i won’t photograph ugly people | indiana county, pa photographer | personal

I wrote a blog a month or two ago that talked about all the things I learned about being a “self employed” business owner. I was only roughly a few weeks into it when I posted the blog but I wrote about the Random Realities of Being Self Employed.  It was more tongue in cheek really, I mean I talked about such things like how your boss is awesome (which is true..haha), about how you can sleep in, how you talk to yourself and answer your self because you have no co-workers to chat with. For those of you who don’t know, I recently quit my full time day job to pursue my dream of being a full time photographer. As exciting as it sounds that I’m following my dream and ultimately getting paid to do what I love, it also comes with a lot of accountability and responsibilities.I mean, I *AM* my own boss and if my business fails it’s *MY* fault, I can’t share the blame with a co-worker or a supervisor….it’s my fault.

With that said, I recently made a decision that I know could ultimately create backlash for what I’ve decided….and honestly, I don’t care!  The really cool thing-(even among all the scary things of owning a business) is that you can make decisions without having to go through the hierarchy of people. On a whim yesterday after seeing something that was so appalling, I decided I was going to email some of my clients to tell them “I’m sorry but I won’t take your photos”.

Let me explain. Last night I posted on Facebook the following: “If I’m wrong, please speak up. I came across a page on Facebook that was created (by someone under a fictitious name) thats purpose is to bully,  ridicule and say mean and hurtful things about their class mates. While visiting the page, I found several teenage girls that have scheduled sessions with me for their senior pictures. I am emailing them tomorrow to cancel their shoots. I do not want them to represent my business and I am beside myself at how MEAN and CRUEL they were on that page.” As I was drafting the email that I was going to send out to the clients my phone was blowing up with comments.



Now I realize it’s going to be hard to know that every person that ever contacts me isn’t a bully, I understand that…but in this specific instance it was right in front of my face. I saw it with my own eyes..it wasn’t hear say, it was right there..with their smiling face right beside such an ugly statement. I couldn’t forget about it, I mean how I could spend 2 hours with someone during our session trying to take beautiful photos of them knowing they could do such UGLY things. Realistically, I know by canceling their shoots it’s not going to make them “nicer people” but I refuse to let people like that represent my business.

This morning I sent out 4 emails to those clients while CC’ing in their parents explaining WHY I was canceling their shoots. I also included screen shots of the comments they made. They couldn’t deny it, I had the picture of what they said. I informed them that I’d be sending their deposits back and that they’d have to find another photographer. So far, I have received two emails back from their parents that claimed (I’m paraphrasing) they were shocked that this had happened. They apologized that their child acted in such a way and that they would deal with the matter. So far I haven’t received any backlash but I’m ready for it. I’m a small business owner and I have the luxury of making that decision. If you are ugly on the inside, I’m sorry but I won’t take your photos to make you look pretty on the outside!

I’m not going to give a big speech that says how wrong or uncool it is…because let’s face it, you are seniors you should know better. I’m not trying to save the world of bullies or trying to start a movement. I simply don’t want to photograph ugly people!

To all of you who commented or “liked” the status… It’s heart warming to know that you support my decision.

Thank YOU!

*** updated 8/25/11: For those of you reading this for the first time, here is a follow up blog post that may answer any questions you may have: https://jenmckenphoto.com/blog/2011/08/25/just-to-clarify-not-shooting-ugly-people-indiana-county-pa-photographer-personal/

*** updated 8/16/12: One year later, what I learned about going viral: https://jenmckenphoto.com/2012/08/what-i-learned-about-going-viral-jen-mcken-photographer/



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  • Jessica HelmAugust 17, 2011 - 11:02 am

    ((slow clap))

    You did the right thing, Jen.

  • Melissa WilsonAugust 17, 2011 - 11:10 am

    Jen, You did the right thing. I came across those pages on facebook and was extremely disgusted. Children are taking things to the extremes today with bullying and trying to act powerful. Its a shame.

  • GinaAugust 17, 2011 - 11:27 am

    Bravo, Jen. It’ll be interesting to see if you do get any backlash. Some parents may not want to see the ugliness in their own children, or turn a blind eye. But I’m hopeful they’ll take a stand as you did and make sure they know that their actions won’t go unpunished. Keep us updated.

  • AlisaAugust 17, 2011 - 11:29 am

    I am so incredibly proud of you, Jen. There is no doubt in my mind that I would’ve done the same exact thing.

  • KristinAugust 17, 2011 - 11:38 am

    Thank you for standing up in what you believe in. I commend you and I would be appalled at anyone who found fault with your decision!

  • Nikki RunzoAugust 17, 2011 - 12:59 pm

    From someone who throughout middle school and highschool never felt smart enough, cool enough, pretty enough, important enough and never felt like she fit in, thank you. Individual’s bullying comments during this time only validated for me my low low self esteem and opinion of myself. It took years for me to overcome this. Although other circumstances also contributed to my feeling like this I never want another child, youth or teen to dread going to school, to feel like they are not good enough or not worthy enough, or to cry themselves to sleep everynight. I am so proud that someone from my graduating class has stood up to take a stand against bullying and you should be extemely proud of yourself as well. Morals over money is such an incredibly statement and I commend you for that.

  • Emily SmithAugust 17, 2011 - 4:11 pm

    I truly admire you for taking a stand! If everyone could have the guts to stand up for what they believe in, this world would be a better place. Kudos!

  • ShannonAugust 17, 2011 - 9:27 pm

    You go girl!

  • Angela ChenowethAugust 18, 2011 - 1:08 am

    I commend you on your true understanding of how people should treat each other. It’s not about who might take the best pictures but about who is going to represent us and who we want to be. You did the right thing here. I pray that God provides for you in doing so. I hope if I ever come across this situation I am brave enough to make the same choice. You are officially my hero!

  • crystal fukataAugust 18, 2011 - 3:30 am

    LOVE IT! way to follow your heart even knowing there is the possibility of backlash. 🙂

  • Tara PenatzerAugust 18, 2011 - 9:13 am

    I admire you as well, and I second all the comments left here! Other business owners could learn something from you!!

  • KristenAugust 18, 2011 - 9:13 am

    Good for you!

  • Marinda FowlerAugust 18, 2011 - 9:49 am

    Bravo! I’m sure it was hard for you to make the final decision that standing up for what you feel is the right thing to do is worth more than keeping those clients. Sadly, I know that it would’ve been hard for me to make that decision.

    Perhaps if more people stood up for the things they believe, we wouldn’t have so much bullying. Perhaps those kids will learn a very valuable lesson from this experience.

  • Laura AshleyAugust 18, 2011 - 10:03 am

    Little things can make BIG differences! Amazing! I’m just getting started with seniors, but I will follow your example if the situation presents itself. Thank you for sharing <3

  • Natasha FridleyAugust 18, 2011 - 10:04 am

    I fully agree. People take things way to far and this “cyber” bulling is getting way out of hand. Bravo for having morals and not waiting vicious ugly people representing your business. Very few instill there values in there business and it is truly refreshing that you do!

  • Misty ComoAugust 18, 2011 - 10:07 am

    I think you did the absolute right thing. Way to go!!

  • Faith BowyerAugust 18, 2011 - 10:10 am

    I applaud you. You did the right thing in this situation. Those children need to learn from this.

  • Megan CielohaAugust 18, 2011 - 10:40 am

    I hope that the bullied students that you stood up for see/ hear about what you did. Sometimes all it take is knowing that one stranger sees the injustice, to provide the bullied with courage to move past a victim mentality and realize that their worth is in no way tied to what “ugly” people say about them.

  • ingridAugust 18, 2011 - 10:47 am

    Right on, Jen! You did the right thing. I think you’ll reap more benefits from doing the right thing than backlash!

  • CrystalAugust 18, 2011 - 10:48 am

    Good for you! I truly hope there is no backlash…it would be very sad if there is.

  • allieAugust 18, 2011 - 10:53 am

    way to make a statement! i hope that those girls learned a lesson. it’s so sad to see bullying happen and the devastating consequences!

  • Rachel Peters PhotographyAugust 18, 2011 - 10:58 am

    I haven’t even looked at your photos yet and I already know your awesome!

  • Greta JacobsAugust 18, 2011 - 11:07 am

    Good for you! Very well written.

  • Christina WallAugust 18, 2011 - 11:17 am

    Wow! That is awesome. As a business owner by cancelling their photo shoot you are cutting into your own fiances. I applaud you for taking a stand, and not worrying about what it might do to you. (well i’m sure you are worrying about it, but the fact that it didn’t stop you!)

  • danaAugust 18, 2011 - 11:28 am

    Good for you! And I’m so happy you sent all of that to their parents. Kids can be so nasty… I’m happy you wouldn’t photgraph them!

  • Merry120August 18, 2011 - 11:30 am

    Way to go! I think what you did is awesome & I think the emails copying the parents is great too. So many people bully online because they have perceived anonymity. I’m glad this is showing the girls that there ARE consequences.

  • Gina TaylorAugust 18, 2011 - 11:31 am

    This is a wonderful blog! I agree with you 100%!!!!!!

  • Jenn StraznickyAugust 18, 2011 - 11:32 am

    Awesome! You definitely did the right thing and I hope that you receive more business than you previously had.

  • Echo DannelleAugust 18, 2011 - 11:32 am

    Really, BRAVO! I dealt with that stuff in high school, and whether it gets around school (as things tend to do), this will mean a lot to the classmates that were being bullied. It shows a LOT about who YOU are as a person, and a business owner. It shows that you’re not just in this profession for money. You have your heart, and your beliefs in it, as well. THAT, my dear, will get you more business in the end.

    And Nikki’s right, you should be proud. If I were anywhere NEAR Pennsylvania, you’d get my business, even if, just for this.

  • heidiAugust 18, 2011 - 11:34 am

    I applaud you for standing up for what you believe in.

  • Nicole KoesterAugust 18, 2011 - 11:42 am

    There is nothing more refreshing than seeing an individual standing up for what they believe in. This just goes to show that there are more important things out there than money. Bravo + Kudos to you Jen.

  • EddieAugust 18, 2011 - 11:45 am

    This is a step in a direction that this country so needs – towards civility. Good for you for standing up for your principles in a professional manner.

  • Brandy AndersonAugust 18, 2011 - 11:45 am

    WOW, good for you, and fantastic for CC’ing their parents. Great post.

  • Miranda CorbellAugust 18, 2011 - 11:46 am

    Excellent. Good for you!

  • TeresaAugust 18, 2011 - 11:48 am

    I commend you for taking a stand. I hope that you get even more business because of it.

  • Tammy A.August 18, 2011 - 11:50 am

    Hear hear, I commend you for taking a stand that was 1) financially disadvantageous, and 2) could garner backlash. I wish you only success in your business and hope that the good you did today will be revisited on you ten fold tomorrow.

  • Morgan MarriottAugust 18, 2011 - 11:52 am

    Congratulations on such an amazing decision. You did a great thing by cancelling their sessions and also making their parents aware of what they’d done.
    Honestly I wasn’t sure what I was going to read when I saw the title of this but I am 100% impressed. GREAT WORK!!

  • Jennifer WakefieldAugust 18, 2011 - 11:52 am

    You are getting nothing my applause from me!!!! GOOD CALL!

  • Katie EvansAugust 18, 2011 - 11:59 am

    What you’ve done is so commendable. I’m so glad there are people like you who are willing to stand up for what is decent and right. I wish you much success.

  • ShallyseAugust 18, 2011 - 12:08 pm

    I admire you SO MUCH for taking a stand against bullying, and taking the time to notify their parents (with proof) as well. I was a victim of bullying in middle school, and I still have confidence issues as an adult because of it. This will mean SO much to the student or students who were being bullied. Bravo!

  • Haley S.August 18, 2011 - 12:10 pm

    You should be proud of yourself. Kudos!!!

  • Nefarious NewtAugust 18, 2011 - 12:25 pm

    Thank you, for being an example that is sorely needed in a nation of news hounds, fame seekers, and horrid people. If only every person could stand upon their principles as you have. I know you will be successful beyond your wildest imaginings.

  • Kimberli Moffitt-TsuiAugust 18, 2011 - 12:27 pm

    Bravo to you! More people need to take a stand against bullying. Thank you.

  • KateAugust 18, 2011 - 12:28 pm

    Wow. I’m very impressed that you made this decision even though it meant less income for you. I hope that you will be blessed through this process!

  • Karen ThaemertAugust 18, 2011 - 12:29 pm

    Thank you for taking a stand. I believe you did the right thing too! I hope it made a difference in the lives of these girls too.

  • FourInchHeelsAugust 18, 2011 - 12:31 pm

    I’m really impressed with your decision. You did the honorable thing, and while it runs the risk of harming your future business (mean girls are good at talking) I’m so proud of you for standing up for your beliefs! And I wouldn’t be surprised if good things come to your business from this as well.

    Additionally, I expect at least two of those girls will be given good reason to rethink their behavior, and if your stand can have a positive change on even one life … you can consider it a job well done.

  • LauraAugust 18, 2011 - 12:33 pm

    The thing I find disturbing (besides the bullying) is that you only heard from 2 of the parents.

  • Jennifer RiveraAugust 18, 2011 - 12:33 pm

    GOOD FOR YOU!! That is an awesome thing for you to do! bullying is wrong! I cant imagine you would have any backlash, except from the teenagers themselves. I commend you for standing up for something you believe is right! GOOD JOB! I wish more of the world would stand up to behavior like this!

  • StacieAugust 18, 2011 - 12:35 pm

    *slow, sustained clapping*

  • Sondra StinsonAugust 18, 2011 - 12:39 pm

    You ROCK!! Way to go Jen!! What you “lost” by refusing their sessions, will come back to you and then some for the great deed you have done!! 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration! <3

  • Peggy HAugust 18, 2011 - 12:42 pm

    I am also a small photography business owner and some of the local girls that had bullied my very own child called and requested an appointment with me. I was very happy to turn them down for this very same “ugly on the inside” reason without considering any of the backlash. Fortunatley I didn’t receive any loss of business or backlash, I think people will applaud you when standing up to a bully! I love that you are sharing this with all of us!

  • Erin Oveis BrantAugust 18, 2011 - 12:43 pm

    This is the most refreshing thing I have read in a long time. You have inspired me beyond belief!!! Not only did you do what is right for you and your business (by standing by your convictions), you have sent these kids a crucial message early on in their young lives: we are all accountable for our actions and the choices we make can have far-reaching consequences. I hope that they use this lesson to course-correct and that the particular consequence of your choice to bring this to light is a wildly successful career…you absolutely deserve it! People like you make this an industry I am proud to be a part of!!!

  • Life with KaishonAugust 18, 2011 - 12:46 pm

    I think this was so brave and WISE of you.
    I love that you contacted their parents and let them know. I hope they DO do something about that.
    It breaks my heart that kids would do something like that.

  • MelindAugust 18, 2011 - 12:48 pm

    I’m ready to schedule a session with you! I love this.

  • cherronAugust 18, 2011 - 12:53 pm

    Good for you!! I’m glad it opened up the parents’ eyes and maybe it will make the girls realize that ugly doesn’t go (or shouldn’t) far in the real world.

  • LeslieAugust 18, 2011 - 12:54 pm

    I think this is amazing and courageous.

  • Heather S.August 18, 2011 - 12:57 pm

    Kudos to you! I shared this post on my facebook, and I plan on adding you to my blogroll…anyone so refreshing in their outlook has to be someone worth reading.

    I have to admit, I was a little scared when I first saw the headline and clicked the link to read from Pure Photoshop Actions on my fb news feed – having been called ‘physically ugly’ by some in my life, I have a fear and paranoia of everyone being shallow – but I was so glad to find that my fear was unfounded. Thank you for your post!

  • cheironAugust 18, 2011 - 12:58 pm

    You did the right thing. So many parents out there have NO idea what their children are doing on facebook. I am surprised the school hasn’t caught wind of it yet. Good for you!

  • ChristineAugust 18, 2011 - 1:00 pm

    Ab.so.lute.ly. awesome! If there were more people in the world who would stand up for what is right like this, the world would be a better place.

  • JenniferAugust 18, 2011 - 1:01 pm

    You are awesome!! Thank you for standing up for what you believe in!

  • Aubri GraybealAugust 18, 2011 - 1:07 pm

    Seriously awesome, you never know this actually might make someone change.

  • JenAugust 18, 2011 - 1:07 pm

    Sadly your actions will probaBly be the ONLY consequence these girls receive. Great job taking a stand-someone should!

  • Jana ThompsonAugust 18, 2011 - 1:11 pm

    “If you are ugly on the inside, I’m sorry but I won’t take your photos to make you look pretty on the outside!” Wonderful statement! Kudos for standing up for your beliefs!

  • Amanda DowAugust 18, 2011 - 1:14 pm

    NO! GO YOU! That is awesome. I’m really proud of you!

  • Kelly LarabieAugust 18, 2011 - 1:20 pm

    Bravo Jen! You totally did the right thing in this situation. Can you reach out to the classmates that were being talked about and offer a discounted photo session?

  • Jessica @ The SBBAugust 18, 2011 - 1:27 pm

    You rock! Kudos to you for standing up for what is right and for YOUR right to do what you want as a small business owner. Those girls should be incredibly embarrassed, and hopefully, next time they’ll think before belittling someone else.

