Tag Archives: how to look good

No More Bad Photos Collage © Ziba By Nature

Ms. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Camera

November 22, 2012

Speaking of photogenic-ness….

It seems that certain people are just born with a preternatural gift of looking sensational in photographs. As I mentioned in the previous post, I am in awe of how extraordinarily photogenic Marilyn Monroe was. Yes, you could point out the fact that she worked a lot on perfecting her look. But apart from that, I think she was already an unusually photogenic person to begin with.

What about the rest of us who were not endowed with such qualities? How do we channel our mojo onto our photos? I have met numerous people (myself included) who have a love/hate relationship with the camera. Actually, sometimes it’s more like a hate/hate relationship: they don’t like being photographed because they always look terrible in photographs! The ironic part is that this distaste for bad photos of themselves gets reflected back in their photos. It’s kind of like a feedback loop.

Any tension, grumpiness or awkwardness, no matter how slight, gets picked up by the camera. And is then frozen in time. Forever.

Luckily enough, we do have a handy tool called a delete button. That’s the beautiful thing about technology… we can take and re-take photos of ourselves, scrutinize over each one, delete them and repeat until we get that one perfect one. But it still doesn’t resolve the tension that comes up whenever someone brings out a camera. Even the most beautiful people in the world can look ridiculously goofy in a photo. Being naturally beautiful and attractive does not necessarily translate to being photogenic in photos.

So how would you even begin to make the camera love you?

After reading up on some of the tips and tricks found on the internet on how to be photogenic, you could try: “Turning to the side and sticking your butt out.” Or wait, someone else is saying you need to “Squeeze your butt cheeks together.” Then to “Stick out your neck like a turkey!” Also, don’t forget to “Drop your chin forward, while dipping your forehead to the side” and “Stand on your tippy toes” whilst “crossing your eyes together.”

Alright, I may have exaggerated/invented a few of those.

My point is, those little tricks will probably just end up making you look like a contortionist.

So… what next? Well, in my humble experience, there really has been only one essential key to getting a great photo of yourself. And that’s to relax. 

Relax, Baby, Relax

Children always look great in photos because they’re at ease with themselves and the camera. They’re never worried about how the photo will turn out. We as adults however, grow up and start developing all these weird ideas in our heads. Sometimes we confuse what we look like with how we want to look like. And how we want to be seen by others. We twist our facial expressions and tense our bodies in order to align this image that we have of ourselves in our heads with the one in the photos.

But remember that the camera picks up on any little tension.

The secret is to relax. Just chill out. Stop worrying so much. And love the camera as if it were an old friend you’re trading jokes with. Or a sexy person you just met with whom you’re exchanging flirtatious looks.

Take a deep breath, and right before the camera snaps, let it all go. All the tension, all the worries and desires over how you’d like that photo to turn out. Let them go.

Relax when the photo is taken. And stay relaxed when you see the results. Because whatever the outcome, it’s really no biggie. 

Of course, this does not perfectly guarantee that the photo will turn out exactly the way you would have liked. But staying relaxed like this around cameras is an easy breezy stress-free way to make the camera love you. And increase your chances of getting favorable self-portraits.

Also, these are a few other timeless tips for achieving a great photo:

  • Think pleasant thoughts. Pull up a pleasant memory of something or someone that warms your heart. The result is a natural radiance in your eyes that cannot be faked.
  • Excellent Posture. Working on improving your posture in your everyday life can go a long way to ensuring your health. But excellent posture also helps to make you look incredibly attractive in photos. Whether you’re sitting or standing, always be mindful of your posture.
  • Catch the good light. Natural lighting produces a gorgeous effect that studio lighting or digital editing cannot reproduce. You have to look for the good light, which usually depends on where you are and the time of the day. When you find the good light, turn your face towards it so that shadows are not cast over your features.
  • Have fun! Be confident in your own beauty. Remember that how you look in photos cannot capture the full fluidity and expressiveness of your natural self.

But! If you are still fretting about how you look in photos and how others will see you, then I would like to leave you with this brilliant quote by the brilliant Tina Fey:

“If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important rule of beauty, which is: who cares?” ~ Tina Fey (Bossypants)