Rinat Halon

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Archive for 'Therapeutic Photography'

Due to an address mistake my CPP certification was late to arrive in the mail from the PPA. And when it arrived I realized that the frame I was going to use for it – was too small. I was going to buy a frame the right size, and then I saw a framed photograph sitting on the floor of my home office. It was a photograph I took when I was a photography student at the Ohio State University – one of my favorite shots to this day. It was a self portrait of my relationship with food at the time. I’ve wanted to hang this photo but couldn’t really find a good spot for it yet. And then it hit me – this self portrait needs to be behind the Certified Professional Photographer certification! It symbolizes perfectly where I came from – where I am today – and the journey that brought me here.

As I opened the back of the frame I saw how I put this frame together 20 years ago, and memories of that time came rushing back. I could feel the “me” I was 22 years ago, a young woman with a deep love to photography but with no idea how to make a future as a professional photographer. I could see me putting together this cheep plastic frame I must have found at the dollar store. The frame didn’t fit the size of the self portrait photograph perfectly, and I saw how back then I used the white paper that came with the frame – on its back side – to fill the space behind the photograph in the frame, using double sided tape to keep it all together. Then the memories of creating this photograph came back, from concept, to photographing using my first camera, the Canon AE-1 film camera. My college best friend Debra throwing the food at me and enjoying it a little too much (it’s ok, it was all part of the photo concept) in my small studio apartment’s living room. Developing this photograph in my college’s darkroom, seeing the blacks fill in on the pearl photo paper and bringing this self portrait to life.




When I placed the CPP certification over this self portrait, dusting off the worn out plastic “glass” of this old frame, I was in tears. Tears of joy. I could feel young Rinat in my heart, framing this self portrait as she was getting ready to take it to present at her college Photography 101 class, with no idea of where this road she chose will take her. “It’s ok”, I said to young Rinat in my heart, “You cannot even imagine where you will be in 22 years from now. Let me tell you: you will be standing in your beautiful home office. Your home where you live a joyful life with your husband who rocks Mike. Remember how you didn’t know how you will graduate with a photography degree because you were not accepted into the art school? Well, you graduated with a personalized honors degree in photography and visual merchandising. In the past 22 years you have been making a living as a professional photographer photographing internationally. And now you are also a certified professional photographer by the Professional Photographers of America – and you speak at their guilds.

So honey, rest your worry heart.

Everything will work out just perfectly.

And by the way – this self portrait you are framing? The whole series of these self portraits you created was chosen by your photography professor to be hung and displayed on the walls of the OSU Photography department. You did good my dear J

Remember this today when you don’t know what the future will bring. Remember where you came from. See where you are today. And as Rascal Flatts sings: “This much I know is true – that God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you”.

I hate labels. They irritate my skin and make me itch all day. First thing I do when I buy a new piece of clothing is cut the label off. Here is a question for you: when is the last time you actually read what a label said? I can tell you for me I think it was the first time I learned how to do laundry – about 30 years ago.

Seeing this is March, which is my birthday month, I was going to write about being an Aries woman. Until I read what an Aries woman IS – according to astrology. The labels were less than flattering, and included words like “dominant”, “pushy”, impatient” and “trouble”. Wow. That sent me into a deep meditation about the subject, and when I was done meditating – I remembered.

I remembered how much I dislike labels. In clothing, as well as in life. Let me tell you what it means to be an “Alpha female” (another Aries women label). To me it does not mean being dominant and pushy, it means leading by positive example, being proactive and assertive.

“Pushy” is another label I have heard many times before. Who defines what is the right amount of time something is suppose to take until it happens? I believe there are people who are change makers, people who help create the new and the better in this world. And no, these people don’t wait.  I mean – why wait? When you know something can happen, why wait and not just make it happen? Can you imagine Ford got the idea about creating this new thing called “A car” – and said to himself: “Na, I’m gonna sit on it, I’m not going to do it right now. I mean – who really needs it?”


Another label Aries women, including me – hear – is that we are impatient. Well, we may be because the rest of the world is moving SO SLOOOWWWW.

But all joking aside, again, who is to say what is the right amount of time something should happen? And who is to say it is wrong to want something to happen faster – rather than wait for it to maybe happen one day. Time, after all – is an illusion.

