Rinat Halon

Photography ideas and information you need to give you results you desire.

Archive for 'High School Senior'

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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!

CBV-51-Edit

 

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

 

For your office staff Photo Team Building activities   CLICK HERE

 

For more information about the best, most fun and thoroughly educational Photo Tours coming up   CLICK HERE

 

To book one of my original, one of a kind entertaining, heart warming Photo Talks   CLICK HERE

 

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

 

 

 

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

lare format rinat

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

1px
0
October 31, 2016 in Athletes, High School Senior

What I enjoy the most about being hired to shoot a job for a magazine is when the editor trusts me enough to give me creative freedom. As it was on this photo shoot for the Orlando Family Magazine, Nate, the editor’s hiring instructions were: I trust you, do your thing.

So I did. 11 portraits of up and coming high school athletes. All are top in their field. All are dedicated to their demanding training routine. All are passionate about their sport.

And that’s what I wanted to show in the portrait. This was not about “a kid holding a ball” – I wanted to show what their sport meant to them, and where their personality met their passion.

It was interesting to see how shy these successful young adults were. Getting them out of their shell, creating trust, and seeing them allowing their personality to shine – all in an hour – mission accomplished! Here are some of my personal favorites from this photo session:

2OFMA-36

2nd2OFMA-259-Edit

2OFMA-110-Edit

2OFMA-73

 

And here is the Orlando Family Magazine finished article as published

 

Layout 1

 

 

Layout 1

 

Layout 1

 

Layout 1

 

Layout 1

 

Layout 1

 

2OFMA-259-Edit

 

To see High School Seniors Portrait prices and packages CLICK HERE

To view the Orlando Family Magazine digital version of this article CLICK HERE

 

MMSD-33

As soon as Maty contacted me I knew I was dealing with a uniquely wonderful young woman. She found me online, knowing that she was coming to visit Disney all the way from Tennessee; Maty came up with the original and fun idea of having her senior portraits done – at the Magic Kingdom. Maty saw I was previously Walt Disney Imagineer’s in house photographer, so she realized I knew the Disney parks inside and out.  She also loved how colorful my photos are on my web site. She put two and two together and reached out to me to see if I can help make her dream come true.

At the same time here in Orlando myself and the rest of the state of Florida were going through Hurricane Mathew. You got to believe me when I say that getting a text from someone who claims they are in school and will call me when they get out to discuss senior portraits – I thought someone was pulling my leg as, well, Florida was closed at the time and everyone was sitting put under careful waiting for this massive storm to pass.

But as it turns out Tennessee, of course, had school that day, and Maty and I planned her senior portrait session over the phone and met in front of the Magic Kingdom gates one very early morning.

Our concept was a Disney fashion shoot. Maty loves bright colors – a girl after my own heart – so she wore a couple of very bright colored outfits for this session.

And there we were, on the Magic Kingdom’s crowded Main Street – snapping away as waves of people, kids and strollers pass us. At the beginning I realized Maty was feeling uncomfortable in front of all these people. I walked up to her and said “just look at me, pretend none of these people are here. It’s just you and me, and we are turning your dream into reality. Just think about that, realize how happy you are, and ignore everything else” Maty smiled her beautiful smile at me, and from there on she was enjoying every moment of the experience.

MMSD-202

As I was photographing I was wondering to myself what will happen first – will I get run over by the mob rushing to see the show at the castle, or Disney police will walk up to me and escort me out of the park. But neither of these happened. And I realized no one cared. It is, after all, the happiest place on earth. And in that spirit everyone was busy – being happy.

MMSD-67

 

MMSD-137

 

MMSD-270

 

MMSD-266

 

MMSD-362

 

MMSD-457

 

MMSD-479

 

MMSD-545

 

MMSD-587

We ended our session on the Dumbo the flying elephant ride. Turns out it’s a favorite ride for both Maty and I, and proving you are always a kid at heart no matter what your chronological age you actually are – we both jumped on the ride. I asked Maty to sit behind me, and as the ride started, and Dumbo was airborne, I turned around and saw Maty stretched her arms out in pure glee, I snapped a few frames and I knew it was a wrap. We succeeded in this pursuit of happiness. What an incredible high school senior session!

MMSD-717

On a personal note, after the session, on the way out of the park I passed Walt’s portrait. It is hanging by the entrance, just a black and white standard 8×10, most people pass it and not even notice it. When I was WDI I had to photograph in the parks before and after opening hours. Whenever I was photographing at the Magic Kingdom I would stop in front of Walt’s portrait and say hello. After the senior session with Maty, on my way out, I stopped in front of Walt’s portrait again. I smiled at him and thanked him for this incredible place he created. And I swear he smiled back at me. Hey, it’s possible. it is the Magic Kingdom after all.

For more information about high school senior portrait packages available and to book a session CLICK HERE

MMSD-55-Edit