Empowering through pictures

  • Petaluma photographer Heidi Baxagocsy shoots a dramatic portrait of her client for her company In Her Image, which focuses on

In a society where media inundates us all with images of what a beautiful woman is “supposed” to look like, local photographers Tara Baxter and Heidi Margocsy aim to change the distorted views of beauty many women have of themselves. In Her Image Photography gives women a safe and inviting place to open up in front of the camera in exchange for the chance to have beautiful photos of themselves, perhaps for the first time.

“Essentially we take empowering photos of women to allow them to see their beauty,” said Margocsy. Whether the images are for use on social media profiles, business websites or simply to hang up at home, Margocsy and Baxter photograph in a welcoming environment filled with laughter where they clients can finally open up and be themselves.

“They’re self esteem portraits. I wanted all women to have at least one great photo of themselves to feel proud of — and we give them more than one,” said Baxter.

Baxter developed the unique concept of In Her Image and was pushed by Margocsy to implement the business after the two met online at a photo sharing website. A client had thanked Baxter after a photo shoot for “making her feel beautiful,” making Baxter realize that most if not all women suffer with self esteem issues when it comes to looking at their own image. The duo decided early on to only photograph women and to specialize exclusively in taking tasteful yet beautiful and sexy pictures women can feel proud of.

“Our clients come to us during transformational times in their lives,” said Baxter. “ They’re going back to work or something has happened to bring them here. They’re documenting a point in their lives and they’re creating an heirloom for their family.”

They give the everyday woman who has never modeled- be it a mother of three, a yoga teacher, or a business woman- the opportunity to feel ultra glamorous and beautiful maybe for the first time in her life.

Baxter and Margocsy aim to make each photo shoot as comfortable for every client as possible. Somewhat ironically both photographers dislike having their own picture taken, making them empathetic to each clients’ initial unease in front of the lens.

“We disarm people. We’ll be ridiculous until they lighten up. We’re intuitive to where people are at,” said Baxter. “I’ve had a camera in my pocket since I was 7. It’s always been the thing I went to feel joy.”

Margocsy’s father was a photographer and she grew up with his camera in her face, although she became a photographer after a long stint in performing arts. Her theatre experience allows her to help each client become fearless in front of the camera by being dramatically comical. Primarily self taught, both women simultaneously photograph, pausing at times to offer advice or make jokes to release any tension and ensure a client’s comfort.

The two have also created an extremely strong online community of women on their Facebook page. While social media is known to be a hotbed of negative and demeaning comments, the women in the In Her Image community only encourage and uplift one another despite having never met one another. Promoted almost exclusively by word of mouth, no ads have ever been placed by either woman, and both say it’s their clients who generate more business by posting their images and telling their friends about their experience.

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