Heatwave Photography: Blog http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog en-us Heatwave Photography marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) Fri, 02 Mar 2018 12:56:00 GMT Fri, 02 Mar 2018 12:56:00 GMT http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/img/s/v-5/u398994488-o424483476-50.jpg Heatwave Photography: Blog http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog 120 120 Exploring Authenticity http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2018/3/exploring-authenticity For the longest time I didn’t do any writing for my blog or the newsletter because I got stuck in the mindset that, because I’m a photographer, my ramblings should only be photography related. I think I may have been mistaken though. Last week I shared the video I made to raise awareness for cervical cancer/HPV/pap smears and early detection. You can see that here:  https://youtu.be/wQoY7Z53b64

The video was deeply personal and sharing it left me feeling quite exposed. I knew the message was important and had to be shared, and that was the reason I made the video. However, I didn’t expect the overwhelmingly positive feedback I received. I was inundated with messages of support, and the video was shared many times on Facebook. I realised that people crave authenticity, especially in today’s culture of instant gratification and social media overload. I get the feeling that people are tired of empty motivational posts, of content for the sake of content. There’s a distinct difference between content created to generate likes and shares, and content created from the heart, and people can sense the difference. I’m by no means suggesting that I’m an expert in this area, I certainly am not, but it is a concept I’d like to explore, perhaps even with you.

I've become a huge fan of podcasts, they're a fantastic way to consume good quality content, so I thought I'd leave you with two podcasts I enjoy regularly. You may even say I'm a little addicted:

Enjoy. Have a wonderful weekend and feel free to send me links to content you find authentic and inspirational.

Until next time,


marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2018/3/exploring-authenticity Fri, 02 Mar 2018 12:56:02 GMT
Cervical Cancer Can Be Prevented. Here's How: http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2018/2/cervical-cancer-can-be-prevented-heres-how  

You know that scene in the movies where someone is sitting in the doctor's office, accompanied by a loved one when the doctor breaks the devastating news that they have cancer? Real life is nothing like that. When it happens in real life, it's like being hit by a freight train with nothing bracing against the impact. At least, that's what it was like for me. My doctor didn't even tell me face to face, he broke the news on the phone. I was driving at the time. 

Everybody knows someone who has battled the effects of cancer, sometimes for years after being healed, and sometimes to death. 50% of patients with cervical cancer will die from the disease. That's half of everyone who is diagnosed, an exceptionally high mortality rate. Cervical cancer is preventable and with just a few precautions, you can greatly reduce your risk of contracting it. After my recovery, I made this video to raise awareness of cervical cancer and what you can do to prevent it from happening to you and your daughters. 

Please spread the word. Prevention is so easy, but fighting this disease much less so.


marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) cancer carriers cervical chemotherapy children cure death disease doctor drip female genital health hpv human illness infusion iv ladies medication mortality mri oncologist papillomavirus pills prevention protection radiation reproductive scan sickness symptoms treatment vaccination vaccine warts women http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2018/2/cervical-cancer-can-be-prevented-heres-how Wed, 21 Feb 2018 11:45:31 GMT
Black Friday Sale http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2017/11/black-friday  


I had to think long and hard about my motivation for running this Black Friday sale. As you may have noticed over the years, I don't really believe in sales. I believe in offering consistently high quality work at market related prices. Why today's sale then? Mostly because I'm thankful, and I'd like to give back. I'm thankful for the clients who have loyally supported me over the years, and for those who have just come on board. I'm thankful for wonderful relationships that have grown as a result. I'm thankful to be doing what I love for a living and being able to live out my creativity. Without you, this would be impossible. 

Use the SnapScan App on your phone to scan this QR code, making payment safe and super easy. If you prefer the old school method, contact me for banking details. New to SnapScan? Read about it here.

Let's get to the finer details:

  • The sale is valid for one day only, and only until 17:00. Yes, I know there are retailers offering sales all weekend, but then that would be a Black Weekend, not Black Friday, and I'm all about the little details.


  • I will be available the whole day on 083 280 4468. The majority of my clients are either corporate companies or small businesses. Therefore, I do not offer packages in the traditional sense of the word, as clients require customised quotes, and needs differ from client to client. So give me a call, let's chat about your shoot, and I will give you the discounted rate once we've established your needs.


  • Black Friday shoots must be paid for today and can be booked until 15 December 2017. 


  • Every photographic service is 30% off today. This excludes studio rental and physical products like prints and books. It includes photography, editing and digital uploads.


  • You're welcome to make use of this sale for coverage of your upcoming event, for product photography, for interior photography, or any genre of photography I offer as a service.


I'm looking forward to hearing from you,


marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2017/11/black-friday Fri, 24 Nov 2017 04:55:37 GMT
Why tweet cell phone photos when you can tweet professional photos? http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2017/3/why-tweet-cell-phone-photos-when-you-can-tweet-professional-photos Why tweet this photo?

When you can tweet this photo?

Awful, right? That's precisely what happens when companies have no other option - Twitter and Facebook have to be updated! Social media is hugely important, especially when you're hosting an event. What's easier than pulling out your cell phone, taking a couple of photos, and posting it online? It's true, you have a point, but have you ever thought of the damage you're doing to your brand? Posting professional photos just gives you the edge. You know the story - your photographer has all the right equipment, they have an eye for composition and are adept at creating aesthetically pleasing photos, whether it be of your guests, the food at the event, or the décor. And now, this photographer has the ability to send those photos straight to your cell phone as they're shot, in the right resolution, no need for a laptop, messy cables, and no time wasted. 

It all comes down to the image you want to portray. 

Email me at marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za for more details.

Till next time,

marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) Event food photography photos professional http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2017/3/why-tweet-cell-phone-photos-when-you-can-tweet-professional-photos Thu, 02 Mar 2017 10:53:19 GMT
We've added new services to simplify your life http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2016/9/weve-added-new-services-to-simplify-your-life Spring has sprung, and with it, Heatwave has launched additional services to simplify the marketing and promotion of your business. Over the years we've had many clients who needed more than just photography, perhaps a logo, perhaps a website, sometimes a video. You've asked, and we've listened. Now you don't have to go elsewhere to have these services fulfilled, we can do that all for you. It sure beats phoning around, following up with different suppliers, and dealing with various contact people. 

We've uploaded a short video to show you how we can make your life easier:


You're welcome to e-mail me at marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za if you would like more details, or have any questions.


Till next time,


marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2016/9/weve-added-new-services-to-simplify-your-life Thu, 08 Sep 2016 15:56:17 GMT
The Do's and Don'ts of Social Media Profile Photos. http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2016/8/the-dos-and-don-ts-of-social-media-profile-photos

Have you noticed that profile photos are a dime a dozen, until you come across one that stands out for all the wrong reasons? I've heard of many a pet peeve when it comes to social media behaviour, so I polled Facebook and Twitter to get an idea of people's likes and dislikes. Some responses were mild, and some were passionate, but I think we can all agree that first impressions last. So, let's get right to it:

Facebook & Twitter:

Your personal Facebook and Twitter accounts are your business, and how you handle them is really up to you, and no one else. You're still creating an impression every time you post a new profile photo, so keep these thoughts in mind:

What to do:

  • Represent yourself in a way that you're comfortable with.
  • A natural smile is always nice.
  • Make sure that your photo is properly exposed. Just moving a few steps this way or that can make all the difference.
  • Take photos in the shade when you're photographing outdoors. Photographing people in direct sunlight causes them to squint and it's unflattering.
  • Make sure you use the right resolution when posting online. Photos appear pixelated when the file size is inferior, detracting from the image quality.

