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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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:

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And here is the Orlando Family Magazine finished article as published

 

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To see High School Seniors Portrait prices and packages CLICK HERE

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