Anna Smart, Author at Smart Photography

All Posts by Anna Smart

2 Why diet and exercise is like The Game

If you're wondering what 'The Game' is, then I have simultaneously introduced you to it and made you lose it at the same time.
Sorry about that!

If you already knew what it was - well, sorry about that too.

Wikipedia has this (and quite a lot more) to say about The Game:
The Game is a mental game where the objective is to avoid thinking about The Game itself. Thinking about The Game constitutes a loss, which must be announced each time it occurs. It is impossible to win most versions of The Game. Depending on the variation of The Game, the whole world, or all those aware of the game, are playing it all the time. Tactics have been developed to increase the number of people aware of The Game and thereby increase the number of losses.

What's it got to do with diets?

On the face of it, absolutely nothing.
But here's how my brain works, and maybe yours does too.

If I were to start vaguely thinking I wanted to lose weight, and embarked on a healthy eating plan, my brain would scream 'DIET' at me constantly, and I would think about nothing but food. I might be consciously saying "it's healthy eating, that's all, a long term change to how I eat, not a diet", but there's no fooling my subconscious - it would think diet and this game would be up. Pass me the crisps. As soon as I think diet, I desperately want to eat all the cake.

I could try and tell myself I worry about my health, don't want to end up with diabetes, and all manner of other things - unless I can convince my brain that these are real and urgent concerns, it's thinking diet and I am sunk.

As it is with diets, so it is with exercise

I'm not going to lie, I am lazy. A gym-dodger. Exercise-phobic.
The very thought of standing with a group of other people, sweating our collective way through an exercise class makes me feel queasy.

I've joined gyms. I've told myself it's for 'my health'. My brain knows I am thinking weight loss. So dragging myself to a gym becomes a monumental effort. I'm not up to monumental effort. I don't go. I sit around feeling guilty about the money spent on the membership (and the trainers, and the gym gear because I was totally going to go).

The answer

Ah, no, sorry, I'm not a weight loss guru - I can't tell you how to shed pounds.

And I'm not a psychologist either - I can't tell you why my brain likes to work against me and is anti-diets/exercise.

The answer for me

Diet is an easy one - I don't diet. I eat what I want and put little thought into how many calories, except I pay grudging attention to making sure I have a healthy-ish sandwich for lunch, and eat veg with dinner. My meals aren't small, but they're not unhealthy, and that's as far as my thinking goes.
I make some actively healthy choices, but I also eat cake (and not a sliver, a hefty piece). I'm not on a diet, even my sub conscious agrees, and I therefore don't think endlessly about food and crave chocolate (except at Easter, when I couldn't rest until I had eaten all the eggs).

I do exercise. I have 2 dogs. It's easy for me to go for a walk, because I have to. Would I choose to? No. But it's not for me, it's for the dogs and so it's exercise that has to happen. There is no way I would get up in the morning and go for a walk/run, with no motivation. The dogs remove the element of choice. No element of 'trying to lose weight' here, so my brain is with me - just crack on and do it.

I appreciate that that's not helpful, because our lifestyles are very different!

The big thing I have changed this year is to start going to yoga. A group class - ie everything I hate, loathe, detest and do not want to do. And you have to block book and pay for 6 + classes at a time.

This has nothing to do with toning, weight loss or any other 'triggers' that my brain will sabotage - it's purely a health thing, after years of back pain, I decided to finally take the advice I have been given countless times by osteopaths and build my core strength, with yoga.

Do I like going? No. About as much as I ever liked going to the gym, maybe less.

Do I go? Yes, every week (and I am thinking of adding in an extra class a week too).

I may not enjoy it, but it does feel like exactly what my body needs. I think it's working for me. My brain doesn't talk me out of it, or make it seem like the most hideous of all chores. My brain somehow agrees that it's doing me good.

My brain doesn't want to help me in The Game

That's what I've learned. If 'The Game' in this instance is anything weight loss related, my brain is wired to sabotage me.

