In the note, which Haltom shared on her business’ Facebook page earlier this week, the unidentified husband wrote that seeing the retouched images of his wife – which she’d requested – made him realize that he needed to be more vocal with his affection for the woman.
The photographer says the woman had “very specific” desires to have her flaws removed.
“She is in her forties, married, with children,” Haltom says. “She wanted her husband to be able to see her within the constraints of what society portrays as ‘beautiful.’ “
Haltom says she spent weeks working to make the images fit the client’s specifications. After receiving the email, she says she immediately felt a range of emotions.
“Of course, my heart sank because I was saddened that all my hard work wasn’t what he had been looking for,” she tells PEOPLE. “But then, I realized that he gave me just as big of a gift as he told me I had given him. We both gave each other the gift of a reminder.”
The photographer says that while she reminded the man to embrace his wife’s imperfections, she, in turn, learned to she should encourage clients to accept their own flaws, and “not to get caught up in society’s definition of beauty.”
She remained in touch with the couple, both before and after the story want viral.
“I asked him if it was okay to share his words, as I had recently had many upcoming clients trying to cancel their shoots because they worried their significant other’s would not like the pictures,” she shares. “I remembered his email and figured his words would help ease their anxiety. Never did I think that this post would blow up as it did, but I think the reason it is so popular is because both women and men are so touched at the reminder and it has rekindled many relationships.”
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While Haltom says she still removes acne or minor annoyances at her clients’ requests, she has since vowed to never “completely reconstruct” a woman’s body with photo editing tools again.
The photographer says the man’s words can serve as a lesson, namely: “love yourself and the skin you are in.” Haltom adds that focusing on insecurities is a waste of time.
“Always tell your spouse/significant other that you appreciate them just as much on the inside as you do the outside, and don’t take anything for granted,” she advises.
The Texas resident says she enjoys working in boudoir because she gets to watch women come alive in front of her lens. She says most women, like the client in question, arrive nervous and doubtful, but growing in confidence through the experience.
“Once they see their photos, watching their face light up with emotion reminds me that I am doing exactly what I was put on this Earth to do,” she says.