free hit counter


As a visitor to this site you are entitled to know what happened as soon as your computer sent a request for our web pages.

If your browser settings permitted this, a small portion of the web-page coding would have saved a small data cookie in the cache. In addition, a viewing notification would have been sent to the server of our statistics monitoring service provider This allows us to count the number of times our site is visited, track the pages visited (as an aggregate number of views only), the viewer's country, web-browser and the operating system used by the device requesting the page. 

We use this information to optimise our site, to ensure that it loads as quickly as possible on the equipment you are using to viisit our site and to get an idea of where referrals come from. We also can get an idea of the aggregate time all viewers spend navigating pages - that is useful to see if we need to edit or improve pages to make them more user friendly. Finally, if you have a google account and your device has geolocation enabled we will be able to narrow down your location to a city in addition to your country (and any website can do this). We cannot (and do not wish to) identify you personally nor determine your physical or e-mail address. We do not use any of the statistics for marketing nor do we exchange or sell this data.

If you are uncomforatble with us using such a cookie or service, there are a number of free plug-ins available (and controls in your web browser as well as google settings) that can switch this facility off and/or limit the amount of data your computer/device sends out for statistical purposes. 

We will not mind if you elect to make use of such options and you can still browse the site. Thank you for visiting us.

About the KZN Photo Academy


In October 2008, two seperate yet linked events led to the formation of the KZN Photo Academy
(Originally called the Whysall's Photo Academy).

The first was the was availability of one of South Africa's most knowledgeable and eloquent photographic personalities - Mark D Young - and the other was the desire by the Whysall's group to expand their in-house tuition offering - previously limited to
their Umhlanga branch - to include the upper-highway region of Durban, KZN.

Thus it was that the academy was established in its initial location in Westville where it soon began serving students from the greater Durban area as well as photographers from as far afield as Underberg, Wartburg, Port Shepstone and Empangeni.

In August 2009 the need to accomodate increasing enquiries from clients of other retail groups, as well as requests for retail skills training, led to a process whereby a management buy-out of the academy was facilitated to enable an expansion of the range of services available from the academy to a wider group of enthusiasts.


The academy was requested by a famous manufacturer to present its free customer camera familiarisation training sessions in the KZN area in 2009 and has duly presented these training sessions to more than 2 000 new D-SLR owners since then. Many of these customers have thereafter made use of the Academy's more in-depth courses to learn more.

Growth of the demand for training led to a move to Kloof where the more picturesque surroundings provided more scope for practical exercises to cement skills taught in the lecture room.

In October 2010 the academy moved to bigger premises north of Hillcrest. In March 2012, the Academy opened an office in La Lucia, Durban as this location is more convenient for clients in the North and South Coast to reach after work and on week-ends. Following various costing pressures in the intervening year, however, all tuition was re-consolidated in the upper Highway location in March 2013 in order to avoid the need to increase course prices which would have resulted if both facilities were retained.

In July 2012 the Academy, after numerous requests and after extensive research, writing and editing, launched a distance learning option for a selected range of courses. This has enabled more people from diverse locations to gain from our knowledge and experience in teaching photography. This knowledge has been gained from our experience of expanding the knowledge and skills of more than 7 400 amateur, enthusiast and professional photographers in total as at mid-2017.

Our Chair:
Mark D Young has been involved with photography in Southern Africa since his first professional assignment in 1978.  
He has undertaken professional photographic work both as a photo-journalist and commercial photographer in various African countries, Europe, North America and the Far East. In addition, he was involved in the early development and field testing of digital imaging equipment in South Africa from as early as 1995.

Mark was called upon by the erstwhile Department of Environmental Affairs to train the 1987 and 1988 SANAE and Marion Island teams in the basics of photography and the handling of cameras in cold and wet environments. This was due to his experience of these conditions in Alaska and the winter mountains of Lesotho while on various assignments.

He has also been extensively involved in photographic retailing and wholesaling both locally and abroad and, as such, he has first-hand experience of the needs of newbies to photographic equipment - their questions and apprehensions. His ability to make the various  technicalities of photographic equipment easily understood to "non-boffs" make his teaching methods easily understood and fun.

