The Spice of Life

Negotiating the local customs and craziness is all part of the creative photography holiday experience and surely it beats any photography course in the UK for a shot in the arm…

Cat and Linda were out this week and as far as activity holidays for ladies go this one surely provided no end of entertainment. Linda, well travelled had yet to visit Morocco and she enjoyed herself immensely, quite the adventurer that she is what with over zealous Hammans with the buckets of water and the kind-hearted attention of the local shopkeepers, her 7 days were full of spice.  The two ladies experienced a Henna tattoo each plus some beach photography in some of the strongest winds I’ve experienced here.  Linda also started her week with a cooking class.

Rather fittingly Cat was rather keen on the local moggies who aside from sleeping and receiving their generous fishy titbits are numerous in the streets of Essaouira. She also took a shine to Mika at Cafe SidiM’Bark. The cat calendar, which I keep threatening to subject past course attendees to, is nearing its best 10 images of feline dispositions within Essaouira. Cat is currently studying for a degree in art at Bolton University and the galleries here specialising in African art perfectly complemented her emerging photography.

The night with the Gnawa at the Malak Restaurant was one of the week’s highlights with the girls dancing their way into the memories of the staff followed closely by Cat being led astray at the Wednesday country market by one man intent of selling her a necklace. In a case of bad cop even worse cop, the man’s accomplice – he claimed his wife – was more persuasive shall we say. However Cat’s bargaining tools were a match and she snatched a good price for some local silver. 100DH (about £8). Linda and Cat flew BMI and Easyjet respectively and stayed at the Maison du Sud as featured in the Times in August.

Both their galleries can been viewed here.

September’s bright start plus an upcoming cooking and photography holiday blend

photography-at-the-argan-cooperative-nr-essaouiraPost Ramadan and more galleries are coming together in the first few days of September.  Jay as seen left produced 4 outstanding galleries of photographs,  particularly in architectural subjects and at the fishing port here in Essaouira, probably the best collection of port photos yet.  His active participation at the Argan co-operative shows the perils of not using the histogram to check over exposure(note the hotspot on Jay’s shoulder).  No fault of Jay, but yours truly.  Jay’s work can be seen via this link. Jurgens also tripped into town with his wife and had a one-day workshop bringing a truly South African, fearless demeanour to his photography with the kind of interpersonal skills that the best doctors are renowned for.  He simply got closer winning people over with his enthusiasm. He also had a great eye for colour.  I was slightly envious of his Canon 7D and Sigma wide angle check but managed to put that to one side selecting a collection from the many great photos he took that day. His gallery can be seen here.

September sees the launch of our new course offering a week’s cooking and photography here in Essaouira Morocco. Moroccan food is a mild spicy delight and surely one of the world’s great cuisines. Using the best fresh ingredients from the fish stocks and locally grown vegetables around Essaouira  ensures the pastillas, tagines and couscous can all be cooked to taste perfection which I can certainly vouch for.  So now we’re combining a week’s holiday to include food and photography staying in the Maison du Sud.  The week comprises of 2 Moroccan cooking workshops and 4 Photography workshops.  Take a look at the page cooking with Naima under Offers for more details.

5 star photography holidays



Well we’ve been doing something right on our photography holidays here in Essaouira, Morocco. Without tempting fate we’ve been given 5 stars by recent graduates, due in part to the wonderful location, atmosphere and service of the staff Maison du Sud where all guests stay during their week here. June’s workshop’s are drawing to a close and it’s a good opportunity to reflect on some impressive photography but more of that later…It’s perhaps an opportune time to announce future tour and holiday dates.  This October and the following February see us venture with small groups by 4×4 into the region of the Anti-Atlas in Morocco. We’ll be crossing the Tizi n’test pass which is rich in spectacular views, before descending down into Taroudant.  The tour also takes in Tata on the edge of the Sahara and Tafraoute situated in the middle of the Anti-Atlas before finishing in Marrakesh. It’s a 6 day tour guarenteed to hit the spot for landscape photography enthusiasts and those wishing to find out what the great traditions of landscape photography are all about.  The price is £695 or £625 is booked before the end of July. Read more about the workshop here.  Xmas and the new year also offer great possibilities for a photography holiday here in Essaouira. The average temperature is 18 degrees and there are many other activities to do apart from a week learning photography.  Essaouira’s beach and dunes of are perfect for horse riding and the Hammans are particularly inviting during the winter months. Prices start at £895 for 7 nights and start dates are flexible so get in touch. Photography Holidays in Morocco & Spain.



This month Adrian came to Essaouira on holiday and took a one-day workshop with us here at Maison du Sud. His selection of final gallery images produced some lovely surprises particularly this one of my friend Ali, shop owner and entrepreneur. The one-day workshop here in Essaouira is divided into a morning and early evening session, the first session focusing on camera controls and technique.  The evening session comprises of a tutor led tour of the Medina followed by an assessment of the photos taken and the selection for the online gallery, which is useful to have to shows friends and family back home.  We also cover a little post-production work using Photoshop.  Prices for the one-day photo-workshop are 750Dh which is about £60 so if you find yourself in Essaouira for just a short time then get in touch. Click on the link to read more about the workshops.


Abby and Andrew have just completed their respective weeks in the sun. Andrew arriving the day, before got into his stride quickly, shooting some decent first images at the quite extraordinary visual experience that is the Sunday souk at Had Draa.  Both different in style and approach Abby and Andrew enjoyed their weeks and both now feel particularly confident photographing people. Abby rather excelled with her people gallery, Andrew preferring to find creative possibilities in shadows, a quite unique photography holidays gallery produced during my time here in Essaouira. photography-holidays-moroccoA & A can be seen left, entirely unposed! just outside the souk Idagouard which course participants visit on Wednesdays. Increasingly I’m using image manipulation programs, such as Aperture and Photoshop during the week’s course, to demonstrate the possibilities of controlling highlights and what can actually be recovered from an over-exposed image.  Understanding what software can achieve, can inform our use of histograms on location and encourage us to expose for the highlights and let the shadows areas fall away into darkness. It’s easier to “bring up’ the shadows than render detail in a “blown out” areas of white. Emma Simpson’s photo from last month, demonstrates what I mean.  She exposed correctly for the bright central area which on her camera led to a surrounding solid black area.  In post-production we brought up some of the foreground shadow detail offering more interest in the final image as seen right.

Abby’s & Andrew’s galleries can be viewed here.

You can book a photography holiday in Essaouira for £895 or visit our offers page for seasonal discounts. Alternatively check other news on recent course participants here.