  • CJAugust 18, 2011 - 1:35 pm

    Yay, yay, yay! Thank you for following your “heart” and not your “wallet”!!

  • Laina HAugust 18, 2011 - 1:38 pm

    thank you from all of us lower people who always get bullied! I appreciate it!

  • EileenAugust 18, 2011 - 1:44 pm

    I admire you for taking a stand on bullying. Kudos and much success to you!

  • LanaAugust 18, 2011 - 1:45 pm

    As a person who’s recently had to deal with a small group of teen girls (why are they so mean?), I say bravo. It’s easy to take a check and just go on with your day, it’s tough to stand up and say “this isn’t right”.

  • Sally WattsAugust 18, 2011 - 1:52 pm


    “How will I know when it’s the right time for a slow clap?”

    “Oh, you’ll know…”


    I think what you did is absolutely fantastic, Jen. I do hope their parents find out why they were cancelled so they can set them straight.

  • Edeline MartaAugust 18, 2011 - 1:53 pm

    You did the right thing for standing up!!
    You go girl.. I am so happy you did it ..


  • NikoleAugust 18, 2011 - 1:55 pm

    Thank you so much for standing up for what you believe in! This is such an incredibly timely post for me.

  • Julie Tucker-WolekAugust 18, 2011 - 2:10 pm

    Good for you! I think you did an amazing thing! :):):):)

  • BelindaAugust 18, 2011 - 2:17 pm

    Wow! Go you!

  • Phil WilliamsAugust 18, 2011 - 2:20 pm

    As a photographer and parent, I applaud (rapidly, following by whistling, arm pumping and woowooing…) your actions. I have become disgusted with the lack of ownership and responsibility that so many in our society demonstrate on a daily basis…The fact that the parents were “shocked” at the behavior of their children points the finger of blame to the appropriate model of behavior that allows it…Hurray for you! Now if we could just get the parents, the schools, and then the errant children to own up, change and reapply for admission to society…

  • […] This morning, I came acrossed a blog post that I thought needed to be shared. When I first saw the title I was a little leary about reading it, but I went ahead and I’m glad I did. This blog post is a must read. You can find this blog post here.  […]

  • Michelle BAugust 18, 2011 - 2:23 pm

    Good for you!!!!

  • Ann Debish-MinorAugust 18, 2011 - 2:28 pm

    Thank you!! You have done a very brave thing. In my eyes you are a hero because years ago I was the kid who was picked on and bullied. I only wish someone would have stood up to those who were so evil & mean. I survived but not without some mental bumps & bruises that took a very long time to heal. Again Thank You!!

  • SerenaAugust 18, 2011 - 2:29 pm

    I’d never heard of you until 5 minutes ago, but I am now one of your biggest fans. Yes, one person can make a difference; and I’ll bet that you’ve just influenced a bunch of photographers to make the same sort of decision! Thank you!

  • KirstenAugust 18, 2011 - 2:30 pm

    I commend you and think that this action is completely awesome! There needs to be more consequences for the ‘media’ bullying that goes on these days to wake kids (and people in general)up that their words are not poofs of air in cyber space that don’t effect anything. I hope these girls learn something from this and other professionals can be encouraged to follow suit!

  • Anne Marie CarsonAugust 18, 2011 - 2:31 pm

    The world needs more people willing to take a personal stance such as this. =) You’re a hero to all of those who were affected by the ugliness that led to your actions.

  • Shelley HaganmanAugust 18, 2011 - 2:33 pm

    It’s so refreshing to see someone stand up for what is right! Good for you! 🙂

  • Mark Denman PhotographyAugust 18, 2011 - 2:37 pm

    Way to make a stand. Very cool. I hope these kids get it!!!!!!

  • JenniferAugust 18, 2011 - 2:37 pm

    Thank you for this. So many of us have suffered from the hurtfulness of others, and while we might also want to be hurtful, it is NEVER right. Being a high school teacher, I see both the good and bad that happens with teenagers, and their choices aren’t always stellar! I’m glad that you also sent the emails to their parents. So often the parents have no idea what their child’s “online life” is like.

  • m i c h a e lAugust 18, 2011 - 2:38 pm

    You just became my personal hero. This is awesome.

  • SalwaAugust 18, 2011 - 2:38 pm

    Good for you for standing up for your principles – I think if more people acted on them as you are choosing to do, we’d have a better society overall!

  • AmyAugust 18, 2011 - 2:40 pm

    Good for you and so well written. If you do get backlash, it will only be from those you wouldn’t have wanted to work with anyway. The rest of us completely agree and applaud your decision. There really is just too much inner ugliness out there…

  • Melanie JAugust 18, 2011 - 2:41 pm

    So awesome!!! As a formerly bullied kid, I completely applaude your decision and wish you the MOST luck in your business!! Good for you!!!

  • I just saw this re-posted on facebook by a fellow photographer, clicked and read… You are AMAZING. What a brave and convicting stand to take. I applaud you!

  • renee williamsAugust 18, 2011 - 2:45 pm

    Jen, you did the right and moral thing. I have told clients that I will not photograph them because they do not make their children behave in my studio, as well as women who like to use gossip as a form of entertainment. I hate drama, but as a military wife overseas, I have to do what is right for me! The greatest part is keeping my business fun! Congrats on standing your ground, lets just hope that their parents will take this as a wake up to parent their children a little closer!

  • TiffanieAugust 18, 2011 - 2:56 pm

    That is amazing that you are taking a stand when money is at stake so thank you very much for being a strong small-buisness owner. You rock! I hope and pray that some major lessons were learned by those bullies

  • TastentierAugust 18, 2011 - 2:59 pm

    Oh, I thought this was about physical ugliness. Which would make a lot of sense, imho. Physically ugly people shouldn’t be preserved for posterity. I mean, who’d want to visit the Sistine Chapel if the paintings featured people with hunchbacks, pot bellies and cankles?

  • JenniferAugust 18, 2011 - 3:05 pm

    I think what you are doing is wonderful. It teaches them that there are consequences for their actions and hopefully alerts them that in this day and age where teens feel the need to post EVERYTHING about their lives for the world to see, that the entire world, in fact can see their ugly behavior. This could potentially affect their entrance into college and/or their prospects with a future employer. Bravo.

  • StephanieAugust 18, 2011 - 3:08 pm

    Wow, no tolerance for bullies. Good for you, I admire you!! My favorite line of your post-“If you are ugly on the inside, I’m sorry but I won’t take your photos to make you look pretty on the outside!”— best quote ever, love it!

  • Lori ViethAugust 18, 2011 - 3:11 pm

    I agree! I put in my senior rep requirements that I will be their facebook friend and I will be watching their comments and photos they put up. Anyone not representing my business in a wholesome way will be asked to leave. These kids need to realize their words and actions affect many!

  • Melissa JeanAugust 18, 2011 - 3:18 pm

    As a brand new full time small business owner I think you just made the BEST step for yourself. Yes, it’s risky. But you’ve just made yourself unique. Those who align with you will do so strongly, and those who don’t, well, those aren’t the ones you want anyway. Well done for being brave and standing up for what you feel.

  • tamsenAugust 18, 2011 - 3:20 pm

    yes- awesome! way to make a stand! you rock!

  • AmeliaAugust 18, 2011 - 3:21 pm

    As someone who was constantly told that they were ugly (a male – it’s not only teen girls doing this – told me that no self-respecting man would ever kiss or date me), I applaud your bravado. I just don’t understand the logic behind making someone feel so worthless.

  • SharonAugust 18, 2011 - 3:24 pm

    Good for you! I applaud you!

  • tiffanyAugust 18, 2011 - 3:24 pm

    What an incredible person you are to stand up for what’s right, even at the cost of your business. way to go!

  • PiaAugust 18, 2011 - 3:27 pm

    Thank you for this post!

  • RachelAugust 18, 2011 - 3:32 pm

    I also wasn’t sure what to expect when I read this on a follow photographers facebook but I say brava. Good for you.

  • SammieBAugust 18, 2011 - 3:55 pm

    I’m from Nashville and saw another photographer’s link to this blog. I wholeheartedly agree with what you’ve done and wish more people would take a stand to this kind of behavior! What a great role model. Thank you, thank you, for taking the time (and inherent risk) to do what not only is right, but commendable in every way.

  • DITAAugust 18, 2011 - 4:00 pm

    Wow……absolutely OUTSTANDING evidence of your character. I will never forget this post and the courage and class it took to do what you did. Congratulations!

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  • JohnAugust 18, 2011 - 4:04 pm

    If there were more people like you in the world…it would spin around so much smoother…!!

  • Gary VolandAugust 18, 2011 - 4:10 pm

    You go girl! Life is too short for haters no matter how green their money is.

  • RebekahAugust 18, 2011 - 4:12 pm

    Awesome. I came across this on a fellow photographer’s page . . . Bravo to you. All it takes is one person . . .

  • robbie hickmanAugust 18, 2011 - 4:13 pm

    bravo! you soooooo rock!!

  • Jennifer GoodletAugust 18, 2011 - 4:14 pm

    I agree 100%! I applaud you for standing up for what is right!

  • DebAugust 18, 2011 - 4:15 pm

    w00t w00t! You go girl! Shared you on my FB page, hoping to drive some business your way. You’re amazing!!

  • Avelaine ScyrupAugust 18, 2011 - 4:15 pm

    I would have done the same. Good on you!

  • KatieAugust 18, 2011 - 4:31 pm

    The world needs more people like you.

  • TeganAugust 18, 2011 - 4:31 pm

    Good for you! That’s a great decision & I am glad that some of the parents stand behind that. I know it could have gone either way. Some parents just look the other way and don’t want confrontation but bullying is such a problem now, especially cyber bullies. I give you kudos for standing up for this and doing what you believe instead of just ignoring the situation. That shows that you are a compassionate person & it’s not just all about money & profit for you. Hopefully others from your community will be able to read this & those who have been bullied will feel safe coming to you knowing that you don’t judge them.

  • […] on anyones pain… THAT IS MY OPINION and MY PERSONAL CONVICTION… so to come across Jen McKens post on NOT PHOTOGRAPHING UGLY PEOPLE … made my heart smile!!!  Thank you Jen for Standing up! I am looking forward to seeing your […]

  • Holly OldfieldAugust 18, 2011 - 4:58 pm

    I applaud you for standing up for yourself, your business, for what you felt was right against something that is wrong to do, for not just turning a blind eye & most importantly for the victims by hopefully bring awareness to the parents of those in the wrongdoing. Thank you =)

  • CraftyAugust 18, 2011 - 4:58 pm

    I’ve never seen your work before today. A photographer friend highlighted your page and I have to say:
    and thank you. Thank you for empowering yourself to take a stand against everyday injustices, ugly on the inside people, and just plain meanness. I would sooooooo adopt this policy if I had my own small business. Oh the joy of getting to pick who you work with!

  • Amy JoAugust 18, 2011 - 4:59 pm

    I would like to totally congratulate you on such an awesome decision and bold blog post. I have posted it to my own personal Facebook page and also to my photography page on Facebook. I think this is a great message, and I second your feelings on inner beauty! Thank you for standing up for what is right!

  • Holly Oldfield August 18, 2011 - 5:15 pm

    I applaud you for standing up for yourself, your business, for what you felt was right against something that is wrong to do, for not just turning a blind eye & most importantly for the victims by hopefully bring awareness to the parents of those in the wrongdoing. Thank you


  • KiyAugust 18, 2011 - 5:33 pm

    I found this link posted by one of my friends on FB. I wanted you to know what I said about this: “Actually, I feel as a small business owner she DOESN’T have the luxury of doing something like this. And yet, she did. I applaud what she did. This is awesome.”

    Kudos, seriously.

  • lauriAugust 18, 2011 - 5:37 pm

    Good for you. It’s not often people take a stand to discourage bad behavior. I like you!

  • Judy GoldthorpAugust 18, 2011 - 5:46 pm

    Congratulations on taking a stand! You definitely did the right thing.

  • MotherofThreeAugust 18, 2011 - 5:53 pm

    Bravo-Way to go! I couldn’t agree more. We need more people to stand up for what is right and speak out against what is wrong. Otherwise no one is held accountable for their hurtful words and actions. Thank you for sacrificing some income in order to teacher a valuable lesson to these girls.

  • KristinaAugust 18, 2011 - 5:53 pm

    There is nothing more admirable than someone standing up for what they beleive in! You made the right decision.

  • Dani KAugust 18, 2011 - 5:59 pm

    Well done.

  • Dana StoneAugust 18, 2011 - 6:17 pm


  • Sam TuttonAugust 18, 2011 - 6:23 pm

    Wow, if only there were more people like you in the world to stand up for what is right. Well done.

  • ElissaAugust 18, 2011 - 6:41 pm

    You’re a badass and I mean that admiringly. Kudos for doing the right thing.

  • CrystalAugust 18, 2011 - 6:41 pm

    Interesting how the parent apologized for their child’s actions and did not have the child do it themselves. Wouldn’t that have been the best way to “deal with the matter”?

    I applaud you for your example! GREAT JOB!

  • Pam kormanAugust 18, 2011 - 6:48 pm

    This is truly awesome! Thanks for taking a stand!

  • Suellen M ShickAugust 18, 2011 - 7:13 pm

    As a retired photographer I applaud your decision.
    Stand behind your decision I am very proud of you

  • Laurie WAugust 18, 2011 - 7:19 pm

    What a great person you are! Wish there were more people in the world like you! Your future children are so lucky and they don’t even know it yet. God Bless you!

  • Johanna BAugust 18, 2011 - 7:23 pm

    wow. i weep. good for you!!!! I am so proud you made such a good choice!

  • julieAugust 18, 2011 - 7:28 pm

    Good for you for standing up for a principle! If you weren’t so far away, I would take all my photography business to you! Julie in CO.

  • shan238August 18, 2011 - 7:31 pm


  • NicoleAugust 18, 2011 - 7:54 pm

    WOW, well said!! Couldn’t agree with you more and think you have done something incredible and empowering!! Kudos to you 🙂

  • Julianne MillerAugust 18, 2011 - 8:01 pm

    Jen, I have seen your work and its wonderful. Whats even more wonderful is the stance you have just made. God bless you (and your business!) for choosing morals over money and taking a stand. I hope you made the target of the bullying smile because I am sure that person could use it after being treated in such a malicious way. You had my respect as a photographer but now you have my respect as a person. Thank you for making that decision and hopefully inspiring others. God bless!

  • Keith TharpAugust 18, 2011 - 8:25 pm


  • ShannaAugust 18, 2011 - 8:27 pm

    Sounds like a good decision to me!

  • Kimberly SliferAugust 18, 2011 - 8:40 pm

    You are truly and amazing and inspirational person. I applaud you!

  • Tony KieuAugust 18, 2011 - 8:41 pm

    You did the right move, I’m so happy there are people like you in the world.

  • XantheAugust 18, 2011 - 8:41 pm

    AWESOME. That’s all. You rock.

  • bobbi joAugust 18, 2011 - 9:14 pm

    Beautiful. If I was a parent of one of those teens, I would thank you for bringing the situation to my attention. Kids do crazy and thoughtless things, they need to be reminded now and then that their actions have consequences.

  • Sherry PickerellAugust 18, 2011 - 9:19 pm

    Kudos to you for being a strong woman with great morals! I hope I get to meet you someday! I have two teenage daughters, only my 16 yr old can have Facebook and I have total access to it. Thank god she is not really into it, but let me tell you what I’ve seen on it that other kids have written, whose parents are their friends and obviously know it’s written. It’s sad and I can’t say how happy this blog post made me. There should be more people out there like you!

  • chrissyAugust 18, 2011 - 9:19 pm

    Thank you for taking a stand! I feel like coming to hugg you haha. I too feel the same way!!! My sister recently switched to cyber school b/c of the torment some of the girls put her through. This blog post made me smile, to know that mean girls dont always win!

  • SarahAugust 18, 2011 - 9:26 pm

    Your story has reached me here in Australia and no doubt will go global.
    How fortunate that there are people like you in this world, standing up for what you believe in and truly, a great cause. Well done Jen!

  • JessicaAugust 18, 2011 - 9:31 pm

    Incredible courage you have!! I am so glad I found this blog! You are an inspiration!

  • sandyAugust 18, 2011 - 9:36 pm

    big smile on my face…. love what you did, just love it!!! I stand behind you and will take any backlash you don’t want to handle!

  • New Bern PhotographerAugust 18, 2011 - 10:09 pm

    Way to stand up for what you believe! Time will tell whether or not it will hurt your senior business however.

  • AbbeyAugust 18, 2011 - 10:11 pm

    Kudos to you!!! It’s unbelievable how cruel people can be. I admire you for taking a stand!!!

  • JennAugust 18, 2011 - 10:14 pm

    Honestly? I think that whatever backlash you get will PALE in comparison to the number of people who are more likely to book you now that they know what kind of person you are. I, for one, am more likely to go somewhere for a service if I know that the person who will be profiting from it is a kind, honest, and decent human being. Kudos to you for standing up for what you believe in!

    I will say that I hope everyone who hears about this takes time to read the article. I came from a link that just said “Photographer Jen McKen won’t photograph ugly people” and I was initially upset. (I am sure you know what it sounds like!) I am glad I took the time to click through and read what you had to say. I wish more business owners (and people in general) had as much integrity as you do. I wish you the best!

