14 September, 2011

How to Look Good in Photos

14 September, 2011

There are a few clarifications I need to make before we start. Firstly, I am not a model, nor have I ever been one (at least not in my adult life). Secondly, I have curves, which, though I’m generally happy with, don’t always look great if captured from the wrong angle. To offset this, however, I have learnt to master a few tips which have helped me look better in photos.

1. Find your best angle

Study your face and be honest: which side looks better? Understanding your angles means you can make the most of it. I reckon tilting the head makes my face look smaller, so I abuse this pose as much as I can. You can use strategically placed hair or try the gaping ‘O’ expression; trust me, it elongates any face. Don’t do this for every picture though, or your friends will think you’ve developed a strange, Pavlovian response to cameras.

If you’re feeling awkward, just exaggerate any expression – laughing, cringeing, pouting – it all looks more fun when it’s obvious!

For tips on how to position your body, watch any of the Next Top Model shows, not only do shows like these educate you to be more aware of your overall appearance, they also expands your vocabulary (eg. ‘smizing’).

2. Makeup

Like, duh. If you’re going bare-faced against that camera flash in the dark then yes, I’m judging you. Accentuate your best feature; this could be your eyes, lips or cheekbones. I use kohl/liquid liner for eyes and have been flirting with strongly pigmented shadow to make my eyes pop. Try purple or aubergine for brown and darker eyes, green or dark grey for blue eyes and bronze or gold for green eyes. I also swear by Shu Uemura’s faux lashes in smoky layers for a dramatic look. Nothing beats faux lashes when it comes to attracting attention to your eyes.

The most important thing to remember though is to curb the shine. Although I’m a dewy faced fan, I’ve learnt that overdoing the shimmer does not look good when the flash goes off. Stick to matte formulas for foundation and blush: I recommend Armani’s face fabric and Nars blush in Douceur, and then using a shimmer stick very sparingly on the bridge of your nose and the top of your cheekbones. Easy!

3. Add props

Props can be anything from your drink to your best pal. The point is you can ‘pose off’ next to each other. Props add interest and a focal point to a picture, and if done right, they tell a story. If you have accessories around your face or neck these also work to draw attention to your face.

4. Have fun!

Smile, relax and have fun. If you hate the photo, you can always delete and re-take amirite? I’ve met a few camera fascists who examine every photo taken of them just to ensure the inevitable dodgy one is deleted. We all have less than perfect days, and this beauty writer is telling you that it’s OK. Just pick your favourite few and use those as your facebook profile, after all, you control your own images.

5. No Photoshopping allowed!

Seriously? No. It’s definitely OK to adjust the colour of the photo and smooth out a few blemishes but what exactly is the point of changing your appearance digitally? I’m really glad to see the UK taking a lead and banning ad images of Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington for being “overly airbrushed” and “misleading”. I’ve had a few photos digitally enhanced and it just depressed me to realize where other people think my ‘flaws’ lie. Practice 1 – 4 and leave the software behind!

An early picture of me posing with my sister (I’m the one in a romper with matching sunnies)

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