How to Be Photogenic

How to Be Photogenic

Do you wanna know a secret? I’m not very Photogenic. As a photographer, I typically don’t like photos of myself. Even after all I’ve learned with posing, lighting, wardrobe, how to do my hair and makeup, and even with high self-esteem, I just don’t think I photograph how I think I should look!

Do you feel the same way? I know many of us out there do. However, I still DO get my photo taken with my family, and some headshots here and there, and over time I HAVE received pictures of myself that I love. Today, I have put together a list of all my best tips and tricks to achieve that result and to help YOU with that result!

Working With a Photographer

#1. Start with choosing a photographer who has a style you like and a portfolio filled with images you love. One mistake I hear about all the time, is when a photographer takes on a client who wants them to edit their photos in a style they don’t usually do. Honestly, this usually leads to unhappy clients. You are much more likely to love your images if you choose someone, from the get-go, who has a style you like.

Yes, there are many talented photographers out there who are great at editing and although they can achieve different looks, knowing you’ve chosen someone who consistently puts out the kind of work you love is going to lead you to liking the way you look in your images, and leaving you with less worries about how to be photogenic in general. One reason for this, is because there are so many things that go into creating a beautiful photograph. From lighting, to location, to color scheme, etc.

Therefore, you can’t just take an image that was shot to be light and airy, with a light color palette, and lots of open air in the background, and even MORE that goes into the planning and even habits a particular photographer has, and just try to edit it to be dark and moody. It truly is an art from conception to the final product.

#2. Also, choosing a photographer is great, because they’re going to guide you with posing, and direct you when to move your body. We have training in all of this, and an eye for what looks great. Please share with us your insecurities, as well as your wants and desires for the session.

Working on Yourself

#3. How to be photogenic….it can seem a mystery sometimes. First, do what you can to clean the canvas of your face. Although I mildly am talking about acne, it’s also one of those things that is just a part of life. Be sure to exfoliate, clean, tone, and moisturize your face at least the day of your session to minimize redness. If you’re planning these months in advance, entertain the idea of working on a skincare routine (if you don’t already), or maybe see a professional if that’s something you’d like to do. Not really necessary, but if you want to, it really wouldn’t hurt.

#4. Wearing makeup – this is one of the most impactful ways to eliminate distractions in your photos. While you can smooth skin and remove blemishes in photoshop, it’s much better for you to show up to your session knowing in your heart that you love the way you look. You can do a more natural look, but a face with makeup, overall, photographs beautifully. That’s why they even put it on men in the movies!

Typically, makeup looks about 50% less intense on camera than it does in person, too, so don’t worry too much about it being “a lot of makeup”. Do, however, choose colors that compliment your skin tone and wardrobe selection, and aren’t so bold you feel out of place, for example, a dark lip color.

This is one of the reasons I include hair and makeup services to my clients. It makes such an impact on the final product!!

#5 – Hair. After all my years of photography, hair left down, and curled, (or even straight, if it’s short) is still my go to for portraits. Curled hair adds a really nice touch with texture, and movement, that straight and styled hair doesn’t (Let it be known that I’m NOT talking about weddings here. Please do your hair however you want for your wedding. If you need advice, talk to your wedding photographer or look on pinterest).

#6. Wardrobe Selection. One big key to looking stunning on camera is simply to wear flattering clothing. Don’t wear too tight, too loose, or frumpy clothing. Your photographer should be able to help you with this. Although, if they can’t, there are many resources and even small businesses out there who do personal styling. Don’t forget to note color pallet, material type, and patterns when you’re picking out what to wear.

Many photographers offer a client wardrobe (like I do), and it’s always a great idea to utilize that, as it’s been curated to compliment your photographer’s style. If for whatever reason, they don’t, read their style guide, or even just ask for suggestions for what to choose. If that fails, and your photographer is no help at all (hopefully this isn’t the case), then you can always ask pinterest.

Posing and More Practical Tips for How to Be Photogenic

#7 – Practice. Before your session, practice smiling at yourself in the mirror, and even taking selfies on your phone. Don’t worry, you can delete them all later if you want. But you’ll probably find at least one you like, since this really is effective!

Try to note which side of your face you like better (for me, it’s my left) and if you like smiling with your teeth or without. This is not the time to sit and analyze all the things you don’t like about your face. Rather, take note of what you DO like, and what looks best. See – you’re on the path to knowing just how to be photogenic.

#8. Posing with Triangles, leading lines, and composition. This is really just photographer talk. But, know that bending your limbs into a triangle-esque shape is flattering. Posing next to a fence, or on a road, is flattering. And being in a beautiful location, is flattering.

#9. Basic helpful posing ideas. Turn to the side a little bit. Don’t face the camera straight on. Turn your body even slightly sideways. Bend one leg. Tilt your chin up. Now is the time to smile that flashing smile you’ve been practicing! Your photographer should direct you, but if you happen to be taking a self portrait, here you go. 🙂

#9. Be as confident as you can, and let loose. Unless you’re a model, chances are, you probably don’t feel confident in front of the camera. That’s ok. Really, it is. You will still have great portraits you love. Just take a deep breath, and let go of all the tension you’ve been building up and let the expert you hired use their expertise.

#10. Add Props if it makes sense. I always will add in props if it makes sense for a client. Especially if these are branding portraits, add them in! Even for families, I love to tell a story with the props. It adds interest, and gives you something else to have your mind on (so it’s not just on you).

#11. Take lots of photos, and have lots of choices. This is a big key, in my opinion. Now, by lots of photos, I really do not mean an obscene amount. All I suggest, is to ask your photographer to give you as many options as he or she can. If you’re doing self portraits, this is especially good advice for you. Take more than you think you’ll need. And experiment a bit! I’m sure you’ll come up with something you love.

In Conclusion

By now, hopefully you’ve had a spark started inside of you, or found some inspiration on how to be photogenic for your next session. I KNOW you can look stunning in your photographs and you can actually think you do, too. Learning how to be photogenic takes a little bit of effort and practice but it will make a world of difference!

If you like this post, let’s be friends on Instagram – and check out 10 Little Ways to Look Your Best at Your Family Photo Session for more helpful ideas!

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