With digital camera and Facebook here to stay, it’s important to know how to find your best angles when the cameras flash
The Glory Days of being able to tear up dodgy snaps of your triple chin and garish make-up before anyone sees them are long gone. These days, if you’re caught on camera in a compromising position – with eyes wide shut or a tres attractive muffin top – it’s likely the photo will end up instantly super-sized and tagged on Facebook, rather than where it really belongs: in the bin.
A new generation of cutting-edge cameras – and fanatical amateur photographers – has emerged and it seems we’re all expected to look like models whenever anyone happens to have even a phone camera on hand. Which’s let’s it, face is all the time.
So, it’s more important than ever to know how to look good in front of the lens. If you don’t have the luxury of a personal airbrushing artist to trim five kilos or magically erase the dark rings under your eyes, then rely on our guide to looking naturally great in photos.
” Try the trusty ‘red carpet pose’, which celebrities have been honing for years. ‘It will make your torso appear slimmer and your legs look longer’ “
1. The Skinny
Everyone can make themselves look instantly slimmer, claims stylist Sarah Donges. Just try the trusty “red carpet pose”, which celebrities have been honing for years. “Turn on a 30-degree angle towards the camera, with one foot forward. It will make your torso appear slimmer and your legs look longer,” she says. We’ve tried it, and trust us – it works!
2. Stand Tall
To avoid looking saggy-chested, like you’ve just rolled out of bed or you’re auditioning for an amateur production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, think about your posture and consciously stand up straight. Mum was right when she told you that tummy in, spine straight and shoulders back the way to go. While your photo is being taken, draw in a deep breath and exhale while maintaining the same positions. This will ensure you look naturally poised, rather than ironing-board stiff.
3. Chin Up
When a camera flashes, many people tuck their heads back to avoid the light, and this results in the ultimate photo faux pas:the dreaded double (or even worse, quadruple) chin. To counteract this, have the camera slightly above your photo is being taken, advises Cathy Crawley of Beautiful Moments Photography. “It will elongated your neck and dr”w the chin line out,” she says. Easy and effective.
4. Flaunt Your Best Asset.
Don’t be afraid to show off what you’re most proud of. (Just don’t put everything on display!) If you’ve got a great feature such as a spectacular decolletage, consider wearing a low-ish neckline. If you’ve got good legs, make sure they’re on show in a long-line, full-body shot. This way, people will automatically look at an area of your body you like first, which means slight imperfections are less noticeable.
5. Colour Me Beautiful.
“No black!” declares Donges. “It’s dull. So are flesh-coloured tones, which also wash you out”. White only looks good on a lucky few. “It looks great with a tan,” explains the stylist, “but if you’ve got fair skin, it can accentuate your paleness.” Choose something colourful but not overly bright or patterned. Try to reflect your personality.
As a general rule, pastels and light colours suit blondes, while brunettes can pull off richer, darker hues. If you’re unsure about what will best suit you, ask a style-conscious (and honest) friend, or consider investing in a one-off session with a stylist. If you must wear a pattern, keep it subtle. the rule according to Donges is: “The wider the stripe, the wider you’ll look. The bigger the print, the bigger you’ll appear.”
6. Make-Up Tips
Tempted to cake on make-up to smooth out any burgeoning wrinkles? Briony Kennedy of Adorn Mineral Cosmetics says this is a massive no-no: “The cardinal rule of concealer is less is more, as it can tend to crease adding years to your face.”
During hot weather, she recommends a matte finish foundation to eliminate any shininess. “Then blend a bronzer along your hairline, onto the cheekbones, and finish off along the jaw line and neck area for a more contoured bone structure.”
Use eyeliner, mascara, even false lashes to make your eyes pop. “If you’ve had a late night, try lining the inner rim of your eye with a white pencil for brighter eyes.” But be warned: a touch of white won’t solve all problems. “Eye shadows that are white and shimmery will tend to look sweaty, so they’re best avoided.”
7. Location, Location, Location!
Ensure you have a clear idea of what you want the focal point of the photo to be. Is it you, or the scenery? If you’re trying to make everyone jealous of an amazing summer landscape, position yourself to one side of the frame. If you want the spotlight to be on you, then Crawley advises choosing a fairly plain background: “Starry night skies and foliage-filled gardens are best because they’re still pretty, but don’t detract attention from the subject.”
8. Relax and Smile.
According to Crawley, a natural laugh or smile that reaches your eyes always beat a forced, “say cheese” grin. “For a guaranteed instant giggle, get someone to tell a silly joke or blow raspberries,” she says.
Having everyone’s head close together also creates the impression of emotional closeness, and avoids any stilted, 1980s-style family portrait moments. “I tell people to put their arms around each other and pretend they’re all at the pub, laughing at something really stupid,” confesses Crawley. “Often, it’s my favourite the shot of the day.”
9. Stick to the Professional.
If you’re paying a professional, be aware that these days it’s easy for anyone to get their hands on a good camera and call themselves a photographer. To distinguish between a pro and a pretender, check that your photographer has professional lighting, camera and editing equipment, as well as insurance, and the means to back up and protect your photos.
10. Natural Lighting.
“The best natural lighting is during the hour before sunset,” says Crawley. “Face away from the sun, so you have a natural rim of light surrounding you.” You can shed light on the subject’s face with a flash as needed. If you’re an early riser, the hour after sunrise is also great. The worst natural lighting occurs at noon, when the harsh overhead sun causes “racoon eyes” – shadowed eye-sockets. Standing directly under bright, fluorescent lights produces the same effect, so be wary of this indoor Kodak moments.
- If you put your hands on your knees while sitting down, they’ll appear disproportionately large compared with your face and body.
- Check you’re not standing directly in front of a telegraph pole or sailing mast, or it could look as though it’s growing out of your head.
- Some professional photographers enhance the colour in their photos, so fake tans often seem more orange.
- Avoid tops emblazoned with huge logos, or you could end up looking like a promo-girl.
In family photos, having everyone in near-identical outfits (top left) isn’t a good look, according to Crawley. “If you wouldn’t wear it out to dinner, don’t wear it in photos that might end up lining your hallways,” she says. “Different coloured clothes all drawn from a complementary colour palette work much better.”
Photographer Cathy Crawley’s Favourite Iphone Apps
- Flash for free. Brighten your photos to make up for your phone’s lack of camera flash(free).
- Polarize. Make your snaps look like white-bordered Polaroids(free).
- Hipstamatic. Create retro-style snaps with old-school lens, flash and film effects ($2.49).
- HDR Camera. Bring more life and colour to your photos ($2.49).