  • Kelly DaubAugust 18, 2011 - 10:16 pm

    That is awesome! You absolutely are doing the right thing. Even the small things we can do to come against bullying are WORTH doing!

  • HeatherAugust 18, 2011 - 10:19 pm

    Good for you! Good for taking a stand and double good for informing the parents!! Bad behavior should have negative consequences. I’m (sadly) rather surprised that the parents apologized instead of demanding that you keep the appointment. So many would take a “So what?!” attitude and insist that it had nothing to do with photos, which is why we have kids that act like that in the 1st place!

    Kudos on your bravery!

  • StaceyAugust 18, 2011 - 10:29 pm

    While I do commend you for taking a stand against bullies, arent you slightly worried that by labeling these girls as “ugly” you are also being a bit of a bully? I guess I just dont understand why you felt the need to give a back story to your decision.

  • JenniferAugust 18, 2011 - 10:38 pm

    Absolutely marvelous!! More business owners need be as selective and vocal as you. I’m a fan.

  • MelanieAugust 18, 2011 - 10:41 pm

    This is awesome. Great blog post! People need to be held accountable for their actions. Words can hurt and I’m glad you took a stand.

  • Karen C.August 18, 2011 - 10:50 pm

    Good for you! I am so impressed that you did this. So powerful!

  • Dejah QuinnAugust 18, 2011 - 11:01 pm

    Way to go! Very Classy. May you be blessed for standing up for the greater good!

  • Edit Me F.A.S.T.August 18, 2011 - 11:13 pm

    Good for you! Keep it up! Just saw your story on Thursday’s 11:00pm news. I’m a fellow small business owner in the Pittsburgh area, and I’d do the same thing.

  • RachelAugust 18, 2011 - 11:25 pm

    Wonderful decision and thank you for sharing your convictions.

  • Jen WAugust 18, 2011 - 11:26 pm

    I wish there were more people like you in this cruel world! Good luck in all you do.

  • Hannah NicoleAugust 18, 2011 - 11:45 pm

    BEAUTIFUL! You did the right thing. “I won’t take your photo if you’re ugly…” SO TRUE.

  • WhitneyAugust 18, 2011 - 11:51 pm

    Wow, that’s so great! If only more people took a stand against bullies. It’s such a shame that people are so cruel, and I understand how difficult it would be to smile back and take photos of someone knowing they could be so mean inside. Hopefully they’ll realize their wrongs and make them right!

  • Jessica CudziloAugust 18, 2011 - 11:52 pm

    I agree with Laura Ashley – small things can make a big difference. You could have quite possibly made those students reevaluate where they’re putting their time and energy. XOXO!

  • robynAugust 19, 2011 - 12:02 am

    As a photographer, I applaud you! As a contributing editor with a large photography magazine, I also wanted to let you know that I’ve passed your story along to my editors. Good for you!

  • MelissaAugust 19, 2011 - 12:32 am

    I was bullied in high school, and I am getting down on my knees and thanking God that there are people like you in the world. Thank you a million times!

  • Kara MayAugust 19, 2011 - 1:28 am

    This gave me a lump in my throat. There is ‘good’ in this world and you are a wonderful example of that. God Bless you! I could hug you right now 🙂

  • Kim GAugust 19, 2011 - 2:06 am

    This is awesome to see/read. There is so much bullying going on, it’s refreshing to see someone take a stand. Thank you 🙂

  • Preethi F JacobAugust 19, 2011 - 2:16 am

    Jen I don’t even know you nor do I live in your part of the world anymore…but having read your blog on fb I just had to say how proud I am of the 10-15yrs that I spent in & around State College & almost every weekend in Inidiana, just coz of the few BUT “quality” people like yourself, whom I know in these areas.Yours is such a clear, matter-of-fact example of “taking” the courage that’s available from the Source Himself/our Maker & Lord, to “resist” the evil/bizarre/wickedness that’s trying to take over as the new normalcy/in-thing. Thanks for moving on to the next level of “resistance”.

  • KristaAugust 19, 2011 - 3:35 am

    You are one classy chick. I would have done the EXACT same thing. It shocks me to hear of kids so brutalized by cyber-bullying they feel their choice is to end their life…and they do just that. Even with all the stories out there…these kids still CHOOSE to torture their classmates. They have NO idea of the guilt and shame they will feel once they have grown, had children of their own and gained a bit of wisdom. Then again, maybe not. I noticed you said only TWO of the parents responded…perhaps the other two could care less. So sad.

  • […] May her tribe increase!  Go read the rest. It’s short and sweet. […]

  • daliaAugust 19, 2011 - 8:22 am

    you have no idea who I am but I am really proud of you! It takes a lot of courage to stand up for what you believe and I think the message you are sending is loud and clear. As the mother of a bullied child and as a photographer I applaud your decision. Wishing you all the best!

  • Shannon WillifordAugust 19, 2011 - 8:30 am

    There’s not much I can say that hasn’t already been said, but I felt I had to add my applause in with the rest 🙂

  • Karla BaptisteAugust 19, 2011 - 8:59 am

    I totally agree with what you did and how you handled the situation! I admire the fact that you stood up for what is right/ wrong and i think everyone would agree!:-)

  • Speaking of Ugly PeopleAugust 19, 2011 - 9:03 am

    […] of her to stand up like this, and let these people know that words and actions have consequences. i won’t photograph ugly people | indiana county, pa photographer | personal | Jen McKen Photog… __________________ Luke. My flickr My facebook […]

  • DawnAugust 19, 2011 - 9:16 am

    Wow. That’s all I can say. Wow. And Kudos to you.

  • JeremyAugust 19, 2011 - 9:39 am

    I say SHAME on you. The poor girl getting bullied will have it even worst now. You have no talk of love or family. These girls need guidance, they need a roll model – and you should have shown them how to be compassionate and love others – instead, you threw them out with the trash. SHAME ON YOU!

  • Rachael SpiegelAugust 19, 2011 - 9:54 am

    You should feel empowered for taking a stand behind what is right and not compromising yourself, your beliefs or your business. You did the right thing and I am so proud of you.

  • MaddieAugust 19, 2011 - 10:04 am

    Jeremy, I’d have to disagree. I see where you are coming from, but I think what Jen did was definitely the right thing to do. First and foremost, she didn’t want these people representing her business. That is perfectly fair and completely her right.
    Also, yes, these girls may need guidance. Now that Jen has brought the problem to the parents, they can give their daughters the guidance they need. That is their place, not Jen’s.
    Of course it’s possible that whoever is getting bullied will have it worse now, but I think it’s unlikely. This will hopefully teach the bullies a lesson. I think it would be hard for you to understand because you are not a girl, but girls are mean! So many times the really cruel girls get away with anything – oftentimes because of their looks. Jen is taking a stand and saying that it’s the beauty on the inside that she cares about. The bullies need to understand that their actions have consequences, and Jen has hopefully taught them a fabulous lesson. They’ve just missed out on something big.

  • Sara WAugust 19, 2011 - 10:04 am

    I APPLAUD and ADMIRE you! That’s amazing and a half!!

  • BethanyAugust 19, 2011 - 10:06 am

    To Jeremy – So what you’re saying is that NO ONE should ever stand up to bullies because the people they bully might “have it even worse” as a result?? I believe that after being shown that bullying has consequences, the girls will be less likely to bully. Jen absolutely did the right thing. She let the parents of the girls know what was going on so that the parents can give the girls “guidance” and “a role model.” Jen’s job is to capture beauty through photography, and she’s choosing not to do it for people who are ugly inside. She made an excellent decision, and one that I hope others will copy. If bullies realize that negative actions have negative consequences, maybe they’ll think twice before bullying again.

  • EverardoAugust 19, 2011 - 10:14 am

    Like Jerry Maguire’s mission statement, “The Things We Think and Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business”.

    I love it and congratulate you.

  • JaniceAugust 19, 2011 - 10:16 am

    It has to stop somewhere and I admire you for not sitting by and letting it go. You are an inspiration. I’m glad you notified the parents and let them see what their kids have really been doing. Thank you for showing people that you can take a stand against the bullies.

  • Damian TXAugust 19, 2011 - 10:26 am

    Thank you and bless you. I hope the bullies and their parents are ashamed of their actions.

  • Anita KayAugust 19, 2011 - 10:27 am

    Good for you! I think a lot of times young people post things on message boards or facebook without thinking that real people are reading them–it’s shortsighted immaturity. At least now those girls know that people DO read what they write and form opinions about them, not just about the people they’re trashing.

  • Vickie BrewerAugust 19, 2011 - 10:28 am

    I applaud you for taking a stand!! You not only did the right thing but you have inspired me and many others to do the same!! Stand strong!! 🙂

  • MariaAugust 19, 2011 - 10:31 am

    GOOD for YOU!!! We need more people to do what you have done!

  • Crystal GossAugust 19, 2011 - 10:32 am

    Jen. I’m speechless after reading your story. In awe. I think you did a fantastic thing, and I can only hope that I would have the courage to make the same decision if I were ever in your shoes. Like many of the other commenters, I was bullied in school. Those mean kids seemed to never get told “no” or to pay any consequences for their actions. Well, some of them are paying now as they are still the same miserable people that they were back then. And it’s sad. Someone full of courage and integrity should have stood up to them back then. I applaud you. Way to go. Now, find a way to also show one of the bullies some grace. “Grace is what God gives us when we don’t deserve and mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we do deserve.” No one ever forgets a time that they have received grace. It sticks with us. You have a phenomenal opportunity here.

  • LeeAugust 19, 2011 - 10:35 am

    Good for you ! I am the father of three daughters and I would be mortified if they were doing anything like that. Jeremy is mistaken: it’s not your job to raise the children whose photos you take, but letting their parents know is a very good start !

  • Seraphino's PhotographyAugust 19, 2011 - 10:43 am

    Good for you Jen…and what a way to take a stand for those being bullied. @Jeremy – SHAME ON YOU, for SHAMING on JEN. If two of the parents commented back to her email, then it sounds like the girls already had role models who wouldn’t allow this type of behavior! They are old enough, to know better. Tough love and reality check sometimes are the only way to bring people down from their high & mighty chair. You can’t feed the one who bites you, if Jen would have continued with the sessions, it would prove nothing more than you can get what you want by acting ugly. By NOT doing the sessions – it proves that bad behavior is not rewarded!! Good for you Jen, hope this encourages others to stand up for the innocent & the weak! God bless you!

  • Nike@ChooseToThriveAugust 19, 2011 - 11:01 am

    Jen, I just commented on your FB page, but BRAVO. Bullies get away with being cruel when no one stands up and says, “Enough. As a society we will not allow you to behave so terribly.” It takes guts, it takes risk, but you’ve showed just how much one voice can make a difference. We need more ‘Jens’ to do what you did — to say “I don’t want to photograph/be friends with/work with/hang out with/play sports with someone who’s ugly.”

  • Krissy VAugust 19, 2011 - 11:05 am

    We need more people like you in this world. Bullying must not be tolerated, and I’m glad you took a stand. My 16 year old daughter is gay and has had to deal with a lot of this type of behavior since she’s been out, and it really shows the UGLINESS inside of those who are doing the bullying. Your photographs are beautiful, and I wish we were in your area because we’d gladly hire you to do her Senior portraits! 🙂

  • Sarah E.August 19, 2011 - 11:05 am

    AMAZING! I am inspired. Please contact me if you want a client from Michigan.

  • Nicole LAugust 19, 2011 - 11:08 am

    Personally – the only thing I would add to this – is I would contact the person being bullied and give that person one of those girls sessions! If for no other reason to prove all of the comments WRONG. 🙂 Go Jen!!! I can’t tell you how much I stand behind ALL that you have said!

  • […] I came across one of the coolest blog posts this week that I wanted to share this blog post for a several of reasons. The post was written by a photographer in PA. Long story short, she came across a Facebook hate page that was bullying other children. She noticed some of the students that were behind the page were clients and had photography sessions scheduled with her. Knowing it could hurt her business, she cancelled their shoots and is refusing to photograph people who are “ugly on the inside”. You can read her entire blog post here. […]

  • Mark McCallAugust 19, 2011 - 11:32 am

    This is probably the worst business decision I’ve ever seen.

    Your forgetting that beauty is inferred, not implied….meaning, while you may think some of your clients are ugly, I guarantee you that their families, friends, spouses, parents and grandparents all feel they are beautiful.

    I think the backlash you’ve created will far overwhelm any good you feel inside because of your rant.

  • VivianAugust 19, 2011 - 11:36 am

    Talk about being a great role model, you did the right thing. I hope you are blessed with so, so much success. I wish corporate America would take a cure from amazing small business owners like you.

  • ErickaAugust 19, 2011 - 11:43 am

    As a person who was once bullied, and as a resident of State College, I appreciate what you did.

  • Seraphino's PhotographyAugust 19, 2011 - 11:51 am

    @Mark – She never said the thought they were ugly (image wise)…she said they “acted” ugly! and she clearly stated that even two of the four parents replied back in agreeance of an unacceptable “ugly” behavior! Pretty is as pretty does!

  • Meredith FenwickAugust 19, 2011 - 11:52 am

    As a small business owner myself, I totally understand how this decision can effect your business. You are so RIGHT to do this though and I am proud of you for standing up for what you believe in, no matter how it affects your business. You RoCK.

  • AmyAugust 19, 2011 - 11:53 am

    Jen – Great job! Thank you for taking a stand against “Ugly” behavior. I have seen very little back lash to your comments. Those that say you are a bully for addressing “Ugly” behavior are wrong. I have a 1 year old child and I am responsible for addressing his fits when he has one and guiding him to be an upstanding member of society. There are consequences for the choices we make in life. Thank you for showing those girls grace by not using their names publically and for showing them their choices have negative consequences. May your business grow because of your integrity.

  • MelanieAugust 19, 2011 - 11:54 am

    WOW! I love people like you who hold others accountable for thier poor charachter & actions! With all the teen suicides cyber bullying needs to be taken serious! Kudos to you, Jen!

  • GretchenAugust 19, 2011 - 12:04 pm

    Thank you Jen for taking a stand and doing it in such a professional manner! PS I was looking through some of your pics and they are absolutely awesome!!!!

  • Upstander! « Nerdy Apple BottomAugust 19, 2011 - 12:05 pm

    […] Just came across this […]

  • Rick StermanAugust 19, 2011 - 12:08 pm

    Absolutely, Dead ON, Solid Perfect Call on this one and you are to be applauded for having the moral fortitude to do this.

    Doing this was a tremendous risk, but you, as the owner, get to make the call and I also believe it was the right decision.

    What you did and HOW you did it showed a level of CLASS and Responsibility that these young bullies NEED to learn at some point.

    Very Brave to make this call and I hope it all works out for.

    Am wondering, for the two sets of parents who apologized, are you going to go ahead with them, or is this decision final??

    Best of Luck with your business, I think you will do quite well.

    Whoever raised you is probably the PROUDEST person in the world, right now. Now you’ve passed some of that CLASS onto others.


  • ElenaAugust 19, 2011 - 12:13 pm

    I so admire and support your decision, Jen. Only a photographer who is passionate about what she does would have acted like so – may your talent and courage always make you shine!

  • […] Photographer Jen McKena did something that many business owners will not do, she followed her heart instead of the money. Jen’s blog showcases her wonderful work, but it also lets readers into the hopes and fears of a small business owner. Let’s face it, times are tough and it is always scary to be your own boss. When Jen found a handful of young women, her clients, bullying on Facebook she informed them she would not be their photographer. […]

  • BrianAugust 19, 2011 - 12:16 pm

    I don’t think Mark read the article, and instead went by the title. That is the only way he could have come up with saying it had to do with inner beauty.

  • BobAugust 19, 2011 - 12:19 pm

    thanks you.

  • Kristin AlfordAugust 19, 2011 - 12:26 pm

    Thank you so much for taking a stand. I can only hope that others follow in your footsteps. I was a bullied teen, and an adult finally held one of the bullies accountable – I’d never felt more relief in my very young life – because finally someone else validated my belief that bullying is wrong, and that it was happening to me. My hats off to you, and though I have a meager presence on Facebook and Twitter, I have shared your story and will continue to celebrate your stance!

  • KeithAugust 19, 2011 - 12:28 pm

    If there’s backlash, you’ve got 198 comments to the contrary to cheer yourself up with.

    I think this is great. If I lived in Pennsylvania (and, uh, had any money), I’d find some reason to hire you.

  • Jaime PAugust 19, 2011 - 12:36 pm

    You’re awesome!!! Good for you for taking a stand!

  • Lauren NygardAugust 19, 2011 - 12:46 pm

    BRAVO, Jen!

  • MagAugust 19, 2011 - 12:52 pm

    Amazing and well written. Good for you! I’m so happy to see there are such good hearted people out there.

  • ColinAugust 19, 2011 - 12:55 pm

    I applaud you. I am 52 years old and I have not forgotten school. I avoid walking past a school, preferring to go the long way.
    You will not suffer for your stand and may not even notice just how much you will gain from your stance.

  • Laura O'ConnorAugust 19, 2011 - 12:58 pm

    I admire and applaud your stand against bullying. I love that you aren’t allowing business to trump your morals and that rather than ignoring it, you took action. That act says SO MUCH for the integrity of both you and your business. I pray that given the same set of circumstances I would be brave and bold enough to make the same decision. You’ve inspired me!

