How to Take a Gorgeous Photo

6 tips to help the camera capture the best you.

By Lisa Kovalovich

Skin, Makeup, and Hair

Photographs capture moments and make them memories, as well as create impressions (think online dating, for example) and opportunities (like the MORE/Wilhelmina 40+ Model Search). That’s why so many of us panic when we know we’ll have our picture taken: We want to look gorgeous! And while it’s very, very easy to look not-so-pretty in pictures, it’s also pretty simple to take a fabulous photo. Here, our best photo-worthy tricks.

Your Skin

Even skin is key to looking good in a photo — and foundation makes your skin look smooth and flawless. "I prefer a matte finish," says Marie Papp, a New Jersey-based wedding and portrait photographer. "It reduces facial shine." Another crucial cosmetic: Pressed powder to nix any breakthrough shine while you’re being photographed.

Papp also recommends avoiding alcohol and salty foods for a day or two before you’re photographed, if possible. "It can make your face and jawline puffy, which doesn’t look good in photos," she says.

Your Makeup

Matte makeup is always your best bet. "Lots of shimmery eye shadow or lipstick isn’t flattering in photos," says Papp. Instead, go for matte shades of shadow and cream-formula lipsticks. For a bit of shine, dab some lip gloss in the center of your lower lip. "The light kicks off the lip gloss in pictures, making your lips look fuller," says Papp.

Other important makeup items: Mascara, to make eyes look wide; light to medium lipstick, as dark shades can make you look older; and concealer wherever your skin is red or pink.

You might also consider hiring a professional makeup artist to do your makeup if your photos are very important.

Your Hair

For photos, the smoother and shinier, the better. Women with naturally straight hair do best by smoothing hair with a natural-bristle brush, and then spritzing on a shine spray. For curls, wind them around your finger when hair is wet, then allow to air dry without touching. Shake curls gently when dry to break them up a bit. This method will leave you with shiny — not fuzzy — curls. Avoid hairstyles that pull your strands too taut; you could end up looking bald in photos!

Clothes, Smile, and Posture

Your Clothes

"I tell my clients to wear form-fitting clothes instead of blousy ones," says Papp. "Form-fitting clothes show off your shape." Choose a top with a neckline that’s flattering to you, whether it’s a V-neck, scoop neck, or boatneck. And stick to darker shades; they tend to recede in photos, having a slimming effect. What to avoid: Bold, bright prints.

If you wear glasses, consider leaving them at home for your event, or at least for photos. But if you can’t, "wear a pair with an anti-glare coating," says Papp. Without that coating, your glasses will show reflections and glares in your photos.

Your Smile

"A smile that’s genuine is the best smile," says Papp. "Smile with your eyes as well as your mouth." So focus less on achieving the perfect smile, and more on being real. Papp advises against practicing your smile in the mirror, as a too-perfect smile tends to look flat and lifeless in photos.

Your Posture

Facing the camera straight can be unflattering and even have a confrontational feel. Instead, position yourself in a 3/4 position, so you’re facing the camera at an angle. This pose shows off your waistline and curves, notes Papp. Also consider shifting your weight to one foot.

Finally, don’t forget to breathe. "When you don’t breathe and pose yourself, you look frozen," says Papp. "When people try to control everything so much, their photos tend to look lifeless. Allow yourself to be in the moment and show your energy."

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