When you look at photos of yourself, do you like what you see – or do you wish you knew how to look more like yourself?
Photo editing apps have come a long way since the dog-ear filter appeared on Snapchat — but we all know that natural is for the best.
So use our quick guide to get photogenic right away:
Direct light can create harsh shadows that make your skin look bad. Never stand directly under a light source (right). Instead, face a light source so it illuminates your features and draws attention to your eyes (left)
Before we get to the basics, there are a few quirky techniques that will improve your on-camera look.
Forget “say cheese” — words ending in “uh” can give your mouth a more natural smile shape.
Try Dates, Yoga, or Mocha the next time someone takes your photo. This will naturally pull up the corners of your mouth.
If that doesn’t work for you, try to think of something fun.
Fake it: A fake smile can look really weird. However, a fake laugh almost always turns into a real one and you will end up with a real smile.
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Another weird trick that works is to press your tongue against the back of your teeth. This will relax your face and slim your jaw.
Another bizarre method that works is to take advantage of a rainy day. The filtered light of a cloudy day is super flattering. Go outside to take your new dating app photo.
Below I detail some of the basics when it comes to being photogenic.
Bye, “Turkey Neck”
It’s not just about you. Cameras enhance certain features and give you a different look than what you see in the mirror. You need to be strategic when posing.
Think about what is closest and farthest from the camera. Suppose you stretch out your foot and lean back: your foot looks bigger because it’s closer to the camera.
You can use this know-how to your advantage. To minimize neck fat and excess skin, tilt your head slightly forward so it’s closer to the camera.
At the same time, straighten your neck and slightly tilt your chin down. Imagine you are holding a piece of fruit between your chin and your neck.
Personally, it looks a bit strange. It looks great on camera. If you’re feeling silly, practice using your front camera. You can delete the images.
Let there be light
Poor lighting can make even the most beautiful person resemble a villain in a horror movie. Here are a few simple rules of thumb to remember.
● Direct light can create harsh shadows that make your skin look bad. Never stand directly under a light source.
● If possible, look for soft, natural light instead. It conceals blemishes and evens out imperfections.
● Face a light source so that it illuminates your features and draws attention to your eyes. If there’s a light nearby, focus on it and widen your gaze a little.
● When outside, face the sun to take advantage of natural light.
● If the bright sun casts dark shadows or makes you blink, turn away or find a shady spot.
Additional tech tip: You’re on a video call and your room is too dark, making you look shadowy. Open a new blank document in your browser or with your word processor. Make it fill up as much of the screen as possible. The reflection will illuminate you.
Find your best angle
Taking a picture of your face with the camera below you is very rarely unflattering. So how do you determine the best angle for you?
Instagram influencer Vi Luong says you should take a series of nine selfies from different angles.
Hold your smartphone and look at it head-on. Then take three pictures: one with the camera directly in front of your face, one above, and one below.
Taking a picture of your face with the camera below you is very rarely unflattering.
Now it’s time to tilt your face. For the following three images, turn to the right and keep your head still.
Now take a picture of yourself with the camera at face level, one with a high camera and one with a lower camera.
Then tilt your face to the left. Keep your head still and take three pictures (face level, top and bottom) from this new angle.
It’s a lot of pictures, but it’s worth it. Once you’ve got these nine options, compare them to see which angle suits you best. Ask a trusted friend or family member if you can’t decide.
Also make full body pictures better
Standing directly in front of the camera is not flattering. Instead of facing the camera with your feet under your hips, tilt your body slightly to one side. Tilt your torso away from the camera to look slimmer.
Here’s a trick especially for women: shift your weight to your back hips. This will make your front leg closest to the camera look slimmer.
Wondering what to do with your arms? There’s a reason putting a hand on your hip is a classic: it makes your arm look slimmer than if you’re cradling it against your body.
We all feel pressure to look as happy as possible in pictures, which can come across as unnatural. Make sure your smile is genuine. Tell a joke or think of something that always makes you laugh.
In other cases, a mysterious Mona Lisa smile is the way to go. Consider turning up the corners of your mouth, or even just one side, without showing a full smile. Part your lips a little to avoid grimacing.