Times Photo Competition

Times photography competition


We’ve been selected by the Times as the prize for their latest Photography Competition so to win a week’s holiday in Essaouira learning photography, whilst staying at the wonderful Riad Maison du Sud then you’ll need to visit the Mytimes website. Alternatively take a look at holidays in Morocco and grab a bargain.


5 have fun in Essaouira

morocco photography holidaysmorocco photography holidaysAugust’s photography holiday came to an end last week with plans to return next year. Becky, Louise, Susanne, Sara and Sonia, who all arrived individually epitomised what a solo holiday is all about – meeting new people and having a great time together over a shared interest.  They’ll be be returning for a new photography project next Easter, Inshallah.

Their galleries were of high standard, particularly those with people.  That had a natural flair for engaging with the locals and this really benefited their week’s photography.  Becky’s fluent French really allowed her to get some wonderful group compositions, the first real stab at group work here in Essaouira. Louise’s theme of animals offered a distinctly exotic air.  Both Sara and Sonia excelled with their generic galleries displaying their versitility with different subject matter, while Susanne produced a superb gallery of people which we couldn’t edit down to ten images!

In all an excellent week of photography and they had a great time exploring the medina for shopping as well as taking the traditional Hammam and our Wednesday walk in the river valley.

morocco photography holidaysmorocco photography holidays

Photography tips | Composition part 1

'abstract'-photography workshops in Essaouira, MoroccoDiagonal lines

How we read images is naturally important to the ‘rules’ of composition, our gaze follows lines conforming to patterns we can find within the frame.  In western cultures we tend to unconsciously view images starting with the upper left corner. Therefore a diagonal line running from upper left to bottom right is in consensus to how we would unconsciously start to view an image.  If a line runs in the inverted direction from upper right to bottom left this is perceived as more challenging for the eye, creating a dynamic feeling and sense of movement within the frame.  This has implications for the photographer when choosing the right composition.  Whether to encourage dynamism within a frame or quieten down an overly busy image.

For Photography Holidays at Xmas time why not get in touch…

photography holidays at xmas timeIf the weather in the UK doesn’t offer too many prospects at Xmas time then there’s the option of fleeing to sunny Morocco for a photography holiday in Essaouira. July’s week of photography these past 7 days produced 9 excellent galleries.  Jo, Eloise and Karen (her phone opportunity was well spotted) learnt a lot judging by their photos and came up with some superb images of people and locations here in Essaouira.  After a week’s sun and good food I think they’ll be quietly missing the town’s Medina and ambience.  Things are calm here in Morocco despite the upheavals of the region and in Essaouira events rarely stir the town’s laid back atmosphere. During their week we ran workshops: in how to use their digital SLR, understanding and controlling exposure using histograms; finding and framing for abstract images; learning how to shoot portraits; trying to capture people on location and finally there was a landscape workshop on the Wednesday afternoon preceded by a nice lunch above the valley at Sid M’Bark.  In all, a full week of photography.  You can view Karen’s, Eloises’ and Jo’s galleries here.

There has never been as much choice for photography holidays via searches on the internet so how do you choose the holiday for you?  Here at Images we pride ourselves on offering an exotic week staying in a lovely Riad as well as a week’s intensive photography.  We also like to promote course participants work so you can see the fruits of our labour!

So thoughts turn to Xmas:  We’re offering a week’s holiday with a partner or friend with two night’s free accommodation here in Essaouira or Marrakesh.  So why not check our offers page for available dates and book ahead to secure the best flight fares for this December.

Holidays in the Sun & the missing bells of Essaouira

Exotic charm and a haven for the senses.  Essaouira is an ideal location for a winter break learning photography.


There is a wealth of opportunities for learning photography and taking excellent photographs here. Visiting Morocco is never dull, there is always something to see and do, nothing is sanitised for tourists, you get the real deal. Visit a camel market, wander through the surrounding souks and enjoy local fresh food, totally organic and without chemicals, fresh fish and spices galore. All of this within the backdrop of some of the most stunning architectural structures in Africa.

