Anilao Philippines Ultimate Photo Workshop December 2026

Offering an adventure debatably one of the best macro diving destinations in the world, Bluewater Photo's Anilao Photo Workshop is one not to miss out on!

 

Anilao Philippines Ultimate Photo Workshop Spring 2026

 Join one of Bluewater Travel's most popular trips with FREE daily photo workshops, in one of the world's top macro destinations; Anilao. Choose from 7 or 10-night trips in April/May 2026 at the fabulous Crystal Blue Resort and discover amazing macro critters, and breathtaking reefs. 

 

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

 

April 16 - 26, 2026 (10 nights)

or

April 26 - May 3, 2026 (7 nights)

Trip Leader: Erik Lukas & Dan Bishop

Book now to lock in 2024 prices:

7 Nights Shared: $1,999

7 nights Single: $2,199

10 nights Shared: $2,559

10 nights Single: $3,259

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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

Image Credits: (L) Rick Willbanks. (R) Bryan H Blauvelt.

 

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

Read about our 2023 trips to Anilao here (Spring) and here (December).

 

Trip Overview

Our trips offer small 'dive guide to diver' ratios and extended dive times, allowing for an optimal diving experience. We prioritize visiting the best dive sites regularly, and many of them are just a short 10 - 20-minute boat ride away from the resort. Plus, we hold competitions that reward participants for capturing the most critters, nudibranch species, best video, macro, wide-angle, and behavior shots. Whether you're an experienced photographer or using a small point-and-shoot camera, our team makes everyone feel welcomed and comfortable, and you're guaranteed to take home some fantastic 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 the report from our 2023 Anilao photo workshop or see our guide to diving Anilao.

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Inclusions

  • 7 or 10 nights of deluxe accommodations in sealed rooms with air-conditioning
  • Up to 4 dives a day (including night dives)
  • All meals
  • Daily photo clinics and workshops to help you improve your photography. The April 16 - 26 trip includes 9 days of workshops. The April 26 - May 3 includes 6 days of workshops with the option to pay the 10-night rate and enjoy an extra 3 days diving.

 

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 workshop with Mike Smith in Anilao is about taking you to the next level. World famous for its critters, Mike will guide you on your journey to create and capture them, with images to please you and impress.

This workshop will include 5 x 60-minute instructional presentations delivered via PowerPoint presentations, informal group discussions, one-to-one training, streaming live demonstrations (e.g., using programs like Lightroom), and underwater help.

  • Beginner Topics

  • Mike will be covering an introduction to macro (the main focus of the workshop) 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 introducing the concept of strobe lighting and basic strobe positioning. He will also cover suggested 'jump settings' and basic strobe positioning.
  • Intermediate Topics

  • Alternative strobe positioning for macro and wide-angle 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 color and presence to an image.
  • Advanced Topics

  • Taking your Macro to the next level using advanced lighting techniques, including snooting, torches with colored 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, postproduction is a critical step in Mike's image creation process. He is proficient with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop and will explain why RAW is the best format for shooters wishing to edit their images. Mike will take participants through a Lightroom workflow, from importing their 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, color management with HSL sliders, image sharpening, lens correction etc. How selective masks can be used to dramatically change the look of an image will be covered. Finally, exporting images for social media, phone sharing or printing. In addition, he 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 1:1 sessions.
  • Underwater help will be offered, but not imposed. Underwater conditions allow Mike is happy to spend 1:1 time to help perfect that shot. Everyone will be offered a 1:1 session topside to get help with any aspect of their photography, whether it's creation, post-production or advice for possible upgrades etc.

 

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

Erik Lukas is an active diver and photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. He is a volunteer scuba diver at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA. You can expect to find Erik diving many of the amazing Pacific Ocean sites of Southern California, camera in hand, at any chance he can get.

See more of Erik’s photography at www.seeundersea.com or on Instagram @seeundersea.

"I am passionate about underwater photography in general and have a special love for macro subjects. For me the things that are hardest to spot hold the most interest. Documenting the commensal and symbiotic relationships is for me the most interesting…the smaller and more bizarre the better. I also have a passion for sharing my knowledge with others. My goal with all of my workshops is to ensure each guest leaves with a group of images that they are proud to share." Read more about Erik here.

 

Dan is a passionate underwater photographer based in northern Virginia.  He did his first dive at age 14 and has been an avid photographer for more than 25 years.  Dan started out as a skydiving photographer and videographer, and then took that passion underwater.  Since then, he has spent as much time underwater as possible, often with one or both of his daughters.  Dan loves sharing his photography knowledge with others and is experienced with both wide angle and macro photography. 

Read more about Dan Bishop

 

 

Payment Schedule

Deposit: $500

Payment 2: $800 due 7/1/25

Payment 3: Balance due 12/1/25

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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 Resorts breeze restaurant Atmosphere Resort Breeze restaurant

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 email us at trips@bluewaterdivetravel.com

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 Dec 2022  Anilao Dec 2022  Anilao Dec 2022

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

Anilao Trip Anilao Trip

Anilao Trip 

Anilao Trip Anilao Trip

 

  

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