Most women think they are not photogenic and look bad in pictures. This is partly because we are way too critical of ourselves- don't do that- you're gorgeous!! However, it is a complete myth that some people are photogenic and others aren't. Everyone can look great it pictures, but it doesn't happen magically! Even the most beautiful models can get caught at a bad angle. The reason they always look great is that they know how to work the camera and use their best angles. Everyone can learn to do this but it does take some thought and practice. Here are the tips that I have seen work for yours truly and practically every celebrity in the world. Try a few or all of these tips and I guarantee you will see a marked improvement in how your pictures turn out.
Learn from old pictures
Pinpoint what works and what doesn't: Bad posture, makeup, shine, angle, clothing? Awkward smile? Hair out of place? It always looks best to smile in pictures, unless you are taking serious glamour shots. However, a huge goofy grin is rarely that flattering. For most people, a smaller, more subdued version of you natural smile is most attractive. Jennifer Hudson, above, has learned what works for her- a sweet, friendly smile and wave. Also learn what makeup looks best for you in photos. Usually you need a bit more makeup than you normally wear because the flash washes you out. There's a reason celebrities wear pounds of makeup on the red carpet - it looks scary in real life but the pictures turn out beautifully. You don't have to go to that extreme, but remember that a little extra lipstick and mascara go a long way.
Learn from the pros: Angles are your friend
If you look at pictures of models, actresses, and beauty queens you will notice a recurring theme: They always have impeccable posture, standing up very tall and straight to elongate their body, and they often take pictures at an angle, positioning one leg in front of the other and bending it slightly (see this done masterfully by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley above- three different ways!) These tricks create an hourglass figure by twisting your body, making you appear more slender than if the camera hit you straight on. A well-placed hand on the hip further accentuates your figure. Learn from the pros and adopt a signature pose that works for you. Once you see the proof in photos you'll never go back to unposed, head on photos. See Salma Hayek below working an angled pose and looking super tiny and curvaceous at the same time!
Practice in the mirror a little bit to learn your most flattering angle and smile. Then, before someone snaps a picture of you, compose yourself and quickly run through your checklist to remind yourself to look your best: For example, here's what goes through my mind before the camera snaps: 1. When I know a picture is about to be taken: Freshly apply lipstick/gloss, dab any shine from your face with a tissue or blotting paper. 2. Right before the camera snaps: Fix hair in its most flattering position, stand up as tall as possible and suck in your tummy, shoulders back, face and body at their most flattering angle, and smile naturally but not too much. My super quick checklist: Stand up straight, shoulders back, tummy in, angle your body, breathe and SMILE! *Note*: It may not be comfortable, but it WORKS! A minute of discomfort is worth a beautiful photo that lasts a lifetime:)
Salma Hayek is a perfect case study for posing perfectly in pictures. She is TINY: 5' 2" and super curvy. If she slouched it would not be flattering. But she is a master of composing herself for pictures and utilizing her best angles. Here she is looking long, lean and gorgeous by positioning her body at a slight angle to the camera, one leg out in front at an angle, shoulders BACK, tummy in, and a small but lovely smile.
Don't be afraid of having your picture taken - it will show up in the photo! Relax, be happy, and know that you are beautiful. Confidence and genuine happiness are the most important ingredients in any great photo. See Penelope Cruz below looking relaxed and lovely *and with her body and head at an angle!
*Remember my number one tip: Take photos when you're fresh!
Make a point to take pictures at the beginning of the party/event/night when your makeup is freshly applied and hair and wardrobe are at their best. Photos will be exponentially better when you take them at the beginning of an event rather than two hours later when you're hot, shiny, and tired.
Finally, enjoy much more flattering pictures!!
I hope this is helpful- knowledge is power and it doesn't help anyone to think that some people look great in pictures just because they were born that way or lucky. With practice and a little thought everyone can look their best in photos.
For more tips and tricks, check out these articles:
Model Secrets- How to Look Great in Every Photo
What are your go-to tricks and tips for looking great in pictures?:)