With social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, who doesn’t want to look good in photos? How many times have you struck a pose, believing that it would be flattering, only to be disappointed with the result? Everyone has fallen victim to the horrible selfie, the awkward group shot, or the uncomfortable prom pose. We have all been there and done that.
Bad photos spread like wildfire online, leaving others to cheer you up with well-intended compliments like, “I kind of like your hair frizzy.” The truth of the matter is, the picture is horrible and regardless of how many times you post “Please delete this!”, it is far too late— too many people have already seen the shared pic.
How can you avoid the ever-looming threat of a bad photo? How can you enjoy an evening out with friends without having to worry about whether or not the picture they took made you look like an ogre? We found eight tricks to look your best without having to put forth much effort. We cover everything from working the right angles to avoiding certain beverages that can potentially ruin your picture. Let’s start with a simple body gesture that can make a huge difference.
Have you ever accidentally opened the front-facing camera on your phone or mindlessly starred at the blank screen on your computer? Did you like your reflection? Most people would respond with a ‘no’ because of the massive double chin that they saw. In most cases, this is a result of your face looking down while your body is leaning back. Leaning forward is the best way to make sure the dreaded double chin doesn’t make an appearance in your photos.
By leaning forward, you are tightening all of the skin around your face and neck so that you actually look like a human being instead of just a big ugly toe. Your face instantly looks thinner thanks to your facial bones being more pronounced. You neck will also look sleeker and longer. Make sure that the camera is at least at eye level and put your chin down ever so slightly to give yourself the perfect angle.
Tuck Your Hair Behind Your Ears
If you have long hair, one of the biggest problems that you can encounter while taking photos is getting all of your hair in front of your face. Everyone wants to see your face, but it’s hard with a blanket of hair covering it up. Tucking your hair behind your ears will solve that problem. It will also allow people to see your cheekbones and make them appear higher than if your hair was untucked or in a ponytail.
Too much hair in front of your ears can create a shadow that presents an unflattering image. This can be made even worse if you are wearing makeup and the shadow is hitting it in the wrong way.
There is a reason why Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner, the reigning queens of selfies on social media, almost never face forward in their photos. It is almost impossible to look good when your entire body is staring face to face with the camera. Every person has a ‘good side’ as well. While many people do not believe in a “good” or “bad” side, it is very much true.
Don’t just turn your head to your ‘good side’, make sure that you turn your entire body when taking a picture. Turning at about a 45 degree angle will provide more depth for your figure in the photo and give the perception of different layers. If you are one of those lucky people who are really thin, then turning to the side will help you avoid looking like a total stick figure in photos.
Add Shine To Your Hair
Flash photography is one of the mortal enemies for those who have trouble with split ends and frizzy hair. Every single hair is accentuated by flashbulbs, which makes for a whole new fight to look your best in photos. Don’t overdo it on hairstyling and holding products, as a light amount of hairspray works best to keep everything in place. Slicking your hair back could make you look like 1950’s Greaser, which, unless you are playing John Travolta in a Grease production, you should avoid as well.
Adding shine to your hair makes it look fluid and draws attention away from anything else that might be going on in the photo. Increasing the volume of your hair also decreases the perceived volume of the rest of your head, which is another way to make your face look thinner (in case you forgot to lean forward in time for the photo.)
Stay In The Light
Lighting is the most important thing when it comes to photography, which is why advertising companies pay top dollar to photographers who know how to use it well. Natural light is easily the best way to make sure that you take your best photo, but even when you’re indoors, there are ways to ensure the lighting is perfect.
If you stand directly under a bright light, the resulting picture is going to be one that you wish you could rip in half (even if it’s digital). The direct light above creates unflattering shadows and makes your hair look dull; this should be avoided at all costs. The best way to take a perfect indoor photo is to be near soft lighting, but not directly in front of or under it. The soft light will help to enhance your features without creating ghastly shadows.
Wear Makeup & The Right Clothes
Wearing the wrong makeup or clothes can make for a pretty bad picture. Before your photo is taken, you should lightly apply foundation and concealer. You don’t won’t to cake it on, but you need at least a little foundation. Otherwise, if you are pale as it is, the flash on a camera will make you look like a ghost.
Going sans makeup makes your face look completely flat in photos, even if you don’t look that way in real life. Having subtle and flattering colors on your face creates depth, which is a very important aspect of photography. Nude colors are not recommended if you are expecting to be in a lot of pictures. You also want to make sure that your clothes match and are not too bright in color, as they can be distracting and unflattering in comparison to dark colors.
Don’t Smile Hard
Sometimes, you may be overly thrilled to see and spend time with your friends and family. This excitement is often obvious in photos, as very often, people tend to smile too big when they are extremely happy or excited. Smiling too largely can, unfortunately, make you look older (and even a bit crazy depending on your smile). A big culprit of people smiling way bigger than they should is the dreaded word ‘cheese’. Although “cheese” has been our go-to for happy pictures for decades, it is time to stop the madness.
A soft smile will keep you from showing too many teeth, and thus keep wrinkles and dimples from appearing on your face. You don’t have to mean mug the camera like you’re taking a prison photo, but just don’t look too happy. While over-smiling can be hard to avoid, you will thank yourself later when the photos are posted on social media and you don’t look crazy.
Don’t Take Drunk Photos
Remember those times when you have gone through your phone after a fun night out and ended up deleting most of the photos because you looked way too intoxicated? It is high time that you take a lesson from that and avoid these pictures altogether. Having a drink or two can keep you loose without looking like you are too drunk to function, but make sure that you only take those photos during the first two drinks. Anything after the first two drinks and you might as well reserve a special deleted photo file for the rest of the night.
Other bad photos occur when people drink wine and decide to take a selfie or a group shot. After a few glasses of red wine, not only will you look sloshed for all of your photos, but you will also be rocking the dreaded red teeth. If your greatest goal is to have a picture front and center in the Hall of Shame, our best suggestion is to keep on drinking and smiling because that’s most likely where your next photo is headed.
Follow all of these tips to look like a star in any picture.