Anilao Philippines Ultimate Photo Workshop December 2025 - Bluewater Dive Travel

Anilao Philippines Ultimate Photo Workshop December 2025

Anilao Photo Workshop December 2025

 

Anilao Philippines Ultimate Photo Workshop December 2025

Experience one of Bluewater Travel's most popular trips to Anilao, a world-renowned macro destination, in December 2025. This thrilling adventure not only includes breathtaking reef and critter diving at Crystal Blue Resort but also offers FREE daily photo workshops to enhance your underwater photography skills. 

  

Why Join This Trip?

  • Attend our most popular underwater photo trip
  • Find out why Bluewater’s Anilao trips are known as the best underwater photo trips on the planet
  • Amazing dive guides, each group of 4 divers get their own private boat and guide, most dive sites are just minutes away
  • Chance to see every underwater critter, nudibranch and fish on your bucket list and then some
  • Daily photo workshops and lectures by Scott Gietler

 

December 7 - 14, 2025  (7 nights)

Trip Leader: Mike Smith

Book now to lock in 2024 prices:

7 Nights Shared: $1,999

7 Nights Single: $2,199

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Optional Land Extensions:

7 Nights in Dumaguete 

7 Nights in Puerto Galera 

10 Nights in Cebu & Bohol

 

Anilao Dec 2022  Anilao Dec 2022  Anilao Dec 2022 


Check out this awesome video from one of our previous trips to Anilao:

Read about our December 2023 trip to Anilao.


 

Trip Overview

This was the best organized and informative photo trip that I have been on, and I’ve been on a few.” - Harry O'Neil 

  • Small 'dive guide to diver' ratios and long dive times
  • We will visit the best dive sites early and often! Most sites are just 10 - 20 minutes from the resort.
  • Prizes are often awarded for photographing the most critters, the most nudibranch species, best video, and the best macro, wide-angle, and behavior shots
  • Photographers with even the smallest point-and-shoot camera will feel very welcome here, and you will go home with some great shots. 

 

Anilao boasts some of the richest reefs in the world. Whether at 10ft or 100ft beneath the surface, you will be inundated with photo subjects that will fill up your memory card before the day is over.

 

Anilao Trip Recap Spring 2023 Anilao Trip Recap Spring 2023

Images by Craig Wilhelm (L) & Erik Lukas (R)

Almost all species on our critter list can be found in Anilao - such as Rhinopias, blue-ring octopus, hairy frogfish, pipefish, flamboyant cuttlefish & Bobbit worms. Anilao is also the nudibranch capital of the world!

Here's the schedule for this trip:

  • Day one of the trip: Arrival at the resort will be between 11am-1pm from Manila hotels. Rooms will be available for check-in between 12pm and 2pm. While waiting for rooms to become available, guests can have lunch (runs from 12-2), unpack their camera gear in the camera room, or relax in the common areas. There are 2 optional afternoon dives the day of arrival, which can take place as soon as 4 guests are ready for a dive (4 divers per boat).   
  • Each subsequent day of the trip includes *up to* 4 dives per day, consisting of two in the morning and two in the afternoon (one afternoon dive is a night dive).
  • There will be underwater photo seminars and image reviews in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings.
  • On the second to last day, there will be no afternoon dives. There will be 2 morning dives, a photo contest and group dinner. 
  • Departure will be on the following day at 8 am back to MNL. Shuttle transfers take approx 3.5 hours between Anilao-Manila so book your departure flight sometime in the afternoon (we recommend any time after 2:30-3:00 PM to be safe).*
*If your flight doesn't depart until the evening, you may want to consider getting a "day room" somewhere in Manila so you can be dropped off there instead of the airport too early!

To get a little insight as to what the workshop is like, read our 2023 Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop or see our guide to diving Anilao.

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Inclusions

  • 7 nights of deluxe accommodations in sealed rooms with air-conditioning
  • Daily photo workshops to help you improve your photography
  • Up to 4 dives a day (including night dives)
  • All meals

 

Exclusions

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Crystal Blue Resort Anilao

The resort is on a hill and involves climbing stairs

 

TRIP TYPE

This trip is a PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP. It will be led by one of our photo instructors and will include daily underwater photography tutorials, in-water photography support, and one-to-one advice and guidance as required.

