Photography Archives - Smart Photography

Category Archives for "Photography"



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)

So you think you’re not photogenic?

Here's something I come across time and again - women being convinced they're unphotogenic.

It's a topic I've visited before, more than once. But it's also a pretty big topic, so I'm coming back to it again.

I just need to to make a point to you. If you know people who always, always look fabulous in photos, then, I'll grant you, it's fair to say they may well be photogenic. This doesn't mean that everyone else, who doesn't automatically look great in every picture, is unphotogenic.

Other people looking fabulous in photos all the time does not mean you never can

Why would it?

If someone else is a concert pianist, it doesn't mean you're tone deaf.

If someone else is an awesome chef, it doesn't mean you're incapable of boiling an egg.

If someone else can do something seemingly effortlessly, it doesn't mean you can't do it at all.

​​​​Looking good in photos is a skill

And skills can be learned.

But, I hear you say, I have no photos of me that I like. None at all. I hate them all. I delete them. I never have my photo taken. I avoid the camera. I take the photos so that I can't be in them.
I'll break the camera.
I'm ugly.
I'm too fat.
I always pull a weird face.
I always have too many chins.

All things that have been said to me, over and over. 
Guess what? I don't have Vogue on hold whilst I'm typing this, begging me to appear on their front cover.
L' Oreal aren't after me to star in their latest advert.
I get it!

Not looking good in photos is not the same as being unphotogenic

If you want to get comfortable in front of a camera, then you need to get in front of a camera. 

Often, we don't like photos of ourselves because we're shocked by how we look. Now, either we're all completely deluded about how we look, or the camera isn't giving us a true reflection of ourselves.

It's most likely to be the latter - being uncomfortable in front of a camera is going to show. Your discomfort will be magnified, as will small gestures we make (like going tense, and raising our shoulders, or recoiling from the camera, giving ourselves extra chins).

There are lots of things you may be doing that result in a 'bad' photo - but if you get yourself aware of them, you can control them - the very first step towards getting better photos.
Much love,

Now in Witney – we need YOU!


Come along and feature on our studio walls

We are looking for two more women who would love a boudoir portrait session, and would like to feature on the walls of our reception at our new Witney studio.

Your portrait session will be shot partly on film, and be tailored to create specific images we have in mind to feature.

The rest of the time will be all about you, and any images you'd love to have created!

If you'd like to take part, and are free on any of the following dates, please fill in the form and I'll be in touch. Please be aware that, as with all of our sessions, we will ask for a fully refundable deposit of £40 on booking. As a thank you for taking part, we are happy to offer 20% off anything on our pricelist.

You must be over 18 to come along for a boudoir portrait session with us.

Available dates:

Saturday 11th March

Sunday 12th March

Thursday 16th March

Sunday 19th March

(Expect to be with us for around 3 hours)


Join our models so far!


Be a part of our film project


Remember film?

I 'may' have mentioned that we're moving premises (don't worry, we're still exactly where we were for now) and, as part of our move, we're creating a display in our reception area based on images shot purely on film. 

**Update 25/2/17 - we are now at our new premises in Witney**

Remember film? Back when you couldn't instantly see a photo and delete it if you didn't like it? Well, Robin has 5 or 6 different film cameras he will be working with, to create images to grace the walls of our new reception, and they are all film.

What are we doing?

We already have in mind specific images we want to create. These will be then be printed and framed in our reception.

Who do we need?

We are looking for women aged over 18 - apart from that, you can be any age/size/shape.
The sessions will take place during January and the start of February 2017.

What's in it for you?

You will receive, for free, a boudoir or makeover portrait session (usually £199) including :
- pre session chat at our studio (in Long Hanborough, near Witney)
- gorgeous makeover by one of our pro stylists
- a fabulous portrait session, using both digital and film cameras
- your private image viewing

You are welcome to purchase images from your session, and as a thank you from us you will receive 20% off anything on our price-list.

What else is in it for you?

You may be gracing our studio walls! We are likely to shoot more images than we need - it's film and we want to be 100% sure we have exactly what we want. If your images aren't on the wall, they will be incorporated into slideshows used for marketing or used elsewhere in the building.

Everyone involved will be invited to a very private 'reveal' evening at the new studio (there'll be champagne!).


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