Anna Smart, Author at Smart Photography

All Posts by Anna Smart

The Ultimate Feel-Good Photography Experience For Women

We would love to welcome you to our brand new Garden Studio, in Bampton, West Oxfordshire, for the ultimate feel-good photography experience for women.

Whilst we've been closed during lockdown, we've had plenty of time to take our feedback from clients over the last 15 years, and create something special.

A special portrait session, requires a special prop, so we commissioned a burlesque supplier to custom make these beautiful feather fans - just like burlesque performers use in their shows!

perfect boudoir shoot 1

(By the way, this image also won us the Boudoir Photographer of the Year title during lockdown, so we're pretty pleased with it!)

Over the years, we have learned our clients fears well (not least because I share many of them!)Here's what this shoot addresses:

  • No lingerie required. OK, you need some knickers, that really is it. I hate lingerie shopping and I know many of you do too.
  • Hate looking at the camera? Me too. There are so many options for looking away with these!
  • No need to love your face/hair/anything else. There are many options for anonymous shots that will be gorgeous, and 'hiding' shots, where you're just peeking out.
  • No need to feel self conscious at the shoot because - see above. You won't feel like anything's on show.
  • No pressure to be 'sexy'. 
  • This is the big one - No body confidence required - you can completely hide behind them if you want to!

We know women often feel certain shots won't work for them. We are very careful with the images we use in our marketing - they may look better than you 'think' you can achieve, they're really not!

Your ultimate feel-good shoot includes:

  • A pre-session image consultation, where we'll discover the poses you love. if you want to bring  along lingerie, you'll be able to choose from our entire portfolio to tailor your session.
  • Hair and make up by one of our pro stylists.
  • Posing guidance - we don't leave anything to chance!
  • 2 1/2 hours of time, all focused on you feeling fabulous. (How often does that happen?)
  • Your image viewing - hankies are provided, these get emotional! 

Who doesn't need to take some time to feel good about themselves in 2020?

Your ultimate feel-good portrait session awaits, and right now, the session fee is just £99 (instead of our usual £199).

To find out more, just fill in the form below (you're not committing to anything) and I'll be in touch.

Anna
xx

Boudoir Photographer of the Year 2020

Amidst our gloom in lockdown we have had some fabulous news!
Robin has been awarded 'Boudoir Photographer of the Year' for 2020 by the Master Photographers Association Central Region. The awards ceremony was online, taking place, as it did, during lockdown.

Let's be honest, it's a tough time for everyone, and businesses are no different, so being able to achieve this with an image created whilst we have been closed has been a huge boost.

Sue Kaye - MPA President, and judge, said of the winning image:
"That's something I personally haven't seen before. I think it has great impact. You've been obviously incredibly discreet with not just the posing, but also with the handling of the lights. I think you've got all the shadows in exactly the right places and I love the purple background. I think it's a very, very clever idea, well done. It's a cracking image, it's really really good."

It's taken a while, but we now have our trophy (and a couple of extras, for additional images that won merits - it's been a good year!)

The winning image

Of course, it was our 'peacock' image, created with the new feather fans!

Ready for your shoot with the fabulous fans?
We are taking bookings NOW for October onwards, at our new Bampton studio

The fans will not be available as part of our regular boudoir sessions, so right now, the only way to book one, will be to have registered in advance.

The session fee NOW is £99* (our usual session fee is £199, so they will revert to that, or possibly a little bit more for these).

Fill in the form below and get on the list.

Much love, stay safe,
Anna
xx
(*There is no payment due until we've chatted it through and you are ready to book xx)

Summer of Self Love 2020

Our Summer of Self Love for 2020 is now complete.
You can dip in and out, do one, do all of them - it's up to you.
If you want to feel good about yourself, pick a video, do the thing. repeat!

Week one eases us gently in the summer of 2020, with a pat on the back for ourselves for getting this far, in what has been a really difficult year.
So, take it easy this week, just tell yourself 'Well done'(and mean it!)

I've talked before about ditching toxic social media -this is an opportunity to replace it with positive influences. And it is all about sharing those, with others, making you THEIR beacon of positivity.

Week three  is again all about spreading a bit of positivity - we ALL need it right now. When you spread positivity, you will receive it back -
give abundantly, and receive abundantly!

