My Thoughts on Before and After PhotosLet’s talk about before and after photos. I have some thoughts on the matter and it’s time I shared them.

Yes, I know they are a popular marketing ploy with some organisers, but not this one. Don’t get me wrong. There are lots of good reasons to use photos in our organising work. Some good reasons are:

  • Provide a reality check
  • Narrow the focus of work
  • Communicate during virtual organising sessions
  • Show progress and transformation
  • Provide motivation when the going gets tough
  • Celebrate a successful transformation
  • Record the “after” for easier maintenance

But here’s why I don’t like before and after photos in marketing…

They expose a client’s privacy and open them to judgement, ridicule and criticism. Once a photo is posted online it is out of your control. It breaks my heart to see some of the hurtful comments made by cruel, ill-informed people. Quickly, what started as a celebration becomes a tragedy. I could never expose a client of mine to that, and I will never use a person’s challenges to promote and market my business.

Besides, all too often the “after” photo looks like someone tidied up. Great. But organisers do a lot more than tidying. People don’t get organised so they can have a tidy house. They get organised for what the tidy house will give them. That is the real transformation. Things like:

  • Family dinner around the table instead of everyone eating in their own bedrooms
  • Lazy Sunday afternoon with a good book instead of catching up on housekeeping or paying bills
  • Finding what you need when you need it, instead of shouting “I know it’s here somewhere!”
  • Showing off a crafting haven instead of shutting the door on a crammed junk room

To really convey the “I’ll have what she’s having” moment (from When Harry Met Sally), tell the true de-identified story of transformation.

I’m curious to hear your views.

7 Comments
  1. Britta 7 months ago

    Thank you for this article Angela. I use before and after photos as away to maybe help others see what can be different. I never thought of it as something that could be hurtful, but now that I have considered this argument I think I will review how I use them in the future. I would never want to hurt someone but I guess my intention is not always someone else’s. Thank you! xx

    • Author
      Angela 7 months ago

      Britta, thanks for being open to a different point of view. 🙂

  2. Kristina Duke 7 months ago

    Overall I agree Angela. On my website when you click on before and afters it actually takes you to clients testimonials -because their story shows the real change. However, I do show B&A photos from time to time (with clients permission of course) as the people love them.

    • Author
      Angela 7 months ago

      I know, people sure do love a bit of voyeuristic peeking behind the curtain. Another reason I don’t do it though it that I don’t want to put off any potential clients who might feel that they’d end up online as well.

  3. Stefanie King 7 months ago

    I use before/after photos sparingly on my website and ensure that anything that could easily identify clients is not in the picture – I also provide a generic, positive background story with the photos and do not publish without my clients’ written consent. I am even more careful on social media because of your points above.
    And yes, there are pictures that I would not publish as before and after but have them in my folder as examples to show during a first session. Before and after photos are also great for the clients themselves as they show the progress! 🙂

    • Author
      Angela 7 months ago

      It’s good to take precautions. Thanks for contributing, Stefanie.

  4. Lauren Jackman 7 months ago

    I do use before and after photos with my clients written consent

    While I do like them, they do not show the whole story and often when I look at some before and after photos , it looks like someone has come and taken everything away and not really organised anything.

    I like to show that you can have an organised drawer with a few small tweaks by grouping items and containing them in boxes or by moving them to a better space. Also I think some of my clients do respond well to seeing the before and seeing the progress made 😁

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