Anna Smart, Author at Smart Photography

All Posts by Anna Smart

Presley is Home

Presley the peacock has come home!

When we opened the new studio in October 2020, everything was looking great. The studio was fab, the garden was fab, but...there was just something missing.

Then my sister, Rebecca, found this awesome peacock for us, and promptly purchased him.

As the studio is in West Oxfordshire, and Rebecca is in Nottinghamshire, we were planning to meet up in November and effect a 'handover' to bring  Presley, as we named him, home.

And then November lockdown happened, so Presley had to stay where he was.

But, we could possibly meet up in December some time?

And then my sister's area went into Tier 4.
We all know what happened with the Christmas plans.
Followed by Oxfordshire going into Tier 4.
Followed by us all going into lockdown.

Presley was not set to come home to us any time soon.

(Truth be told I began to suspect Presely was becoming a permanent addition to my Rebecca's garden...

By the time we got to April, I though Presley was destined to never come home. After 6 months, he must be pretty settled in!

Then, Rebecca announced she was coming to Oxfordshire - if the weather was good enough for a socially distanced, outdoor visit, she could come and visit and bring Presley.

We're delighted that the British weather was on our side, and Presley is now home, exploring the garden, before he finds his favourite place to settle.
He will be here to greet you (and is frankly quite considerably calmer than the poodle and the goldendoodle), when you come to us.

We (and Presley) look forward to seeing you at the studio soon.

Much love,
Anna
xx

Embrace Your Body Project – Caroline

When Caroline first got in touch, she told us "My partner always tells me I look sexy and beautiful, I’d love to see myself through his eyes."

This so perfectly encapsulates exactly what we're trying to do, we couldn't wait to meet her, and show her that different perspective on herself. This is what the Embrace Your Body project is all about!

How to properly personalise a portrait session

In our first conversation, Caroline mentioned that her partner had a motorbike - probably not expecting me to say 'Bring it!'.

This was all quite weather dependant (remember the relentless rain last December?), so we crossed our fingers and hoped. 

The immediate high

Caroline's session went really well. Of course it is nerve-wracking, taking that initial step to come to us, but if you can do it, well, here's what Caroline had to say, in a message to her daughters, afterwards:

" I want to let you know about Saturday, the photo shoot, I didn’t want to say too much before - I was nervous when I got there, although I’d been more nervous at home when I was trying on what I’d ordered to wear lol. The people were lovely and I didn’t feel at all uncomfortable, we had a laugh there was me, the photographer and the lady who did my hair and makeup . I felt really great when I was there. I even did 2 poses completely nude (you don’t actually see anything in the photo though) and I was on such a high and buzzing when it was over..."

The immediate low

Now, we would love it if that buzz lasted - and for most people it does, until they switch their focus to seeing their photos. So, usually a few days after the session itself.
Caroline though, started to think about seeing them straight away.
The rest of her message wasn't quite so upbeat...

"...and just as we were leaving we arranged when to go back and view. Then, when we got outside, it hit me, and I started crying and have done several times since..... I just keep thinking 'how stupid am I to think I could look as fabulous as those other ladies, what the hell was I thinking and I have to go back and look at these photos on Saturday and I’m old and fat and what on earth was I thinking of' "

All of the doubts came flooding back

I would love to be able to say that everyone comes back to see their photos feeling excited. It's not true. Caroline's emotions surrounding the shoot are entirely usual. If you think the hardest part is in coming for the portrait session itself, time and again our clients tell us it's scarier to come back and see the pictures.

We never underestimate the bravery that is involved in viewing your photos, because we know that is the moment you most fear your doubts becoming reality.  

There are often tears

Viewing your images can be a very emotional experience. You are challenging your perception of yourself - that's deep! To see yourself in a different way - to finally understand what others already see - it is absolutely an overload of emotions.

So, how was Caroline feeling after seeing hers?

"I'm amazing. <Starts crying> Robin did such a good job in the shoot and the photos look amazing. And I feel like a million dollars"

Caroline's message to anyone who's feeling apprehensive about coming along to us:

"Just do it. Take somebody along with you. Especially have somebody who knows you're going to do it, and somebody who can come back with you to look at the photos.
You need someone to come back with you, someone who's going to make sure you come back and help
you choose the best photos because it's amazing.
Absolutely fabulous. Thank you."