By the way, in the dictionary the opposite for impatience is – apathy. For all the very patient people out there – how would you like to be labeled that? I am guessing not so much…

Here is my new definition for an Aries woman:

An Aries woman is a strong, brave, independent woman. She is willing to make mistakes because she knows that is the only way to grow, and so she takes chances and tries new things. She is also the first one to admit her mistake and will be the first one to apologize if she hurt you.  She cares and she is smart and fun and optimistic, and she accepts different people because she understands there is more than one way to have a human experience in this world.

She creates changes in a swift movement that seems effortless but truly has a lot of hard work behind it. And she moves so fast it catches most of the world by surprise. So she needs people around her who inspire her, communicate clearly and can handle movement forward through fear without backing down. “If you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen” describes life with her best. Then again, a heated kitchen means there is cooking involved – and yes, she enjoys cooking good, healthy, delicious food she loves to share with family and friends.

Even though she can do pretty much anything a man can do – she can be a very feminine woman. She knows what she wants and she goes out to get it, and she is always honest, bringing her truth in a humble, loving way. She is passionate and funny. And she defines the word Optimism. 

FYI here are some of my fellow Aries awesome women, recognize any of them?

Aretha Franklin (Respect!)

Billy Holiday (Apparently we Aries women love to sing Jazz)

Robin Wright (“As you wish!”)

Reese Witherspoon

Kate Hudson

Maya Angelou

This month of March I ask to throw out the labels and instead look at them from another perspective. What are some labels you were labeled before? Instead of accepting them, how can you look at them differently?

Here is my birthday gift to you if you choose to accept it: write to me in the comments for this blog post one label you were given you do not like – I will write you back a different perspective of that label – and email  you a birthday present “The Gift Of Portrait” $50 gift card to go along with it.


Happy No Label March!

 To see more of Rinat’s work go to rinathalon.com 




Recently I went on a beach getaway. I was walking on the beach, enjoying the beautiful view,  breathing in the smells of the fresh, clean Florida air, and enjoying the moment.

I was listening to the sound of the waves and the sea goals circling over my head when I realized I was hearing different languages spoken around me. I snapped out of my bubble and smiled as I recognized I was walking passed families speaking Russian, Japanese, Spanish and a few other languages I did not recognize. And then it hit me: everyone had a camera in their hands. They were all either taking pictures, or talking about the camera. I could tell some were frustrated; their photos were not turning out the way they envisioned. One couple I walked passed was speaking in English, and I heard the woman complain to the man “the camera is just not good enough”, she said as she sighed in sorrow. I looked the other way, wondering what they were all photographing. There was nothing there except the big blue ocean. The beautiful, living, breathing big blue ocean. The  ocean all these people came to enjoy, and relax, and re-charge by. But they were not doing that. They were all keeping very busy clicking away, and were getting frustrated when they could not seem to be able to capture the essence of the moment.

One of the things I talk about when I teach is when NOT to photograph. In this day and age with the camera equipment is accessible to anyone and everyone, it seems no one is living in the moment any longer. We are either capturing photos to be able to see them in the FUTURE, or looking through photos we captured as we reflect on the PAST. And then we wonder why the NOW, this moment in time, just seems to flee us so quickly.

That morning on the beach, me – the professional photographer – was the only person without a camera in her hands. Of course I brought a camera with me to the beach. But with years of experience and technical knowledge I know when it’s worth it to actually pull out the camera. The camera does not control my life, it’s a tool I control to capture a few special moments that are worthy of my time, energy and thought put into capturing them for prosperity sake.

The rest of the time, I choose to live NOW. And this seems to become a fleeting concept in the past few years since the photography equipment has become affordable and available to all. When we don’t realize is how much this affordable, available, easy to use equipment is costing us in time and energy. Because it’s only a piece of equipment. Think about how an airplane can safely take off and land when it’s in the hands of an experienced pilot in what seems to be a smooth, effortless motion (but we all know very well it is not). A camera follows the same concept. You can whiteness a professional photographer capture a beautiful photograph in what seems to be an effortless motion. But the same camera can become a time and energy sucker, frustrating experience when it’s in your hands if you do not know how to use this tool.

My suggestion? Get busy living life, and not capturing it. When you get somewhere decide to capture only a couple of shots, and then put the camera away. As the pilot says when the airplane takes off: “Sit back – and enjoy the ride!”.

Because that’s what life is about. Here is to a 2017 filled with beautiful, happy, relaxing and energizing NOW moments!



