They want to take a photo of you. Like, now.
You find yourself unprepared. Maybe it’s because you’re not impressed by phone cameras. Or, maybe it’s because you tend to tense up at the prospect of being immortalized by the lens. What then? How can you make peace with your appearance in that school reunion group picture?
If being in front of an unblinking camera lens sounds like a scene from your nightmares, fear not: your lucky eyes have found the right guide to help you along. Here are 5 tips you can use to become more photogenic.
1. Leave "cheese" to the mice
First, you don't have to produce a toothy smile if you don't feel like it; a friendly, closed-mouth face expression is just fine. Second, stop focusing on smiling properly – it usually looks forced and ingenuine. The key is to BE a happy subject rather than posing as one. Think of stinky babies, hairy pets, your best friend tripping over and landing in a puddle. (It’s all good, they don’t need to know!) Whatever it is, find something that cracks you up and makes you genuinely happy.
2. Stand on one foot (somewhat literally)
Your shape looks better if you create angles, and the easiest way to do this is to shift your weight to one foot.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, stand up straight. Now, imagine you've been waiting in a line in a grocery store for a while. The guy at the front realizes he forgot milk. Five minutes later, he returns, and pulls out a giant coupon book and a bag of quarters. You’re going to be there a while. Roll your eyes, exhale and relax - your weight will naturally shift more to one leg, and the hip on the other side will sink towards the ground. Congratulations – you have now shifted your weight to one foot!
Now, just make sure that your weight is on the leg that is further from the camera. It will do wonders for the shape of your hips and bum, yum!
3. Roll your shoulders back (and down)
As your mom always told you: don’t slouch! Imagine your chest being attached to a string in the middle and the camera is pulling up on it. Roll your shoulders back, and make sure to send them down so that they don’t sit up by your ears!
4. Only show 3/4 of yourself
Facing the camera straight-on is not a very good idea – unless you are trying to look big, strong, and take up as much space as possible. But, if you are aiming to create a more interesting and flattering shape, turn slightly to the side. This will make your body look slimmer and do justice for all your lovely curves. You can also pick which side you’d like to face the camera. Most people aren’t perfectly symmetrical, and there’s nothing wrong with making sure your more photogenic side is the side the camera sees!
5. Handle your hands
Hands are a wonder. They are useful for all sorts of things. Then, the camera comes out, and you suddenly find yourself with two hands too many. What should you do? Make them do the things they were made for!
Got pockets? Try shoving your hands in them. Or, grab something; a glass of wine, a book, or a friend (gently!). Don’t be afraid to reach for objects with both hands if you still find yourself with an odd hand out. When you handle your hands, your pose will instantly become more natural and relaxed.
*Note: using both your hands to take a selfie does not count*
During a professional photo shoot, a good photographer will do the heavy lifting to bring out your best self. Without a professional directing your poses, it can feel intimidating to be in front of the dark clicking machine and feel relaxed.
Instead of panicking, pick one or two tips from this list and keep them handy next time you have a camera pointing at you. And, if you can’t remember any, just relax and keep breathing! At the end of the day, there is time for both a professional portrait session and for ones-off, no-preparation moments to be memorialized.