The Embrace Your Body Project is all about empowering women to love themselves and their bodies, as they are, right now.

It's about embracing our bodies, whatever flaws we may think we have, and accepting ourselves.

It's about showing that nobody is perfect, but that we are all beautiful in our imperfections.

And it's about sharing that experience with other women, to help them on their journey to body confidence.

Embrace Your Body Project – Jude

When Jude first got in contact with us, she said “I'm only just learning to love myself and spend time on me after having looked after everyone else for too many years." This is all too common an issue! We prioritise everyone else over ourselves, especially if we have children, because they become the priority until they're at least 18. That's often 18 years of not thinking about yourself, not doing anything for yourself, not caring for yourself.  And even if you're not someone with children,  you have friends, relatives, partners, pets, colleagues, and careers to think about.

A moment of madness

"Getting in contact was completely spur of the moment, a moment of madness. I had seen one of your images a while ago and thought it was beautiful and then it just popped up on my Facebook feed and I thought “just do it”. Just a moment of madness is all that I'd say."

The day of her session arrived

"I was terrified before I came, I nearly didn't come. I thought “I've only paid a deposit, I can just not do this.” But I thought “no, sometimes you've got to do things outside of your comfort zone” and actually, once I got here I was fine, I just tried not to think about it. I was really busy the couple of weeks leading up to it, which was probably the best thing that could have happened, because I didn't have time to think about it, and then I just turned up and did it, without thinking too much about it, and that's the way I looked at it.  I think all of us just think we're not fabulous and we're not gorgeous, but we want to like ourselves more, so that's why I did this."

Like with most people, Jude got hit with a second round of nerves before coming back to see her photos. Never forget, we will not show you photos of yourself that aren't amazing!

The expectation

"I was nervous about coming back to see them, I didn't think I would but then I began to think “Oh what have I done? What if I hate them all?” Yeah, I did start to feel nervous."

The reality

"They're amazing. The the photographs are absolutely stunning. You've done an amazing job and I am so impressed and I feel really good."

A few final words from Jude for anyone considering taking part

"Just do it. It is so professional and you're made to feel so at ease and, actually, it's not as scary as you think it's going to be."

The Embrace Your Body Project is all about empowering women to love themselves and their bodies, as they are, right now.

It's about embracing our bodies, whatever flaws we may think we have, and accepting ourselves.

It's about showing that nobody is perfect, but that we are all beautiful in our imperfections.

And it's about sharing that experience with other women, to help them on their journey to body confidence.

Embrace Your Body Project – Sioux

Sioux had managed to pull herself out of an all time low and knew she not only needed, but deserved, some kind of pick-me-up to help her on her way and on this new chapter of her life. When she got in contact with us she said "I sank into a deep depression last year. I've managed to yank myself up to be able to move to a new town, this would be a huge boost to show I'm worth more than I thought, and a reminder of just how far I've come."

The Embrace Your Body Project is all about empowering women to love themselves and their bodies, as they are, right now.

It's about embracing our bodies, whatever flaws we may think we have, and accepting ourselves.

It's about showing that nobody is perfect, but that we are all beautiful in our imperfections.

And it's about sharing that experience with other women, to help them on their journey to body confidence.

Embrace Your Body Project – Emily

When Emily first got in contact with us about the 'Embrace Your Body' project she knew what she needed and what she wanted to get out of coming along to us "I want to look at images of myself and not focus on the negatives I think are there." Emily struggles not to pick apart herself in images and focus intently on any flaw she spots, she thought it would be a challenge for us to create some images she doesn't see any flaws with (it wasn't at all!).

The Embrace Your Body Project is all about empowering women to love themselves and their bodies, as they are, right now.

It's about embracing our bodies, whatever flaws we may think we have, and accepting ourselves.

It's about showing that nobody is perfect, but that we are all beautiful in our imperfections.

And it's about sharing that experience with other women, to help them on their journey to body confidence.

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