What not to do:

  • Don't pout, unless that's the look you're going for. There seems to be an overwhelming dislike of pouting among the general adult population. If you're 14, I would say pout away, but duck face doesn't suit everyone, we're not the Kardashians.
  • Don't post nudes or semi-nudes. Your profile photo can be seen by anyone on Facebook, whether your profile is set to private or not. When I see revealing profile photos, I'm always reminded that while your intentions may not be to entice, there might be someone on your feed whose intentions aren't pure. Just keep this in mind.
  • Don't cut a friend out of the photo. You're leaving us all wondering who got axed, and why they didn't make the grade.
  • Look, you're free to do what you please on your private accounts, but for the love of all that's right in the world, please don't post photos that have been edited to death. You know which ones I'm talking about, right? The photos taken on a white background (good start), with a feather boa around the shoulders (going downhill fast), with no wrinkle or skin texture left to speak of (just no). And just before you ask, none of my Facebook friends are guilty of this, but that doesn't mean I haven't seen it online.

LinkedIn/Professional Facebook and Twitter accounts:

Think of these platforms as online CV's. Colleagues or potential employers will see them, and the impression you create can be the difference between being asked for an interview, or being crossed off the list. Even if you're not in the job market, keep profile photos on these platforms professional and relevant.

What to do:

  • Use professional photos whenever possible. Pro photographers know how to make you look your best, it's always wise to invest in professional photography if you have the means.
  • Use a head and shoulder photo taken on a white or uncluttered background, especially if you have a corporate position, or are in the market for one.
  • Post industry appropriate photos. You may have a more creative position, in which case you can always use a photo taken of you on the job, like a chef cooking or an artist painting. This a good way of showing what you do, enticing someone to read your profile.
  • Consider using a photo where your logo is visible in the background, as long as the photo is simple, uncluttered and properly exposed.
  • Smile.
  • Show your whole face, don't crop the photo so that you're unrecognisable.
  • Actually use a photo of you. It's tempting to post your logo, but those who contact you will be connecting with you, not your brand.

What not to do:

  • Don't post photos with your spouse or family, keep it formal.
  • Don't post anything provocative.
  • Don't post anything taken at an event, unless it's taken by a professional photographer. Lighting is usually less than ideal in these situations.
  • Do not hold your chin, or rest your chin in your hand, just a beautiful smile into the lens will do the trick.
  • Don't have your fingers in your mouth (as seen on LinkedIn).
  • Don't wear sunglasses. In fact, photos taken outside don't look as professional as those taken indoors on a plain background.
  • Don't post photos taken with others. How will we identify you?
  • Don't wear a sleeveless top without straps. Once the photo is cropped, it will look like you're naked. Not a good look for a professional site.
  • Don't post wildly edited photos, keep it simple.
  • Don't wear scarves or winter coats, these photos will quickly look dated once summer comes. A shirt and jacket will suffice.

Dating Sites:

The funniest feedback I received was definitely in the area of online dating. A couple of friends have been blindsided by profiles that looked amazing, only to be shocked/horrified/disappointed when the real life version stood before them. Don't be that person. Just be you, there is someone out there who will love all your idiosyncrasies.

What to do:

  • Post more than one photo so that the viewer can get a good idea of what you look like.
  • Post recent photos. '2016 Matthew Perry' and 'Chandler Bing Matthew Perry' will probably appeal to different target markets. 
  • Post photos of you doing activities you love. The exception is drinking, getting your drink on is not the most attractive look.
  • Show both full length and head and shoulder photos.
  • Post photos of you alone. If you do post photos in a crowd, keep it to the minimum. Nobody's got the time to play detective to figure out where you're hiding in the crowd.
  • A friendly smile is always good.
  • Wear a shirt. Topless is tacky. Repeat after me....topless is tacky.

What not to do:

  • Don't post a photo with your wife or girlfriend. You'd be surprised how often this happens. Some photos even feature the wife in her wedding dress. Umm....
  • Guys, don't post photos with your sister or female friends. Girls, don't post a photo with a male friend. How will the viewer know that it's not a romantic relationship?
  • Don't steal photos of celebrities or good looking people instead of using your own. It's misrepresentation, and that's not a good starting point.
  • Don't post photos of anything that's not you. This includes cars or memes or sunsets.
  • Guys, we know you're proud of that giant fish you caught, but most girls probably won't be too impressed. Use it, don't use it.
  • If you've gained weight, post recent photos, there are partners for every shape and size, but being blindsided isn't fun.
  • Don't post sexually suggestive photos.
  • If you want to post a photo with your child, perhaps consider posting one where you can't see the child's face. Protect their identity, it's just safer that way.

What have you seen that's caught your attention lately? What are your likes and dislikes? You're welcome to comment below.

Till next time,




marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) Do's Don'ts Facebook Photography Photos Profile Social Twitter and media pics http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2016/8/the-dos-and-don-ts-of-social-media-profile-photos Wed, 10 Aug 2016 11:38:35 GMT
In defense of capturing memories. http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2016/6/in-defence-of-capturing-memories


Change is inevitable. Sometimes it comes quickly, but sometimes small changes happen over a long period, it creeps up on you, and when you look back, you're in a completely different space. I wish I'd known this when I was younger. It's awful to regret what you should have done.

When I was growing up, we visited my grandparents quite often. I loved being there, I was my second home. Life happened around the kitchen table. We were a loud bunch, often with two or more conversations happening at the same time. I remember so much about it, but I have nothing to show for it. Having family and their house to visit whenever we wanted to made us complacent. I didn't think much about it when my grandfather passed away, but small changes started happening. My gran became a little more forgetful, it was a little more difficult to get her to laugh, slowly but surely her memory faded. My mom moved in to help take care of her. I would still go visit, and even though the people were not quite the same anymore, the house was still the same place it had been since I was little.  Still the same furniture, the same tablecloths, but the conversations had changed. The familiarity of the surroundings numbed me to the effect of time, and before I knew it, my gran had been admitted to a frail care facility, and my mom was packing up the house. The house we basically grew up in, the house I never photographed.

Never once did it occur to me to take photos of the house or my family. I haven't always been a photographer, so I suppose I have to give myself grace in this area, but taking those kind of photos isn't a matter of photography, it's a matter of documenting life. So now I have the memories, but that's really all I have. We grew up with photo albums that had printed photographs in them. It's terribly old school, I haven't seen one of those in years. Nowadays we either post photos to social media, or they're left on a hard drive somewhere to be forgotten, perhaps even lost at some point. We take care of every aspect of our lives, but our memories are left to remain just that, memories.

May I implore you today to take care of your memories? Photograph people and places. Photograph them with cameras, not cell phones. Get them to smile, not to pull funny faces. Years from now you will appreciate that so much, because, years from now, that may be all you have to remind you of someone or some place special.

Till next time,










marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2016/6/in-defence-of-capturing-memories Thu, 23 Jun 2016 13:12:13 GMT
Why I stopped doing wedding photography http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2016/6/why-i-stopped-doing-wedding-photography Chatting to a friend recently, it dawned on me that she'd assumed I stopped doing wedding photography for reasons that hadn't even crossed my mind, and I realised that there are a lot of misconceptions about why I've moved on from shooting weddings, and why photographers in general may choose to quit photographing weddings. I know a lot of great wedding photographers that love shooting weddings. I used to be one of those photographers. I'm not anymore, and these are some of the reasons why:
I lost my passion for it:
I believe a client deserves a photographer who is totally passionate about their work, whether it be a wedding, a corporate event, product photography, or any other kind of photography. After many years of shooting weddings I lost that passion. It happened slowly over time. I'd be a little less excited about shooting a wedding, eventually dreading it. I feel it's unethical to continue in a genre you don't enjoy photographing anymore, and that was one of the biggest reasons I stopped doing wedding photography.
The money:
Let's be honest, as much as photography is about loving what you do, it's also about putting food on the table. "But people pay thousands for wedding photographers" I hear you say. Yes, that is the truth, but remember that our work doesn't end when the wedding day ends. In fact, photographing the wedding is only a small slice of the pie. Afterwards we meticulously edit all the wedding photos, followed by the lengthy process of designing the coffee table book. In the end, we've spent weeks working on one wedding, rendering us unable to earn money elsewhere.
I dislike designing coffee table books:
This is a personal preference, I know other photographers who love designing coffee table books. It's nothing personal, design is just not my strong point, I'd much rather be shooting.
I prefer being a guest at a wedding:
I love dressing up, there's nothing like the feeling of wearing a pretty dress with heels. For years I never got invited to a wedding as a guest because I was always the photographer. The photographer wearing black suit pants and a collared shirt. I felt that I was missing out, and now that I've been able to attend a few weddings as a guest, I know that I was right, I really was missing out. Time to make up for that.
I like being able to attend social events on weekends:
The nature of wedding photography is that you'll be busy shooting on weekends when your friends are attending social events and life generally carries on without you. I spent years missing social events and family time because I was photographing weddings. There is a time in your life where that is perfectly fine, and then that time passes, as it did with me.
Remote locations:
I used to photograph weddings alone. Many wedding venues are in remote locations where you have to travel gravel roads at night to get back home. Wisdom says that's probably not the best idea. I agree.
I fell in love with other kinds of photography:
This is probably the main reason I decided to give up wedding photography. I fell in love with shooting architecture and products (especially jewellery). I still love it today. It's technically challenging and I feel fulfilled when I complete a shoot that a client loves. Good product photographers are hard to come by, whereas every second photographer shoots weddings, so it's much harder to set yourself apart as an accomplished wedding photographer. Photographing products and interiors hasn't once bored me, and you know as creatives we need to keep the inspiration flowing. I stopped getting that satisfaction from wedding photography, and that was my signal to pack up my wedding photography gear, so to speak.
I'm continuously amazed at how many people think I will return to wedding photography just to shoot one more wedding, usually their own. Alas, that ship has sailed, but if you'd like to invite me to your wedding as a guest, I promise to wear heels. Deal? Deal.

