Dewald Kirsten

Personal info

How UN-photogenic are you really?

You know, over the last 3 years of doing photography as a profession I have met people from far and wide, big to small, tall and short and pretty and some not so pretty. I have photographed them all. I have done weddings with people I have met just the day before, I have done shoots with super sexy girls in bikinis and I have photographed men with beer bellies, heck I am not the skinniest guy out there. But if there was one term that I hear EVERY SINGLE TIME at either a wedding or a corporate shoot or where ever.... I am not photogenic. If I could claim one liter of fuel for my car then I am pretty darn sure I would not have to fill up my car for a very long time! So what makes us so un-photogenic?? The answer is ourselves, we make ourselves un-photogenic! Recently I watched a new commercial by the cosmetic company Dove, and to be honest, it was that commercial that sparked me to write this article. So why are you un-photogenic? Well, its simple, we see what we don’t like in ourselves, its that simple. Ah my arms is to fat, my chin is to long, my nose is to pointy, my boobs are sagging...whatever it is that you don’t like about yourself, THAT will be the reason that you see yourself as un-photogenic. We are strange people and we see the negative easily in ourselves, yet...if you ask someone else who have met you to describe you, there will be a totally different picture of you! Sometime we just need to step out of our comfort zone and see ourselves through other peoples eyes. I see it week after week at weddings, even with brides that is really pretty! My favorite thing is when they are all dolled up and ready and I start to do the bridal portraits and I show them one of the very first shots that I get of them, and they go: OMG!! Is that me in the picture?? I just love it! But why do I love it so much? Simply because they never thought that they could be that beautiful! And for once they see themselves through the eyes of a different person. Yes we might “pose” the bride in a flattering way and what ever, but that is how she looks! Take away the make up and the styled hair and its the same person, that is how you look EVERY DAY! Lat year I photographed about 60 professional people for a company profile and from the lot there must have been about 5 that did not walk in, greet me and straight after that said “I hope you can photoshop cause i am not photogenic” There was even some that made me take about 5 images of themselves, and they where unhappy with EVERY SINGLE ONE! To me they looked the same in each picture, but to them they where ugly people... In the end, that is how you look, if you are going to be critical and full of crap with how you look, then you will never ever be happy about anything about yourself. You will always look ugly to yourself even in the most expensive fashion garments.... People, you ARE NOT UGLY, you are you, and only you can be you! The commercial I watched was hard hitting and so true, and to see some of the women actually cry when seeing the comparison between how they described themselves as to how other people described themselves was totally amazing! People will see your bright smile or the sparkle in your eyes, NOT your skew tooth, or the blemish on your forehead! To strangers or other people, even those you know very well, you are stunning, stay that way and don't change, or try to change or try to force us to believe the fact that you believe you are ugly. As I deal 90% of the time with women, this article is for you ladies... Those little laughing wrinkles by your eyes and at the corners of your mouth, that is character! I will not photoshop that. In fact i often say to ladies that is requesting that I photoshop them on a shoot or their wedding day: “Just remember that when you get your images or post it to Facebook and everyone goes Ohhh and aahhhh over it, that when they see you next time in person, the first thing they will thing is, Oh my hat, she got fat after her wedding/photo shoot” and ladies, that is true! They will never tell you that but they will think it! That is why I simply do not do any modification to any body parts from any shoot. Yes I will remove a pimple or an unsightly blemish, but that is where it stops. So with this, I want to challenge the ladies out there, if you seriously think you are un-photogenic, contact me, come and I will take some images of yourself and show you that you are wrong. So till next time, I really hope to be hearing from some of you, feel free to mail me or comment on this article and if you feel you have a friend that must be shown how stunning he/she is, share this article with them. My sincere regards to all the stunning ladies, and guys, out there. Dewald PS: Feel free to comment, share or just like this post, after all, its for you guys that I have written this.  

