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These Camera-Ready Tips Will Make You Look Your Absolute Best in Photos

Genius tricks from a photo shoot pro!

If you’re like us, you don’t always love having your picture taken. Maybe you think you’re not photogenic, you’re worried that today’s high-definition camera lenses will capture all of your flaws or you just feel stiff and awkward and unsure how to pose for pictures. Whatever the case may be, there are a few simple strategies you can use that will boost your camera confidence and leave you looking picture-perfect at the same time. Read on for the top tricks from photo shoot producers and beauty experts for fantastic photos.

How to pose for pictures when standing

There are a few things to keep in mind when taking photos. “For starters, relax and breathe normally. If you find yourself sucking in, tensing your shoulders or feeling a forced expression, it will look unnatural and the discomfort will show in your face,” explains Jemma Evans, Woman’s World style director who directs photo shoots of real life women (not models!) for the magazine regularly and is an expert at helping them relax and feel confident. “So allow yourself to have fun — and take some pressure off!” Here are 4 tips:

1. Stand like *this*

Some photographers say that straight-on photos can be the hardest to pose for and, therefore, the hardest to look good in. However, a forward-facing shot doesn’t mean you have to stand as straight as a board.

Woman posing for a photo after learning how to pose for pictures
Victoria Janashvili

“When facing the camera straight-on, lean all of your weight on one leg and drop the other hip, allowing your thigh to fall diagonally inward, slightly twisting your hips. This will accentuate your curves and create a more dramatic shape to your body,” explains Evans, who directed the photo of the woman above for a makeover shoot. “Then, you can grip your waist or upper hip with your elbow bent.”

Evans also recommends sliding your hand to your lower hip and flip your hand so your fingers point down palm-flat against your side (also with your elbow bent). Both of these poses “create negative space around your body and accentuates your waist,” she says.

Check out this video from @thechristinebuzan on Instagram for more guidance!

2. Create movement

The best standing photos often involve movement, or the illusion of movement. That’s because moving your body makes you look more effortless and natural, leading to a better picture. It also makes a photo appear more interesting to the eye compared to a typical “posed” photo.

Woman posing for the camera after learning how to pose for photos
Victoria Janashvili

Evan’s advice for adding movement to a photo? “Turn your body at a ¾ angle and act like you’re taking a step forward,” she says. Then, she advises gently swing your arms at the elbow as you would if you were walking and rock your weight back and forth between your legs while the photos are being taken. “This creates a natural movement to the image and will elongate your legs — and turning at this angle also avoids a boxy or flat look.”

3. Make use of your hands

Evans also advises “finding something to do with your hands.” When hands are just limply hanging at your sides, it can look awkward and forced. Instead, try tucking them in your pockets (like she had the woman below do in one shoot), slide a finger into belt loops, place hands relaxed on your thighs or play around with a prop, such as a bouquet of flowers.

Woman posing for a photo after learning how to pose for pictures
Victoria Janashvili

4. Watch your posture

Keep shoulders back and head high, but don’t force it — you can stand tall without tensing your shoulders and neck. Even further, Evans says to bring your chin forward when smiling and press your tongue to the roof of your mouth. This helps to accentuate and define your jawline and chin, a trick she has the woman below use successfully.

Woman posing for the camera who is standing up straight and tall
Victoria Janashvili

How to pose for pictures when sitting

Sitting down photos are often the hardest to pose for because they can make us look and feel awkward. What are you supposed to do with your arms let alone your legs and posture, too?

“When sitting, shift all weight to one hip and prop yourself up on your arm. Then, extend your legs in the opposite direction with your feet on the floor, and your other arm resting over your hip — think of a mermaid stretched out on a rock,” says Evans. “This will elongate your body and stretch your waist.”

To see this tip in action and some more sitting poses, watch this video from Jessica Whitaker on YouTube.

How to look glowing in every photo

Now that you’ve mastered how to pose for pictures, the way you apply your makeup can make a huge difference too. When it comes to applying makeup when you know you’re getting your photo taken, Evans advises going subtle and light. “The texture of heavy makeup can render strangely in photos, especially when they’re shot in natural light,” she says. “You want to look like the best version of yourself, so natural makeup that defines your features is the way to go.”

Read on for more easy tricks that will help your natural beauty shine in photos.

1. Use petroleum jelly as a highlighter

Dabbing shiny petroleum jelly, like Aquaphor or Vaseline, onto strategic areas of the face and the chest helps reflect light onto skin to optically perk up features, says celebrity makeup artist Amy Zdunowski-Roeder. Bonus: It gives skin a dewy glow that optically blurs any creased or crepey skin.

Try it: After applying makeup, dab a pea-size amount of petroleum jelly onto the high points of the face (like the top of the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, brow bones, forehead, chin and Cupid’s bow) and the collarbone on the chest if skin is exposed, then blend out with fingers. As a finishing touch, try putting Aquaphor on your eyelashes for longer-looking lashes.

2. Rub a banana peel on teeth

Woman smiling with a bright smile
Deagreez/Getty

One reason many of us don’t like to smile big in photos? Dull, yellow teeth. A banana can help: The fruit peel’s unique compounds act as natural bleaching agents, which absorb into teeth to breakdown embedded stains to help whiten and brighten without the sensitivity caused by whiteners. Plus, when rubbing it on teeth, the flesh side’s slightly gritty texture gently removes any teeth-dulling plaque.

Try it: Rub the flesh side of a 2-inch piece of banana peel on teeth in circular motions for two minutes. Let sit 10 minutes, then use a dry toothbrush to buff off any remaining stains or residue. Rinse with water.

Related: Cosmetic Dentists: The 7 Best At-Home Ways To Whiten Sensitive Teeth

3. Give yourself a fast facial massage

A facial massage doesn’t just feel great, it also perks up your skin. “Massage-like motions increase circulation and blood flow to skin’s surface, giving the complexion an immediate lit-from-within glow that lasts,” says celebrity esthetician Candace Marino. For the best benefits, apply a soothing facial oil, like Good Molecules Ultra-Hydrating Facial Oil (Buy from Ulta, $10), onto skin before massaging, which allows fingers to glide easily on skin and enhances the dewey benefits

Try it: Rub 3 drops of a facial oil on fingers, then use circular motions to massage along the jawline, cheeks, under the eyes, ears and forehead, spending one minute on each area.

4. Apply *this* eyeliner

Swiping a nude or white eyeliner along the lower waterline conceals inner-rim redness so the whites of eyes appear instantly brighter, says Zdunowski-Roeder. Even better? The soft, subtle hue visually widens eyes so you’ll look even more awake and alert.

Try it: Apply a white or nude eyeliner, like ColourPop BFF Crème Gel Liner in Honeydue or Exit (Buy from Ulta, $8), to line the lower waterline. Clean up with a cotton afterward to quickly fix any imperfections as needed.

Related: Makeup Artist: 2 Ways To Use Eyeliner to Lift Hooded Eyes and Look Younger Instantly

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