What to expect from our Photo Workshops

  • Daily photo workshops - Your photo instructor will schedule seminars each day on topics including, but not limited to, equipment type and selection, the concept of underwater photography, lighting and composition techniques, and post-processing. They will also include topics relevant to the location and your experience such as the use of snoots & diopters, single vs multi-point light sources, plus daily macro-specific assignments to practice your skills.
  • In-water support - Where possible, each dive group will spend time underwater with the photo instructor, receiving in-water support and guidance on their shooting techniques.  Participants can also request in-water assistance during the workshop and the photo instructor will do his or her best to accommodate all requests. 
  • Consecutive days of practice & review - Each day you will have the opportunity to practice the techniques and skills learned in the previous day’s tutorials. If you are new to underwater photography you will likely see a vast improvement in just a few days.
  • Daily photo image reviews - You are strongly encouraged to bring your laptop, a thumb drive, edit your photos, and submit your shots for review from both the instructor and your peers. These are fun and interactive sessions encouraging you to improve throughout the trip.
  • Quality time with fellow photographers - Both new and experienced photographers from past workshops have expressed the advantages of joining a trip with like-minded divers with a passion for underwater photography.
  • Suitable for everyone - New and experienced photographers are welcome on all our trips. Gain the necessary skills to start shooting great photos, increase your confidence in finding the best underwater shots, or hone specific skills. We also encourage non-photographers to join, as many of them really enjoy the daily photo reviews, learning about underwater photography, and some have even returned to a photo workshop with an underwater camera setup!

Enjoy free, unlimited access to a wealth of knowledge and advice from your photo instructor.

 

trip syllabus

Whether you're a seasoned shooter or new to underwater photography, Bluewater's Anilao macro workshop with Mike Smith will take your photography to the next level. World famous for its critters, Mike will guide you on your journey around Anilao's macro, creating images to please you and impress your buddies.

This workshop will include 6 days of tutorials in the form of an instructional presentation and image review every day. These will typically be 60 minutes long and will be run in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Teaching will take the form of PowerPoint presentations, informal group discussions, 1-on-1 training, streaming live demonstrations (e.g., using programs like Lightroom), and underwater help.

 

  • Introductory Topics (Days 1 & 2): Mike will be covering an introduction to macro and wide-angle photography. Starting with confirming understanding of the exposure triangle, the impact of the aquatic environment on ambient light will be explained, and the concept of strobe lighting and basic strobe positioning. We'll cover suggested 'jump settings' and the basics of camera positioning relative to subjects.
  • Intermediate Topics (Days 3 & 4): Alternative strobe positioning for wide-angle and macro will be covered. Positioning to avoid backscatter techniques to create or prevent shadows. In both wide-angle and macro, Mike will cover how combining ambient light and strobe lighting can bring pleasing depth to images, and introduce more colour and presence to an image.
  • Advanced Topics (Days 5 & 6): Take your Macro to the next level using advanced lighting techniques, including snooting, torches with coloured gels, and creative backgrounds. Mike will cover how these images can be captured and edited in post-production to create impactful photos with subjects that 'pop'.
  • As a qualified professional photographer, post-production is a critical step in the image creation process. Mike is proficient with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. He will explain why RAW is the best format for shooters wishing to edit their images and will take participants through a Lightroom workflow, from importing images, correcting white balance, how to use the histogram, using the basic panel to adjust exposure, contrast and saturation, then curves to improve contrast and dynamic range, colour management with HSL sliders, image sharpening, lens correction etc. Finally, exporting images for social media, phone sharing or printing. In addition, Mike can instruct on advanced processes for removing unwanted distractions, backscatter removal and the power of cropping to enhance composition. This can be covered in a teaching session and individual 1-on-1 sessions.
  • Underwater help will be offered, but not imposed. Underwater conditions allowing, Mike is happy to spend 1-on-1 time to help achieve the perfect shot. 

 

About Crystal Blue Resort

Crystal Blue offers spectacular diving, amazing macro photography, knowledgeable guides, incredible cuisine, and comfortable ocean-view accommodations. The resort has a bar, restaurant, spa, jacuzzi, awesome food and offers 17 rooms that consist of deluxe rooms, superior rooms, and a large family villa.

