For as long as I’ve enjoyed working behind the camera, I’ve always found it rather challenging and somewhat awkward to be the subject of a picture. For most of us, looking “effortlessly awesome” takes a lot of work – which is why we tend to feel so much pressure on photo day, and unfortunately, often end up disappointed with the results. I don’t think it has to be like that. Based on my own experience, I can honestly say that anyone is capable of a taking good picture with proper direction from the photographer and some preparation prior to the session or event. That’s why I’ve come up with a list for clients (and other photographers who would like to share) that will totally change the way they see (and appear in) photographs!
You talkin’ to me?
Yeah, that’s right – it’s time to spend some time in front of the mirror. This doesn’t come as a surprise to all of you who are “selfie connoisseurs,” but spending a little time learning to control your face in front of the mirror will help remind you which “looks” give you the best results on camera.
Note that the jaw is a feature of the face that tends to communicate masculinity. For most women, turning the chin slightly down (toward the neck) creates a more elegant, feminine shape to the face, while raising the jaw adds a sense of masculinity and strength. Faces that are round-shaped often look most flattering at a 30-45 degree angle from the camera, while long or narrow-shaped faces tend to look better facing the camera head on. Of course, most people have a variation of the two, so I’ll help direct you with methods of posing that work best for you!
Make-up done right
I’ve had lots of inquiries about how to wear make-up on the day of the session/event. The answer to this question will partially depend on how formal or natural you want to appear in your photos. But first and foremost, I always recommend hiring a professional that you trust to do the job right. The difference on camera is HUGE. Makeup artists know how to specifically apply cosmetics for the best photographic results. If you want a dramatic effect, I always recommend choosing to dramatically brighten up the eyes OR lips, not both. Too much makeup can cause distraction and lack of focus when captured on camera. Also, remember to bring a little lip balm to the session for touching up!
The camera is your friend
I’m familiar with that feeling. You know, the one you get when a camera is pointed at you. You do your best to put on that face you’ve been practicing in front of the mirror, yet as you gaze into hole of dark and mysterious abyss, your smile starts to get out of control and your eyes suddenly begin to dry out. No, taking pictures does not have to be this uncomfortable. That’s why I always tell my subjects to pretend the camera is, well – human! Look into the lens the way that you look at a friend. Laugh at yourself a little bit. Smile if you want to smile, but if you prefer the more serene, closed mouth look, that’s okay too. Take some time to look around and keep moving. I’ll always help direct you with posing, so don’t stress about it. I even encourage my subjects to look away and ignore the camera completely while I focus on capturing the best angles, the best poses, the best lighting, and the truest “you.”
Clothes, clothes, clothes
Again, while suggestions for this topic are from personal opinion, you have the final call on fashion choices for your photo shoot. My best piece of advice is to keep it classic. Outstanding portraits that seem to withstand time are often achieved by simply that – embracing timelessness. I always think about what my portraits will look like to me 20 years from now. Will I look back and be immediately taken away by a trendy mini skirt and Ugg boots? Probably not. Keep it simple, keep it stylish, and keep it true to yourself. Some photographers have rules about color, I’d say go with what you like most. For family sessions, don’t be afraid to try something other than matching shirts for the whole family. Mix it up a bit! If you’re ever in doubt, you can always text me pics of potential outfits and I’ll help you decide what looks best on camera ☺
Picking the right photographer for you
Of course I’m blatantly hinting on this one, right?! But, really -take the time to get to know the person who will be photographing you. It will affect the outcome of your portraits. You’ll feel so much more comfortable during the session if you and your photographer are on the same wavelength and have at least chatted a few times in advance. Something that I think sets apart the pros from the amateurs is this: having the ability to communicate and have fun with the client(s) while simultaneously posing, directing, and managing all of the technical skills needed to create stunning images. Can your photographer do this? Do some research before choosing your photographer – look through their portfolio, review what people are saying, and communicate to them what your expectations are.
Most of all, relax and enjoy the ride. Now, time to look AWESOME in your photographs!!