Having your photo taken can seem like a frightening endeavor, especially when it seems that you never look quite as good in portraits as you do in reality. This is a problem faced by many people, but can be easy to remedy. Being photogenic is not an inborn talent, but an acquired skill that can be learned through practice.
Try these methods of posing and tips for becoming photogenic and in no time be the model-esque friend all your buddies brag about.
1. Clarify your skin. The focus of most portraits is the face, so make sure that yours is in tip-top condition. Modern cameras are able to capture the smallest of changes and textures of skin, which is both a blessing and a curse. Keep your skin clean and smooth by washing, toning, and moisturizing your face before having your photo taken. Doing this should be a daily morning/evening ritual but is especially important before a photoshoot. If you wear makeup, make sure that your concealer and foundation are smoothly applied and match your skin tone correctly. Blend them slightly down your neck and near your ear lobes to create the most natural look. Oily skin can ruin a photo by reflecting too much light. Use oil blotting sheets or tissue paper (actual tissue paper, not kleenex) to dab off excess oil on the T-zone of your face. Use an exfoliator on your face to slough off any dead skin cells which make your skin appear dull and lackluster in photos. Use a sugar scrub or a rough facial soap the morning of your photos.
2. Focus on what makes you unique. One of the characteristics of photogenic people is their confidence in their appearance. Many times we are overly concerned with something we perceive as ‘wrong’ with our face; your freckles, the gap in your teeth, how squinty your eyes get when you smile. Instead of trying to hide those things, embrace them! You will look much more photogenic in your photos that way.
3. Show your emotion. It is easy to spot someone who is photogenic from someone who is posing, the former doesn’t have to fake their emotions. Although getting your photo taken can be nerve-wracking, don’t let it get in the way of your true feelings. Don’t create the smile you think you need, use your regular smile. The same goes with the shape of your eyes and the curve of your cheeks. The more you allow your natural emotions to show on your face, the better your pictures will look. Always smile with your teeth, because you would never laugh at a funny joke with your lips together. True smiles show off a toothy grin, not tightly pressed lips. Keep your face natural by allowing a real smile to peak through. When you are showing emotions your entire face is affected. Although many people associate a look of happiness with just a smile, your eyebrows, eyes, cheeks, and forehead are all affected equally as much. Make sure that you are allowing freedom of movement in your entire face.
4. Don’t look the camera straight on. As the old saying goes, “the camera adds ten pounds.” But it doesn’t have to! Because the camera is using reflected light to convert a 3D object into a 2D image, the shapes of things are flattened and compressed. Looking straight ahead at the camera will show the fullness of your face and remove/reduce any natural shadows. Instead, turn your face slightly to the side to create natural highlights and shadows and slim the shape of your face.
5. Bend your joints. How often do you find yourself standing or sitting perfectly straight, with all your joints in line? Probably very rarely or never. Add both movement and a sense of natural poise to your photos by allowing your joints to bend slightly. This means that your elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles should all be comfortably bent. If it can bend, bend it!