Land and Seascape Specialist

When all the elements just work perfectly together...

The Bench – A picture that can speak a thousand words

You have a passion for capturing local landscapes, can you tell us about your proudest captured image.

One of my favourite places to do landscape photography is close to the area I live, Long Tom Pass. I go up the pass quite a lot and on one particular morning, all the elements just worked perfectly together for a really, great photo opportunity. I call this photo ‘The Perfect Sunrise’. The clouds above, the mist below, the rising sun, everything just worked. Definitely one of my favourites!

Tell us more about Afriscapes?

Co-founder of Afriscapes, a brilliant photographic tour company, Des Jacobs shares his passion every day; encouraging amateur and professional photographers to explore their talents further. His particular focus captures the essence of nature at its finest, inspiring the traveller in all of us!

Dawie Malan and I started a photographic tour company called Afriscapes in 2014. We host affordable and exciting photography workshops and tours, locally and abroad. We found it much more fun, and safer to do landscape photography in a group. We assist beginners that join with camera techniques, compositions, shooting techniques as well as editing afterwards. More advanced photographers also join us on these photography tours as we go to really great and unique places. Right now Afriscapes have a couple of tours and workshops in South Africa, two tours to Namibia and one really, exciting one to the Himalayas in northern India!

Your commercial photography includes capturing some of the country’s best lodges. Can you highlight a couple of very special ones?

The Hoedspruit area is definitely one of my favourite areas. Every lodge here is unique in its own way, but one that really stands out for me is Naledi Game Lodge near Hoedspruit. They have two different lodges, and both of them are amazing! I can recommend this lodge to anyone who wants to experience a great time in the African bush. The staff and owners are awesome. Another great lodge in the area is Klaserie Drift Camps – they offer great views from their camps, the staff and management are great people, and the game drives are awesome. 

What remains on your bucket list of places to visit and photograph?

I would love to do more of Namibia, from south to north and east to west. Other places include New Zealand and the highlands and coastal areas of Scotland. Locally I would also love to do photography in Lesotho and the entire Cape coast.

What personal attributes and skills do you think one needs to be a good and successful photographer?

I am not totally sure about this, as I am not as successful as I would like to be yet. But what got me to where I am today was a lot of patience, some business skills, a willingness to learn new techniques, the ability to take a lot of criticism, and a very supportive network of family and friends.

What are some of the challenges and triumphs of the job?

You must always try and stay ahead of your competitors by looking for unique photo ideas and new ways to improve your own work. You also need to buy new camera equipment every now and then, especially if you do commercial work, to deliver the best possible photo to your client.

Do you think the art of capturing images is an innate gift or a craft that is learned through experience?

I think if you are an artistic kind of person, it will make things easier for you as a photographer. My mother created a couple of very beautiful paintings throughout her life, and I am sure I inherited a bit of artistry from her. Also, I believe the more you do photography, the more experienced you will get. You really need patience and commitment in order to make it in the industry.

 If a picture speaks a thousand words, which of your images tells the best story?

I recently visited Henties Bay in Namibia and one morning on my way to photograph seascapes I stopped at a lonely bench on my way to the beach. I took a photo of the bench, and while I was there, I thought how many people must have sat there and what thoughts went through their minds. I think one could write a thousand books if it were possible to get hold of and document their thoughts. I posted that photo on Facebook a while ago, and one lady responded and told us that her mother loved to sit on that same bench and how much she missed her mom. For some people this is just a photo of a bench; for others, it conjures up years and years of memories.

What are your thoughts on the evolution of photography with the influence of social media and Instagram?

I think social media is a great way of advertising your photography business and a powerful platform to showcase your work. Every cellphone has a camera and taking photos is almost a daily routine for most. I don’t think people would take as many photos if they weren’t able to share them on social media - it makes sharing so easy.

Your top three recommended places to visit for first-time visitors travelling to South Africa.

First, I would recommend visiting the Western Cape with all its beautiful mountains and seascapes. Secondly, the Hoedspruit area with the Blyde River Canyon and all the wildlife lodges in that area. Thirdly, I would recommend visiting the St Lucia area. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is beautiful, and there are unique coastal wetlands, lots of wildlife and beautiful beaches.

What is your advice to aspiring photographers looking to break into the industry?

Take your time, practice, be patient, shoot more, learn new techniques, be creative, and learn some marketing and business skills. Always try to reply to messages and emails from your clients as quickly as possible and always be friendly.