As you’re aware, I’m not a “what I wore today” blogger, but sometimes I post a photo or two of me. I have to take my own photos as I don’t have anyone else to do so. So my camera is on a tripod at about my head height (no lower than shoulder height) and I set the timer, run to position and strike a pose.
Today I’m going to share with you some tips from both my experiences with professional photographers (who put you into a pose) and my own DIY efforts on how to pose for photographs.
1. Gaps are Key in how wide you appear.
If you stand front on to the camera, arms by your side, legs together you tend to look widest. If you want to appear narrower from the front create some gaps by moving crossing your thighs over each other and putting your hands on your hips, or crossing your arms across your body.
Want to make your upper arms appear smaller in a photo? Hold them away from your body a little rather than at your side – holding a drink is ideal for this.
2. Angle yourself to the camera
Rather than standing straight on, angle yourself to the camera for a more interesting composition (and often more flattering too). Angle your body and your feet away from the camera rather than straight on.
3. What is closest looks biggest
Whichever body parts are pushed toward the camera will look larger. So the pic on the left I’ve angled my hips toward the camera vs the pic on the right where I’ve angled them away.
Don’t forget too to stretch and elongate your body too rather than slouching, this will make you appear longer and leaner.
4. Which is your best side?
Very few of us are symmetrical in our features (I believe that Christy Turlington is about as symmetrical as people get) so most of us look better when photographed with our face angled toward the camera rather than straight on as we don’t notice asymmetry then. But which side is your best side, and do you angle that side toward the camera?
If you remember my last point, whatever is closest to the camera looks bigger? Well this comes into play when deciding which side to put toward the camera, particularly if one of your eyes is more open or bigger than the other. If you put your larger eye toward the camera, the smaller eye will look even smaller, so in fact if you want to look more symmetrical, you angle your smaller side to the camera as this will make it look larger.
5. How to avoid the double chin
Most of us, when a camera comes near us, in a defensive move, pull our head backwards and chin in toward our chest, which of course doubles our double chins. Remember to push your chin out a little when having your photo taken to stretch your neck and eliminate extra chinage.
Also, take the photo from above not below (or at least your head height) as this will further minimize double chins. Never let anyone take your photo from below if you’re concerned about your chins!
6. Face Touching Tip
If you plan on touching your face, such as leaning on one hand, or framing your face with your hands, the trick is to barely touch your face. Don’t actually lean your face onto your hand or you will distort your face, instead pretend to, just have the lightest contact so that you don’t move your facial skin.
More tips on how to take a good selfie
Taking a selfie – the technology
Wow! I needed this advice. Thanks. For the longest time, I took blog photos straight on because I thought I should be brutally honest. But how many times are we actually in that position anyway for it to be a fair representation of what we look like?
And Darlene – we are seen from the 360 degrees by everyone else too, we just tend to look at ourselves in a mirror straight on.
Love your post. I have been searching articles like this. What's the best height for camera? Should it angle up or angle down?
Great advice! I've actually learned a few of these through trial an error. I use a time and take my own photos too. And I have taken some REALLY bad ones!
These are *great* tips! I need to print out this post and practice. Thank you!!
Ah, these look like very useful tips — wish I'd known these before my daughter's wedding.. . Like Pseu, I think I'll be practising.
Victoria – camera should be at least your shoulder height, if not slightly higher for best results – then face is bigger, body smaller!
Elaine – I've taken plenty of bad photos too!
Mater – I've noticed that the more I take (and practise) the less I need to take to get a decent one to post!
Very useful tips, thank you! I like taking pictures straight on to evaluate fit of the garments, but lately I've started taking some "posed" pictures as well because I like them better.
Amazing post!! Loved the tips!
I have a good tip too. If you press the back of your tongue to the roof of your mouth it pulls your double chin up! It takes a bit of practice to smile convincingly at the same time but it works.
Any tips for open eyes? I always close mine in photos.
The tips are interesting, but I find sometimes people contort themselves into an unusual shape and it's distracting. I've seen it a lot in what-i-wore-today photos.
– tall & slim anon
A trick for having your eyes open…close your eyes and keep them closed until right after the shutter button to take a picture is pushed. That way right as a pic is being taken of you, your eyes are now open. It works for me at least 95% of the time I’d say and it beats having your eyes shut in every pic!
Thanks Imogen, these are so useful. I can start incorporating them right away. We all want to look our best in our blog photos.
what a great post, imogen! i've never thought about that gaps/wideness thing at all…which becomes embarrassingly obvious when i look through my own blog's archives. definitely food for thought here. thanks!
The best-illustrated posing tips since Trinny and Sus!
I have to say, in that "angled body with gaps" pose you look like Emma Peel. Great shot!
Great tips. You are right about looking narrower in the top photo, only I keep thinking all these ladies should go to the loo before they take photos of themselves. Wish there were another way…
I am bookmarking this for my next photo session and giving it to my dh to read, since he is my photographer, other than my tripod. Terrific advice.
Awesome tips Imogen!
Great advise and so well explained! I’ve noticed that models in catalogs/magazines don’t stand straight forward and straight upright, but supposed it was to look less “posed” even though they all pose that way! I hate “do this” advice that doesn’t explain WHY; you’ve explained AND illustrated, which just might be enough to get it through my as-yet unfashionable skull! Thanks so much!
Wow! This tips are amazing. Thanks for sharing!
These are wonderful tips! Thanks!
Thank you so much, Imogen. All of your advise are very helpful. I feel honored to be taught by You!
Iryna – thanks so much
Great tips! Thanks so much.
Wow! Great post!!
the bit of advice that always sticks with me is to push your tongue up against the back of your top front teeth as it firms your jaw when you smile. sounds weird but it really works!
Sadly that gives me a double chin!