We all know someone who is average in appearance, yet somehow they always look great in photographs. It’s not just a matter of being photogenic – it can also be a function of knowing how to work the camera. You don’t have to be vain or self-obsessed to think about how to best present yourself for pictures – you just need to be aware of a few little tricks. You’ll find that not only do you look better in the pictures taken of you – you’ll know how to direct your subjects so that they look better in the pictures you take. Family photos and portraits will be better lit, well composed, visually harmonious and full of authentic character.
Be Light Try to have photos taken with as much light as possible on the face. Natural light is ideal, but when you’re being photographed indoors you’ll also want to pose near a light source. The more light that washes over faces, the more forgiving the camera will be – after all, it’s those pesky shadows that highlight flaws. Outdoors, avoid direct sunlight, and instead try shooting in the early morning or late afternoon when light angles are indirect and the quality of the light is more amber and warm. Cloudy days are ideal for creating a beautifully filtered camera-loving light.
Act Natural To achieve an authentic smile, try to think of something humorous like a funny moment from earlier in the day. The less focused you are on having your picture taken, the more relaxed your body and visage will be. Your photographer can also help put everyone at ease by saying a funny word just before shooting. As long as it’s not “say cheese,” which tends to elicit forced smiles.
Embrace Angles Since no one’s face is perfectly symmetrical, standing square in front of the lens is often not the most flattering pose as it emphasizes imperfections. Standing at an angle softens your look and keeps you looking relaxed and happy. Shift weight so it’s mostly on one foot, then turn your one shoulder toward the lens.
Chin Out Make sure you pay attention to where the camera is. If the lens is at eye level or above, you’re golden. If the camera is below eye level, however, you run the risk of appearing to have a double chin. Try to change your position (or the photographer’s) so that your eyes are on an even level with the lens. Then project your chin out just a bit more than you would typically to elongate your neck and avoid the dreaded neck shadows.
Keep It Simple When composing a family portrait, it’s a great idea to keep the color palette simple and avoid patterns to visually unify the image. It’s best to choose a single color and have everyone dress in tonal variations. Stay away from white because it’s so reflective and makes for a washed-out photo – and avoid black because everyone will appear to blend into one another.
Get Close For candid shots – say, of a child building a sand castle or staring at something they’ve never seen before – don’t be afraid to get close to your subject. A close-up taken with shallow focus lets you capture a singular expression that’s not posed. You’ll love having a record of that laser focus.
Have Fun! There’s just no way to fake it in photography. When your subjects are actually having fun, it comes through in the kind of portraiture that’s worthy of albums or even frames. So have a good time, and create moments worth remembering during every photo shoot, whether formal or impromptu.
Happy Mixbooking! Happy Snapping!