Food Photographer - Hein van Tonder

Food Photographer - Hein van Tonder

Your name:
Hein van Tonder

Your business name:

Tell us a bit about your business:
I am a food photographer and editorial food stylist. I shoot for a range of clients, including food brands, hotels, restaurants and print and digital magazines

How long have you worked as a photographer?
3 years professionally


Do you feel it was an instant success or did it take a while to find its feet?
To me it feels as though it took a while but to many people it seems like it was an instant success. My blog was around for about a year before it got “noticed” and from then I started to work more and more. So I would say it was a good 2 years for my name to be known within the industry. 

If any, what kind of jobs did you have before your career took off?
I had a full time, long term career before photography – I was an accountant. 

Do you feel that you chose your "passion," or did it choose you?
It definitely chose me. It was never the plan to change careers and sort of happened by accident. I am immensely happy that it did.

What made you decide to follow a creative career choice (though possibly risky) rather than something more stable?
I don’t think anything is a stable career anymore. I am lucky that I have been self employed for over 10 years now so I am used to the ups and downs of having your own business. My accounting background also makes me view this creative career of mine as a business which it certainly is.


Have you ever doubted your talent? If so, how did you work through your doubt?
Oh many times. I still do! I just have to work though it by shooting and shooting. I find if something does not work that putting my camera down and walking away from set for a few minutes usually does the trick. I’d rather start again than force something that is not working. It is also good to work with creatives that you trust and with whom you have open communication and can tell you it is not working. I am lucky that I have a few people that I work with who I have that relationship.

What is your favourite accomplishment?
Winning my category in the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition last year. It was confirmation that my work was on par with what other photographers all over the world is producing and that is a great feeling. 

Tell us about any workshops you may offer:
I offer workshops with fellow photographer Francois Pistorius and stylist Isabella Niehaus. We spend a day in Langebaan at Isabella’s home and create a space from people to come play and get comfortable with shooting food. We spend a small amount of time on theory and the rest is practical. We end the day with some action shots, icing sugar falling, beer splashes and syrup pours. It is great fun to get inspired without having to worry about cleaning up afterwards!


Where should Working Creatives get more info on workshops / your offerings?
Best would be to follow my blog, and my instagram account @heinstirred as we make the announcements there. They can also email me to be added to the mailing list for the workshops

What is your favourite lens and why?
Tough choice but I would say 50mm lens – you can shoot anything with a 50


Are you working on any out of the ordinary projects at the moment?
I have just completed shooting a book which is my best work yet so very excited to see it released in the middle of the year. I am also collaborating with Behind Bars Akademia (they facilitate the placement of ex convicts  in the bar South African bar industry) and I will do a food photography workshop with the ladies in May which will be huge fun. 


What is playing in your CD player/iPod right now?
Years and Years (they did the soundtrack for the Erdem / H&M collaboration video so their music is basically on repeat) 

What’s your favourite ’90s song?
Vogue (Madonna)

What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
When will we get driverless cars?!

What were you like in high school?
Very shy

Know what you know now, what would you tell your high school self?
Break the rules a bit and love the things that make you different from everyone else



Your website:
Instagram handle @heinstirred
Twitter @heinstirred


Renting Photographic Equipment from Orms Rental

Renting Photographic Equipment from Orms Rental

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