Whether you’re trying to score the perfect Christmas card photo or you just want some sweet snaps to commemorate the season, it’s inevitable that lots of photos will be taken and viewed in the next two months! So how can you take the most flattering photos this year? Today, I’m sharing all of the posing tips and tricks I’ve learned in the past two years of shooting photos for Empty Nest Blessed. We’re going to have you looking fabulous, dahling.
1. Chase the Light
Lighting is the number one secret to taking flattering photos. Ideally, you want soft, diffused light and you want the light coming in on your face. (We took the photos in this post on a cloudy day, which is perfect.) Natural light is the best, so if you’re indoors, position yourself with the light from a window in front of you instead of with the window in the background. If you’re outside on a bright, sunny day, head under a tree or to a covered area for more complexion-friendly diffused light. For the best lighting, take photos in the early morning or at dusk. (We usually start my outdoor photo shoots at 8 a.m.!)
2. Angles Matter
To look taller, have the photographer shoot upward. If the photographer shoots downward, you’ll look shorter, but slimmer. Also, if you want to do something artsy for Instagram, play around with taking photos from different angles. My photographer took this cool shot in front and above me for added interest.
3. Perfect Your Posing Technique
Stand up straight with your shoulders down, chin low, and neck elongated and thrust slightly forward. (For more on proper posture, click here.) To look slimmer, angle your body about a quarter turn from the camera and tighten your core muscles. Place one foot slightly in front of the other with a bent knee, keeping your weight on your straight leg. Bevel your bent knee slightly toward your other knee. To give you shape, create space at the waist with your hand in a pocket, on your hip, or by slightly bending your elbow with your hand at your side. To see an example of these posing techniques in a casual photo, click here. (Yes, I even taught my husband and daughter these methods!) Don’t be embarrassed to practice in the mirror until these things become second nature. I practice before every single photo shoot.
4. Get Handsy
Our hands are an extension of our bodies, yet whenever we get in front of a camera they become awkward appendages! Think ahead about hand placement. Try putting one hand in a front or back pocket, on your hip, or gracefully at your side. (See the photos in this recent post for more examples.) Keep your fingers together and your hands soft. One thing I do in my blogger photos is to play with an interesting aspect of my outfit, accessory, or even my hair. If your hands are going to be in a photo, make sure to moisturize them beforehand (like I DID NOT in the shot above). 🙁
Relax your face and smile. It’s an instant facelift! Aim for a sweet, relaxed and happy smile—neither too big (which makes crows feet more visible), nor too small (which looks like you’re bored). Always show your teeth. (Covering your teeth with tight lips just makes you look creepy.) If you’re embarrassed about the color of your teeth, use something like Crest Whitestrips or this whitening system that I use.
6. The Eyes Have It
If you slightly squint your eyes, your entire face will look more relaxed. Concentrate on filling your eyes with joy to make them sparkle.
7. Group Dynamics
When you’re taking a photo in a group, try to be the one to stand on the end, so that you can use the techniques above. The absolute worst position to be in is in the middle of a line of people, all with their arms around each other and facing straight at the camera. It’s not flattering to anyone! If you do get stuck in the middle of the group as I did in the photo above, you can still employ the techniques I just described.
8. Prepare Your Skin & Face
For the most flattering photos, use a slightly shimmery (not sparkly) lotion beforehand to give your skin a glowy and toned look. If you’re going to be showing your legs and you feel self-conscious about discoloration or veins, consider a body makeup like the one I use for all my photo shoots.
For your face, start with a moisturizing primer that will plump up your skin. This one is my new obsession! It’s a serum and primer in one, allowing you to skip a step in your morning routine. My makeup artist got me started with this HD foundation, and I bought it for myself. It’s a little much for every day, but perfect for special occasions or photos. Use a thin line of eyeliner at the base of your upper lashes to make your lashes look fuller. (This one contains a growth serum and goes on like a marker.) Add an extra coat of mascara and some extra blush. For lips, consider a bolder color than you might normally wear. Finally, finish off by swiping a sculpting highlighter along the top of your cheekbones. It will lift your whole face.
I hope this post has helped you feel more confident about posing for your family photos this year! What are your best tips and tricks for taking flattering photos? Leave me a comment and let me know, okay?
SHOP MY LOOK
Photos by Megan Weaver. (Except Disney photo.)