Most people are worried that they aren’t photogenic, some want to know if there’s a secret ‘ingredient’, and others equate looking good in photos with good looking.
So, whilst acknowledging that beauty is culturally and generationally defined, I thought it might be interesting to touch on the science of attractiveness and the art of looking good in front of the camera:
- Certain biometrics are associated with beauty across cultures. For instance, an asymmetrical face is typically rated as highly attractive, both in real life and in photographs.
- For women, but not for men, neoteny, the retention of childlike features in adulthood, is often considered attractive in real life and photographs. Neotenic physical traits include big eyes, delicate facial features, a high forehead and a small chin.
- Just as a globe changes when viewed as a world map, a face is changed when viewed as a photograph. As the camera captures a two-dimensional image, features that ‘flatten’ well are typically considered favourably in pictures. This includes wide-set eyes, a straight nose, high cheeks and full lips.
- According to the rules of composition, if you take a picture and draw lines to divide it horizontally and vertically into thirds, the points where the lines meet is a position where a focal element should be. Faces with focal points at these intersections tend to be more appealing.
- Slightly exaggerated facial features, including bone structure, lip shape, orbital lobes, brow shape, chin and jawline shape, are often rated favourably when photographed. Oddly enough, most models have powerful features, and this allows the light to look more exciting and gives a more three-dimensional illusion on a flat photograph.
Indeed, many people without the culturally accepted hallmarks of beauty are very photogenic, perhaps because of how their features translate in 2 dimensions, because they are confident, expressive and natural on set, because the location and lighting are good and because the photographer is skilful. If you need advice on your wedding photography, check out our photography packages and services at Wild Romantic Photography.
In terms of photographic skill, if the composition and other fundamentals are essential, good lighting is critical. Taking pictures in bright, overhead light casts ugly shadows that highlight the skin’s marks and makes the eyes look sunken. Taking photographs in warm, golden light tends to smooth out facial features and gives a healthy look that most people prefer for themselves. Early morning and late afternoon light, when the sun is at a lower angle, is ideal for outdoor shoots and, when that isn’t available, we try to ‘replicate’ it with shade and scrim etc.
If you want to know if a person is photogenic, you generally need to photograph them and hence, in the movie industry, they do screen tests. This also suggests that, despite real-life attractiveness, some immeasurable quality may be unknown until the subject is in front of the camera and, later, viewed in 2 dimensions.
So, putting aside the things you can’t change, like facial symmetry, if you have a photo shoot coming up, what gives you the best chance of getting photos you like? The following are Jason’s tips:
- Spend a little time preparing and do whatever is necessary to feel as positive as you can about what you are wearing for the shoot. Wash your hair, shave, pick a favourite tie, iron your shirt, choose clothes you can move in, and you feel good in etc.
- Allow plenty of time. Even when shooting professional models, photographers shoot hundreds of pictures to get just the right mix of posture, facial expression, lighting etc. Clients who lack confidence in front of the camera usually want the whole process to be over quickly, but this minimises the chance of getting photos you love. After a little while, you’ll relax more, and that’s often when the best photographs are taken.
- Vary your facial expression. If you hold a smile for too long, it will look inauthentic. The main difference between a genuine smile and a fake one is that, in a genuine smile, the lower eyelids contract muscles, causing the lower lid to lift. The peak of the smile is what the photographer is after. Try to have fun to flash a genuine smile and not hold a facial expression for too long.
- The relationship between the model and the photographer plays a role in the final product. Photographers can use various techniques to help clients feel at ease, bring a sense of fun to set, and guide them in ‘posing’. Try to throw yourself into it. This will help you to be less self-conscious and more natural.
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Tips to Help You Look Beautiful in Photos
Whether it’s your figure, hair, or complexion, it’s gut-wrenching to discover that what you thought was a cute look is conspiring with a camera to make you look frightened. We love photos. Capturing my life moments is fun, and looking back through memories can be a real treat. But if you avoid the camera because you feel that you can be more photogenic, today’s post will reveal your inner supermodel.
Let’s be honest here: Who can avoid a camera these days? We live in an age of social media where ‘selfies’ infiltrate your thought stream multiple times a day. If it’s not selfies, then other digital portraits are floating around on social networks, making it a good idea to look camera ready when you least expect it. Notice that a trend of professional photoshoots becoming popular as of late.
