Whenever I pose for a photo with someone, the funniest thing happens. They panic and start asking me for tips on posing as if I’m some sort of expert! Hahahaha! I’m certainly no expert, but I have learned lots of posing tips and tricks in the past three years of shooting photos for Empty Nest Blessed! I’ve asked my photographer a lot of questions, studied other bloggers’ photos, and read several articles on posing. Bottom line: it looks easier than it really is!
First of all, let me say that I don’t know anyone who truly enjoys posing for photos! Just like most things that seem easy on the outside, it actually takes a lot more thought and effort than you’d think. Taking photos for Empty Nest Blessed feels pretty awkward and makes me very self-conscious! (But as I shared in November’s Coffee Talk post, I have a high trust level with my photographer, and that makes all the difference!)
Whether you’re trying to score the perfect holiday family photo or you just want some sweet candid snaps (like the poor quality ones from Thanksgiving that I’ve added to this post!) to commemorate the season, it’s inevitable that lots of photos will be taken and viewed in the next few weeks! So how can you take the most flattering photos this year? Today, I’m sharing all of my posing tips and tricks with you. We’re going to have you looking fabulous, dah-ling. 🙂
1. Chase the Light
Lighting is the number one secret to taking flattering photos. It’s everything, and it’s definitely the main mistake most people make. Ideally, you want soft, diffused light and you want the light coming in on your face. I see a lot of people make this mistake at sports games! Most people want to snap photos with the field in the background (understandable!), but what they don’t realize is that the field is where the light is! Then they wonder why their faces look dark, but the field behind them looks fabulous! Remember that what you see in the camera is what you’ll get in the photo, so the number one concern should be getting good lighting on your face! Bob and I took the photo below when we were sitting in someone’s box at a football game, and the friend who took the photo stood with her back to the field. She thought I was crazy for asking her to do that instead of getting the field in the background! I know it’s just a poor quality iPhone snap, but do you see how good the lighting is?
Alternatively, you can try an inexpensive selfie ring light, which is what I always carry in case I stumble upon a good photo opp with bad lighting!
Remember that natural light is 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 (read that: wrinkle-disguising!) 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, remember to create angles with your body. Nobody looks good in photos when they’re standing straight like a soldier! Look at all of the angles I’ve created in the photos in this post. The pose below actually has a name amongst bloggers: the “stork!”
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 or by slightly bending your elbow with your hand at your side. (I’ll be honest, the hand-on-the-hip thing is pretty much dead. It looks a little too contrived!) 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 can become awkward appendages! Think ahead about hand placement. Try putting one hand in a front or back pocket, or gracefully at your side with soft fingers. 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 forgot to do, below!) 🙂
Relax your face, neck, and shoulders, 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 consider getting Zoom Whitening, as I did. (Warning! There are some scary photos in that post!!! LOL)
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. I try to think about how much I love the person/people I’m posing with in the photo!
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, be sure to angle your body to the side and use 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. I’m sharing my everyday makeup faves right now:
2. My makeup artist got me started with this CC + cream foundation, and I bought it for myself. It has natural broad-spectrum 50 SPF from zinc & titanium dioxide and gives full coverage. It’s a beauty blogger fave!
3. Use a thin line of eyeliner at the base of your upper lashes to make your lashes look fuller. I’ve liked this one lately because it has a built-in smudger and sharpener. For eyeshadow, I’ve been using this eyeshadow primer as my everyday go-to. Since it’s a primer, it covers any discoloration, and I love that it has the tiniest bit of shimmer. If I want more eyeshadow, I use these super-blendable, no-tug sticks.
5. Add some extra blush. I’ve used all different brands, but I think the pigments in Chanel blushes glide on the best and last the longest. If you’d rather use a cream blush, try this one. I started using it after reading that it was Sarah Jessica Parker’s favorite! I really like it, especially in the winter when my skin tends to be drier. It’s sheer but buildable for more coverage.
6. For lips, consider a bolder color than you might normally wear. (See my post on finding your perfect red lipstick for more guidance on this!) Right now, I love the long-wearing coverage of Cover Girl Outlast Lip Color. After researching and writing my red lipstick post and realizing that I needed to be wearing a more orangey-red, I just bought two new colors from their Custom Reds holiday line.
7. Finally, finish off by swiping a creamy sculpting highlighter along the top of your cheekbones, at the inner corner of your eyes, and at your browbone. It will lift your whole face! If you want to diminish the look of a double chin, blend this sculpting contour just under your jawline.
Superfine Cashmere Crewneck Sweater | Classic Cashmere Duster | (Similar) Leopard Print Belt or Here | Black NYDJ Frayed Hem Jeans | Sam Edelman Packer Booties | Tory Burch Gold Logo Earrings | Nail Polish
I adore this lightweight cashmere sweater from Neiman Marcus’ Cashmere Collection. (You may also remember the red leopard print sweater I wore in this post from the same collection.) It adds warmth without the bulk, making it the perfect layering piece under a blazer, cardigan, or vest. My high-waisted jeans have a frayed hem and the smooth from within lift-tuck technology exclusive to NYDJ (my favorite jean company for that very reason!). They hug your curves, they’re so easy to move in, and feel pretty much like leggings! They tend to stretch with wear, so order one size down. My black cashmere duster is 50% off, and it’s such a classic! I bought it two years ago, and I own it in two colors! A long duster cardigan creates such a flattering silhouette, and this one is so soft and yummy! Also, remember that, just like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus offers free shipping/returns, and outstanding customer service. My Sam Edelman booties might just be my favorite shoe purchase of the year. Thanks to the cushy insole and of-the-moment-go-with-everything color, they’ve turned into the pair I reach for again and again!
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 for family photos. I’m so sorry if the quality made you cringe!)
P.S. Want to save these tips so you can refer to them later? I’ve pinned them on the Empty Nest Blessed Pinterest page, so you can easily save them to one of your boards! You can also share it to social media, email it to someone, or even print it using the icons below. xoxo