Say Cheese! How to Look Picture Perfect in 5 Simple Steps

by denisesalceda

You may not be a professional model, but you still want to come out looking hot in your photos right?

I thought so.

Here are some tips on how to look like a seasoned pro in all your shots whether they are for facebook, a dating website, a family album, or anything else you can think of.

And please, have someone else take the photo for you–none of this “arms-length Myspace style self-portrait” business. I beg you. And no bathroom mirror reflection snapshots either. Resist the urge! 😉

Moving on to tip #1…

1. Lighting makes a difference.

Yessir! It really does. Any decent photographer can tell you that.

First of all, it’s more flattering to not use flash, so make sure there is enough natural light. Cloudy days are especially great for portrait shots because the light is diffused (spread evenly) and you don’t get any of those harsh shadows caused by direct sunlight.

But, if the sun is out, make sure that it’s in front of you, and not behind you. Backlighting can make you come out dark or faded in photos. Sunlight is also best either in the early morning or in the late afternoon. Avoid noon by all costs–that’s when the light is at it’s worst.

Backlighting can make your hair look frizzy instead of cute.

2. Pose like a celebrity.

Ever notice how celebrities usually never face the camera head on in red carpet photos? They put their bodies at a 45 degree angle to the photographer, because this slims down their figure. Also notice how they stand tall and straight without hunching over?

Try to mimic this.

Pretend like someone above you is pulling a string that is attached to the top of your head. Now put your shoulders back and down. Aim your best side toward the camera (it’s usually the side on which your hair parts). Bend one knee and keep the other one straight. You can either leave your arms relaxed (but not glued) on your sides, or put a hand on a hip.

Ta-da! You instantly look taller, thinner, and way more confident. Score!

Celebrities striking a pose on the red carpet.

3. Show some teeth, but not too much.

Smiles are attractive. But not when you show too much gum. How do you get that perfect relaxed smile?

Pretend like you’re saying the word “hey” as you show your pearly whites for a photo. I’ve found that it works better than saying “cheese,” which actually gives you that creepy exaggerated grin that makes your cheeks ache.

Keep it natural and think of something that makes you happy or remember a fond memory so that you smile with your eyes too (or as Tyra Banks on ANTM calls it, “smize”).

Say, “hey!”

A relaxed, natural smile is best.

4. Keep it simple.

As tempted as you are to wear your favorite crazy printed dress (sorry Anna Sui), hold back. Solid colored clothes work best because they don’t distract from the most important thing in the picture–you.

Also, try to keep your background simple. If there is too much going on behind you, it might steal the show.

A solid colored top and the simple background make this photo work quite nicely.

5. Shine, but don’t be shiny.

You might have naturally oily skin, or it may just be a hot day. Either way, coming out shiny in a photo should be avoided like the plague.

Keep some oil blotting sheets handy, or if you don’t have any, a tissue can do the trick. Just be sure to pat, and not wipe, the skin–especially if you’re wearing makeup. A light dusting of powder will seal the deal.

Ahhh! Shiny!

And most important of all, relax and have fun! Being comfortable in front of a camera takes time and self confidence, so practice in front of a mirror, get pretty, and go take some great photos!

-Denise
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