In our digital time, when there’s a camera installed almost everywhere, even in a matchbox, everything that is left is to enjoy ourselves in photos. But unfortunately the result is often frustrating. It seems that everything works towards a great photo: atmosphere, dress and make-up. But when you look at a camera screen the first thing you want to do is to delete the photo, and the second one – to cry.
Why does it happen? Why do we often look bad in photos?
We know how to eat and hold a spoon and a fork, we know how to drive a car and that we need to cross the road when green light is on. We have been learning this since we were born. But nobody taught us how to look good in photos, and this is a skill as well.
Those people, who look bad in photos again and again, tell themselves: “We’re non-photogenic”. But in fact, there are no photogenic and non-photogenic people. One should just learn how to look good in photos.
One of my specializations is to shoot individual portfolio. I work with people who are nowhere near model business and are often stand in front of a camera for the first time. I know almost everything that a person standing in front of the camera might tell me. And I work with this. And my work gets a lot of positive feedback.
I would like to share 9 tips, which will significantly improve photos of you. And it doesn’t matter whether you are going to a photo session of a professional photographer or a picture will be taken by your friend with an amateur camera.
1. There are 3 main pillars that create an image, and if you follow them, your picture will be really successful. One of them is proper clothes. In my work, I’m assisted by a stylist who chooses clothes for a model and if it’s necessary finds the clothes I need to create a complete image. But you don’t need a stylist to improve your appearance.
Put on clothes of neutral tones without conspicuous and extremely bright colours for a photo session. If, for example, you are wearing red top, a viewer will see this top first, and only then you.
Clothes should preferably have no patterns and stripes. So leave leopard dresses and tops with large patterns at home. Firstly, you’ll get lost in them, and secondly not all cameras can cope with complicated patterns of clothes.
And it is very important to complete your image with accessories. I always remind my models about accessories prior to photo session. Don’t forget to put on relevant pendant or a bracelet that will emphasise your appearance.
2. The second photography pillar is a background. Here advice is similar to that for clothes. No aggressive colours, patterns and stripes. The more homogeneous the background is the better. It’s mauvais ton to have a picture taken with a carpet behind. But you already know it.
Background shall match your image. If you put on a Victorian style dress, and choose to have a photo session in a hi-tech interior, it will look rather strange. The same is if you decide to have a photo session in a field of wheat while wearing your wedding dress. What sane bride will go to the country to have a photo session in a dusty dirty field?
That’s why choose a location in line with the idea you want to implement.
3. The third pillar to create your image is you, photographer’s model. And the next 7 tips are all about this.
There are no photogenic or non-photogenic people. There are people that like and respect themselves. Such people feel sure in front of the camera, they are as they are. That’s why first of all get to like yourself. I understand this is a piece of advice from psychological area, and you need more than 10 visits to a psychologist, but you shall try. Attend photographer’s consultation at least. Perhaps a photographer will dispel lots of your doubts. Because photo session in reality is a bit different from what you expect. For example, I try not to appoint a photo session without preliminary meeting.
There is one more trick that will set you up for the photo session and will help you loosen up. This trick was proposed by one New-York photo school and due to its efficiency it has quickly become very popular all over the world.
When you are home alone, stand in front of the mirror and say 100 times while stroking yourself: I’m the most beautiful. I’m the best. I love myself very much. If you can tell this 100 times without laughing, you can become an actress in Hollywood. And no photo session can frighten you then.
4. Preparation to a photo session is very important. As I’ve mentioned above, I always try to meet those, whom I’m going to shoot. This helps us to understand each other more quickly and not to waste time during the photo session. During the meeting I also try to find a reason, why a person comes to my photo studio and basing on this information we discuss a topic of our photo session. We also plan it.
Communicate with a photographer prior to your photo session. Half-hour talk several days before the photo session will save you couple of hours during the shooting.
5. The 5th tip is a make-up. Make-up is aimed at emphasising advantages and concealing disadvantages of your skin. Of course, lots can be done in Photoshop now, but believe me, it will be lower in cost to use services of a professional make-up artist, than of a professional retoucher.
6. Rest and general state. It’s important to sleep well prior to a photo session . Because sleep is a health itself. If you come to a photo session wishing that everything is finished as soon as possible, you’ll never get good pictures then. It’s impossible to conceal eye fatigue and lack of tonus in your muscles.
I also forbid alcohol both during a photo session and the day before it. The reason is the same as that for sleep. It may seem that alcohol can loosen you up, but it’s not so. It can liberate your thoughts, but not your body or poses. And very often, a person that has taken even 50 grams of alcohol looks rather funny.
7. In many cases, people are afraid of shooting, because they don’t know how to pose right. Here I’ll give you several pieces of advice that will help you to put your arms and legs to look good in the photo. But remember that the main posing is in your head. I’ve already mentioned this for the 3d tip, and I’ll talk about it later.
To conceal an extra weight you gained during holidays, stand in front of a photographer half-turned. This will conceal your figure and make your waist slimmer.
Remember, straight lines are forbidden in the poses. Bend your arms, legs and tilt your head a bit. Just a bit. But the joints shall be half-bent. Photographers call it Rule of Triangles. When you, so to speak, draw several triangles with your body.
Crossing elements, for example arms, always attract attention. This is an example of how to create mood in a photo with the help of a body.
Don’t hump your shoulders. This is a common mistake of many people. Crane you neck a bit. And lower a shoulder which is closer to a photographer.
Don’t lean towards a photographer. By this you’ll have a square-shaped figure and no waist.
These are just a few tips for posing. But in general, just trust your photographer. Seeing you through the lenses, a photographer knows better how you should stand.
8. Be natural. Forget about those broken poses from magazines. These poses are for professional models advertising clothes. And you have a photo session for yourself. That’s why be natural. Because the more natural you look, the better the picture is!
9. One more psychological tip to improve the way you look in the photo is to get into a character. How?
For example, you came to a studio to have a business portrait. Imagine that you’re the main and the most important person in your profession. You’re an idol for many newbies; magazines and newspapers write about you. People want to have your autograph. Imagine all this. Have you?
Or you want to have a picture for social networks to find a husband. Imagine that you love and are loved in return. Imagine the man, you want to have a photo for, imagine how he hugs you, gives you presents and kisses. How you spend time with him. Have you imagined?
Look, how you’ve straightened up, see the gleam in your eyes, you’re confident in yourself and you don’t have to think about your pose any more. Now you’re posing like a professional model. It’s very simple. And this is the most important of my tips.
And always ask yourself a question “Why?” This question will allow you to avoid lots of unnecessary and stupid photos. For example, if you come to a birch and embrace it, ask yourself “why am I doing this?” If you have no answer, then you should just give it up and try to find another story for your photo session.