To find out more about the Photo Coaching for photographers I offer, including the “8 Weeks to Photo Goal! ” program CLICK HERE


If you are an amateur photographer who just wants to learn how to get better pictures CONTACT ME for more information about the photography classes I offer


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To see some of the shots I took on Cocoa Beach, and more of my Travel Photography  CLICK HERE




Truth be told, I don’t always feel like smiling. Just like anyone else, when I’m upset, it’s the last thing I want to do. Yet you wouldn’t know it from my Facebook feed. So why smile when I don’t want to?

In my world there are three kinds of therapy: Beach therapy, which involves meditating by the ocean. Music therapy in which I surround myself with the loving hug of notes and cords and beats that heal my soul. And then there is photo therapy.

Recently I was met with a part of my personality I had no idea existed. And I was horrified, and ashamed to realize that it is a part of me. What’s worst is, I hurt someone I really care about with this personality trade I carry in me. That broke my heart, and had me in tears for days. If this was not enough, as I reflected back, I realized more and more times in my past this personality trade hurt me and others around me. I was crushed. First thing I did was to ask for forgiveness.

Next thing, now that I am aware of this trade I do not like – I decided to change. The thing is, change takes time (for me anyway) and it’s a process.

Meanwhile, as I am going through this emotional wave – life keeps going. I still need to post photos of me photographing my clients and networking on Facebook. I still need to get my own holiday photo done. How do I do it without tears in my eyes?

The power of Therapeutic Photography is that in these types of pictures I can be anyone I want to be. Even the woman I am currently working on becoming. I can create a reality that does not exist yet – and insert my current self there, to see myself as I want to be.

This is exactly what I do for my Therapeutic Photography clients when they come to my studio. Because the camera reflects things you can’t see with the naked eye. Because the camera can function as a time machine to take you into the future you want for yourself. Because the camera can capture your happy moment even when you are sad in the present, and give you a glimpse into the wonderful new life you wish for yourself. A glimpse that will make you happy, feel better, and inspire you to keep going through the rough times until you make it to this new reality you are creating for yourself. And if you forget, or the change you are making becomes hard, you can look back at these photos and be reminded by your own happy smile why you are making this change.

So when I was lucky enough to get Santa to come to the studio for my own holiday portrait, I knew this was my opportunity to give me some love through this difficult time using Therapeutic Photography.

This was me in the morning before the shoot, all teary eyed and everything:



As I was creating the scene for this shoot, I realized I was feeling a little better already. Using the hot glue gun to glue the dreidels and chocolate coins to the plate (for some reason using a glue gun always makes me happy) got a little smile out of me. It’s a start.



Then Shelby, my wonderful assistant, came to help me with this shoot. She was feeling down as well. A close family friend just passed away, and Shelby was full of sadness.

But as we completed setting up the first scene, Shelby was starting to feel better, and when Santa showed up she was starting to get excited about this shoot as well.


First scene went great, here is the final shot (Shelby clicking the camera – thank you!!!) from this “Dear Santa, I can explain” Jewish girl’s interpretation to a Christmas greeting card



Second scene I wanted to capture was a fantasy one. I always thought Jessica Rabbit is the most feminine thing I’ve ever seen. This past Halloween I bought a wig, and never used it. Now was the perfect time to use it, as I channeled my inner Jessica Rabbit for these shots (Isn’t Santa’s expressions just perfect? Dennis is SO GOOD as Santa!!)





I was happy with the photos and thought we were done, but then Dennis suggested I do some without the wig, and I remembered I had a Santa hat I wanted to wear. At this point of the shoot the three of us were having such a good time, I forgot I was sad. Here are a few proofs from this part of the shoot:





And then we captured THE shot. There she was. My future self. Happy, glowing. Funny. Soft and feminine. The inspiration I was looking for. I call this shot: “Santa, this is my wish”:


No, I am not going to tell you what I asked Santa for. But I will tell you that after the shoot was over, Santa started talking about the things people ask him for. I had to pick up the camera and click away as he was telling us about children asking that dad stops beating up mom. Mothers that ask for one more year of life before cancer takes them because their children need them. And grown men that ask just to be happy. Yes, all we all want is to be loved.



At the end of the shoot we took a couple of selfies. Here is one with Dennis Underwood the best Santa EVER!



And with my girl Shelby Gevin who clicked away my portraits with Santa so perfectly – I am SO proud of her.



