Category Archives for "Photography"


Improve your ‘selfie confidence’

If you don't happen to like yourself in photos, then you probably don't tend to take many selfies.
If you don't take many selfies, then you may not be taking the best selfie.
If you're not taking the best selfie, you probably won't like yourself in photos.

There's a definite vicious circle going on with photos, and it's really common. All the time at pre-session chats clients tell me they hate having their photo taken, they're not photogenic and have very few photos of themselves, never mind ones they actually like.

The less photos of yourself you see, the less likely you are to like them when you do see them. But it's good to exist in photos. Not to be vain and 'look at me' about it - but to make sure your family have pictures of you, and, crucially, especially if you have daughters, to make sure they're not picking up on your confidence issues (another thing clients talk to me about a lot).

I can help!
I am a bit of a selfiephobe. The phrase 'camera shy' was invented for me. Consequently, I don't take selfies, and if I do I press delete quicker than you can say "double chin".

Luckily, I am not the one who's about to give you tips on improving your selfie skills. I persuaded Robin that I need help, and there are plenty of others that do too. So he has put together a list of tips to help us learn how to take the perfect selfie - yay!

However - it doesn't matter how great your selfie skills are if you are starting from a point of flat out not liking yourself in pictures.  So to build your self confidence along with your selfie confidence, I've created the 52 Selfie Challenge.

1. Get access to 'Selfie School' and improve your selfie skills

2. Post a selfie each week, for a year

3. Along with your selfie, post a positive comment about yourself.

Sound like 'not exactly fun but something you wouldn't mind trying'?

Sign up below to join the 52 Selfie Challenge Facebook Group - that's where you will find the selfie school tips, and where we'll all work together on improving our selfie confidence.

I look forward to seeing you in the group soon.

Much love,

3 Join the 52 Selfies Challenge

Ready to love yourself in photos? I hope so!

Yesterday I talked a little about the challenge, and how I'll guide you through improving your selfie skills and get you used to seeing yourself in photos.

The challenge is perfect for anyone who doesn't really do photos. Who thinks they're unphotogenic. Who would like to get more comfortable with how they look on camera. 

It's hard to do all of that if you're not taking a great selfie to start with!

So, once we've all honed our selfie skills, all we have to do is post a selfie, once a week, and at the same time compliment ourselves. What could be simpler?

So that we all have somewhere to post our selfies, I have set up a closed Facebook group. As the group is closed, I'm not posting the link publicly - this is a private space for people taking part in the challenge (I don't need the whole world critiquing my selfies just yet, and I am sure you don't either).  So please fill out your details below and your link to the group will be sent straight out to you via email.

I look forward to chatting with you! If you have any questions, please post them here, or email me at [email protected] , or post in the Facebook group.

Much love,


Introducing the 52 Selfie Challenge

Do you love selfies? Post at least one, every day?
Then step aside, because I'm talking to the selfie-haters. The ones of us who feel unphotogenic (even though this is not really a thing) and, basically just don't like our own faces.

We're not skilled selfie-takers. Why would we be? We don't need to see pictures of us.  However, not being able to bear your own face and hating yourself in photos - probably not that great for your mental health.

I'm on a mission to get you comfortable with how you look in photos

Why? Because I firmly believe:
1. it's all part of loving yourself to be comfortable with how you look.

2. photos of you may not be important to you, but they may be important to someone else in your life at some point (read more on that here).

Now, I know this is going to be a struggle. Trust me when I say it is a struggle for me to consider taking selfies. So let's not call it a struggle, let's call it a challenge. Challenges are there to be overcome - let's do this!

Welcome to the  Smart Photography 52 Selfie Challenge

Quite often not liking yourself in photos goes hand in hand with being quite down on your appearance generally. How to fix that? Well, there are two main parts to this challenge.

1. Improving your selfie skills and getting familiar with how you look in photos.

Of course you don't want to look at yourself in photos, I get that. But if you only see your mirror image (and fleetingly at that for some of us) then how you look in photos is always going to look wrong - you're not symmetrical - how you look in photos and in the mirror are the opposite of each other.
So an important part of this challenge is to improve your selfie skills and get you used to how your face looks to others - we'll look at how to position your phone, how to pose and where to take the photos.

2. Making a positive comment about your photos.

This is possibly the hardest part, and therefore the most important part. 
Along with each selfie should come a compliment from you, about you.

Together we will post a selfie, each week for a year, plus a positive comment about ourselves. We're doing it together because, left to our own devices we'll let it fall by the wayside. We're doing it for a year because that's hopefully long enough, and enough photos, to get truly comfortable with how we look.

We'll have a private Facebook group to share our images and comments in and support each other.

The challenge will start with selfie school - tips to help you take a better photo (because I'll bet right now you're not taking a selfie that actually looks like you, and this colours your judgement about yourself).

Are you in? Would you like to feel good about yourself, with what is essentially very little effort, and get comfortable with cameras?
If so, please post in the comments section (or on the Facebook page).

Much love,

selfie school

Newly added! Fill out the form below to join the challenge now (quick...before you change your mind) xx


The importance of photos

If you don't like having your photo taken, it's not that hard to avoid it happening, even in these days of camera phones and Instagramming every moment.

It's easy to think that this has no consequences, but it does. Not just for your own self esteem - the less you are in photos, the less you will want to be in photos, and the less you will like yourself in photos - but also for the future.

In 100 years time, when Facebook is a relic of our time, will it look like you even existed? Will the world have seemed like a fun filled place with everyone having a great time, all of the time due to the Facebook filter people apply of mainly posting the good stuff?
Plus, kittens.

If someone's looking at my Facebook in 100 years time, they will glean I have a dog. That I was dog obsessed. Wow, that woman really loved her dog.

More importantly though, if you have a family, will your children and grandchildren have photos to remember you by?  

I didn't grow up in a particularly photo friendly household, however it was the age of 'the family photographer' who would come to the house every few years. Me and my sister would dress up in our C & A best and force smiles, squished uncomfortably close on the sofa.  I'd love to share these with you, but I don't seem to have them to hand <cough>.

When my parents divorced, mum kept the photography habit. Dad, not so much.  Couple this with the fact that we spent considerably less time with him, and also that he hated being photographed, when he died (unexpectedly) in 2013 it was brought sharply home to me how few photos, particularly of him and me together, were in existence (and yes, our studio was a family portrait studio back then - oh, the irony).

I went from not really being one for looking at photos to craving them. Every one, no matter how old, blurry and essentially terrible they were, became instantly precious on 7/7/13.

I didn't care what he looked like in them or what I or anyone else looked like in them. I just needed tangible proof that he had been there. This is the importance of photos. Not for you, but for others.

Compare how many photos you take of your children (or in my case your pets) to how many photos you have of you. Then stick with me - I'm going to be starting a 'How to love yourself in photos' campaign that you may find useful to start upping the 'record of you'.

Much love,

importance of photos

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,

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