Many companies, colleges and web sites lay claim to having wonderful courses, amazing staff and mind-blowing offerings.
the final analysis, the success of the training programme and the work of any
center of learning must be measured in the ability of those who have trained
there to use the knowledge gainfully and effectively.
We prefer to let our clients do the talking and we offer below some comments from people who have been taught their primary, advanced or specialised photographic skills - or who are mentored by - Mark D Young, our academy chair.
While you may not wish to build a business, browsing the links provided to a number of sites of former delegates to our training - will, to paraphrase a famous quote - let the pictures of our succesful, self-employed former students, speak more than a thousand words from us.
We must be doing something right...
Stuart Dodds is regarded as one of KZN's premier wedding and portrait
photographers. Stuart began doing wedding photography while still
engaged in a 9-5 job and rapidly built-up his business to the point
where it is now his sole source of income and he is much sought-after
as a wedding and portrait photographer.
"Wow where do I begin? Mark Young kickstarted my career in photography. His exceptional technical knowledge combined with a clear way of getting it across to his students makes Mark worth his weight in gold.
He has a pleasant manner combined with extreme patience and is always encouraging and motivating you to discover your underlying talents. I count my blessings everyday that I had Mark as my tutor and Mentor and now, a very good friend.
I definitely give Mark's academy two thumbs up for any budding photographer.
Slack is highly regarded as a superb photographer of families and young
children. Her unique talents are especially in demand for children's
parties and she pioneered the now popular digital photo CD with music
of a child's birthday party.
Michelle underwent her basic training with Mark D Young and he has continued to support her with advice and training as she progressed from a mom with a camera to owning and operating a fully-fledged studio which now forms the hub of a growing photographic business that provides facilities to other lady photographers.
Paul Nel purchased his first SLR camera in 2007 from Mark D Young and underwent the Basic Photography course offered by Mark at the time. He rapidly progressed in technique and - added to his understanding of composition, colour and form gleaned from a career as a graphic designer - Paul soon collected an impressive portfolio of images and clients.
Today Paul's photography is at the heart of his commercial operations and he combines photography and graphic design services to provide his clients with a wide-ranging option of products.
Teagan attended courses at the KZN Photo Academy shortly after completing schooling. Her talent in art and design comes through strongly in her photographic work and her quiet yet decisive approach has led to her winning many commissions. She was the runner-up in the 2010 Durban: The warmest place to be contest and has also recently been short-listed for the Environmental Photographer of the Year award 2011 by a prestige publication.
The KZN Photo Academy is proud to have been selected to assist Teagan to nurture her obvious talents and to assist her at the beginning of her journey in a photographic career.
'Mark Young helped me unravel both the secrets of my camera, and the process of starting photography as a career. I owe a lot to him and his continual support in all my endeavours".
CC Rossler - International Wedding Photographer
CC Rossler undertakes wedding photography in many locations around the world..
She attended the KZN Photo Academy's Better D-SLR and Wedding courses and set herself the goal to build up her business within a specific period. Her creative eye, customer focus and innovative style has earned her bookings in many countries and has led to her achieving her goal of a globally active business well ahead of her planned schedule.
Lisa is well known in the corporate, travel and liesure industries and then made the move to working for herself in a photographic careeer to pursue her passion for photography.
Lisa completed the Academy's full-time certificate course and her knowledge of the liesure and corporate markets is evident in her wide range of work. Lisa's meticulous approach to setting up her shots is readily evident to her clients and she easily establishes a good rapport with her subjects.
"Thank you Mark for the thorough initial training you provided, the ongoing support and words of encouragement. You are a pool of knowledge and it is my honour to be splashed with a bit of it."
Averee works as a social photographer in the USA and visited South Africa in 2010. Even though she is a US college graduate in her field, she was pleasantly surprised to receive a lot of new knowledge about lighting and professional techniques when she e-mailed the academy in regard to some technical questions concerning a new flash unit she had purchased to use on her trip to South Africa.
This interaction prompted Averee to enroll in a series of custom-prepared lessons at the KZN Photo Academy to expand her knowledge. She was extremely pleased with the range and depth of instruction received as it permitted her to add to her techniques and experience.
