Have you ever looked at a photo of yourself and thought, that is not the person I saw in the mirror a moment ago! Then you look at photos of some people and think- my god they always look fabulous in photographs! There are people that sit all over the spectrum of body size, age, ethnicity, facial character, fashion style, no makeup, lots of makeup, they can be as varied as you possibly imagine. The similar characteristic they share is they always look amazing in photos. They exude an aura of brightness, they have a smile that could light up a room, and a presence that is contagious in its confidence. Happily, it's something that is within us all to present outwardly, and it's a very simple trifecta to master. It's wonderfully basic, and if followed exactly, will transform the way you look in photographs. There are three stages to this process, and all it takes to master is a few minutes practice in the privacy of your own home, for a lifetime of always looking fabulous in photos.
STEP ONE: Correct your posture
STEP TWO: Deep breath, close eyes to relax
STEP THREE: Release breath, retrieve joyful memory, and beam.
STEP ONE- Correct your posture: Posture, and the way we hold ourselves, is the thing that makes any body type look its most fabulous. It's all in the body language! We bow down to pocket rocket bootylicious babes who stand proud, rocking those bodies with confidence. We drool over the broad shouldered solid set man who looks like he could break down a door to a burning building, standing tall and sure of himself, back straight, shoulders back, head held high. We lust over the tall willowy girls, who instead of slumping to lower themselves a few inches to everyone else height, stand strong and upright, extended in all their wonder. We crush on the Joseph Gordon-Levitt looking slender man with delicate features, who is so confident with every inch of his being.
All of this achieved through posture!
- Imagine there is a string extending through your spine, out the top of your head, and someone it gently pulling you up straight, like a puppet.
- Gently roll your shoulders back (not so much that you puff your chest right out, this is all just gentle, natural ideal alignment).
- Assess whether you need to straighten yourself out even further by either gently pulling your hips forward, or pushing them back. Women often revert to slumping their shoulders forward and overarching their lower back so their bottoms stick out. You will need to analyse your own situation. It is helpful to stand side on in front of a full length mirror and look carefully at your posture.
- You should feel aware of your body, your core muscles gently activated. You may feel a little unusual, and perhaps vaguely horrified at how bad you have allowed your posture to slip, but this shouldn't feel physically awkward or overly uncomfortable.
- Finally, if you are standing, place one foot slightly in front of the other. The hip aligned with your back foot, turn about 45 degrees away from the camera, so your entire body is at a slight angle rather than being directly front on. Being square front on with the camera tends to have quite an unflattering, flattening and widening look in photos.
- Finally assess how you are holding your head. Don't lift your chin right up. Hold your head up straight, don't overly jut out your chin or pull it into your face, simply hold your head up straight and naturally. Then, drop your chin a fraction. The dimensions of your face will be caught in a very flattering manner, rather than unfairly being captured from an odd angle.
STEP TWO- Deep breath, close eyes to relax: Feeling relaxed and natural in front of the camera is vital when it comes to having a nice photo taken. When we tense up, it translates very clearly to the human eye. It is clear when someone looks uncomfortable. In order to counteract this natural tension and anxiety that so many of us feel when a camera is pointed at us, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. The power of breathing should never be underestimated. A good solid, slow and deep breath, that gently pushes out our lungs, filling them with oxygen, held for a moment, and then slowly released can have a formidable effect on our mental state, and in turn how we look. Closing your eyes helps to block out all visual stimulus for a moment, and to centre ourselves. It will also help in a moment when you need to retrieve a joyful memory (step 3).
STEP THREE- Release breath, retrieve joyful memory, and beam!
After taking your deep breath, and correcting your posture, it is time to open your eyes and smile as the photo is being taken. Except many of us hate our photo smiles! We feel they look fake, and unattractive. Yet how many of us would agree, that there is nothing more beautiful in a photo than one that has captured a genuine smile. A beam of happiness that is real joy- a head thrown back in laughter! Painting on a smile that looks genuine is very hard. What is easy and beautiful, is to smile a genuine smile, one that you can't stop from spreading across your mouth and beaming from your entire face. To do this, you need to draw on a happy memory. You need to mentally take yourself to a place that brings you joy that spreads over your entire body, so when the camera snaps for the fraction of a second, it has captured us expressing real joy. On a wedding day, a simple thing to do is ask yourself, how do I feel? The answer is often more than words, it is a beam that glows from the faces of two people bursting with love. For other occasions, you can draw on any number of things. This will always be a personal thing to you. I imagine my partner singing in the shower. Just typing that made me smile. You might imagine your children giving you a kiss or a special gift they made. You might recall you and your best friends overenthusiastic karaoke performance last Christmas. Take some time to collect a series of moments for you to draw on at a moments notice. You will know they are perfect if just thinking about them makes you smile.
So, align your posture, breath in, close your eyes, visualise your joyful memory, breath out, open your eyes, and allow that smile to beam across your face!