In the bustling heart of Cape Town, amidst the vibrant streets and ever-changing skyline, lies a story woven through the lens of passion, perseverance, and innovation – the story of Orms. From humble beginnings to becoming a cornerstone of South Africa’s photographic community, Orms has embarked on a remarkable journey, leaving an indelible mark on the local photographic industry.

It all began with a love for photography ignited in the heart of Mike Ormrod during his school days. Weekends were spent capturing the essence of Cape Town’s top-end restaurants, honing his craft, and nurturing his passion. This love for the art form led Mike to join his brother’s venture, Photo Time, which eventually evolved into a flourishing business encompassing weddings and commercial photography.

Mike Ormrod

Mike’s journey took him across the seas to London, where he immersed himself in the world of photography at Wallace Heaton, a prestigious store that held a royal warrant from the British Royal family. Here, he gained invaluable knowledge and experience, laying the foundation for what was to come.

Returning to South Africa, Mike and his brother Chris embarked on a new chapter, opening the first Orms store in Rondebosch. From there, the business expanded, with stores in Cavendish Square and Cape Town CBD, catering to a diverse clientele. The Orms name became synonymous with quality and expertise, attracting photography enthusiasts from far and wide.


But the move to Cape Town and the establishment of the iconic Roeland Street store truly marked a turning point. With a burgeoning business and a commitment to staying ahead of the curve, Orms embraced the digital revolution, becoming pioneers in digital printing and camera technology. No longer just a store, Orms became a hub of creativity and innovation, inspiring photographers of all levels to push boundaries and explore new horizons.

Yet, amidst the growth and success, Orms remained grounded in its roots, never forgetting the importance of community and education. The Orms School of Photography was born, offering aspiring photographers the opportunity to learn from industry professionals and immerse themselves in the art form they love. Through bursaries, mentorship programs, and workshops, Orms continues to nurture the next generation of talent, ensuring that the passion for photography burns bright for years to come.

Mike Ormrod

Beyond the confines of its stores and classrooms, Orms is a beacon of support and inspiration for artists across South Africa. The Orms Print Room and Framing Factory stand as pillars of creativity, where every image finds its perfect frame and every vision becomes a reality. With meticulous attention to detail and a commitment to excellence, the Orms team transforms photographs into timeless works of art, preserving memories and inspiring generations to come. From collaborating with renowned artists to supporting emerging talent, the Orms Print Room and Framing Factory are at the forefront of South Africa’s art and decor scene, enriching lives and spaces with every frame.

From sponsoring exhibitions to collaborating with local creatives, Orms is dedicated to elevating the voices and visions of the artistic community. We organise numerous competitions to showcase the remarkable photographic talent within our community. Through these competitions, we aim to create more avenues for photographers to advance their careers and achieve their creative ambitions. Among our notable events is the Orms X Canon Sea Point Promenade exhibition competition, offering participants the chance to win prizes exceeding R100,000 and exhibit their work along the iconic Sea Point Promenade. Additionally, our partnership with Simola Hillclimb, the largest motorsport event in South Africa, provides motorsport enthusiasts and automotive photographers with the opportunity to capture the excitement of the event and photograph its impressive array of vehicles. Another standout competition is Look Up South Africa, held in collaboration with DJI, challenging photographers to explore unconventional perspectives and capture images that offer fresh insights into the world around us.


Today, as the legacy of Orms continues to unfold, one thing remains clear – it’s not just about capturing moments, but about building legacies. From the Ormrod family’s passion for photography to the tireless dedication of its team members, Orms is a testament to the power of vision, hard work, and adaptability. As South Africa enters a new era of artistic expression, Orms stands ready to inspire, support, and celebrate the endless possibilities of the photographic journey.

Categories: Community