"I am back in the States and am doing a shoot for a client tomorrow using the new plexiglass technique I learnt from you. Thank you for all your help and for showing me things I never knew about my camera and studio gear." Averee Bliese
Vashnie is the owner of Bodhi-Vision Photography. She is one of KwaZulu-Natal's most sought-after wedding photographers especially for traditional Hindi, Tamil, Telegu and Gujarati ceremonies. Naturally she also covers Muslim and Christian weddings.
Vashnie has a calm, patient and warm approach to her subjects and chosen art. Her eye for detail, intuitive timing, bold use of colour, natural creativity and impeccable customer service has seen her business growing to the point where her appointment book is fully booked for many months to come.
The KZN Photo Academy is proud to have played a small part in assisting Vashnie to hone her natural talent and business flair.
“Mark Young through the KZN Photo Academy has played an integral part in me understanding my camera and teaching me the basics of photography. As a teacher he uses witty repartee and is patient. His knowledge of the craft is impeccable and he isn’t afraid to share his tricks of the trade. Thank you Mark for being one of the guides that has lead to the growth of my business.” Vashnie Singh
Ayesha Van Staaden
Ayesha is the owner of a studio in the Eastern Cape and spent time attending tuition at the KZN Photo Academy under the guidance of Mark Young at the start of her career. Ayesha enjoys doing portraits but is adept at any aspect of her craft and covers a diverse range of assignments for her many clients. She is a well-known fixture in the wedding photography market in the Umtata area and has built-up a solid reputation in this sector for professionalism, on-time delivery and quality.
just to let you know my studio and wedding work is looking awesome! I had a few
hiccup’s when I got back but the help at the end of the line let me pretty much
all now. Thanks again for all the knowledge!
Eileen has had a lifelong passion for photography and working with people. She is yet another of our certificate level students that has gone on to establish her own business. Eileen spent many years as an educator and is, therefore, particularly adept at dealing with young subjects which has made her a popular choice for nursery school and family photo shoots. Eileen is, however, equally able to undertake a wide range of photography for her clients and is regularly doing corporate and product photography for her growing client base.
Sometimes we simply get e-mails and SMS messages from students that make us blush proudly:
Once again I would like to thank you so much
for mentoring me on Saturday at my first wedding – I really appreciate the experience. I learnt
a huge amount. The way you manage the situation in order to get the right
shots and at the same time manage the technical aspects – Which I find the
challenge – I can get stuck in the moment without checking the camera
settings or the flash – and if things go wrong – like the focus point and
flash – I panic!!!
Having you mentoring me every step of the way made all the difference.
Having you mentoring me every step of the way made all the difference.
Thank you Thank you for being with me.
I really feel that I owe your more money for
what you have done – please advise me if this is so.
C.R. August 2014 - BDSLR and Wedding Course delegate
And no, we did not
take this delegate up on the offer of paying extra - our fee is our fee. We
I would just like to say how Thankful and Grateful I am that you were with me at xxx and xxx's wedding. Thank you for teaching me and guiding me through the whole process. I would not have been able to do this without you and I am so so happy you did.
Thank you for also keeping up with and tolerating my neurotic behaviour. This wedding was very important to me and I will forever remember that I captured this special day and I wanted the couple to have the best and thank heavens you were there with your amazing skills and your professional photographic ability to help me. I just cant thank you enough!
S.A. July 2013 (Wedding Photography Course Student)
What an awesome session. You are a real professional.
J.W. - December 2011 (Delegate to manufacturer's training session.)
Wow! What an awesome experience. For a budding enthusiast I had the honour of being in the presence of a leading authority on photography. Thank you Mark for the presentation. Basic as it had to have been for free training and the time constraints you faced but I can now put a real perspective to the camera manual and tons of photography material I read. I have always been on the lookout for a school and mentor and thankfully I have now found one almost on my doorstep.
V.S. - December 2011 (Delegate to manufacturer's training session)
Hi. Just back from first lesson of the Basic Photography course. So excited! I really enjoyed the session. The explanations are easy. I did not feel doff at any time. Your sense of humour made us all relax. I had a blast and have just taken the absolute BEST photograph ever with my camera on that night portrait thingy you demonstrated. Can't wait for next week to do more! Thank you.
A.R. November 2011 (Course CBP-1)
I just wanted to drop you a quick line and say THANK YOU for the photography classes! (me and a friend did the two courses CBP1 and BDSLR....)
