A thousand times if I’ve heard it once: “You’ll have to tell me what to do because I’m not photogenic AT ALL.” Dear ones, I love you. I hear you. From the queen of not photogenic – I hear YOU. There hasn’t been a candid photo snapped of me in my years as an adult (approaching 20 ya’ll) that has been flattering. For real. I don’t make cute faces. I make gross faces. I laugh really big, give myself 5 chins, and never, ever stand the right way in casual conversation. Arms pressed tight to my sides, feet side by side, chin tucked right in, I’m the poster child for bad photographs if I don’t know you’re taking them.
Here’s the thing — that’s SO NORMAL.
This age we live in is hard. So hard. Social media has made the people we thought we knew to be ‘real’ look shinier and more perfect than ever, with everyone’s carefully compiled Instagram collections and meticulously selected Facebook selfies and albums. I’m going to share with you a few small tips and tricks to incorporate into your selfies, DIY at home photos, and even your next scheduled session, to make your look your best self in those photographs.
Soft is key. A big cheeser is fun and cute – if that’s what you’re going for. If you’re looking for hot, less is more. A soft smile will highlight joy in your face but still keep your eyes in the picture. When we smile big, our eyes all crinkle up and disappear. That’s the beauty of the human face, and I LOOOOOVE IT. We’re talking about tips here though — so a soft smile is one of them. Practice in the mirror! Play around with your grin. Do you smile to one side? (I do) Do you like to show teeth? No teeth? Find your sweet spot and know it. If you practice seeing it on yourself, it will be easier to fall into that when it’s time for someone to take your photo at the next family function or office party.
That said — always show your happy heart on some level. Sad is my heart when I see people looking expressionless in photos because they don’t know what to do with their face, hate their teeth, don’t like their cheeks, etc. When in doubt, I use the hand in the cookie jar example. Imagine a child that just got caught with their hand in the cookie jar, who knows they aren’t getting in trouble, so they give you that sweet, slightly mischievous ‘whoops’ grin. Go there.
Chin forward. Don’t you dare tuck that chin back toward your chest. Put your beautiful face out there for the world to see, open those eyes up and look into the camera’s soul. Or at least AT the camera. Hiding from it only makes it more of a bully. Don’t let it get to you.
Please never ever ever clasp your hands in front of your man or lady parts ever again. We’ve all done it. I’ve done it. For a long time, it was the recommended pose by ‘classical’ photographers everywhere. Then we all learned that it didn’t have to be that way…and that we could (say with party voice) do what we want!
My women, if you’re standing solo, put on hand on a hip. Not a fist, a loose hand. Let your other hand fall behind your waist, and angle that hip with a hand on it towards the camera. My men, a thumb looped into a pocket is almost always acceptable, or you can go for a loosely crossed arms look, or find something to lean on! If you’re being photographed with other people, toss an arm over someone’s shoulders and let your free arm hang down, or find that thumb in pocket. Don’t stuff your hands in there though…that creates another problem for another post.
That’s it! Just a couple of bits to help you through that next time someone says ‘Hey! Let me get a picture of you guys!’, and you’re first instinct is ‘oh my god NO.’ Get out there in front of that camera. Exist in photographs, and your life and loved ones will thank you for it.