Anna Smart, Author at Smart Photography | Page 3 of 40

All Posts by Anna Smart

new year new you

New year, new you? No thanks!

January is traditionally a time when we get bombarded with messages about how the new year is a perfect time for a new you. We can go on diets and join gyms and apparently improve ourselves in lots of different ways.

I don't want to talk about any of that! I don't want to put out a message that there's something about you that you need to physically change or that you should feel under pressure to change.

So if you're after information on the latest diets or the best way to exercise, that's not something that you're going to find here. My focus is going to be on helping you to love who you are, right now. I'm not going to pretend that nobody has flaws, in fact the exact opposite. We all have flaws and we kind of know that, we don't tend to consider that all of the people that we love in our lives are absolutely perfect. Actually we don't expect perfection in other people and we love them anyway. So all we've got to do is learn to do the same as we do for everyone else, for ourselves.

So this year I want to focus on what we can do to improve our confidence, especially body confidence. So across the year I'm going to be talking about lots of different topics. So things like different areas of our bodies, because we all have our own specific hangups but there are some really common issues that a lot of us get caught up on. But I also want to talk about things that happen in our lives that affect not just how we look but how we feel about ourselves too, so things like menopause - which can have a huge impact on confidence - obviously there's a lot to cover so I'm not going to try and do all of this in one go and as I get feed back and as we go along that's going to kind of guide me and inform me on what to talk about next.

But overall there's going to be a journey to follow here and hopefully it's going to end with us all feeling just that little bit better about ourselves.

Much love,

6 boudoir photo on wooden floor

All change

We're looking for 10 women to test out our new portrait sessions

If this sounds like you:

- Over 18
- Not body confident
- Would love to see yourself differently
- A bit daunted by the whole idea of boudoir portraits, but would really love to give it a go

Then please read on!

When we want to make big changes to our portrait sessions, it can get a bit scary for us!

We want to make sure that we're making the right changes, and getting everything absolutely perfect for you.

So, we'd like your help please

We have a couple of different ideas on how your time with us can be made even more special - we're specifically looking at:

- how we consult you about what you want

- your makeover and your time in the studio

- the style of images we take for you

- what happens afterwards

If this sounds like something you'd like to take part in, then we'd love to invite you along for a complimentary portrait session with us. There's no obligation to purchase images afterwards, but if you choose to, we'll give you 20% off anything on our price list as a thank you.

The only thing we will ask you to do is review our service afterwards, so that we can tell whether our changes are positive. This is private and, like your images, will not be shared by us without your permission.

We'll be splitting 10 women into 2 'groups' (although you won't be told which group you're in).
Please fill in the form below, and I'll be in touch.

(As with all of our sessions, a fully refundable booking deposit of £50 applies).

You’ve got to be feeling confident…

to come along for a boudoir portrait session, right?
Well, I'm not so sure.

Have you ever watched a film and got so confused over who's who in it, that you found it hard to follow? When I watched 'The Departed', with Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio together, I couldn't follow it. Because to me they look exactly the same.

I have a form of facial blindness that makes recognising people's faces really difficult. Mostly I get along by differentiating people by other differences - hair, clothes etc, and mostly I get by with that.

Facebook is massively helpful - if I'm meeting a friend who I haven't seen for a long time, I can fix them in my mind, because I can look at their photo. Otherwise, I run the risk of walking straight past them.

Obviously, I am in the perfect job for someone with this issue!

If you've ever lost your other half in Ikea, you kind of want them to be easy to spot - and since I fear not being able to recognise Robin, unless I've remembered what he's wearing*, it makes perfect sense to me to make myself recognisable.

(*I should explain this is a fear, not something that happens, because I'm pretty good at recognising people I see all the time, but if I had to recall their features to tell someone else, I couldn't do it. I'm a police sketch artist's worst nightmare).

So when it comes to my own personal style, I have a tendency to go against the grain. And this leads to an assumption from people that I must be quite confident, and possibly a bit attention seeking. What wallflower would have blue hair, after all?

But what if the choices I make are based on something else? What if I'm thinking "If I look different, I will be able to recognise myself in a photo"?
Because I can look back at old photos and not necessarily be able to tell my own face.
And since I don't understand how other people recognise each other, making myself stand out is a way I know I can be identifiable.

So my choices aren't based on confidence initially. However, when you do something that's maybe outside of your comfort zone (in my case, draw attention to yourself in some way) then :

1. You appear to have more confidence than you feel.

2. Your comfort zone starts to shift - meaning you start to actually have more confidence than you used to.

It's all pretty circular!

Is everyone who comes along for a boudoir portrait session brimming with confidence? Is that why they come?

No, of course not. They're pushing past their comfort zone and taking a risk. They're not massively more confident than you or anyone else before they come. They just have that tiny bit more confidence that gives them the courage to get in touch.

