Travel Blog

Photography, travel, and self-reflection

Behind The Scenes As The Official Travel Photographer for Cape Town Tourism

In Early 2015, I partnered with the wonderful people at Cape Town Tourism to shoot ongoing travel photography assignments around the Western Cape of South Africa. Here’s what it’s been like to work as the official travel photographer for the most popular tourism destination in all of Africa.

Scoring My Dream Gig

I visited South Africa in December 2014 for a three-month working holiday. I wanted to escape the European winter and reunite with friends I’d met during my first trip to Cape Town three years prior.

Shortly after New Years, I reached out to the tourism board and partnered on a month-long assignment to shoot my ten favorite things about Cape Town.  It was a great little gig, and I loved working with the truly awesome team at Cape Town Tourism. Our partnership went so well, they ended up offering me a long-term travel photography contract just a few days before I was supposed to fly back home. It’s been a wild ride ever since!

Shooting for Cape Town Tourism

I assembled a photography team and we’ve traveled all over the Cape shooting assignments. We’ve captured local attractions, neighborhoods, events, and activities around Cape Town — wine tours in Stellenbosch, tourists hiking around Cape Point, the views from the top of Table Mountain, merchants at Greenmarket square, sunset on the Sea Point promenade. The list goes on, and the assignments have been wonderfully diverse and exciting. My travel photography has been published in the Cape Town travel app, various print campaigns and display ads, the 2016 Visitors’ Guide, and all over the website and social media feeds.

I feel like I’ve experienced a little of everything Cape Town has to offer. I’ve grown used to carrying all my gear on my back, every single day, always ready for a photo-op. Always working — although travel photography never quite feels like work.

My photos featured in the Cape Town Tourism app for iOS/Android

My photos featured in the Cape Town Tourism app for iOS/Android

Living and shooting in South Africa has been better than I ever imagined. The culture in Cape Town is so friendly and relaxed with warm beach vibes and countless jaw-dropping views around the Cape. I’ve climbed mountains at sunrise, watched whales peek up from the ocean’s surface, swam with African penguins and photographed baboons playing in the wild (and frolicking on the hood of my car). I’ve become skilled at driving on the wrong side of the road, and cruising curvy coastal roads. It’s become a ritual to watch the sunset every day, and it’s always spectacular. I’ve slept in the open air under the African sky… and I’ve fallen completely and totally in love with Cape Town. It’s a truly beautiful life.

My cover photo for the 2016 Cape Town Official Visitors' Guide

My cover photo for the 2016 Cape Town Official Visitors’ Guide

The Nomadic Life in Africa

Hillary Fox photographing Cape Town. Photo by Michael Wilson

The thing about being a travel photographer is that you can never really stay in one fixed place for long.

Since arriving in Cape Town in December 2014, I’ve flown 95,000 miles and stayed in 17 different places along the Cape — from hotels, hostels, guest houses, Airbnb’s, friend’s flats, and even a few camping trips in the wilderness.

I’ve stayed in Constantia, Tokai, Muizenberg, Lakeside, Tamboerskloof, Gardens, Green Point, Sea Point, the CBD and Cederberg… Whew! It’s been a fast-paced and extremely nomadic life complete with routine long-haul visa runs to Amsterdam and back. I’ve racked up tens of thousands of miles with Emirates. I’ve slept, showered, and worked in airports.

Being location independent means that I can see and experience so much more than the average tourist — that’s what makes this often chaotic nomadic lifestyle so worthwhile.

Looking Ahead

Throughout the past 18 months, I’ve also partnered with many different local brands, including hotels and tourism companies, modeling agencies, commercial studios, and fellow photographers for ongoing projects. I registered my own business in South Africa, founded a local photography group and started hosting Cape Town photography workshops.

Before I knew it, I’ve built a whole life in Cape Town, with favorite hangouts, close friends, and future plans. Cape Town has become my African home base for the foreseeable future, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m in the USA visiting family as I write this, but I’ll be heading back to South Africa to continue shooting travel photography and commercial work very soon. If you’d like to meet up in Cape Town or join us on a photowalk or workshop, please get in touch or sign up for an upcoming event!