Taking photographs is now just a part of life. Our children revel and communicate their every move on social media sites, mostly dedicated entirely to pictures. Parents fill their own Facebook pages with adorable photographs of kids near and dear to their hearts. What’s missing? The parents!
While the world at large probably does not need another Kardashian selfie fiend, as parents sometimes we end up behind the lens and not in front of it enough. When my Dad passed away, my family all realized that while we each had a few pictures that he was in; most of us did not have a lot of moments captured with our Dad. If I search for a picture of my Mother and I, well I might come up with three.
There’s an old saying that goes something like, “I wish I was as old and heavy as I thought I was…last year.” Let’s face it; some people are just ridiculously photogenic. For the rest of us, there are tricks of the trade that you can use to feel better about stepping into the actual photographs. Professional photographs are always a solid bet for everyone looking their best, but sometimes it is not always workable in time or the budget. If you have multiple kids like I do, then trying to find a day when everyone is in the right “mood” for picture taking is next to impossible…there is always one sour face!
I am going to toss out several tips for trying to be your most flattering self in photos, but let’s face it-if you start to take a picture and are trying to execute all of them-you might end up with a cramming for an exam face than elegant picture face. Pick one or two to keep in mind next time someone says “smile!” While you are busy snapping pictures of your kids over the holidays, remember to jump into a few pictures with them. Those will mean more to them and their own children for years to come.
First trick, use your tongue to stop the façade of having a double chin. When you smile, push your tongue to the roof of your mouth and it automatically lifts the area under your chin.
Angles matter. There is a reason you hear this one all the time. Maybe you have perfected the direct head on shot, but chances are unless you have a professional photographer with the right lighting following you around, front and center face shots can be unflattering. There are no shadows when you snap a picture straight on, so your face that looks great in the mirror, will look wider in a picture than it really is. If you are going for the head shot, stand a little sideways and tilt your chin up or down slightly. Eyes should be focused just above your natural line of sight. I find that sticking your chin out (slightly here people) and tilting your head forward just a bit makes your jawline appear better in photos. Unless you have a chiseled face like David Beckham, this is a great tip.
Arms by far I think are the easiest fix in photographs. How many times are we standing in a group photo with our arms at our sides and then when you look at the picture your upper arm area looks bigger than your head! If you are bored with this post and only walk away with one tip-this is it. Make sure your arm is a least a little ways from your body. This trick is why you see most red carpet celeb pictures with a hand on the hip because it keeps your upper arm from being smashed against your body. You do not always have to do the old hand on hip, just practice moving your arm out even slightly so it is not actually touching your body (think floating) and instantly your arms will look better in pictures.
Like your mother always said, cross your ankles ladies. If you are taking a full length picture and facing forward, crossing your ankles at your calf muscles will make your hips look narrower and your legs look longer. Same thought when you are sitting for a picture. Sit up straight move towards the edge of the seat if you can and cross your legs at your ankles.
Men posture is so very important in pictures. Shoulders back, chest up. If maybe you feel like peeked in High School Rob Lowe, avoid shots where you are turned too much to one side. Think 45 degree angle (you’re men you love numbers). Loving reminders ladies if you are trying to get him excited about picture time.
If your waistline is what keeps you camera shy, try using your hands to give your waist definition. Instead of putting your hands on your hips at your sides, move them closer towards your navel area to essentially cinch your waist for the picture- just don’t squeeze!
Finally, if you want to look good in a photograph, my best advice is you simply need to enjoy yourself. Not wanting to have your picture taken, shows in the picture. Accept that it is just a photo and worry less! Believe it or not you will instantly start to look better in the pictures.