Tell me, Who is Scott Portelli?
I am an underwater wildlife and aerial photographer. I live in Sydney on the beaches in a very beautiful area with lots of gorgeous creatures. I always want to be in the water so I spend a lot of my time diving. You really realize then how beautiful Sydney is and how much amazing stuff there is to see. I am also a tourleader so I take people around the world to different places. Tonga is one of my favorites. We go there to swim and snorkel or free-dive with humpback whales. I also take people to the isles to look at sperm whales, blue sharks and mobula rays. Besides that I have been to Antarctica at least seven times. We get in the ice-cold water to and see the icebergs, wildlife and scenery.

You are originally from the advertising world, but why did you give this up for being a wildlife photographer?
I worked in advertising and marketing as a project manager. Being in those industries you learn a lot about what’s going on with technology, you understand what the market is doing. The advertising and marketing knowledge is great, but you work hard, you play hard and it’s stressful at the job. Besides that it is also a typical advertising atmosphere outside of the job. My passion has always been the ocean, diving, photography, wildlife, just doing amazing things and see amazing places. The transmission was easy to sort of moving in to.

You won many photography Awards. What would  you advise other young photographers that want to go into this direction?
I think the biggest challenge is keeping momentum and staying creative. A lot of people ask me on a daily basis how they become a wildlife photographer. They see the glamourous side of things and they see the end product. But they don’t realize there is also a lot of travelling, planning and logistics. And lots of waiting for the right moment! You are always looking for something new or different and you always try to improve yourself as an artist. Being an artist is probably the hardest thing, there so much stuff out there in the world at the moment.

Why do you like working with the brand Waterproof?
Waterproof is the first thing I think about whenever I want to do anything that is cold water related or anything that is logistically hard to do. Wherever it is a permit or expert knowledge, no one has better expertise, no one works so closely with you. It is a collaboration, you always work together for the same goal. You don’t find that with very many people you work with, to find that is for me a must.

What is your motto in life ?
I have many life mottos, but my biggest one became more prominent over the years and it is just to surround myself with positive and likeminded people. People who not only want to do amazing things and go to amazing places but have an affinity with the ocean, wildlife and want to preserve the resources we have. I am involved in a number of conservation projects and set up my own conversation project in different parts of the world. I love that aspect of seeing these beautiful things and sharing them with people but there is also such a clear message behind it. We have to save these elements of our planet.

What would you want to say to the kids of this day and age?
I love some of the kids I meet this day and age because they are so savvy. I have been going to a lot of different events and I sometimes speak at them because of my photography. The kids are the most responsive, they suck all information in. We were talking about plastic pollution. And there was a girl that came up to me and said ‘What about my toothbrush? Is that bad for the environment? And what about my mask and snorkel?’. Kids are the most impressable and really want to learn, I never treat them as kids. When I speak to a five-year-old or a ten-year-old I don’t downtown my answer, I speak to them the exact same way. I like the fact that kids are getting smarter and more savvier because of technology. They are so more in tuned because of the education about the programmes they are going to.

About Scott:
Award winning underwater cinematographer, Scott has travelled the world extensively photographing in some of the most remote destinations, including the Arctic, Antarctica, Galapagos, Azores, Africa and the South Pacific.
He is also an accredited licensed RPAS/UAV Pilot and worked on aerial projects for some of Australia’s tourism destinations. Working in extreme conditions, Scott’s photography and filming credits show above and below the surface.
See more of Scott’s work


Winner in the Underwater Category of the Asferico International Nature Photography awards 2018;
Awarded finalist in the Big Picture Competitionin the Aquatic Life category for this image of a heat run with whales and dolphins in Tonga;
Awarded Runner up in the Animal Behaviour Category of the Ocean Geographic Pictures of the Year awards 2018;
Winner at the 11th Annual International Color Awards receiving an Honourable Mention in the Nature Category;
Awarded Honourable Mention and Remarkable Artwork award at the Sienna International Photography Awards 2017;
Awarded two honourable mentions at the 12th International Black & White spider awards 2017;
Winner in the Animal Behaviour Category at the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year ANZANG 2017.

Meet Scott on our expeditions to Tonga, and snorkel with the gentle giants

A collections of Scott Portelli’s underwater wildlife photo’s

Snorkel with humpback whales in Tonga © S. Portelli

A look below the surface wile Polar Snorkelingy in Norway © S. Portelli

Northern Light sunrise captured on the Winter Whales of Norway expedition © S. Portelli

Polar Snorkeling in the Antarctic © S. Portelli

Up close to Elephant Seals in South Georgia. © S. Portelli

“Being the ‘girl next door’ kind of person I feel blessed and humbled by the amazing people I have met over the years. I want to share these encounters with you because they inspire and give hope to the world. Life is too short, but long enough to make a difference. Let’s see the world through their eyes and perhaps we can learn from it.”
Marlynda Elstgeest Owne


post a comment