If you're camera shy, this is an anxiety-inducing phenomenon. Unless you're the one with the camera taking the pictures, you can bet that you're going to be photographed. Here are a few hints on being more photogenic--for Christmas or any time of the year:
- Wear clothes with colors that suit you. Certain colors complement certain skin tones, while others tend to bring out the worst. Also take into consideration your hair color. You may have a feel for which colors you look best in, but if not, do some research and some trial-and-error.
- Hide your blemishes. The bad thing about photographs is that because they are simply frozen images of one angle in an instant in time, they can't show all your good attributes. The good thing about them is that you can easily hide certain features you don’t like. If you've got a unsightly look on one side of your face, for example, don’t show the camera that side.
- Determine your best angle. Beyond the obvious hiding of blemishes, finding the right angle for your face can be a bit more difficult. The best thing you can do is experiment using a digital camera so that you can immediately see the results of each pose. It will very quickly become obvious which angles are most flattering for you, and you can then use that angle as much as possible in the future. The classic model's pose is to arrange your body 3/4 toward the camera with one foot in front of the other and one shoulder closer to the camera than the other. This isn’t the best pose for everybody, however, and it can look a little ridiculous when used in a family photo right next to Uncle Bob.
- Get rid of a double chin. Tilt your head down slightly and try to position yourself so that the camera is a little above your eye level. This will hide a double chin fairly effectively. You can also put one hand under your chin as though you’re resting your head on your hand (keep the thumb side of your hand out of the camera’s view, if possible). Don't actually rest any weight on the hand, however, or you will push the skin into an unflattering position. Also try resting your tongue against the roof of your mouth.
- Stick your neck out. One trick models often use is to present a 3/4 pose to the camera (turn your head so that 3/4 of your face is exposed to the camera, as opposed to a full frontal shot) and then lift your neck and slightly tilt your head down, as though you are a turkey sticking its head out (without actually thrusting your chin out). This improves facial definition and helps ameliorate wrinkles and flabby skin.
- Relax. Many people end up looking odd in photos because they freeze into odd facial expressions with a “say cheese" type of smile on their face. If you're used to having bad pictures taken of yourself, you probably get nervous in front of the camera, and this can make things even worse. If you know a picture is about to be taken, take a deep breath and exhale naturally, relaxing your arms and shoulders. As you exhale, smile or strike whatever pose is appropriate. Don't hold your breath, either in or out, otherwise you'll appear as though you're tense or suffocating. If you see the photo coming too late, don’t panic and try to strike a pose. Keep doing what you're doing and try to ignore the camera. It may not turn out perfectly, but you’ve got a better chance than if the camera catches you quickly trying to change your facial expression. The more comfortable and relaxed you appear, the better the photo will turn out.
- Smile with your eyes. Nothing projects happiness and beauty like smiling eyes: a happy, somewhat mischievous expression of the eyes. To achieve this effect, imagine that the camera is a person you have a crush on walking into the room. This will create wider open eyes and a relaxed smile. Chances are you unconsciously do this all the time; the trick is to be able to bring it out on demand, so practice the smiling eyes in front of a mirror.
- Fake it till you make it. People are often photogenic because they like having their picture taken. They are therefore relaxed and happy when the camera appears. If you cannot muster up genuine love of the camera, pretend you like the camera. Imagine the camera is someone you love, a long lost friend, an old flame, your child at age three, or whatever you need to look at the camera lovingly. Try it—it really does work.