My #AntiStockPhotos Massage Photo Shoot

[Important Update as of 3/20/2021: My #AntiStockPhoto photo shoot was completed in July 2019. While I strove for diversity, equity and inclusion, I realize now I missed the mark by not highlighting disabled people or people with disabilities. I continue to strive to be more inclusive and will be sure to address this with more thoughtfulness in future. Until I have the resources to plan a future photo shoot, I am grateful to have found Affect’s Disabled And Here Collection which was highlighted on Alice Wong’s @disability_visibility Instagram page earlier this month. (Alice Wong’s page always has great content). I’m so happy to have found the Disabled and Here project and look forward to adding some of the images throughout my website and elsewhere. I highly recommend not only the stock images and illustrations in this collection, which can be used with proper credit. but I also encourage you to explore the interviews of each artist. It’s a wonderful collection and I really appreciate the way they tied in an interview with each artist.]

Originally posted 7/28/2019: Massage is notorious for having the worst stock photos ever.  (I mean, really, who gets a massage with their head cranked to the side with a flower in their hair, hair perfectly coiffed, makeup perfect and no tan lines or wrinkles).  A few months ago, after becoming frustrated with stock massage photos available online, I decided it was time for me to create more personalized, realistic massage photos.  I wanted photos that were a better representation of my diverse clientele, photos that showcased real life athletes and clients of all different bodies and backgrounds while showcasing how I work with them to achieve each of their unique goals. I call it my #AntiStockPhotos Massage Photo Shoot.  

For the shoot, I hired the amazing visual storyteller, Jennifer Heffner of Jennifer Heffner Photography.  With Jennifer’s assistance and eye for detail, along with a handful of amazing local athletes and entrepreneurs, we created diverse, realistic massage photos featuring real weekend warriors, active adults and recreational athletes . . . doing our part to break fitness and massage stereotypes and put an end to #badstockphotos

You will begin seeing photos from the shoot in the coming months through social media posts, on my website and through other channels, but I thought it would be great to share a few photos here while introducing you to the photographer and the models that helped me tell a truer story of massage through photos.  

Jennifer Heffner of Jennifer Heffner Photography

Jennifer Heffner’s corporate and advertising photography is eclectic and storytelling. Her background in photojournalism captures her love of photographing the visual narratives of everyday life. Jennifer starting taking photos at age 5, after her neighbor gave her a garage sale camera.

She has worked for a variety of newspapers, magazines and even two years as a photographer and photo editor for President George W. Bush in the White House Photo Office. You will never find her without a camera in her hand or an adventure waiting to be explored. She is based in both the Washington DC area and the Hamptons. 

Barika Porter – Barika Porter, CPC, ELI_MP, Successfulbloom, LLC,

Barika is the Queen of the Crossroads. She helps people choose to create a life they love, change their thoughts about what is possible and connect with themselves and their communities.  Barika loves all things self-help.

Jenlene Nowak – Creator of Mosaic Art Experiences & Owner, Mizz Mozaic the Caterer of Creativity & RRCA Certified Race Director & Running Coach

Jenlene teaches you how to make mosaic art by leading FUN art experiences for parties, corporate team-building events, classes & workshops. She’s also a running coach with a focus on beginner & returning runners. I highly recommend running with her…she bribes you with cookies & popsicles!!!

Abe Koroma – Fitness 2 Go 

Abe is the founder of Fitness 2 Go, where fitness comes to you! Providing custom crafted, mobile fitness at its best. (The last time he trained me, he had me doing burpees with a smile on my face…an almost impossible feat!)

When Abe is not making fitness both tough and fun at the same time, you might find him indulging in his deep infatuation with oatmeal raisin cookies and wings.

Diana Forbes – Life Coach for Working Moms

Diana is a Certified Life Coach who loves helping women prioritize what’s most important so they have more time for what matters. Her bubbly but down to earth personality is one of my favorite things about Diana!  If you could benefit from downsizing your to-do list, check out her website and free Facebook community. 

Ericka La Madrid – Founder and Organizer of Delectable Peru (South America-Peru), Alitravel Perú and coming soon, Delectable Virginia

Ericka is a specialist of Food Tourism and a Travel Advisor for her home country of Peru. Through Delectable Peru she creates unique excursions and events with a focus on the foodie in us all. Ericka’s passions are travel, food and networking.  So when she moved about 2 years ago to Virginia, it was only natural that she expand her passions for all things delectable to include Virginia. Ericka is now promoting tourism in the Northern Virginia area through traditional and ethnic foods tours and cooking classes featuring Peruvian Cuisine, through Delectable Virginia.  

Jennifer Shen – Freelance Writer

Jennifer Shen is a freelance writer for hire.  She got her start writing about demographic trends, but now covers everything from budget travel to book reviews . . . to death (yes, death). 

Jennifer specializes in articles and blog posts. When Jennifer is not writing, she’s testing new recipes or reuniting airline passengers with their luggage (there’s a story there, for sure).

Check back here shortly for her new website. Or reach out to me in the meantime if you have any article needs and I will connect you with the amazing Jennifer Shen!  

Danielle Daily is a TEDx Speaker, Author, Anthropologist, and the Host of The Suddenly Single Show podcast.

Danielle’s uncommon mixture of infectious enthusiasm, unconventional ideas, and spectacular smile has made this pint-sized lady a popular inspiration to a global audience of podcasters and trail-blazing entrepreneurs.

Gretchen Schutte – Peace in the Pause

Gretchen shares tools that help you navigate your day with more ease. Through simple techniques for easy movement, breath, and mindfulness, Gretchen helps you learn how to infuse day with a sense of calm.

And when she’s not on a yoga mat, Gretchen enjoys hiking and visiting breweries…two of my favorite pastimes as well!  

Anna Gibson – AKG Design Studio

Anna Gibson is the award-winning Interior designer of AKG Design Studio.

Specializing in Kitchen and bathroom renovations, AKG serves the DC metro area and beyond.

When Anna is not changing the world one kitchen at a time, you will find her volunteering in our local community with the Core Foundation and Team RWB, promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Additional Models

Some of our models chose to remain anonymous but I thank them for their assistance! Showcasing how I work is so very important and I am so grateful to have their support.

Behind the Scenes:  Refreshments provided by Elden Street Tea Shop

Herbal, green and low caffeine teas from Elden Street Tea Shop are always available to my clients in my Herndon Virginia massage studio. This includes the signature NoVA Weekend Warriors Go Go Goji Berry Tea, named after my

podcast NoVA Weekend Warriors, which focused on fitness for the everyday athlete doing extraordinary things!  It was the beverage of choice during our photo shoot keeping everyone deliciously hydrated and energetic.  

When you are not at my massage studio, you can enjoy loose leaf tea, afternoon tea events and more at Elden Street Tea Shop, located in Old Town Herndon, VA or downtown Herndon has some refer to it! Owner and Teathuist Rachel of Elden Street Tea Shop provides “Tea for the Community” and we are so glad she does!  

That’s a Wrap!

This was truly an amazing experience and I’m excited to share additional photos and photo stories with you in the coming months.  As a community focused Licensed Massage Therapists in the Herndon and Reston Virginia area, it is my honor to be surrounded by such supportive local entrepreneurs and fans of fitness. I thank them for assisting me with this photo shoot, showcasing body positivity and highlighting real everyday athletes.  Thanks again, of course, to the talented Jennifer Heffner of Jennifer Heffner Photography for all her artistry! 

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