Rinat Halon

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The first thing 9 out of 10 people who walk into my studio say to me is: “I am not photogenic”.

Over the past 20 years I have learned to listen and nod in agreement. Young or old, thin or full figure, bold or a full head of curls – it doesn’t matter. Pretty much all of us think we are not photogenic.

When I was 16 I had the great fortune of getting cast on the Israeli version of Glee/Saved by the bell television show. I loved acting and was so excited to be on the show. My character on the show had all kinds of issues she was dealing with, and so in most episodes I would deliver these heartbreaking speeches with a serious face while tearing up. I still remember the day all that changed. It was when the writer of the show came to visit the set while we were filming. He was very cute, but cuteness aside – he knew TV, and I valued his opinion. So after capturing on film yet another heartbreaking tale by my character which I delivered flawlessly, tears and serious face and all, I walked up to him and asked: “what do you think?” The writer’s reply was: “Great as always, Rinat!”. But as I turned to walk away he added, almost as a side note: “You look much prettier when you smile”. That shocked me. I just never thought of that before. I went back on set for another take of that scene, and I’m going to give you one guess as to what you think changed from the previous takes…yes, you got it – I delivered the complete heart-wrenching speech – with a big smile on my face! To this day, if I ever come across this scene (they still show it on re-runs in Israel) I laugh to myself. The things we do to look good in front of the camera.

Me, 16 years old on the Israeli TV show, the take BEFORE I learned that I apparently look prettier when I smile

Yes, we all want to look our best in front of the camera. But don’t we anyway?

The dictionary definition of Photogenic is:”Looking attractive in photographs or on film“. It’s not “a person with a nose too big for his face” or “a young lady with braces”. So why, oh why have we decided we are not photogenic? Are we not attractive? In who’s opinion? Let me go ahead and answer these questions collectively: Of course we are ALL attractive. Because attractiveness is not about missing or having a specific feature.

It’s about how we feel. Research shows that men and women rate confidence as a very attractive trait (Buunk, Dijkstra, Fetchenhauer, & Kenrick, 2002). Are you hearing this? I said confidence. Not blue eyes. Not slender arms. Confidence. When we are happy in our own skin – it shows – In life and on camera, because, and this old saying is correct – the camera doesn’t lie.

So please remember that next time you come into my photography studio for your close up. When my clients walk in, after they tell me they are not photogenic, and I quietly nod, I ask them: “Have you ever had a photo taken of you that you liked?” They usually look surprised when I ask that, raise their eyebrows and say “sure”. When I ask for more details about that shot, I usually find out they were feeling particularly good about themselves the day that photo was taken. Confidence it is then.

My clients come to me because they know I have the knowledge and experience to help them feel and look good during the portrait session in front of the camera – which will translate into great portraits.

The problem starts when you are in front of a non-professional photographer holding a camera – the smartphone wanna be button clicker. Since it’s never about the camera, and all about the lighting and the posing (yes, even a natural looking pose is still created by a professional photographer’s guidance), most of these snapshots come out painfully awkward.

Here are the top 5 reasons that, in my opinion, we think we are not photogenic:

Reason #1. The “photographer”, AKA Smartphone camera button pusher, has no idea how to help you look your best – they place you in bad lighting and never mention your shirt has a big stain on it. Good luck with that!

Reason #2. This one goes deep. After years of reveal sessions with my clients sharing the proofs of their portrait session, I realized that many times – it’s not about the photo. It’s about the fact that we don’t accept ourselves. It has nothing to do with how you look and all to do with how you feel about yourself. For that I suggest that you do some deep soul searching before your portrait session. I am a huge believer in life coaching as it has fundamentally changed my life and made my life oh so much better in so many ways I could not have ever imagined was possible. After years of being life coached I learned to be a life coach myself and now offering the unique perspective of life coaching using photographs – you can read more about it in my life coaching website:

In his image

Reason #3. The last time you had your portrait taken you had zits – now you have wrinkles. Back to the fact that the camera does not lie, it sure does shows the changes time brings. I suggest you learn to embrace aging for two reasons: 1, if we are lucky, it happens to all of us – so there is no escaping it, may as well embrace it 2. Some of the most attractive people I photographed were NOT 15 with perfect skin. We are beautiful at any age, as long as we allow ourselves to be.

