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Updated on September 3, 2011

Just Lovely

Know How to Be Photogenic

I once did a blog on how to be Photogenic and got loads of great feedback. I thought I share that information again here on a more popular venue. 


I’m always trying to figure out why I don’t look the same in a photograph as I do in a mirror. I have never liked being the subject in pictures. I am always the one in control of the camera because I’m not very photogenic. As I’ve stated before I have to get pictures ready for Aunt Laurie for Christmas, and that includes some of me. So today I spent several hours searching for the answer and came up with several reasons. The most popular was, we don’t see ourselves in pictures the same as we see ourselves in the mirror.

How on earth do you take a good picture? Naturally, a lot will depends on the photographer, but the model or person in question has some control, too. I’m sure you have noticed that some people - even those not that are un attractive in real life - turn out better in photographs than others. So what the heck is the secret?

There is nothing mystical about it. Photogenic people enjoy having their picture taken, and know how to be relaxed & happy when the camera is exposed. If you have ever noticed they have a natural reaction and will do things to make themselves look better! This is me, if you’re used to having bad pictures taken of yourself, you probably get nervous and shy in front of the camera. The awesome part is that because it’s a skill, it can be learned!

A photograph is a frozen moment in time, a two-dimensional image of you from one angle. The bad thing is that it won’t show all your good attributes like we see them with the human eyes. The best thing is, tricking the camera is easy, by hiding the features you’re not fond of. Listed are some tips to help you take better, nicer, and prettier pictures:

Pile on extra makeup:

The camera tends to ‘swallow’ makeup like crazy, so pile it on and blend well. Putting on a foundation is an absolute necessary, more so now than ever before, in the age of digital cameras that pick up every imperfection. It is recommend wearing mascara and at least a lip gloss or appealing shade of lipstick, even if it’s only a casual shot. Eyeliner would be an awesome addition because it helps define your eyes - without it, features can often get lost. Don’t forget the blush or bronzer - the camera has a tendency to wash the colors out and you don’t want to end up with a dull pancake look on your face.

Pick an outfit you fell good in & practice posing in it:

Don’t just throw something on that you assume will look good; feel and know what looks good by trying on the outfit beforehand and testing the waters. Practice modeling different poses in front of the mirror and decide the dos and don’ts of the outfit. Make note of any problems with the outfit, like a folded hem , unwanted wrinkle or crease etc.

Techniques to slim yourself down:

There are ways to trick the eye of the camera into thinking you’re slimmer or thinner than you really are. This has nothing to do with your actual weight; but something you can do for your advantage in more flattering poses. By the way, most professional models employ these techniques as well. Turn your body 3/4 to the camera. Behold, you just reduced your weight by a third! Shift weight to one foot – make sure it’s the leg that’s furthest away from the camera. Do you have any ‘problem areas’ you’re insecure with (hips, tummy)? Hide them with your hands, props or clothing. Sucking in your tummy! This is the easiest thing to forget when you’re posing, so ask the photographer (or a friend) to kindly remind you during the shoot. Stretching every single bone in your body will instantly make you look taller, slimmer and more confident! When stretching your neck, tilt the chin down a little bit to avoid the up-the-nose shots. Wearing heels will elongate your legs look and force you to carry yourself in a different, more confident way. For full-body shots, tell the photographer to shoot from the belly-button level. That means wherever your belly button is, that’s where the camera should be. This elongates your legs and improves your proportions.

Some Other tricks:

Face towards the light source. Facing away from the light can cause unflattering shadows. Lean ever so slightly towards the camera. Doing so adds interest, dimension and a more natural look to a photo. Use props whenever possible! Anything - a hat, a book, an apple! Having something to focus on and interact with will help you to be more relaxed and make for more interesting pictures. Imagine the photographer is someone you are extremely attracted to! By doing this it will bring out the natural lively flirt in you and light up your face with a smile.
Never ever forget getting your picture taken can be a fun and exciting experience. It was much easier when we didn’t have digital cameras, and couldn’t criticize every single picture we took. Never expect every single shot to be a masterpiece - even the best photographers out there usually get a few to a dozen keepers out of 100 images taken. Have fun and don’t be too critical of yourself, and your photos will turn out splendid!


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    • profile image

      Just a sec... 6 years ago

      I'm a photographer. Don't use blush, as it has a different texture than skin and will look odd. Especially in black and white.

    • profile image

      Chloe 7 years ago

      Whenever i log in to facebook, theres girls who are unattractive in real life but, on photos they look stunning. I've always wondered why. Thanks alot for this article :)

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 8 years ago from Canada

      Great information, and lucidly presented - thanks for sharing this advice.

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 8 years ago from Philippines

      Wonderful tips! Thank you for sharing.

      If the photographer is a good one, then he/she will always show you how to present your best side. However, it does help a lot if you are relaxed and not self conscious.

    • Janet21 profile image

      Janet21 8 years ago from New York

      I am not photogenic at all. When I see a photo of myself, I always ask people, is this what I look like to you?? lol

      Just like you, when I look in the mirror I see a different person than the one in the photo. And, as I get older, the photos just get worse. My kids get mad at me because when I collect photos for anything, I rarely, if ever, choose a photo with me in it because I don't want to have to look at it. The best photos of me are the ones where I am not posing and when I don't know the photo is being taken. When I pose, it's bad. Thanks for the tips, maybe I'll try some of them.