Till next time,


I thought you may like to see some of my recent jewellery photography:


















And architecture and interiors:




























marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2016/6/why-i-stopped-doing-wedding-photography Mon, 13 Jun 2016 09:52:30 GMT
Why 300 dpi isn't always high resolution http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2016/5/why-300dpi-isnt-always-high-resolution  

Wait…what?! But everyone always tells you that 300 dpi is high resolution. Have you been lied to? Well, not exactly. Let me explain:

If your image is 300 dpi, but only 2x2cm in size, you will only be able to print a non-pixelated image at a maximum measurement of 2x2cm. If you print it any larger, say 5x5cm, you will see pixilation, which is loss of image quality.

So, technically, the 5x5cm image is still 300 dpi, but it's been stretched to from 2x2cm to 5x5cm, resulting in a pixelated image:









This is a 72 dpi image. You've been told 72 dpi is inferior and low resolution, yet the image is crisp. How is this possible? 




















While this image might be not be 300 dpi, it is 20.83cm wide at 72 dpi. This means there is enough pixel information contained in the image to be able to print a crisp photo at 5x5cm.  

How this plays out in practice:

The easiest way to relay what size photo you need is to start with the size your photo will be printed. Let's say you need a corporate head shot for a magazine article. If the final image will be printed at 6x9cm, you need to ask your photographer for a 6x9cm 300 dpi image. That way, you will be guaranteed the correct resolution for your image. Just asking for a 300 dpi image won't necessarily mean you'll receive the image at the correct size. Make sure to add in the measurements of the image, and you're all set.

One last thing: Remember that while your photo's resolution may look sufficient on screen, that doesn't guarantee it will be high enough resolution to be printed clearly. Always check the size of the photo before printing. 

Till next time,





marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2016/5/why-300dpi-isnt-always-high-resolution Thu, 19 May 2016 09:19:59 GMT
What it's really like being a professional photographer http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2016/4/what-its-really-like-being-a-professional-photographer  

I lied by omission. It wasn’t my intent to lie, but when I originally published this piece, it was a watered down version of the truth. Scrubbed clean for public consumption. Because no one wants to hear that there’s a dark side to being a creative. Perhaps I wasn’t ready to admit to it at that stage. To admit that it’s often hard. You’ll go through phases where it’s so difficult that you spend your days longing for a job. A job where you’ll have security, however fragile that may be. A job where your path is set out for you and trailblazing is not your concern. It sounds so easy. It’s not realistic though. Once you’ve worked as a freelance photographer the chances aren’t good that you’d be employable again. Skilled? Absolutely. Able to do the same job for the same boss day in and day out? Not so much.

Amateur photographers have the luxury of playing around while learning their craft, but professionals have to produce excellent results consistently. This is the good, the bad and the ugly of being a professional photographer:

  1. Your personality type may predispose you to perfectionism.

In his book, Why You Act The Way You Do, author Tim LaHaye analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of different personality types. Each person is a blend of two personality types, and it’s almost guaranteed that creatives will have a strong melancholic side to their personality. In the book, LaHaye says that melancholy individuals are creative, analytical individuals who have aesthetic traits. They are often plagued by feelings of inadequacy in spite of recognized talents and creativity. See page 125 if you’d like to take the personality test.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that being a perfectionist is a good thing. If you’re that way inclined, chances are good that your work will be of a high standard, and you’ll serve your clients with excellence in mind. Nothing wrong with that, right? It becomes problematic when you delve into perfectionism and get to the root of it. In an interview with Oprah on Super Soul Sunday, author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, says “It’s what I call the haute couture, high-end version of fear... perfectionism.”

Watch the clip here: http://www.oprah.com/own-super-soul-sunday/elizabeth-gilbert-on-perfectionism-video

Perfectionism encompasses various fears:

  • The fear of failure.
  • The fear of disappointing your clients.
  • The fear of losing clients, and losing income as a result.
  • The fear of being insignificant, and being invisible in the process.
  • The fear of being deemed inadequate.
  • The fear of our creativity being ridiculed.
  • The fear of being mediocre, of creating without purpose and value.
  • The fear of losing inspiration.

These fears can drive you to overcompensate. You strive harder, sometimes to the point of burnout.  In those situations, it's often best to take a break to clear your head. You tend to find it counterintuitive though, so you keep pushing.

  1. It's not as glamorous as you think.

Take a look at these Instagram and Facebook posts:

I wouldn’t blame you if this left you insanely jealous with a good dollop of what-am-I-even-doing-with-my-life on the side. You do realize that this is the exception to the rule, right? The average freelancer’s life is anything but glitzy. Photography is a demanding career.  Our equipment is heavy and we lug our kit and our backup kit around everywhere. When we travel to do a destination shoot, we're normally subject to a very tight schedule, and even though we may fly to beautiful places, we don't often get the opportunity to do sight seeing, as we're on the client's timeline and usually on the first plane home after the shoot ends. Photography is a rewarding career, but it's anything but glamorous. Sometimes we do attend glitzy events, but as the photographer, you don't get the opportunity to socialise. Instead, you're on your feet for hours capturing the event.  In fact, it often happens that clients forget to provide the crew with food. Shooting on an empty stomach isn't the most fun you can have in one day, and hangry isn’t a good look on anyone.

3.         The business side.

Don't shoot me for saying this, but most photographers are terrible business people. Running a business full time is not the same as shooting weddings on weekends while earning a full-time salary. Self-employed photographers often have to do their own editing, sales, marketing, accounting, client liaison, debt collecting, admin, conceptualization etc. A lot of time goes into doing tasks that are not photography related. It can be a source of frustration because most of us aren't gifted in finance and administration, we want to be free to create.  When you start doing this full time, you quickly realise that the overheads are high and equipment is expensive. In fact, it's just like running any other business, and the impressive hourly rate you charged when shooting on weekends is now swallowed up by the costs of marketing, equipment, administration, accounting etc. Thinking that your days will consist of doing shoots that speak to your heart, balanced by a leisurely lunch here and there, will leave you disillusioned. However, when you approach this as a business that requires a lot of admin but allows you do the photography that you love from time to time, you're on the right track. Doing personal projects helps quell this frustration, as you're free to be creative without outside influence.

