Tips and Tricks Thursday: How to Take a Better Photograph
Despite what I like to believe, I am not a professional model. Sadly, being only 5'5'', I lack one of the essential qualities needed to be one. I do however, get my photo taken on a regular basis here at ChickAdvisor so I do know a thing or two about being in front of the camera. I used to find getting my picture taken a huge annoyance but I've grown accustomed to pictures now and don't find it a hassle at all (the exception to this is if I'm having a crummy day and I'm in a bad mood, but otherwise, I'm totally cool!).
Getting comfortable with the camera didn't happen overnight. I had to learn a thing or two along the way to get to this point and I'm still learning. Now, I'm nowhere on par with 'Ridiculously Photogenic Guy' when it comes to taking a picture but I thought I would pass on this wisdom I've acquired through my photographic journey.
There are a few elements to taking a good photo that we'll talk about. First, there's your makeup, then there's your face and lastly, I'll share some general tips and tricks!
Tip #1: Matte makeup
Your makeup is a key element when it comes to taking a photo. We discussed this in our photo friendly makeup tutorial previously, but for photos, it is best to go with matte, non-light reflecting makeup. Keep some translucent powder or oil blotting sheets on hand as well for easy touch ups.
Tip #2: Stand Out
Your features are harder to distinguish in photos so make them stand out. Performers use more makeup and more pigmented makeup on stage. You'll want to use a similar strategy. Don't skip the blush. Blush will help create angles in your face and also gives a glowing, flushed look. Line your eyes in black. Black will create more contrast, making your eyes pop. Use lipstick. Before we do our weekly pose offs, I always do a quick lipstick check and swipe. That extra colour is going to give you a healthier and more vibrant look.
Tip #3: Contour
Contour your face to give the appearance of a sharper jawline and cheekbones. Details and shadows get muddled in photos, so contouring to give your face defined features helps your face look thinner. Mandy did a great tutorial on how to contour your face, read more over here.
Here are some of my photo friendly makeup faves:
1. MAC Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder (C$27.50)
2. Physician's Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Bronzer & Blush (US$13.95)
3. Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets (C$8.49)
4. Lancome Rouge in Love Lipstick (C$30.00)
5. Nars Blush (C$32.00)
6. Annabelle Kohl Eyeliner (C$4.95)
Tip #1: Stick out your chin
Yes, I know, this sounds crazy but make like a chicken and stick out that neck and chin. This gives the illusion of a thin face and jawline.
Tip #2: Go off centre
Position your head and face so that you are slightly off centre. No one's face is perfectly symmetrical but in everyday life, we don't notice this. Asymmetrical features tend to show through more in photos with a face straight on so tilting your head to the side eliminates this.
Tip #3: Go down
Tilt your head slightly downwards, or rather, to avoid the double chin, think of it as sticking out your forehead. This creates a leaner face and also looks more feminine.
Tip #4: Narrow eyes
Some people swear by doing the 'squinty eyes' move wherein you narrow your eyes in a photo. Now, don't go overboard and do an impression of someone looking into the sun but narrowing them slightly does help create a better photo.
Check out this example of what to and what not to do. Such a major difference, right?
Here are a few last tips and tricks:
Lighting: Overhead lighting is not your friend. It creates shadows on your face exaggerating features in an unflattering way. When possible, go for natural lighting. Avoid dark back lit photos by not taking photos with your back to the light source. Instead, face the light source.
Practice: This sounds super lame but if you have a big event coming up where your photo will be taken multiple times, it makes sense to take some time and practice your smile and your pose. Use a mirror to see which poses look best. this will help you feel more prepared and look comfortable.
Calm, Cool and Collected: It's funny, whenever I go to take someone's photo it's like they go from their normal self to a tense ball of nerves in about 5 seconds. So, my last tip is to just be your beautiful self! Relax and remember that the camera is nothing to be afraid of. One thing I do is picture a friend of mine in front of me, instead of the camera. It helps me relax and have a natural smile.
How much do you hate/love having your photo taken? Do you use any special tips or tricks?
More by Alexandra C.
More on Eyes, Lips, Face, Relax
Awesome! I'll be practicing for our photo shoot in July. I noted that we have similar coloring, what shade of lipstick are you wearing here?
Thanks Alex! I wonder if I can get away with the angling moves when I get my pic taken for my health card. ;) That always turns out AWFUL!
Good article! Lots of helpful tips!
Personally I prefer Ben Nye's banana powder over the MAC translucent because it can sometimes give a white cast (I am a Woman of Color). Ben Nye's powder is suited for stage makeup (i.e., oily and under light 24/7). Great for oily darker skinned gals!
wow, significant difference! Great tips!
The tips and tricks are very helpful.
I love and hate taking pictures. Love it 'cuz its fun and I want to see what I look like (picture and mirror is SO different, ya know?) but hate it 'cuz I always hate how I look in pictures (hence, no pics on CA ;-) )
I hate having my picture taken as well.Those are great tips and that picture!Wow what a difference it makes, the second picture is way better!
I will have to try your tips! I also hate getting my picture taken - I am convinced that I am the worlds most photogenically challenged person alive!
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