Nigel Wade in DIVER Magazine: “this is the very best publication, written by one of the most talented authors, I’ve ever had the privilege to read on the subject of underwater photography”
Simon Rogerson in SCUBA Magazine: “This book exceeded my expectations; I expect it will quickly become regarded as the definitive handbook for serious underwater photographers. …this is the most comprehensive guide I have seen in terms of different shooting scenarios. Above all, I admire the clarity of his writing – every skill is explained with the demystifying simplicity of a natural teacher.”
Peter Rowlands in Underwater Photography Magazine: “Underwater Photography Masterclass is a genuinely fresh take on underwater photography for several reasons. Firstly, the author ‘walks the walk’, but secondly he has ‘listened to the talk and soaked up the past’ and thirdly, and most importantly for you the reader, he has the confidence to divulge everything.”
John Bantin in Undercurrent Magazine: “Alex Mustard is the modern master of what he does, and willingly reveals to others …how he does it. Instead of producing just a coffee table book of pictures, he is more didactic in his approach, disguising his superb photos in this book as demonstrations of how to do it, or as inspiration to others to have a go themselves. It’s a master class and it’s stuffed with information.”
Amazon UK customer review: “I nearly didn’t buy this book because I was thinking it would just be a rehash of the usual basic photography and underwater advice but I’m so glad I did! …Lots of great ideas and suggestions accompanied by beautiful photographs but very concise and accessible and light enough to take on a trip.”
Amazon UK customer review: “This book arrived just before we were travelling to Lembeh, Indonesia, I have to say that the photography on our trip was transformed, we used various lighting techniques and suggestions in the macro and lighting sections. This book is definitely an essential part of my photography kit when ever I go away from now on. All aspects of underwater photography are covered and explained and the book is so easy to follow.”
Amazon UK customer review: “Extremely well written and very informative book from one of the masters of his art. This book cuts through some of the myths and shows how Alex has achieved so much in this challenging discipline. Whether you’re a beginner with your first compact or think you’re no longer in this category, you are sure to learn something. Highly recommended.”
Amazon UK customer review: “This book deserves only 5 star reviews. It deals with every shot that I can think of in underwater photography, it is a book that communicates. It is all about lighting. Alex has made an outstanding contribution to underwater photography through this book alone. I will be using it, reading it, re-reading it and digesting all of the great lessons contained in it. …A master photographer, teacher, communicator doing his thing. A must read, a reference book and a delight, with stunning images too.”
Amazon UK customer review: “I have been an underwater photographer for a few years, but still consider myself a beginner. I have read the book cover to cover and can genuinely say it is full of really useful practical “how to” tips. Importantly, it is not full of hard to understand technical language and is very easy to read. Highly recommend it.”
Amazon UK customer review: “What a Great book on Underwater photography. I can’t praise this book enough. Alex has thought of everything that Underwater Photographers need to know.”
Amazon UK customer review: “The book is written in an easy to understand language, without complicated jargon. Every page is packed with tips and advice to help you improve your u/w photography technique.”
In Alex’s words
Q. Your new book, Underwater Photography Masterclass is out soon, what can you tell us about it?
AM. 192 pages, 280 images, soft back, so light enough for travel. I actually wrote a 400 page book and then we concentrated it into 200. It is packed with techniques, tips and ideas. In some ways I don’t want to say too much. I am really proud of it, but I want people to enjoy discovering it for themselves.
I started with a blank piece of paper and planned the book cover to cover, to share what I think you really need to know. It is very much my take on underwater photography. What I think will really make the difference to your photos. That way, whatever you have read before, you’ll really get lots of out reading this book too.
Q. So how have you made it different?
AM. The book is a course, or a masterclass on the whole of underwater photography, told from the perspective of understanding, controlling and mastering light and lighting. It is based on the techniques and advice that I have found really works for me and have seen really work for the students on my workshops.
It is also packed with detailed, real world tips that I have picked up shooting all around the world. It includes everything from how to get a pygmy seahorse to face your camera to why you want to flinch first when playing chicken with a basking shark!
It doesn’t skip on the essentials either, covering how to go about diving for your images and how to select the appropriate underwater photographic equipment. There is a section on “hacks for your housing” – how to set up your rig for the best performance and a list of common equipment problems and field solutions.
Q. Who is the book aimed at?
AM. Although it presents some ideas and techniques that have never been in books before, I don’t think of it as advanced or technical. I have taught these ideas and techniques on workshops all around the world and know that new photographers can put them into practice from their very first dive. There are just two diagrams in the whole book, and no equations!
Although it feels totally contemporary, the book also covers classic techniques (often with a modern twist) and it is a text that celebrates and tries to learn from the rich history of underwater photography. The book presents techniques for the full range of diving conditions, from clear tropical water, to chilly murky conditions.
That said the title is Underwater Photography Masterclass, which indicates that it is not focused on the absolute basics. Instead its theme is light and lighting, which means the advice is not specific to any particular camera. Light is the same for all.
It is for enthusiastic photographers of all levels and all cameras. Although many of the lighting techniques require you to use two strobes – you wouldn’t write a golfing book without assuming the student has a putter! The book explains exactly where to position them for the effect you want and importantly why. There are plenty of pictures of me underwater showing you how I shoot certain shots.
Q. What has the feedback been like so far?
AM. My wife likes it and my dog wagged her tail! I have been very secretive with the manuscript. Nobody has read more than a couple of chapters! Last summer when I was writing it, I sent different parts to a couple of friends. I chose photographers who have never done workshops with me. I wanted feedback from people who weren’t too familiar with my ways of thinking about underwater photography and my teaching methods. I wanted to make sure it is easy to follow and really useful. I wanted to check I wasn’t assuming too much or too little. Without knowing each other, both wrote back to me saying that they were already trying the techniques on their dives (before telling me anything else about it)! So I am really excited about people reading the whole thing. And even more so about them putting it into use.