4.         Security (or lack thereof).

When you're employed full time, you have a certain level of security that comes with earning a salary every month. Self-employed photographers don't have that luxury. Our earning potential is hardly ever linked to a set agreement with a client, but it relies on ongoing relationships with various clients. The saying "you're only as good as your last shoot" rings true. Clients change photographers for various reasons, and it's quite possible that a client may move on from using your services or perhaps stop shooting altogether, as happened with a lot of companies during the recession in 2009. Many clients see photography as a luxury, so it's first on the list of services to get the boot when times are tough. There is also no sick leave and no paid vacation time. If we don't work, we don't get paid, simple as that. The uncertainty is definitely not for everyone. Often you’re left wondering where your work is going to come from. The image we create aside, it takes a whole lot of unnerving faith to keep doing this year in and year out. There have been years that have been exceedingly difficult for me. There have been easier years. It’s never balanced. You’re always riding this roller coaster without ever having signed up knowingly. The ups are supposed to carry the downs, but sometimes it’s a little too much to bear.

5.         Boundaries.

I can write books on the topic of boundaries. Instead, I’ll tell you a story that illustrates my growth in this area and the learning curve it took to get there. Unfortunately for most of us, understanding and enforcing boundaries is a long, difficult process. I used to work from home. I would rent a studio when a brief called for a studio shoot. One day a client, a record producer, booked a studio shoot for one of his artists. I confirmed the time with them and with the studio. I showed up a little early to prepare for the shoot. Then I waited. And waited. After a multitude of phone calls and excuses, my client and the talent showed up two hours late. Who do you think was responsible for the studio fee? And who do you think took no responsibility whatsoever? Not only were they late, and I was liable for the additional costs, but I had been kept waiting when I could have allocated my time to another paying client. This was the beginning of my journey of learning how to stand up for myself and realizing that my time is valuable. Of course, I invoiced for the additional time but to no avail. I found out that the client was only a record producer part time. He worked for a corporate company full time. Instead of allowing this to eat at me, I found out where he works and I showed up during office hours. I walked straight into his office and demanded my invoice be paid. He was full of excuses, but I got paid that same afternoon. It was an unpleasant experience, but it was necessary so that I could learn that my time is valuable, my service is worth paying for, and being taken advantage of has a shelf life. It took a few more years for me to raise my hourly rate and to charge clients a market-related fee without feeling guilty. My desire to please tripped me up for years. Don’t be that person. Learn your worth. Know that the service and product you offer is worth paying for. Stop doing shoots for free. There is a time and a place to learn and practice photography. Once you quit your full-time job and this becomes your career, those days are over.

6.         "Is this your real job?"

Professional photography isn't generally seen as a viable career choice, and many people are misinformed about the nature of the work. You'll find that some don't take you seriously, and many will see your position as a glorified hobby instead of a career that requires years of hands on training, technical skill and personal dedication, often to the detriment of your family or social life. The rewards far outweigh the drawbacks though.

7.         Opportunities.

Being a professional photographer affords you opportunities you probably wouldn't have had otherwise. I have met the most amazing people over the years. You get to meet people from all walks of life. I've met famous celebrities, and I've met people who rely on corporate funding for their next meal and the roof over their heads (have a look at these articles I wrote about that:

http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2013/10/malawi-poverty-viewed-through-a-western-lens and


Once you've seen how different people live, you realise that we're all the same, regardless of status or income. It's a humbling experience, and one not easily accessible to those who work in more traditional jobs. I am truly thankful for this.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of capturing an image that you're thrilled with, or even better, that your client loves. That is the reason we get up in the morning, the reason we work when everyone else is socialising and the reason we love what we do. If you're considering photography as a career choice, I hope this article has shed light on the practical side of it. 

Happy shooting.

Till next time,



marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) clients money negotiating photography photos shooting skills technical work http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2016/4/what-its-really-like-being-a-professional-photographer Mon, 18 Apr 2016 15:08:46 GMT
Heatwave Photography's New Premises http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2016/4/heatwaves-new-premises I'm so excited to show you Heatwave Photography's new premises! We're situated in Northlands Business Park (between the Northgate and Fourways areas). There's this wonderful little bakery close by that makes the best chocolate chip cookies, so let me know if you'd like to pop in to come say hello and have a look at our new offices, and I will make sure you get served the best coffee with those cookies.

The decision to move in to office space instead of a studio was a no-brainer, seeing as 90% of the photography we do takes place at the client's premises (events, staff photos, product photography and architectural photography).  We are still affiliated with various studios across Johannesburg though, so doing a studio shoot is no problem at all. 

Hope to see you soon.



marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2016/4/heatwaves-new-premises Mon, 04 Apr 2016 16:22:52 GMT
Architectural Photography: House Gregory http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2016/3/architectural-photography-house-gregory What can be more wonderful than receiving this e-mail from a client: "WOW WOMAN!!!!! It looks AMAZING, you are amazing!!! Love them!" Everybody who knows me knows how much I love photographing architecture and interiors, and this home was no exception. Designed by principal architect at Meik, Nadine Naidoo, the client's brief was to design a light, airy game-lodge style home that's comfortable in every season and with enough space to accommodate visiting family and friends. I absolutely love the clean lines of this home, it is uncluttered, and beautifully designed and decorated. One day Nadine will design my home. In the meantime, she's available to design yours:

Nadine Naidoo, Meik (011) 025 8318 or 082 809 1970, www.meik.co.za.

We would love to hear your comments.

Till next time,


marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2016/3/architectural-photography-house-gregory Fri, 18 Mar 2016 12:11:46 GMT
Redemption Church Turns 2 http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2015/10/redemption-church-turns-2  


Redemption Church just turned 2, and we had a block party to celebrate. 


I loved this little one's reaction to the face paint:

As if to say "stay away from me with that paintbrush!"



And then....

"Wow! Look at me!"



Here are some more of my favourites:


marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2015/10/redemption-church-turns-2 Mon, 19 Oct 2015 12:04:16 GMT
Heatwave Turns 10; Launches New Brand Identity http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2015/10/heatwave-turns-10-launches-new-brand-identity

Why The New Brand Identity?

When I started Heatwave, I had no business vision and no idea where I was going. I just the deep desire to do photography full time. You can read more about how I started herehttp://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2014/4/how-i-chose-to-become-a-photographer.

Over the years I've had the opportunity to hone my business vision along with my photographic skills. It has been an exciting journey that's seen me shed some genres of photography (weddings/model portfolio's), and focus on other areas I've found increasingly stimulating (products; particularly small products like cosmetics and jewellery and interiors). 

I wanted to launch the new brand identity to celebrate 10 years in business, but more than that; it signifies a move away from general photography into specialist fields I am passionate about. This was a gradual move that's taken place over the last few years, and the new brand identity is a symbol of that growth.


My vision for Heatwave Photography is to continue bringing clients beautiful images of their spaces, products, and events; photographed with a keen eye for detail, clean lines, and with creative use of lighting. 

What's new?
  • The company's name has changed from Heatwave Photographic Studios to Heatwave Photography. Please take note of our new website address, www.heatwavephotography.co.za and my new email address: marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za 
  • In the past, product photography was done in-camera. Heatwave Photography has recently acquired specialist software that automates much of this process. This means a client can see their images on screen while we're shooting, enabling them to make adjustments while we're shooting. Previously, when most or all of an image needed to be in focus, we had to go through a tedious process to ensure focus throughout the image. This process has been automated as well, speeding up the photography while ensuring even more accurately focused images.
What stays the same?

The attention to detail and professionalism that has kept clients coming back year after year.
  • Product and interior images will still be crisp, clean, and beautifully composed. My aim is, and has always been, to create images that highlight your product's best features and enables an increase in your sales as a result.
  • When a Heatwave photographer shoots your event, you are guaranteed of a punctual, professionally dressed photographer who blends in with your guests instead of standing out. Though images are edited professionally, turnaround times are fast, as we understand clients' need to publish images shortly after an event. 

Making a difference:

Over the last few years I've been privileged to shoot various Corporate Social Investment projects, and that sparked a desire in me to bring a voice to the voiceless, both through photography and the written word. I want my photography to make a difference, to improve lives and to create awareness. I am looking forward to seeing more of this in the next few years.
Till next time,

Some of my favourite photos taken over the last 10 years:

I photographed this ring, and many more pieces, for an online jewellery catalogue.