  • JenniferAugust 19, 2011 - 1:05 pm

    I am extremely touched by this story, and think you did a wonderful thing. As an artist and photographer myself, (who also works a day job in Advertising & Marketing), I’ve been told on multiple occasions that I’m “too emotionally connected” to succeed in the business world. I always disagree and feel that emotion is what makes artists GREAT at their job, no matter what the medium. BRAVO for showing that artists can be successful. You are an inspiration!

  • SheilaAugust 19, 2011 - 1:06 pm

    How can anyone not admire you? You’ve made every one of us who cringe at stories of bullying proud. Thanks for your strength and for taking a stand. May your life continue to be a beacon to others.

  • Dixie Lee DobbinsAugust 19, 2011 - 1:07 pm

    I am sick of the “MEAN GIRLS” attitude that is prevailant amongst teens these days? Why? What is the deal? I have ended a photo shoot early because the daughter was hateful and rude and mean to her mother. I told the girl that i could not find the beauty in her when I was so upset at her behavior to the person who gave her life, bought her a suitcase full of MISS ME jeans and was screaming at her mother! The mother was embarassed by her daughter and apologized for the daughter. I told the mother that she had to stop apologizing for her 18 year old daughters behavior and hold her accountable. Since then the daughter returned, was much more respectful and I also asked her to leave her cell phone in the car during the session. I dont allow cell phones in sessions anylonger. I caught one girl texting saying that I was “a HIPPO!” (I am a size 16 but a HIPPO? )
    These young ladies need to act like young ladies and not bullies and prima Donnas! Its nuts. Thank you for standing up! Im so proud of you! We should all adopt this policy!!! Facebook allows many to be hateful and rude and its just not right. Thank you again!!!! THree Cheers for you JEN!

  • KaceAugust 19, 2011 - 1:09 pm

    I understand. Bullying is sickening and sad. It would be hard to be happy go lucky around someone you KNEW was being a bully or if you knew someone else’s deep dark secrets. But aren’t we all just as ugly and disgusting and sinful inside? No sin greater than the other. All equal. I really do get it. I’m just afraid for the logic of this. Am I so much better than the bullying teenager, even though I’m so humanly selfish? Even though I might have a temper sometimes? We were loved as sinners. The ONLY perfect human being to ever grace planet earth loved those sinners. Did he rebuke them? Sure. But how did he do it? I just don’t know. Thought a different perspective might help us all look at this from a different angle. I, by no means support bullying! And I’m sure that by informing these parents- maybe, hopefully those kids learned a very valuable lesson! All this commending and patting each other on the back has me confused. If I ever had to do something like this- I would hope no one would pat me on the back for it. There’s nothing that I’ve done that makes me good. We are, after all, inately bad. I dunno…just thinking out loud here. Did no one else here not really see this as a triumph?

  • Teresa (Embracing the Spectrum)August 19, 2011 - 1:11 pm

    I think that’s a wonderful idea. They’ll find someone who is willing to take their pictures, but I think it’s great that you care that much!

  • Dan BainAugust 19, 2011 - 1:18 pm

    Outstanding executive decision on “ugly” people — good for you! I’m a writer, and I wouldn’t want to misrepresent a subject in words; it’s absolutely your right to take the same stance with your photography subjects. Proud of you!

  • David DylanAugust 19, 2011 - 1:22 pm

    As an amateur photographer, and a person, I agree 200%.

    Good call.

  • meridithAugust 19, 2011 - 1:23 pm

    I just read about this on CNN – big hugs to you, Jen! You handled it beautifully!

  • KathyAugust 19, 2011 - 1:48 pm

    oh and just to comment on the one that said you would lose business……anyone who won’t do business with you is probably not someone you want to do business with anyway….

  • KristenAugust 19, 2011 - 1:59 pm

    Thank you for showing that character counts!!

  • DITAAugust 19, 2011 - 2:24 pm


  • […] told Channel 4 Action News’ Ashlie Hardway. Read more She wrote about her decision on her blog. I wish there were more people like her in the world. If there had been when I was in school, I may […]

  • KellyAugust 19, 2011 - 2:40 pm

    P.S.- Your photography is AWESOME! Wish I was in your area b/c I just know you could take the greatest pics of my little guy 🙂

  • Carolyn EvansAugust 19, 2011 - 2:45 pm

    Kudos to you, Jen, for standing up for what you believe in – regardless of the consequences. I know it’s scary to take a strong stance when you are self-employed, but I firmly believe you did the right thing. You’re on the right side of this debate! And the good karma you’ve created will more than make up for any ignorant negativity that may come your way.

  • Holli TrueAugust 19, 2011 - 3:29 pm

    Wow, Jen. What a tough situation. I commend you for standing up for what you believe in, I know sometimes it isn’t easy and the the results can be costly. Bullying is such an issue these days, it’s not something anyone should ever have to deal with. You are a brave & inspiring woman! Way to take a stand!

  • Mike BAugust 19, 2011 - 3:47 pm

    Way to go!

  • Donnie MaxwellAugust 19, 2011 - 3:51 pm

    Impressive! I absolutely love the instant accountability that you are providing these girls and their parents. I would be absolutely ashamed if I had a teenage girl that had done that. I am not saying that it could not happen to me in the future, but I truly hope that this same thing happens if any of my girls do something like this. Thank you!

  • Zach ClarkAugust 19, 2011 - 3:54 pm

    Good for you, and please know that you will have my support, my applause, and my business. As someone bullied relentlessly for nearly a decade, I can’t stand ugliness either.

  • Heather NealAugust 19, 2011 - 3:55 pm

    This is wonderful! I think if people were treated according to how they acted instead of how they looked the world would be a much nicer place. Because of you these kids will remember how they treated someone else forever and maybe will think twice before doing it again when they realize there are consequences to their actions.

  • Rachel VanovenAugust 19, 2011 - 3:56 pm

    As a girl who was bullied in Jr. High/High School to the point of being suicidal over the awful things said to and about you…I thank you! So amazing what you did.

  • SherriAugust 19, 2011 - 4:26 pm

    I have also shared your blog. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Taking a stand against bullying is wonderful! I’m sure you gave those girls something to think about. Pretty is more than just what is on the outside. Great job. 🙂 God bless you!

  • Amanda PlummerAugust 19, 2011 - 4:34 pm

    You did the right thing. Which isn’t always easy, or in your case profitable. God Bless you… and may this be a wake-up call for these young women. You may have made a differance in at least one life, for the better.

  • BrianAugust 19, 2011 - 4:36 pm

    I applaud your decision to not do business with the bullies. Sadly, they are unlikely to learn any lessons from it.

  • robynAugust 19, 2011 - 4:59 pm

    You were just on our local Orlando WESH 2 News (NBC affiliate)!

  • HowardAugust 19, 2011 - 5:03 pm

    One million starts with one. You’ve take a courageous stand and said “Not me, I will not cooperate.” For all you know the beautiful photos you take could be used by the bullies to further justify their belief they are “beautiful people.” Thank you for showing the world who these people really are!

  • DancerAugust 19, 2011 - 5:11 pm

    Beautiful. Brava!

  • Susan BethAugust 19, 2011 - 5:19 pm

    As someone who loves photography, and is a hack who likes to learn about taking photos, thank you for showing a professionalism with what you do that goes above and beyond what most people would be willing to do. Thank you for taking a risk and believing in what is right. As a parent, I hope if anyone ran across comparable trash from my child, whether on line or in person they would take such action. You gave a very real consequence to those girls, and I can only pray they learn from it and can work to re-sculpt their character as a result. To quote Oz Guiness: “Character counts!”

  • MelissaAugust 19, 2011 - 5:45 pm

    Jen your amazing! Props to you for doing what most wont!

  • FranAugust 19, 2011 - 5:46 pm

    You are awesome!!!

  • HeatherAugust 19, 2011 - 7:08 pm

    I was really glad to read that some of the parents thanked you and said they were going to address the issue. And I hope that the girls realize their behavior is wrong and change.

  • Honolulu, HawaiiAugust 19, 2011 - 7:10 pm

    YOU are a BEAUTIFUL person, inside & out!!! Not many people would make that choice, knowing they might suffer financially. AWESOME! I love it!

  • TROAugust 19, 2011 - 7:40 pm

    I ‘like’ the way you think (he he he).

  • Kate Anderson {Plumeria Album Design}August 19, 2011 - 7:57 pm

    This was in my twitter feed. I wanted to commend you for making the right decision for yourself and your business. Sometimes we need to be reminded that we stand for our business, and our business stands for us also. I was one of the bullied girls growing up, and I wish someone would have stood up to them similarly. Thank you!

  • MortyAugust 19, 2011 - 8:22 pm

    I’m sending you applause from Australia for your action in this – it’s good to see someone willing to stand up for what they believe in. I only hope it will teach these mean and nasty girls something.

  • alisonAugust 19, 2011 - 8:25 pm

    way to make a statement indeed! wish you the best!

  • monstergirleeAugust 19, 2011 - 9:01 pm

    Character, it’s what you do when no one’s looking.

    Good for you, nicely done.

  • PhillipAugust 19, 2011 - 9:39 pm

    Brave choice. As a former advertising agency creative director, I understand the importance of knowing the impacts of the work you put out there. It’s not all done in isolation. Choices matter.

    Uncle to Ryan Patrick Halligan

  • KisatrtleAugust 19, 2011 - 9:40 pm

    A friend recommended ur blog and now I know why. I think what you did was awesome

  • MichelleAugust 19, 2011 - 9:46 pm

    Good. For. You 🙂

  • Alena @ Little Bit Of WonderfulAugust 19, 2011 - 10:39 pm

    Way to go!! I will definitely have to remember this sad lesson when I finally get to go into business myself.

  • Nelson ÁlvarezAugust 19, 2011 - 10:44 pm

    Hello from Chile. Thanks for setting this good example, Jennifer. I will share this with my students.

  • Susan ReynoldsAugust 19, 2011 - 11:21 pm

    HOORAY for you, Jen!!! You knocked this one out of the park! You hit the nail on the head with this post (catchy title too!) I applaud your stance, and will share this with others. Amazing work and astounding backbone! You WILL succeed, you WILL SOAR and I am rooting for you 100% You are a strong, brave and talented woman and have opened the eyes of a lot of people with this post! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with the world!
    Susan from SOAR… xo!

  • […] not really sure. What I do know is that one woman has taken a stand. A stand against bullies. Not just a cheap show that falls apart the second […]

  • JulieAugust 19, 2011 - 11:35 pm

    Proud to be the almost 300th (!) comment in support of your choice. I only wish you were closer so I could hire you.

    Yours will be the best kind of success, since you’re not compromising who you are to get there.

    Hats off!

  • RlynnAugust 20, 2011 - 12:21 am

    You are awesome. Thank you. I was bullied horribly as a school kid. I’m 31 now but it still affects me today. Thank you for standing behind your conviction and sending the message that at least there is someone out there that doesn’t think bullying is just kids being kids or cute or funny. Thank you.

  • Michael GubaAugust 20, 2011 - 12:47 am

    I agree whole heartily with what you did !! Good for you for sticking to your principles. Being a IUP Comm Media grad myself, I have seen too many businesses selling out for the buck. Do not fret about the backlash because ironically, this will probably help your business even though that wasn’t your intention.

    Having been bullied for many years verbally, physically and emotionally I know how it feels. It changes you forever. Maybe this will let kids realize there are consequences to their stupid, ill thought-out and immature actions.

    Too many people think they can be mean spirited and bully someone. It is bad enough to do it in person on a small scale but to hide under the cloak of the internet and put it out there for the world to see is pure cowardice. I know everyone wants to be liked but let them do it for the right reasons. People should put themselves in someone else’s shoes before they open their mouths to be mean, critical or verbally ugly.

    As Ellen DeGenneres would say, “Hey everyone, let’s be kind to one another !!!” I think she would also say Good for you, Jen !!

    ~ Michael Guba

  • Rachael FeuchtenbergerAugust 20, 2011 - 1:30 am

    I saw this through my photographer… This is a wonderful ” what would you do” moment!! When you know something is not right what do you do with that information? Do you take the additional income or do you do what’s right? Social morality is in the toilet these days, and everyone needs to learn from this lesson. Ask yourself what would you do if you know something is wrong? Congratulations to you Jen!

  • NadiaAugust 20, 2011 - 2:08 am

    That is awesome! Good for you!!!!

  • :Donna MarieAugust 20, 2011 - 2:17 am

    Jen, in a world filled largely with people who ARE ugly on the inside, I am thrilled that your sense of integrity, morality and very simply being appalled by what is blatantly WRONG is what mattered most to you. What is so perfect about this situation is that you’re a photographer! Your job deals directly with the aspect of life that has largely to do with what people look like on the outside.

    This world, in general, has become camera-happy, and I’m talking about the people wanting their pictures taken because it’s all about “getting attention” and becoming a “celebrity.” To me, one (of MANY) who epitomizes this is Kim Kardashian. She is ALL about the camera and getting attention. I don’t care how attractive she is on the outside–to me, she is incredibly ugly and disgusting.

    Yay for you, and thank you for doing something that is all too rare. You did it because you can’t help but be the person you are: one with high values. You did it for that reason and the message you sent has grown exponentially. How gratifying and satisfying it is to me (and many others) that a message actually WORTH repeating and getting attention—IS!

  • Sarah CutrightAugust 20, 2011 - 4:01 am

    Awesome job, Jen! I applaud anyone who can put their own integrity first in their business, rather than pushing it under the rug for “the green”.
    Good for you for not being just another greedy phony bull#&@%er!

  • CarrieAugust 20, 2011 - 4:44 am

    Fantastic!!! You have single-handedly restored my faith in people, that you would take such a stand and put morality before profit. I applaud you!

    Were I not in a completely different country, I’d even contact you for any photography needs, I’m that impressed 🙂

  • MaureenAugust 20, 2011 - 7:59 am

    You go, Jen! Wonderful actions!

  • BetteAugust 20, 2011 - 8:31 am

    Well done.

    I think what people tend to forget is that true beauty comes from the inside, not the outside. The outside stuff is really just pure luck. Either luck of the draw naturally, in that all the parts come together in a manner that fits with the current ideas of beauty, or artificially, with lots of cash used to put the parts together in a manner that fits with the current ideas of beauty. But true beauty will shine through, no matter what, if we’re willing to see it. You seem to be willing to look for it beyond the superficial, which is far too rare nowadays.

    If the husband and I are ever in your neck of the woods, we’ll give you a call. Hopefully you’d consider us worth a bit of your time. 🙂 Until then, all the best.

  • PolishSpringAugust 20, 2011 - 8:48 am

    Girl! You are my hero!!!

  • StephenAugust 20, 2011 - 8:54 am

    Well done and well said!

  • […] https://jenmckenphoto.com/blog/2011/08/17/if-youre-ugly-i-wont-take-your-photo-indiana-county-pa-phot… Advertisement GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_bg", "ffffff"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_border", "cccccc"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_text", "333333"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_link", "0060ff"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_url", "df0000"); GA_googleAddAttr("LangId", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Autotag", "movies"); GA_googleAddAttr("Autotag", "entertainment"); GA_googleAddAttr("Autotag", "business"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "anti-bullying"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "ethics"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "great-business-practice"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "inspiration"); GA_googleFillSlot("wpcom_below_post"); Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged anti-bullying, ethics, great business practice, inspiration. Bookmark the permalink. ← Photo session giveaway! Celebrating the birthday. […]

  • MalinaAugust 20, 2011 - 9:40 am

    does that include people who are abusers, pornographers, and evil do-ers? What would happen if God gave you the ability to see and photograph beautiful souls? What a gift and what a curse! would you still be able to make money? You have officially entered crusade territory. Be prepared to be vilified and sanctified. Love your stand.

  • JoeAugust 20, 2011 - 10:01 am

    Jen- I’m an advanced amateur photographer, and saw the title of your blog on an AOL News link. The title of your blog made me curious, then I read your article and I agree with you completely. Way to go!!! I wish you were closer- I’d be honored if you could shoot my daughter’s senior portraits this year.

  • SylviaAugust 20, 2011 - 10:19 am

    It’s great that you have the luxury to hand-pick your clients. Good for you, in this economy, that you can afford to turn away customers. But as noble as your stand may be, it just seems wrong to judge teenage girls based on some online comment they made. In a few years they will grow up, and know better. Calling someone “ugly on the inside” is judgemental and self-righteous. And makes me think of the phrase “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”. I would not give you my business, or want you to photograph any of my friends for the fear of being scrutinized, judged, and then publically criticized. You must be either very young, or very inexperienced.

  • Liz GossomAugust 20, 2011 - 10:33 am

    I truly hope the girls in question consider the consequences of their behavior and make changes and also make it right with the people they have hurt.

  • Liz BureAugust 20, 2011 - 10:51 am

    Hello, Jen McKen, you are my hero.
    As an elem art teacher, I applaud your courageous actions. In my field, we call people like you “super-bystanders,” and your super-power lies in your ability to zap evil powers from otherwise good kids.
    Why do I get the sneaking suspicion that your gutsy move is going to heap good karma on your soul. Oh, I know, because if you lose any business I’ll personally put my darling son in the car & drive 600 miles to your studio for the honor of being photod by a hero.
    Thank You!
    Humanity everywhere 🙂
    C/o Liz Bure

  • Jen WeintraubAugust 20, 2011 - 11:48 am




    You go, girl.

