How to photograph well

Hate seeing pictures of yourself? Whether you are shooting a quick shot via Instagram, or posing for professional photos, there are some simple tricks of the trade to photographing well.

I am blessed to keep company with some amazing photographer friends and get treated to being behind their lens on a regular basis. I tend to shy away from having my photograph taken because I so quickly see my flaws and become critical. This is where my fabulous photographer friend Koren comes in. She is one of the most encouraging people I know, and when she tells you you look good, she means it. And if you’re not showing the best of yourself, she’ll gently redirect you. She is quick to remind us that God made us perfectly just as we are, and we need to stop the self-criticism and learn to love ourselves. (Check out more of Koren’s work over at Kaptured by Koren)

So on a girls weekend away, I asked her if she would teach us some of her techniques for posing for photos, and enlisted my girlfriends to be my models. And I happen to have gorgeous friends. Meet the models:

Koren, Heather, Dawn, Kristina and Haley (me)

Ok, let’s get to it shall we?

Photos taken straight on make you look heavier than you are, and are just plain boring. But we tend to just stand there and smile without adding much visual interest to the pose. If you look at photos of celebrities you rarely see a photo taken head on, they know how to angle their bodies to flatter.

Some general rules for creating flattering angles:

  • Turn your body a quarter turn
  • Put one foot forward toward the camera and put your weight on your back foot
  • If you’re sitting down, sit at an angle
  • Turn your head slightly to the side, but look straight at the camera
  • Pull the heaviest part of your body away from the camera. Ex: if you have larger hips or shoulders, pull one back.
  • Keep your hair off your shoulder that is closest to the camera


Kristina’s “do!” photo shows some great examples. Doesn’t she look fabulous??! As you can see she created great angles by putting one foot forward with a bend in the knee and hips tilted. Her arms on her hips flatter and give her pose a comfortable, relaxed look.

I was being a goob in this” don’t” photo to give myself the dreaded double chin. But how boring is a straight-on photo with my arms just laying at my sides?

In my “do!” photo, turning my body to the side and bending my knee gives some dimension. Koren had to remind me to pull my shoulder up a bit, making my double chin disappear and providing another angle with my arm.

Heather is always smoldering in her photos, so any pose really looks good on her. However, I like how she has her head tilted slightly to the side in the second photo, but keeps her gaze right at the camera. It shows off her cheekbones and makes her eyes stand out. Her hair also looks gorgeous flowing down her back, and again we see the knee bend.

Dawn has great proportions, and shows here how you can take a straight-on photo and make it more interesting. By taking a wide stance with her legs and popping a hip out, her legs look awesome! She’s also got her head slightly tilted to the side, and looks relaxed with her arms bent and hands intertwined.

Koren has too cute of a figure to just stand there. With her back slightly to the camera, it shows off the detail of her shirt and those great legs (and booty!). Hands in the pockets with elbows bent are slimming and looking over your shoulder flatters all body types.

We all have things we don’t like about our looks. The trick is learning how to hide them so the focus is on your best features instead. Here are some tips for dealing with problem areas like muffin tops, double chins and “sharms”.

Muffin top: When a woman wears a pair of tight jeans that makes her flab spill out over the waistband, just like the top of a muffin sits over the edge of the paper case.

Ah the annoying muffin top. If you’ve had kids, you especially know what I’m talking about.

You can help avoid having a muffin top in photos by keeping good posture and slightly sucking in. Just don’t suck in too much, because it will be obvious.

Another way to conceal your midsection is to drape your arms across or over your tummy. Interlace your fingers and bend your elbows, or keep an arm with a slight bend across your stomach at an angle.

Double chins!! Ugghh!! This is personally something I struggle with in photos. They can instantly make you look much heavier than you are, so don’t get caught with a double chin!

We tend to pull our face back when we smile and this often creates the double chin. Instead, pull your head slightly out and turn a bit to the side.

Keep your eyes on the camera and whenever possible, take a pictures from slightly above you.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis also had a little trick – look slightly above the camera when you’re getting your photo taken and your eyes will look larger and you won’t be at risk for that sleepy-eyed look.

Lastly, beware of sharms.

Sharms: where the arm and shoulder are one.

To get long, lean arms, be sure to pull your arm slightly away from your body. We often hold them right at our sides, making them squish out kind of like what happens to your thighs when you sit down.


One thought on “How to photograph well

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s