Anna Smart, Author at Smart Photography

All Posts by Anna Smart

Who’s That Girl?

The one that almost every woman wishes she was more like?

It's a funny one this, because, back in the day, many of us didn't really like her at all. We certainly didn't idolise her, or consider her to be in any way aspirational.
Yet, here we now are, every time we look in the mirror, wishing we could see her reflected back. Trying to make ourselves more like her.
How times change!

We weren't even nice to her, at the time

So many of us were deeply unkind to her.  And don't think that stuff doesn't stick, because it does. We can't go back 20, 30 years and apologise. We have to live with how we behaved towards her, and the consequences of how we spoke to her. It's shaped who we are now, even if we never even think about it.

She was everything we're not

Back then we may not have thought she had a figure to die for, but what we'd give for it now!
And just to be that young. To not have our lives written over our ​bodies, and time written over our faces.

​Meanwhile she hasn't changed at all. How could we have not appreciated her at the time? Why can't we be like her now?

Hindsight's a wonderful thing

We may have come a little late to realising how utterly fabulous she was, but we got there in the end.

Now, though, we have to stop trying to be in competition with herThat moment has passed. We can take the traits we love - maybe her confidence, her attitude, whatever those aspects are of her personality that we wish we had a little more of now. But we're not going to look like her. We might feel the same age as her on the inside (newsflash - you get to look like a grown up without ever feeling like one), but we're not, and we need to be ok with that.

We don't need to be jealous

And we don't need to compete. So, she's not there in the mirror? We can still love the person who is.

Ready to fall in love with the awesome woman you became, and start appreciating her a little bit more?

Just fill in the form below, and I'll be in touch.

Much love,
Anna
xx

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Why does ‘youthfulness’ give you confidence?

Here's something I'm pondering after seeing an (incredibly long) infomercial at the weekend, about some super duper eye cream that will restore youth and thus, seemingly hand in hand with this, confidence.

"Imagine how much younger and more confident you will feel" the presenter said.

Again and again and again. The phrase was repeated so often it genuinely is ingrained on my brain now.

Clearly, then, this is a persuasive marketing message for women (although, to be fair they did briefly mention men, because obviously there is no reason men shouldn't feel deeply insecure about the ageing process too).

The thing is, I wasn't at all confident, when I was younger

Yes, I may have been less wrinkly and less saggy, but I was also quite definitely a lot less confident in my teens, twenties and thirties than I am now, in my mid-forties (I have one week left of 'mid').

Not to mention the fact that we currently seem to have an epidemic of young women feeling absolutely bloody terrible about themselves.  Women are starting to have, for example, plastic surgery, at ever younger ages. We're obsessed with 'fixing' ourselves and no one seems to be comfortable in themselves, at whatever age.

If women a whole lot younger than me are not feeling great about who they are, then youthfulness is not giving them confidence.  Why would some sort of fake youthfulness give me any?

I can't win a fight against ageing

If I tie my self-confidence up in how old I am or look, then I'm immediately putting an expiry date on my own confidence. I'm entering a battle I definitely can't win, in the long term.

Since I like winning, I'm going to stack the odds in my favour by embracing the fact that age is making me more comfortable in who I am, not less so.

Much love,
Anna
xx

Does Accepting Yourself Mean Giving up on Change?

Some women have almost a fear of body acceptance, because they think it means giving up on ever changing, and just accepting you'll always be the same (or, let's be honest, it's all downhill from here anyway).

This fear is completely understandable - if I love myself as I am right now, why would I want to change a thing?

Love and acceptance do not mean perfection

Just because you love someone, it doesn't mean you think they're perfect, does it? So allowing yourself to love yourself, doesn't mean you consider yourself perfect either. It simply means letting go of constant self-criticism.

Think of your best friend

You love them, right? 

If they wanted to lose weight, you wouldn't refuse to love them, and be nothing but negative towards them, until they'd done it. You wouldn't consider them weak, disgusting or unlovable. 

You'd support them in their goal, knowing that, whether they achieve it or not, they're awesome. They're worthwhile. They are valuable in your life. You'll love them anyway, because you were never defining them by how they looked or what they weighed.

It's ok to do that for yourself to

You can support yourself in your own goals in life and still accept yourself, before you've reached them. You can literally choose to do that.

You can choose to be your own biggest cheerleader, and work to change your internal dialogue to one of encouragement, not criticism. But it is work and you have to make it a conscious decision - rarely do we get to just wake up one morning, feeling awesome about ourselves. We have to make an effort to achieve that for ourselves.

The biggest part of that effort by far, is making that mental leap that it is definitely ok to like/accept/love yourself now.

So, take it on board, as a concept. Think of it in relation to other people. Do you hope that your partner/friends/children feel good about themselves?
Is there really any reason why, despite the fact they are not perfect, they shouldn't accept and love themselves?