Mark was also the founding editor of a number of photographic magazines - foremost among these was SA Photo Magazine (AfroMedia 1995) which morphed into the PiX Magazine of today when the publisher passed-away. Mark was honoured with the PICA Award as Journalist of the Year in the Sports and Hobbies Writing category in 1997 for making the technical realm of photography accessible and easy to grasp for the readers of the magazine.

In 1996 Mark was called upon to address the inaugural South African Photojournalism conference by the University of Grahamstown and has also lectured at the National College of Photography - prior to its purchase by Vega.

Mark has written widely on the subject of photography for magazines, web-sites and journals around the world and published dedicated camera guides for selected advanced D-SLR cameras. His tuition has set the stage for the careers of several well-known photographers in South Africa and his work at the academy since 2008 has provided the key to a lifetime of enjoyment for many thousands of camera owners.

The on-going mentorship on offer from the KZN Academy  - a unique aspect of our school - is in place due to Mark's insistence that the skills and gifts used to make great images are not the exclusive preserve of a single individual and that when students make a commitment to the Academy, a similar commitment to their on-going enjoyment of photography is required in return.

Our Facility:

The KZN Photo Academy is in the upper highway area (Hillcrest), KZN. Formal classes are conducted here for most courses (except the week-end workshops which take place at selected away venues) unless a client opts for the individualised, home tuition offering.

The classroom is located within a working studio facility which includes cooking facilities for food photography and a customised outdoor area to permit the application of principles as they are taught. Thus students can put any given technique into practice as well as practically observe the results of setting changes or new techniques.

Far from being just a teaching studio, the facility is also an operational commercial studio where pack shots, portraits, fashion/advertising and magazine cover-shoots are undertaken.

The lecturers are also used by various manufacturers for their camera training sessions.

JUNE 2010



The KZN Photo Academy has, due to demand in the Western Cape Province, set about establishing a facility in the Western Cape to offer our unique brand of training and mentorship to camera owners in that region of South Africa. If you are interested in booking for a course as soon as the facility is open (Expected first groups to start at end July 2010) please mail us at the address on the contact page and we will keep you informed of dates and venues, Thank you to all in the Western Cape who have made this possible. (And to our existing clients who have spread the word about us to family and friends in the Cape!)



Due to numerous requests the KZN Photo Academy has developed an intensive, yet easy to follow, full-time tuition course for school-leavers/students or others wishing to gain as much practical and theoretical training in as short a period as practicable.

The full-time course, which runs for three months, covers everything we know from basic photography and how your camera operates to advanced camera techniques, software, manipulation of images, studio photography, portraiture, photojournalism, sports and wedding photography as well as basic business management skills.

Tuition takes place on two or three days per week with the rest of the week set aside for assignment work - (or the schedule is conducive to students doing part-time jobs to subsidise their tuition fees). Thus the emphasis is on practical skills development and not just book/classroom based learning. It is intended to provide students with a jump-start to a practical skills set that can be applied in a short period to earn an income or to further develop their craft. 

At first glance the full time course might seem light on textbooks and long on shutter-finger exercise but, in the real world, it is saleable results that count and clients seldom (if ever) look at certificates. As with all our courses, free mentoring is available for as long as may be required after completion of the course. Full-time students are also permitted to make use of the Academy studio for their own private assignments when required, further lessening the initial set-up cost burden to anyone starting out on a photographic career.

Due to the intensity of the course, only four students are accommodated on any course. Certain practical conditions apply and a full portfolio of work (plus a theory examination) needs to be completed at the end of the three month period to obtain a certificate.


Due to many requests, the certificate course is now being offered, by arrangement on an individual case by case basis, as a part-time series of classes. These take place twice a week over a period of 6 morths and include all the theory and practical training given to students doing the more intensive three day per week classes.

Further details are available on the "Courses" link above.


After extensive research into best practice and client sampling of draft materials, the Academy launched certain courses as on-line tuition programmes in July 2012. These enable people in any location on the planet to benefit from our experience in making photography fun, easy to master and accessible no matter what brand of camera they may own.

The big advantage of our online programme for international clients is that the English used is clear, concise and easy to understand. When this is coupled to the great exchange rate advantage camera owners in Dollar, Euro or Pound based economies enjoy due to the strength of their currencies, enrolling in a KZN Photo Academy course not only makes sense for our fellow countrymen and women, but for people from arond the world who can obtain top-quality tuition at a fraction of the cost of other offerings denominated in Dollars.