HOW TO BE PHOTOGENIC
Do you dislike having your picture taken because you always seem to come out looking hideous? Have you ever been on a date with someone whose online photo knocked you out but whose appearance in real life turned out to be a bit uninspiring? What’s the deal with pictures? While being photogenic just comes naturally to some people, there are a few things that anyone can do to look better in photos. Try out the tricks in this article and stop running for cover whenever the camera comes out.
Wear clothes with colors that suit you. Certain colors complement certain skin tones, while others tend to bring out the worst. You may have a feel for which colors you look best in, but if not do some research (check out the external links below) and some trial-and-error.
Hide your blemishes. The bad thing about photographs is that because they are simply frozen images of one angle in an instant in time, they can’t show all your good attributes. The good thing about them is that you can easily hide certain features you don’t like. If you’ve got a unsightly look on one side of your face, for example, don’t show the camera that side.
Determine your best angle. Beyond the obvious hiding of blemishes, finding the right angle for your face can be a bit more difficult. The best thing you can do is experiment using a digital camera so that you can immediately see the results of each pose. It will very quickly become obvious which angles are most flattering for you, and you can then use that angle as much as possible in the future. The classic model’s pose is to arrange your body 3/4 toward the camera with one foot in front of the other and one shoulder closer to the camera than the other. This isn’t the best pose for everybody, however, and it can look a little ridiculous when used in a family photo right next to Uncle Ed.
Get rid of a double chin. Tilt your head down slightly and try to position yourself so that the camera is a little above your eye level. This will hide a double chin fairly effectively. You can also put one hand under your chin as though you’re resting your head on your hand (keep the thumb side of your hand out of the camera’s view, if possible). Don’t actually rest any weight on the hand, however, or you will push the skin into an unflattering position. Also try resting your tongue against the roof of your mouth.
Stick your neck out. One trick models often use is to present a 3/4 pose to the camera (turn your head so that 3/4 of it is exposed to the camera, as opposed to a full frontal shot) and then lift your neck and slightly tilt your head down, as though you are a turkey sticking its head out (without actually thrusting your chin out). This improves facial definition and helps ameliorate wrinkles and flabby skin.
Relax. Many people end up looking odd in photos because they freeze into odd facial expressions with a “say cheese" type of smile on their face. If you’re used to having bad pictures taken of yourself, you probably get nervous in front of the camera, and this can make things even worse. If you know a picture is about to be taken, take a deep breath and exhale naturally, relaxing your arms and shoulders. As you exhale, smile or strike whatever pose is appropriate. Don’t hold your breath, either in or out, otherwise you’ll appear as though you’re tense or suffocating. If you see the photo coming too late, don’t panic and try to strike a pose. Keep doing what you’re doing and try to ignore the camera. It may not turn out perfectly, but you’ve got a better chance than if the camera catches you quickly trying to change your facial expression. The more comfortable and relaxed you appear, the better the photo will turn out.
Think happy thoughts. An unnatural, forced smile can make you look stiff and, frankly, weird. When people are smiling and waiting for a photo to be snapped, their facial muscles can get caught in all sorts of strange positions. To remedy this, try to time your smile so that you don’t have to hold it for too long. Also, imagine something really funny (don’t be afraid to laugh a bit, even) or think of someone—your spouse or child, for example—who makes you happy. By doing so, you’ll get a genuine smile. If you don’t like your smile or your teeth, try a more subdued, closed- or partially-closed-mouth smile. Regardless of how you choose to smile, the happier and more relaxed you are, the better.
Smile with your eyes. Nothing projects happiness and beauty like smiling eyes: a happy, somewhat mischievous expression of the eyes. To achieve this effect, imagine that the camera is a person you have a crush on walking into the room. This will create wider open eyes and a relaxed smile. Chances are you unconsciously do this all the time; the trick is to be able to bring it out on demand, so practice the smiling eyes in front of a mirror.
Listen to your mother. Remember how mom always told you not to slouch? Good posture can dramatically improve your appearance in pictures. Sitting or standing up straight will make you look healthier and more alert and, if in a group setting, more attractive than your slouching companions. Just remember to breathe normally and relax your shoulders. Especially if you usually have bad posture, it may be difficult to stand up straight and not look stiff, so practice this in the mirror.
Get a better photographer. Professional photographers generally know how to bring out the beauty in people. You can’t always choose your photographer, but sometimes you can. If you’re going to put up a shot for an online dating service, consider enlisting a professional. If you need headshots for modeling, get the best professional you can find.
Edit or enhance photos. If you’ve tried everything, but you still can’t seem to get a good picture of yourself, try slightly altering your digital photos. Changing the lighting effects or filter effects, for example, can dramatically improve the appearance of your complexion.
Fake it till you make it. People are often photogenic because they like having their picture taken. They are therefore relaxed and happy when the camera appears. If you cannot muster up genuine love of the camera, pretend you like the camera- imagine the camera is someone you love, a long lost friend, a old flame, your child at age three, whatever you need to look at the camera lovingly. Try it, it really does work.
Study pictures of models and other photogenic people. When comfortable for your personality, experiment with mimicking their postures, but remember most model photos are not what family members or friends are looking for in a picture. Stand at a slight angle to the camera.
When in a seated group shot, be sure the chairs are placed as close together as possible. Instead of leaning in, sit up straight and relax.
Have your close friends look at the pictures you've taken to help you ascertain when you look your best. Sometimes, a critical second set of eyes is a great help.
Consider that people with highly animated faces stand a better chance of getting captured during a transient grotesque expression. Frame-by-frame video is a great way to see significant differences between the photogenic and the not-so-photogenic.
Practice smiling in front of the mirror. In no time you'll know which smile looks fake and which is the most flattering. Learning how your face moves will help when someone grabs for the camera.
Keep your tongue behind your teeth.
Use makeup. Those runway models and movie stars don’t necessarily all have perfect complexions, but they do all wear makeup so that they look unblemished. Especially if you have oily skin, a spotty complexion or a lot of wrinkles, experiment with different cosmetics to hide the “bad" and accentuate the “good".
Always look slightly above the camera when the picture is taken. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis always used this technique for photographs and portraits. Additionally, it helps reduce the "red eye" effect.
Make sure your photos look like you. These steps can help you better capture your natural beauty in pictures, but if you end up doctoring your photos too much you’re liable to look like someone you’re not. While you want to put your best face forward for online dating sites or acting headshots, you also want to make sure you accurately represent yourself. If you don’t, dates and potential employers may be disappointed.
Sucking in your stomach will make you appear unattractive because your ribs will poke through the shirt. Worse, it will make you look slightly uncomfortable, which is never appealing.