Reason #4. You are not comfortable in front of the camera. Well, really, why should you be? I mean, common, if you are in front of a camera you are about to get shot. Yes, this type of “shoot” is not going to kill you, but it sure sometimes sure feels like you are standing there naked with your soul at hand. It goes back to feeling confident and letting go of control, which is two of the hardest things for us to do as humans who live in such a critical society.

Reason#5. You have no idea how to pose. And the button pusher has no idea how to guide you. Or let you know that the way you stand makes you look really funny. Oy. Now that is painful to see.

In effort to break the photogenic myth, and in consideration of the fact that pretty much every 4 years old is a Smartphone photographer, I created this short video with  5 tips to help you get some great snapshots that you will LOVE – no matter who is capturing it! click here to watch, and please help me break the photogenic myth – share this blog post and video with anyone you ever heard saying “I am not photogenic”.

Here is the link to the 5 Posing Tips video – enjoy! 

 

Want more posing tips? For the month of September 2018, I am offering the “I AM NOT PHOTOGENIC” studio portrait special. Come into the studio and let’s capture the best studio portrait you ever had! If you are the one always behind the camera (yes I am talking to you, mom) because you hate how you look in photos – remember that the holidays are around the corner – come into the studio for a family session this September and let me help you look your amazing self in your family portraits. As a “Thank you!” for booking the session you will receive an 11×14 mounted and framed portrait ready to go on your wall – because I KNOW you ARE photogenic! Use the CONTACT page on my website to request more info about “I AM NOT PHOTOGENIC”  studio session – I look forward to showing you how photogenic you are.

 

The one thing that always happens before a photo shoot – and ALWAYS catches my clients by surprise – is the pre-photo shoot emotional meltdown they experience.

Usually it comes in the form of a text or an email the day before we are scheduled to photograph. My client is asking to reschedule. “The dog ate my homework” laundry list of excuses ranges from “I didn’t get a chance to get my hair done” to “I can’t make it tomorrow because I need an emergency eye surgery”.

When we talk some more, the truth always comes out.

They are scared.

Of course they are scared. Standing in front of a camera is one of the most vulnerable things you could ever do. It also involves trust – trusting the person who is photographing you that they will make you look good.

Not an easy emotional task, that’s for sure. Did you know that the Native Americans did not agree to be photographed? They believed a photograph captured their soul. I can see why they believed that. It kind of does.

As we all know – the camera doesn’t lie. In fact, it pretty much is all about “In your face, truth!”. Facts we like to tell ourselves little white lies about – like “I didn’t gain any weight in the past year”. Or: “I have a full head of hair and there is no bold spot up there”. Or my personal favorite white lie I tell myself: “My teeth are pearly white” – all these stories come crashing into the great wall of reality check before a photo shoot, as our mind realizes that after the photo shoot tomorrow there will be nowhere to hide from the truth any longer.

And so, the logical decision to make is – cancel the photo shoot. Forget it ever happened. And keep living a lie.

Or…

How about we consider what is behind door #2? Yes, it is scary; we don’t know what’s behind it. Yes, it means we will have to face the truth. But – and stay with me here even though you are already so uncomfortable just reading this –

How about you be vulnerable and trust the professional you hired?

To me, being a professional photographer doesn’t just mean I have the best photography equipment. It doesn’t just mean I know how to technically get a perfectly exposed capture.

Being a professional photographer means to me that I know how to capture my clients best self. I know how to bring out the sleeping beauty inside a woman who tells me she is not photogenic or the handsome man under the insecure fellow who walks into my studio.

And if we are photographing on location – in your location – be it your home or office or spaceship – part of my job is to make the space look good for the shoot. Being a professional photographer means to me that I know how to set up your location in a way that compliments the shot – and hides the mess and the dust bunnies – or the spaceship’s peeling paint job.

If you are reading this article, chances are you are one of my clients. So before you pick up the phone to text me that the dog ate your makeup/ tore your tie up and you just can’t make it to the photo shoot – read this carefully.

And remember – part of being a professional photographer means to me that I am here to talk you off the ledge. So if you still need to hear my voice explaining to you why your upcoming photo shoot is going to be one of the best life experiences you have ever had – call me.

I am here for you.

And YES – YOU ARE photogenic!