People are taking photos as a recreational activity. With so much emphasis placed on taking good photos, it would help to know what makes a good photo and how to be more photogenic. This doesn’t mean that you need to walk out of the house looking like you’re going to a photoshoot daily, but there are some things you can do when the photo opportunity arises that can help you look your best.
We have the best wedding photographer in Yarra Valley to capture your beautiful moments on your wedding day.
You’re Probably Your Own Worst Critic
Look at the photo overall, rather than nitpicking flaws. Bet that your friends and family won’t notice that you’re having what feels like a bad beauty day.
Okay, this one is a real problem. We’ve all been the one who always looks asleep in a photo, but the cure is easy. Just as everyone else is saying cheese, close your eyes and slowly open them. As the shutter goes off, you’ll have open, sexy eyes.
Your Chins Have Multiplied
The solution to this will feel contradictory, but I promise it works. Before the photo, tuck in your chin ever so slightly, elongate your neck and lead with your forehead. While you might think it will worsen your chin’s look, this technique draws attention to your whole face rather than your chin and looks far more natural than jutting your chin out.
You Suddenly Have Tiny Eyes
So, your eyes are open, but they appear to have shrunk? No problem. Pre-photo, grab your eyelash curlers and mascara. A touch of attention beforehand can emphasise your eyes, but the best tip here is to smile. A real twinkle in your eye can light up a picture.
Your Features Are Washed Out
Blush and bronzer can be your best friend in a photo. The flash or bright sunlight can make your face appear two-dimensional, so adding a little extra colour can add shape. In an emergency, pinching the apple of your cheeks just before a photo can add shape and colour too. Some old school beauty tricks do work.
The Camera Angle Isn’t Doing You Any Favors.
Are you trying to take the perfect ‘selfie’? Then hold your phone high. That’s right, by keeping the camera above your eye line, you have to look up, and this is universally flattering. If someone else is taking the photo, then be conscious of your body positioning. Standing at an angle versus directly facing the camera will be more flattering.
You Tense Up
No good can come from being tense or nervous on camera. We know it’s hard to do, but relaxing can make a world of difference. If you’re among friends, then try to organise some real-life photos of all of you sharing a joke. By forgetting the camera is there and acting natural, then in all likelihood, you’ll look happier. (Of course, if you combine this tip with all my others, then the odds will be in your favour.)
You Look and Feel Awkward
You already know that relaxing will help, but somehow knowing doesn’t make doing any more accessible. My advice? Try props. Lean against a wall, hold something in your hand or invite others to join you in the photo. By concentrating on doing something other than having a rictus grin, you may find it easier to forget about some of the pressure you’re putting on yourself.
You Haven’t Thought About What’s Behind.
For a great photo, a light background can be a huge asset. Soft bounces so that a light background can reduce the appearance of blemishes. We’ve all seen photographers holding light reflectors to cast up extra light to help with a model’s dark circles. You can use the same camera-beautiful trick at home. A golden sand beach, a snowy scene or even a white wall can help make you glow.
You Don’t Know Where to Look.
This sounds obvious. Look at the camera but don’t necessarily stare right down the lens.
This is for three reasons:
- Unless you’re taking a passport photo, you don’t need to face a camera straight on.
- The person taking the picture is usually where the good light is, so pointing your face towards the morning will help you look flawless.
- Some photographers say to look just above the lens to create an air of mystery—and reduce the risk of red eyes.
You’re in the Wrong Outfit
Some outfits look fabulous in real life when it comes to the wardrobe but can get misconstrued in photos (think flowy tunics or oversized jackets). On the other extreme, some outfits show just a little too much. If you know you’ll be taking lots of pictures on a given day; you may benefit from taking some pictures of yourself while you’re deciding what to wear. A nicely tailored outfit can make you look more photogenic than ill-fitting clothing.
How to Be Your Most Photogenic Self
What about that super-photogenic friend of yours who always looks incredible and somehow never seems to look moody or get red-eye in pictures? What’s her secret to appearing photo-ready? Mustn’t she save a lot of time by not de-tagging images or frowning at herself on FaceTime? Well, it turns out that being photogenic is not just about having a great face—hurrah!
The truth about looking great in a photo is that some convenient tips garner much more positive results. From how to angle your camera and face to which word to say to give you a great smile (spoiler—it’s not cheese), we’ve got incredible tips that are guaranteed to provide you with a great-looking photo. Planning your dream wedding and don’t want to miss out on the special moments on your big day? Worry no more, Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.
