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:
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: