How to look good in photos

Do you hate having your picture taken? Everyone seems to have a complaint about how they look in photos whether it’s looking too old or too fat or too awkward. Here are some expert tips that will give you a photo worth smiling about.

The pose

The general rule is to avoid facing the camera straight on as this can add on pounds. Instead go for the angle and turn slightly, placing your weight on the leg furthest from the camera. Strike a classic pose with one foot pointed toward the camera, or cross your legs for more visual interest. Place your hands on your hips to create more space (which can also make arms look thinner). If your face is round, you may also want to turn your face slightly from the camera so that it captures about 75 per cent of your face.

If you’re sitting, be sure to sit up straight — and it also helps if you visualize yourself as having a long neck. Tilt your chin down just a touch to avoid the appearance of a double chin (and to prevent the camera from getting a view up your nostrils).

When it comes to striking just the right pose, most pros recommend adopting a sense of fun. Experiment in front of a mirror (or even better, a trusted friend with a digital camera). Many people are more photogenic on one side – apparently this is usually the side you part your hair on – so play around and find your best angle.

Last but not least, don’t forget the basic rules of good posture: shoulders back, tummy tucked in (but not so much that it appears painful).

The smile

The key here is to find a natural looking smile. Practice in front of the mirror, testing out different smiles and head positions — and once you find one you like, try to memorize it. And go for the glow: don’t forget that the most enchanting smiles begin with the eyes.

To get a more natural smile, some people swear by this trick (although, admittedly, it can appear a bit odd): chuckle aloud just before the camera clicks. And definitely forget ‘saying cheese’ as this usually leads to a frozen-looking smile. To avoid the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes, some experts advise trying to smile “inward” – or straight across — instead of upward.

The camera angle

The most flattering camera angle for most people is to pose while looking slightly up at the camera. It’s usually more slenderizing and can help to avoid the dreaded double chin. Try to avoid having the camera positioned lower than where you’re sitting or standing — or in other words, you don’t want to be looking down at it. (Watch a video on Creating the perfect portrait.)

The lighting

The rule of thumb here is to go for soft lighting. Avoid harsh, direct light, which can produce a glare and magnify any flaws.

Note: To avoid red eye, try diverting your focus just to the side of the camera.

The clothes

Here are some tips for selecting a more camera-friendly wardrobe:

— Be sure to select a colour that works well with your skin tone.

— Wearing the same colour on top and bottom adds length to your silhouette, making you appear taller and thinner. Solid colours are usually better than prints.

— Simple is better than busy or bulky.

— Go with classic pieces to give your photos a sense of timelessness.

— A v-neck shirt or sweater can add length to your neck.

— Strategic use of accessories can help to cover up a problem area (such as posing with your clutch in front of your tummy).

The hair and makeup

In general, at least for daytime events, less is more. Here are a few tips to put your best face forward:

— Use mineral powder to warm up and even out the skin.

— Remove shine with high definition powder.

— Make lips appear larger by using lighter shades of lipstick and/or shiny lip gloss.

— For a healthy, ‘sun-kissed’ look, use tinted moisturizer or bronzer.

— Use concealer or a bit of foundation to cover up any blemishes.

— Highlight cheekbones with a blush (or a slightly darker shade of foundation).

— Jazz up your hair by flipping your head over, and then use hair spray to calm any fly-aways. Man-tip : Run your fingers through your hair (instead a comb) for a more natural look.

Do you have any favourite photo tips? Add them to the comments.


Photo © Wouter van Caspel


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