looking your best

So you're working on getting in the picture? Here’s a few ideas to help you look your best….


If it’s a body joint that moves, it will probably look better using it. Avoid standing stick straight with your legs together or keeping your arms straight down. Pop one hip, bend slightly through the knees, put your weight on one foot and use your elbows. Remember that whatever is closer to the camera, will look bigger. Whatever is further away will look smaller. If you think about your body angles, you can use this to your advantage. Looking to hide a booty – pop it away from the camera. Shooting from a slightly higher angle will help to accentuate your face and chest while hiding a tummy or booty. Looking to highlight your “ass”-ets then shoot over the shoulder, looking back at a camera. In the same way, a photo taken from slightly higher than your face will accentuate your eyes. Photos taken from a low angle will accentuate your chin, look up your nose and make both look bigger. Remember what mom said and don’t slouch. It will instantly slim you down. Pull the imaginary string up and lean slightly toward the camera.


Practice in a mirror. Make your chin go up and down, tilt left and right, etc. You will find the angle that works best for you. If you want to practice, try this: it won’t feel right at all, but it works… To give yourself a jawline, try making your neck longer and then pushing your chin down slightly. If that makes no sense, it’s almost like you’re pushing your forehead toward the camera. Yes, it feels weird. It works. If you have a double chin it can help to eliminate it. If you don’t, it will give you an even longer and more beautiful neck and jawline.


If you’re wearing makeup, make sure it works for you. If your foundation is too pale or shimmery, you can look very washed out. Too dark and you can look very orange and unnatural. If you're out and about, you can gently pinch your cheeks for a super quick and easy rosy glow! A quick application of lip gloss can make a world of difference. Brighter lipstick makes your lips look bigger than dark, matte lipstick. Make sure you pay attention to your eyes as that is what you focus on in pictures. Makeup can be slightly heavier than everyday if you know that you’ll be photographed as features tend to be washed out. Brush your teeth and your hair.


Be conscious of your clothes. Wear a flattering color. If you’re taking family photos and are trying to decide on outfits, my advice is to not make everyone matchy-matchy. All black tops or all white tops are difficult to photograph together. Blacks can blend together and you lose people’s individual shapes and whites can wash out your face. Instead, pick a main color and 1 or 2 accent colors. If you choose navy blue as the main color, you can add in tan and yellow as accents. If you choose gray as your main color, you can accent with pink and white. The possibilities are endless. Try to stay away from crazy patterns, plaids and stripes. If you do choose an outfit with a pattern, then limit it to that one outfit. Too many mixed patterns can be distracting. To make sure the clothes all work together, toss them all together on the bed. Do the colors all work together? Do the patterns clash? Although loose and baggy clothes are comfortable, they do nothing for you in a photo other than add pounds that don’t exist. A well fitting bra and undergarments to smooth the bumps out along with a more fitted top will shave off pounds.


Be aware of your surroundings. A cluttered or messy background will be distracting to your eye. Try to avoid the shot with a garbage can right behind you or a tree growing out of your head. A white wall can help to add brightness to your face because it’s acting like a reflector. Lights can make weird shadows. Instead of being directly under a light, try to face a light or use natural light. In the sunshine, be careful not to shoot in the direct sun or through dappled sunlight. Direct sun can create harsh shadows and squinted eyes. Dappled sunlight, although beautiful, can create bad shadows on your face, half in the shade and half in super bright sunlight. The best time of day for photos outdoor is dusk, also known as “the golden hour.” The sun is lower and therefore not casting shadows down but instead, it lightens up your face and makes your look younger. With its low, warm, gold light, a sunset can do amazing things if it’s caught right.


Red eye reducers work on a camera because they blink the flash a few times before the actual shot to shrink your pupil. If you look at the sun quickly (don’t stare, obviously) or a light before your picture, there is a lower chance of red eye. On the other side, if you tend to blink waiting for someone to take the picture, close your eyes while they are counting (1, 2, 3 click). Close them on 1 and open them on 2.


A real smile will always look better than a forced one. If that’s hard, while smiling try to exhale and laugh slightly. It can give you a more natural smile. Enjoy the moment and focus on that more than how you look. Happiness and confidence will always shine through. Shake yourself out and relax if you have to before you strike a pose and it will look more natural. Props can help. Holding a flower, the edge of a jacket, etc. can help to make you look more like yourself.


Remember to be in the picture. You won’t love every picture you’re in. But the more pictures you’re in, the more chances you have to like a picture you’re in. Study pictures that you do like and figure out why you like them. The angle it’s taken at? The way you hold your arm? Your smile? A flattering outfit? This can help you the next time you take a picture.


If after all of this you still hate every photo, keep them anyway. You don’t have to post them, share them or even tell anyone about them. But keep them in a drawer and one day your children will look at them and remember how young, happy and beautiful you were. 

First Smile Photos

Melissa Barca


located in Westchester County, NY