Category Archives for "Confidence"

Are you the right size for boudoir?

Is there a right size for boudoir? And are you that size? No, of course you're not.

You need to be thinner, no wait, you need to be curvier. Come to think of it, perhaps you should be taller? Or maybe if your hair was longer?

You're probably too young.  Or too old. Or just too something.

The truth of it is, everyone seems to think there's some reason why any.other.living.person could have a portrait session, except for them. Because they're too something. Or not enough something else.

This was brought home to me (not for the first time, and it won't be the last) yesterday, when a client mentioned that she doesn't fit the right 'type' for boudoir, because she's not curvy - and curvy women are more confident about doing it, aren't they?

Erm, no. Stripping down to your underwear to have your photo taken - there's no body type that's more confident. You know whose more confident? Confident people. And they come in all shapes and sizes!

right size for boudoir

Considering yourself the wrong 'something' for boudoir is also a way of mentally protecting yourself.  When you secretly believe that 'x' is wrong with you, it won't be a horrible shock when it all goes wrong and you don't have pictures that you love.  You're just getting proved right.

However - it's not going to happen. There is nothing wrong with you that means you can't have gorgeous pictures. You thinking there is and it actually being the case - these are two very different things.

It's ok to allow yourself to even get a little bit excited about your images. If you can get on board with the notion you may just look awesome, you're much more likely to be better prepared for your session with lingerie, accessories and really thinking about the style of images you'd like.

There is no right size for boudoir - and equally there's no wrong size either. You don't have to wait for something to change before you allow yourself to find this out, except in your mind.

Much love,
Anna
xx

right size for boudoir 2
2

Can you face your face?

So, to most people this is a ridiculous question - you're quite happy with your face, thanks!  However lots of people, women in particular, absolutely hate looking at themselves.

In the average week I will hear several times, as women flick through images "nothing like this - too much face".  Now, sometimes this will be because they want something that shows more than just their face. But a lot of the time it's because they specifically don't want an image of their face.  Not close up. No way.

"I won't like it", they tell me.
"I hate my face".
There may be actual wincing.

What, you may ask, is wrong with their faces then?  Just who do I have sitting in front of me?  The answer is that nothing is wrong.  I'm always a little taken aback, especially when people clarify with "well, obviously nothing too facey" as if I should be totally in on the reasoning.

Except, the thing is...I kind of am. Or at least, I should be. I don't love my face. I have been told more than once that I look like my dad.  I mean, there was nothing wrong with my dad, but, you know, he was a man, and I'm not. And I really do have his face.

And so we go from not liking our faces, to avoiding looking at our faces, to not liking photos (because we're confronted with our faces) to avoiding photos.

It's an issue. For starters, we could probably do with stopping being so disappointed in ourselves.  Are we surrounded by super models? Only in magazines and why should those carry so much weight with us?

Do we recoil from the faces of our friends, families, work colleagues? I know I don't!

We need to be less hard on ourselves and also stop trying to avoid looking at ourselves because, guess what? You look normal! I look normal! This is what normal people look like, and no one else is bothered by us so we shouldn't be either!

Think you would like to be able to face your face? Please click here and read about the 52 selfies challenge - a big first step in changing how you feel about how you look.

Much love
Anna
xx

It gave me a real confidence boost, one that I really needed.

Deborah
3

If you can’t say anything nice…

don't say anything at all
think differently.

The 52 selfies challenge has kicked off (for more info or to join click here) and there's a really hard part to it.

We each need to think of self compliments to accompany each selfie. This sounds relatively straight forward. It certainly did to me when setting the challenge up.  Now I think it may be the hardest part of all.

We all know how to deliver a compliment - to someone else. Self compliments though, many of us aren't used to.

You see a friend, you know they could do with a confidence boost, you don't go with "Wow, you're not looking as fat as I was expecting you to".

When you bump into someone you haven't seen in a while, you don't say "Hey, you don't look washed out" and expect them to beam with joy.

If you're trying to think of a compliment for yourself, think like this - if you wouldn't say it to your best friend, then don't say it.

I don't mean in the way you might joke around and say outrageous things to friends, I mean when you want to be genuinely nice to them.

