With so many options for photography classes in the Cape Town area, it can be a bit daunting to find the right one for you. We took a look at some of the leading online and physical courses offered in the region. You can always just do a Google search for ‘Cape Town Photography Classes’, but you’ll just end up with a list of results all saying the same thing.

Finding the right course for you…

Before choosing your photography course, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
Where are you with your photography and where do you want to go?
Who are the instructors and what’s the class environment?
How much time and money can you afford? And do you have the necessary equipment?

Where you are with your photography and where do you want to go?

Don’t overshoot your level. Make sure you’ve mastered the basics before you move on to advanced levels – there’s a lot more to taking a picture than the old point-and-shoot. If you are interested in a specific genre of photography, like portraiture or landscapes, discuss with your potential instructor to find out what basic techniques will set you up for mastering the field.

Are you interested in photography as a hobby or career? Either way, you’ll want to learn to shoot like a pro – but there is a whole other world of knowledge required to become a successful working photographer. If not, you’re better off spending that time focusing on the craft and not the industry.

Who are the instructors and what’s the classroom environment?

Try and research the photography instructors and experiences of past students. Check the instructor’s work. If they can’t take compelling, professional photos, what can they teach you? And beyond that – can they even teach you? Being an expert and being a good teacher are often two different things. The best instructors are the ones who have made a career with their craft – their longevity and success as professionals are what you’re looking to learn from.

Also find out what the classroom environment. Is it in a traditional school environment, in a working photography studio, or on location? What is the class size? Hands-on instruction is only useful if you can get face-time with the teacher. Check if they have any limits on the number of students per class to get an idea of how much time, attention and access you’ll have in a typical lesson.

How much time and money can you afford? And do you have the necessary equipment?

The next question is a matter of budget, for both time and money. Of course, you can’t always do a straight comparison on price, with courses varying in length from a few sessions doable in a week to months-long periods of study. Some courses are only available at certain hours, and will not be a possibility for people working nine to five – luckily, many courses are available for full and part-time study.

Location is also important, and will impact the true cost of the course. In today’s age of content creation, there are a mind-boggling number of free online lessons and tutorials – of course, the downside of that is the lack of hands-on instruction and personal feedback.

Make sure you have the equipment needed to participate in the course. Having a camera seems fairly step one when it comes to learning photography, but find out if you need flashes, lights, et cetera, too.  If they are provided, see if there are any additional costs aside from the course fee. Some schools offer all gear supplied at no extra cost – even if you don’t own a camera.

READ MORE: Buying a DSLR Camera in Cape Town

Now that you’ve answered those questions and figured out what you want from photography, it’s time to find out what’s out there…

Our course picks for Cape Town

A quick Google search for ‘Cape Town photography course’ yields at least five pages of results, all looking pretty much like the other. Below, we shortlist some of the more reputable schools and compared their offerings to help you find the right one for you.

DLPHOTO Photography School & Studio

Why it’s the best: Casual, comprehensive and concise, DLPHOTO is centrally-located and focused on offering practical photography instruction for hobbyists or aspiring professionals on a part-time.

Best option: The Beginner To Pro short course option let’s you master photography in just four sessions from R 3 600. You’ll also get a discount on studio rental and advanced workshops upon completion of the course. And even if you don’t have a camera, all gear is supplied.

Martin Osner’s Learn Photography

Why it’s the best: From veteran photographer Martin Osner, Learn Photography offers classes in Hout Bay on a number of fields, including fine art and abstract photography.

Best option: The Basic to Intermediate Photography Course is a six-week course, with 6 weekly classes in the evenings, for R5500.

UCT Digital Photography Course

Why it’s the best: If you’re looking for an online course, UCT’s GetSmarter is a worthy option, with a commitment of 7 hours per week for 10 weeks. It’s a little pricey, but you’ll be certified by the University of Cape Town at the end of it.

Best option: The Digital Photography Online Short Course at R11 900. Employer financial assistance is also possible.

CTSP Cape Town School of Photography

Why it’s the best: With the backing of ORMS, the Cape Town School of Photography offers in-depth full-time and 6-month courses. A variety of part-time courses are also now available, subject to demand.

Best option: For those wanting to really study photography, CTSP offers an extensive 6-month course from R36 000.

Done investigating? Take a look at DLPHOTO’s Photography Course options.