All Posts by Anna Smart

2 boudoir photo on wooden floor

All change

We're looking for 10 women to test out our new portrait sessions

If this sounds like you:

- Over 18
- Not body confident
- Would love to see yourself differently
- A bit daunted by the whole idea of boudoir portraits, but would really love to give it a go


Then please read on!

When we want to make big changes to our portrait sessions, it can get a bit scary for us!

We want to make sure that we're making the right changes, and getting everything absolutely perfect for you.

So, we'd like your help please

We have a couple of different ideas on how your time with us can be made even more special - we're specifically looking at:

- how we consult you about what you want

- your makeover and your time in the studio

- the style of images we take for you

- what happens afterwards

If this sounds like something you'd like to take part in, then we'd love to invite you along for a complimentary portrait session with us. There's no obligation to purchase images afterwards, but if you choose to, we'll give you 20% off anything on our price list as a thank you.

The only thing we will ask you to do is review our service afterwards, so that we can tell whether our changes are positive. This is private and, like your images, will not be shared by us without your permission.

We'll be splitting 10 women into 2 'groups' (although you won't be told which group you're in).
Please fill in the form below, and I'll be in touch.

Anna
xx
(As with all of our sessions, a fully refundable booking deposit of £50 applies).

You’ve got to be feeling confident…

to come along for a boudoir portrait session, right?
Well, I'm not so sure.

Have you ever watched a film and got so confused over who's who in it, that you found it hard to follow? When I watched 'The Departed', with Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio together, I couldn't follow it. Because to me they look exactly the same.

I have a form of facial blindness that makes recognising people's faces really difficult. Mostly I get along by differentiating people by other differences - hair, clothes etc, and mostly I get by with that.

Facebook is massively helpful - if I'm meeting a friend who I haven't seen for a long time, I can fix them in my mind, because I can look at their photo. Otherwise, I run the risk of walking straight past them.

Obviously, I am in the perfect job for someone with this issue!

If you've ever lost your other half in Ikea, you kind of want them to be easy to spot - and since I fear not being able to recognise Robin, unless I've remembered what he's wearing*, it makes perfect sense to me to make myself recognisable.

(*I should explain this is a fear, not something that happens, because I'm pretty good at recognising people I see all the time, but if I had to recall their features to tell someone else, I couldn't do it. I'm a police sketch artist's worst nightmare).

So when it comes to my own personal style, I have a tendency to go against the grain. And this leads to an assumption from people that I must be quite confident, and possibly a bit attention seeking. What wallflower would have blue hair, after all?

But what if the choices I make are based on something else? What if I'm thinking "If I look different, I will be able to recognise myself in a photo"?
Because I can look back at old photos and not necessarily be able to tell my own face.
And since I don't understand how other people recognise each other, making myself stand out is a way I know I can be identifiable.

So my choices aren't based on confidence initially. However, when you do something that's maybe outside of your comfort zone (in my case, draw attention to yourself in some way) then :

1. You appear to have more confidence than you feel.

2. Your comfort zone starts to shift - meaning you start to actually have more confidence than you used to.

It's all pretty circular!

Is everyone who comes along for a boudoir portrait session brimming with confidence? Is that why they come?

No, of course not. They're pushing past their comfort zone and taking a risk. They're not massively more confident than you or anyone else before they come. They just have that tiny bit more confidence that gives them the courage to get in touch.

Much love,
Anna
xx

2

Selfies…sigh

The world is split into 2 types of people now. Yes, it's the selfie takers versus the non selfie takers and the selfie people are over running Facebook with photos of themselves, leaving the rest of us with photos of our pets, meals and, in my case, shoes.

So, what's the difference?  I'm not talking about people who post 37 photos of themselves a day, pouting and asking if they look ok, having found a filter that rearranges them to resemble, well, who knows, but not themselves.

No, I mean those people that, when out and about somewhere new, like to have a memento of the occasion. Nights out, meals with friends, holidays.

Versus the rest of us, who did take a selfie once, deleted it in horror, forgot all about it. Until the next time we took one, deleted it in horror, forgot all about it. And so on.

Why can't we, just for once, have a selfie worthy of sharing. Or keeping. You know, as a profile pic instead of our kids, dog or favourite meme.

​Well, we can. We just have to take more than one photo...oh, the horror.

Now, I don't mean we take a photo from the same angle with the same expression, repeatedly, hoping this next one will magically turn out better and then being shocked when it doesn't.
No. You need to move. the. phone.

You also need to pay attention to how you're holding the phone, because whether it's straight, tilted forward at the top, or tilted forward at the bottom, will make a difference to how you look.

What the selfie people have already done is figured out their best angle, and then they tend to stick with it. It's not that they have a natural tendency to look better in photos, more that they put a bit of effort in at some point, so that they could have photos they were happy with, leaving the rest of us falling at the first hurdle.

I've looked at lots of angles, so you don't have to

If you want to see the difference how and where you hold the phone takes, here are 9 selfies I took earlier (which is more than I usually take in a month, I might add).

The top row are all with the camera in front of me, level with my head.

Top left - camera straight
Top middle - camera tilted forwards at the top
Top right - camera tilted forwards at the bottom (if you can see nostrils, get your phone higher and straighter)

The middle row, I have the phone in front of me, but raised up.

Middle left - phone is straight
Middle middle - phone tilted forwards at top
Middle right - phone tilted forwards at bottom

For the bottom row, I have the phone slightly to the side, and raised.