Stepping out of your comfort zone…. The Dewald Kirsten Story

I have been married now for 2 and a half years to my lovely wife and now we have baba on the way as well, sjoe, some big steps there in life LOL, anyway, let me tell you guys a bit more about my photography career. When I was in grade 12 at school I was quite "arty" I used to sketch quite a bit and was pretty good at it, so I decided to go study photography, as I figured it will be WAAYYY faster to take a picture than to draw it. Back then digital was a thing of the future(in the year 2000....) LOL. If I am correct the top of the range DSLR cameras was only rocking like a 5 or 6 megapixel sensor! To cut a long story short I did not get a place at the college, so the day after my final exams, my dad, who had a plumbing shop back then, just said that I start the next morning at the shop. Not much I could do about it to be honest. 2001 Started and I worked for 4 months at Swartland Winery, hard work and not to bad pay back then. It was a seasonal job so after the 4 months it was back to the plumbing shop. I started getting good at it and I really enjoyed selling plumbing goods. Unfortunately my dad had to close the shop later that year due to the lack of business in a small town. Here I landed my first "big" job with a big hardware store in Table View, so off I went into the big wide open to the bright lights of Cape Town! Oh and wasn't they bright! Man we had a great time, great parties and not so great hangovers, but hell, what is one supposed to be like at the ages of 20-25, life should be a blur of wine, woman and song, not always in that order but you get the idea LOL. I ended up spending 9 years in total in the plumbing industry, and I have seen my share of toilets, taps and geysers, I was rocking it back then, it was fun and we had a great team. I met my wife in 2007, the year the global recession started, so in 2008 the booming property industry went, well, BOOM and many jobs where lost. In 2009(this is a long story for another day) I lost my job. We have also just gotten engaged and where planning a wedding, so just imagine the shock. But as they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger! In October that year I got a payout from my pension fund.... R36000 odd rand, for 5 years of hard labour for a boss! At that stage I was doing fly fishing trips as well, so in the back of my head I had this idea that I will be living on a tropical island guiding rich retired guys everyday, chasing monster Kingfish and bonefish on the flats and so forth, but I soon realized that that industry needs LOTS of money to make money and 36K was not going to cut it. At that stage I was in between two choices, buy a decent camera or go on a Tigerfish trip to the Zambezi, a trip I was busy marketing at that stage. Later that day i walked past the Kodak shop in the mall and there was the camera I wanted on a special.... so I bought it. At the stage I had no idea how what works and I had a small understanding of aperture and shutter speed. I have also put away enough money to cover all my basic expenses for 6 months, that should be enough time to find a job, right, right?? Nope, 6 months went past very quickly and I still had no job and we had a wedding coming up soon. So one day I went past the high school down the road from me here in Worcester(oh sorry, forgot to mention, I have since moved to Worcester from Cape Town), Montana High. There was a friendly cricket game on between the girls of the high school and the teacher was so kind to let me take some shots, after the game I got R450 rands worth of orders for the photos!! Kaching! I thought, well from there on it started, I photographed many school events and a host of other stuff in between. And here I am today, been doing this full time for almost 3 years now and loving every second of it! Yes there is its ups and downs and late nights and all the jazz that any other business has, but it is worth it. SOOOOO, you might be asking why the title? Well we got married in 2010, and with no money to spend, we did lots of the stuff ourselves, man I tell you, you can do a super wedding on a low budget(EXCEPT FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHER LOL) and it rocked, people are today still talking about the big party we had. We had a friend take some photos for us and my wife's uncle as well. I even took some as well, but at that stage my knowledge was limited and although we where happy back then with the photos. The better I got the less I wanted to show any of our photos, looking back now, I should have gotten a seasoned pro to do the photos, payed some bucks and got the job done right. So now you can very well imagine that every time we would meet new people and I will tell them I am a photographer and show them some of my shots, the first question they will ask is: "So..Who shot your wedding?" So we finally decided do redo our wedding photos, now when we told that to some people, the first question they would ask is, "who will that be?" Obviously I will be supper full of S&^$t LOL, but I met this awesome girl, Celeste Prince. Her photography business is called Aglow Photography (follow the links to get to her profile on facebook and her website). She has assisted me with some weddings and back then I still said that one day I will be assisting her! So I asked her to do the shoot, and she jumped at the opportunity and so it was all arranged. Karin wore her wedding dress and I wore a suit!! I did not even wear a suit at my wedding! We shot at the stunning Die Eike Guesthouse in Rawsonville. We went all out, hair and make up(by the stunning Janel van Graan) the works. I just told Celeste that I am in her hands, I was not going to say or do anything, she had full control. It was fun, so with in this is my title. One has to step out of your comfort zone and see things from a new angle, do it in any job and you will appreciate your profession so much more! Leave it for a brief moment up to someone else to show you again how things should be done. It was weird in the beginning not to be behind the camera, but it felt good! By the way...we where about 2 weeks pregnant at this stage, LOL, we didnt know yet so we are saying we are having a honeymoon baby LOL So ladies and gents, after reading that super long post, here is the pictures, enjoy, leave your comments and feel free to share and go and follow Celeste, her work is stunning!  

Do you want to be an amazeballs dancer? Then you better hire an amazeballs DJ!

