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Underwater Photography Internship

Learn vital skills for shooting under the waves. Led by a professional underwater photographer, students will be guided through the essential skills required to master both SCUBA diving and underwater photography.


Acquire the knowledge and practical skills required to master the art of Underwater Photography and videography while exploring the incredible diversity of the stunning coral reefs of the warm Indian Ocean. The Underwater Photography internship program uses  dSLR cameras in Sea&Sea housings; DSLR and panasonic video and GoPros together with exceptional LED lighting and accessories.


Developed by internationally acclaimed underwater photographer, journalist and conservationist Fiona Ayerst, this course will empower students to see and explore the underwater realm in a totally new and intimate manner. We focus on becoming part of the marine world; using specialised breathing techniques and capitalising on the natural curiosity of the marine inhabitants. Fiona’s team will teach you how to capture the perfectly exposed and composed images and film. Creativity and new techniques are key.

Aliwal shoal is a reef system that lies within the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area. In the early 80s, it was rated as one of the world’s top ten dive sites by legendary ocean explorer Jaques Cousteau. Due to the protection, it is afforded, today it maintains its incredible diversity and abundance of species. Below are some of the special species found on the reef system. 

  • Sandtiger Sharks

    Sandtiger Sharks

  • Oceanic Blacktip Sharks

    Oceanic Blacktip Sharks

  • Tiger Sharks

    Tiger Sharks

  • Mantis Shrimp

    Mantis Shrimp

  • Nudibranchs


  • Turtles


  • Dolphins


  • Humpback Whales

    Humpback Whales

  • Potato Bass

    Potato Bass

Take a minute and enjoy the underwater photographic portfolios of our past interns and students. 

Louis Pieterse


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Fiona Ayerst


Fiona is one of Africa’s most established underwater photographers and underwater photojournalists. Fiona is renowned for her love of the ocean and her conservation photography. Fiona is also an avid writer and aims to tell the story of Africa’s underwater realm through her photographs and written word. Fiona is the grammar police of Africa Media and edits everyone’s writing.

Oour underwater photographic training internship is based at Scottburgh, South Africa – a small coastal village directly opposite the world-famous Aliwal Shoal. Participants stay at our purpose-built training centre – The Shark House. Here participants can enjoy the seaside training rooms, gear rooms and comfortable living quarters. The Shark House is located at 34 Egerton Road, Freeland Park, Scottburgh.

Internship price


  • Internship training
  • SCUBA Equipment
  • Underwater Cameras
  • 18 x Dive Package
  • Accommodation
  • Catered meals
  • Local Transport

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What does the program offer?

The underwater photography program is aimed at assisting in the development of students who are interested advancing their underwater photographic and video ability to a professional level whilst enjoying some of the most incredible SCUBA diving that Africa has to offer. Interns will be able to walk away with a professional level portfolio that will showcase their ability to photograph and film the marine world.

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Am I eligible?

This course is open to all qualified SCUBA divers and those wanting to learn. For non-qualified divers, you must gain a minimum open-water dive qualification prior to arrival. Alternatively, you can arrive on program two weeks prior to gain qualification and practice in SCUBA diving.

Whats included / excluded?

Cost includes: 18 dive (SCUBA and snorkel) package Practical and theoretical training instruction in underwater photography Free-diving training Food and soft drinks ( juice )/ water for your stay Dorm Accommodation. (upgrade to single accommodation) Airport transfers Hard and soft SCUBA equipment SCUBA airfills Internet Costs exclude: Recreational weekend SCUBA diving PADI Open water qualification course: $1000 – $1600 (includes accommodation, catering and certification) Laundry service Non-course excursions Extra food and beverages and alcoholic beverages Nitrox Staff Tips Private accommodation Additional days board ($40/day)

What is the daily schedule?

As a student and guest your daily routine will vary between diving and photographing, being tutored in photography techniques and free diving, and processing and editing your photographs. The Africa Media instructors are passionate about conservation and any projects that are available to work on practically, we will certainly be doing so.

I'm not SCUBA certified - how do I join?

This program requires that you are SCUBA qualified and have some experience SCUBA diving. If you are not yet qualified, you can join the program and arrive 2 weeks prior to the beginning to get qualified and participate in 10 recreational dives for experience. If unable to attend for two additional weeks, we can consider a 1 week training package for $1000 that includes PADI open water, 5 recreational dives, board and accommodation. Book your SCUBA certification time here.

What happens on arrival?