A special note of thanks to:
Anthony Dalton from FAD Communications, www.fadcommunications.co.za, who designed the new brand identity,
Thank you to all my loyal, valued clients. Without you none of this would have been possible. 
marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2015/10/heatwave-turns-10-launches-new-brand-identity Thu, 15 Oct 2015 08:26:54 GMT
Malawi 2015 http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2015/10/malawi-2015 I have just returned from my third trip to Malawi. Today I will only share a few photos that stole my heart. Due to confidentiality agreements, I won't post any photos that shows recognisable faces, but I wanted to share some of my favourites nonetheless. You can read about my two previous trips here and here. I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to visit that beautiful country again. 


marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) Malawi Photography children education photos poverty school http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2015/10/malawi-2015 Mon, 12 Oct 2015 14:54:18 GMT
Recent JC Le Roux Winter Solstice Event http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2015/6/recent-jc-le-roux-winter-solstice-event A few of my favourites taken at the JC Le Roux Winter Solstice event:     

marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2015/6/recent-jc-le-roux-winter-solstice-event Tue, 30 Jun 2015 08:10:41 GMT
People Matter Photo Series: Who is the foreigner? http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2015/4/people-matter-who-is-the-foreigner I wonder if you will see what I see when you look at these photos? Will you see people who have genuine friendships and who love spending time together? Or will you see one person who stands out, who is unwelcome, who doesn't belong?

In the light of the recent spate of xenophobic attacks, I wondered if I could find South Africans who have close friendships with foreigners who live here, and what their stories could tell us. So off to town we went...

We approached strangers and asked them if they're South African or foreign. Many of them reacted with genuine fear, so much so that we changed our opening question to put them at ease. When we explained that we were doing a photo shoot to highlight the issue of xenophobia, everyone opened up to us and shared their stories with us. We encountered warm people with a genuine love for our country.

I found that love is a force that transcends borders and bridges gaps between cultures. Over the next eight days I will share their stories with you. Often, you won't be able to tell who the foreigner is, and that's precisely the point. The aim is to show you that we're all human, we all have hopes and dreams of a better future, and that there is hope for our country if we embrace love.

A special thank you to my two assistants, Maliyamungu Gift Muhande and Anelga Garcer. Without you this project wouldn't have been possible.


Day 8 of 8: Meet Bronwyn and Odellia:

How long have you known each other?

Odellia: It will be a year on Saturday. I'm very excited about it. We met playing basketball. I've been in South Africa for four years, I'm studying at Wits.

What do you love about South Africa:

Odellia: It's diverse. I like it, and hate it. I can understand the languages now, but the first year I was here people shouted at me for not knowing my culture. Even though I can understand, I'm not always sure what language they're speaking.

What is special about your friendship?

Odellia: I like the fact that we get each other. We've lived totally different lives, but we understand each other. If she doesn't sleep, I don't sleep, it's like we're in sync.

How do you feel about xenophobia as a South African?

Bronwyn: I've had a pretty interesting background. I lived in the States for 10 years, and it's broadened my view on the world. I feel like people are in boxes here, and leaving took me out of that frame of mind. I have a lot of faith in our country that we'll get through this. 

Day 7 of 8: Meet Nicolas and his friends:

Where are you from?

I'm from the Democratic Republic of Congo. I've been here for 14 years, and I might stay, depending on what happens in future.

How do you feel about the xenophobic attacks?

I love South Africa, I'm not here to steal anybody's job. I'm here to get an education, I want to learn from everybody. I love people from every culture.

What's the deal with the masks?

We do a dance routine, they're in character. We're on our way to a hip hop event in Newtown Park.

How do you feel about your South African friends?

They're like family to me. Even though the xenophobic attacks are happening, they don't feel the same way. 

Day 6 of 8: Meet Kgotso and his friend:

Tell me your story:

Kgotso: I'm half South African, half Congolese (my mom is Zulu and half of her family is Sotho). People are getting judged because of where they come from, and at the end of the day we're all from Africa. 

Do you feel like a foreigner, or like a South African?

Kgotso: I feel like a South African, but I feel victimised. I know I just have to ignore these people. It's just a portion of people, not everyone.

Tell me about your friendship:

Kgotso: He's my best friend. I recently moved to Braamfontein, and he's the only guy that's been looking out for me.

What do you love about each other as friends?

Friend: He just makes my day every time. He's so random, it's always good to spend time with him.

Kgotso: He's a good listener, and I like talking. 

Day 5 of 8: Meet Axel and his friends:

What country are you from?

Axel: I'm from the Democratic Republic of Congo. I've been here for 23 years. I haven't been back since I was three years old.

Do you feel that people see you as South African, or as foreign?

Axel: They see me as South African within my circle of friends. I'm not fluent, but I can hold my own if I need to speak vernac. My home language is French.

How did you guys become friends?

Axel: I'm studying Civil Engineering, and we have a soccer team in the Wits Internal League. I met them playing soccer. I only started playing for the team this year, but we've known each other since last year.

What do you love about South Africa?

Axel: I love its diversity. I know as much as different cultures have different issues, it's nice that it's so diverse.

How do you feel about the xenophobic attacks?

Axel: It's a group of uneducated, ignorant people. It's not the majority. I know it looks bad from the outside. We have family calling from abroad all the time, asking if we're ok. I haven't experienced it myself, I haven't physically seen it, it's not as bad as it looks from the outside. It's a group of people who are lazy and not working, they're making it bad for anyone. The whole country has been labelled as xenophobic, but it's not like that.

Do you have any other foreign friends?

Axel: I have many. I think it's the way I was brought up. My parents lived in France, then came here. With the way my mom brought me up, I find it easy to communicate with people from different races. Even among my South African friends, there are Muslims, Afrikaans people, and many others. 

Question to Axel's friends: What is your view on xenopobia?

PS: I think it gives South Africa a bad image. Everybody should be accepted. If you're born in South Africa, you're South African. If you've been living in South Africa, you're South African. We should accept each other as Africans.

Phemelo: We as South Africans should change our mentality and accept our foreign brothers and sisters so that we can unite and stop this violence.

Day 4 of 8: Meet Jessy and Luleka:

Where are you from, and how long have you been in South Africa?

Jessy: I'm from Cameroon, I've been here for eight years.

Are you planning on staying in South Africa?

No, I have a home here and a home and Cameroon, so I'll go back and forth.

How did you guys meet?

Luleka: We have a mutual friend. When she was looking for someone to work for her, he phoned me, and that's how we met.

Jessy: We haven't been working together for long, but in the few months we've had a great relationship.

How do you feel about the xenophobic attacks?

Luleka: I don't like talking about it.

Jessy: She hates it, and I also hate it. People are angry, so they just look for the weakest link, and thugs take advantage of that. They use that as an excuse to settle scores with whichever foreigner they have issues with. I love almost everything about South Africa, except its violence. The violence freaks me out. I don't have a problem being told foreigners are not wanted, but you don't have to kill us to tell us this. You can steal from me, but don't kill me, don't shoot me, don't stab me; just take the phone and go. The South African government hasn't reacted fast enough, they took their time to see how many would be killed before they reacted.

Day 3 of 8: Meet Khululekani and his friends:

What country are you from?

Khululekani: I'm from Zimbabwe, I've been here for five years, I moved here with my parents. South Africa is a good country.

Where did you meet these guys?

Khululekani: At varsity. I'm studying BSC Molecular Science.

What do you love about these guys?

Khululekani: They're so friendly, they're really nice.

Amukelani: We've got his back, he's one of us. He has the ability to make me laugh when I'm sad.

Day 2 of 8: Meet Christelle and Tsolofelo:

Christelle owns a hair salon in town. She was busy doing a client's hair, so we chatted to Tsolofelo about their friendship.

How long have you been friends?

It's been three years.

How did you meet?

She was doing my hair in 2012, and we've been friends ever since. She introduced me to this area, and I've got my own business because of her. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be here. She motivated me to have my own business. 

What country is she from?

She's from Cameroon. She's been here for about 5 years, and she's staying. She loves South Africa because it's a beautiful country, and we've got beautiful people. She's making her own money, she has a family, and she's expecting another baby.

What do you love about your friendship with her?