The medina in Essaouira is much less intimidating than its Marrakesh neighbour and is feast for the senses.  As well as all the spices you can think of curious objects abound mostly made from Thuja, a rare and endangered hardwood, its marquetry made Essaouira’s reputation as far back as the 18th century.  The multitude of designs Thuja can be put to is quite astounding. The level of craftsmanship is very high in the region.  Jewellery is another specialism in the town that somewhat faded in statue but nonethless the silver artefacts produced here are great value.

The Tanneries in the town are a pale shadow of the former industries that used to employ hundreds, but still the current small scale operations provide great spectacle if one can bare the strong odour of hides.  The skins stretched and dyed in the most striking colours usually provide the basis for lamp shades swirled into a variety of Arabic shapes and patterns sometimes adding henna to the skins.  The ‘skin lamps’ are the preserve of Essaouira and I can vouch for several years good usage out of them and they wonderful additions to any holiday home renovation.

In fact shopping in the souks here is provides endless hours of entertainment.  Finding time for photography in the last 2 days can prove quite a chore!  The shopkeepers are game for a chat and don’t take themselves too seriously; nor should you. Buying things in Morocco involves a lot of game playing.  If you’ve ever seen the scene in Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’ where Brian has to haggle despite willing to meet the asking price you’ll not what’s in store.  A holiday here livens the senses, the souks are small and intimate and it’s easy to navigate around them. You’ll feel quite at home and safe browsing by yourself here.  If not we have our own bespoke guide, Ali, who can work as your chief negotiator and finder of exactly what you’re looking for.  He once went by bus to Marrakesh and returned in the evening with a sample  of leather bags for one of the photography courses participants.

The coastline in Essaouira is just miles of unspoilt wide sandy beaches,  perfect for horse riding as the sun sets, as well as camel trekking and even quad biking that can take you on a mini dune adventure. Those aside there is much to do here including yoga classes, massages, kite surfing and should you wish; cycle hire.  Bikes and cycling are part of the ‘Souiri’ way of life, much like the Dutch in Amsterdam.  Old bikes here are very much de rigueur and more often cycled in a leisurely manner befitting a warm climate.  Rarely used by women for some reason they remain the preserve of older gentleman or youngsters for which I should validate the previous ‘leisurely’ assertion; the kids here use local shoppers to practice their manoeuvring skills!  Bells on bikes are non-existent although in some cases some improvisation with taped on plastic bottles effectively deputises.  With a car free Medina the occasional cycle is a welcome relief to the town shopping experience in most European towns.

Sunset time in Essaouira brings with it the opportunity to stroll along the town’s two main streets and beachfront for a spot of people watching. With the warm night time air it’s one of the must do holiday experiences of Essaouira and is favourite pastime of ‘Souiri’ residents especially the mothers and children who linger to play in the main square, Place Moulay Hassan. For visitors there are always new venues for dining and music and of course cafes in the squares draw in spectators and enthusiasts for the evening atmosphere in equal measure.  For a more aloof perspective of cafe life, two swanky bars overlook the main square, offering tapas and cocktails in comfortable ‘Mykonos’ style surroundings.

A holiday in Morocco wouldn’t be complete without experiencing Moroccan hospitality and here at Riad Maison du Sud, a warm welcome arrives in bundles. A truly authentic hotel in Essaouira, and located 300m from the sea, Riad Maison du Sud is a beautifully restored 18th Century Riad set in the heart of Essaouira’s bustling medina. Luxuriously renovated in Moorish style, the 24 roomed Riad offers an authentic mix of Moroccan and Andalusian architecture, design and style, making it the perfect boutique residence. The service at the Riad is attentive yet understated in the long tradition of Morocco’s finest establishments and it’s our first choice as a holiday base for our photography course.