I sat down with beautiful and extremely talented Johannesburg photographer, Maxine Heroldt and just simply had to share her refreshing work with others. She let me in on how she got into photography, the live bands she shoots for and the high’s and low’s of being a young photographer. I love her work so much, we did a small photo shoot and she made me feel so comfortable within in my own skin, flaws and all and no Photoshop!
PS: There’s also a photo shoot giveaway!
How long have you been doing photography?
Professionally, for about 3 years. Overall, I’ve been taking photos since I was about 8 or 9. I would take my family’s little run down camera, that we only ever took out the cupboard for holidays, and drag my sister outside for the most horrendous “photoshoots”. She’s still the model I use the most, because we’ve been doing this since we were tiny, when we shoot she understands the way I work. I’ll shout something incredibly vague like “No your face is too ‘Ugh’.” And she’ll immediately get it and change. Other people laugh, but it works. I like to think we’ve both improved since these photos though…
What made you get into photography?
I actually don’t remember. Initially I think I liked the poses I could freeze. Like making my friends jump in to the pool and getting a photo of them mid-air. I liked how it made people happy, how they would see the photo and run right back around to try do it again or try a different pose. Then I think it became more than just freezing a pose, but freezing a moment, and seeing people smile afterwards because they forgot about it or they didn’t know I was taking a photo.
Also, I like making people feel beautiful. There have been a few people who say things like, “Well good luck trying to get a good photo of me!” And then when they see the photos, they actually really love them, and they see themselves in a different way.
I always tell people, that it isn’t a matter of you being photogenic or not, the right photographer will pull out your personality in the picture.
“…it became more than just freezing a pose, but freezing a moment…”
What is your expertise?
Portraits and live music photography. Not exactly similar styles, I know. But in both I get to capture people and their vibe, and I love that.
Who have you shot for?
Bands – Coldfield, Jasper Dan, Lawless Gentlemen, Burning Blue, Dirty Moonshine. This weekend coming I hope to shoot Aking. In live music photography though, you’re not always shooting “for” someone. More often than not you’re just showing up to a show with a camera and snapping away. At least until your name starts getting out there. After the show the bands will usually see your work, and that’s when you’ll begin to be booked officially.
What challenges have you faced in this field and how did you overcome them?
One of my biggest challenges has been finances. Photography is very expensive, and unfortunately you need the right gear to advance your career. Your gear by no means defines your talent; you can use a smartphone and get an incredible photo. However your gear can limit the environments and situations you are able to shoot in and the quality of your images. That’s something I’m still trying to overcome, the camera I want now is about R40,000, so that’s still a while away.
Another challenge I’ve faced is definitely people underestimating me because of my age, but thankfully when it comes to photography, if I can provide an impressive portfolio, that will speak for me and prove I can do the job.
“Your gear by no means defines your talent”
What do you enjoy most about photography?
I love creating something beautiful and showing a subject from my point of view. People view themselves in such a harsh way, only ever seeing the worst parts of who they are. I like to show that your quirks and “flaws” are what make you beautiful – as cliché as that sounds. But I mean, I have friends who absolutely hate their nose and never use profiles of their face, but that’s my favourite thing of theirs to photograph.
“Perfect” is so boring in terms of photography. I want to photograph crooked smiles and long noses and freckles that saturate your face. That’s the fun stuff. Photography is art, and art has always explored the out of the ordinary.
Using photography as an outlet has helped me express myself and show people the world as I view it, as it is unique to me, and that’s what I love the most.
What inspires you?
People inspire me. People’s journeys and aspirations inspire me to go out and capture them and their stories. My God inspires me too. The love I see in His people is infectious. Even if someone isn’t necessarily religious, the outlook on life that my religion gives me lets me see everyone in a different light. That beauty I see is inspiring.
What do you want others to know about photography?
I’d like people to know that there is no right or wrong. I know people who have studied photography who feel like learning all the rules and do’s and don’ts has confined them and put them in a box in terms of their art. I didn’t study photography, I just learnt by trial and error, and if I didn’t know something, I looked it up on YouTube. You can find anything you need to know online, there are a lot of brilliant photographers who make videos teaching people how to do certain techniques. Just use your eyes and find the scenes, and that’s half the job done.
You need to feel a photo; you can’t learn how to do that. So don’t ever feel like you’re not as good as another photographer because you don’t have their ‘qualifications’.
Also, I want people to know that a lot more goes in to photography than you think. People are very quick to look for the cheapest photographer, or get upset when they find out what a photographer costs. They think we just press a button and that’s that. Photographers provide a service just like anyone else, there are many hours of work that go into shooting and editing a session, as well as professional programmes needed to edit your photos, and of course years of expertise and skills your photographer has to draw back on to provide you with your photos. Unfortunately all of the time and energy photographers put into their work seems to be overlooked, because since the rise of digital cameras, people think anyone with a camera does the same thing as a photographer and they could take the photos themselves – so why should they pay you so much?
I want people to appreciate the hard work photographers put into their craft, and treat it as a professional service just like anything else.
Maxine is giving away a photo shoot session to one lucky person!
Maxine Heroldt Photography (portraits)
Maxine Live (bands)
Contact Maxine via email below for any bookings and/or queries:
Thank you so much Max for letting me interview you and for the stunning photo’s you took of me! It really helped me with my self-confidence and I truly hope and know that each person you photograph feels the same. Feel free to have a look at our photo session we did, below. Simply click on any image to enlarge and slide through the images:
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