Being photogenic is a skill. Geri and I have been training the art of photographing ourselves and each other, and finally put together our best tips – things we use almost every day and have a big effect on pictures.
1. Understand Light
Light is 90% of the picture – you can’t win if the light is wrong and no Victoria’s Secret model can either, so do try to understand bad conditions and change them. Here the main guidelines:
a. A strong light, vertically coming from top, is bad. Have you ever noticed that, in some changing rooms, you look at your worst? Then they probably have a light bulb right over your head. Clever shops place lights on the side of the mirror: this makes any image softer and almost naturally photoshopped. If someone wants to take a picture of you while you have a ray of light or a spot light over your head, just move somewhere else. Go to the shadow or somewhere else near the light.
b. Shadow on a sunny day is great. If both you and the photographer are in the shadow on a bright day, you’ll have great pics. Don’t take pictures if light and shadows are mixed or alternating in the same spot.
c. Morning and evening are the best. If you are lucky and can take pics outdoors, do it early in the morning or around sunset – once more, the light won’t be hard and direct, but soft and flattering.
d. Stay away from indoor pictures if you aren’t near a window or source of natural light. Sure you can take pictures with a flash, and sure you can take a picture in a place with neon lights. But they won’t be great; unless you have professional lighting. Minea, the Swiss blogger, really tries to avoid indoor pictures as much as she can; I was with her in many occasions and saw that – clever trick. Indoor, be sure you are near a window or source of natural light.
Now let’s say you find the right spot for light. What tricks can you use?
2. Know Your Best Side
Take a look at your favourite pictures of yourself and try to spot a pattern. Are all the pictures you love taken from the same side? They probably are. That’s your best side, so offer that side only to the photographer, next time you pose for a picture. Do you like the way you look from a certain angle? Then offer the same angle to the camera. Do you like when you smile a specific way? Try to replicate your best poses next time you have your photo taken – simply copy.
3. No Photos From A Taller Person
Or better: if the photographer is taller on in a higher spot than you, tell him/her to sit down or kneel down. A photo where you have a big head and short legs will never look good.
4. If You Have Flat Shoes, Do A Step Forward Or Go Slightly On The Tip Of Your Toes
Your leg can look short depending on the position and shoes. To make sure your legs look longer, stretch one leg in front of you like you are about to walk, or go a bit on the tip of your toes.
5. Grab A Prop
Holding onto an object such as a flower, a glass, a spoon like Geri in the photo, or a decoration can help you relax your posture and add personality to the picture. If you have nothing, your telephone or handbag can be an idea.
6. Skinny Arm
Whether you are holding a prop or nothing at all, you can achieve the appearance of a slim upper arm/minimize the appearance of an arm flab, by simply holding your arms slightly away from your body. The same applies to legs: when sitting on a couch, be careful not to flatten them out and therefore appear flabbier; keep them at a distance.
7. The Old School “Red Carpet” Pose
Put your hand on your hip, angle your body to the side and turn your head towards the camera. It does help you too look slimmer, and to find a place where for your hands.
8. Tongue Behind Your Teeth
Try this old trick: in order to avoid a goofy, too-wide smile, put your tongue behind your teeth when you smile.
9. Elongate Your Neck
To avoid double chin, elongate your neck and push your face slightly forward. Think of sticking our your forehead and tipping your chin slightly down. It might feel awkward, but it works.
10. Add Colour
Try a bright lipstick, look for a bright scarf or object, pinch your cheeks to make them rosy, look for a colourful background.