  • JulieAugust 20, 2011 - 12:09 pm

    I was bullied relentlessly in junior high and high school. It’s been thirty years, and there are STILL members of my class that believe they’re entitled to bully others. I really appreciate your stance on this. When I see those who believe they’re entitled to make another person miserable, I’m always going to speak up. I’m glad you did, too.

  • JessAugust 20, 2011 - 12:35 pm

    I love you just for that. Now a fan of yours.

  • BeckyWAugust 20, 2011 - 12:53 pm

    My daughter has been bullied. It was devastating to her. She went through so much as a result and it has left scars. Our whole family suffered. I am so happy to hear that someone like you would make such a stand.

  • DanielleAugust 20, 2011 - 1:16 pm

    Awesome! Sorry it happened but glad you made a stand. I have often wondered about that as I photograph someone.

  • Amanda NippoldtAugust 20, 2011 - 1:31 pm

    I saw this on AOL news, and I have to say…Bravo. Yahoo news just posted an article about how cruel the internet, particularly facebook can be and how its changing children/teenagers perspectives about themselves. I think this awesome and thank you for standing up in what you believe no matter what.


  • MelissaAugust 20, 2011 - 1:48 pm

    Love this! It is so refreshing to see someone take this stand and be this brave when you are a small business owner. Ultimately this will make you more successful and I am completely stoked about that! Congratulations and job well done!

  • vivAugust 20, 2011 - 1:53 pm


    I support your decision and absolutely agree with what you are doing 100%!

    I am a little unclear how you originally came across the facebook page with the hurtful comments on it, though. I’m not big into facebook so I guess it’s my ignorance speaking, but how do you accidentally come across something like that? Had someone you know “liked” it on Facebook, or were you looking up pages using that high school’s tag or what?

  • […] our session trying to take beautiful photos of them knowing they could do such UGLY things,” she wrote on her blog. “Realistically, I know by canceling their shoots it’s not going to make them […]

  • Virginia KleaverAugust 20, 2011 - 3:14 pm

    @ Sylvia: How do you know these girls are going to “know better” in a few years? If no one stands up and tells them that what they’re doing is wrong, I doubt much is going to change. Some people grow out of the bullying phase, but sadly, quite a few adults never do. “Some online comment” might not mean much to you, but I’m sure it meant a whole lot to the individuals being bullied.

    Cyber-bullying is becoming a serious issue, and in case you didn’t get the memo, teens have been killing themselves over this type of thing. People who choose to cyber-bully do need to be called out in a public way if this is going to stop. It’s not self-righteous to stand up and say “This is wrong” when something is so clearly WRONG.

    And I’m sure Jen is going to be much too busy photographing a new clientele of people who prefer a professional with some real ethics to worry about the few small-minded people who might stop coming to her now. Bravo, Jen McKen!

  • sarahAugust 20, 2011 - 3:19 pm

    I just wanted to say that I truly believe that what you’ve done is the right thing. I’m sure you’re already aware, but another local photographer has a very strong opinion about this as well. However; his opinion about the situation is very negative, and he has posted his feelings on his facebook page. Some of the other things he’s posted recently has lead me to decide to “unlike” his fb page. He is saying that YOU are the bully for this post on your blog, for accepting the interview with wtae, being on the news, and for the article that was in the gazette this week.
    Obviously, he’s a part of the minority who feel that what you’ve done was negative. Please know that in the impact you’ve made in our community has been a positive one, and that others will follow your lead to put a stop to bullying!

  • DRAugust 20, 2011 - 3:21 pm

    If it’s “young and inexperienced” to turn away business based on a conviction that we should be respectful and protect the hearts and minds of others as much as we can? Then I hope this young woman stays that way the rest of her life. You seem quite cynical and jaded to make such a comment, I’m certainly glad to see that there are people who actually act with conviction ilk Jen instead of just harping at her from the sidelines. I think you’re the one who has some growing up to do.

  • lizAugust 20, 2011 - 3:48 pm

    So many people have already chimed in, but I had to let you know how much your story touched my heart. Sometimes I wonder why human beings are so cruel to each other when we are all on this journey through life together. I was bullied in school, and as a young woman, the impact on my self-esteem is still readily apparent. However, I hold my head up high today knowing that there are people out there who are willing to put themselves on the line to stand up for others being trampled upon. I am so incredibly glad that you have garnered such publicity for what you decided to do, and I hope you find your business flourishing. If only more people were willing to stand up for what is right so that others might not have to suffer. You are a beautiful person inside and out- your actions have shown what kind of soul you have, and it is truly outstanding. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

  • MelissaAugust 20, 2011 - 4:58 pm

    Jen McKen, rock on. I hope this makes you a millionaire – you’re already a wonderful human being!

    When I need a photographer, you’ll be it.

  • LailaAugust 20, 2011 - 5:00 pm

    Well, I hope this doesn’t count as backlash because I don’t really think you were wrong in what you did. I just think that there are very few girls that get through their teenage years without doing a few mean, stupid things. I’m glad no one wrote me off as ugly (on the inside) and felt I couldn’t change by the time I was 17 or 18. Now that I’m a mom of 2 girls, I try to teach them right from wrong, but I know they are going to make a few mistakes. I hope they aren’t written off when they do, but instead get appropriate consequences and learn from their mistakes so they don’t grow up to be “ugly” women.

  • […] our session trying to take beautiful photos of them knowing they could do such UGLY things,” she wrote on her blog. “Realistically, I know by canceling their shoots it’s not going to make them ‘nicer […]

  • KataAugust 20, 2011 - 6:27 pm

    When someone linked me to this article, I fully expected to leave this page seething… but I’m absolutely not. This is a wonderful thing you’re doing, and you’ve made my day. I agree, people who are ugly on the inside are terrible.

    <3 good on you!

  • Jocelyn CarlisleAugust 20, 2011 - 6:31 pm

    You are beautiful for what you have done. Both inside and out.

  • […] idea of Ugly Parents came from a blog post about one woman’s unique reaction to bullying. Photographer and small business owner Jen McKen is now refusing to photograph “ugly […]

  • David JayAugust 20, 2011 - 7:20 pm

    Props for standing up for what you believe in. We need more people like you in the world!

  • Belinda GomezAugust 20, 2011 - 7:24 pm

    Why didn’t you just meet with the girls and their families? Seems a bit heavy on traffic.

  • Roxanna RayaAugust 20, 2011 - 7:44 pm

    I feel the same way. As a dressmaker I have been asked to make a fabulous prom dress a
    and the client does not understand that the dress does not make you. You make the dress. A nasty attitude shows through. Don’t expect me to make you look like something you aren’t.
    Sorry. It doesn’t work like. Roxanna

  • EEAugust 20, 2011 - 9:10 pm

    As someone who spent much of her childhood being bullied for being fat, I love this. These girls who were harassing another person now have very real consequences to face. Will it make a difference; will they learn? Who knows, but it sounds like at least two of them are in for some Serious Trouble, so I hope it makes an impact. I don’t know if the victim of these girls’ actions will ever know what you did, but I hope she does. I know when I was a kid, having someone else — especially someone who didn’t have to — stand up for me meant a lot because it was so rare.

  • Ugly PersonAugust 20, 2011 - 9:16 pm

    I applaud you for how you handled this situation! A little more unsolicited feedback for you: I wish you would change your post title and language revolving around this issue. It seems a bit harsh and maybe even bullyish to call these young women ugly people because of their hateful posts. I would hate to be labelled as an ugly person because of bad decisions made as a teenager, especially when national press is involved. I don’t agree that ugly behaviors automatically equal an ugly person and I think almost everyone deserves a second chance. Thank you for your actions and conviction and all the best to you.

  • KellyAugust 20, 2011 - 9:37 pm

    This is just great. I was relentlessly bullied in middle and high school and no adults who had the opportunity to step in ever did, even those whose responsibility it was. It isn’t often that you see someone actually put their source of income on the line for something they believe in like this. Even if it doesn’t change the behaviors and attitudes of the girls involved, it sends a strong message that they way you act matters, and as a *former* victim it feels great to see some “mean girls” get what they deserve!

  • BrittanyAugust 20, 2011 - 11:35 pm

    You are simply amazing for making this decision. What goes around, comes back around and it hit these girls hard. As we know, senior picture day is pretty popular amongst high schools in the country, so to be turned down by you was a great move. They will always remain ugly in the inside and nobody wants to see the fake smiles of the heartless. Plus your photography is lovely, they do not deserve to be photographed by you. Kudos! <3

  • H E Gatewood IIIAugust 21, 2011 - 4:16 am

    It is wonderful to see a “regular” person do “the right thing”. Thank you for making a the world a little better.

  • Tina from AustraliaAugust 21, 2011 - 7:33 am

    Good on you for making a stand. Great to see all the support you’ve had. Stand proud.

  • cardosoAugust 21, 2011 - 9:07 am

    You know the old saying, “evil triumphs when good men do nothing”, and the Internet is full of good people doing nothing, because “it´s just the internet”, “hehe serious business”, etc.

    Congratulations, you did the right thing. A bully only exists because people don´t care as long they´re not the ones being bullied.

  • Jennifer SolerAugust 21, 2011 - 10:16 am

    Grateful for your stance. p.s. I graduated from IUP.

  • MaryAugust 21, 2011 - 11:24 am

    Imagine if we all did this – made it socially unacceptable to be a shallow, mean piece of crap person. Imagine if those types of people faced social consequences for their behavior, rather than being put on the fast track to be someone’s boss someday.

    Hooray for you. And hooray for the parents who, instead of the knee-jerk “My Bratleigh is perfect!” reaction, are actually going to INTERACT with their child and use this as a teachable moment.

  • Denise MacKayAugust 21, 2011 - 11:32 am

    You’re my hero. Nice job sister. I always say to my children, “treat everyone with kindness and respect because you want to go back to your high school reunions with your head held high.”

  • Mike99August 21, 2011 - 11:34 am

    Bravo to you! I support your decision and hope others follow your example. Mean IS ugly, and those who engage in bullying should be discouraged, punished, and shunned.

  • […] I Won’t Photograph Ugly People by Jen McKen Photography. Read it, especially if you have teens online. She refused to take the senior portraits of a group of girls when she came across their hateful speech and postings on Facebook. I applaud this photographer as a photographer myself, as a girl who was bullied in high school, as a woman and as a mother. […]

  • Martha BuchananAugust 21, 2011 - 12:46 pm

    Good for you!!! Hooray!! It is wonderful to know their are still people in this world who will do the right thing. BRAVO!

  • aprilAugust 21, 2011 - 2:02 pm

    I just read an article about a woman posting on Facebook that she took pills to kill herself – and not one of her “friends” checked to see if she was okay. She died. I thought how horrible people had become. Thank you for proving that some decency still exists.

  • LarissaAugust 21, 2011 - 2:07 pm

    GOOD FOR YOU! I think this was an important lesson for those people on two fronts. One is that there are consequences to their actions. Second is that they need to be more conscientious of what they post online because it could greatly affect them later. Good job!

  • Julie ReneeAugust 21, 2011 - 2:44 pm

    Good for you! SO proud of you for making this (difficult, but courageous) decision.

  • Susan ChristensenAugust 21, 2011 - 3:13 pm

    LOVE IT! My mom always told me: “Beauty is skin deep. Ugly is to the BONE!” Good job taking a stand.

  • […] photographer’s blog post in regards to the article (I strongly suggest you read this!):  https://jenmckenphoto.com/blog/2011/08/17/if-youre-ugly-i-wont-take-your-photo-indiana-county-pa-phot… Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in […]

  • JenAugust 21, 2011 - 4:58 pm

    From one Jen to another, very well done!! I think we should all stand up to bullies with actions that disarm them such as what you have done. Your actions are very inspirational.

  • […] been posting mean comments about others on a Facebook page. In a post on her blog titled, “i won’t photograph ugly people,” she writes: “Now I realize it’s going to be hard to know that every person that […]

  • mandy kravetzAugust 21, 2011 - 5:48 pm

    Finally!!! Someone calling out female bullies. The psychological warfare they wage causes lifetimes of suffering for their victims. Because it’s not “tangible” it often goes completely unnoticed. Thank you Jen!!!!

  • Lori StronginAugust 21, 2011 - 6:12 pm

    THANK YOU for taking a stand against bullying. Your bravery and strong ethical code are inspiring, and I hope more people take a page out of your book and do the right thing.

  • KimAustinAugust 21, 2011 - 6:19 pm

    Ultimately, bullying is a form of extreme judgmentalism and what everyone has failed to realize is that Jennifer’s blog post is itself a form of bullying. By calling people MEAN and CRUEL and condemning these “UGLY” people in a public forum–she has become exactly what she is ranting against.

  • Mickey BernalAugust 21, 2011 - 6:55 pm

    You need to change your wording to I won’t photograph bullies. Saying you won’t photograph ugly people makes it sound like you don’t like people that aren’t beautiful. Good for you for taking a stand against bullies

  • WhitneyAugust 21, 2011 - 7:06 pm

    Hi Jen,

    Read about your story and I have to applaud you. Way to stay true to your character and not hold back. I love that you said you refused to photograph ugly people. I greatly admire you – I think you’re a strong woman who sent a clear message that beauty – or ugliness – is within.


  • Gina WadeAugust 21, 2011 - 7:24 pm

    I think what you did was very brave. I am now a “fan” of yours too!

  • Meg BurkeAugust 21, 2011 - 7:29 pm

    Jen, you are my new idol.

  • […] posted about her decision on Facebook and also blogged about it, and has gotten tons of positive feedback and media coverage since. Here’s an […]

  • saraAugust 21, 2011 - 7:56 pm

    As an educator, it’s my job it help prevent bullying but having the students from 9-3 is just not enough hours in a day. I will personally recommend your photography service and keep you in mind for my own pictures BECAUSE of what you did. Any business you may have lost will be REPLACED with “beautiful” people inside and out. I believe the company you keep is a direct reflection on yourself and who you become. Kudos to you for surrounding yourself with good people and setting an example for others to do the same.

  • karenAugust 21, 2011 - 7:59 pm

    Congratulations on doing a brave, powerful and righteous thing. I am hopeful that this young women learned an important lesson early in life. I know it wasn’t easy for their parents to receive that information, but it gives them the opportunity to set them straight. I hope it works.
    I have a 12 year old and a 9 year old. They are NOT on facebook, and I am so relieved. There is so much ugliness in the cyberworld. It is a powerful tool that should only be used for positive things.
    Bless you Jen, and wishinng you much success in the future!

  • KellyAugust 21, 2011 - 9:13 pm

    I think your decision not to photograph these girls showed a great deal of character. Your decision to make the story public – even without publishing their names – doesn’t show the same level of thoughtfulness. While I get that you’re hoping to call attention to bullying, I can’t help but think that it comes across, as another person indicated, a little bit harsh. Kids can say terrible things to each other and that’s not okay. But saying terrible things about those kids doesn’t make it okay either.

  • ChuckAugust 21, 2011 - 9:48 pm

    Kim, calling someone’s behavior for what it is doesn’t make you a bully…how would you describe the actions of these 4 girls? Thoughtful? Caring? Compassionate? Didn’t think so…and to Jen, you deserve a standing ovation for sending a message to the bullies of this world…keep up the good work!

  • JoanneAugust 21, 2011 - 10:53 pm

    I am soooo proud of you!!!! I am a Mom and I hope and pray that my own daughter grows up to be a strong woman like you! I LOVE what you did and from all those that have been the victim or are this minute the victim of bullying…we applaud you!
    God Bless YOU!!!!

  • Jeff Finkelstein - Customer ParadigmAugust 21, 2011 - 11:21 pm

    As a photographer who works a lot with teens, and the father of two daughters, I really applaud what you’ve done. Great, great job!

  • LaurieAugust 21, 2011 - 11:50 pm

    Nice!!!! Way to go Jen. Thank you so much for standing up. Thank you for not letting the loss of business from these 4 girls stop you from doing the right thing. There is so much greed these days. You brought back some of my faith. Thank you!!!

  • Kim W-DAugust 22, 2011 - 2:30 am

    Congratulations on a moral stand, Jen. My son attends IUP and is someone who was laughed at in school, but didn’t really seem to realize it due to his Aspergers Syndrome. He was nominated for Homecoming King, earned 7 varsity letters, was team captain for CC and Track, became an Eagle Scout, and received numerous awards, scholarships, and honors over his high school career. The biggest bully in elementary school earned 1 award at graduation and only played Varsity baseball 2 years due to his junior and senior years, not skill(he played very little). If only these bullied children who ended up committing suicide could have held on, they, too, could have been successful. But that’s easier said then done, especially without adult interference. Hopefully more people will stand up for what is right. However, to accuse the parents of teaching this behavior to their daughters is wrong (not that you accused them, but some commentors). I have an 18 year old daughter that would rather “fit in” then “stand out.” I have always been one to root for the underdog, but she is very sarcastic and judgemental. I continue to pray that she will learn compassion, because I think deep down she has it. But girls especially are so wrapped up in an image, and when they have a low self-esttem, they try to make themselves feel better by trashing others. It’s really sad, because they don’t see that it only makes them look bad to everyone else. Two sets of parents were obviously concerned. I think 2 of the girls will have a change of heart. I’m not from the computer age, so I have no idea what my kids have on facebook without someone letting me know. You did the right thing by putting it in the parents’ laps.

