How To Look Good In Photos

2013-02-19_11-53-07So! Does the camera love you, or do you swear that there’s really a wicked witch hiding behind that lens, out to prove to you that you are the ugliest, fattest, most un-photogenic person that will (luckily for you) never grace the covers of a magazine?

Well, Moira has requested via “Ask Al” a solution to this very common affliction. I call it photo-fright. I reckon we’ve all been there at some point. You can read her request below, and if you have a any of your own questions, you too can do the same. Just Like my Facebook page here and post your question or photo. It’s that simple!


We’ve all done it. Smiled happily for the camera only to then look at the shot and demand request that it be deleted immediately if not sooner! Depression soon sinks in as you lose what little confidence you thought you once had. You start thinking to yourself “How can I ever be seen out again in public if THAT is what I really look like?”. Or you vow and declare to cease eating from that moment forward because surely you’re THE largest person that ever walked this earth?

Well let me tell you, you’re not alone with those thoughts or reactions to bad photos! Very few of us are truly photogenic. Even top models have to learn the art of posing for the camera. So here are some tips which, believe it or not, I still remember from way-back when I was teaching at The Elite Academy, and from more recent times, directing or styling photo shoots. I hope you find some of these useful…

Shrug Off Bad Posture

It goes without saying that we should work on our posture (always) but for photos it’s even MORE important. Put your shoulders back but be sure to let them drop backwards into a gentle V.  Suck in your gut, squeeze the buttocks…But don’t forget to breathe! You know the drill!


Practice Makes Perfect

Don’t be embarrassed! Simply try smiling in front of a mirror. Maybe you don’t like your teeth? Try a smile with your mouth closed – but make sure you’re still smiling with your eyes. If you think your smile is too gummy-smile, work on smiling with your lips covering your gums. You won’t know what you look like unless you’ve done it in front of the mirror, so it pays to be sure you’ve nailed it, so you can start liking yourself in photos again!

The Eyes Have It

Focus your gaze just above the lens and try to tilt your chin down slightly. If you want look even more natural, try closing your eyes just before the photographer takes the shot.

What’s Your Best Angle?

Everyone has a preference, whether they know it or not. Look at past photos of yourself – the ones you can actually bare to look at of course! Ask yourself which stance or angle do you seem to favour? Perhaps you generally like shots taken when you’re not looking directly at the camera? Or maybe you like your profile? Or not? It’s only from self evaluation of past shots that you’ll work all of this out.

Relax Dammit!

Everyone’s best angle is RELAXED, so try to laugh naturally just before you pose. Think of something funny, get someone to tell you a joke – anything that will bring a natural smile to your dial. And another neat trick is resting your tongue behind your teeth to relax the jaw. Just breathe, believe in yourself and smile. (Note to Victoria Beckham : Everyone looks better when they smile. Whoever told you to NEVER smile at the camera had it all wrong!)

Standing Issues

Try the classic model pose. Turn your body towards the camera, but then angle slightly away from it (about 25%, not standing fully sideways). Gently sweep one foot in front of the other and ensure that one shoulder is closer to the photographer. This will make you look at least 1/4 slimmer than if you stand front-on! Try it! It works!


Arms Length

When standing in the classic pose above, make sure your arms aren’t pressed tight against your body. Lifting them ever-so-slightly away from the body makes you look more relaxed and also shaves inches of unwanted “tuckshop lady arms”!

Notice how in this next photo, repositioning the arms/hands has created a waist and slims the body?



A little makeup goes a long way towards making you look awake  every day – let alone in photographs. Concealer will be your best friend, helping to eliminate shadows under the eyes (which can look exaggerated even further with bad lighting).

Lighten Up

Where is the light? If the light is behind you, you – the subject – will appear as a silhouette. Light coming straight-on will be most flattering. Light above can cast shadows and make your eyes appear sunken. And on it goes. It’s not really your concern (leave that to the photographer), but do keep these things in mind when taking shots yourself.

Plan Your Outfit

Plain, block colours look best in photographs. Wearing heavy prints and patterns can look too busy and overpower the image.


Beware the backdrop

Be careful that you’re not standing in front of an object that may appear to then grow out of your head (like a tree branch or vase of flowers). Again, a concern for the photographer, but handy to know.


There are many other tips I could share you with. Perhaps that’s for How To Look Good In Photos – Part II? If you want more, all you have to do is comment below. Or request it on Facebook. I love feedback. I love to hear from you. Please don’t be shy…


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