years, he viewed the program as an opportunity to focus on certain techniques and learn without distraction. “In particular, the Lightroom session has enabled me to refine and improve my post-production workflow. Marco is truly a great asset to any level photographer, and also those looking to give it a try,” Bruce says. Erica Jones, who took a course in October of 2015,  says she learned more about camera use and strobe placement in her three days with Marco than in the previous three years on her own. “I feel that my photos improved quite a lot in a short time, and I’m inspired to continue and keep getting better, she says.

“I learned more in three days about my camera, underwater photography and strobe positioning than I have in the three years I’ve had my camera,” says Erica Jones.

Taking a photography course at Wakatobi “not only improved the way I shoot underwater, it vastly restructured the way I see the world and take any photograph, says Phia Sherry. “Wakatobi is perfection in diving, and a class with Marco is something I’ll not miss when I return.” Additionally, Phia says taking the course actually helped to improve her overall diving skills and comfort in the water. “My buoyancy is improved, my perception of my surroundings is enhanced, and my breathing capacity is better,” she adds. Who knew?

Guest Scott Friedman snapped this dramatic wide angle of a school of barracudas during a session with Marco. Photo by Scott Friedman

Guest Scott Friedman snapped this dramatic wide angle of a school of barracudas during a class in wide angle photography techniques. Photo by Scott Friedman

Private time

For the ultimate in imaging freedom, guests can charter a private boat. This is one of the resort’s best values and can be a considerable advantage for those serious about enhancing their photography skills. It offers the ability to go where you want, when you want, spending as much time as you’d like on any given site,” says photo team Wade and Robyn Hughes. Students and Marco take one of the resort’s full-sized 24-meter dive vessels with a captain plus supporting crew. This means creating the itinerary of their choice, visiting sites of their choosing on their own schedule. It also includes staying out for the entire day and enjoying a specially catered breakfast and/or lunch aboard instead of returning to the resort after the second dive.

Robyn - Wade Hughes private boat

Talk about relaxed diving! Wade and Robyn Hughes enjoy the comfort and freedom of a private boat. Photo by Wakatobi Dive Resort

Between dives you have plenty of room to get comfortable and we liked having quiet lunches on the boat, says Robyn. With no schedules to adhere to, and no need to accommodate the agendas or profiles of other divers, the student working with Marco can spend as much time as desired at any given site, honing in on the specific techniques and/or venues desired.