Happy Holidays. And a quote from my favorite song “My Wish”:

“If its cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile”

To hear the song “My Wish” CLICK HERE

To book Dennis Underwood as Santa CLICK HERE


 RH Holiday Card


Year round, photography is my profession. I am always thankful for that fact, and that this is how I have been making a living for the past 17 years.
But this time of year is when I reflect on what a miracle this is. Considering the fact that I never wanted to be a photographer. The only reason I took photography in college in the first place was because no other “real” classes were available my first semester in OSU. Who would have guessed that I would fall in love with this craft? That I would be lucky enough to capture life joys for clients in a way that would make them smile from the heart every time they look at these photos? That I would be able to reflect to people through my camera lens how beautiful they truly are, the beauty they just don’t see in themselves. Who would have guessed that I would have a box of tissues ready in my meeting room because every single one of my clients would shed happy tears looking through their wedding album for the first time?
Not me. I would have never guessed. And what I learned so far is that if I have to choose between money and love – I would choose love every single time. Because money can’t manifest love, but love sure can manifest money, and so much more. I am living proof of that, serving clients whom I love, and they love me. Clients who come back year after year allowing me to document for them their life’s milestones. From calming down a nervous young man before he pops the question, as I am there to capture that moment, to the joy of capturing engagement photos, to looking into the eyes of a stressed bride right before she walks down the aisle, holding her hand, and reminding her that her best friend is waiting for her at the end of this walk. And seeing a smile of relief on her face as she realizes I am right.
To sharing the joy of my client’s getting pregnant, and capturing all the wonderful memories of their baby’s first year. To fun holiday family portraits as their family expands.
To creating a photo marketing strategy for clients as they decide to take the plunge and start their small business. To sharing the joy of photography by teaching my clients how to take better pictures as we go on a group photo tour.
To chasing my client’s beloved pets around the studio to capture their pet portrait, to be invited to photograph wedding anniversaries. And birthdays. And high school senior pictures.
And this is just a partial list.

This time of year I feel that I am the luckiest woman in the world. Not having a family of my own at this point in my life, not being able to show off pictures of my children – I am SO proud to show off pictures of YOUR children that I photogrpahed!
I am grateful that I’m invited to witness, be part of, and capture all these incredible life moments you live. Thank you for trusting me with capturing your precious moments.
Becuase, to me – being your photographer, is nothing but a small miracle.
Happy Everything!
With love,

Please visit my WEBSITE to see the packages & pricing information for the different photography products and services I offer

lare format rinat

1999, Ohio State University, me in the photography Department women’s bathrooms, first selfi ever!



Recently I created a Personalized Image Bank for Deb, a talented and caring massage therapist. We wanted to capture her Professional demeanor, alongside her personal connection with her clients & the relaxed and peaceful atmosphere Deb projects. We also wanted to reflect the growth in her business, as Deb is currently expanding, adding more massage therapists to work in her business.

Deb’s OLD photo she has been using is this photo (Photographed by Joseph Boy):



As she is now planning a shift in her business, giving fewer massages and concentrating more on running her massage therapy practice, we decided to capture her new portrait to reflect it, here is her NEW portrait:

soul 2 sole, personalized image bank, rinat halon


Deb posted the new portrait to Facebook, and started receiving remarks on it from her friends. A couple of her friends were very angry. Here are some of the quotes they wrote on her Facebook wall:

Joseph wrote: “I was looking forward to seeing what someone else. (A profession could do) in my non-professional opinion, your really need to tilt your head down a bit to showcase the jaw and hide the neck. The angle is all wrong… Since I have known you for a long time I under stand the subject of your character and know the photographer could do alot better to bring out the real you. (bring that sexy out, and when you have that natural smile your shots will be perfect) But really glad you are trying to see what some professionals can do”

Carol wrote: “… Good, but it could be more flattering. You look better in person. The eye of a camera is harsh. Also something else may fit your personality better. You have a lot of pizzazz that is not coming across here.”

Heidi wrote: “…Not sure if arms crossed (closed off) is what you’re looking for. Your personality draws people close to you and this is a little stand offish…”

And on and on it went. First of all I was blown away. I mean, I know everyone’s a critic, but it seems since the reality shows epidemic, many people feel it is ok to shame others in public. And that is unfortunate.

After reading the reactions, I went back and compared the two photos –the one Deb was using, and the new one we shot for her. They were definitely different. It actually looks like a different woman. In the old photo Deb is a sweet, smiley, massage therapist that is here to make your aches and pains go away. In the photo I shot she is a business woman – one with a vision and a plan. She is no longer the smiley sweet harmless woman – this woman in my picture, who is standing strong in front of you, will not take any crap from anyone. Now she is also looking you right in the eye – as oppose to her old photo in which she is submissive as she leans down on the table with her inner arms exposed – her sole purpose in life is to please you.  Now she is standing tall, running the show, and one more very important detail – she doesn’t need anyone to help her! She is definitely not being objectified and “bringing that sexy out” as Joseph suggested she should do.

