Posts Tagged ‘photogenic’

10 Ways To Be Photogenic

Does the camera really add 10 pounds? Well … yes and no.  Unflattering lighting, lens issues and bad angles combined with the inherent problems of transferring a 3D object to a 2D medium can lead to some pretty awful photos.  The other problem is that a photo is not what we see in the mirror, it’s what the mirror sees (the aptly named mirror image). This is why we are often harder on photos of ourselves than of others.  So what can we do about it? Remember, there are two players in any photograph – the subject and the photographer and both can work together to improve a photo.

Rules for the Subject:

#1 – Don’t sabotage the photo. You hate to have your picture taken and it shows.  You offer up what you know to be a weak smile or stupid look and then remark – “See, I told you I take awful pictures!” Please stop doing this and just let me take the photo.

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#2 – Spend some time at the mirror. Since no one is perfectly symmetric, one side of your face looks better than the other. Determine which your “best” is (remember right and left are reversed in a mirror). Turn your face and see at what point you look your best (a ¾ view is flattering for most people). Work on your “picture smile” in front of the mirror. This may seem like the height of narcissism, but you will look better in photos.

#3 – Hide what you don’t like. A strategically placed bag, arm, couch pillow or child can go a long way. Just make sure that you don’t look like your hiding. If you don’t like the way your teeth look in photos, perfect a pleasant toothless smile.

#4 – Strike a pose. Have you ever liked a photo of yourself that it taken square-on with your arms flat at your sides? Probably not, so try these moves: Turn slightly away so you are not square-on, move one foot in front of you pointed at the camera and rest your weight on your back foot.  Shoulders back, chest out and stomach muscles tight (but don’t look like a soldier at attention). Move your arms slightly away from your body and bend them gently and relax your hands.  Force your face forward just a bit (this will feel very unnatural, but it will avoid a double chin). Add that smile from the mirror and – bingo – we have a good photo.

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#5 – Look your best. With cell phones it is arguable that every day is “picture day”; however there are times when you know there will be a camera around. On those days (think holidays and weddings), be sure to wear an outfit that flatters you or at least avoid what you know doesn’t work for you. For women – keep the shine away, moisturize and at least wear mascara (this is so much more important as we age).

Rules for the Photographer:

#1 – Watch the lighting and your angles. Avoid the midday sun, it will leave harsh shadows. If you have no option, get into the shade or use your flash to get rid of the shadows.  Never shoot people from below. Granted, they may look taller but the other distortions will not be appreciated. Shooting from eye-level or slightly above is your goal. Take a step or two back and zoom in a bit to fill the frame. If you are too close with your camera on wide, it will distort their faces.

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#2 – Try to get candid shots. Many people freeze when they see a camera; try to catch them unaware. Most of my favorite photos are stealth ones.

#3 – Gather people close together. Photos always look better when the subjects are close to each other, but avoid the line-up. Also, keep an eye on the background and avoid the clutter.

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#4 – Delete awful photos. You are bound to take some terrible photos now and again.  Please use that delete button and in the name of all that is holy – DO NOT POST THEM ON FACEBOOK!

#5 – Edit a little. If you are familiar with an editing program, make a few minor adjustments.  Just keep the changes very subtle. An over-edited picture usually looks worse than the original.