 

 

 

 

 

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,
Rinat

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

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

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When is the last time you got something in the mail except bills and ads? I mean, something that really got you excited and made you happy?

I realized that on my last birthday when unexpected greeting cards came in the mail. It made me so happy to open the envelope, and glee with excitement to read these love notes. A couple of cards even made me tear up. And I hung all the cards I received on my pantry door in my kitchen, where they hung for months and months after my actual birthday, reminding me that I am loved.

Honestly, one hand written greeting card made me happier than 300 people posting Happy Birthday on my Facebook wall. Why is that, I wondered.

In this virtual world we live in it seems we all live online, and the hand written word is disappearing quickly. But the value of putting pencil to paper, of someone’s familiar handwriting, the feel and smell of the paper it is written on – that is so valuable. Because that is what makes us human, separates us from a machine, and connects us on a personal level. And all this is lost when using a virtual greeting instead.

Another thing that is lost in a virtual greeting is – the greeting. I mean, how many of you scroll back to see your birthday wishes after your birthday has passed? I am going to venture to guess none of you do that. But if you had a hand written card? Would you throw it out the day after your birthday? Or would it be sitting proudly on your desk for months after you received it?

As a professional photographer I am now preparing for the holiday season coming up sooner than we realize. Starting October I will be busy with capturing family sessions, to ensure I have their portraits ready to be put on holiday cards and mailed out to their loved ones to be received in time for the holidays.  

Because no email or Facebook post will ever replace the feeling you get when you walk to your mailbox and between the bills and junk mail find a hand written envelope addressed to you – and inside it is a card that not only has a beautiful photograph on it of this family you love so much – but also a hand written note, to you, telling you they are thinking about you during this holidays season, and that you are loved.

I am going to bet that you would wallpaper your fridge with these holiday cards! Because they are tangible, and therefore have the ability to make you feel connected with your loved ones no matter how far away they are physically from you. They just send you their essence in this holiday card – and you can feel it.

Happy holiday season everyone!

NOW BOOKING 2016 HOLIDAY PORTRAITS, Contact Rinat to book your holiday portrait session available in the greater Orlando Florida area at 407.607.3297 or http://rinathalon.com/family/

 

 

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Here is a good article I found online on The Bump about how to choose a maternity photographer, by Anisa Arsenault. Great advice!

Maternity portraits are typically taken between 28 and 32 weeks, so there’s not much room for error if you’re not happy with the results. These tips will help you get it right the first time.

Start early

Look into your options at the end of your first trimester, so you have plenty of time to research and compare different photographers, ask questions and address concerns. What’s the price point? What does the package include? Do you feel relaxed with this photographer? Will she be doing the editing? “This is a great time to get to know your photographer before the session so you can be comfortable at the shoot,” says Alicia Gines of California-based Alicia Gines Photography.

Find a Specialist

Browse the photographer’s website to get a feel for her past experience and areas of expertise. If she has a variety of examples from maternity sessions, that’s a good sign. “Experienced shooters will be familiar with the most flattering angles for your pregnant body, and know how to focus on your belly while deemphasizing other (also expanding!) body parts, like your hips, arms and legs,” says Jennifer Loomis of Jennifer Loomis Photography. “Similar or redundant images on the website can indicate a lack of creative artistry.”

Think About Style

As you consider a photographer, think about what you want your photos to look like. Are you hoping for something artistic and moody, or simple and realistic? Do you want to be in an interesting environment, or would you prefer more formal portraits with a simple backdrop? “Find someone whose work speaks to you and that you can see yourself in,” Gines says. Also ask whether she uses film or digital (or both). Images shot on film have a soft, organic look that can lend a nostalgic feel, while digital has a sharper quality, vibrant colors and an overall crispness.

Check Referrals

“If you weren’t personally referred by someone who already used the photographer and has a positive recommendation, ask them for several referrals to contact,” Loomis says. “These might be posted on the website.”

Think Long Term

Can this photographer also do your newborn portraits? You’re going to spend time screening a photographer, and presumably establishing a level of trust, so it makes sense to find someone you can use again. “New people bring uneasy feelings, which can disturb baby,” says Gines. “Trust within the group will make for a comfy newborn, which will lead to great photos.”

 

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For Rinat’s Maternity Portrait Packages CLICK HERE