She's a great person, a loving person. She's encouraged me in so many ways. I even got a boyfriend from Congo because of her.


Day 1 of 8: Meet Ivin and Thumeka

Where are you from, and how long have you been in South Africa?

Ivin: I'm from Cameroon. I've been in South Africa for three years. I studied accounting here.

Are you planning on staying here in South Africa?

Ivin: Oh yeah, definitely.

What do you love about the country?

Ivin: The beautiful girls; South Africa is a beautiful place. I know people think South Africans aren't very friendly, I think it just depends on where you come from. In my country, not everyone is friendly.

Is this your girlfriend?

Yes (smiles). I met her through my flatmate.

How do you feel about xenophobia?

Thumeka: I think the world has a perception that it's every South African when it's just the minority. People really need to understand that, as much as these attacks are happening, I can't say there's a convincing social predicament that's causing it. I think it's being influenced by crime. You must also look at the targets. If you go to town, they're attacking Somalians because many of them own businesses, and it gives them a platform to steal. It's not ordinary South Africans.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this project.

Till next time,




marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) Braamfontein hate love matter people photographs photography xenophobia http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2015/4/people-matter-who-is-the-foreigner Wed, 29 Apr 2015 13:04:46 GMT
Redemption Church Outreach: "Tehuis Vir Bejaardes, Luipaardsvlei" http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2015/3/redemption-church-outreach-tehuis-vir-bejaardes-luipaardsvlei I thought I'd get away with not writing about it. I didn't want to write about it. I wanted to post the photos and be done with it. The problem with stories is that they demand to be told, regardless of someone's mood or preferences. So here I am, writing. This is yesterday's story:

"Tehuis Vir Bejaardes, Luipaardsvlei" is an old age home in Krugersdorp. A couple of us visited them as part of our church's Easter outreach. It's amazing how, whilst believing our mandate was kindness, kindness was bestowed upon us. Everyone welcomed us with open arms. When I have my camera with me at an outreach, I often feel like I'm taking from people. Although we're there to give, whether it be food, prayer, or other necessities; I would prefer not to photograph the people we encounter. But then, stories demand to be told, remember? This is why I asked for permission before photographing anyone. No one denied me. It's a testament to their generosity, regardless of their health or their state of mind.

"Green is my favourite colour" said the lady with the green jersey, "and Joey's favourite was blue". Her eyes welled up. Joey was her best friend of seventy years, who passed away just the day before. Suddenly bringing chocolate felt totally inadequate, inappropriate even. Seventy years. What a wonderful privilege to walk a road with a friend for seventy years. What heart wrenching pain to lose that friend when you yourself have nothing to look forward to. These are the things I ponder when faced with human mortality. Maria was comforted by the knowledge that Joey had gone on to be with the Lord. A beautiful destiny, albeit painful for those left behind.

Moving on, we came upon a room with a door that led outside. The door was locked. This was evident by the force the old lady was applying to the handle, to no avail. She muttered under her breath as we walked past into the next room to distribute more chocolates. As the rest of our group started talking to the occupants of the room, I waited by the door so that I could see the old lady. Now seated, she was swearing profusely. "My bicycle is outside, I want to go get my bicycle" she said to no one in particular. Eventually a nurse came by, and I asked about her behaviour. "It's Alzheimer's" she said, "nothing can be done".

In the next ward, we met a lady who had an old photograph of herself hanging above her bed. "She used to be a model" someone said. The faded black and white photograph was of a young, beautiful, blonde woman; clearly confident in her pose. When we asked her about it, she replied: "I traveled the world, I had a wonderful life, but life is over so quickly". She had no resemblance to the young woman. Beauty, so highly esteemed in today's society; of no lasting value.

As we walked through the wards, we came into contact with many different people. Some reading, some watching television, some taking naps. I couldn't help but wonder whether they felt they had any purpose left. One can only watch so much 7de Laan. Being surrounded by people doesn't automatically ward off loneliness. Many of these people hardly see their children, if at all.

All of this is a reminder of how precious life is. It is never too late to follow that dream, to love that person, to make amends. We have so much to live for.

Some of today's photos:

marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) Krugersdorp Luipaardsvlei Redemption Church aged charity giving love outreach photography photos prayer visit http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2015/3/redemption-church-outreach-tehuis-vir-bejaardes-luipaardsvlei Mon, 30 Mar 2015 04:12:36 GMT
People Matter Photo Series: My Body Battle. http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2014/12/people-matter-photo-series-my-body-battle  I recently read that there are people who maintain a healthy weight by eating what their body wants, without obsessively restricting, or giving themselves over to total abandon. This is a new concept to me, one I don't understand, but I am adamant to get to the bottom of. You may not have an eating disorder, but your eating may be disordered and you battle with your relationship with food. So many of us are being held hostage by our relationship with food, when I'm sure there's healing to be found. This thought process prompted me to do a series of photographs to highlight this issue. You are not alone. Whatever your weight or challenge with food is, there is someone out there who struggles with the same issues you do. These girls were incredibly brave to share their stories and pose for me. You are beautiful just as you are.


Thank you to every girl who took part in this photo series. You're all so special, I hope you've grown in that realisation over the course of this project.

My Body BattleMy Body BattlePhoto taken for the My Body Battle Photo Series

Day 1 of 9: Meet Tanya

I've always had an issue with food. My mom was emotionally abusive, and it contributed to the problem. She would often call me 'fat child' or 'pig child'. When I look at those photos now, there was nothing wrong with my weight, but I developed a big complex around food. I remember my first binge eating episode in great detail. I was thirteen years old. I ate nine slices of bread and peanut butter in one sitting. That day was the beginning of a roller coaster phase of eating, and dieting; and eating, and dieting. It became a life force of its own. When I was a young adult, around twenty four, I found an mechanism to deal with my eating. At that stage, I didn't realise I had an eating disorder. I attended a seminar where they focused on Neuro-Linguistic Programming, hypnotherapy, and affirmations. I lost two dress sizes within three short months, without changing the way I ate. It was a temporary solution though, as I became involved in two abusive relationships, one after the other; and I lost all control. I couldn't stop eating. I would have rituals when I ate. I would surround myself with food, and I would eat the food while watching a certain program on tv, that kind of thing. Not even the diagnoses of post traumatic stress disorder, compulsive eating disorder, and depression changed anything for me. Change slowly came when I started posing for life drawings. I was completely naked in front of a room full of strangers. When I walked around and saw the different pictures they had drawn, the way they had depicted me, I saw that I was beautiful, I was art, and that was what started my emotional healing. I saw, through someone else's eyes, that I was beautiful. It's been a process, but I've learned to love myself. Learning to accept who you are is so important, that's where the healing starts. Being mindful is just as important, mindful of the way you eat, of your emotions, of the food around you. If you do binge, be mindful of that. I won't ever tell someone not to binge. I still do it, but when you do it, be aware and understand which emotions you're trying to block out. Taste the food, actually taste it. Compulsive eaters will generally just shove it in, because it's not really about the food. Losing weight has nothing to do with willpower. There's a correlation between eating disorders and obsessive compulsive behaviour, because of the need to control something, and this is the way we choose to do it.  

