Between all of the smartphone selfie and filtering apps out there, we practically don’t even need our real faces for pictures anymore. Many of us look so different on social media, we may as well be different people. Even with all the technology out there though, there are still a few au naturel ways that it’s easy to learn how to look better in pictures — and still look like ourselves! Let’s resolve to be more authentic and still look our best, shall we? Below are some old fashioned (tech-free) ways to look better in photos instantly.
Take a few minutes to adjust before snapping the photo:
“I know we all like things quick and in real-time now, but a few minutes could make the difference between a photo you love and cherish and one that you never want to look at,” says Melis of Melis+Dainon Beauty, Body, & Celebrity Photography. This means to know your angles. Chin up/down, face left/right, looking directly at the camera/head slightly tilted. Find how you feel you look best and go with that. Once you know, you’ll feel better about taking photos and will be happy keeping a lot more of them, which means more memories are preserved.
“There are people that will say you should always shoot from a certain angle or never pose a certain way, but you need to know what looks best with you,” says photographer Benjamin Weatherston. Just because your friend always stands with her left hip out and tilts her head to the right and puts her chin up doesn’t mean that you should do the same. Everybody is different and will translate differently on camera. The only way to find out is to spend some time in front of a mirror or have someone take a bunch of photos of you to see which ones look the best.
If you are really feeling happy, sexy, etc., then let it show. “It will ultimately be a photo that you smile at because you remember the feeling of the moment, not just how cute your hair is,” says Melis. Don’t care so much about how you look, and focus more on how you feel! Remember, pictures are there to preserve memories of amazing times, don’t let a silly smile or off-angle make you throw that memory away. Even if you don’t want to share it with the world, keep it for yourself (you are allowed to have photos you don’t post on Instagram!). Ultimately, emotion and realness are key — that is what triggers your memory and makes you smile when looking at your photos.
“It sends a weird subconscious message, that you got all dressed up and had no one to take a picture for you. Selfies should come off as more casual and effortless, not like you got ready for prom just for your iPhone,” says Virginia Roberts, an online dating coach.
A confident attitude is more attractive than any piece of technical advice. Don’t hide behind people and give real, genuine smiles. “Laughter is sexy!” reminds Roberts. See if you can get a shot cracking up or just grinning at something a friend said. “A natural shot of you enjoying your life is better than you posing with weird pursed lips to kiss an imaginary prince,” says Roberts. Just be yourself and have fun, but make sure a pal is documenting the moment from time to time! (You can take turns so everyone gets cute pics at some point.)
It’s all about the light:
“Most bars, restaurants, and clubs have horrible lighting, so always go with quality over quantity. Light bouncing off a wall is better than gross shadows,” says Weatherston. Melis advises avoiding direct overhead lighting that makes your hair glow and your face dark. If you are able to point your face toward a light source, it will be more flattering and will avoid under eye circles and bags. Forward-facing light is best for more even skin.
Know your strengths:
Highlighting and contouring in the right places are most important when it comes to emulating the flattering effects of our fave Instagram filters. “If you have dryer skin, use a cream highlighter instead of a powder highlighter on the cheekbones and on the bridge of the nose. Mix up shimmer and matte shadows to create contrast, too much shimmer will not give any dimension. Also, prepping the skin with a primer will help your foundation look much smoother. Make sure your foundation is blended thoroughly into your neck as well,” says Elaina Badro, a celebrity makeup artist.
Image via Justin Pumfrey/Getty Images