A woman in a white dress and sunglasses standing in front of wooden doors

Remember the good old days of waiting an entire week to develop film prints? You’d cross your fingers and say a prayer that the disposable camera perfectly caught your N*SYNC concert selfie. 

Well, now look at us. We’re constantly adding to our stories, updating our feeds or sending our bestie a snap of that outfit we finally got to wear. Just because it’s accessible doesn’t mean we’re more comfortable in front of the lens. In fact, it’s a lot of pressure to feel as though you have to be camera-ready at any moment. 

So that’s where these tips come into play. Here are five secrets of posing for pictures that’ll bring your confidence to a 10. Remember, this is about putting the best you forward—it’s not about faking it for the sake of the shot.

1. Cheat those angles 

Not even supermodels stand stick-straight-on to the camera. It’s not a flattering way to be captured. Instead, create shape with your limbs. Lean into your hip, step one foot in front of the other and give a twist to the waistline. This isn’t about looking thinner. Instead, it’s about drawing the viewer’s eye to a dynamic subject. Play around with various poses to find where you feel comfortable.

A smiling woman in a blazer and boots standing in front of a building

2. Lengthen your torso

The key phrase to remember here is, “Don’t lose your neck.” There’s an elegance that comes with elongated necklines. It doesn’t mean your chin goes sky high. Keep that chin level with the ground but stick those shoulders back and create space from ear to collarbone.

3. Smize

This is a term coined by Tyra Banks to mean smiling with your eyes. It’s something that oddly takes a lot of practice. The intensity of your eyes will draw the camera, and ultimately the viewer, into that photo. It winds up being somewhat of a happy half-squint. Try this first: Look in a mirror and cover your mouth. Then, smile. Now, try to recreate the positioning/look of your eyes without turning up the corners of your mouth.

A young woman with braids standing in front of a brick wall in a dress, jacket and heels

4. Find the light 

Natural light is the bread and butter of photographers. That’s why everyone covets shooting during golden hour (about two hours after sunrise or before sunset). So, to be a good subject, you want to capture that light. Be aware of the sun’s position and keep your eyes in that direction. Avoid having uneven shadows across your face to create the most natural, radiant image.

5. Remember: It’s all in your head

It’s mind over matter. Go somewhere pleasant in your head regardless of how uncomfortable or challenging the surroundings may feel. Let’s say it’s midsummer in the desert and you’re sweating buckets. Well, your mind says it’s a breezy 60-degree day or you’re on the slopes in negative temps. In that case, your mind wanders to a Mai Thai by the pool in southern California. Seriously, the mental game works to keep you cool as a cucumber (or hot as a tamale, whichever you’re going for.)

Are there any other tricks or tips you use when posing for pictures? How can we use photos to capture our truest selves without faking it?

Images via Easton Schirra at Studio 64, Celebrity Charm La’Donna, Darling Issue No. 14


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