10 Tricks for Looking Better in Pictures

Katya Bychkova Style Sprinter NYC Blogger

It happens to me all the time: we are about to take a photo with a friend of mine when she or he claims that they are not photogenic and hate taking photos. Today, I decided to share my tips and tricks on how to look better in pictures so you are not camera-shy anymore. These are the techniques that I personally use to look more or less presentable in photos when I’m not feeling like being photographed.

It’s All About the Details

When it comes to taking photos, oftentimes it’s not about your face impression but rather about your clothes and accessories that could make or break a picture. You don’t have to be a fashion stylist though to put together a photo-friendly look—it’s all about the small adjustments you could make to the outfit you were already planning on wearing in order for it to become photo-friendly.

1: Accessorize!

First and foremost, always make sure to wear a piece or two of jewelry while taking photos. Accessories make more difference to nay picture than you know! Take, for instance, the cover shot for this blog post where I’m wearing my favorite pieces from Sequin NYC. Without this fabulous statement ring and glamorous earrings, the photo would look “naked” – meaning, there would be nothing to stop an eye at. Same goes for less staged shots. If you are wearing a cute necklace or a beautiful cuff, these accessories will add up to your look making it appear more finished and refined. As a result, the picture would be more interesting to look at!

2: Avoid the No-No Prints

There are certain pattern and color combinations that I avoid while taking photos and videos. A big “no-no” is a classic banker stripe print. Even though stripes are the biggest trend of the season, small banker stripe print creates all sorts of visual illusions when videotaped. It also rarely looks cute in photos, especially if we are not talking about a professional camera. So, my advice would be just to avoid it just in case.

3: Forget About Tights

Personally, I do not recommend wearing tights in photos. Especially, if we are talking about a see-through nude type of pantyhose. Maybe it’s me finally becoming a New Yorker (because, as I noticed, American women barely wear tights while Russian women do), but I noticed that nude tights look a bit weird in photos. Sometimes they cause a flashback or catch a light in a funny way which could ruin an otherwise great photo. So my advice would be to skip on tights or wear black ones instead.

How to Pose for Photos

Every photographer has his own tricks on what to do and not to do in front of the camera. Since I’m taking the majority of photos by myself, I had to learn my own face to look a bit more presentable in photos. I totally understand though that a person reading this post does not have the time to take an acting class or book a shoot with a professional photographer to learn how to put together their perfect “photo look,” that’s why I’m providing just a few suggestions that might help you to feel a bit more confident in front of the camera.

4: This About Your Eye Moving Trajectory

I learned tip number one from a good friend of mine, a fashion photographer Vital Agibalow. He always told me that my eyes should move on the same trajectory as my nose. Imagine your face facing straight ahead. Your eyes are looking straight and your nose is facing forward—that’s easy. Try keeping the same eyes and nose positioning while looking sideways. Meaning, don’t keep your eyes too left or too right—you’ll look much cuter when your eyes and a nose are facing the same direction and you are just changing the position of your head.

5: What to Do with Your Hands

When it comes to the body positioning, I prefer keeping a hand on my hip. Especially, if I’m wearing a monochrome outfit. That way, the hand location helps to emphasize the waistline and get yourself organized for the shot. I noticed that one of the biggest problems people experience while taking photos is figuring out what to do with their hands. Saying so, I recommend always keeping a hand on your waistline so you don’t think too much about looking cute in pictures and just intuitively strike your signature pose. Later, when you feel more comfortable taking photos, try introducing additional poses to your photo taking arsenal.

6: Don’t OVERSmile

One of the typical mistakes I see people making is trying to achieve a stereotypical American smile look. Granted: it looks stunning when some celebrities are doing the same on the red carpet. However, I think that a full smile is not the best solution for everyday photos. By stretching your smile too much you flex jaw muscles too much and the lower part of your face looks wrinkly and tense.

Also, I personally feel that a full mouth smile looks too fake—especially if you are only smiling with your mouth and your eyes remain emotionless. Instead of putting a full smile on, try relaxing all the muscles in your face first (i.e., eliminate tension in your brows, jaw, and mouth) and then put on a half-smile. Try expressing a positive emotion with your eyes first and then add a tiny smile as a cherry on top of this otherwise peaceful look.

Photo-Friendly Makeup

Finally, my last set of tips about teaching yourself to look cute in photos is all about makeup. You’ll be surprised but oftentimes the photo doesn’t come out good not because of your posing, but because of the makeup products that didn’t work right for the occasion. Whether it’s a powder that leaves a white cast on your skin or a lipstick that sticks to your teeth, there are so many makeup tricks that will help you to look better in photos.

7: Why Foundation Matters

Apply foundation not only on your face but also blend it all over your neck and even chest if that area is open so you don’t see an obvious line between your bare and makeup covered skin. If you are afraid that your foundation will transfer to the clothes, stick to long-lasting foundations like Estee Lauder Double Wear and L’Oreal Infallible Pro Matte and set it with a translucent setting powder.

8: Pick the Right Shade

Make sure that your foundation is not too light. If you happen to take a shot with a flash, with a lighter tone on your face you will look like a ghost! This trick is especially important if you enjoy self-tans and spray tans. Make sure that your face tone is not dramatically lighter compared to the rest of your body.

9: Flash-Test Your Powder

Talking about using the flash, make sure that your foundation and setting powder do not cause flashback. From the ingredients standpoint, avoid foundations that contain SPF and glitter infusions. Also stay away from loose powders that contain silica and mica. I’m not a scientist to explain why, but these ingredients cause major flashback on me.

10: Highlight on Point

Don’t use a highlighter that is too light for your skin tone. It might look illuminated in real life, but in photos, such makeup will look unnatural and might cause flashback. Instead of silver undertone blinding highlighters, stick to more subtle gold undertone shades. Preferably, pick fine melted highlighters as opposed to glittery ones.

* * * * *

There you have it: 10 tricks that I use to look better in photos. Whether we are talking about holiday photos or just your regular selfies, I hope these tips help you to feel a bit more confident in front of the camera! Please let me know if you learned anything new from the post or whether you use any of the same techniques for taking your photos. I can’t wait to hear your feedback!