Much love,



The world is split into 2 types of people now. Yes, it's the selfie takers versus the non selfie takers and the selfie people are over running Facebook with photos of themselves, leaving the rest of us with photos of our pets, meals and, in my case, shoes.

So, what's the difference?  I'm not talking about people who post 37 photos of themselves a day, pouting and asking if they look ok, having found a filter that rearranges them to resemble, well, who knows, but not themselves.

No, I mean those people that, when out and about somewhere new, like to have a memento of the occasion. Nights out, meals with friends, holidays.

Versus the rest of us, who did take a selfie once, deleted it in horror, forgot all about it. Until the next time we took one, deleted it in horror, forgot all about it. And so on.

Why can't we, just for once, have a selfie worthy of sharing. Or keeping. You know, as a profile pic instead of our kids, dog or favourite meme.

​Well, we can. We just have to take more than one photo...oh, the horror.

Now, I don't mean we take a photo from the same angle with the same expression, repeatedly, hoping this next one will magically turn out better and then being shocked when it doesn't.
No. You need to move. the. phone.

You also need to pay attention to how you're holding the phone, because whether it's straight, tilted forward at the top, or tilted forward at the bottom, will make a difference to how you look.

What the selfie people have already done is figured out their best angle, and then they tend to stick with it. It's not that they have a natural tendency to look better in photos, more that they put a bit of effort in at some point, so that they could have photos they were happy with, leaving the rest of us falling at the first hurdle.

I've looked at lots of angles, so you don't have to

If you want to see the difference how and where you hold the phone takes, here are 9 selfies I took earlier (which is more than I usually take in a month, I might add).

The top row are all with the camera in front of me, level with my head.

Top left - camera straight
Top middle - camera tilted forwards at the top
Top right - camera tilted forwards at the bottom (if you can see nostrils, get your phone higher and straighter)

The middle row, I have the phone in front of me, but raised up.

Middle left - phone is straight
Middle middle - phone tilted forwards at top
Middle right - phone tilted forwards at bottom

For the bottom row, I have the phone slightly to the side, and raised.

Bottom left - phone is straight
Bottom middle - phone is tilted forward at top
Bottom right - phone is tilted forward at bottom

The quick tips:

If you have no desire to faff with different angles, here's a shortcut:

1. Don't tilt the phone forward at the bottom, unless you want your face to look wider at the bottom. Define the shape of your face more by tilting it forward at the top.

2. Get some height and distance between the phone and you (but don't do this by moving your head backwards - that is the route to extra chins "What I'd really like in a photo is more chins" said no one, ever).

3. Have the phone slightly to one side, instead of straight in front of you, and turn to face it.

This gives me the bottom middle photo.

You may also notice the importance of looking at the lens, not at yourself on the screen, and remembering to smile. I totally did that for demonstration purposes and absolutely not because I am deeply uncomfortable taking my photo, and also a bit of a twit.

Much love,

Cameras aren’t mirrors…

On the one hand, we know cameras/phones aren't mirrors.

On the other, we consistently treat them like they are.  Or to be more precise, we treat photos as though they're showing us exactly what's there.  In fact, we have a tendency to trust a photo more than we trust a mirror.

We can look at a photo and think "I thought I looked ok in the mirror and now I see myself in this photo I look dreadful. Wtf?"
The less we like having our photo taken, somehow the more we're going to let a bad photo devastate us. I mean, the mirror, that was a quick look before leaving the house. A photo is permanent proof of what we look like.  The truth's in front of us. It can't be denied.

I beg to differ.

Listen carefully (although, to be fair, I'll probably say this quite a lot more than once).

Looking terrible in one photo, several or all photos ever does not equate to looking terrible, full stop. And it doesn't mean you can't look good in photos either. It doesn't make you unphotogenic.

It's far more likely that you're tense and uncomfortable in front of a camera. The more photos of yourself you see, that were taken when you were tense, the more photos you see that you don't like, and that reinforce to you the notion that you're unphotogenic.

If you believe you're going to look terrible in a photo, well, you quite probably are. Pre-empting a photo looking awful almost certainly means you're changing everything from how you're standing or sitting, to the expression on your face. You're most likely radiating tension.  It's a snowballing situation that reinforces it's 'truth' every time you see a photo of yourself.

If you go tense whenever someone pulls out their phone to take a picture, then that picture is not going to be a true reflection of what you usually look like. Yes, it's a version of you, but it's a temporary version of you under stress. Don't look at the photo and believe in it as representing what you genuinely look like.

Start being more aware of how you felt when a photo was taken. If that feeling was "like I wanted to run away, but that would have seemed odd" then take the resulting image with a pinch of salt. Accept it as not being how you usually look, and take away its power to hurt you.

Much love,

(By the way, cameras lie all the time - including your phone when you're taking a selfie, but that's another post xx)