Yes, I know it is 2015. Yes this type of woman – a strong woman- is still considered a threat to some people.

Others have a hard time with change.   Seeing Deb go overnight from the sweet massage therapist to a calculated business owner was too much for some to take. As Carol wrote” the eye of the camera is harsh”, and Heidi suggested arms crossed is not a good idea. What they were really saying is: please don’t change. People have a hard time handling change in other people, as it may change the relationship with the changed person, and they like the relationship the way it is. Another thing is that a change in one person reflects on people in their lives, since sequentially it gives them a chance to turn the mirror on themselves and see if they are happy with whom they are. They may feel threatened by Deb’s advancement in life; they may feel they are not good enough. Either way – they deal with it as one would when feeling threatened – they just want it to go away.

When I sat with Deb and asked her to tell me the difference between her two photos, she saw some of the things written in this post right away. Other things I showed her, and she was surprised at first, yet agreed with me. The bottom line is that she is very happy with the pictures I took for her, and since she is the client – that is what’s important. What’s more, it is going to be interesting to see what type of clients Deb will draw using her new photo, as opposed to using her old photo. One thing is for sure – it will be people who appreciate a smart, strong, caring & professional massage therapy business owner.

To see more photos from Deb’s Personalized Image Bank click here: http://rinathalon.com/soul-2-sole/  , and here is my favorite shot from that session:

rinat halon deb woodrow

therapeutic photography Rinat Halon

Therapeutic Photography just came to me. I was in a spiritual retreat, and suddenly, during the workshop realized that I can show people the reflection of their soul through the use of my camera.
First of all it is important to understand I am NOT a therapist. What I am is a very sensitive being that is walking the spiritual path and has professional photography experience. Saying I have a professional photography experience is an understatement as I love, live, and breathe photography in all its elements. All these reasons combined are why I can use photography as a tool for inner-work.

therapeutic photography Rinat Halon
What does Therapeutic Photography mean? For example, let’s use a 30 year old woman who walks in to my studio and immediately says “I am not photogenic”, proceeding with arguments to support her claim: “I don’t like my eyes, they are too small”, “I’m fat”, “I have big teeth” and so forth.

therapeutic photography Rinat Halon

In the Therapeutic Photography sessions that are done in the privacy of my home studio and are completely confidential, the camera functions as a mirror for the person being photographed. A mirror of their soul, reflecting what they hide behind the façade they usually put up when being photographed. These sessions bring up the things we normally don’t look at.
The process starts with a phone consultation, during which I listen to the person being photographed tell me why they are coming, what it is they wish to see. Based on what I am told I advise them what to bring with them to this session. The next step is the Therapeutic Photography session itself. Arriving at my home studio usually feeling very uncomfortable about what they are about to do – which turnes into a sense of surprise when they realize during the session how freeing it is – by the end of the session many people find themselves dancing in front of the camera.
The process continues when they see their photos from the session for the first time. Using the photographs, they look back at the process they went through during the studio session, and now can see their inner selves reflecting back to them. Many realizations come up in this stage of the process, which can sometimes feel uneasy as this is an unfiltered reflection.
When I photograph, my goal is to become one with my camera in order to reflect to the person in front of the camera their beauty – even the parts they like less about themselves can appear beautiful through this different perspective.
When I first started Therapeutic Photography it was important to me to go through the process myself. I turned to a friend who is a professional photographer to photograph me. I chose to share this photo Yaniv Druker took of me because it is the hardest one for me to look at. When I look at it I see how much I have aged, I see I have one eye smaller than the other. But the deepest pain reflecting in this photo for me is my femininity. I found in Yaniv’s studio a wedding dress, and chose to wear it for this photo. There is a good reason why I chose it. I didn’t have a wedding dress when I got married, which to me says a lot about how I felt about myself and marriage in general. The pain I experience seeing myself in this photo is a sense of missing out on life. It is also a sense of confusion about what kind if a woman I am. I can see all that reflecting in my eyes. The first time I saw this photo I set in front of it and cried. Now I can embrace it, and everything it means to me. Now I can grow from it.

photo by Yaniv Druker

photo by Yaniv Druker

I have been a professional photographer for 17 years, and thanks to this tool, the camera, I continuously discover new worlds. Today I am happy to reflect to others a new world of their own. A world that existed in them all along – they just never saw it. What a great gift!