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12

What I did wrong…

It took me a long time to get around to having my own boudoir portrait session,
so I can't have got anything wrong...can I?

"You will love your boudoir portrait session...."
"Your images are going to look amazing...."
"You're going to feel so much more confident afterwards...."

Oh yes, I could wax lyrical to everyone else about how great their boudoir portraits were going to be. I knew I was right - I knew that everyone had a great time. But did I know it on a personal level? No.

In short, I was the exact kind of person who would most benefit from a boudoir portrait session - because I didn't truly believe that I could love photos of me. I was nervous. Scared.

Not of the session - the photographer is my husband, he has seen me in less than underwear and not run for the hills yet, so that bit was going to be fine. 
No, the doubt was all about me, and that deep rooted fear that yes, this could work for all of our fabulous clients, but me? Not convinced.

I am awkward in front of the camera. I cringe if someone pulls out their phone for a group selfie on a night out. I hide at the back in group wedding photos ("Hey, you with the hair, come forward" wedding photographers will yell).

Who needs photos of me, I thought? It's not like they'll be gorgeous like everyone else's.

So, essentially, the fear guided me. I ignored the advice I sat and gave to everyone else. I didn't plan well.

I already had some lingerie I'd bought when I first decided to have a session myself - but this was 18 months on and I'd never quite got round to it. I was so nervous, I just decided that what I'd got would 'do'. This was mainly out of a feeling of "I am not going to look good anyway, so why am I even trying".

Now, this may sound like a lack of faith in Robin, my husband, the photographer here. It really isn't - Robin is a lighting and posing genius - I knew this. It was just...ever heard the phrase you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear? That was me.

I didn't think through what jewellery I might like to wear. In fact, I thought most about what shoes to bring, because I love shoes, and knew that they, at least, would look awesome.  

I didn't plan myself time during the day to prepare - I decided I wasn't worth anything more than being on standby when we had spare time in the diary to fit my session in.

I didn't try all that lingerie on again.

I didn't make sure I was happy with my hair colour, or get my nails done, even thought those things are important to me.

So, really, I didn't plan my session well at all.

I'd bought a basque, in a rush - that didn't fit as I wrestled into it on the day (my chest wouldn't squeeze in).
The bra and knicker sets I'd bought 18 months ago were now too big.
Luckily, a friend had given me 2 corsets and they worked well. I'd bought some cute, ruffly knickers from Ann Summers that were fab. I had one matching set to wear.

My hair and make up looked amazing - sod the nails, who cares? My eyes looked fantastic!
The session was hard work (for everyone who says they will be Robin's biggest challenge, let me assure you that me, standing there saying "Hmmm, I'm not sure that pose will work for me" was far more challenging to Robin than anything you will ever do or say). I made that session hard work by taking a while to just trust him. We got there in the end!

I had enough lingerie.
The stylist (fabulous Holly) worked her magic.
Robin worked his magic.

I loved my images. Was that even me? It takes a lot for someone who hates having their photo taken to be willing to share these images, but once I saw them, I knew I was going to be happy to do so.

So, I didn't quite manage to sabotage my own session - but I easily could have.

It has been a while now (2 years), so I'm going to have another session. And this time, I'm going to know I will have beautiful images, and will:
plan it all out much better
make sure I have lingerie that fits well
book the session into my diary, not try to squeeze it in wherever there's a gap
believe in myself more.

Much love,
Anna
xx

Dreaming of ‘me-time’?

It's such a lovely concept, isn't it 'me-time'?
I say concept, because the reality for many women is that me-time firmly remains an idea, a notion and an unachievable dream. 
Ask 'what have you done today'? and there'll be an endless list of how busy weekends are. Ask 'what have you done for you today?' and the list will be somewhat shorter, whatever the day of the week.

We have a lot of roles to play and a lot of jobs to do - the 'juggle struggle' is real. What were you today? A mother? A partner? A daughter? A good friend? We're maintaining relationships and, often, getting consumed by the roles we play - the hats we wear each day, swapping them round seamlessly as we go from work to school playground to home.

Sometimes who we are can get a bit lost in all of this. Well - we're busy. There isn't room for me-time in our day. But, we need it. We need to recharge and we really need to remind ourselves who we are, what our own wants and needs are (and sometimes that we do actually have these, in relation to ourselves, not just our children and families). Life can easily consume us, and we lose track of the woman we used to be. 

This weekend, try to do one of these things

1 - Do something just for you, that you really want to do. 
A long soak in the bath? A book you've been dying to read? A film you really, really want to watch and never get to? 
Whatever it is that you would love to just take the time to enjoy doing, do it.
(And it really could be anything - I managed to get some satisfaction from cleaning my car a couple of weeks ago. You would have to see a before picture to realise why this may be the case 😉 )

2 - OK, too short notice, you can't do your thing this weekend - so take 5 minutes to think of the thing you'd like to do - big or small - from planning a holiday to going for a long walk. Then rule out some time in your diary to DO it. Put it on the family calendar, put it in your phone, but make sure you schedule it for yourself.

Does it feel  a bit...self indulgent to try and do something just for you? Look at it this way - if a friend said they were doing this, you wouldn't think "wow, how selfish to take some time for yourself". So be your own friend.
This is the time you need to take to be able to carry out all the other roles you play. It's a little bit of time just being you.

Let me know what you decided to do. (Assuming it is suitable for sharing).

Much love,
Anna
xx

me-time

5 great boudoir poses you’re going to look fab in

Hey, you! Yes, you, the one who thinks she can’t. The one who looks at other women’s images thinking ‘If only’. But you know it has to stay an ‘if only’ because you simply can’t have beautiful photos like that.

