"You have so many nice pictures of yourself," my friend recently remarked. True. But that's because we take about 100 and deleted 80-85 for every picture I post.
With this photo-taking extravaganza of late, countless photos taken for work, dozens of head shots over the years, and short-lived and fairly unsuccessful modelling career, I have learned a thing or two about how to take a decent photo.
Why is she always smiling in her photos?
I'd love to say that it's because I'm happy and joyful 24/7. While I generally don't get my picture taken when I'm feeling miserable, the real reason is vanity. I look better and YOUNGER when I smile. I don't have a lot of examples because like any normal person, I DELETE THEM.
Excuse the awkward pose above, I was switching shoes. You'll notice that my nasal labial folds - the vertical lines beside my mouth, (worst body part name EVER) are much more pronounced when I'm not smiling, which is why my photographer is always telling me to grin. INSTANT FACELIFT. Her words.
You may not have a sagging face like yours truly but I encourage you to play around with your phone and decide what expression suits you best. And trust me, the one that works now may not work 10 years from now.
Most of us have a better side. If you aren't sure which yours is, get a friend to take a photo with your face turned to each side and one facing straight on. My friends and I did this one (tipsy) evening and we all weighed in on each others photos. We decided I was actually best straight on. I also prefer my right side to my left, mainly because my hair hides more of my forehead which I have a thing about. It's the big white thing on the left below.
There is also a sweet spot when it comes to your chin. When mine is raised too high, I feel it makes my face look a lot rounder. Too low, and my nose looks sharper, more pointy. Plus, it can accentuate a double chin and make it look like you have dark circles under your eyes. There's a reason the Brits always say "Chin up, my friend!"
If you're trying to take "lifestyle" type photos for your Instagram or blog, I suggest not always looking at the camera. Looking straight down the barrel makes for a more vacation-style photo. (And nothing wrong with that, of course.) Glancing away looks like the photographer caught you in the middle of something. In the middle of your "lifestyle" perhaps.
Most of us know to angle our bodies to the camera as it can create a more flattering, slimming line. Crooking one hip also helps. If you're feeling awkward just standing there, I suggest walking and asking the photographer to take a few snaps. You may have to go back and do this a few times. The movement can help create a more relaxed image.
The biggest piece of advice I can give is when someone is taking your photo, don't stand stock still. Move around. Even slight adjustments, like chin slightly up or down, tilting your face this way and that, can make a big difference.
And finally, as with many "rules" there are always exceptions. Thankfully most photos today are digital so there's no harm in taking a bunch until you get one that's just right. Like the one below. Perfect!
I looooove to read. It's probably my most favourite thing to do in the entire world. What I don't like to do is read long book reviews. Hence, I'm keeping things short, hopefully just to whet your appetite. Here are a few of my favourite books that I read this summer.
The Favourite Sister
By Jessica Knowles
Do you watch reality shows like the Bachelor and the Housewives franchise? I don’t, but I did really enjoy this book that uses the genre as its backdrop. Two sisters star in the reality show Goal Diggers about young, rich New York business women. And shockingly, just because they’re successful, doesn’t mean they aren’t backstabbing. When one sister winds up dead, the rest of the cast members seem to have more motives than Manolos. But which of these crazy characters actually gone and done it? A deliciously soapy thriller, with pop culture references aplenty, I gleefully devoured these pages. The perfect beach read.
I also loved Knowles’s first book, The Luckiest Girl Alive, where once again, things aren’t what they seem. And if you like fictionalized reality shows, check out Unreal.
Everything I Never Told You
By Celeste Ng
In Everything I Never Told You, a daughter’s death causes a family to unravel. (Not a spoiler alert, you learn of the death in the first chapter.) Oh wow, what a downer, who wants to read that?! Yeah, it is kind of heavy but what I found really interesting was the subject of family and secrecy. We are reminded that you can never truly know or understand another person and their experiences, even if you live side by side. Ok, well that's another depressing thought. But I love Ng’s work because it’s very well written while also immensely readable.