Pickups from the Airport will be organised for the 1st day of the month and dropoffs on the 28th of the month. Interns arriving or leaving outside this time could be asked to arrange transport between the Airport and our host at their own cost.

Do I need my own kit?

In terms of underwater photographic gear, soft diving gear, and underwater housings, participants can bring their own gear if desired. A minimum standard of photographic gear required is a DSLR or quality mirrorless system with two strobes. You would also be required to have a wide angle and a macro lens and the relevant ports. All dive gear and photographic gear is supplied.

What equipment will we use?

All photographic, editing, and scuba equipment is supplied during the course this includes 8 x Underwater DSLR photographic kits with strobes 2 x Prosumer type cameras with housings and a strobe Go Pros Full scuba kits including a full range of wetsuit sizes. Rubber Duck RIB or dive boat Camera’s – we use both Canon and Nikon cameras but you are welcome to bring your own gear. Computers: Please bring your own laptop. It must be pre-loaded with Adobe Lightroom 6 or CC as we use this extensively on course.

Do I need insurance?

Yes. When you book into this program, you agree to our liability, copyright documents, as well an agreement that you are knowingly partaking in potentially dangerous activities. You will not be covered for accidents or illnesses, so ensure you have your own medical and health insurances. You may apply for a normal travel insurance policy. Chances that you will be injured by a marine predator are very slim if you follow the safety guidelines, and do not try anything foolish of which we would not approve. However, you will be working on a boat in conditions which can, on occasions, be less than comfortable. Accidents may occur, so it is important to be covered in case of an emergency or accident. Be sure to have an insurance cover for your entire stay in southern Africa. SCUBA divers, also need to be insured by the Divers Alert Network (DAN)

What do I need to bring?

Clothing Beach and lounging – Bring what you are comfortable in, but ensure that you have at least one warm tracksuit type outfit, a good sun hat with a wide brim and a warm hat/beanie. Gloves can be helpful for early mornings. The tracksuit or similar is for lounging around in during the evenings, which will get colder than the day. Please bring a beach towel and a minimum of one bath towel, but preferably two. Please bring one towel to work with your camera on. Social clothes – Scottburgh is a small town so social clothing should reflect a casual non-formal style. A swimming costume or two. Your own wetsuit and mask is always more comfortable and could be more hygienic, but not a necessity as gear hire is incl. in the course price Electronic gear Minimum of 1TB storage hard drive. Laptop. your own camera if you want to do any land based photos. We often have fun with star trails and the moon and some students like to photograph at the game reserves in the area a GoPro if you have one ( not necessary to buy but bring if you have ) You are actually welcome to bring any personal videography or photographic equipment, however, this is totally optional as all underwater equipment that you will need is supplied. Editing programs Adobe Premiere Pro. Adobe Lightroom CC ( classic ) Miscellaneous Toiletries & strong sunscreen (there are also plenty of shops to purchase from). Prescription medication. Passport & photocopy of passport. Bank cards (inform your bank of your travels). Spare cash. Phone & cables. Sunglasses. House address – 34 Egerton Road, Freeland Park, South Africa.

Must I bring extra money?

The info provided in the costs section should give you a good foundation from which to work this out. If you need to do a SCUBA course then bring at least $400 to cater for this up to an advanced level – plus extra for off-course dives if you wish. It is probable that you may wish to do a weekend trip or two, and many activities are available on such trips including diving with sharks for example. We recommend you have around $100 extra per weekend trip you wish to go on. Please note you do not have to go on ANY of these extra trips. This is simply for your information should you wish to. Please do not bring dollars to spend if possible, rather exchange and bring Rands or pre-arrange with us ( that rands are bought up for you and exchanged. Please bring $100 for tips. We do not insist that you tip but if you are happy with the service our partners have given you then it is customary to tip the staff. At the end of each month your course director will take a ‘tip’ payment from each intern and this will be pooled and divided fairly between the staff- who we promise will be looking after you very well!

Do I need a visa?

Most nationalities gain a free three month visitors VISA on arrival to South Africa. However a few nationalities (e.g. India, China) require that VISA’s are pre-arranged prior to arrival in South Africa. Please check with the nearest South African embassy on the status for your nationality.

Like what you see? Connect with my team to learn how to join this internship program 
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Testimonials from Alumni

Start your Adventure

Master the art of underwater photography whilst exploring the tropical reef of Southern Africa

Like what you see? Connect with my team to learn how to join this internship program