Image by Full-Time Photography programme alumni, Julian Oldenburg.

Want to Become a photographer?

Our intensive, yearlong course of study is structured to develop technically refined, creative photographers, who are able to explore and define their goals, situate their work within a broad meaningful context, and establish a solid foundation from which to build their careers.

The course curriculum is content driven and student-centred, drawing on the participation of both the individual and the group. Coursework will consist of weekly assignments, group critiques, class discussions, practical exercises, tutorials and individual mentoring sessions. Students are encouraged to be experimental with their project assignments, rigorous in their research and exploration, and professional in their conduct.

At the end of their studies, students will leave with Practical and Creative Portfolios, a personalised website, documentary short, extensive experience in showcasing work on an exhibition and a business vision. Past students who have successfully completed their studies at Orms Cape Town School of Photography have pursued careers in advertising, publishing, fine art, and as freelance photographers.


Starting in February 2020.
Classes occur 5-days per week, from Mondays to Fridays.


R95 000 (includes 15% VAT)


Course Outcomes

  • Become a technically proficient photographer
  • Develop strong post-production skills in industry standard editing software
  • Develop a business vision for when you leave your studies
  • To able to read images and be aware of the impact images have on the world
  • Develop and print a Commercial Photography Portfolio Book to help secure work after your studies
  • Develop and print a Creative Portfolio Book to develop your own creative vision
  • Develop website and online portfolio for self-marketing purposes
  • Partake in at least two exhibitions

Our Campus & Facilities



Don’t be afraid of the portfolio! As part of your application, we would like to get to know you better. The portfolio is not to see if you are a competent photographer already but to understand you better. The portfolio can be completed with a DSLR or even on your smartphone camera. Please read through the below carefully. If you have any questions, please email

For your portfolio, you will need to:

  1. Take three photographs on the topic: The Self Portrait
  2. Take three photographs on the topic: People
  3. Take three photographs on the topic: Places
  4. Take three photographs on the topic: Objects
  5. Write a letter of motivation (250 – 500 words) explaining why you would like to study photography.


Self-Portrait (Number images: Self-portraits 1-3)

Take three very different self-portraits. Consider the whole frame of each picture before shooting and be sure to only include that which is related to the idea you would like to explore.

Please note:

– Selfies are not permissible
– Clearly caption the digital file with your name, surname and the title of this project: The Self Portrait
People (Number images People: 1-3)

Photograph three different people. You can direct them carefully, to make planned and deliberate photographs, or photograph them as they work, play, relax etc. The person should be aware that you are photographing them, and it would be good if they know what you are trying to accomplish with the photographs. Your images should introduce the viewer to the person you are photographing and attempt to reveal something of their character or situation.

Places (Number images Places: 1-3)

Photograph three different places. These places might be indoors or out in the open. It may be a home or part of the city, or it may be a natural space such as a beach or forest. It can even be a commercial space such as a factory or market. Your images should give the viewer an impression of what it feels like to be in that place.

Objects (Number images Objects: 1-3)

Photograph three different objects. These objects should be small enough to fit in a shoe-box. Characteristics that may make your objects interesting to photograph might include their shape, colour, texture, reflection and the purpose or function of the object. Try to make photographs that show the object in a surprising or unexpected way.

The scholarship includes all course fees but excludes printing and exhibition work. The scholarship students will receive a 40% discount at Orms Print. There is also an opportunity for students to do part-time work at the school to offset the printing cost. (In general, one hours work is enough to cover a months’ worth of printing necessary for the course). Financial support for personal living costs are not included in the scholarship. Limited scholarships available per year.




The guiding principle of the practical photography course is developing an understanding of the photographic process that views it as a continuous process, with all stages and decisions of that process having a direct influence on the outcome of the photograph.
Students will be taught a very comprehensive skillset, covering topics ranging from basic camera operation to digital asset management, advanced retouching, darkroom practice, location and studio lighting, printing and colour management.

The goal of this course is to help students become effective and efficient photographic problem solvers, able to produce technically sound, and visually interesting work in a wide variety of situations.


– Technically skilled photographer
– Technically proficient in post-production and image output
– Practical Photography Portfolio presented in a book format


Comprehensive study of all things camera related, including camera operation and features, camera design and functionality, and camera care.

Coursework will address the scope, characteristics, mechanics and optics of photographic lenses, with a particular emphasis on how lenses shape the appearance of a photograph. We also look at how to use lenses to achieve specific visual results.

Camerawork & Technique
Starting with the concepts of ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture, and brightness of light, the course explores a wide range of technical decision-making processes through practice and application, establishing a complete understanding of how and why to use the settings and functionality offered by modern cameras. We seek to tie together the technical aspects of image making in a way that provides students with the ability to make creative decisions regarding the application of their skills. This will enable them to achieve consistent and predictable visual results.

Image Design
All projects value the formal visual aspects of photographs alongside technical proficiency, to encourage students to make photographs that communicate through effective use of composition.

Studio practice addresses not only the use and operation of a complete range of studio equipment, but also assists students with developing the skills they need to photograph a range of subject matter in studio. These include food, products, portraits and fashion. We also work on the continuous development of a controlled and predictable studio workflow.