 

Crystal Blue Resort Anilao Crystal Blue Resort Anilao

Crystal Blue Resort Anilao  Crystal Blue Resort Anilao 

Read the reviews of Crystal Blue Resort here.

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Flight Information

  • We recommend guests arrive in Manila one day before the workshop begins and stay in a nearby hotel.
  • We have 3 hotel recommendations for guests; The Manila Marriott, Holiday Inn Express Manila Newport City, or The Belmont Hotel - all very close to the airport.
  • Alternatively, you can arrive at the Manila airport (code: MNL) on the morning of the first day of the workshop before 10 am and the shuttle will pick you up directly from the airport.
  • Everyone will leave in the morning of the last day (approx 8:00 am) and be transferred back to the airport.
  • Booking an afternoon/evening flight would be advised.
  • If you have any questions, please email us for recommended departure/arrival times. We will arrange your transport to the resort.

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ABOUT THE TRIP LEADER

Mike Smith is a professional photographer currently living in Singapore. A British citizen, he was born in Africa and was brought up in Asia and South America while attending British boarding schools. Mike retired early from a corporate executive career to follow his long held dream to be a professional photographer. Around the same time Mike resumed his love of diving and it was a natural progression take his camera with him. Mike has dived extensively throughout South East Asia and always with his camera. Specialising in macro photography and specifically creative lighting techniques underwater, he has built up an extensive portfolio of images, some of which can be found on his website mjsphotostudios.com. Mike’s goal in leading workshops, first and foremost, is that everyone has a fun time and leave feeling they've learned something new and created images they are proud of.  

  

PAYMENT SCHEDULE

Deposit: $500

Payment 2: $800 due 12/1/24

Payment 3: Balance due 7/1/25

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WANT TO EXTEND YOUR TRIP?

We can help with that! See more of the Philippines before or after your workshop in Anilao with Bluewater. Flying all that way merits a multi-destination vacation! Puerto GaleraDumaguete, and Cebu & Bohol are amazing destinations nearby that offer a range of additional unique experiences. Here are some examples of packages we can add on to your workshop reservation: 

*Rates are subject to change at any time; please contact us for the most updated pricing. 

7 NIGHTS in Dumaguete

A short domestic flight from MNL to the Southern Philippines can extend your macro photography vacation in style at the luxurious Atmosphere Resort.

  • A week in a Suite
  • 10-dive package
  • All meals
  • Transfers
  • Free WiFi: Yes
  • Swimming Pool: Yes

Atmosphere Resort Atmosphere Resort

Atmosphere Resort

 

7 NIGHTS In Puerto Galera

A few hours' car and boat transfer from MNL, El Galleon can offer you abundant corals and fish diversity and an inexpensive all-inclusive dive package.

  • 7 nights at El Galleon Resort 
  • Daily dives
  • Free WiFi: Yes
  • Swimming Pool: Yes
 

El Galleon Dive Resort El Galleon

El Galleon Dive Resort

 

10 NIGHTS IN Cebu & BoHol

A short domestic flight from MNL to either of these islands offers a whole new experience! See pristine corals and abundant reefs, all with never-ending diversity ranging from tiny seahorses to whale sharks. There are numerous resorts to choose from, but we think Magic Resorts (Magic Oceans Bohol & Magic Island Cebu) offer the best experience for the price.

  • 5 nights on each island
  • Daily dives
  • All meals and transfers between resorts and airports
  • Free WiFi: Yes
  • Swimming Pool: Yes
 

Magic Oceans Resort Bohol Magic Island Resort Moalboal

Magic Oceans (LEFT) & Magic Island (RIGHT)

Check out some other great dive resorts in Philippines.

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Got Questions? Ready to Book?

Call us today at +1-310-915-6677 or email us at trips@bluewaterdivetravel.com

Or stop by our office at 3961 Sepulveda Blvd, Suite 206 Culver City, CA 90230 

And let us book your dream vacation!

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Photo Gallery

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 Anilao Underwater Photos by various trip leaders from previous trips  

 Anilao Trip Recap Spring 2023 Anilao Trip Recap Spring 2023 Anilao Trip Recap Spring 2023

Anilao Trip Recap Spring 2023 Anilao Trip Recap Spring 2023

Anilao Octopus Anilao Trip

Anilao Trip 

Anilao Nudibranch Anilao

 Anilao Nudibranch 

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