With the arrival of the holidays come lots of photo opportunities: with relatives, with your family, your best friends, etc. Nothing, (really nothing), makes me sadder than to hear from my mom clients that they avoid getting in family photos. All I can think of are these sweet little children all grown up not having photos with their mom. Your children already think you are beautiful, but to make you feel better, here are some tips to pose yourself so you look your best for all your holiday photo opportunities.
- Stand tall: Just this one simple tip can make a world of difference in how you appear in photos. Avoid slouching by bringing your chest up and shoulders back and down. Please do this even for group photos. I often see group photos with the entire group tipping forward. This flatters no one.
- Angle yourself and shift your weight: Avoid standing ‘dead on’ to the camera, by standing at a 45 degree angle. You don’t need a protractor to ensure you are precisely 45 degrees to the camera. Just stand about halfway between being straight on and completely to one side. Once you’re standing at an angle, place your weight on the leg furthest away from the camera. Not only will this place the bulk of your weight away from the camera, this will put your body in an eye-pleasing “S” shape.
- Closer, closer, closer: This is what you’ll hear me say over and over when I’m photographing groups of people. Space between people appears exaggerated in photographs and connotat es disconnection. Also, having people close together hides hips and tummies, areas people often don’t want highlighted in photographs. Get close and then get closer.
- Long chin: When we laugh, we tend to pull our necks back and to one side. This can produce the appearance of a double chin, even for very lean people. Push your chin slightly forward to elongate your neck and add definition to your face. Make sure not to overdo it or push your chin upwards. Also, remember to only bring your chin forward and leave the rest of your body stationary.
- Soft hands that show connection: As we often hold tension in our hands, make sure your hands are ‘soft’ and not in a fist or clutching the person next to you. In a photograph, hands help show how people are connected. You can do this by gently holding someone’s hand or arm or softly placing your hand on their shoulder. Never put your arm around someone’s neck and rest your hand on their shoulder. This will put your body in an unflattering position and make your arm appear disconnected to your body.
- Smile from the eyes: For a genuine, engaging smile, make it start from your eyes, not your mouth. You can try this experiment in the mirror to see the difference. First, pretend someone is standing in front of you with a camera and they quickly say, “Smile.” Got that? Now, imagine that your child is running toward you after you’ve been apart for a while and you two embrace in a huge hug. Now smile. That beautiful image in your mind likely softened your eyes and face and resulted in a more pleasing expression.
While this may seem like a lot to remember, you’ll get the hang of it after a few times. Additionally, in my opinion, expression and connection are most important and ‘trump’ other posing rules. In other words, a photo with you conveying connection and authentic emotion is more compelling than a photo of you standing perfectly posed with a flat affect. So, please, make yourself present in photographs this holiday season. In fact, why not make yourself present in photos in general? You deserve it and so does your family.
Heidi is a professional photographer – for more information or to book a session please check out her website.