Day 2 of 9: Meet Bronwyn

My Body BattleMy Body BattlePhoto taken for the My Body Battle Photo Series

It started out with comparisons. I was always compared to my sister, who had the perfect figure and had no problem with her weight at all. If I look back at pictures of myself as a child, I realise I had no problems with my weight. In fact, for my body type, I was the perfect weight, but I would be given my sister's hand me downs. She was two sizes smaller than me, so her clothes wouldn't fit me. That communicated to me that there was something wrong with me. All her friends were her size, a size eight, and we'd have girl dress up days but none of their stuff would fit me. I was thin myself, but because I wasn't a size eight, they'd laugh and make fun of me. Despite the fact that I was skinny in my own right, my parents still compared me with my sister, saying “why can't you be like your sister?” In my mind, I was trying desperately to be her perfect size eight. I don't have that body type, how could I possibly try to attain that? Having a broken relationship with both my parents, and with no value being affirmed from either of them, I became this “messy” person. The only identity I had came from the positive reinforcement guys gave me. I got the reputation of being an ice queen, because I was so cold towards them. Years later, I'm finally at peace with my body weight. I know now that I'm an emotional eater. It wasn't as apparent then, but I used to set myself personal standards that were unattainable. I had terrible self talk. Getting quiet by doing centering prayer and counselling made me aware of how I was speaking to myself. Over time, my self talk improved, and now I love myself. Your body speaks back to you. We're three parts, soul, spirit, and body. My body will say 'You're giving me too much sugar'. If my mind is weak, it doesn't matter if my body says its had enough, because emotional pressure will lead my mind to overrule my body. When I'm in a good space, my body dictates what I eat. It's important for you to understand yourself, and have a point of reference. Spiritually, my point of reference is scripture. Psychologically, there are many books I've read and courses I've attended, as well as doing personality assessments etc. I bounce ideas off a dietician who will recommend changes where necessary. At the moment I'm emotionally strong, so the weight will just begin to drop off. It was a long journey to find peace.

Day 3 of 9: Meet Yolanda


My Body Battle Photo SeriesMy Body Battle Photo SeriesPhoto taken for the My Body Battle Photo Series

I'm short and ever since I can remember, I've had a problem with my weight. I've never really been a sociable person and I struggle to get along with people, so food was a safe haven for me. I think it still is. I'm aware that I try to use food to fill an emotional void. I've lost weight before, but I never seem to be able to keep it off. Just after my child's birth, I'd had enough. I tried a low GI diet, combined with weight loss injections, and I lost nearly 20kg. I looked good for two years, but eventually gained it all back again. When I tried the combination of the diet and injections again, it just wasn't as effective. I was so despondent at that stage, I just gave up for a while. The next time I tried to lose weight, I went on a high protein diet, and lost even more weight than before. It went well for a while, until I quit smoking, and piled on the kilos again. It drives me crazy that I can go from one extreme to the other. I know it's a self image issue. Feeling like a complete fashion failure also doesn't help, it's a constant emotional roller coaster. People treat you differently when you're overweight, you can see the disapproval in their eyes, you're seen as someone with no willpower. I'm so tired of diets and having to eat a salad when I feel like having a slice of bread. At this stage I don't even want to look in the mirror; I'm done, I feel like there's nothing left to do. I don't have time for gym or exercise, and I hate being told what to do. Losing weight isn't that difficult, but I find it impossible to maintain. I feel like everything will fall into place when I reach my goal weight, and that's one of the reasons I'm so unhappy and put so much pressure on myself. I suspect there might be underlying issues that need to be addressed. I don't really want to find out though, because then I'd have to deal with that too. I'm at a crossroads, either I embrace the way I look, or I go on a diet again. I'm just so tired of the battle, I don't know if I can go through all of that again.  

Day 4 of 9: Meet Kalene

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I've never had a healthy relationship with food. I've always tried drastic measures to lose weight, like spending thousands on pills and potions. My goal was always to be underweight. Eventually I lost weight without the pills, but I realised I still wasn't happy. That's when I started looking at becoming healthy instead of just focusing on being skinny. I've always wanted to portray that perfect, model image, the image of being skinny despite having had kids. People look up to women like that. My current eating program is has become a way of life for me. A lot of people who know me think I'm obsessed, but it's just because I don't eat like everyone else. I know the calorie content of most foods. I try to indulge on healthy food, so I'll have 100g of almonds instead of the usual small portion. That, to me, is indulgence. I had a slice of cake for my birthday, and I spent two hours in the gym the next day, an hour more than I usually do. My body fat percentage is 13% at the moment, and I want to get it down to 11%. I tend to eat pretty much the same foods every day. I've been told that my body needs more calories, but every time I jump on the scale and I see I've gained a bit of weight, I train harder so that I can lose it again. I guess this isn't the norm for everyone, but I want to enter fitness competitions next year. I'm very fit, and I'm not exhausted because I don't eat enough, although I do miss carbs. I will have a carb binge day once or twice a week, but it will be good carbs like brown rice or a slice of bread. My husband is a little worried, he says your spine bone shouldn't be visible, but mine is. I just believe that it's the way I'm built. When I overeat, I will go into a blank space and be terribly depressed. After my daughter was born, I was chubby, and people would comment on my weight. I am determined that nobody will ever tell me I'm fat again. My daughter, who is five years old, often asks me why I eat so little. Her portions are bigger than mine. I'm trying to get balance and relax a little bit, perhaps take a day off gym. I've always been a bit of a rebel. I'm obsessed with fitness and clean eating because I don't want to look like my family who are all overweight. We had cake and desserts for my son's dedication and I binged that day. I felt so sick, my body isn't used to that kind of food. I was depressed for two days about allowing myself to eat like a normal person.

Day 5 of 9: Meet Louise

My Body Battle Photo SeriesMy Body Battle Photo SeriesPhoto taken for the My Body Battle Photo Series

My relationship with my mother has always been rocky. I was sexually abused as a child, and she was in complete denial about it, even after I'd made her aware of it. It made me feel invisible. My home life didn't contribute to a healthy relationship with food. My parents forced me to finish everything on my plate. Eventually this habit gets instilled in you. The instability at home started me down a road of promiscuity; I'm sad to say the one night stands made me feel better temporarily. At that stage, I was still thin and looked beautiful. A fitness junkie, I exercised six days a week and had no issues with my weight. When I had my first child, I gained weight that I've never been able to lose. I swapped the emotional crutch of promiscuity for the emotional crutch of overeating. My mom and I were not on speaking terms, our relationship is still rocky today. When you're overweight, you're almost invisible. No one really gives you a second glance. When you lose the weight, men start noticing you again. I value my marriage, and being overweight has kept me from the temptation of straying. I am not prepared to jeopardise my marriage or my family. Being overweight is a safer, albeit unhealthy option. I am 40kg heavier now than when I met my husband. A man wants to feel good next to his partner, and it grieves me that I can't offer him that at the moment. At night, I'll pray desperately, asking God for the willpower to lose weight, but then I'll grab a chocolate for breakfast. I haven't even started thinking about loving myself. I always employ external means to make myself feel better, like dying my hair, having my nails done, etc. It's easier to deal with the external stuff than the internal stuff. The constant guilt is a huge mental thing. I can't begin to tell you how much money I spend on a monthly basis buying diet pills and potions. I bargain with myself. I'll diet, but I'll cheat, promising myself I'll skip dinner. My dad puts a lot of pressure on me to lose weight. He is relentless. He just can't leave me alone. The pressures of marriage and raising children are often overwhelming. I have a private stash of sweets in the room, it's so wonderful to eat when I'm alone. I still binge eat, sometimes I binge consistently. I know that you have to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but I've been unable to do that. I don't have time for exercise. It's a constant battle, I'm just so tired. I'm so desperate to lose weight. 

Day 6 of 9: Meet Candice

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My mom was always on diet pills, and I felt that my weight was a problem when I was a child. I was a tall girl, a little on the big side, and everyone around me was super skinny. I stole my mom's diet pills in primary school; she was my role model, it was normal for me. I always had deep seated insecurities about my weight. About 11 years ago, I wanted to get healthy, so I started losing weight and looking good. People took notice, it felt like an achievement for me. It becomes an obsession; the more weight you lose, the more you want to lose. You start thinking about any possible way to lose weight. This obsession consumes you and causes unhappiness. I was like that for a couple of years, very skinny and obsessed. People were worried about me, but I was defensive and it caused havoc in my relationships. After my second baby, I realised I was in trouble. I didn't want my children to grow up the way I grew up, I wanted them to have a happy mom. I was terribly thin, I would often just eat a grape for lunch. I restricted quantities and went without bread for a year. It was draining me of my joy. I wanted to enjoy my life, my family, and my kids. I had terrible guilt feelings whenever I ate anything I didn't consider acceptable. Being a extremist can be a good thing, but it can also be very bad. I felt in control, it was an achievement for me to be thin. I feel the change was a Godly intervention. I know the dangers that can trigger guilt. I eat in moderation now. If I feel like I want to have a chocolate or a burger, I'll have that without feeling guilty about it. I want to enjoy pizza with my kids, instead of forcing myself to eat a lettuce leaf. I think it's good to know where your limitations are. I am much happier now, and so thankful that all of that is behind me.​

