4. Being tan
6. Make up application
All of these factors go into making or breaking a good picture, and if you can get at least 4 out of the six down...you'll be golden.
1. The angle at which the camera is shooting you is probably the most obvious culprit of a bad picture...most of us know to avoid the from-below-triple-chin highlight angle, however there are a myriad of unflattering and flattering angles that you would benefit familiarizing yourself with. For example, I happen to take better pictures from the left. This works out well, as my best friend photographs better from the right. So, when we're trying to "get our good sides" taken, we compliment each other well and are not fighting for sides. Ridiculous? A bit. But, we know our angles and we use them to our advantage! Do you? I must add: it bugs me when a tabloid will run a obviously horrendous picture taken at a bad angle of a celebrity, claiming that they are on drugs or pregnant, etc...only to be photographed later that day or the next day looking fantastic. Don't get confused...angles have that power! The power to highlight your third eye pimple in the middle of your forehead, or the power to bring out your sexy lips. You have some power in determining your photog fate.
2. Lighting is probably the most important aspect of taking a picture, and is the primary reason why you can walk out of the house feeling like Giselle, only to photograph like Amy Winehouse coming off a four day bender. I have heard that many celebrities, including Pamela Anderson (who are very in touch with the way they appear) have specific requirements as to which cameras and which flashes are allowed to take pictures of them. It does make a significant difference. Fluorescent lighting is the worst type of light - making skin look pasty, highlighting every little imperfection and creating gaunt shadows and awkward bone structures. Avoid at all costs. The best type of lighting for pictures in my experience is any kind of warm, ambient lighting - sunlight, yellow light, soft light. And, the camera flash makes a LARGE difference as well. In my experience, (which is still very immature - I am by no means a professional photog...my only knowledge comes from vanity) Nikon camera flashes are the single most unflattering shades of blue, appearing cold and sharp - which highlights everything I DON'T want to know about myself or didn't know existed. Once you begin to pay attention, you'll find what kind of lighting suits you the best.
3. I'm going to lump positioning and posture in the same category - because it all has to do with the way you're making your body appear. Obviously you don't want to slump, but you don't necessarily want to suck in, either. Stand up straight, angle your head a slight bit, and figure out something nonawkward to do with your arms. Stay away from anything too posey (the old hand-on-hip stance is beyond played out, yet is still a good go-to). Variety is key - yes, you might look fabulous making a slight pouty face, camera angle coming from the left while your head is at a 37 degree angle, but too many of one type of pose begins to look silly and a tad ridiculous after the 45th picture in a row. Mix it up - it'll take time but you will find what suits you the best...and candids always come out the best, in my opinion. I know this is a lot of info to consider, but the more natural you are, the better...and you will get the hang of it. I could also go on a tangent about wearing flattering clothing and how much of a difference that makes, but we will save that for an entirely different post. Oh, and NO DUCK FACES.
4. The tanner you are, the better the picture is going to come out. Although cliche it really is true - being tan is flattering, especially in photos. Whether it's natural or fake, that's up to you. However, make sure you invest in a good self or spray tanning system because appearing orange is NOT an acceptable look either.
5. Certain makeup brands tend to cast a shadow in pictures. Recently I was trying out NARS liquid foundation. In real life it was silky, smooth and went on with a clean, healthy glow. However in pictures, it looked like I was wearing 4 layers of powder that was two shades too light, and it even seemed to highlight my undereye circles. Ummm.... I though I paid $42 to AVOID that??? So, you will have to find the right makeup that works for you both in real life and in pictures. For me, NARS did not cut it however I have a friend who uses that very product, and does not have that same issue. Just because it didn't work for me or your other friend doesn't mean it won't work for you. I recommend Makeup Forever HD liquid foundation, MAC Satinfinish Mineralize Liquid Foundation, and Bare Esscentuals has worked for me in the past as well (better for those with more oily skin). These have all photographed nicely on me. Using shadow and/or liner to define your eyes makes a difference as well...I don't know any girl who doesn't look sexier with a subtle smokey eyed look. And, a dab of blush right on the apples of your cheeks (not up onto the cheekbone towards your temples) gives a healthy glow. My favorite is Bare Escentuals Blush in Sorbet.
Good luck on your close up.
The difference between a bad picture and a good picture:
Now do you believe me?
Self tanner at it's worst. Learn from my mistake. Lol.
Finally, a good one!