You're not the exception.

Much love,
Anna
xx

Does a lack of body confidence affect your sex life?

For many women, the answer is yes.

There are lots of ways a lack of body confidence can affect your sex life, or even stop you from having a sex life at all.

One very common thing we come across, is a reluctance to undress in front of your partner.  Sex is a strictly lights off affair - running into the bedroom and diving under the covers, or getting out of nightwear whilst already in bed, and putting it to the side to be rescued later.

Please know, I am talking about the partners who tell you how much they love you, and love your body. If your partner is critical, puts you down or insults you, I personally do not think it's your body you need to change...

What about touching?

It's not at all unusual for women to have parts of their bodies they absolutely hate. Stomachs often get mentioned to us, and nothing as much as the 'pouch'. So loathed, that they don't want their partners to touch this part of their body they feel so ashamed of.

When you're mind is concentrating on 'where is that hand going to roam to' and not 'wow, this feels amazing', you are not letting go and enjoying the moment - and any tension you're feeling may well be transmitting straight to your partner, who won't necessarily know why it's there.  They'll probably learn your 'no-go areas' over time, but wouldn't it be a whole lot more relaxing to be comfortable enough with your partner to know that they accept the shape of your body for what it is? Do we prevent that by not being accepting ourselves?

Sex is an activity that engages many senses

So it stands to reason that when we start to restrict sight and restrain touch, we're, for a start, not feeling relaxed, but also if great sex is about involving all of our senses, what are we cutting ourselves off from by not allowing the sight of our partners, and their's of us, to play a part?
By not allowing their hands to roam our bodies, and to feel someone embrace, with love, something we struggle to do so for ourselves?

Not to mention the fear of meeting someone new

It's one thing to have a long term or regular partner, but the thought of getting back into the dating scene, all of the swiping, then meeting, then oh dear God, the revealing yourself to someone new...it is way too much for some women, so  they'll avoid even looking for a partner for fear of what this person, who they don't even know yet, may think.

Maybe other people aren't all that shallow?

When women bring their partners along to view their photos, we are often trying to show our clients what their partners already see - it's not the other way round. It is not your job to have a perfect body, there's no such thing. Do you reject your partner for natural changes that occur in their body over time? For most people, the answer is no. Have a little faith that other people aren't quite that shallow either (and if they are, are they someone you want to be with anyway?).

If you'd like a chat about building up your body confidence, fill in the form below, and I'll be in touch.

Much love,
Anna
xx

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I’ve been ghosted

...and I'm ok with it.

You know that feeling when you've spoken with someone and felt like you've made a true connection? They get you, you get them. Then, all of a sudden, the phone goes to voicemail. A text gets no reply. It's like that brief moment of connection never happened.

Welcome to my world!

I'm not talking about getting ghosted by men (although the correct response to that is saying 'so long, and thank for all the fish' and moving on).

I get ghosted by clients. Or, I should say, potential clients. And I'm ok with it because I understand exactly how and why it happens.

When you exist to make people more confident, chances are they're not feeling all that confident when they first get in touch. My job is to instill enough confidence to get someone to the studio. Once that happens, everything else is plain sailing.  

But confidence ebbs and flows, it's not a constant thing. What you might feel whilst we're chatting everything through on the phone is not necessarily the same as you feel, lying in bed in the middle of the night, panicking about your body somehow not being 'right' (because, it's always the middle of the night, isn't it? When the worst panics happen).

But if we've chatted, and gotten on well, it is then really, really hard to say "You know what, Anna, I don't think I have the confidence after all".

What if I'm upset, that you've wasted my time (I'm not).
What if annoyed? (I'm not).
What if I think you're being silly (I don't).
What if I use my soothing voice to convince you it will all be fine? (OK, that literally could happen, as my 'messaging the Facebook page at 10.30pm in a mad panic' people will attest to).

You choose radio silence, and I completely understand.

I'll respect where you're at

If there is one thing we know to be really important, it's that coming along for a boudoir portrait is much less about what's happening with your body and much more about what's happening in your head.

Your brain may well be on a see-saw of:
"I would love to do this"
- "Except I can't"
"But it could be fab"
- "But I might look awful"
"But it could be really good for me"
- "But I just don't have the confidence"

and so on.
This is entirely normal, amongst our clients, so we are just waiting for that see-saw to rest on the side of "I can".  If you're not there yet, even if you thought you were, or really wanted to be - that's ok.
We'll wait.
We'll be ready for you when you are there.

Much love,
Anna xx

If you feel like you might be ready to fall in love with you, fill in the form below, and I'll be in touch (oh, and this will save you our £99 session fee too!).

Anna
xx

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