Day 7 of 9: Meet Lesego

My Body Battle Photo SeriesMy Body Battle Photo SeriesPhoto taken for the My Body Battle Photo Series

When I was growing up there wasn't much food to go around. We weren't poor, but we also didn't have luxuries. We just had basics like bread and pap. Although we ate three meals a day there were never snacks or anything nice to nibble on. I think part of me got traumatised by that experience, so I vowed to myself that, once I started working and earning my own money, there would always be plenty of food in my fridge. I promised myself my fridge would be full of all the things I desired when growing up, like cake and milk for my coffee. I have a complex relationship with food, I see it as a comfort. I don't necessarily eat because I'm hungry, I eat because there's food available. I love food that is rich and creamy; smelling beautiful aromas of really great soul food makes me happy. If something is delicious, I can finish a big bowl of it without even registering that I'm full. It's only afterwards that I realise I'm stuffed. I don't think I register hunger and fullness. We only had a fully cooked meal on Sundays, with rice, vegetables and meat. If you were given a plate of food, you were forced to finish it. You were not allowed to say you're full, or you'd risk getting a hiding. So, from a very young age, I ate mountains of food. Eventually you get used to it. I've always been chubby, but fit. The kilo's piled up when I started earning my own money and was able to buy takeaways and go to restaurants. Before my kids were born, I stopped eating meat because I believed it would help me lose weight. I did lose weight, but I soon realised I'm not much of a vegetarian. I tried so many vegetable recipes, but vegetables will never be meat. Shortly after, I met my husband and had kids, resumed my old way of eating, and gained weight again. I think my weight is currently out of control. I stuff my children with food. They must never want for anything. If they're fat, I feel like I'm a good mom. I buy cake all the time. My husband is the healthy one, he'll give the kids fruit or take them to the park to go run, while leaving me at home eating a piece of cake. I know that my portion sizes are a problem and I eat until I feel sick. I'd like to be healthy. I have an auto immune disease and I don't want to put my body under more strain.​​

Day 8 of 9: Meet Zulé

My Body Battle Photo SeriesMy Body Battle Photo SeriesPhoto taken for the My Body Battle Photo Series

Nine years old, I was already overweight and very uncomfortable with the way I looked. I once overheard my brother telling a friend that if I’d worn a red T-shirt, I’d look like a London bus. Right there I made a decision that I didn’t want to look like that anymore. My mom had her own body image issues, so I didn’t have healthy role models in this area. To me, the only sensible option was to stick my finger down my throat. It’s something I did consistently for two years. By the time I was 12, I was a healthy looking girl, with people commenting positively on my weight loss. It’s ridiculous, but when you’re a child, and everyone affirms you this way, you get the message that you're on the right track. I read about bulimia in magazines, and realised I had a problem. I can’t tell you how and when I stopped doing it, but I did stop eventually. Growing up quite independently, I formed my identity by looking to outside sources, people’s opinions mattered and shaped my thought process. I felt like I had to live up to an ideal to be seen as prized or valued. When I left home after high school for England, I started drinking quite a bit. That is how you make new friends. I was very active, but I had terrible eating habits, and drinking only contributed to it. Back in South Africa, around my 25th birthday, I joined a gym, hired a personal trainer, and started following a meal plan. I wrote everything down, I weighed all my food. Everything was perfectly planned, I never ate anything spontaneously. Food was prepared and labelled, to the point of anxiety provoking obsession. I was training for 3 hours a day with a body fat percentage of 12%. It’s my personality type, I always have to be the best at it, whatever “it” is. I always have to be addicted to something. I never felt good enough about myself, no matter how toned my body was. I was submerged in gym culture, I couldn’t talk about anything else but exercise and food. It’s embarrassing. There came a point when I had to go to the doctor for something unrelated, and she told me that I would never be able to have children if I carried on this way. I know I am meant to be a mother, so I decided to stop. It was very difficult scaling down the exercise, but I’d just met someone special, and that helped distract me a little. I missed exercising, and the discipline of being precise with my food, but it was great to go to a restaurant and order something off the menu and not take my own broccoli. Now, two years later, I have a healthy relationship with my body. I appreciate it much more for the wonderful vessel it is. I’m a lot happier with my body now than I was when I had toned arms and defined abs. Yes, sometimes I eat three pieces of cake when one would do, but the guilt doesn’t last very long, and it doesn’t happen very often. The empty plate in the photograph represents possibilities. You could put anything on that plate, like a healthy salad, which is enjoyable, or it can be a big piece of chocolate cake, and I’d feel okay about that too. Whatever that plate has on it, cake or salad, I would feel the same way about both. The wineglass represents alcohol that can be detrimental to the healthy, balanced lifestyle I’m trying to achieve now. For a very long time, my body was a tool that I had to keep nice and shiny. I don’t feel that way anymore. I feel that my body is the wrapping for a wonderful soul. Yes, I want a healthy body, but more importantly a mind and body that is in balance. Right now, I’m happier with my body than I’ve ever been.

Day 9 of 9: My own story

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My dad passed away when I was nine years old. My mom remarried, and my teenage years where chaotic, to say the least. I don't even remember why I over ate, but everything else in my life was unbalanced, it stands to reason that this area would be too. By the time I was in matric, I was really overweight. My step dad spoke to me about it, and I was mortified. Looking back, I see that it was done in love, and it set the course for my first round of weight loss. I lost weight by eating a healthy, balanced diet, but my heart was still in turmoil. I would binge eat and be overcome by guilt; so much so, I decided to stick my finger down my throat one day after yet another binge eating session. It's amazing to see how God's grace preserved me, even then. My mom caught me when that happened and I was so embarrassed, it never happened again. Shortly after that, I got involved with someone who was emotionally and verbally abusive. It started off subtly, he would comment on my weight (at that stage I looked great and my weight was healthy). The hints increased to the point of him calling me fat all the time. I had no coping mechanisms, so I stopped eating. Already thin, I had no business losing weight, but I was obsessed with being what he wanted me to be. I believed that it would please him. Little did I know that nothing but the love of God can please an insecure soul. When you only eat one muffin a day, you believe that you're in control. You see everyone else as powerless and weak. It's terribly twisted, but the feeling of control it gave me overrode every little bit of common sense and every word of loving concern from friends. I was unable to control anything else in my life, and this gave me a measure of security, albeit false security. He finally left me for a petite little lady; and knowing I would never be petite, this devastated me. It's been 15 years, and I have never been able to achieve balance in my eating. I know that God is a healer, and when the scales finally fell off my eyes and I realised that I'm still unbalanced in this area, I reached out to Him. I believe that He is in the process of healing me, and showing me what true, godly balance looks like. I give God all the credit for giving me the vision of doing this photo series. I realise that the women who have shared their hearts with me are fragile, yet brave; and I believe God has a purpose with this project, and that there is healing available for every single one of us. 

Till next time,


marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) Photography anorexia binge bulimia compulsive eating esteem food overweight self weight willpower http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2014/12/people-matter-photo-series-my-body-battle Mon, 08 Dec 2014 13:35:37 GMT
Malawi in visuals http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2014/10/malawi-in-visuals If you follow this blog you will know that I've recently been on a Corporate Social Investment trip to Malawi with a corporate client. You can read about last year's trip here, or this specific trip here.

Due to copyright constraints, I'm only publishing a few of the photos that don't show faces, and a few taken in the streets of Malawi. My hope is that you will see what I saw, and that it will stir compassion in your heart. We're here to make a difference, and even if you can't necessarily make a difference in the Malawian children's lives, you can make a difference right where you are, in your city, in your town. Don't wait for the perfect opportunity, every day provides opportunities.


marinda@heatwavephotography.co.za (Heatwave Photography) Malawi centre children education kids learning photos school teaching training http://www.heatwavephotography.co.za/blog/2014/10/malawi-in-visuals Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:41:19 GMT