Bottom left - phone is straight
Bottom middle - phone is tilted forward at top
Bottom right - phone is tilted forward at bottom

The quick tips:

If you have no desire to faff with different angles, here's a shortcut:

1. Don't tilt the phone forward at the bottom, unless you want your face to look wider at the bottom. Define the shape of your face more by tilting it forward at the top.

2. Get some height and distance between the phone and you (but don't do this by moving your head backwards - that is the route to extra chins "What I'd really like in a photo is more chins" said no one, ever).

3. Have the phone slightly to one side, instead of straight in front of you, and turn to face it.

This gives me the bottom middle photo.

You may also notice the importance of looking at the lens, not at yourself on the screen, and remembering to smile. I totally did that for demonstration purposes and absolutely not because I am deeply uncomfortable taking my photo, and also a bit of a twit.

Much love,
Anna
xx

Cameras aren’t mirrors…

On the one hand, we know cameras/phones aren't mirrors.

On the other, we consistently treat them like they are.  Or to be more precise, we treat photos as though they're showing us exactly what's there.  In fact, we have a tendency to trust a photo more than we trust a mirror.

We can look at a photo and think "I thought I looked ok in the mirror and now I see myself in this photo I look dreadful. Wtf?"
The less we like having our photo taken, somehow the more we're going to let a bad photo devastate us. I mean, the mirror, that was a quick look before leaving the house. A photo is permanent proof of what we look like.  The truth's in front of us. It can't be denied.

I beg to differ.

Listen carefully (although, to be fair, I'll probably say this quite a lot more than once).

Looking terrible in one photo, several or all photos ever does not equate to looking terrible, full stop. And it doesn't mean you can't look good in photos either. It doesn't make you unphotogenic.

It's far more likely that you're tense and uncomfortable in front of a camera. The more photos of yourself you see, that were taken when you were tense, the more photos you see that you don't like, and that reinforce to you the notion that you're unphotogenic.

If you believe you're going to look terrible in a photo, well, you quite probably are. Pre-empting a photo looking awful almost certainly means you're changing everything from how you're standing or sitting, to the expression on your face. You're most likely radiating tension.  It's a snowballing situation that reinforces it's 'truth' every time you see a photo of yourself.

If you go tense whenever someone pulls out their phone to take a picture, then that picture is not going to be a true reflection of what you usually look like. Yes, it's a version of you, but it's a temporary version of you under stress. Don't look at the photo and believe in it as representing what you genuinely look like.



Start being more aware of how you felt when a photo was taken. If that feeling was "like I wanted to run away, but that would have seemed odd" then take the resulting image with a pinch of salt. Accept it as not being how you usually look, and take away its power to hurt you.

Much love,
Anna
xx

(By the way, cameras lie all the time - including your phone when you're taking a selfie, but that's another post xx)







Faking it until you make it

AKA - so you think you're not confident?

Are you the kind of woman other people think are confident, when deep down you feel like a complete fraud? Because you know that you're faking it? And actually, you're not confident at all.

What if that's all confidence is?

We tend to think that confident people are breezing along, not giving a thought to what people think of them, but are they?
Or are they like the rest of us? Filled with the same insecurities, fears and worries. They've just managed to get themselves to the point of doing things anyway.

What if other people thinking you're confident means you probably are?

Maybe confidence isn't something that's there for you all the time. Perhaps it's not some kind of serene feeling, whatever you face, that means you know the answers, can take the plunge, can be brave.

Maybe all it really is, is about overcoming fear just enough.  Overcoming fear doesn't mean not feeling it. It simple means being able to move past it, and take action.

If you're 'faking it 'til you make it' when it comes to being confident - you're probably already there.

I've been doing it for years. I know other people will often see me as chatty, confident, more than a bit bossy and 'take charge-ish'.

Do I sit at home thinking "I really don't know what I'm doing, what if everyone finds out? And do they even like me anyway?" 
Of course!

I needn't worry - because the truth is they're all waiting to be found out too.

And that's the big 'secret' to confidence - it's not some magic feeling of knowing what you're doing all the time. It's just taking action, despite sometimes not knowing what you're doing, not feeling like you should be doing it and not being sure the outcome is going to be as you want.

All the time women look at our images in the studio and say "but all of these women are so confident - I'm not like that!".
In reality, everyone has felt exactly the same way. If you've made it into our building, you are exactly as confident as the last person. And the next!

Much love,
Anna
xx

You made me look and feel amazing - thank you.

The whole experience was brilliant, the team put me at ease throughout both in our pre chat over the phone before our session and during the day.

The personal touch to find out what I liked and didn't was reassuring and gave me confidence - although a little nervous during the build up.

The hair and make up by Katrina was excellent and she gave me some tips along the way which is always a bonus.

The photoshoot itself, although shy at first, was the most amazing experience. It was something I have always wanted to do but completely lacked the confidence to follow it through. The team made me feel at ease and helped my confidence grow during the session and getting into poses, which made me feel relaxed and by the end I was enjoying the shoot so much I didn't want it to end. I felt and looked a million dollars.

The viewing session was a bit emotional for me as  wasn't sure what to expect but the images have come out so well. I am so pleased and it's given me such a personal boosy. I recommend every woman does this once in their lifetime.

I'd do it again in a heartbeat!!
Thank you so much to Anna, Robin and the team.

Michelle.


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