Unless you really understand the art of posing for the camera, chances are that many of the photos you have taken of yourself are hit and miss when it comes to getting flattering results. You may not even know why you like a photograph of yourself when you do get a great one but you will most certainly know why you don’t like a photo of yourself!
In today’s world of Instagram and social media, we are a lot more image conscious than we used to be but with many of us taking multiple photos to get the perfect shot before we post it, we have at least, most likely, mastered our selfie pose!
However, when faced with the camera in someone else’s hands, it’s amazing how many of us clam up, stand awkwardly and deliver grimacing smiles down the lens because we simply don’t know how to stand or pose ourselves.
The good news is, there are some very simple tricks you can learn to get the best out of your photographs to ensure you are getting more hits than misses in the future!
RULE ONE – DON’T STAND SQUARE ON TO CAMERA
Even the most beautiful and svelte of women can look shapeless if standing straight onto camera, as the lens sees you at your widest. By square on, I mean arms dropped by your side, legs straight. The most important trick is to turn your body slightly away from the camera whilst dropping your hip and bringing your leg closest to the camera forward as shown in the pose on the left.
By putting your hands on your hips and bringing your arm closest to the camera away from your body you are creating a flattering triangle of space between your arm and your body and creating shape. This also means your arm is not squashed against your body which will make it look undefined and wider than it is. Women often complain that they don’t like their arms so remembering to move it away from the body is key.
Another clever trick to slim the body particularly around the tummy area, is to push away from the camera the lower part of the body and bring the top half slightly forward as shown in the right image below. By doing this, you are again creating shape and taking away from the camera the bits you want to hide.
If you do find yourself standing straight towards the camera however, it’s important to still create shape. Crossing your legs and putting your hand on your hip will help create that flattering triangle shape I mentioned earlier.
RULE TWO – KEEP IT NATURAL
I often see younger women ‘over pose’ when the camera is on them. While it’s important to think about your shape and body position, too much pouting and ‘making face’ in order to look sexy can actually create the opposite effect. When I pose women, I want to see their natural beauty, which means keeping the face relaxed with a connection through the eyes.
Capturing a genuine smile can be incredibly intoxicating too as with the image on the right here. If you are self conscious about your teeth or don’t like smiles that show your teeth, you can still keep your expression warm by smiling from your eyes and a slight smile in the corner of your mouth.
Not every image of you has to be with a big cheesy grin but neither does it have to be a giant pout either. Think ‘long neck’ and bring your chin forward and down towards the camera (without over exaggerating) to create a good jaw line. By tucking your chin in, you will lose your jaw line, create extra chins and jowls. Something none of us want!
RULE THREE – USE GOOD LIGHT
Light is EVERYTHING when it comes to creating beautiful photographs. A very basic rule for good ‘beauty’ lighting is to stand in good clean light so that it falls directly onto your face as shown below. By doing so it lifts the shadows that can form under your eyes if you stand in over head light or strong side light. If standing next to a window, turning your face into the light, so it falls evenly across you, will be more flattering than harsh side lighting which will drop half your face into shadow and over expose the other side of your face.
In an environment where the lighting is controlled, using light to sculpt the face and body by working with shadow and light together can work well and produce dramatic images as shown below, however for natural light poses, think clean, soft light. If there is strong overhead sun, find somewhere where there is shade and over expose on the camera slightly to create even, flattering results.
RULE FOUR – SITTING POSES – THINK ELEGANT!
If you find yourself being photographed sitting down, it is just as important to think about your body position as if you were stood up. Whenever, I find myself being photographed sitting down, I naturally perch my bottom right on the edge of the seat, sit up straight, lean forward and point my leg and toe towards the camera. As an experiment, sit on your chair now with your bottom pushed to the back of your chair and your legs resting flat in front of you. Now push your bottom to the edge of the seat and cross your legs at the knee or ankle.
The first difference you should notice is that your legs immediately look slimmer at the thigh. If you do cross your legs at the knee though, do not heavily rest your calf against your other leg as this will make the bottom half of your top leg look much wider than it really is. Instead hold it up slightly and away from the other leg as shown in the photo on the right and tuck one gently across your stomach whilst draping the other arm across your knee.
Pointing your toes, as Sam has done in the images below, tightens your calf muscles and creates a longer leading line, giving the appearance of a longer more elegant leg which is ultimately more flattering than if you were to place your feet flat on the ground.
By following some of these simple rules, you should hopefully see a big difference in the way you look in photographs but by all means keep practising too until you feel you have completely nailed it!