I never thought I would be modeling for over 10 years. I started modeling part-time when I was in high school, but it soon turned into a full-time career after graduating from college.
In today’s post, I want to give you some tips on how to take photos like a pro, or essentially how to look your best in front of a camera. So whether you’re a blogger, an aspiring model, or someone who just wants to up their picture presence, hopefully, you’ll be able to implement a few techniques I share in this post. 🙂
Before I begin, let me say that just like anything else, practice makes perfect. So don’t be shy, and practice as much as you can by showing off your beauty to the camera! Deal? 🙂 Great, now let’s get started!
Portrait | Headshot | Beauty Shot
These closeup shots are the best way to express your mood and/or state of being at that moment. Oftentimes, we freeze a little when the camera gets close. It doesn’t help when that tiny little voice inside your head starts popping questions also. However, it’s very important to remember that when you are in doubt, the camera will capture that insecurity because that’s the energy you’re projecting, and unfortunately – the camera doesn’t lie.
So when taking a portrait or head/beauty shot, instead of focusing on what can go wrong, try to focus on what kind of feeling (or vibe) you are trying to get across. For example, if you want a more fierce look- keep your chin down a little, then stare (or glare!) back into the camera lens. If you want a more sultry feel- keep your chin up a little, turn your head so you’re at a 3/4 profile, with lips parted. I mean, you can be as creative as you want to be here. You are the creator of your own world, especially when getting your picture taken, so just have fun and experiment with it!
PRO TIP: Knowing your good and bad sides/angles are always a plus! To do this, you can simply stand in front of a mirror and look at yourself: which side of your face do you prefer? Studying your face and understanding your facial movements will help a lot. If you aren’t sure, you can easily take a few quick selfies starting with a frontal shot, then slowly turn your head towards one side (while snapping shots) till you get to your profile. Then just do the same on the opposite side. Review your snapshots, and you should be able to easily see and determine which side and/or angles favors you most. 🙂
When I take photos, I see the camera as a person, and I try to communicate and get my message across with my eyes or facial expressions. Therefore when looking into the camera, your eyes shouldn’t stop at the edge of the camera lens; you should look into the lens as if you were trying to see into the soul of the lens. This way, your eyes will look more lively. Just like when you are talking to someone, you look deep into that person’s eyes and not just at their eyelashes, right? 🙂
Many people asked me how to “fake” smile and still look natural. This one will take practice, but it’s also part of an acting skill that really doesn’t take much effort. When we smile or laugh, there is usually someone or something that is stoking the happiness from the inside of us that causes us to smile or laugh. Remember that feeling, and your facial muscle memory will do the rest when taking photos.
PRO TIP: When taking smiling or laughing pictures, don’t stay in your smile or laughter continuously. This will freeze your facial muscles which will cause your smile to look stiff and not very natural. It’s best to relax your facial muscles between takes, and smile again when the photographer is ready for you. Remember- practice, practice, practice…! 🙂
Full Body Shot
Okay, let’s move on to the body language. Just like with taking a portrait or headshot, you need to understand your body. The easiest type of full body shot to look good in is an action shot (e.g. while walking – it looks super natural and effortless). If you want to do a walking shot with a particular background, just start a couple steps back and walk 3-4 steps forward, and then repeat. This way the photographer will be able to capture a good range of motion of you walking. Also, walk a tad slower than normal as this will help the photographer to not rush when trying to catch you in action. Creating beautiful images are always a team effort!
PRO TIP: While walking, feel free to look left or right, smile or be serious, hands in or out of pockets. This is a good way to get different variations. And if the photographer is behind you, turn your head to look back or turn your whole body back for some turning action shots!
For stationary full body shots, you might feel a little more self-conscious and think “what do I do with my arms or hands, or how should I stand etc, etc?”. Trust me, I know that feeling! But after being in the modeling business for so long, this eventually became second nature.
When it comes to modeling poses, the evolution of posing has changed dramatically. From placing hands on the hips or waist (like a beauty pageant girl) to the straight, hands down “no pose” poses like in J-Crew catalogs, it’s really up to you what you want to achieve. There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all pose. But knowing the following posture tips will help you along the way.
TIP 1: When standing, the most important thing is to create angular shapes with your whole body. Shapes make a straight line more interesting to look at.
TIP 2: Most of the time, it’s good to create that separation between the legs (thigh gap). I was never blessed with having super thin legs with the natural “model thigh gap”, therefore I had to find ways to create the illusion of it when taking pictures. 😉 So if you are standing next to something you can lean on, you can easily put all your body weight on one leg, and bend the other leg to create that separation between the thighs or legs. Common sense tells us that whichever body part is closer to the camera, it will appear bigger. So in this pic below (remember I don’t have skinny legs), my rear leg supported my body weight while I bent my front leg to make it look less muscular.
These are just 2 tips, but there are many ways and variations you can play around with. Try different things like standing on one leg while bending the other in different angles, while varying the placement of your arms, feet, and hands (like hands in pockets, feet parted, look right or left, hand brushing your hair, etc etc). When you do this, you will end up having many photos to choose from!
There we have it! I hope you found these basic tips helpful. If you have any questions about how to take photos for a certain occasion or event, feel free to leave them in the comments below and I will try to discuss it in more detail.
Have a great weekend and I’ll see you in my next post!
Always with LOVE,