Sunday, April 20, 2014

TIP: Taking more flattering pictures (and why you should care, at least a little)

I hate getting my picture taken.  So outfit blogging has been a bit of a problem, because pictures are what really brings a blog alive.  And I am NOT photogenic.  You cannot imagine how many photos get taken for each outfit - most of which are instantly discarded.  Seriously.

Why does it matter?  Well, it does, no matter how shallow it seems.  Do you want to hate EVERY picture of your child or family or friends in which you appear?  What a shame that would be, to taint every precious photo memory with bad thoughts about your appearance.  

That's how I spent decades of my life.  Instead of looking at a photo and remembering that special moment, I would focus on how bad I looked in the photo.  Now, I may have even more challenges to deal with to get a good picture, seeing as how I am (still) chubby and short, but now also old, however, with practice, I have learned how to usually get a decent posed shot that doesn't gross me out completely.  Now I can enjoy our family and friend photo memories more, instead of just obsessing about how ugly and unflattering a shot of me was. (Because how self-absorbed is that?)

Along the way, I have learned some tips I am happy to share.

1. Don't assume you are not photogenic.  Looking good in photographs is to some degree a learned skill.  There is a reason celebrities and bloggers often use the same poses.  They have LEARNED what looks good in photos.  You can learn it, too!

2. Take some pictures of yourself and evaluate what angle suits you best.  Not just facially, although that matters, too.  I had always read that you should stand with your body 3/4 view to the camera to look smaller, but I looked super busty in EVERY photo when I did that (note the before picture above).  Now I've learned to stand straight on to the camera, with shoulders back and arms a bit out from the body (but not too stiffly and artificially) (a la the after photo above).  Then I don't hate as many shots of myself.  That may or may not work for you, check it out.  If you are more apple-shaped, have people take full body poses for the photo (not just from the waist up), so that your slimmer lower body will show and balance out your top-heavy half.  If you are pear-shaped, get poses from the waist up to showcase your smaller upper body.

3.  Have the camera angled down, and tilt your chin down when posing for the picture.  Think shy Di (Remember Lady Diana, or am I completely giving away my age here?).  This avoids some of those crazy double chin photos we all love so much.  If you have a tripod, raise it as high as possible to have a downward angle on the picture.  You'll be pleasantly surprised.  Do NOT take photos from chin level pointing up, or from a lower level looking up.  Trust me, even a supermodel can't carry off that angle (Okay, maybe she can, but still, you get the point).

4. Think happy thoughts while posing, don't just worry about how much you don't want your photo taken.  This does not turn you into a selfie-crazed egomaniac.  Just give yourself a fighting chance.  Don't you deserve a few happy flattering photo memories, just as much as the selfie-crazed egomaniacs do?  You never know when you will get this photo opportunity again, at this place with these people.  Treasure it.  Time moves on, and you may only have this one photo to memorialize this moment.

5. Take lots of photos when you have a photo-op.  Most of us have a digital camera.  We're not wasting film to take lots of shots.  Just click away and give yourself the luxury of choosing from several shots.  You can't always tell from the camera screen which shots turned out well.  Especially when there are lots of people in the picture, more shots will allow for more chances to get everyone (or most everyone) looking photogenic.  (Then, for heaven's sake DELETE the bad photos.  There is no reason to post every picture you took.  Choose one or two good ones and get rid of the unflattering ones.)

6.  Learn to wear flattering clothing, which will take more flattering photos.  Notice the difference in the photos below.  For my body type, buttoning a jacket gives me a more streamlined-looking upper body.  Unbuttoned jackets don't look as flattering in the photo for me.  So, even if I'm really wearing the jacket unbuttoned, I can at least button it for the photo.  Find out what works for you, too.

(And give me props for sharing my less flattering photos for your sake!  Especially that hideous one in the opening collage...)





(Still don't love this shot, but it does illustrate the point of the buttoned jacket)

Last tip:
7. Think about adjusting your habits based on what photos tell you.  To a degree, photos don't lie (unless they are taken from a lower level, looking up with horrible lighting while you are talking or chewing - then they are lying, trust me!).  Maybe you need to change your makeup or hairstyle, or adjust some of your clothing choices, or even work a little bit on your outer appearance.  It isn't shallow.  To some degree, we usually reflect how we feel by the way we look.  If you aren't liking what you see, you probably aren't feeling your best either.  Give yourself the blessing of feeling (and looking, by extension), like the best version of yourself.  

I still have a ways to go on this, but outfit blogging has to some degree already helped me out in this area.  I believe I can improve!  And I hope this blog will show my progress.  And I hope you will progress right along with me.

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