Anyway, I just did a workshop in Joburg with two professionals yesterday and 23 other photographers. I was a little worried that since I haven't done a wedding yet and that most of these people are pro's that I would be in over my head but that wasn't the case at all!
I discovered I was a head and shoulders above the rest, technically. They had all these questions and even the other pro's were giving answers which I knew were incorrect. Just one example was what was the use of white balance and there were answers like "just experiment with your white balance" What???? Thanks to you and your classes, I understand the actual light value of each white balance setting and I never have to waste time playing around because I know in my head what colour cast each one will do.
Thanks very very much for your in-depth technical instruction, I didn't realize how little I and other people know about their cameras and I very much appreciate knowing absolutely everything now. I guess I didn't realize how comprehensive your class was until I saw how few people know what they're talking about. Thanks a million again! Keep up the great work!
A.S. - August 2010
Hey Mark. I just had a call from my client I sent to you for training on his Nikon D5000. He is a director of a large corporate and he was absolutely blown away with the course you gave him. He just couldn't stop complimenting your academy - he says the day was superb. Well done!
Owner: Kodak Express Ushaka Marine World. August 2010.
Student comments on feedback forms
At the end of each course students are provided with an opportunity to provide honest feedback on the course, the facilities and the facilitators. Suggestions provided are acted upon where they add value to our offerings and some of our most recent innovations (such as the provision of a "cheat sheet" and a revision of our course notes) have all been prompted by client comments during their courses.
We are proud to present a sample of comments from the feedback forms pertaining to the courses and facilitators:
Please provide your opinion of the Facilitator's knowledge of the subject?
"Impressive! Obviously knows what its about and can pass the information on well..."
"I've been doing photography for 40 years but learnt so much from this course it's surprising..."
"I wish I enjoyed what I do as much as the lecturer obviously does..."
"I attended a manufacturer's course but your staff seemed to know more about my new camera than they did..."
"The presenter was great! Loved the sense of humour and how we all got along together."
What is your opinion of the Course content?
"The content is superb, covers a lot and is easy to follow..."
"I loved being able to try out each new setting immediately. It makes it so much easier to understand..."
"I have learnt more in one month than I did in a year on a correspondence course. Thanks!"
"Superb value! Less cost, less fuss, more sense and fun than another course nearby..."
"I really enjoyed doing the assignments. It made a change from my mom duties and challenged my brain.
Only sorry its over. Must do another one soon."
"Just what I needed. Now I understand my camera better."
What is your opinion of the value for money received?
"The best R1250 I have spent in years..."
"If cameras had the same value my Canon 50D would only have cost me R5000! Brilliant!"
"I would say one of your courses is a 'must have' part of any camera buying budget otherwise you are buying a Ferrari and only ever driving it in first gear."
"I forgot about the money after the first lesson. That alone was worth the price."
"I am annoyed! How dare you guys start on time, on the day you arranged and do more than I expected? You cannot do that sort of thing in South Africa! I simply must tell my friends about this shockingly good service and value!"
"Enthusiasm and passion for photography is infectious. I can't wait to go and have fun, fun, fun!" SS June 2010
"I really needed someone to make things easy to understand and break it all down to basic concepts. The lecturer did this wonderfully and provided a learning experience I will definitely recommend to others. This guy should write appliance manuals then I would know how to use all the gadgets I have ;-)." JvT July 2010
"I am so glad that I bought the camera I did. I had no idea it could do all these amazing things I learnt about on the course. The sense of humour and explanation techniques of the lecturer was brilliant. Thank you." LM August 2010
"Anyone buying a camera simply must attend the training. Having attended training with a relative at another facility for his camera I can only say that I think I made the wiser choice as this lecturer knows so much more about the specifics of the camera and has a passion for cameras and photography which I found lacking elsewhere. Well done!" AH, July 2011.
"Lecturer is obviously well experienced and shared many professional tips and tricks that added greatly to the material in the presentation. His enthusiasm for the photography is infectious - I want to give up my job now and just have fun with my camera!" YP, August 2011.
"Thoroughly enjoyed the course!" MD October 2011
"Inspiring course. You answered a lot of my questions without me having to ask them. " BL, November 2011
"Well presented and both enjoyable and informative." DP, November 2011
"Did a one on one contact course a thome with you guys. My brother did his elsewhere. He paid twice your fee and was in a group of 10 plus. I got 10x the value he did and now have to help him with his camera. Score!" BG, July 2014