Hey, Beautiful! Seven Secrets to Slaying in Photos
Posing for selfies, an event, vacation snaps or an ID? Hit ’em with your best shot.
It happens to all of us: You pose for a photo wearing your cutest dress and brightest smile, with your hair and makeup on point. Then you see the final shot and think, “What the?!” They say the camera doesn’t lie but we’ve all had times when we wish it would. And now that practically everyone has a camera phone (and thinks they’re a great photographer), the probability of getting caught in a bad photo has increased exponentially.
But all is not lost. A someone who’s in front of still and video cameras almost every day, I’ve learned a few tricks to looking as good in photos as I feel on the inside. So take these tips and get ready for your closeup – and the compliments.
Pick a Side
Our bodies are not symmetrical and one side of your face isn’t a mirror image of the other. Most of us prefer how we look from one side, so if you haven’t already, spend a few minutes in the mirror finding the side you think looks best. On camera, I typically favor my right side because I like to show off the diamond stud in my right nostril and because I tend to break out on the left side of my face.
Find the Light
Good lighting makes the difference between looking tired and looking like you just came back from the spa. And when soft light hits your face just so, your skin instantly gets that “glow up” we all crave, no highlighter required. Lighting is even more important for women with darker skin tones who can disappear into the shadows when the light source is behind us. So, whether indoors or outdoors, make sure you face the sun or artificial light. Also, avoid being shot at midday, when the sun is at its highest and casts unflattering downward shadows. Instead, time your shots for the golden hour just before and after sunrise and sunset.
Be a Poser
The savviest subjects look completely at ease in photos but that natural look doesn’t happen by accident. Two posing hacks to try:
· Never stand with your body square/straight on to the camera. For the leanest look, put one foot in front of the other, turn about 30 degrees to the side from your waist (it’ll look smaller), but keep your shoulders pointed toward the photographer.
· To avoid a frozen smile and get a fresh-faced look, lower your head slightly and then look up just before the photographer snaps the shot. Aim your gaze ever so slightly above the camera lens and you’ll look wide-eyed rather than squinty.
Bad posture can make you look sloppy and as if you lack confidence, so stand up as straight as you can. I imagine a string attached to the crown of my head being pulled firmly upward. At the same time, keep your shoulders down, which elongates the neck. I imagine that I’m wearing heavy chain mail epaulets, but that’s just me!
Never, I repeat, never allow anyone to take a photo with the camera held lower than your head. And even when you’re taking a selfie, avoid holding the phone below chin level. Shooting from below only makes the subject look bigger, so unless that’s your goal (or if you really want the world to see the contents of your nostrils), make sure you or the photographer hold the camera slightly higher than your eyes.
I always avoid being photographed eating or drinking, unless I’m making a toast, because the probability is high that I’ll be caught with my mouth open, with a constellation of crumbs on my chest or both. It’s particularly important to observe this rule at work-related events, where you’re being noticed, and likely judged, by your managers. Oh, and needless to say, you should never be caught on camera with a cigarette in hand, either.
Smile and Freeze
So the light’s in front of you, your outfit and makeup are perfect and you’re posed for maximum flattery. Now don’t you dare move until after the shutter clicks! It’s like being an actress who doesn’t break character or leave the stage until the curtain touches the floor. Pose, smile and freeze until you hear that shutter click.