Week four is all about changing how you talk TO and ABOUT yourself. If you tell yourself (and others) that you HATE your body - how about you change that message to something more open ended?

 A couple of weeks ago we were giving compliments - week five is all about accepting them...graciously!
If you're one for rejecting compliments - this week is most definitely for YOU!

Week six is all about standing tall, both physically and in how we THINK about ourselves. Two things to do this week -  tiny tweaks that can have a REALLY big impact on how you perceive yourself. 

For week seven, I'm not asking you to do anything that takes up a lot of your time - it's all about thinking about what is REALLY important to you in life, and, honestly, whether how you look makes ANY difference to that stuff?

Week eight is all about the power we give to photos, over and above what we see in the mirror.
Just because a photo is more permanent, doesn't make them truthful.

The camera lies!

Week nine is a confidence 'hack' that will not only make you seem more confident, but will, over time make you become more confident.

If you want a shortcut to starting to appear more confident, this is the week for you.

You know you can't please everyone, right?
So why not go right ahead and just please the one person you know you can - yourself?
Welcome to week 10!

Week 11 is all about the positive power that photos can have on us.
So, this week, spend a little time drenching yourself in happy memories that you get from browing photos.

I definitely saved the best until last!
Do you go into battle, against yourself? Week 12 is about changing how you support yourself in your goals.

Of course, watching a video is one thing - taking action is up to you!
Let me know how you get on!

Much love,
Anna
xx

The Perfect Boudoir Shoot

OK, 'the perfect boudoir shoot' is a bold claim. I'd like to say that lockdown has given us a lot of thinking time, and we have put this to good use.
However, like many fabulous things, I think we may have actually stumbled across the perfect boudoir shoot, by accident.

It goes like this.
We've had a single burlesque feather fan for years. it's a useful prop. But the ones we've had weren't the real thing, that burlesque performers use. So, they weren't 'quite' as big, weren't 'quite' as fancy, but they did look really good on camera.
Our original one came from Ann Summers, and honestly, I couldn't fault it:

perfect boudoir shoot

We do have a tendency to wear them out, over time. Ann Summers no longer do them, real ones are expensive, so we made do with substitutes. But I have long had a hankering for the real thing, so I found some.

And then lockdown happened

This slowed things down a little bit, but, to their credit the supplier still cracked on, they arrived...and went into quarantine.
But we couldn't shoot anyone with them, because, of course, we are closed. 
Our usual thing would be to invite clients in to model. I'm not patient enough to wait for lockdown to end though!

Was I expecting the perfect boudoir shoot?

No! It took me a long time to get around to having a shoot previously, and when I did, I sabotaged it. To say I was nervous about having another one would be a huge understatement.

I also have no nice lingerie (it must be over 4 years since I went to buy any in an actual shop and hated the experience so much that I haven't been back).

I was excited about using the fans, but not about being photographed.

The shoot was amazing!

I'd cobbled together lingerie that was probably over 7 years old (note to you - don't be me!) that I thought may work.
In the event, I didn't need it at all. All I needed was knickers (incidentally, I didn't have any of the 'right' knickers myself, which anyone who follows us will know are brazilian cut - I got to take advantage of the stocks we buy for the studio, so that we always have a pair on hand for you).
I really needn't have worried about lingerie at all - I was vastly underestimating how huge the fans are. I could stand behind one of them (anyone could) - there are two!

Here's what makes this the perfect boudoir shoot

I thought this was going to be all about the burlesque. It wasn't. I have never felt so confident in front of a camera, and for a lot of the time, I had absolutely nothing on! In terms of body confidence, this ticks all of the boxes.
Over the years, we have learned our clients fears well (not least because I share many of them!)Here's what a shoot with the fans addresses.

  • No lingerie required. OK, you need some knickers, that really is it. I hate lingerie shopping and I know many of you do too.
  • Hate looking at the camera? Me too. There are so many options to looking away with these!
  • No need to love your face/hair/anything else. There are many options for anonymous shots that will be gorgeous, and 'hiding' shots, where you're just peeking out.
  • No need to feel self conscious at the shoot because - see above. You won't feel like anything's on show.
  • No pressure to be 'sexy'. I am always minded of the line from Rocky Horror - "I'm as sensual as a pencil". With a lingerie shoot, I felt ridiculous, in advance, with the whole notion of trying to be sexy. No such pressure here.
  • This is the big one - No body confidence required - you can completely hide behind them if you want to!
perfect boudoir shoot 1

Ready for the perfect boudoir shoot?
You can register your interest NOW!

