I get it – some people are just more photogenic than others. They get in front of the camera and they don’t get all weird or awkward like the rest of us. Ease while getting their picture taken just comes naturally, while for others (including ex-photo-phobes like me), building self-confidence takes practice. Somewhere along the way people decide they aren’t photogenic and then they avoid being in pictures and around cameras. They hide in the back of group photos and have a super old LinkedIn photo. Sound familiar? It’s ok, you’re not alone.
As a social media photographer I see it every day. And it doesn’t matter if I am taking head shots in San Francisco or online dating photos in Santa Monica, so many of my clients say they aren’t photogenic. I agree people have varying degrees of ease in front of the camera. But I believe everyone can have professional profile pictures of themselves that they are happy with. You can learn how to be more photogenic and here are some ways you can work with your photographer to achieve that.
1) Take your Time
Don’t try to rush it. The impulse is to just get it over with as quickly as possible, but the more time you spend in front of the camera the more relaxed you’ll get. It’s the biggest photo tip ever: being relaxed makes for great photos! That’s why my Camera Shy Package is a little longer than a regular shoot.
2) Accentuate the Positive
Don’t immediately look for things to criticize about yourself in the photo such as “my hair is weird”, or “ my nose looks big”. Instead, resist the temptation to criticize and look instead for things that are great. “My skin looks really clear”, or “my eyes look really bright”, or “I look happy”. Give this a try; you might be surprised what you find.
3) Drop the Pose
I find the best photos are when I’m just standing or sitting with someone and chatting, not worrying about formal poses. The key to good portrait photography is making sure your subject is so relaxed and comfortable that they almost forget the camera is there. Then they behave in a more natural way and look much more like themselves.
4) Get a Little Silly!
I love getting my clients (especially the shy ones) to do some slightly silly stuff. Jumping, shaking their head, making funny faces, spinning around. People laughing at themselves makes for great photos complete with real smiles and genuine personality.
5) Hair + Makeup for Women
Even if it’s a little much for the natural girl to get all dolled up, giving a little extra attention to hair and makeup will make you feel more confident and again- confidence is the secret to great photos. Keep it simple with hair & makeup. You don’t need the full Hollywood glam – just think about a more natural makeup look (perhaps done by a professional) and a blow out. It’s more about enhancing your own looks than trying to look like someone else.
6) Relax, it’s Digital
Digital photography gives us the freedom to relax and try different ideas such as something silly or playful. If it doesn’t work we can delete the embarrassing shot and no one will ever see it again. That’s the beauty of digital photography.
7) Knowing When to Quit
It can be tiring to be in front of the camera when you’re not used to it, so knowing when to quit is important. Usually we hit a point in the shoot when the energy falls. If we’ve already gotten a bunch of great shots it’s best to just call it a day. Make an effort to end your time in front of the camera on a positive note.
Read more about Karina Louise.