The value of a great photo
When your only representation is a picture, it’s important to make sure it says what you want it to. Here are some examples of instances you may want to look your best in a photo:
- Social media networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn
- Business cards and brochures
- Christmas cards
When you know in advance that you’re going to have your photo taken take steps to prepare:
The week before:
- Try a run through in your planned outfit and have a practice photo session with a friend.
- If you’re thinking about getting a haircut or trim, schedule it a week beforehand to settle in to your new cut or style.
- Drink lots of water for healthy, hydrated, and glowing skin.
The night before:
Dos and Don’ts: What to wear
- Pick out your photo-day outfit (see below for dos and don’ts on what to wear).
- Get lots of sleep.
- Avoid excess alcohol/caffeine.
- Dress in bright, solid colors
Vibrant colors (not to be confused with neon hues) will help you look less pale or washed-out. Also, stick to solids; busy patterns or designs (such as stripes) can be distracting and even make you appear bulkier than normal.
- Know your colors
Individuals with pink or rosy skin undertones look best in cool colors, like blue and purple. Those with golden or apricot undertones look best in warm colors, such as mocha and red.
- Maximize your features
Reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles and blemishes by covering with concealer. Play up your eyes by applying mascara for an instant pop.
- Keep blotting paper on hand
Blotting papers are great for eliminating shine for men or women without make-up.
Tips for posing
- Clutter your neckline
Scarves or excess jewelry can distract from the photo’s main subject—you!
- Wear black or white
Solid black tends to “disappear” in photos, and white is notorious for washing-out skin tones, especially when near the face.
- Sport shiny clothes or busy patterns
Shiny, sparkly, or reflective fabric not only distracts, but can also create the illusion that you’re larger than you are. The same is true for busy patterns and bold designs like stripes, polka dots, and plaid.
- Overdo your makeup
You want your photos to be an accurate representation of who you are; if you don’t normally wear lipstick or mascara, don’t feel like you have to just for the photo.
Keep these tips in mind to when you hear the shutter click:
- Show your good side (it’s often the side where your hair parts).
- Lower your front shoulder slightly to create more dynamic angles and elongate your neck.
- Stick out your chin a tiny bit to prevent double chin.
- Express yourself through your eyes: think positive thoughts or just bring energy into your gaze.
- Blink halfway through a count of three (if the photographer gives you one) so that your eyes won’t be mid-blink for the shot.
- Try pinching the apples of your cheeks for a last-minute touch of color. (Yes, it really works!)
- Feel comfortable, confident, and have fun!
Optimise your lighting
- Face the camera head-on; standing at a slight angle instantly slims your silhouette.
- Stand too far apart when posing with a group. Even if standing much closer than usual feels odd, it will look natural in the photo.
- Hesitate to take a lot of shots—the more pictures you take, the more you’ll have to choose from when it’s time to select your favorites.
- Just stand there! Experiment with poses and give the photographer a range of expressions.
Lighting can be tricky for non-professional photographers. Follow these tips for an easier experience:
- Take advantage of natural light, whether shooting outside or in your home.
- Use a flash to fill in shadows when shooting indoors.
- Utilize the warmer light of early morning and late afternoon.
- Use your camera’s red-eye pre-flash, if available.
- Place the subject against an overly-bright background or window.
- Use a flash too close to your subject.
- Use a flash to fill in shadows if you’re shooting outside.