Do you do all you can to avoid the camera lens? If so, don’t stress! Here we give you an expert’s guide to looking picture-perfect…
Celebrities walking the red carpet make posing for pictures look effortless. Hand on hip, one leg forward, sultry pout… perfect! But for us mere mortals, looking good in photographs is not that simple.
Let’s be honest, how many of us are actually ever pleased with how we look? Looking fat, blinking, having a goofy grin, squinting, wrinkles… our anxiety list can be endless.
And the boom in popularity of social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – hasn’t helped either, as friends, family and work colleagues tag us in on their pictures for everyone to see. So what are the tricks to looking good?
‘Most people who aren’t used to having their picture taken will freeze up as soon as the camera is out, so make sure you’re doing something,’ says Jon Enoch, a professional photographer whose past subjects have included Alicia Keys and Heston Blumenthal. ‘People are very aware of what they’re doing with their hands in photographs. So if you have something to hold – such as a pen, a mug or a book – it makes a very good starting point.’
Get a flattering angle
To reduce the double-chin effect in your pics, ask the person taking the photograph to take it from slightly above.
‘This way the camera will be looking down a little on you, and all faces are better from this angle,’ explains Jon. ‘If it’s convenient, another tip is to hold a piece of white card just out of shot – around the upper chest area. This will reflect light into your eyes and below the chin, cutting out unflattering shadows.’
Take lots of snaps
Blinking is natural and inevitable, and the only way to avoid it is to take lots of pictures – fortunately, in today’s age of digital cameras we can simply delete the pictures we don’t like.
Avoid bright sunlight
‘A common misconception is that we need a bright, sunny day for good photography,’ says Jon. ‘But this is in fact the worst light to shoot in. Harsh sunlight will cause people to screw up their faces and narrow their eyes. It will also cast shadows under the eyes and chin. An overcast day is best for outdoor shots.’
Get the right lighting
If shooting indoors during the day, turn the flash off and stand next to the biggest window you can find. The light falling through the window will be lovely and soft, and far more flattering in tone than the harsh light of the camera flash.
Turn to the side
A golden rule in photography is that rather than face square on to the camera, it’s always more flattering to turn a little to one side. ‘This will narrow the body shape,’ explains Jon. By simply angling one shoulder slightly towards the camera you’ll achieve a more relaxed, slimmer image.
It may sound obvious but remember to breathe. If you’re concentrating too hard on the photograph it can make you appear tense and unnatural.
Perfect your posture
Standing up straight will make you look more elegant. Try not to relax your shoulders too much or slouch, as this will give you a double chin and can also make your stomach look bigger. ‘If you’re sitting, sit forward on the edge of the seat as if you’re leaning in to chat to someone,’ advises Jon. ‘Most seats will swallow you up if you sit back in them.’
A fixed grin can look more like a grimace. A good tip is to look away from the camera then take up a new pose just before the picture’s taken – making it look spontaneous. For a close-up, try closing your eyes until just before the shot is taken. Opening them at the last minute means your eyes will appear brighter and fresher.