Indulge yourself in one of the most historic regions on the face of the planet in a 14-day intensive Dubai + Jordan photography workshop with Nasim Mansurov and Tareq Hadi. Dubai does not need an introduction – you have probably already seen its stunning cityscapes, man-made islands and some of its wonders such as Burj Khalifa. Being a modern global city and business hub of the Middle East, Dubai presents superb opportunities for cityscape photography. Its surrounding desert landscape also makes it a popular spot to photograph rolling sand dunes and desert life. Jordan, officially known as “The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” is a photographer’s dream come true, thanks to its rich culture, friendly welcoming people, stunning architecture, colorful landscapes, and history dating back tens of thousands of years. That’s right, some areas of Jordan have evidence of human huts from about 20,000 years ago! Jordan also hosts the amazing Petra, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World – a must-see “rose-red city” in your lifetime! The Dubai + Jordan Photography Workshop is not a photo tour – it is designed specifically for photographers of all levels to ensure that participants come back with stunning images.
On the day of arrival, we will start by getting to know each other, go over camera gear and discuss the workshop schedule. Participants will need a little time to relax, get some sleep and get acclaimed to the new time zone after a long international flight.
Throughout the workshop, we will be accompanied by our good friend Mr. Tareq Hadi, a very talented photographer, educator and businessman, who runs one of the most popular photography sites in the Middle East called DPClick.com. He will be co-leading this workshop and guiding us to the best Dubai and Jordan have to offer. Tareq speaks both Arabic and English fluently and he knows more about the region and its history than anyone else I have ever met. He is literally a walking encyclopedia!
1) Safety and Security
Dubai is a very safe country to visit and there are no security concerns there. Although geographically, Jordan is located in a “hot” zone surrounded by neighboring countries in war such as Iraq and Syria, the country’s borders are well protected against any outside threats and it is a very safe country to visit as well. In fact, the government does everything it can to guarantee the safety of its civilians and tourists visiting the country by placing internal security and local army personnel in every hotel, shopping mall and major attraction. I have been to Jordan many times now and I have always felt safe there. In fact, some of the workshop participants indicated that they felt safer being in Jordan than in some parts of the USA! Jordan is visited by many tourists from all over the world, so the locals are very used to seeing and interacting with foreigners. It is also important to note that Jordan has been a US ally for many years now.
2) 2020 Workshop Dates
The workshop will take place from March 6, 2020 until March 19, 2020. All participants will arrive to Dubai on March 6th or earlier. The flight from Dubai to Amman will take place on March 12th, 2019. After staying for 7 nights in Amman, the participants will fly out of Amman to Dubai on March 19th. The cost of the roundtrip ticket will be included as part of the workshop cost. The workshop will span a total of 13 nights (6 nights in Dubai and 7 nights in Jordan).
3) Workshop Size
The Dubai and Jordan Photography Workshop will be limited to a total of 8 participants. With two instructors, there will be plenty of one-on-one education and individual attention to each participant. We will help set up your camera for each location and we will make sure that every person gets the best shot they can get from their camera gear.
4) Getting There
There are many airlines that fly from the USA and Europe to Dubai. Since the cost of airfare varies greatly depending on where the participants will be coming from, the cost of airfare will not be included as part of the workshop cost, as seen below. Each participant arriving to Dubai will be picked up and transferred to the hotel we will all be staying at without extra charges.
5) Transportation and Entrance Fees
We will be touring Dubai and Jordan in a van or a minibus. The cost of transportation, along with entrance fees to all attractions are included in the workshop fees.
All accommodations in hotels are also fully included for the duration of the workshop. However, it is important to note that the standard workshop cost includes a double occupancy room, which means that each person will be paired with a roommate of the same gender. If you would like to secure a single occupancy room, it will be $500 extra for the whole workshop (depending on availability).
If you choose to stay in the country after the workshop, we can assist you in getting your reservation extended at a discounted rate.
7) What to Bring
Please note that we will have limited space for gear while traveling, especially when switching hotels, so we encourage to keep camera gear to the minimum. Please see our recommendations below for what gear we would recommend for this workshop.
7.1) Cameras and Lenses
You can bring any kind of camera gear with you. Our team is pretty familiar with all camera systems out there, so choice of brand is a non-issue. As for lenses, our recommendation would be to bring several lenses:
- Wide angle / ultra-wide angle: If you have a wide angle zoom lens, like a 16-35mm that can take filters, it would be ideal for shots like this:
- Normal range: A 24-70mm or a 24-120mm would probably be your most used lens during the workshop. Example shot:
- Telephoto range: There might be good opportunities for using telephoto lenses as well, so make sure to grab a lightweight 70-200mm or a 70-300mm lens.