  • Gry OffernesAugust 22, 2011 - 2:47 am

    I have just one comment; I just love what you did!!

  • Glossolalia BlackAugust 22, 2011 - 7:26 am

    Ugly is as ugly does. Anyone feeling sorry for these girls has to know this. There’s no false equivalence here. I wouldn’t photograph your ugly, hateful children, either, and neither should she.

  • […] Jen McKen Photography’s facebook page is filled with positive comments and accolades. […]

  • […] decided to cancel the sessions and posted on her blog that she doesn't want to photograph "ugly […]

  • […] “I mean how could I spend two hours with someone during our session trying to make beautiful photos of them knowing they could do such UGLY things,” McKendrick writes. “Realistically, I know by canceling their shoots it’s not going to make them ‘nicer people’ but I refuse to let people like that re… […]

  • StephanieAugust 22, 2011 - 10:30 am

    Can I just say, I FREAKIN LOVE YOU!!! What you did was awesome, and I hope it has a positive affect on these girls and your business. It’s easy to be mean to people it is not easy to do the right thing and call them out! I’m so so so glad the parents were informed 🙂 hopefully the girls will look back on this when they’re older and realize what bitches they are

  • […] decided to cancel the sessions and posted on her blog that she doesn’t want to photograph “ugly […]

  • HoomanAugust 22, 2011 - 11:28 am

    Cheers! Well done well said.

  • […] the ones on her client list, and subsequently cancelled the shoots. In a blog post titled “I Won’t Photograph Ugly People“, McKendrick writes,This morning I sent out 4 emails to those clients while CC’ing in their […]

  • NicoleAugust 22, 2011 - 11:52 am

    I think it was brave of you. I applaud it!

  • CarrieAugust 22, 2011 - 11:53 am

    I applaud you! I once worked for a photographer who would not photograph physically ugly people – he said it wasn’t good for his portfolio. I knew that my reaction to such a statement would get me fired quickly, and it did! It only took a month for him to show his true colors to me. I don’t work for ugly people anymore.

  • […] the ones on her client list, and subsequently cancelled the shoots. In a blog post titled “I Won’t Photograph Ugly People“, McKendrick writes, This morning I sent out 4 emails to those clients while CC’ing in […]

  • Prasanna EllantiAugust 22, 2011 - 12:15 pm

    I came across this on PetaPixel.com.
    Fair play Jen – good to know decency, morality, and ethics still exist…and down with cyberbullying.


  • […] daughter learned to play angry birds, or what she calls: “bad birds.” Second this blog post: I won’t photograph ugly people went viral on: The Huffington Post. I feel saddened that kids/teens are being bullied. I feel […]

  • BJ BuchananAugust 22, 2011 - 12:27 pm

    Kudos to you, and to the parents that apologized! You are proof that there are ways to maintain a sense of conduct and community online There was a time when the adult community was expected to guide the kids of their community. If Mrs. So-and-So saw you skipping school, your mother would know before you got home. A code of conduct was understood and enforced. Nowadays, people are reluctant to say anything to a misbehaving child. Schools have too long been an environment of lawlessness in terms of bullying. I long for the day when parents, teachers and school staff create a code of conduct against bullying that’s enforced.

  • AneleAugust 22, 2011 - 1:01 pm

    The world needs more people like you.

    I wonder if those girls would like to share senior pics with the comments they made splashed across the bottom if they’re so proud of being so internally ugly.

  • LindseyAugust 22, 2011 - 1:11 pm

    Jen, I just wanted to say that I’m proud of you for standing up for what you believe in. I was always bullied for being “fat” and it’s nice to see someone like you sticking up for the victims of bullying. Good for you! And by the way, your photos are amazing.

  • SandyAugust 22, 2011 - 1:13 pm

    As a kid who was bullied from the age of 7 to I left school at 18, I just wanted to THANK YOU!! You have NO idea what your actions mean to someone like me. I wish there were MORE people in the world like you! You are a HERO!!

  • Marion KnoxAugust 22, 2011 - 1:14 pm

    Great for you. I find people that bully in any form are cowards and should be called out on it. Oft times parents like to say what their kids are’nt doing, but if they are’nt with them 24/7, they can’t say what they will or will not do.

  • Marian PayneAugust 22, 2011 - 1:25 pm

    Yeah! I LOVE what you did and I applaud your chutzpuh!

  • ShannonAugust 22, 2011 - 1:34 pm

    You are awesome!

  • BarbaraAugust 22, 2011 - 1:52 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Imagine what this could start if the WEB were used to shame those who are destroying young lives with bullying, ostracizing and even exhibiting violence towards those who are different or who don’t measure up to the marketplace’s constant push for perfection. If the internet is the new village, the those of us who are descent human beings in this vast village need to do what you have done and let it be known. Our children need to know that the bullies are the real uglies, not them. Good for you Jen Mcken!

  • Crystal LynnAugust 22, 2011 - 1:59 pm

    This is so awesome! Way to go…your message is strong, and has reached so far in a short amount of time. I just shared with all of my facebook fans, and I hope that they too will pass along your story! Thanks for being awesome!
    Crystal Lynn

  • Alicia@CharityweddingAugust 22, 2011 - 2:02 pm

    BRAVO! Someone HAS to take a stand against these kinds of things and I know many times the parents truly have no idea. I don’t blame them, I was a teenager once and how much I could hide if need be. But that means other people, like yourself, have to take a stand when they see it. You never know the impact what you did could be having. You could be saving lives. Good for you!!

  • BrittyAugust 22, 2011 - 2:02 pm

    I’ve only recently been harshly bullied by a relative, and we’re both adults! Now that I know how horrible cyberbullying is, I’ve been trying to take a stand against bullying and do what I can on my end. I’m just so happy that you’re doing what you can on your end. I wish that you lived closer, I would get all of our family photos done with you!

  • CarolAugust 22, 2011 - 2:10 pm

    Well done! These girls just learned a valuable lesson.

  • Meg BeauchampAugust 22, 2011 - 2:18 pm

    You have officially started the new trend of making it UNCOOL to bully!! Fabulous idea-best of luck to you in your business.

  • Carol Dean SharpeAugust 22, 2011 - 2:30 pm

    BRAVA!!!! You are definitely one of my self-employed heroes.

    Many many years ago (almost 25?), a self-employed typesetter I knew took on a job from the local Catholic Bishop. While she was working on the project, the Bishop came out against the local United Way (which she strongly supported) because Planned Parenthood was one of their charities. She had already accepted the Bishop’s project, which was under deadline, and decided it would be unprofessional of her to quit…but she refused to accept payment for the job. Of course, the Bishop didn’t get the point and merely enjoyed the savings, but my friend knew that her conscience was clear. (I would have been inclined to donate the payment to Planned Parenthood in his name…but that’s me.)

    We each have to determine where the lines are and which ones we are or are not willing to cross. I have been asked by potential customers to bead copies of other people’s designs. That’s easy: not happening.

  • B JAugust 22, 2011 - 2:46 pm


  • CatherineAugust 22, 2011 - 2:55 pm

    Followed a twitter link here and read this aloud to my housemate, we’re in agreement: you rock! Never stop doing what you know is right!

  • JulieAugust 22, 2011 - 3:00 pm

    I just finished reading the story and BRAVO to your stance against bullies. I found it to be refreshing to see a professional more concerned with morality and not the bottom line… BRAVO again… Nicely Done!

  • LisaAugust 22, 2011 - 3:06 pm

    You ROCK Jen!!! THank you for standing up for what’s right!

  • Andrea GraceAugust 22, 2011 - 3:28 pm

    HOORAY to you! Having 3 girls (oldest in middle school) I witness the harm that hurtful words have. I want to pull the nasty girls/boys aside that say nasty things and give them a piece of my mind. Alas, I know that would not change anything. Thank you for standing up for the girls that were being so horribly spoken of. The world needs more random acts such as yours.

  • Chi LeAugust 22, 2011 - 3:35 pm

    Great blog! I just read an article about you on Yahoo & Huff Post. Thank you for standing up to bullying. I was picked on a few times in school by a couple people, but never so bad that I hated going to school. But, some of what a few people said to me still stays with me. Mostly, just because I was so shocked people could be so mean. You are totally right. CHOOSING to be ugly on the inside is just not cool.

    After reading a few of your recent blogs, I must say, I actually like reading your viewpoints and how you write. Some of the charm of your personality is evident in your blog writing. I certainly hope this new fame that is putting you and your work under the public’s eye will end up being a positive thing for you. There are certainly going to be hateful people who just want to spread their ugliness to others, esp. towards people who are trying to do the right thing. Please ignore them. And know that I am yet another person who applauds what you did. Much luck with your business & life! Cheers! 🙂

  • SAugust 22, 2011 - 3:35 pm

    Knowing how bad it was just ten years ago, I would hate to be in high school now, with facebook and all other prevalent social media. It might not be far reaching or matter in the grand scheme of things, and those girls may not admit it- but you taught them a lesson. Thumbs up.

  • Jon ArrowoodAugust 22, 2011 - 3:37 pm

    Jen, as a fellow photographer, I applaud your response to this. I pray that your moral stand will inspire other professionals in all disciplines to have the same courage of conviction, and that you will prosper because other potential clients chose to do business with you because they have seen the content of your character.

  • StephanieAugust 22, 2011 - 3:41 pm

    Inspiring! Awesome! You Rock!!

  • Al SalernoAugust 22, 2011 - 4:15 pm


    I just recently had the same experience, these kids were leaving death threats to each other. After a few parental bogus lawsuit threats in the end turned out to be such a liberating feeling! I knew I had made the right decision and although I probably expressed too much personal opinions in my letters I was very confident I made the right choice in the end.
    Hopefully more photographers will do the same in the future. In a time where we glamorize so much of our lives on FB and online, the message we must send to these young people is whether they in fact are living the true reflection of that which they portray on FB, none the less this is how they will be judged. and not only that, its is just as permanently left behind as verbal words, maybe even more so. This also goes for posting inappropriate photos of themselves at parties or with friends. Much like a tattoo anything you leave online will be with you the rest of your life. As a Photographer I certainly to not want my images associated or immortalized with anyone who cannot treat their fellow man or woman with the respect he or she deserve.

  • DougAugust 22, 2011 - 5:48 pm

    What were the mean, ugly, cruel comments, though? I admire your temerity, but I think its fair to know what was said that made you decide to do this…

    If I just accepted your negative opinion about someone else, then I’m doing the same thing that you’re trying to fight against, after all!

    Redact anything that would make it obvious who its referring to, but I do think it should be available so we can see for ourselves.

  • StephanieAugust 22, 2011 - 6:26 pm

    As someone who was bullied all through grade school and high school, THANK YOU. It will be 10 years since I’ve graduated next year, but I still carry those scars with me every single day. Knowing one person will still stand up for what’s right makes me smile.

  • GlarkonAugust 22, 2011 - 6:33 pm

    Way to stand up to them! It’s pretty rare for someone to do that nowadays…

  • DanaAugust 22, 2011 - 6:33 pm

    I am sick and tired of cowards standing up for hateful people by saying that defending yourself against hateful people makes you just like them. Pardon my French, but that’s bullshit. There have been SO many times in my life that I needed to know that a person I was interacting with had a history of being a jerk. It would have saved me SO much grief. I think I could count on ONE hand the number of times anyone’s ever bothered warning me. Then I was blamed for THEIR behavior. “Well, you should have avoided that person.” How the HELL was I supposed to do that when everyone who knew that person was pathological “stayed out of it to be the bigger person” and I was a sitting duck?

    Ms. McKen hasn’t even called these girls out by name. That’s the sad part. How in the world can you bully someone when you haven’t even singled them out? How the HELL is that anything LIKE the same thing as what these girls did?

    You know what, you people out there who are whining about this? YOU are just as big a bully as the girls Ms. McKen is calling out because YOU STAND BY AND LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT.

    And just for the record I’m from Louisiana and I understand exactly what Ms. McKen means by “ugly.” That is exactly how we use the word down there. Yes, sometimes it means looks, but just as often it means behavior and attitude, and these girls definitely fit the bill. Take that from someone who IS physically ugly and hasn’t taken offense at Ms. McKen’s wording in the slightest. Ms. McKen, you are my hero.

  • LadySidheAugust 22, 2011 - 6:38 pm

    The effects of bullying can last for years for those who have had to deal with bullying in school, so I give you a standing ovation for what you did. I think rather than harming your business, your taking a stand against such nasty, childish behavior will help. I certainly hope so!

  • CaitlinAugust 22, 2011 - 8:18 pm

    I was bullied throughout elementary, middle, and most of high school. People don’t want to believe that the effects can be this long-lasting (it’s been ten years for me) but they do last. Thanks for taking a stand.

  • Bradley BassAugust 22, 2011 - 9:30 pm

    Am I the only one to say that I am glad that I don’t have to pass the inspection of a service provider who trolls my facebook every time I want to buy something. They would not be “representing” you if they purchased your service. Better that you had just informed the parents about what you found as a private citizen and then still be available to provide the sevice. I think this is a little sanctimounious.

  • MichelleAugust 22, 2011 - 10:31 pm

    That was brave and I feel the right thing to do. I am proud that some people in This world still stand up for what is right. Good job!

  • AngiAugust 22, 2011 - 10:56 pm

    You go girl!! My wedding photographer from a few years ago posted this blog. I have a full-time job but volunteer with teens. As an advisor I want them to learn what is right and how to be leaders. We have held a lot of bullying meetings because it is heart breaking. You have done a good thing. You stood up for what you felt is right. Thank you. I am sure your business will do just fine.

  • […] decided to cancel the sessions and posted on her blog that she doesn’t want to photograph “ugly […]

  • […] decided to cancel the sessions and posted on her blog that she doesn’t want to photograph “ugly […]

  • KollinAugust 23, 2011 - 12:08 am

    Just read this through TIME, and I was once picked during junior high and still remember it until now (15 years!). THANK YOU for taking the stance! and as a fellow photographer, I have the courage to raise my own bar, NOT to be a pleaser for my customers all the time. You did the right thing!

  • […] decided to cancel the sessions and posted on her blog that she doesn’t want to photograph “ugly […]

  • […] You can read the original article here. Melbourne Event Photography Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this post […]

  • bruceAugust 23, 2011 - 1:30 am

    You did the right thing. The only way to educate stupid puppies is to rub their little faces in their own shit.

  • LucyAugust 23, 2011 - 1:45 am

    Bullies maintain their power over victims through the bystanders who do nothing. BRAVO to you for not being a helpless bystander and for calling these mean girls out!!!

  • MikeAugust 23, 2011 - 2:10 am

    As an educator I’ve seen plenty of vile, hateful words and the impact they can have on others. It is our moral responsibility to act and to do our best to make it stop.

    At the same time, as a parent, I can say that vast majority of us don’t set out to raise hateful children. Kids frequently make terrible choices with terrible consequences. I’ve seen kids from “good” families make such choices and technology frequently amplifies the consequences.

    As adults our job is to call attention to kids’ ugly behaviors and hopefully guide them to be better human beings. I truly believe, particularly in the case of children, that 99.9% of the time there is good in there and as adults we can help kids to more frequently act on the good.

    So, while I appreciate the intent of your actions, I have to wonder about the impact of naming these kids ugly as opposed to naming their behaviors as ugly. Was there an opportunity lost to make four girls look inside and change?

    I don’t believe that people, particularly kids, change by being debased or dehumanized; I do believe that by calling out immoral actions as ugly and shining a bright light on the implications of these actions, people are more likely to do so. While the latter offers more opportunity for redemption, the former more often continues the cycle.

    I do appreciate the forum you’ve created this important topic. Thanks!

  • SherriAugust 23, 2011 - 4:02 am

    I love it! You rock, lady!

  • […] 居住在宾夕法尼亚的职业摄影师Jennifer McKendrick近日在自己的博客上发表了一则以“我不拍丑陋的人”为标题的声明,声称她取消了为一些女高中生拍照的预约,原因是她认为这些人非常“丑陋”。 […]

  • CarlaAugust 23, 2011 - 5:36 am

    Well done you. I completely agree with you and doubt very much you will get a backlash. I have always detested any form of bullying, and if I was to find out any of my clients were bullies, I would do the same as you. x

  • Bridal jewelleryAugust 23, 2011 - 6:52 am

    Just seen a link to this post on Facebook and had to pop by to say well done! Congratulations for having the guts to stand up to the bullies. x

  • Eric FernandezAugust 23, 2011 - 7:47 am

    Jen… Kudos to you… Be strong and don’t let anybody alter your peace and professionalism. It’s those little things that contribute to a better society. Wish you nothing but success with your business – GREAT PICTURES.. LOVE’EM!!!

  • HectorAugust 23, 2011 - 8:29 am

    If there were more people like you in this world, things would be a lot better for all the kids that suffer bullying.

    Good Job!

  • JoeAugust 23, 2011 - 8:33 am

    You actions, while taken in the name of righteousness and would be considered noble by millions of people, raises some questions about your logic. I raise these issues not to ridicule you, because you had a right to make the decision you made, but to encourage deeper thinking about how humans interact in society.