I don't profess to know why it does this (but I do know this isn't the only way my brain stops me doing things I want to do). So I have to acknowledge that, for whatever reason, my brain doesn't think weight loss is a 'good' aim. If my aim is something different - directly relating to health, or something else entirely (my dogs), it won't sabotage me.

If your brain's the same, then you need to work out what your brain agrees is a noble aim. It could be running a marathon and raising lots of money. It could be, like me, sorting out a long term health problem. But don't try to pretend it's something else, if it isn't - if your brain is sabotaging your efforts, you haven't found your 'thing' yet - your 'reason' that your brain agrees is good enough.

Much love,

How boudoir portraits build confidence

Why does portraits being 'confidence building' mean I need to be in lingerie?

It's a valid question, and one that lots of people think but don't say, so I think it's time to address it.

There are a lot of ways to build confidence - I've talked many times about how confidence is a muscle that needs to be exercised. The truth is, most of us don't exercise it. We think people fall into two camps - confident or not confident - and that's pretty much that.

You can switch between camps! And in a way, you know that - because all the time I hear from women who have lost confidence.

If you can lose it, you can get it back.
If you've never had it, you can get it.

But it takes a little work, because, chances are, it's not going to come back on its own.

Our confidence building portraits aren't just about body confidence

It's an easy leap to make - don't feel good about how you look, get shown you look good (and have photographic proof!), feel better.

If only it was that easy!

The core element of what we do is not 'showing you a lovely photo' of yourself'. If it was, you could pop in for a makeover and a headshot, and that would be that.

If we want to really build your confidence (and we do), then we need to gently lead you outside of your comfort zone. Most of the women who cme along to our Witney studio believe:
1. they would be too nervous to have a boudoir portrait session
2. they won't look good in their photos

The second of these is what we deliver -and we know that anyone can look great in photos, when they are posed well for them, and the lighting is perfect.

The first part is where the confidence transformation truly happens. Because just by doing something outside of their comfort zone, and pushing back against self-limiting beliefs, our clients are building their own confidence.

You don't have to be photographed in lingerie, but if the thought scares you a little, that's why you should be

When you push yourself to step outside of your comfort zone, you not only feel really good about yourself, you start to learn that your comfort zone is an illusion. So, if you can do one thing that's outside of it, maybe you can do other things to?

And there you go, exercising that 'confidence muscle'. With your portraits serving as a positive reminder of what can lie just beyond what you think you can do.

See - boudoir is more than just 'portraits in pants'!

Much love,

Ready to start building your confidence? Fill in the form below, and I'll be in touch xx


Have you lost yourself?

A common theme among many of our clients is that,  somewhere along the way, they have lost 'them'. Their feeling of self has been eroded, and they feel adrift - not really knowing who they are.

There are lots of reasons why women get to this point. Often life can almost consume us as individuals when the demands from children, relationships or work pull us in many different directions. 

Who's at the top of your list?

When you're dashing around, prioiritising many different things, do you ever make it to the top of the list yourself?

Actually, do you sometimes feel that you're not even on the list? You think 'me-time' is a lovely theory, for those that can have it? And, more crucially, you wouldn't know what to do with it if you had it?

Have you stopped listening to yourself?

When we consistently subdue our own needs, eventually, we lose track of what they are. Our internal pleas die away, when they're a voice that never gets listened to.

Then, when we suddenly do find ourselves with the opportunity to do something we want to, we can't hear that voice. It's learned to be quiet. We taught it to be quiet, and we taught it well.

Learning to listen to yourself

We should be able to listen out for our own wants, and, more importantly, needs - it's at the absolute root of self-confidence. As we let that inner voice get faded out by the demands of life, that is how we lose ourselves.

We taught that voice to be quiet - all we we have to do is teach her to speak up again!

You have to make it back onto your own list of priorities. If it feels self-indulgent, look at it this way. You can't maintain everything else you're trying to do, if you disappear yourself.

You can't draw water from an empty well.