For this challenge, you need to become your own best friend. And if this is the hardest part, well, we have 52 weeks to perfect it.

I'm not going to pretend I wasn't clutching at straws with my own compliment alongside the first selfie - "I look healthy". I can't remember ever complimenting a friend in this way!

It's much easier if someone else has taken the photo - then you can totally swerve saying anything nice about yourself and say 'this is a great picture of me' without having to say anything directly nice about yourself.

The good news is, self compliments get easier with practice, so as we progress through the challenge, it should start to come more naturally to say nice things about ourselves without wincing.

Much love,
Anna
xx

I had an amazing day and my confidence grew as the day went on. I am now starting to see myself as others see me, not the person that I used to be.

Kirsty








6

The science of being unphotogenic (part 2)

Yesterday I talked about how we're more familiar with our mirror image than our true image, and this can make us less inclined to like photos of ourselves - you can read about that here.

Meanwhile, there's the whole issue of how we feel about having our picture taken, and how that affects the outcome.

Lots of people who describe themselves as not being photogenic will say that they prefer (and maybe even like) photos of themselves when they didn't know the camera was on them. The logical leap, therefore is to think "I will prefer images that don't look staged, or where I'm not looking at the camera".

 2 things here:
1. Obviously you're not unphotogenic if there are photos of you that you like
2. It's not about natural v staged - it's about how comfortable you feel about having your photo taken.

If you're not feeling comfortable about having your photo taken, you're not going to look comfortable in the photo.

Ever had that feeling where you were feeling ok about yourself and then you see a (pretty terrible) photo of yourself and you think "oh no, is that what I really look like?".
Maybe it isn't what you really look like.

Because if you're not comfortable having your photo taken, then how you look in photos is not really how you look in real life - and the degree of the difference can depend on the degree of discomfort you felt having your photo taken.

Photos do lie - no Photoshop required.

Picture the scene, you're sitting relaxing, having a chat with a friend. Meanwhile, someone takes a photo whilst you're completely unaware - you're too busy enjoying time with your friend to notice.

Now imagine it differently. You're sitting relaxing, having a chat with a friend. Someone walks over with a camera (or phone) and wants to take your picture. So you try to pose together for the camera.

If you hate having your photo taken, you are almost certainly going to prefer the photo from scenario one. In scenario two you're going to look very different.

Here's what happens to you, physically, when you don't like having your photo taken and someone pulls out a camera (or phone).

For all you may struggle to look relaxed, if you hate having your photo taken 'relaxed' and 'natural' has now gone out of the window. It's not just that your facial expression will change, your whole body has changed and you probably haven't noticed.

  • You go tense.

    From head to toe, things just got a little bit 'fixed'. This will be most noticeable through your shoulders in a head shot, they tend to raise up a little (some people will go as far as looking hunched).
  • You physically recoil from the camera.

    It's really really common for people to retract their head slightly, as if subconsciously you want to be as far away from the camera as possible.
    Ever wondered why you have 3 chins in a photo and just 1 in the mirror? This is why. And because you're tense, you may find that the veins in your neck are looking 'tight' too. Nicely enhancing any wrinkles you may have to bring them to prominence. 
  • You don't know what to do with your hands anymore.

    What's even going on here? Seconds ago you were sitting quite naturally, now you don't know whether to fold your arms, rest your hands on your legs, or something else entirely. You're really conscious of your hands all of a sudden, and your arms are stiff.
  • Your eyes go wide, or you blink a lot.

    You are great at nailing that 'rabbit caught in the headlights' look, and if it's not that, you're always blinking. Put this together with all the other things going on and you end up looking slightly mad or more than slightly tipsy in photos.

This does not create a photo that looks like 'you'.

...I can hear that sigh of relief from here. Thank me later 😉

Next time you're having your photo taken, try to become a bit more 'aware' of what you are doing - many of these things (shoulders raising, for example) happen completely subconsciously whilst you're thinking "Argh, camera, please get this over with as quickly as possible and no don't bother showing me the picture, in fact just delete it as soon as you've taken it and let us never speak of it again".

