First of all let me just start by saying that I find it strangely ironic to be giving tips on how to look good in photos. Those who know me they would say that’s kind of like Mr. Bean giving advice on how to apply winged eyeliner. More than anything I can relate to the feeling when you log on to Facebook on a Sunday only to find that there are pictures of you looking like Donald Trumps less fortunate twin next to your gorgeous friends all over your timeline. It’s not fun. However, this is actually possible to fix with a little practice. I’ve always been more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it, but the fact that after some practice, I’m now able to take pictures of myself where I don’t look like a crazy, drunken monkey, should give hope to everyone out there struggling with the same issue (white girl problems I know).
First of all, the single most important thing when you are being photographed is feeling comfortable. We often tend to look more natural when we don’t know we’re being photographed, than when we try to pose. The problem is of course whether you’re taking pictures for a personal blog or having your portrait taken by a professional, you do know you’re being photographed. For people who hate having their photo taken it’s not easy to “just be comfortable”. The only way to beat this is to practice. It may sound stupid and not to mention, vain to practice this. I still recommend to give it a go as these tips I will give you will not only help you be more photogenic, but also give you more presence, not to mention more charisma. So here we go.
1. Practice being in the present moment. Pay attention to what is going on around you here and now whenever you have the time. This does not seem to have anything to do with being photogenic, but I dare you to try it and see the effects for yourself. The more you practice being in the moment, the easier it will become to be in the moment in more uncomfortable situations also. There is no room for strange monkey faces when you are in the moment, and it will make you more relaxed and present, which will show in pictures. Trust me.
2. Visualize in your mind how you want the end result to look like when you are taking pictures. This might sound kind of strange and even like some “new-age” BS, but serious athletes use this technique when they train for the Olympics these days. I’ve found out that my photos always turn out better when I visualize how I want them to turn out. You can trust me on this or not, but it’s totally free so it doesn’t hurt to give it a try.
3. Know your good side. Most of us are not 100% symmetrical, (actually I think none of us are) and we usually have one side of our face that photographs better than the other. Get to know your face and always turn your good side towards the camera.
4. Learn to use the light. Have you ever snapped a selfie when you thought you looked amazing (at least that’s what the mirror said) and then it turns out looking like you’ve applied some kind of grandma filter on it. (Where did those lines come from?) Place yourself directly in front of a window with plenty of natural light, take your photos facing the window. This allows the light to hit your face evenly and eliminate all strange shadows that make you look ten years older. Master this and you can tag all your photos on Instagram with #nofilter. #Honestly.
5. Practice posing. It sounds lame, but the reality is the more you do it, the better you will become. The way you pose in a picture can make you look ten pounds heavier, or ten pounds lighter. There is no pose that works for everyone, so you’ll have to practice what works for your body. Generally the one leg crossed over in front of the other and hands on hips pose makes you look skinnier, if that’s what you’re after. Also you can try yoga. A strange side-effect of yoga is that it can make you look better in photographs as you gain more control and awareness over your body, making it easier to pose naturally.
6. Remember that everything looks a little different in 2-D. In reality you are not a flatlander, but in pictures you become one. That make-up you worked so hard on is barely visible, your hair looks weird and your outfit looks boring. If your main purpose is to look good in photographs (say for a fashion blog shoot) you have to exaggerate, big time. Everything must be bigger, bolder and “more” (more make-up and bigger hair), if you want it to look good in 2-D.
7. Be aware of the angle. For face shots it’s usually best to hold the camera slightly above your head (No, not straight down at the cleavage! You’ll look like a nose with boobs). This is generally more flattering for most faces. For body shots taking the photo from a slightly lower angle (a little below the hips) will make you look taller and slimmer.
8. Think of something you like or someone you love. The emotion will show in the picture and thinking about something that’s pleasing to you will soften your expression, making you look more attractive. It’s all mostly about not feeling uncomfortable.
9. Try to hold your gaze slightly above the camera and not stare directly into the lens. This looks way more natural.
10. Use Facetune. Just kidding, or maybe not. Use photo editing apps like Facetune to remove any blemishes or zits. If you have to take photos the day you get a major zit on your chin (I’m too familiar with this one) it’s totally fine to remove it. Just don’t get tempted and go overboard, or you’ll soon end up looking like a strange hybrid of a Kardashian/Jenner and a space alien. Less is more.
These were my top ten tips on how to be more photogenic. If you have any additional tips feel free to add them in the comments. Have a lovely day.