Emily Ley

Start small

Building confidence and listening to yourself means making decisions that are about you. Compromise is, of course, necessary, a lot of the time. So pick something that isn't going to have a huge impact on other people and go from there.
It could be as simple as choosing a film you want to watch on tv, or at the cinema. Rather than saying "I don't mind", make an active choice - it may not be everyone else's first choice - let them have their first choice another time.

It could be saying yes to a night out (or it could be saying no to something you've fallen into a pattern of doing, but don't enjoy).

Just start letting your voice be heard by you. Stop subduing it. Hear her - she's the 'you' you've lost.

Start listening to your own voice, and hear it get louder

I've said time and again that confidence is a muscle that has to be exercised, and in tandem with this goes listening to your own wants and needs, and sometimes (not always, you don't have to get selfish about it), putting those to the top of your list of priorities.
Even acknowledging how you feel when you can't necessarily act on it will help you to find your path back to you.

Much love,

Think you might be ready to fall in love with you?

Come along for a complimentary boudoir portrait session and enjoy our 'Fall in Love With You' Guarantee.
If you don't love your images, we will refund your deposit, in full.

We're confident you will love your images, in which case simply deduct your deposit from whatever you choose to order.

Click the link to fill in a short form and take the first step to falling in love with you.

Help us create some anonymous boudoir images?

Would you like to help us to create some contemporary, beautiful anonymous boudoir portraits to feature on our walls, social media & website?

We're looking for women of any age, size, shape to work with us to create a showcase for our 'anonymous' range of images.

If you're:
Over 18
Don't usually like having your photo taken
Artistic images that keep people guessing, are your thing!

Get in touch by filling in the form below.

We have spaces available at our Witney studio throughout April 2019.

This portrait session includes a full consultation on the style of images that you love the most - a small part of your session will be dedicated to us creating 'Facebook friendly' anonymous images.

Choose between:

Anonymous Boudoir

Your anonymous boudoir portrait session includes:

  • Champagne on arrival for your session
  • Hair and make up by one of our pro stylists
  • Your fully directed portrait session - you don't need to know how to pose, that's our job!
  • Your private image viewing - This is your 'wow' moment. Bring your partner! Bring your mum! Bring a friend! And get ready to be wowed by you!
  • 20% off anything on our pricelist, if you choose to purchase from your session (there is no obligation to do so).

As with all of our boudoir portrait sessions, we will ask for a fully refundable booking deposit of £50 and you must be over 18 to take part.

Anonymous Art Nude

Your anonymous art nude portrait session includes:

  • Champagne on arrival for your session
  • A consultation on the image style
  • Your fully directed portrait session - you don't need to know how to pose, that's our job!
  • Your private image viewing - This is your 'wow' moment. Bring your partner! Bring your mum! Bring a friend! And get ready to be wowed by you!
  • 20% off anything on our pricelist, if you choose to purchase from your session (there is no obligation to do so).

As with all of our boudoir portrait sessions, we will ask for a fully refundable booking deposit of £50 and you must be over 18 to take part.

To take part, simply fill in the form below, and I'll call you with all the info. Don't forget to choose between boudoir or art nude!
Much love,

Body as Art turns one

I can't believe it's a year already since we launched our Body as Art portrait sessions!
After 7 years specialising in building women's body confidence, we knew we could take things to another level from boudoir, and these sessions are exactly that. 

To celebrate the first anniversary of the most liberating portrait sessions we've ever done, we're giving away 10 Body as Art sessions this March/April, here at our Witney studio.

If you:

  • Hate having your photo taken
  • NEED to see yourself differently
  • are ready to step outside of your comfort zone
  • LOVE black and white art

this is the portrait session that will show you the beauty of your body.

These sessions are suitable for all body shapes and sizes - every body has shapes and lines to create gorgeous art - no lingerie required!

(Please note that you must be over 18 to come along for one of our portrait sessions, and we always ask for a £50 deposit against all sessions - this is refunded in full when you come back and see your photos.)

We have selected Mondays/Fridays and one Saturday available for these sessions.

If you would like to take part, please fill in the form below, and I will be in touch to chat it all through with you.


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