16/11/2015

how to look good in photos

Since I started blogging, four years ago, I’ve really learnt what works for me in photos.

Amusing to some, but actually something that I’m asked quite a lot about – how exactly do I manage to look reasonably okay in 90% of photos taken of me? As I teenager, I hated having my photo taken, and looking back at my gurning uni snaps, I can see why. Being 6 foot tall means I have to work extra hard at this, as almost everyone who takes my photo is shooting from below – never flattering unless you’re a gorgeous, whispy model.

I credit two things to learning how to look better in photos – the first is definitely blogging and having a zillion snaps of myself taken fairly regularly. It’s trial and error really and it’s only in the past year or so I’ve think I’ve nailed it. The other? Working on photoshoots with professional models. Watching them move and use their bodies clearly infiltrated my brain, and often on set, I find myself subtly imitating them and directions they’re being given. It’s a hilarious habit I have, and something I’m always laughing at, but it’s definitely taught me a thing or two!

Find the best lighting

People always wang on about good lighting but in all honesty, it makes or breaks a photo. You can’t always control the light, say on a night out or a candid holiday snap, but just be aware of it. Flash is always best avoided, but if it can’t be, just be aware of it blowing out your skin (avoid SPF bases for one!). Natural light is best, but not in direct sun which can highlight all sorts of features you’d rather hide or create some rather unflattering shadows. Try different times of day if you’re keen to get it right – I’m sure you’ve heard people talk about Golden Hour. The hour before the sun goes down is always super pretty and hazy – soft lighting is flattering and will hide a multitude of sins.

Know your angles

This point is two fold and something I’ve already touched upon. First, think about the angle of your photographer. Where possible, I’ll always ask someone my height or taller to photograph me. I’m not looking for that MySpace shot from the ceiling look, but straight on or slightly above is always more flattering than from below. Saying that, some of my favourite shots on my blog (in this post) are mostly shot from below, and I think they work. I think it comes down to how much you’re feeling yourself that day and if you’re brave enough to try it!

Next, think about your body and the shapes you can create. This is probably my biggest tip. If you slouch, you’re not going to look your best. If you leave your arm pushed up against the side of your body, it’s not going to look slim and toned. When someone pops out the camera, think fast. Are you sat at a table? Rest your elbow on it, and poke your shoulder out just slighty. If you’re standing, stick one leg casually behind the other and pop your hip. Something I’m always aware of, as for me it’s a difficult area, is my chin. If you struggle with a bit of a double one, as I do, keep you chin outward and down. Nothing overly exaggerated, but don’t recoil into your neck and don’t point your chin upwards. Creating these lines in your body allows for a more defined silhouette and looks a thousand times better. Keep it casual mind, don’t look too much like a doll and it’ll work – trust me!

Hold your pose

This point leads on from the last. Once you know your angles and what works for your body shape, hold that pose. I read once the camera loves a poser and it’s so true. You know those photos when people shout ‘Now a silly one!’, and you want to die? Just go for it! The stronger your pose, the better the photo. The people who look daft are the ones who don’t really do anything – just a confused smile. And this works for normal snaps too – hold your angle, grin and bear it! Although saying that, a side point is not to grin like a loon (unless that’s the effect you’re going for). I used to do this in all my uni photos and it’s not the least bit flattering. Hold a natural, relaxed smile – yes, you’ll feel like a posey Victoria Beckham for all of 30 seconds, but reap the benefits of a good snap after. Promise.

Think about your make up

If I know I’m going to be photographed, I amp my make up a notch. My everyday make up is fairly subtle, but the camera won’t always pick up on it. Just a touch more eyeliner and a subtle contour will make all the difference to how your face looks in photos.

Know where to look

If you’re having a holiday snap taken or it’s your friends birthday, this need not apply. But if you’re having a photo taken for your blog, Instagram or maybe an engagement photoshoot, remember, you don’t always have to look directly into the camera lens. Some of my favourite photos are much more candid, and as long as you’re comfortable enough with your photographer, looking down, to the sides or into the distance works really well at giving you a natural feel.

Give these tips a try and you’ll be well on your way to a reem of decent photos in no time! I no longer have any issues with having my photo taken and am rarely disappointed with the ones that are. Take a look through my Style posts to see them in action. Let me know how you get on!


Tell me more about Katherine-Louise

If you’ve landed here, you’re probably looking to find out more about Katherine-Louise. Run by me, Kat - put simply I'm a 30 year old who is decidedly normal. My blog is a destination for women just like me - the same interests and aspirations, working our way through the same twists and turns of life. Katherine-Louise is designed to inspire and inform; to give you a break from the norm as well identify with the beauty of routine. A fifteen minute recoup, or an hours vacation, it’s the go-to for Everyday-Joe’s, just like me, who want a few minutes off the radar.