Looking for a DJ for your wedding? Want to know what to look for? Then please read the rest of this post, there is some vital info that will help you make the right choice. What is the two VITAL things of a wedding day that your guests will remember?? No 1: The food! If you had great food, that will be the first thing that your guests will brag about, and this is not only for brides, venues and planners, take note, if you serve bad food, you WILL NOT be famous with the guests. Great food will be a hit, time and time again, even I, who have shot at many venues, will tell a bride that the food was great at a certain place. But enough of the food....the other important factor. No 2: The DJ! hell yeah, you want your drunken and not so drunk friends to party just as hard! Man I have seen the greatest parties, and I can name a tiny few that was so awesome that at 22:00 when I was done with the shooting, I actually wanted to pack my gear away and party just as hard with them! 99% of these cases was due to the awesome DJ! That other 1% is the great crowd of guests. Why is the DJ so important, well if the food is being served at 8pm and every one is done by 9pm, its the classic Sunday-afternoon-after-lunch syndrome, tummy full, eyes closed and then you start to see guests slowly filtering away to their rooms, that you don't want, this is a party! Yes some of the older folks will leave early but then I have also seen a grandma or two boogie deep into the night. So...if the DJ has some wicked tracks playing, it will keep your friends in the party spirit, and soon they will forget that their stomaches is full! Along with the dancing and partying the drinks will flow freely, and your party animals start to slowly creep out of the holes that they hide in for their nocturnal life, and that is what we as photographers love!! Party animals is the soul of receptions and they make for some insane shots! Here is a few images of some of my fav animals, some times its also a good thing that I can leave at 10pm as not long after that I also start to creep out of my hiding place and then there will be incriminating pictures taken of me LOL, now that I cant allow! Bad DJ’s, man they can kill a party, I have literally seen some DJ’s sit there and play for themselves! They are singing and swinging their arms behind their mixer/cd player or what ever it is that some of these guys have, and this all to the tune of Living Next Door To Alice....and with an empty dance floor and the drunk guys in the bar shouting ALICE, ALICE, WHO THE F&%$K IS ALICE after every chorus! Not  cool. I have also had a DJ at one wedding where he was also playing more for himself than the guests, so I went up to him and I said, dude, I need to get photos of people dancing! Get them on the floor, play, Shuffle It or Tonights gonna be a good night or just make plan, so 5 minutes later, he did, and guess what, we had about 30 people on the floor! I am a lover of classic golden oldie hits, stuff that will rock the show, but it must be a good mix, if I have to listen to Smokie or Grease Lightning’s soundtrack the whole night I will die a slow death, even though I love the songs, the same goes for guys like Eminem or Black Eyed Peas or who ever is playing the latest hit on the radio....Somehow Pockerface just comes to mind, a song that can very quickly be turned into a very rude, below the belt joke by the drunk best man LOL How should brides choose a DJ? Well firstly, YOU need to tell him what music will get your crowd going, house music, classical music, hip hop or what ever, give them a list of your and your friends fav artists and see if he has them and if he doesn't, can het get the music. Then get some references from him, brides who's weddings he did and contact them, hell it can be an expensive mistake to make for your wedding day. They will quickly tell you if he had a good party with said DJ. As the other providers, the photographer, the videographer, the venue and then friends for some recommendations. If there is a name that pops up a couple of times, then you sort of know that guy is good.... Meet the DJ, sort out all monies etc with him beforehand, you don't want a DJ to start putting up a scene later the night as he wants his money now, before the wedding all parties must know exactly how the finance parts of the wedding work. The other option is having a live band! But this could also be risky, don't get an alternative bad for a traditional wedding LOL, that will just be wrong and you might end up getting a rude letter from grandma who will think that you have let the anti Christ loose on them hahahaha. Bands is awesome, there is nothing that will get a crowd going than some really good cover songs like summer of 69 and the likes! Not only should the guys be good performers, but also entertainers. If I could do my wedding over, I would have had a band. For light morning weddings or just some good back ground music during dinner or the service or while everyone is having pre-drinks, get a instrumental group, flutes, pianos, saxophones etc, that is always a good hit and it sets a nice relaxed mood. there is some really talented boys and girls out there that will rock the socks of any wedding. Choosing your DJ is just as important as the right dress/suit/photographer and equally important as the food. We as photographers will gladly share some of our fav contacts as this will just help us get great images! Let me know what your thoughts is, always great to hear what others think, and feel free to share this with your friends who is looking for a DJ. I hope my pointers was worth it, now everyone should be amazeballs dancers at their weddings LOL    

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Dewald Kirsten Photography