Post Production
Using leading software, including, Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and Bridge, students will develop a multifaceted digital workflow that encompasses digital asset management, Raw processing, editing and retouching, colour management, printing, scanning and archiving.



Photography in Context consists of a combination of lectures, discussions, critiques, films, gallery outings and other events dedicated to establishing your understanding of the photographic medium within the broader context of image production. Consider therefore the visual languages ubiquitous with the news, scientific research and popular culture to name but a few examples. During the course of the year you will learn to make informed decisions with regard to the analyses and interpretation of the image as a signifier.


  • – Read and contextualise images
  • – Apply your knowledge of visual culture, visual literacy and visual media to the   development of your personal visual language


To be able to take a photograph and develop a conscientious body of work, a photographer must develop a critical awareness about how they approach their subject matter; not only in the production of their work, but also in the understanding and representation of that subject matter. Creative Process aims to provide students with a foundation in critical thinking, encouraging students to develop an acute awareness of their “method” and pay careful attention to how they engage with the complexity of what they are doing.
Students will establish a foundation in concept development, from which to further explore their individual approach and understanding of photography and themselves as makers of images. Creative Process encourages creative play and incorporates the use of image, text, sound and a range of art disciplines to further extend material awareness and instil in students a sensitivity for detail in relation to the world at large.

The outcome of this course is the production of a comprehensive body of work dedicated to an area of photographic research or production informed by the student’s particular curiosity or interest. Portfolios will be presented at the end of the year in the format of a portfolio book and a small body of work curated for exhibition purposes.

Wet Darkroom
The wet darkroom serves as a space to explore the roots of photography, and lays the groundwork for understanding many of the rudimentary technical concepts that underpin modern photographic technology. Nowhere else is the process aspect of photography more apparent than in the darkroom. Students will explore conventional film photography, processing and printing, as well as related techniques such as photograms, the photomontage and pinhole photography.


– Production of a personal body of work
– Portfolio book
– Exhibition experience
– Documentary Short on Personal Work


History of Photography aims to provide students with a historical understanding of the development of photography, as well as explore major names in international and local photography.  

The subject aims to enrich student understanding of the social and political histories that have shaped photography, in light of the work produced by iconic photographers.  The intention of this course is to look back and find the links and influences between the past and contemporary practice.  Throughout the course of the year, students will also be developing their ability to research and write. Our approach with regard to the writing component of your course is that of writing as a mode of thinking.


  • Understand the historic photographic influence on contemporary photography and situate your work within a broader context
  • Research and write essays
  • Apply skills acquired to your Practical Photography and Creative Process coursework


Students will attend facilitated workshops, throughout the course of the year, dedicated to providing them with the necessary skill-set to draw up and establish a business plan tailored to their particular interest in photography.

In addition to addressing their business vision, students will learn how to manage a business, develop and market their products and services, draw up service agreements, invoices contracts, and manage their tax return.


– Establish a Business Vision
– Develop a Product / Service
– Do comprehensive feasibility studies
– Establish and develop sales skills
– Map out and plan a marketing strategy
– Understand General Business Management


Creating a platform for housing photographic work online is an essential skill, enabling photographers to manage their web presence and image interface.  In the Introduction to Web Design component of their studies, students will create a basic corporate identity in the form of a logo. They are guided through the process of creating an industry-standard website with an upload based builder.


– Build and develop a photographic website
– Secure a domain name and host
– Prepare video, image and sound files for upload
– Manage web content
– Problem solve programming challenges



  • Your digital camera
  • The photographic studio
  • Analogue camera work
  • The darkroom
  • Developing you own photographic style
  • Image management & editing in Lightroom
  • Image retouching in Photoshop
  • Working with people when taking their portraits
  • The diverse world of the photograph – ranging from the happy-snap to newsreel images
  • The history of photography & the role pictures play in our world
  • Printing & framing your own work for an exhibition
  • Making your own portfolio books
  • Videography & video editing
  • Developing your own website
  • Building your own business and finding your personal brand
  • Travel Photographer
  • Fashion photographer
  • Wildlife Photographer
  • Curator
  • Events & Wedding Photographer
  • Sports Photographer
  • Fine Artist
  • Picture Editor for Magazines & Newspapers
  • Videographer
  • Landscape Photographer
  • Beauty & Portrait Photographer
  • Photojournalist
  • Product Photographer
  • Food Photographer
  • Architecture & Interior Photographer
  • Scientific Research Photographer
  • Crime Scene Photographer
  • Image Retoucher
  • Aerial Photographer
  • Jewellery & Gem Photographer

We offer a scholarship for this programme – please CLICK HERE to learn more about it.

Although we do not offer accommodation, there are ample apartment blocks and living quarters in our surroundings. Here are some recommended places:

Student at Home ||
Student and Life ||
Rent a Room ||
South Point ||
My Domain Living ||
Campus Key ||
The Baobab ||
Twisted Lemon ||

The interview will be an opportunity to talk, ask questions and get to know each other. Come as you are!

On acceptance, applicants will need to register as a student at Orms Cape Town School of Photography to secure their place. This process will be set in motion by the school.

Yes – please send us your latest results to review.