When you see pictures of yourself, do you ever wonder, “Do I really look like that?” If you do, you’re not alone. Do you pick out every flaw, see every blemish, and wonder what caused that horrid ashen cast, or the shadow that makes you look like you have a second chin? Often, these are things that only we notice (because we’re our worst critics), but occasionally they can be real issues. Fortunately, many are easy to remedy if you know how to work with your surroundings when you find yourself in front of a lens. Stop ducking when someone pulls out a camera, and put your best face forward with the help of these tips.
1. Angling for success
Always try to get your photographer — whether they’re a pro with a fancy DSLR or a friend with a small point-and-shoot — to snap you from straight on, or above. Never below. If the camera strays downward and angles up toward your face, your jawline and any defined bone structure tend to disappear, adding a substantial amount of “imaginary weight” to your face. By tilting your chin slightly downward as you look into the camera, you’ll show your face from the most flattering angles. NOTE: If you have a very prominent brow ridge, however, this can cast a heavy shadow over your eyes.
2. The Torso Twist Diet
Regretting that last lemon-thyme shortbread cookie you ate right before someone slipped out their camera? Take 10 pounds off your waistline by turning your lower body away from the camera, and your upper body slightly back toward it.
3. Is that a ghost?!
Do you feel that you look extremely pale or washed out in photos? It could be your sunscreen and/or the lighting. Physical sunscreens (with the most common ones containing titanium dioxide) reflect light, and in areas with harsh ambient lighting, or in situations with a lot of flash photography, a camera is going to capture and magnify the glare. Opt for chemical sunscreens instead.
Or perhaps you’ve just happened into a brightly lit area (direct sunlight, an office building, etc.). They can wash out even the most glowing complexion. If you have some time to prepare beforehand, apply blush and/or bronzer one to two shades darker than you normally would, and opt for brighter lip or eye colors as opposed to neutrals.
4. Wiggle those ears
Can you wiggle your ears? If you can, you already know one of the best modeling tricks out there. Move your ears backwards and keep them there. You should feel a slight tightness in your face. Congratulations! You’ve just given yourself a virtual facelift.
5. The nose knows
If you’re posing for a photo and not being caught off-guard, look straight at the camera, directing your eyes straight over your nose (unless you’re intentionally looking at something off to the side). Turning your head to the side while directing your eyes back toward the camera can produce some odd effects. If you haven’t practiced this, it can look like you’re looking above and beyond the person viewing the picture.
6. Could you do me a solid?
I find that solid colors look best in photos most of the time. Opt for rich, deep tones over powdery, pale ones (which can wash you out). However, be wary of white. A good camera will often expose very faint stains or discolorations that the human eye may not have detected on its own.
7. Barbie feet
Think back to those days when you thought boys were icky. Remember Barbie? Now, can you remember her feet? She always looked as if she was wearing an invisible stiletto, with her toes flexed down and her heel up. If you don’t already happen to be wearing a gorgeous pair of Jimmy Choo’s, take a page out of Barbie’s book and flex those feet. While it may just seem like it’s adding a bit of height, it’s also correcting your posture, making your legs seem incredibly long and lithe.
8. Beware the shine!
Shine and shimmer never show up well in photography, but neither does a completely matte face. The first can appear greasy, glittery, or patchy, while the second can look flat, dull, or dry. Opt for that oft-sought-after middle-ground of a satin finish, with more of a slight sheen than a blatantly wet look.
With the help of these tips, you’ll finally feel like updating that Facebook profile picture of yours (you know the one). But the most important thing to remember when you find yourself in front of a camera is to just be yourself. Fakeness comes through in photography, so don’t try to be someone you’re not. Smile, embrace your flaws, and crinkle that nose, and you’ll be on your way to picture perfection in no time.
But wait, there’s more!