We’ve all been there – those horrendous group photos, unfit for human eyes, that are instantly consigned to the bin. A photo tells a thousand words and all that but not if it’s going to showcase that ladder of wrinkles we didn’t even know we had and not to mention that extra chin that definitely wasn’t there at the start of the night. Obviously, we all want to look great in photos with a photogenic 100-watt smile but most of the time we admit to filtering the heck out of our pics before they get a sniff near social media. Although we’re not massive fans of the selfie, pouty generation, we’d still like to have at least one photo of ourselves looking vaguely reminiscent to the image we saw in the mirror just before leaving home.
So to look great in photos there are a few insider tips and tricks that you need to know to help you work the camera. Good pictures don’t just happen you know. Well not for most of us anyway.
Top tips to look great in photos
Study yourself in photos.
First things first: as odd as it sounds, you should familiarise yourself with how you look in photos. Have a flick through your camera roll or old albums and critique yourself. What are your best angles and features? How do you angle your body? Do your clothes accentuate your figure in the right way? Look the photos of yourself that shine – ask yourself what is working and why?
To look great in photos lighting is really key. Avoid photos under the brash midday sun because you’ll squint and scrunch up those dreaded wrinkles.
Tip #1 If you absolutely must pose for a photo in bright light or if you have a habit of blinking just as the flash goes then try this: close your eyes, look up to the sun (or a bright light if indoors) for about 5 seconds and look back to the camera. Your pupils will dilate and you’ll be prepped for the photo /flash. We promise you won’t squint or shut your eyes.
Tip #2 Overcast days are your friend, as are shaded areas. You can always up the exposure in post edit if you feel it’s a bit dull. An hour after sunrise or sunset is a great time of day for soft lighting which is also kind to lines.
Tip #3 If you are outside always make sure the sun is at the back of your head, not the front.
Tip #4 If you are indoors try to have a natural light source rest on your face (like a window). It’ll reduce shadows and cast a lovely glow on your face.
Tip #1 Avoid taking a photo facing the camera straight on. It will rarely be complementary.
Tip #2 Physically turn your torso at about a 45 degree angle away from the camera for a more flattering shape.
Tip #3 create angles with your body. Whether you are sitting or standing try to separate your limbs from your body. And by that we mean actually physically lifting your arm away from your side just a tiny bit – ta dah, you’ve created visual lines and have removed those bat wings. No one will physically see you doing this by the way. Try it in front of the mirror to see!
Tip #4 make subtle triangles in your poses – a hand on your hip or an arm resting (lightly) on a friends shoulder. If lying or sitting down then create a triangle by bending your knee at a right angle.
Tip #1 engage your core. Suck in those tummy muscles and push your shoulders back but not in a forced way. Just be confident and aware of your posture.
Tip #2 this one is key: sit into your hips. So push your weight back into one hip (the one furthest away from the camera) with one leg in front of the other. Crossing your ankles whilst standing (or at an angle whilst sitting) also does this trick.
Tip #3 Chin forward and down: to get rid of double chins you need to elongate your neck, so that it is visible, by jutting your chin forward and down a little. It might feel a bit awkward but it’s worth it.
Tip #4 You want to have a super relaxed face to look great in photos – so no crinkly foreheads, raised eyebrows or goofy teethy grins. So stand in front of the mirror and try to smile just with your mouth, don’t take the rest of your face with it, except your eyes of course. We all know how important it is to smise.
Want a foolproof way to nail tip #4? Push the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth as you smile (with your lips parted a little) and believe it or not because your body is concentrating on getting the smile right, it relaxes the rest of your face. Go on, try it.
Tip #5: Don’t cross your arms. Ever. Not only does it diminish definition but it also adds bulk to your chest and stomach. Move them to the side or on your hip – anywhere away from your midriff!
Other great tips
# Tilt your head in photos. We naturally tilt our heads when we talk so bring that natural posture into your photos. This looks good in group photos also as it separates you physically from those in the photo huddle.
# Invisible heel: for anyone who is vertically challenged (or even if you’re not) you’ll love this one. Just before a photo is taken stand up on the balls of your feet. Not only will it perk you up a couple of inches it will elongate your neck and lengthen your body.
# Body weight: always put your body weight on the foot furthest away from the camera.
# Camera tilt: make sure that your phone or camera is aligned with your body. ie. if it’s tilted upwards your lower body will be really distorted. Conversely taking a photo of a group of people at a slight height (with the subjects looking slightly upwards) can be very complimentary.
#How to make sure your other half takes a good photo of you on hols: Half the battle is making sure you are in the frame and you don’t have 70% sky! So take a snap of the frame you want on your phone, hand it to your friend/husband and then tell them where to stand and point and all they have to do is click. That gives you enough time to get back into the frame and get that money shot.
# sun lounger spread anyone? no one wants a thigh pancake spread in a photo so if you absolutely can’t avoid the picture then use your core to slightly raise your weight (and thighs) away from the back of your legs.