Little Fires Everywhere
By Celeste Ng
In her follow-up to Everything, Ng again sets her story in the 1970, this time in Shaker Heights, Ohio, where the author grew up. Once again exploring the themes of family and secrecy, Little Fires also looks at the meaning of motherhood and the lengths some mothers go to protect their children. The story centres around the Richardsons, a traditional suburban family - mom, dad, and three kids - who are not as stereotypical as they first appear. And when a single mom and her daughter move into an apartment the Richardsons rent out, things go topsy turvy. A lot of the subject matter feels very ripped from the headlines, as relevant today as it was 50 years ago.
Reese Witherspoon and Kerri Washington are set to star in an eight-episode TV version for Hulu. Can’t wait!
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
By Bryn Greenwood
This is one stayed with me long after I finished the last page. Bryn Greenwood tells the story of eight-year-old Wavy, whose parents are meth dealers and crazy to boot. When her little brother comes along, it’s clear to Wavy that she’s the only one adult enough to take care of him.
She soon befriends a young man named Kellen, who also happens to be one of her father’s heavies. And while he’s hardly perfect, he’s the only support she has in her very messed up world. The story follows their relationship for well over a decade. I don’t want to spoilt it but I’ll just say that at times, it's uncomfortable to read. Or is it? The book asks big questions about family and love and all the ugly and wonderful things they can entail.
I'm a summer girl, so I do get a bit bummed around Labour Day, thinking about the NINE long months I'm going to have to wait for warm weather to return. The saving grace - fall clothes shopping! Here are some of my favourite trends of the season.
Just when we thought gold was the kind of metals, silver is making a strong comeback, and not just in the jewelry department. From shoes, to pants, to skirts and jackets, we're seeing silver everywhere this season. Those who may not be brave enough to wear a larger silver piece may want to opt for a silver bootie. I'm coveting this pair from Rag and Bone.
From Zara to Anine Bing to Theory, almost every brand out there is mad about plaid. (What I love about this trend is that you can find it at pretty much any price point.) We're seeing it in pants, skirts, dresses, coats, and of course, the ubiquitous plaid blazer. Before you confuse it with houndstooth (which is also in), take a close look at the edges of the pattern. Plaid is made up of vertical and horizontal stripes that cross each other to make squares of various sizes. The checks you'll find in houndstooth are broken and uneven, resembling a hound's tooth.
The season's hottest hues are drawn from nature, particularly fall leaves. We're seeing lots of red, burgundy, and mustard. After going awol for a number of years, brown is making a strong comeback as well. But this time the focus is on the lighter shades, like copper, russet and sienna. I like to pair a couple of different autumnal hues together, for a rich, sophisticated look. (See top image.) Not sure if these colours are for you? Start small and incorporate a camisole in one of these colours into your wardrobe. They're perfect under blazers or leather jackets.
This is hardly a trend as it's pretty much become a staple, but I'm adding it here because it really is everywhere this season. From big pieces (coats) to small (clutches), and from leopard to snake to tiger (!!), treat animal prints like you might a large feline... gingerly. I have a few smaller pieces, like the shoes in the above photo and a sweater, but I am eyeing a pair of flats. I'll pair them with simple black pants and a turtleneck, Audrey Hepburn style. (PS. The Sam Edelman pumps in the lead photo are really comfortable.)
Anyone who knows me knows I have a bit of a floral dress problem. I can't seem to get enough of them! Not just delegated to spring any longer, this season florals are going dark. I'm loving big or small floral prints set against a black or navy background. So many pretty ones to choose from! This one below is from Reformation. I love the cap sleeves and the sexy slit that takes it far from Little House on the Prairie territory.
The simple nautical striped T has been a fashion staple for decades. This season, stripes are going bolder and more colourful. What a great way to brighten up a rain day. I'm pairing mine with jeans or black pants, but an oversized one would look great with black leggings as well. The one below is from Madewell.
What started as an athleisure trend on sweatpantss is now moving to pretty much every clothing type out there. I love it on jeans and dress pants, but we're also seeing it on sweaters and dresses. Yay! The side-stripe just makes the piece more casual and a bit more fun. Plus, that long stripe on the side does wonders for elongating the leg. I'm hoping soon becomes a styling staple that's here to stay. Aritzia has some great striped pants in many colours.