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How to Look Like a Million Bucks in Photographs

March 25, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

So you want to look like a million bucks in your pictures? No, you don’t have to find a way to become two dimensional and green. Believe it or not there are some very simple tricks you can employ to look better in any photograph. Whether you want to shine in your family portrait or stand out with your professional headshot, you can if:

You smile. I’m talking about finding your inner Julia Roberts and letting her off the leash. Photographers LOVE genuine expressions and there is nothing more rewarding than getting a real smile out of a subject. So the next time you have a camera pointed in your direction, think of a memory that makes you really happy or a joke that you can’t stop laughing at. Do whatever it takes to get that smile from your mouth all the way into your eyes.

You look natural. There are a million ways to pose for a picture from serious to silly, but it can be hard to know what direction to go when the shutter starts snapping. I like to give my clients the “rules” ahead of time. So what are the rules?

  • Males make triangles. That means I have them stand up straight, square their shoulders, and put their hands somewhere near their waist usually in their pockets or belt loops. Hands can be the most difficult body part to figure out what to do with as a subject, so if you aren’t getting the direction you need from your photographer, simply do what you would normally do with them.
  • Women make circles. While triangles are generally considered a harder and more masculine look circles are considered the softer and thus a more feminine look. So now you’re trying to contort yourself into a circular position. You can stop. By saying make circles I mean that women have a bend to their limbs and their hands. You’re looking for a sense of softness and delicacy along with flow. If you’re having trouble creating that look, try making a circle in front of yourself with your arms and then simply relax. You’ve got it.
  • Couples, families, and friends make connections. The most awkward photos in the world are the pictures I see where the entire family is standing next to one another with their arms straight at their sides staring into the camera. Nothing about that photograph captures a sense of family, friendship, or love. The next time you actually want to look like you like one another, touch. Make a physical connection with the person you’re posing with. Put an arm around their waist or a hand on their shoulder. Get close! This creates a sense of connection that translates into beautiful group photographs.

You wear a flattering color. The color that is most flattering on you is going to depend on your skin pigmentation, hair color, and eye color. It’s going to be different for everyone. If you aren’t sure what color you look best in or simply need a guaranteed way to look flawless, wear jewel-tone colors. I’m talking about colors like apple red, eggplant purple, hunter green, and sapphire blue. These all have a high color saturation level that flatter every hair and skin tone.

You avoid bright white and jet black. Bright white tops wash many people out and while they can be exceptionally flattering on some individuals, the color doesn’t work for everyone. Gauge carefully. While white stands out black fades away and can disappear into darker backgrounds, making you look like a floating head. Don’t be a floating head. Gauge the amount of black you wear carefully and consider combining it with another color.

You ditch the accessories. Large, bold pieces of jewelry and sunglasses take attention away from your face, which as a photographer is what I want to be focusing on! I will ask you to remove sunglasses every time. Small accessories such as wedding bands or delicate jewelry don’t cause me alarm. Other accessories, such as glasses, may be necessary. As a photographer I recommend subjects pose for a few photos with glasses on and a few without them so that you have more options.


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