    First, your decision not to photograph the individuals is based upon your discovery that they engaged in poor behavior after they became clients. Did you stipulate beforehand to your clients that you will not work with people who engage in behavior disagreeable to you? If not, I would say that your actions would be considered frivolous, since the individuals did not know beforehand. In other words, you changed the terms of the mutual agreement between service provider and consumer after the agreement as consummated. Where do you draw the line in terms of what behavior is okay by you and what behavior is not okay by you? This is a subtle point, but trust that business agreements will be honored is basic requirement of capitalism.

    Secondly, just because you didn’t see it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. In other words, are you 100% sure all your previous clients did not engage in behavior you would have disapproved of had you found out? If you now find out that a previous client was a bully, what would you do? Let it slide, or call them out? Will you research all your potential clients going forward to make sure they are not bullies? You would be remiss to believe that people are as they appear, as you have recently discovered! Sometimes it is easier to be lied to than to be told the truth.

    You were fully in the right to take the actions you did, but personally I am skeptical as to your logic and future consistency of your actions.

  • […] էր լուսանկարել : Ահա թե ինչ է գրում լուսանկարիչը իր “I Won’t Photograph Ugly People“ գրառման […]

  • andrew freidAugust 23, 2011 - 9:12 am

    in a society that, it seems to me, grows increasingly narcissistic and self involved/important by the day, I find what you did to be, for lack of a better word, AWESOME! have a nice day…

  • […] Jennifer McKendrick, from Indiana County, Pa., wrote on her own Facebook page earlier this week that she came across another Facebook page with nasty comments from four high school girls whose names matched her scheduled clients. […]

  • Bradley BassAugust 23, 2011 - 9:36 am

    Right on Joe. Seems like most of the people posting are remembering their own experiences with bullies and are glad they are getting some payback rather than the actual moral clarity of her actions. Your points are spot on.

  • Meg @ Meg's Ragged EdgeAugust 23, 2011 - 9:56 am

    Hi! I wanted to say you go, girl. Bullying is never right, and all I can say is you handled this in an extremely awesome way. I hope those girls did learn a little something, though. (You said in your blog you didn’t think it would change them, but I hope that they’ll think twice before bullying again.)

  • Tim from Radio ClashAugust 23, 2011 - 10:09 am

    Quite right – I can’t see how you can spend hours with someone gaining their trust and working with them to do a good portrait and creating good photos with that knowledge…the trust is gone right there, and I’m sure you could do the shoot, but that knowledge about them would probably leak through somewhere into your work, or destroy your experience of it – either way that’s not conducive to doing the best job for them – so it’s right to request they go to another photographer. And good on you for standing against bullying!

  • Jim SAugust 23, 2011 - 11:00 am

    @ Joe: You made two points, both of which can be refuted. Your first is mostly about the legality of breaking a contract. While this might interest a lawyer, it has little to do with morality. If the photographer broke a contract, she would be civily liable, but my guess is that no one commenting here cares about this. I know I don’t. Your second point is on the consistency of her “policy”. She clearly stated in her writing that she is aware she can’t spot every “ugly” person who walks in her door. Nor is it her job to do that. But when (as she wrote) the ugliness is presented right in front of her, she has the ability to act on it. Case closed.

  • […] She blogged about it over at "I won't photograph ugly people". […]

  • JoeAugust 23, 2011 - 11:38 am

    @Jim S – You refute my first point by “guessing” that “no one here cares about this”- is a terrible statement to make. So we can ignore people when they raise questions/concerns because we can? That is a dangerous precedent in any setting! Communication allows for understanding and analysis; shunning people because you don’t like what they have to say has caused grief for many in the history of mankind…

    But I digress.

    Your second point re-establishes that Jen has the right to do what she did, which I do not refute. She HAS THE RIGHT to do what she did, by her own policies, which you restated. But my concerns are that we, as human beings, need to consider where to draw the line and how consistent we need to be in terms of going about our lives.

    Yes, she is going to take action when the ugliness shows up in front of her, she can do that.

    But, the question is, are you saying that something only exists when you see it and doesn’t when you do not? Think carefully here.

  • KimberlyAugust 23, 2011 - 11:42 am

    I wish I lived in PA so I could bring my family to you for our family portraits! What an amazing woman you are to stand up to snotty teens. I think this WILL make an impact on those girls and be something that they’ll remember!

  • DanielAugust 23, 2011 - 11:47 am

    thank you

    we need more people like you in this world

  • DanielAugust 23, 2011 - 11:52 am

    Thank You

    we need more wonderful people like you in this world.

  • KristenAugust 23, 2011 - 11:52 am

    As a high school teacher, I commend you. I wish more people were like you and had the strength to stand up and not tolerate bullying.

  • SharonAugust 23, 2011 - 12:03 pm

    Good for you!! Sometimes it takes a slightly older person to stand up to the bullies. We had to do it a couple of years ago to protect several girls. And now that bully (and her mother) leaves that group alone. Unfortunately, she has moved on to harass others. You wouldn’t happen to know the school photographers around the LaGrange, IL area would you. So many ugly people at my daughter’s PRIVATE high school.

  • SwaraAugust 23, 2011 - 12:11 pm

    I think your SO brave for doing this! The world need more people like you! Your defiantly an awesome inspiration!

  • […] to explain why she canceled the shoot. McKendrick elaborated on her decision in a blog post titled, “I Won’t Photograph Ugly People”: …how could I spend 2 hours with someone during our session trying to take beautiful photos of […]

  • Debbie PAugust 23, 2011 - 12:20 pm

    Good for you for doing what you felt was right. We as a society need to stop ignoring and rewarding bad behavior. To address someone above that stated that anyone that agrees with what you did was obviously bullied and mistreated when they were younger is wrong. I wasn’t bullied and was popular throughout school and I have seen many ugly things said and done to people. It’s wrong and cannot be ignored any longer. Our children are killing themselves because of things people do and say about them.

  • BrittanyAugust 23, 2011 - 12:23 pm

    So many people think that what they say and do online has no consequences. These girls learned the hard way that what they did was wrong and had some bad consequences. Bullies need to be exposed. I was a teen not too long ago and I was terribly picked on. I can only imagine how embarrassing it would have been to have a well known business owner show their parents what they were really doing when they were supposed to be learning.

    As a fellow professional photographer, I commend your efforts. I am not sure what I would have done in your situation but you are brave.

  • Melissa DAugust 23, 2011 - 12:35 pm

    The world needs more people like you, Jen. You give me hope for humanity!

  • AprilAugust 23, 2011 - 12:43 pm

    As a survivor of really cruel bullying, I commend you! It was long enough ago that the comments were in writing and it was called a “slam book” but those comments went viral (verbal) before long. If an adult had possessed the courage and morality to stand up for me, my childhood would have been very different.

    Way to go!! I totally agree with what you are doing. On the contract issue – well, aren’t those worried about it missing the larger point here? If it were my daughter behaving this way, a contract with a photog would be the last thing on my mind.

    Girls need to know this kind of thing is NOT OK. The consequences of their actions are further reaching than they think. There is enough cruelty between humans these days. Time to shift.

  • CherylAugust 23, 2011 - 12:57 pm

    Thank you. I no longer live in western PA, but I was proud to see someone from my neck of the woods take a stand against mean-spirited people. I only wish you had been around 30 years ago when I needed you.

  • JosephAugust 23, 2011 - 1:04 pm

    Well spoken, madam. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • BrandonAugust 23, 2011 - 1:48 pm

    I think that you are a hero. As a new teacher, you really act as an inspiriation that I will take forward as I go into education. @Sylvia , man, sometimes we can judge, I got with “judge by the content of their character bit” of my favorite orator..
    You can’t judge everything, and people need to be free, but there needs to be ballance, and yes, we can judge people, especially when their freedoms interfere with others ability to enact their own.

  • BrandonAugust 23, 2011 - 1:54 pm

    @Joe I agree you can’t see the curelty, b ut taking action on what you can might instil in people that in this case, might instil in a few people who are not quite as cruel that this is not the right way.. If it hinders another bully, or cruel act.. it is worth it..
    We are remembered for what we do for others, and the myopitic attitudes many people have are self destructive and lead not to happiness most of the time..
    She cannot catch them all, but she can make her stand make them feel maybe a little awful while they are being shot knowing her stance..

  • KateAugust 23, 2011 - 2:08 pm

    Your business, you returned the deposits – I have no issue with it and no one else should either. I applaud it.

    In fact as a working mother with 3 small kids at home I recently made a change in my in home care giver / nanny for the past 3 years because she has been engaged in bullying and mean-ness with another of our part time sitters that just came to my attention. When the mean nanny protested and said the other girl stole her job that she did not of this at work etc – I told her that as the mother of my children I would make child care decisions that were best for my kids and I believe being empathetic and modeling kind, empathetic behaviors to be a job requirement and based on her behavior outside of work with another employee of mine (and sometimes she brought the behaviors into my own home even if they were not directed at my kids my kids were a witness to it) that she was out of a job effective immediately.

    I was never bullied or a mean girl but knew plenty of girls who were either bullied by others or mean girls themselves and i have to say damn that felt good!

  • OurGrowingGardenAugust 23, 2011 - 3:39 pm

    I think it’s so great you are taking a stand against bullying! Go you!

    Our Growing Garden

  • Anne KitzmanAugust 23, 2011 - 3:41 pm

    Good for you, I applaud you! I’m also a photographer with a small business and I would have done the same thing. I totally understand what you mean by not wanting photos of those girls to represent your business. Beauty shines from within and it shows in a photograph … and in this case what is “within” those particular girls is not beauty. I can’t imagine spending a few hours trying to shoot “glamor” photos of those girls, knowing how they really are.

  • […] Check out her blog for the full story. […]

  • HannahAugust 23, 2011 - 4:23 pm

    What you did is such a great example. Too often people stand idly by while bad behavior is taking place and by doing so are really condoning it in a way. By taking a stand and letting those people know that their behavior is unacceptable you took action and made them accountable for their actions. More people need to take courageous action like you.

  • JamiAugust 23, 2011 - 5:15 pm

    You did the right thing. Thank you for your courage, and for sharing your story. I hope it encourages others to do the same.

  • TeriAugust 23, 2011 - 7:26 pm

    Praise in public; scold in private.
    What you did was right for you and your business.
    Writing about it publically is where you fall into a similar pattern as the offenders.

    You don’t need to be praised publicly for a private decision, or it alters the intention of what you’re doing.

    You should also change your contracts. “Joe” was right; it taken to court you could be held to take the pictures. If a contract was signed, and consideration (money) was exchanged — you are legally bound unless disolving the contract was mutal or the other party violated a stipulation.

    Just an extra helping on your food for thought 🙂

  • LisAugust 23, 2011 - 7:53 pm

    I know you’re getting a zillion emails about this, but I *HAVE* to comment to you.. to thank you. I’m also a photographer and I have turned down jobs because the person was ugly on the inside. It’s nice to see I’m not alone. It’s nice to see you shared this publicly. And it’s nice to see you are honestly taking the moral ground by not sharing the same mud back. Thank you.

  • NiamhAugust 23, 2011 - 8:08 pm

    I was viciously bullied online in high school, and despite having screenshots, printouts, and names, none of the adults I told were willing to help me. Thank you for standing up to these girls, Jen. Someone needs to do it. ♥

  • Kacey @ Acorn StudiosAugust 23, 2011 - 9:51 pm

    I commend you for making a bold move and thinking with your heart (not your wallet). I am so frustrated by the media stories of children/teens being bullied in school and online. The fact that you took a stand really is heart warming. I hope more people are willing to take a stand, I know I am!

    As a mother and a former kid who was teased in school, “Thank you!” You are setting a wonderful example to business owners and showing that even small steps make a HUGE difference.

  • WendeAugust 23, 2011 - 9:54 pm

    Thank you. I want my 5 year old daughter to grow up with someone like YOU as her hero.

    You made a hard decision and you took a stand for what’s right. I salute you.

  • wandaAugust 23, 2011 - 10:44 pm

    Oh yea! You go girl! I like a person that stands up to any bully! God will bless you. Wait and see.

  • Susan in NYAugust 23, 2011 - 11:01 pm

    the world needs more Jen McKen’s. You are a true hero!

  • […] 居住在宾夕法尼亚的职业摄影师Jennifer McKendrick近日在自己的博客上发表了一则以“我不拍丑陋的人”为标题的声明,声称她取消了为一些女高中生拍照的预约,原因是她认为这些人非常“丑陋”。 […]

  • Maddy MooreAugust 24, 2011 - 1:46 am

    This kind of bums me out. I understand that it’s your company and branding and I HATE all forms of bullying just ask much as you do. The fact of the matter is, people make mistakes and the cyber world. Calling them “cruel” and “ugly” is pretty harsh. They are teenagers, did you do anything as a teenager that you wish with all your heart you could take back? You sound like you are saying your will only work with “perfect” people. Maybe those girls aren’t bullies, maybe there is more to the story. You also have no idea what these girl’s lives are like or what their relationships with their parents are like. “CC”ing their parents seems more like tattling than anything else. You could have just talked with the girls directly, and I don’t understand why you needed to post this in public. This looks like more of a publicity stunt than anything else. You jumped on the “anti-bullying” band wagon and got a lot of views, but you may have also been really hurtful in the process.

  • BrookeAugust 24, 2011 - 6:03 am

    I clicked on this from a photographers feed/group I am a member of and I had a totally different idea of what the content was going to be from the headline.
    I really LOVED this post. And I want to thank you for coming out and talking about it publicly!
    I completely agree with you and I think if more people were more proactive as you have been, I hope it would be a much different world!
    Thank you for posting that!

  • […] stumbled upon a great post by a photographer, Jen McKen who lives in Pennsylvania.  She’s taken quite a stand against bullies and is to be applauded for her actions on her […]

  • […] The Slippery Slope of Choosing Your Subjects by Vincent Ferrari Posted on August 24, 2011 Last night I posted on facebook the following: “If I’m wrong, please speak up. I came across a page on facebook that was created (by someone under a ficticious name) thats purpose is to bully,  ridicule and say mean and hurtful things about their class mates. While visiting the page, I found several teenage girls that have scheduled sessions with me for their senior pictures. I am emailing them tomorrow to cancel their shoots. I do not want them to represent my business and I am beside myself at how MEAN and CRUEL they were on that page. via jenmckenphoto.com […]

  • CatAugust 24, 2011 - 9:39 am

    This is my opinion, but I think the bigger thing to do would have been to address the girls who were bullying and their parents and left it at that. This just screams “Look at me! I did a good deed. And btw, this is great for exposure!” A wise man once said, “Blessed are the humble…” 😉 Just my two pennies.

  • David SturdyAugust 24, 2011 - 10:22 am

    Thank you for being able to stand for something Jen. I stumbled across this from one of my friends, and I have to appreciate the fact that their are people that act on what they believe.

  • Lee Hawkins Living PhotographyAugust 24, 2011 - 12:11 pm

    I’m glad to see that integrity and speaking out against something wrong are not completely dead! I’m a photographer who’s just getting started in the Cleveland area, and I decided early on that I wasn’t going to photograph anyone or anything I don’t feel comfortable photographing–it’s even in my contract! I knew it could potentially cost me clients, but let’s face it, we’re artists, and we work for ourselves–so we can make decisions like that to make sure we can sleep at night and protect/build our good name–and a good name is worth more than all the money in the world! I wouldn’t fret over all of the other photographers following you now (some of whom may be way awesome), because ultimately they like you for something far more important than the quality of your work–they like you for your INTEGRITY. People criticizing you for speaking out against bullying and inner ugliness, and who believe your opinions have no place in your business, really do not understand that plenty of other business people have opinions and PAY GRAND SUMS to get people to share their opinions with ads, perks, and lobbyists–and all to make a bigger dollar; these people who disagree with you better hope their barber doesn’t think they’re ugly, or they could say the wrong thing and find themselves getting stabbed with scissors! It’s important to stay true to yourself, especially in this business, and my hat goes off to you for doing so!

  • JohnAugust 24, 2011 - 2:23 pm

    Very impressive! There’s a book, [The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t, by Sutton] – this life/business experience should append many of the examples the book has to offer; It really helps underscore the need for ‘goodness’ to prevail – no matter the consequence. thx for sharing!

  • EmilyAugust 24, 2011 - 2:54 pm

    @ Joe

    As they say, “Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

    Just because she is incapable of consistency because she can’t have perfect knowledge of her clients, doesn’t mean there is a problem with her taking action when she does have knowledge. I believe that’s what Jim and Jen both said.

  • Liz J in Central IllinoisAugust 24, 2011 - 3:32 pm

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for posting this!! I was a very shy person while growing up, and was bullied all through school. I had very low self-esteem and just didn’t quite know how to stand up for myself. It took me many, many years to finally start feeling good about myself.

    I wish someone like you had been around when I was in school, to help out people like me!

  • DawnAugust 24, 2011 - 4:25 pm

    I think you are extraordinary. I also have to shake my head that anyone would comment otherwise. I am also venturing into small business in a field where everybody’s got questionable ethics. I want to sleep well at night. And if that means dropping a client or two who doesn’t represent what I myself strive to be, so be it. I’m VERY proud of you.

