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Do you look terrible in pictures ?

Updated on October 14, 2013

my Grandmother

Elenore Lenker by JR Hager
Elenore Lenker by JR Hager

You look terrible in pictures? So the camera is your enemy, huh? Lucky you're not a movie star. I hope paparazzi's are not giving you nightmares. And there's so many cameras out there these days to fill your phobia. Probably soon after you leave this page and your door you'll be on some kind of surveillance video or somebody's camera on their cell phone at some point in your day's journey.

My Grandmother was the same way, always looked terrible in pictures. She tried her best and was a good sport, God love her, but it never seemed to work. Never did I see a good picture of her except maybe her high school picture. Even with a Grandson that went ga ga over photography didn't help. I think I have two photos that comes close to OK and that was a time I put the camera on a tripod and on timer. It seems when she got her mind off of their being a 'dreaded' camera looking at her she calmed down and her expression changed. My goodness what would she do now-a-days with cameras everywhere surrounding us.

This is the high school picture of her that looks close to not looking terrible in the picture. You can tell that she is trying real hard to make a good picture. And she was not an ugly woman, as you can see. Or maybe the incident that gave her self doubt happened later on in her life. Or possibly the high school photographer told her to, "look a little over to her right here, and then now slowly give me a little smile, that's it." SNAP.

She just got to the point in her life, in my opinion, that she anticipates looking terrible in the picture when she knows the camera's are pointing at her, and sure enough it turns out like she 'wanted' it. Aside from confirming the age old saying, 'you make your own world' I think she was just ridiculed when she was young and sensitive. It was simply just one bad pose or the camera caught her off-guard or something like that. She didn't have to let it 'snowball' and to carry the, 'I look terrible in picture, routine' throughout her whole life. I can remember trying to work with her on numerous occasions, but I didn't have the 'studies' with me when she was still alive. It will be quite a few years after her death that I went to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and learned the posing techniques that would have helped her not to look terrible in pictures.

So basically and simply that's all you have to do to not look terrible in pictures. When you know the cameras on you just tell the photographer to take it slow and / or that you are 'posing challenged' and need a little extra time for composure. Good photographers will appreciate that in a subject. It will give them a better chance to sell more pictures. So calm yourself and breath slow and understand that your photographer is not a doctor and you are not getting an inoculation or a virus shot today, somebody is just taking your picture. And no there is no pain involved and you will not lose your soul. or even part of it, during the process. It may be helpful to think of a passive scene from nature or a pleasant time that you had in your life, or something that you are going to do in the future that you will enjoy to take your mind away for a few seconds. Most importantly don't anticipate anything; from the way the picture is going to look, to how you are going to look, or to anticipating the flash. They are the main problems.

Also, please don't think of the camera as your enemy and tighten-up or run away when one is pointed at you, or run away mentally. This will always make you look terrible in pictures. Here's an idea for you. I've heard of people who have a difficult time being in front of an audience or in front of cameras, and these are famous people too. They just visualize the photographer naked. This may help your smile as well .... like you're smiling now.

"Look a little over to the right, a little more, that's fine, now think of a passive scene from nature, a waterfall, a beach scene, a sunset, or see me standing here naked." SNAP !

How to not look terrible in pictures:

  • Tell the photographer to take it slow, no matter who or what their credentials are.
  • Breath slow and easy through your nose.
  • Don't anticipate anything, the flash, or how you're going to look in the photo.
  • Looking a little away to the right or left from the camera may help you subconsciously, and will also eliminate red eye. Do not look up higher or down lower than where the camera is positioned. Looking up higher than the camera will make you look like you are 'zoned-out' somewhere, and looking lower than the camera will make you appear like your sad or at a funeral.
  • Visualize someplace you'd rather be, a passive scene from nature, or thinking something in the future you're looking forward to doing. Or think of the photographer standing there naked or sitting on the toilet.
  • And smile slow, that way your smile will be natural, les contrived and you'll have a picture of you with more teeth than gums, instead of the other way around.


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