- You might also want to consider bringing a fast wide-angle prime, like a 24mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens – there might be good opportunities for astrophotography in the deserts of UAE and Jordan.
A tripod is an absolute must for this workshop. Please take a good, sturdy tripod – see our article on choosing a tripod for recommendations. It will be needed for sunrise, sunset and astrophotography shots. Don’t forget your tripod quick release adapters (we have had people before who forgot those). If you always prefer shooting on a tripod, make sure to grab one that is easy to setup (provided that it is not flimsy), as we would not want to delay the whole group because of a single complex setup. There will not be any need for monopods or other camera support gear for this workshop.
- Polarizing filter: a must-have for obvious reasons. If you don’t have one, please purchase as soon as possible. We will be bringing a couple of 77mm polarizing filters just in case, but it is always recommended to bring your own.
- GND filter: for sunrise/sunset shots, a soft-edge graduated neutral density (GND) filter is another item we would highly recommend. Take a 2 stop and a 3 stop GND. If you want to only take one filter, take a 3 stop soft-edge GND. Don’t forget a filter holder! If you do not know much about filters, please see the following articles for detail: Must-have filters for Landscape Photography and Lens Filters Explained.
We highly recommended to bring a lightweight laptop for backing up photographs and for the post-processing class (either PC or Mac), since we will be going over workflow and post-processing on the last day of the workshop.
Don’t forget to bring a small flashlight, memory cards and extra batteries.
Although UAE and Jordan are very warm countries overall (with Dubai being much warmer than Jordan), early spring months can bring some chill after sunsets, so make sure to bring a warm jacket and a couple of sweaters. It will also help to bring hiking shoes for walking on desert landscapes of UAE, Petra and Wadi Rum. No need for bringing boots, just regular hiking shoes will do. We don’t expect to see much rain in March, but if it does rain, it might help to bring a thin waterproof jacket, just in case.
8) Workshop Photo Gallery
I published an article showcasing the best images I captured in Jordan from the 2017 workshop, so if you would like to see more images, along with some information from the workshop, check out my Photographing Jordan article.
9) Workshop Schedule for 2020
Below is the workshop schedule for the second workshop in 2020:
Mar 6 – Arrival to Dubai, hotel check-in, meet and greet / planning session in the evening
Mar 7 – Dubai cityscape photography
Mar 8 – Dubai cityscape photography
Mar 9 – Dubai cityscape photography
Mar 10 – Desert photography
Mar 11 – Desert photography
Mar 12 – Departure to Amman, hotel check-in and dinner
Mar 13 – Dead Sea
Mar 14 – Dead Sea
Mar 15 – Wadi Rum
Mar 16 – Wadi Rum
Mar 17 – Aqaba
Mar 18 – Departure to Amman
Mar 19 – Departure to Dubai
Please note that the above schedules are subject to change – any changes to the schedule will be emailed in advance to all workshop participants.
For detailed information on what it is like to photograph in Jordan, please see my What to Photograph in Jordan article.
10) Cost and How to Sign Up
The workshop cost is $5,999 per participant. We are currently taking a deposit of $1,000 to secure your spot, but you have the option to pay for the workshop in full. Full workshop payment is expected 90 days prior to departure.
Here is what is included in the above workshop cost:
- Airfare from Dubai to Amman and back
- Hotel accommodation costs (3-5 star hotels, depending on the location)
- Meal costs *
- All ground transportation costs
- All entrance fees to the above-mentioned locations
- Photography instruction / workshop fees
* Please note that this is a photography workshop, not a tour. At times when traveling or hiking extensively, we might be limited to snacks instead of full meals. If you require more than two meals a day, please let us know before booking this workshop. Also, if you have any dietary requirements, they must be communicated in advance.
What’s not included:
- Airfare to Dubai
- Visa (can be purchased at the airport)
- Travel / medical insurance
- Hotel incidentals
- Room service, beverages, phone service, Internet fees, etc
- Photography equipment
- Extra costs due to unanticipated changes in itinerary (flight delays, closures, etc)
In order to sign up for the above workshop, please use our secure Workshop Registration page.
11) Cancellation Policy
Please note that the workshop deposit fee is fully refundable 90 days before the workshop commences. We will not be able to provide a refund after this date due to group reservations, planning and coordination issues. Full payment is expected 60 days before the workshop date. In the event of workshop cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances (natural disaster, government closures, injury, death, etc), collected workshop fees will be refunded (minus potential processing fees, non-refundable hotel accommodations and permits acquired in advance). Photography Life will not be held responsible for airfare and other potential expenses incurred due to workshop cancellation.