So, try asking the person to wait a few seconds whilst you attempt to get a handle on what your body is doing, lower your shoulders, reposition your head (if you're trying to retract it into a non existent shell, like a turtle, you need to bring your head forward, more like a chicken), take a deep breath, shake your arms to loosen them and then do what you want with them (this sounds like a lot of stuff, it takes seconds) and then declare yourself ready. Focus on you, not on your camera-panic.

This takes practice, no question. But the start of it is just being aware of what you're doing when you have your photo taken - once you're more aware, you're in a much better position to stop the physical changes happening.

So how can a professional take great photos of you when all that's going on, subconsciously?

You may not be aware of what's happening, but your photographer (at our studio, Robin) is very aware.
Women who have been to us for photos will be very familiar with the words "push your head forward" (because I asked "like a chicken?" at my session and got told yes).

Every physical change that happens when you get tense is noticeable more to someone else than to you. Concentrating on posing is a great distraction in itself, and you haven't got to think "I don't know what to do with my hands" or "I don't know how to stand" because you'll be directed all the way through your portrait session.

Meanwhile, if you're wishing you could at least take the odd selfie of yourself that you like, keep following the blog as there's a lot more to come on that - including how to take a better selfie.

Much love,
Anna
xx

Got a question for me on how to be more photogenic? Or perhaps you'd like to know more about having beautiful portraits created for you?
Just fill in the form below and I'll get back to you xx

9

The Science of Being Unphotogenic (part 1)

This is for people who refer to themselves as being 'unphotogenic' - I'm going to write a couple of posts on this, as it became a really long topic once I'd started.

I've said before I don't believe there's any such thing as being unphotogenic - everybody can have images of themselves they'll love, and a lot of how you look in a photo is down to who's holding the camera. 

However, not liking yourself in photos is very real, and not being comfortable in front of a camera will translate to a photo easily, and create a less than perfect portrait of you.  It's not necessarily a real portrait though, and I'll talk more about that in the next post.

This time, I'm going to talk about your expectation when you look at an image of yourself versus the reality. If you're camera shy, whatever the cause, you probably don't:
1. have a lot of photos of yourself
and
2. look at photos of yourself very often.
Why would you, when you don't like yourself in photos?

So, the only version of 'you' that you're familiar with is your mirror image.

The fewer photos of yourself you see, the more your mirror image becomes your only picture of you.

And the more that's the case, the less likely you are to like photos of yourself - and it's nothing to do with being unphotogenic at all.

The problem is - we're not symmetrical. Your mirror image looks different to how everyone else sees you, whilst it's the image of you that's the most imprinted on your brain. So, you see a photo and everyone else looks fine, but you look somehow 'wrong'. Never mind that you may not have been comfortable being photographed - you're seeing a version of you that just doesn't look familiar. It's not necessarily better or worse, it's just doesn't tie up with the 'you' in your mind. That in itself can make you uncomfortable with a photo of yourself.

This can be amplified if you, for example, have an asymmetrical haircut, or a particular feature (anything from a tattoo to a mole) that's going to appear on the 'wrong' side to where you're used to seeing it in the mirror. However, for most people who hate having their photo taken, even if everyone else is telling them they look amazing in a photo, they're often more distracted by the fact the image isn't the familiar version of them.

being unphotogenic

This is called the 'mere-exposure hypothesis' and if you really want to get into the science of it, click here for the findings of a study done in 1977 at the University of Wisconsin.

This talks about how people prefer photos of them that are 'flipped' to show a mirror image, whereas their friends/partners will prefer the photo in its original version - each person prefers the image that is most familiar to themselves.

The answer of course is simple, and also anathema to the camera shy - it's to start getting used to the you in photos, so that you become more familiar to yourself, and thus eliminate that feeling of thinking you look weirdly different in photos.

(By the way - when you're taking a selfie, and I know that's probably rare in the first place, often your phone will show you a mirror image on the screen, but the photo when saved will be flipped back - so if you've ever been confused as to why you thought you looked better on the screen than in the photo, this could be why!).

Maybe try taking some photos of yourself (or get someone else to) and flipping them to a reverse image - see which you prefer and let me know.

Much love,
Anna
xx

PS - want to read more about how we make ourselves appear unphotogenic? Click here!