10 Easy Tips and Tricks for Looking Better in Photographs
How often have you heard someone say that they’re not photogenic? There was a time when many people did their best to avoid being in photographs.
That scenario has changed a lot since social media became popular. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram display lots of images that users take of themselves, so learning the best tips and tricks to look great in a photo is more relevant than ever!
It started with the classic "mirror-selfie", a picture of someone standing in front of a mirror and taking a snapshot with their smartphone. Nowadays, many are getting more creative to make their self-taken photos stand out. You can even find articles showcasing new selfie poses for girls who want to spice up the classic selfie shot!
We've done our research and discovered ten simple ways to look better in any picture you take, so you'll be ready for your next photoshoot.
1. Find Out What You Look Like in Photos
Get out your albums (or open up your camera roll) and study all your past pictures. Your purpose is to determine what made you look good in them, and what made them great photographs.
Examine the shot angles and your poses to identify a pattern so you can recreate those in the future. Do you prefer someone to take your photo from the front, or do side profile pics flatter you more?
Once you’ve found what you like, experienced photographers suggest that you practice posing in front of your mirror (we know it sounds silly, but it works). Try different poses and angles, and when you’ve found the best ones, practice them a few times so that when a real photo-opp happens, you'll be ready!
2. Choose the Right Posture and Angle
If you’ve practiced and found what poses make you look great, remember that posture is essential too. Pay attention to the following tips:
- Lengthen your neck.
- Tilt your chin just a little.
- Keep your shoulders straight. Don’t slouch.
- Don’t stand facing the camera directly. Lean slightly forward and at an angle.
If you’re seated, ensure that the photographer takes your photo from above, so your jaw appears more defined when you tilt your face up to meet the camera. Alternatively, have your picture taken from a lower position if you’re standing. Snapshots from this spot will make you appear long and lean. There is also a short and simple guide on angles and postures on PrintedMemories. If you haven't heard of it, it is an online application where you can create a personalized photo book of high-quality prints in just a few clicks. Anyway, check out their guide on how to strike a pose and see what you can do with it. You can use angles to highlight your best features!
3. Relax and Move Around
You don’t want to appear tense or rigid like a mannequin while someone is taking shots of you. Instead of standing in one position and smiling, try moving around organically. Most photographers prefer their subjects to be mobile or even dancing, as the resulting photos will look much more natural.
Professional lensmen will take continuous shots and select the ones that turn out the way they want. Most often, the in-between snaps are the best.
4. Use Props
Have you felt awkward during a photoshoot because you didn’t know what to do with your arms and hands? You’re not the only one.
Props are the answer. You can hold simple items such as a drink, purse, or sunglasses to make your pose relaxed. Some experts suggest touching and playing with your hair so you’ll look and feel more comfortable.
5. Be Natural With Your Facial Expressions
Avoid smiling the usual way when a photographer says “cheese” as it creates an unnatural look. Your face will also appear tense after putting on the same look for a few shots.
Instead, add a laugh and other facial expressions. When you're laughing and grinning, it provides the opportunity for more candid and exciting pics.
Here’s a tip. Put your tongue behind your teeth so you won’t give a grin that’s too wide. You can also look more natural if you smile with your eyes.
6. Lighting is Everything
You may enjoy being in the sun but when taking photos, avoid direct sunlight as it’ll cast awkward shadows. It’s best to be in the shade and if you’re using a flash, make sure it bounces off a wall.
The same rule applies when you’re indoors. Don’t stand directly under a light source. Instead, try to use natural lighting from a window.
7. Choose Your Background
Opt for a background that doesn’t distract from you, the subject. You don’t want to have the perfect pose and later realize there’s an object that’s sticking out of your head. Experienced photographers won’t let this happen, but it’s good to know, in case it’s a friend taking your pic.
Ideally, select a backdrop that contrasts with what you’re wearing. Avoid standing in front of a white background if you’re in an outfit of the same color.
8. Dress For Success
When preparing for a photoshoot, it’s best to consider your outfit. You’ll know what makes you look good, and you probably have an outfit in mind already that you want to show off! Still, it’s essential to adhere to some simple rules.
Generally, it's best to opt for solid colors, specifically hues that compliment your skin tone and flatter you.
Experts advise against clothes with busy or wacky patterns as they can distort the photo or blend into the background. It's also recommended to steer clear of striped and checkered apparel, especially for more professional photoshoots.
9. Put on the Right Makeup
As photos are two-dimensional, it’s advisable to use makeup to add definition to your face for the most professional-looking outcome. You may have to apply more than you usually would because the lens and flash can cause subjects to look dull.
Since makeup looks very different on camera and in person, we've outlined some products and tips to use to help you get a photoshoot-ready makeup look!
- For foundation, use a matte base to give your skin an even, smooth, and shine-free look.
- Don’t apply any thick white sunscreens (unless they're made for under makeup) as it can make your face appear washed out when you use the flash.
- Use translucent powder on your forehead, nose, and chin to remove the shine.
- Bronzers add contour to your face. Give your cheeks dimension with blush, and apply a highlighter to provide a radiant glow.
- Eyeliners define your eyes and can make them look bigger and brighter on camera. Use mascara for your lashes to make your eyes pop even more.
- When it comes to lipstick, opt for bright hues that will stand out on camera.
10. Make Use of Apps
The final trick to getting the perfect photo is utilizing apps! If you followed all the tips above, chances are you've probably got some great images to choose from, however, sometimes other factors play in that you just can't control! Editing your photos can help you get that perfect image, whether it be through adjusting the lighting, removing busy backgrounds, etc!
You can even download apps for taking your pictures that allow you to control shutter speed, white balance, and exposure, thus getting high-quality, professional-looking photographs.
We Want to Hear From You
Do you have any other tips or tricks to take a great photograph?