  • […] she blogged about it and wrote, “If you are ugly on the inside, I’m sorry but I won’t take your […]

  • […] screen shots of the offensive posts, emailed the students and their parents, and wrote about it on her blog. I went to her Facebook page and, when people said there have been “hundreds” of supporting […]

  • NegAugust 25, 2011 - 12:43 am

    The problem is you’re taking one instance of a person’s online life and then judging their entire character by it. We may all do/say things things that we are not necessarily proud of, but there’s always a reason and one misstep does not a bad person make. Maybe these girls are having problems at home and taking it out on their classmates. Should someone should talk to them about it? Heck yes; parents, counselors, you name it. Does the problem have anything to do with you as a photographer? No. Reporting it was the right thing to do, but refusing their business is the definition of unprofessional. If you can’t separate your personal feelings from your work, you’re not going to do yourself or your future clients any favors.

  • MaraAugust 25, 2011 - 1:40 am

    Beautiful. Wonderful. Fantastic.

    I really hope this makes a difference to those girls.

    I wish there was someone like you around when I was in high school.

  • […] motionless to cancel a sessions and posted on her blog that she doesn’t wish to sketch “ugly […]

  • Kelly SauerAugust 25, 2011 - 9:55 am

    I feel it’s important to note here that clients don’t represent a photographer’s business. A photographer represents her own business. This decision – and its publicity – is now a part of your identity as a photographer.

    As photographers, we SEE. It is our job to see. We see the stress and the insecurity and the grit and the awkward. We live in (and sometimes break up) the dynamics and drama that surrounds the people we shoot. We build trust with our clients, that we will not show their awful back to them, let alone to the world.

    You may not see visible backlash from your decision right now, but I think you may find a reluctance from clients to trust you in the future, knowing how you responded to this situation.

  • […] perhaps some of you may be missing. Incase you are wondering, this is in reference to how “I Won’t Photograph Ugly People” and the other blog post “ummmmm….Thank […]

  • Cindy LooAugust 25, 2011 - 2:06 pm

    All these comments saying you will have clients not trust you in the future, or that the girls who made the website might have problems at home, or regret it so much.. yada yada yada.. It all is crap to me. I think not being the photographers to teenage girls who are online bullying people is the right thing to do. These girls might not know everything, but I know for a fact they know what bullying is and what cyber bullying is. They know it is wrong, and they know what it does in the lives of the people they are bullying. How dare someone stick up for a bully, when in this day and age numerous teens are killing themselves for what these people do and say. We need to teach these bullies a lesson. The simple fact of refusing to be their photographer is a just and reasonable way to punish these girls for their unacceptable actions. If they do have problems at home, now is a great time for their parents to step in. Hopefully now some sad teenagers out there are getting a break from their peer tormentors. You did the right thing. If other people don’t like it, they may as well wear a sign that says, “I support teenage suicide” I think its sad we let bullying go that far. Shame on those girls.

  • […] a few of her clients because she caught them bullying other students on Facebook. Jennifer wrote on her website that she will not photograph any ugly people by saying “If you are ugly on the inside, I’m […]

  • Michelle BAugust 25, 2011 - 3:00 pm

    I think you made the right decision! I raise a glass to you 🙂

  • […] few of her clients because she caught them bullying other students on Facebook. Jennifer posted on her website that she will not photograph any “ugly people” by saying “If you are ugly on the inside, […]

  • […] on what she read on the page, Jen wrote on her blog: “I do not want them to represent my business and I am beside myself at how MEAN and CRUEL they […]

  • Beth AnnAugust 25, 2011 - 3:51 pm

    BRAVO! I think you made a wonderful choice and it speaks highly to the business people will be supporting. If I lived closer i’d look forward to having you shoot my children!

  • AmieAugust 25, 2011 - 4:23 pm

    Way to stand up for what you believe in! I admire you for doing something that many of us don’t have the guts to stand up for, too much cyber bullying is going around and if people don’t stand up for a change and help those who are hurting it will continue. This was a lesson for those who were doing it, hopefully they will take something from what you did and think about it, and maybe they will even apologies to the victim. Thank you 🙂

  • […] next day, she uploaded a post to her blog titled “i won’t photography ugly people” explaining what she had done, and why. She summed it up by quoting from her earlier Facebook post […]

  • MarvinAugust 25, 2011 - 5:34 pm

    This really saddens and sickens me. All people, ALL PEOPLE, in this world are BEAUTIFUL! Who are you to pass judgement on how other people are on the inside?

    Calling them names and stating that you will not photograph “mean” and “ugly” people makes you no different than them with the “bullying”. As other people have commented, you have no idea, NO IDEA, what is going on in their lives and you my friend grew up in a much different time and with much different experiences than they have. This is like me saying you clearly have no idea on what photography encompasses and should not call yourself a photographer.

    This is your company and you can refuse service to whomever you wish. But to write about this on a blog is just plain tacky, thoughtless, and definitely unprofessional.

    I mean seriously, enough with judging other people comparing them to our level of standards and twisted morals. Enough with spewing out negative energies with “hate” and “ugly”. Enough with being closed off and hiding in your cocoon.

    Open up, be positive. Talk to these seniors, expand their minds, be a roll model, be an inspiration, take responsibility even though they are not your kids.

    Stop running away with your tail between your legs and sending an email to their parents with a “let them deal with it” attitude. This helps no one but your own self-indulgent egos.

    Again, EVERY single person in this world (as well as everything in this Universe) is BEAUTIFUL.

  • jen mckenAugust 25, 2011 - 5:41 pm

    Marvin, I appreciate your feedback and the mature way you presented your opinion….however I think you need to take a moment and read the newest blog post! Have a wonderful day!

  • JohnAugust 25, 2011 - 6:22 pm

    Way to go by refusing to do business with bullying youth. You’ve shown you have high ethics by making this point. I was bullied as a kid, and I still shudder when I read about such things. If bullying is to stop, it will take people like you to take a stand against it. My hat is off to you.

  • Mike BoyceAugust 26, 2011 - 2:05 am

    Well done Jen!!

  • stacyAugust 26, 2011 - 3:10 am

    Bravo! If you didn’t take a stand, who would??? P.s. I think anyone who is ridiculing you for taking this stand is ridiculous. You are right. It would be a representation of you.

  • JenniferAugust 26, 2011 - 6:39 am

    Bravo Jen!! What you did is admirable and makes you a beautiful person, inside and out!

  • VirginiaAugust 26, 2011 - 6:53 am

    I came across this in Care2.com and shared your feeling. I cannot deal with such clients if I know that they did things so horrid as that.
    I am an employee so I have no choice, but you own your business and this is what you can do.

    For others who “advised you” — I think they are just pandering to societies “be nice” “all cheers” cloak which try to turn a blind eye to cyberbulling. If those kids have problems — go to a shrink instead of taking it on other kids in the Internet!

    Bless you.

  • […] school, not elderly) photographer “fires” seniors for being mean to others on Facebook, writes about it, and people around the world are writing on her Facebook fan page wall thanking her for standing up […]

  • AmandaAugust 26, 2011 - 8:34 am

    I agree that you totally made the right decision. You’re awesome.

    PS. I’m from Indiana, PA! How crazy to come across someone from my hometown on the big, wide internet!

  • JulieAugust 26, 2011 - 9:11 am

    The people making comments justifying the bullies because they were doing it online and not in real life? What?? Your character is your character. You use it in real life, you use it online, you use it around friends, you use it around strangers. You don’t get to be two people.

    Kudos to this photog! I often wear my heart on my sleeve regarding my business as well, and I can tell (truly) that this was not a publicity stunt. And I am glad she spoke out about it. Not enough people do.

  • Jill FranklinAugust 26, 2011 - 10:32 am

    I’m behind your decision 1000%. I have Zero tolerance/respect for parents who allow their kids to be bullies. It’s plain & simple, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” PERIOD!

  • CourtneyAugust 26, 2011 - 10:51 am

    Way to make a stand!!! It’s so inspiring to see this kind of choice being made. As a small biz owner/photographer I know how every client (and their money) matters. To make such a stand with the chance of loosing so much (current clients, potential clients) is just wow! Kuddos!

  • BethanAugust 26, 2011 - 11:09 am

    Thank you for writing about this. Yes you could have handled this privately, but then it would not have given hope to the teens going through similar things themselves. It would have not given pause for thought for those acting this way and it would not have encouraged others to have integrity in their own business dealings.

  • JessicaAugust 26, 2011 - 1:02 pm

    I think what you did is great. Finally teens who bully are being held accountable for their actions. No this may not change them, but it’ll make them think twice.

  • DanielAugust 26, 2011 - 1:27 pm

    Great post! Being a business owner to, I completely understand where you are coming from!

  • […] A photographer decided to cancel shooting with people that are ugly. In the inside (school bullies) […]

  • TodaysMama | Blog | Weekly Round UpAugust 26, 2011 - 4:59 pm

    […] photographer deserves a high five: “If You’re Ugly I Won’t Take Your Photo” (Via […]

  • SandraAugust 27, 2011 - 5:24 pm

    Thank you for following through on the courage of your convictions! The world is full of bullies and I choose to NOT associate with them nor allow them to drag me down to their level.

  • SimoneAugust 28, 2011 - 12:56 pm

    I admire you so much, you’re awesome. Gizmodo Brazil posted your story, btw 🙂

  • MarlonAugust 28, 2011 - 1:26 pm

    You are completely correct. If everyone thought like you, the world would be a nicer place to live. Congratulations on your beautiful initiative.

  • […] that she would not photograph anyone who behaves this way to other people. The blog, titled “I Won’t Photograph Ugly People,” explains that after Jennifer saw the Facebook page, she posted the following comment on […]

  • […] the ones on her client list, and subsequently cancelled the shoots. In a blog post titled “I Won’t Photograph Ugly People“, McKendrick writes, This morning I sent out 4 emails to those clients while CC’ing in their […]

  • I Won't Photograph Ugly PeopleAugust 28, 2011 - 6:21 pm

    […] off the session. McKendrick wrote more about her decision on her personal blog in a post titled "I Won't Photograph Ugly People." "I mean how could I spend two hours with someone during our session trying to make beautiful […]

  • IgsAugust 28, 2011 - 9:49 pm

    Rock on I am so glad ppl like you exist! Some people are so mean! When i graduated from high school we had a board With our class year and every senior would sign it. It was a school tradition and every class would do it. Well i was a troubled kid and i didn’t graduate with my class, i stayed behind to retake a test during the summer. Regardless, I had been in that school since 4th grade so i said to hell with it, and signed my name next to all my Friends…. Well two of the ” pretty girls” in my class apparently didn’t like that too much and decided to erase my name and write over it. It was one of the most painful things that’s ever been done to me . Why be so mean u know? I went back and rewrote my name on that board where it belongs… A bunch of times

  • […] Link: I won’t photograph ugly people […]

  • […] when I read that she wrote publicly on her blog, “If you are ugly on the inside, I’m sorry but I won’t take your photos to make you look […]

  • […] anti-bullyng ha resultado hasta hoy en mas de 20,000 likes en el facebook de Jennifer y su blog post referente ha recibido mas de 139,000 visitas donde ha recibido gran cantidad de comentarios respaldando esta […]

  • […] I won’t photograph ugly people – An awesome blog post which has recently made the rounds about a photographer who refuses to photograph you if you’re ugly. […]

  • Cristiano CasagrandeAugust 31, 2011 - 3:39 pm

    Congratulations from Brazil!

  • Sebastião Augusto AlexandreSeptember 1, 2011 - 4:28 pm

    Congratulations on your attitude! It is important to end these abuses – Augusto, Brazil.

  • Sarah N.September 8, 2011 - 1:12 pm

    You GO GIRL! We need more people like you showing the youth of today that entitlement and bullying isn’t acceptable. As a 32-year-old mother, I have come a long way from the chubby grade schooler and chubby high schooler I was. In my memory, I was the bottom of the bullying totem pole. Granted, it wasn’t as harsh or physical as it is these days, but the emotional and mental scars have stayed with me long past the time it would have taken a bruise to heal. You can bet that I teach my son that compassion is the key, and fitting in doesn’t matter if they crowd is a bunch of thugs. I left my abusive ex-husband when my son was 3 days old so he wouldn’t grow up thinking this behavior is OK. Keep on what you’re doing, and you can bet your schedule will be overflowing with TONS of beautiful people. 🙂

  • […] This is in reference to ” I won’t photograph ugly people”. […]

  • Angee SluderSeptember 8, 2011 - 3:59 pm

    WTG, Jen! Even if you do face backlash, know that you did the right thing!

  • JJ SiemensSeptember 9, 2011 - 9:30 pm

    Nice! Good decision, but I think you shoukd go further. Every person has skeletons. It’s something you should challenge yourself to keep in mind when you’re shooting – I smell a very interesting art-project here for you. Just sayin’.

  • […] i won’t photograph ugly people | indiana county, pa photographer | personal | Jen McKen Photograph…. […]

  • […] a blog post on her company website, the Pennsylvania-based shutterbug explains she was bee-bopping around on Facebook when she found a page made by a kid in her community specifically to bash classmates. It sounds […]

  • erykaSeptember 13, 2011 - 12:24 pm

    awesome. you make me want to be “beautiful enough” to be photographed by you. 🙂

  • […] Refusing to photograph ‘ugly’ people […]

  • […] Friendly Universe – Law of Attraction in Action  Day 153 of 2011: "Good News" Is There IF You Look by Jerry Waxman There is a lot of turmoil through…r /> There is a lot of turmoil throughout the world, that's for sure. There are great changes […]

  • […] anti-bulliyng ha resultado hasta hoy en mas de 20,000 likes en el facebook de Jennifer y su blog post referente ha recibido mas de 139,000 visitas donde ha recibido gran cantidad de comentarios respaldando esta […]

  • […] also wrote on her blog about her decision. She didn’t name the girls since they live in a small town. “If I’m […]

  • Gail CruzOctober 2, 2011 - 8:31 pm

    I totally agree with your decision. It it not acceptable for them to act that way and I hope it does make an impression on them that they need to change their ways.

    Money isn’t everything and you would have been worse off had you taken the photos and associated your studio with them. Also, look on the bright side, you have lots of new fans! 🙂

  • […] I read the story that sparked Andy’s article, I felt sorry for those girls who were bullying. Kids on both […]

  • […] at the same time. There was recently a post done by photographer Jen McKen of Indiana (“I Won’t Photograph Ugly People“) about standing up for her rights as a business owner to not tolerate certain behavior in […]

  • I can not say this better… «January 13, 2012 - 12:31 pm

    […] I follow several or I follow a lot of photographer from around the country.  There is Jasmine Star in Orange County, CA, Bambi Cantrell in San Fran, CA, Joe McNally, Scott Kelby, David Hobby, Chase Jarvis, Zack Arias and Moose Peterson.  Now if you look up all these photographers you will see one thing they have in common…..which is NOTHING.  Each of these photographers intrigue me in different ways…..Moose Peterson with his wildlife photography, Jasmine Star with her flair for wedding photography, Bambi Cantrell with her ability to pose people….I could go on and on and on about all of them.  But there is a photographer in Pennsylvania that I didn’t mention….Jen McKen.  I first saw her on Facebook with the blog post about not photographing “ugly” people.  ”Ugly” people referring to bullies.  I can not begin to applaud her enough for how she stood up and decided that she would not photograph these high school seniors and let them in turn represent her photography business.  Check out the post if you would like to read more about it….i wont photograph ugly people. […]

  • Simon BrownFebruary 27, 2012 - 8:59 am

    Well done Jen.

    A brave decision in the current sociopolitical climate which seems to accept and in some cases laud cruelty and bullying. I lived throughout my school days with bullying; whilst agreeing that the bully may need help the first part is to tell them their actions are unacceptable and will incur sanctions.

  • […] i won’t photograph ugly people […]

  • […] i won’t photograph ugly people […]

  • […] the photography community, I’ve seen this most with viral blog posts (I don’t photography UGLY or Why I closed my Pinterest page) and […]

  • 魏秀雯January 9, 2013 - 1:38 am


  • […] that she’s been following me ever since the bullying article went viral (if you’re new, you can read that here) and she told herself that when Troy proposes, she was going to contact me to shoot her wedding. […]

  • […] supportive and KIND. One of my girlfriends, Jen McKen wrote this awesome blog a while ago about not wanting to work with bullies, and I remember reading that and thinking “YOU GO […]

  • […] were bullying other girls on Facebook. She said ‘If you are ugly on the inside, I’m sorry but I won’t take your photos to make you look pretty on the outside!’ Her Facebook update and blog post quickly went […]

  • […] &#1091&#959&#965 &#1072r&#1077 &#965&#609&#406&#1091 &#959n th&#1077 inside, I’m sorry b&#965t I won’t take &#1091&#959&#965r photos t&#959 m&#1072k&#1077 &#1091&#959&#965 look pretty &#959n th…’ H&#1077r Facebook update &#1072n&#1281 blog post quickly w&#1077nt […]

  • Ben BibikovMarch 31, 2015 - 9:56 pm

    As @Kristin said “Thank you for standing up in what you believe in.” But I have to warn you, the moment you practice what you believe in on homosexual mafia, you’re screwed.

  • […] someone remembers that from so long ago! If you wandering what the heck I’m referring to, you can check out this article from 2011. It’s about how I returned money and cancelled the sessions for a group of “mean girls” after […]


Hey there! I'm Jen McKen, a down to earth, people loving, small town gal. I'm a leetle bit sarcastic, HUGELY sentimental, I have a killer sense of humor and I like to think I'm pretty damn good at my job!

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