July’s guest photography

July’s galleries are now available to view via clicking on the photo. Jo and Lindsay produced some excellent abstract photos particularly at the non-touristic places.

Our photography holidays hopefully continue to inspire. At all levels there are techniques to learn as well as compositional approaches that come through practice and the benefit of looking at other photographers. Essaouira is the ideal compact place for intensive learning. Plenty of sun, texture, colour and oddities make this a paradise for photographers.


5 essential resources for the budding photographer


Morocco Photography Workshop

We teach all levels of ability on a Morocco photography workshop including those that have absolutely no experience with DSLR cameras. Sometimes students decide to hire our DSLR rather than purchase one prior to the course.  What are the advantages and disadvantages of arriving with your own camera as an absolute beginner.

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Bring on the Night – photography workshops after sunset

photography-workshops-at-night-images-in-the-sunphotography-workshops-at-night-images-in-the-sunPhotography is all about finding the light and here in Essaouira it’s usually in abundance but on a photographic holiday you want to explore the range of photographic opportunities. Night time photography offers something completely different when street lighting is the only source of illumination. Both Jackie and Ciaran were keen in the last week of September to take some photos of Essaouira’s atmospheric backstreets and alleys. The old fortifications combined with the night time sea air are suggestive of a town unchanging and of course this is part of Essaouira’s charm. The main challenge of night time imagery is firstly to be able to see what one is doing so at the very least always take a small penlight with you. Most DSLRs have an illuminated LCD screen but that can be tricky to see when your camera is positioned at head height so a torch will help you see the camera’s screen at the back. Of course you’ll also be using a tripod and this helps both steady the camera for slow shutter speeds and also slows down your working processes which can help you think about better compositions.

Many photographers always work with a tripod. It’s a much more Zen way of working. Whilst a tripod steadies the camera you’ll also need to use your self timer setting which also helps to eradicate image blurring as your finger is not engaged in pressing the button which can transmit vibrations. Secondly you may also have the option of mirror lock-up which can further prevent camera shake. In terms of exposure, cameras are set to give you an average reading so a dark subject will appear slightly lighter and a bright subject vice versa. To get naturalism and often the desired moodiness at night time, under-expose by a stop or so to see the shadows fall nicely into shade. Jackie and Ciaran came at for a photography holiday in the last week of September flying with Easyjet. Their galleries can be seen here.


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.

A photography holiday in Morocco – Craig’s week

photography holidays in morocco

Craig’s photography holiday in Essaouira is drawing to a close and his eye for a picture has certainly come to the fore as the week has progressed. The image left taken at Souk Idagouard shows how photography is not always about clever compositions but is more often about spotting quirky juxtapositions and allowing the subject/objects to shine through with a simple framing.   Craig also took advantage of rare ‘Fantasia’ festival near Essaouira, not an event we’ve covered before on the photography holidays but once safely positioned in a good location at the front, Craig’s correct choice of shutter speed and timing gave him some truly exotic images.  Mind you, the fear of being trampled by a late braking horse was surpassed by the only real incident of potential danger when an ambulance wanted to pass through at some speed. Apparently a misfiring gun had broken a warrior’s arm and I can only guess the driver felt he had room for more!

Perhaps the most unusual finding of the week has been Craig’s topographic work, a long since forgotten genre of photography, on my part at least, formalised in the 1970’s through the photographs of Lewis Baltz and Robert Adams amongst others. ‘Topographic Photography‘ focuses on man altered landscapes and in Craig’s case it was an ‘organic’ development during the week to produce something more  than ‘pretty’ pictures. The topographic movement is  typically  characterised by photographs stripped of ‘artistic frills’.

Craig’s photographs are not as sparse as that but there is a detached and intelligent ‘eye’ at work. In all 5 superb galleries for the week.  A photography holiday here in Morocco often throws up a few photographic surprises particularly with how course attendees observe such different things.  I must also thank Craig for alerting me to the potential keyword search of residential photography holidays not something I had thought of before. You can view Craig’s galleries here.



near Essaouira on a Morocco photography holidayMorocco photography Holiday