Flattering Poses & Fantastic Photos
It’s time for the holidays and family gatherings and that means photos. No matter what happens before or after the snap – we love seeing a great photo of ourselves.
In order to take a photo with total confidence, it helps to know the angle and the pose that works best for you and your body type. You need to be aware of how to carry yourself. Subtle little tweaks can make all the difference.
Find some photos you love. Find some photos you hate. Is there something that you always do that doesn’t look good in the photo? (For me, it’s lifting my chin up high.) Is there something consistent about the photos that you do love? (Make some notes about which way your body is facing or how your head is tilted.)
With a little bit of practice, you will happily say “CHEESE” and be confident that you look great. Let’s go over some simple poses and then grab a friend, a partner, even a kid to start practicing to see what you like.
SIMPLE RULES + TIPS
Next time you go to pose, remember the word HASH. Think (hashtag) #Ilookamazing.
H – HIPS
A – ARMS
S – SHOULDERS
H – HEAD
When you are about to pose for a photo, think about placing your body in your favorite position. Start from the bottom up – your hips and feet, what are you going to do with your arms, placement of your shoulders, and then your face, chin, and head angle. It sounds more complicated then it is. Once you find a couple of your favorite poses, you will place your body into that pose again and again.
Angle your body. Highlight your hips and curves. It’s easy to create curves. Stand/sit back on one hip. Put the other foot out. If you have a straight figure, you will give the illusion of having more curves then you do. When you do your practice, try putting one foot forward with your weight shifted onto the back hip and back leg. This creates an S curve.
Standing straight and facing forward doesn’t always work best for everyone. You need to find the pivot that works best for you. Ladies – If you are large chested, you don’t want to pivot your upper body completely to the left or right so all you see is your chest. Men – Same goes for you. If you have a larger belly, you don’t want to be facing completely to the left or to the right.
If you are not feeling great about your figure right now, get behind someone or stand behind a child.
If you are sitting, do you look better crossing your legs or crossing your ankles? Ladies – This may also depend on what you are wearing in the photo.
Instead of making that typical staged pose with a hand on your hip, use a prop. Hold a purse. Hold a glass in the air as if you are toasting. Put a hand on a child’s shoulder in front of you. Put your hand in your pocket. Relaxed poses look better and more natural.
The most important thing is posture. Core is key. Stand up straight. Lengthen your spine. Shoulders back. Tall and erect. Don’t shlump or round your shoulders forward. Think long and linear being pulled up by a string. When you are practicing your photos, play around with facing forward vs. positioning your right shoulder vs. the left shoulder closer towards the camera.
Forehead to the camera! Yes, it feels weird. When you pose, elongate your neck and push your forehead, ears, and chin forward a bit like a turtle. Don’t lift your chin to the sky. If you point your forehead to the camera, your chin automatically goes down, AND your eyes get bigger, which is always better! It’s worth practicing this one technique in the mirror. If you want to learn more and see examples, check out this video by Peter Hurley.
If your face is wide + you give a great big smile with your chin up and high, your face will look wider if you are looking at the camera straight on. Therefore, you should bring your face down and try a more subtle grin.
Aim your gaze at the top of the camera lens. It will draw your eyes up and make them look brighter and bigger.
Play around with your smile – grin vs. smile with lips shut vs. smile with lips partly open.
WHICH SIDE – LEFT OR RIGHT?
If you can’t decide which side is your best, leave it to this scientific study. In a Wake Forest University study, researchers found that the left side of the human face is generally more appealing to others than the right side. For the study, participants were asked to rate photos of 10 male and 10 female faces, in both their original and mirror-image form, reports the Huffington Post. Photos showing the left side were rated more “pleasant” than those of the right sides. Researchers said their results suggest that peoples’ left cheeks tend to exhibit a greater intensity of emotion, which others find more aesthetically pleasing.
If you want to look more slender, hold the phone higher. It’s a better angle with the camera up high then camera coming up from below. If you want to show more legs, hold the phone lower pointing up so it will lengthen your legs.
TIP: Take a video rather than a selfie. Play the video and then stop and grab the screenshots where you look best.
Did you know that the bottom volume button on an iPhone can take a photo? There is also a 3-second and 10-second timer on the camera. Press the number of seconds that you need, press the circle and strike a pose.
Mr. Owen is always stressing the importance of lighting so here are a couple of quick tips to enhance your photos.
For soft light, stand by a window. Stand facing the window so the light is in front of you. Don’t stand with the light behind you.
The bright sun creates shadows and the glares do not enhance a photo. If you are standing near a window with bright sun, look around for a thin curtain or sheet to place over the window for diffused light. If that doesn’t work, don’t stand next to a window with the bright sun.
If you are outside on a bright sunny day, find some shade. Go under a tree or next to a building.
Avoid using a flash when taking a selfie. Flashes on cell phones cause light to bounce off of your face and you may look washed out, have forehead glare or red-eye photos.
The best time of the day for photos and selfies is dawn or dusk. This is when the light has a soft golden or natural hue. The soft warm light will bring some glow to your photo. Do a Google search and find the time of the sun rising or setting, then take your photo 30 minutes before or after the sun rises or sets. Mr. Owen calls it “The Golden Hour”.
PRACTICE #1 – SELFIES
To get a great selfie, remember the “Rule of Thirds”. To get a perfect shot, your face should be in the top-right or top-left corner but not in the middle of the image.
Hold your camera up higher than your nose and take photos or a video around your face from left to right.
Repeat with the camera at your face level.
Repeat with the camera lower than your chin.
Figure out which shots are your favorites. Take some notes and try to repeat your best one.
The latest trend in selfie poses for a woman is when the hands are raised to the face, showing perfect manicure and hiding a part of your face. This will create a stylish, mysterious view.
PRACTICE #2 – SOMEONE TAKING YOUR PHOTO
Practice your poses in front of a mirror. Once you feel confident, ask a friend or family member to take the following shots of you:
HIPS / LEGS / FEET – Try pointing your leg out, shifting weight to the back foot with left vs. right sides pointed towards the camera. Repeat this sitting down + add legs crossed vs. ankles crossed.
ARMS – Take a couple of photos doing different things with your arms – a hand in your pocket, hold a clutch or a cocktail, drape a jacket/sweater over your shoulders (to hide your arms) or put your hands on the shoulders of someone in front of you. If all else fails, link an arm with your friend.
SHOULDERS – Stand up straight. Lengthen your spine. Shoulders back. Tall and erect. Don’t shlump or round your shoulders forward. Think long and linear. Play around with facing forward vs. positioning your right shoulder and your left shoulder closer towards the camera.
HEAD – Control your chin. When you pose, elongate your neck and push your forehead and chin forward a bit. It may feel awkward, but this position helps define your jawline and gives your face a more angular, lifted look. Don’t lift your chin to the sky. Aim your gaze at the top of the camera lens. Play around with your smile – grin vs. smile with lips shut vs. smile with lips partly open.
DON’T GET DISCOURAGED! – If you don’t like anything so far, ask the person to film you doing several poses. Go through the video slowly to see if they captured something you like. If you like something, take some notes about what specifically you did. Now see if you can recreate that pose a couple of times. Don’t fret. It just takes a little bit of practice.
The most important thing that you want to capture is your joy, love, friendship and the fun that you are having. You may hate getting your photo taken however pictures will get taken from time to time. Take a little time to figure out your best HASH stance and you’ll feel more confident with your flattering pose when someone wants to capture a fantastic memory.