I bet I speak for most of us when I say that there are some Facebook photos that I’d rather leave in my Activity Log than displayed on my timeline. I’m also sure that there are a ton of pictures that go straight from cameras to the trash because we didn’t look our best. Heck, I’ve countless group shots where my friends looked awesome while I looked like someone halfway through a sneeze. These, not to mention gloriously vain selfies which will forever be stuck in my phone, are some of the reasons why I’m not really comfortable being in pictures.
To be fair, most of these photos are not bad per se. They’re well-lit, well-framed, have nice details to them, and were taken with average or above average cameras. Some of them had me looking all fresh, wearing nice clothes, at a nice location, and with good company. Looking at these “bad” photos, I saw that the problem lies in how I posed. Admittedly, I looked awkward with weird smiles, stiff joints, and bad body angling.
I’ve had enough of shying away from photos so I scoured the internet for the best posing advice and compiled them in an easy to understand guide showing what to do with what body part for a more photogenic (or at least less awkward) looking us!
That stiff, straight up-and-down pose would be perfect if you were a soldier at attention or lining up for a mug shot. For casual snaps, dynamism is the key. Turn yourself a bit to the side; if there’s a joint, bend it; maintain good posture; and go with asymmetrical poses (one arm bent, the other less so, etc.)
You know how when your crush is across from you, you’re looking at them with your head turned a little bit to the side so you come off as mysterious and you don’t become known as the creepy, stare-y person?
That’s the head pose you want for your photo. Don’t directly face the camera but rather have your head tilted a little in either direction. If you’re afraid of your double chin appearing—don’t worry, almost everyone has it—pull your head slightly forward to stretch it and keep it from appearing. Lastly, remember not to tilt your chin up. If there’s one way to ruin a great photo, it’s allowing people to see all the action going on in your nose.
A blank stare is one of the key ingredients for a mug shot pose. If you relax your expression then smile genuinely, your eyes will follow suit. Also, don’t open your eyes too wide, or you’ll look like a loon.
Ever wondered why some smiles look too forced and insincere? It’s because smiles involve both your mouth and your eyes. Pull off a bonafide, good-looking smile by showing the middle six teeth of your top row of pearl whites by saying words ending in “uh” (yoga, toga, livin’ la vida loca), and by thinking happy thoughts! Hopefully, these will not only cause your lips to curve up, but your eyes to wrinkle as well. That’s the sign of a genuine-looking smile. This one’s useful for poses and for real life interactions!
The “if it bends, bend it” rule applies especially to your arms because they add the pizzazz and expression your face can’t give. Experiment with different poses and add whatever works to your bag of photography tricks. As well as removing the possibilities of squished upper arm flab, you’ll also make yourself look slimmer because your body is delineated from your arms.
Ah, your legs. The literal foundation for whatever pose you’re going to do. Though it might not seem like it, these stilts can affect what emotion you want to convey, even when they’re out of the frame. For starters, stand with one foot slightly behind the other. If you want a laid-back and tame look, put your weight on the foot farthest from the camera; and for a more aggressive, in-your-face pose, shift your weight to your front foot.
Try combining the above tips with each other, or mix and match them to find what works best with your features. Remember that these are not rules; they’re merely tips that may or may not work. Beyond all this, remember that what counts the most in photos is not what you look like in them but the experiences and memories you’d want to remember years from now. Cliché, yes. But very true all the same.