Underwater Portrait Photography Workshop – Sydney, Australia

February 27, 2024

Sydney, Australia

25 April 2024

Join me for a full one day workshop of Underwater Portrait Photography at Frog Dive, in Willoughby on Sydney’s north shore, and let me help you upskill into this amazing genre of photography!

What is Underwater Portrait Studio Photography?

Underwater studio photography is the process of treating a swimming pool like a photography studio and creating work like you would in a dry studio, but utilising all the amazing traits that water can provide. It’s an approach that creates a mindset which looks at all aspects of the pool as potential backdrops for the photoshoot.

The Schedule

This is a one day, hands-on workshop covering everything from the basics of underwater photography through to lighting and posing models.

Our day is 10am-6pm with a 30 min lunch break.

Class numbers are limited to 5 people, so that everyone gets a decent amount of attention and time with the models during the workshop.

Topics Covered

  • Types of gear/uses
  • Pool studio design advice
  • Gear maintenance
  • Terminology
  • Camera settings
  • Lens choices
  • Basic underwater physics
  • Shoot safety/common dangers
  • Open water vs closed water shooting
  • Working with models/communication
  • Breath-hold techniques
  • Fabric/wardrobe choices
  • Staying steady underwater
  • Working with Natural light
  • Working with Artificial light
  • Dealing with unpredictability
  • Post shoot tasks
  • Post production (colour correction and light retouch)

What's Included


  • Lunch, snacks, and drinks
  • Most equipment (see “what to to bring”)
  • 2 models and outfits


  • Transportation or airfare
  • Accommodation


  • Camera, cards, batteries, and underwater housing with sync port (Optional, as we can provide a shared camera/housing if needed)
  • Swimwear/Towels
  • Mask
  • Weightbelt (Optional)
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Summer footwear

The Location

The workshop will be held at Frog Dive Scuba, in Willoughby, Sydney, NSW. The studio is outdoor with loads of space so we will be able to spread out, and plenty of shade to keep out of the sun.

The dive shop is located at 539 Willoughby Rd, Willoughby NSW 2068, Australia. Close to public transport and about 45 mins from Sydney Airport.


This workshop is recommended to photographers of all levels as we will cover such a broad range of topics.

A US$400 non-refundable deposit will be required to secure your spot at the workshop.

All attendees must be in good health and able to swim in at least 3m of water.

Frequent Questions

Is the location indoor or outdoor?
The pool is outdoor with plenty of shade, and our classroom will be either indoor or outdoor depending on the workshop day and the weather.

Do I need to bring any lighting equipment?
Only if you want to learn using your own equipment. We will be setting up lighting for everyone in the class, but if you have lights on your housing you’d like to use please let us know.

Do I need to know how to swim?
Yes! As an underwater photographer you’re the one who needs to guide the subjects, so if you can’t swim it’s very hard to be able to show them what to do. In saying that, if you’d like to join the workshop an stay out of the water you’re more than welcome.

Will I own the images taken at the workshop?
Yes, we will have the models sign a release for the images you take at the workshop and you will have the right to use the images for your portfolio and self promotion. No commercial usage is allowed.

Can I use the images in my portfolio?
Of course, we hope you will come away with some images you’re proud of, but we would also say that this course is more geared towards teaching you the skills to create your own images – rather than setting up scenes for you to just click a shutter – where’s the fun in that?

What is the closest airport?
Sydney Airport is the closest major airport at about 45 mins away.

Do I need to bring my camera?
If you already have an underwater housing for your camera and you would like to learn using that then please feel free to bring it, otherwise we will have shared cameras that can be used. For the strobe and advanced lighting courses we do require a housing that has an ikelite/nikonos sync port, or an Outex housing with a sync cable.

When does the deposit need to be paid?
The deposit needs to be paid as soon as you wish to secure your spot at the workshop – we cannot guarantee your space until it is paid.

Can I bring scuba gear?
No, as space is limited at the studio we don’t want to have people with bulky gear. We will be freediving for the workshop, but please bring a weight belt and weights if you need them.



About Brett Stanley

Brett Stanley is an internationally recognised, award winning underwater portrait photographer and cinematographer based in Long Beach, California. His unique approach to photographing people underwater for over 10+ years has solidified him as one of the leaders in this niche genre and his image style is instantly recognisable.

After Brett’s Underwater Pole Dance series went viral in 2015 he has been innovating the techniques of underwater portrait photography, and by building underwater sets he’s been pushing what is capable below the surface.

As a teacher, Brett has years of experience and problem solving to share with his students. His obsession with everything underwater drives him to share as much as he can with those he’s mentoring and he loves seeing other’s success in this realm.

Brett is also the host of The Underwater Podcast & editor of Waterproof Magazine.


Full Day Workshop – US$800

(Approx AU$1200)

How to book

Please fill out the form with your details, which days you are interested in, and current underwater photography level so we can cater the workshop to your needs.