When you put pictures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, you want to make sure you showcase your best self. HC is here to give you tips for looking your best in pictures and taking your most like-worthy photos ever!
1. Get a Good Angle
The best way to make yourself look good in a photo is to find the angle that works for you. Marcy Holquist, a professional photographer, says that “selfies are always more attractive if they’re taken straight on rather than up at yourself.” So if you plan on going the selfie route, try to take them with your phone angled down and you looking up, or do a straight-on headshot.
If you’re in a group shot or any other non-selfie photo, having a straight-on shot might not be the best idea. “Definitely more people have a certain way that they like, like a side of their face or hair in front of their shoulders,” Holquist says. “I like one shoulder leading and a tilt of the head rather than a mug shot.” Try practicing in the mirror to figure out how to best flatter yourself!
2. Pay Attention to Your Hands
When preparing to pose for pictures, you might mostly worry about making sure your hair looks good and posing at a flattering angle, but an important, often overlooked feature is your hands.
“Hands close to your face are really nice as long as you don’t have a fist,” Holquist says. “Fingers should be ballerina hands, equal distance apart.”
Remember that your hands are a part of your body you have to pose, too; no one likes an awkward hand in photos! So if you’re putting your arm around your friend or trying to rock the skinny arm, make sure your hands are delicate and graceful so they don’t detract from the picture. Try bending your fingers at a slight angle to give the impression of elongation.
3. Show Off a Genuine Smile
We’ve all taken a faux-candid picture—don’t try to deny it. Faux candids are an easy way to show someone how much fun you’re having, but why fake a smile when you can capture a real one? Pose with a friend, talk about some funny inside joke, or just be your naturally goofy selves with each other—do whatever will make you genuinely laugh and smile! A great smile is all about having confidence. The better and more confident you feel about yourself, the more radiant your smile will be.
4. Use the Scenery
Working with a great background won’t necessarily improve how you look, but your friends will be drawn to the scenery and be more likely to “like” your pic.
Holquist suggests you choose a background “more specific to the person [and] that represents their interests.” For instance, if you’re an avid horseback rider, try taking some photos at a barn or in a field or with your horse. Showcasing your interests this way makes the photo more personal and likeable.
The beach is a great place to take photos if you’re on vacation or if you live near the ocean. For inspiration on how to use the scenery there, Holquist suggests you check out past Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editions. “It has some of the most beautiful shots I’ve ever seen,” she says. “The girls are a little overexposed, but the scenery and the photography is beautiful.”
A beautiful background is always a great way to compliment you in a photo. Just make sure that there’s enough of you in the frame so the background doesn’t detract from your beauty.
5. Find Good Lighting
Lighting is a key factor for taking good photos. If you choose to use natural light, Holquist says “it is sometimes better to have a cloud overhead than stark, bright sunlight. You want to avoid looking towards the sun to avoid squinting and shadows on the face, particularly below the eyes.” She also suggests avoiding dappled light, which is light that is splotchy and inconsistent, such as the light that comes through a leafy tree.
“The best light is Rembrandt lighting, which means light on one side of the face that just kisses the cheekbone of the other side of the face, like a triangle,” Holquist says. This lighting is the most flattering and alluring and will make you look ever better in photos.
6. What to Wear
Deciding what you want to wear depends on what you want the focus of the picture to be.
“Clothes should be subtle if you want to focus on a portrait of the face. I always like white shirts and jeans,” Holquist says. The simplicity of this outfit puts the focus on your face.
However, Holquist says that “if the point is fashion, go for it. Colors that bring out the eyes are also a nice tool.” For example, bright blue shirts do a great job of making blue eyes pop. For brown eyes, try olive green, navy or brown clothing. And if you have green eyes, wear purple or green.
As for makeup, less is more. “Makeup should be natural and not overdone,” Holquist says. Too much makeup will take away from your natural beauty and could end up creating a false representation of you. This is the reason you shouldn’t over-edit your photos—a true representation of your natural beauty is more powerful and like-worthy than an over-edited depiction of yourself!
Being knowledgeable about your body and what makes a good picture is key to a gorgeous photo. Most importantly, be comfortable and confident in your own skin. Confidence radiates through the camera lens, so feeling good about yourself will only make the picture more beautiful!