Show the Left Side of Your Face
Most people know their “good side,” but according to fashion photographer Garance Doré (and a scientific study), the left side of the face is usually more attractive. Try practising in the mirror to get the correct angle.
Say “Thursday”, Not “cheese.”
Saying “cheese” creates a very fake-looking smile, so you’re better off saying “Thursday” which makes your face relax. When the lips are slightly parted, it creates more of a sultry look rather than a super-grin.
Smiling on cue is one of the fastest ways to make a photo look forced. If you’re the photographer, try getting your subject to talk about something that makes her happy, then shoot when her smile is genuine. And if you’re the subject, try thinking about something that makes you genuinely satisfied before you say “Thursday.”
Do the Anti-Red Eye Trick
Looking at a light right before a photo is taken will shrink your pupils, which helps minimise the dreaded red-eye. So if you’re using a camera phone, digital or film camera with a flash, then be sure to look at another first.
Put Your Tongue Behind Your Teeth
Putting your tongue behind your teeth when smiling will help you avoid a too-wide grin. Just remember to smile with your eyes, so you don’t look unhappy. We also find that fake laughing your way into real laughing can work wonders—you need your photographer to be game.
Shoot from a Better Angle
When the camera is below eye level, shooting up at someone, you’re in the Double Chin Danger Zone. Try to shoot at eye-level or slightly above. If you’re a short photographer, get a small stool you can carry around and shoot down from above.
You can also stand up on a staircase or put your photo subject in a chair. And if you’re the photo subject getting double chins, make sure you lift your chin and stick it out just a little.
Other basics of ‘posing’ that work for a lot of people, including:
- Think chin slightly forward
- Turn a little side on to the camera, with either your shoulders or hips
- Bend a knee slightly
- Cross arms or legs to add interest
- If you’re unsure what to do with your hands, try putting one hand in a pocket
- If the brief allows, look off camera
- If you’re being photographed in a group, try interacting with one another
- Don’t be afraid to laugh heartily
How to Make Anyone Photogenic
Whether you are getting your photo taken or setting out to bring great people photos among your clients, here are three tips for making anyone photogenic:
People are at their most photogenic when they’re not forcing a smile. And the trick to looking natural is feeling relaxed and confident. As a photographer, before you do anything, strike up a conversation with your photo subject. What do they like to do for fun? What are their kids up to? What’s one funny thing that happened this week?
You can also tell them to listen to their favourite “pump up” music in the car on the way to the shoot or offer to let them play it on their phone during the shoot! Another way to make someone confident is to get them to do what they love. This kid loves boxing. Photographing people in their favourite environments certainly helps, too. When taking people shots, it helps to capture subjects doing what they love most.
Looking for a Mornington Peninsula wedding photographer? Look no further! Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.
Find the Right Light.
Good light is like magic for portraits. Just look at this phone selfie I took with bad light and then better light.
It’s essential in taking portrait photography that you find good light. Light is of the utmost importance when capturing a selfie or portrait shot.
Good portrait light depends on what you’re looking for, but typically, it’s soft, indirect light that comes from right in front of your subject’s face. Put your issue in the shade or shoot on a cloudy day – or inside by a window on the shady side of the house – for great results.
And make sure it’s not coming from the side, too far above or below. Look at that “before” shot above – the light coming from the side highlights any wrinkle or imperfection in my face.
Pick a Good Portrait Lens.
Specific lenses can distort faces, making your subject’s nose look bigger or making their face look wider. Most photographers prefer to take portraits at around 50mm – 110mm. If you have a lens that will allow you to use a focal length in that range, you’ll be good to go!
It comes when you raise your hand and say: Yes, I’m going to do this. And then you follow that with action to learn your camera, study light, recognise good composition and post-process your images on your computer. If you’d like to work with professional photographers for your wedding, book with us at Wild Romantic Photography.
No one thinks they’re photogenic. But EVERYONE is photogenic in the right conditions. No matter how much we prepare, there are bound to be a few less-than-gorgeous photos of all of us out there in the ether. Think of photos as a law of averages: the more images you appear in, the more likely you will look photogenic. There are plenty of things that will help you capture your beauty on camera. And if you aren’t feeling it, say no! You don’t have to capture the moment your hair just fell out of the perfect updo, or you’re wearing tight shoes that make you scrunch up your face after a few hours. There will always be another moment for you to show off your supermodel features.