In my industry, there can be a lot of pressure to put up before and after photos of my work with clients. I am asked for pictures or I am told I should put them up to display what I do. You know, make it obvious how much of an impact I can make on someone’s space and life.
To be honest, I rarely do them. I have a few here and there when a client is very happy for the pictures to be public, and celebrate their success. Rarely though, do I even take photographs at client’s homes. On occasion, I will ask them if I can take a picture (or tell them to take their own) so they can see their own progress. I have asked on occasion to photograph a memory box we’ve created or a paperwork station, so I can use it as an example of what someone could do. Generally, there are no identifying features in the photo though, and I am sure to get the picture approved by them. Mostly, I ask to photograph and share a picture of their pets, which people are always happy to do!
So why don’t I share before and after photos?
To Reduce Overwhelm
I don’t want to put undue pressure on my clients when they’re already feeling overwhelmed and often embarrassed and ashamed of where they’re at.
Most of my clients feel bad about the state of their house and find it extremely challenging to let me in the front door, let alone photograph their clutter in all its glory. It’s hard for me to say ‘hey share that shame you’re feeling with the world by letting me photograph it to build my business!”
I personally don’t think they should be ashamed as clutter is just a sign of life. They feel anxious and embarrassed and asking them to be even more vulnerable makes me uncomfortable. I loath to do it. So I don’t.
Canberra is a small place. My clients have told me that they reckon someone will recognise their stuff or room, so even if a client was happy to share anonymously, Canberra being tiny means they are left feeling vulnerable again. So, back point one! It’s too much pressure on my client to share them.
Pictures Don’t Tell the Full Story
Photos aren’t the be-all and end-all. I can share a client’s progress in words rather than pictures. The words they use to explain how their space makes them feel can often be much more powerful than any picture. Their success should be measured this way anyway. The relief of having things set up the way they pictured is much more important to me than getting a Pinterest worthy photo to share.
It’s Real Life Not Pinterest
Although most before and after shots would have you believe we all live in magazine cover homes, real before and afters are not that Pinterest worthy.
When I work with clients, we work through their things and keep what is important to them and their family. We often use storage they already have (like shoe boxes and the like). For that reason, we don’t end up with a ‘Martha Stewart’ look or the Kikki-K catalogue office. It’s neat, organised and an obvious improvement but there are imperfections. I think the before and after photos that are often shared are unrealistic. They also put undue pressure on me as an organiser, on my clients to get things perfect, and on anyone following my posts. No one has to be picture perfect. None of us have time for that!
My Work is Deeper Than That
I think sharing my own journey, experiences and realisations give a good picture of how I can help you. I don’t think I necessarily need to share a before and after picture to show you what I can do. Besides, what I do goes much deeper than the physical layer. I help people penetrate below their stuff and look at why it’s really there. They get to see what’s really going on in their life. No picture can capture that.
I know before and after photos can be inspiring. Do you like to see them? Would you like to share yours? If you are feeling brave, the WellSorted Facebook group is a safe place to share.