"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!