Guess what?

You’re wrong.

Here are some boudoir poses YOU are going to look awesome in (and this is only a very small selection).

1. Lying on the chaise longue (1)

boudoir poses

2. Lying on a bed

boudoir poses

3. Stretched out on a wooden floor

boudoir poses 1
4. Flat on your back

boudoir poses 3
5. With your legs against a wall

boudoir poses 4
These boudoir poses, along with many, many others are all going to work really well for you. The only thing you need to get right is your lingerie (and I can help to point you in the direction of where to look for that too).
The common things women worry about – cellulite, stretch marks, mummy tummy, tops of arms, thighs, bums (and I could go on forever with this list). They’re all irrelevant in this building. There is nothing about you that means you can’t have stunning images you can’t wait to put on your wall.

Let me know what’s holding you back, and I’ll explain why it doesn’t matter here – what matters is having an incredibly talented photographer who knows the best in posing and lighting to make sure you fall in love…with you!

Think you might be ready to take the first step of having a chat with me? Fill in the form below and I will get in touch.

Much love,
Anna
xx

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2 Corsets v Basques – what to wear?

Love corsets? Prefer basques? Don't actually know what the difference is, you just know you don't own any?
I'm going to talk you through the differences (and provide you with some lovely links if you're inspired to shop). I should say, this is very much from a boudoir portrait session perspective - I'm not going to be talking about the benefits or otherwise of waist training here, as that's not a subject I know anything about. If that's what you're looking for, may I suggest going here.

Corsets

Corsets, more often than not, don't have straps (there will always be exceptions). They do have amazing boning to cinch in your waist and give you that "I'm not quite sure I can breathe" feeling. However, all boning is not created equally - there's acrylic boning which is more common in fashion corsets, and then there's steel boning. Steel boning is more likely to have a larger 'waist reducing' effect.
Whilst they're busy reducing your waist, corsets also push up the bust. This may sound like a fabulous effect, and it can look amazing. However, there is such a thing as 'too much of a good thing' and so for chests that are larger anyway, it's best to try on different corset styles - a sweetheart neckline might be more flattering than one that goes straight across, for example.

For my own portrait session, I wore a couple of different fashion corsets - they definitely had a waist cinching effect, which was good enough as far as I was concerned.

There's a massive array of corsets out there, in a whole host of different styles, from steampunk to burlesque to bridal. They'll usually have the option of wearing with or without suspender straps, and there are corset dresses  short (think Black Swan) . Many corsets are designed much more to be worn as outerwear than for covering up.

Underbust corsets are all about creating that cinched-in waist look (and are also more comfortable to sit down in).

I know very few people who can lace themselves into a corset (there's always someone on hand here to help you) - although I have watched a Youtube video and had a go myself. It was possible, but I suspect an extra pair of hands could have pulled it tighter.
 Corsets lace down the back, and should have puller loops half way down - so double check they're laced properly, before you start.

Basques

Unless you happen to be really brave, basques are much more firmly 'underwear' than corsets. The biggest difference is the boning - in short, a basque doesn't have any. They are usually structured enough to create a smooth outline for your body, but they're not really going to change your shape, if that's what you're after.
Basques are more likely to have straps, and, helpfully, cups. If you don't think that's much of a difference - try on a corset and a basque, lie down in each, and see what happens to your chest. Chances are, in a basque with cups your chest is going to stay pretty much in place. Should you happen to lean towards the 'breasts straying alarmingly towards armpits' look when you lie down without support, a corset is less likely to keep everything in place for you. That's a big difference!

Just like with corsets, basques may come with suspender straps, and often these will be removable.
Whilst I found lots of websites dedicated to corsets, there are less basques around - nonetheless, there are some gorgeous ones. Certainly, again, in the bridal lingerie world.

They're often designed to create the illusion of waist cinching, even if they're not actually doing the job. This does of course mean they tend to be much more comfortable to wear than corsets, although you may still need help getting in (and out) of a basque.


So which is best?

Whichever suits you and you feel the most comfortable in. You need to bring along a variety of outfits for a boudoir portrait session anyway (a minimum of 3), so you'll always have outfits that will work in different poses. It much more comes down to whether you're craving that corset 'look', in which case a basque is not going to deliver for you.
Much love,
Anna
xx

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.

2 Our biggest challenge yet!

Every week, someone will get in touch and use a variation of these words:
"I hope you're ready for a challenge"

"I'll be your biggest challenge"

"It would be a real challenge to take a nice photo of me"

Not just once a week - I hear this a lot. Not just that either - I thought it myself.

We all seem to have this little voice in our heads saying "I can't look like that".  ALL of those people in our before and after albums on Facebook - it's fine for them - they had more confidence to start with, didn't they? And they look good anyway. That can't work for me. For you. It's for 'those people'. The ones who can look fabulous.

NEWSFLASH

You are 'those people' if you choose to be.
I am 'those people' (I did choose to be).
There is nothing about you that means you aren't going to look fabulous in your images. We believe in this, wholeheartedly.

Now - you don't actually need to believe it. In fact, I would say that, right at the start, most clients don't. I'll tell them they're going to look amazing, they'll smile politely, quietly thinking "Well, you would say that, it's your job". That's fine! It's mine and Robin's job to prove it to you. We're the ones who need the confidence in you, and we definitely already have it. We'd like you to have it too!

You can start by saying "But I really will be your biggest challenge". I'll start by not believing you 😉

Much love
Anna
xx

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