The fan sessions will be available as soon as we reopen. The fans will not be available as part of our regular boudoir sessions, so right now, the only way to book one, will be to have registered in advance.

The session fee NOW is £99* (our usual session fee is £199, so they will revert to that, or possibly a little bit more for these).

Fill in the form below and get on the list.

Much love, stay safe,
Anna
xx
(*There is no payment due until we are open, we've chatted it through and you are ready to book xx)

2 Toxic Memes

I need to start this off by stating that I LOVE memes. We create loads of them for Instagram and Facebook.  I share them, like them, tweet them.

However, I am also acutely aware that a widely shared meme demonstrates 'this view is popular'. If that view makes someone feel negative emotions such as guilt or shame, the meme may be toxic to their mental health.

People are extra-sensitive right now, as we're all coping with our own, unique situations. Consequently, the opportunities to make people feel 'less than' are abundant.

<Waits patiently whilst someone bleats on about snowflakes>.

When brands create memes, they've usually got a very defined audience in mind (and I am including us as a brand here - 15 years in business, we've got a logo and everything, if I want to say we're a brand, let me have it).
You think pretty carefully about who you want to 'speak' to, as a brand. You're not intending to actively alienate every one else (most of the time), but you're not really trying to speak to the majority, as much as you're attempting to really reach the people who share your core brand values.
I tend to try to play it safe - to me this means 'don't make anyone else feel bad, in trying to make someone feel good'.

When individuals create memes, they've just thought 'sounds good to me' and go for it.

Toxic memes are falling into a variety of categories.

Toxic Motivation

toxic motivation meme

I first came across this in various business groups on Facebook.
Now, businesses are getting hammered by the lockdown. Many business owners aren't working, aren't earning and don't know whether they'll ever re-open, such is the current economic reality.
Needless to say, therefore, seeing these posted, does not necessarily buoy your spirits, when you're wondering 'am I going to lose my house in all this?'.

Worse, the sentiment got shared much more widely. As if everyone was now on some kind of extended holiday, and should be 'making the most' of their sudden, clearly abundant, free time.

Sure, you may be trying to home school your children, make £2.50 last for 4 weeks and stop your dog going crazy, but if you really wanted to learn to play the cello, you would be making it happen.

Meanwhile, you could be doing none of these things, and spending all day in your pyjamas, watching Netflix, and finding even that a struggle. You got through another day. You are doing enough, right there. Don't be guilted into thinking you aren't.

Finally, you might be like me - essentially, kind of fine with lockdown and a bit lazy. Still. Leave me be. I usually work flat out, so excuse me if I don't want to make now the moment I write a book.

Fat Shaming Memes

These have built in popularity, the longer the lockdown goes on. I'm not sharing one. You've seen them, probably given them a like, possibly shared them.
They're essentially variations on the theme of how fat you're going to be, by the time lockdown ends.

I do not think you're fatphobic for sharing these. There's some kind of weird validity that comes from something being a widely shared meme - just a general 'it must be ok'. And, it made you laugh, at first glance. Quite possibly, your intentions lean towards being self-deprecating. I understand all of this, and I just ask you to think about who these ultimately refer to. This article explains it brilliantly.

(Incidentally, the very first one of these I saw had a picture of a toddler, on a beach, in a bikini. So, yay, we're somehow - what? - fat-shaming children now? I don't get it).

Anti-Ageing Memes

See above - I'm not sharing any.  These are similar to fat-shaming memes, just replace being overweight with 
1. having grey hair
2. having wrinkles

Because, of course these are the worst things that can happen to us.

Anti-Feminist Feminist Memes

Not lockdown specific, these. They'll say things like:
"You can always tell who the strong women are. They are the ones you see building each other up, instead of tearing each other down."

Implicit it in these is that there's lots of women behaving terribly towards each other, and a few, strong ones not. 

Essentially, this is something all of the toxic memes have in common - putting a group of people down - either obviously, or subtly. And it is often subtle, which is what sucks us all in to sharing them.

ps...

You may, from reading this, consider me a completely joyless shrew. Just to let you know, I am fine with that.

Much love,
Anna
xx 

1 2 3 47