SO you've taken a few selfies and hated how they look - wondering all the while how Instagrammers make themselves look so effortlessly perfect in every photo. Am I right?!
Well, know that firstly, for every photo they post there are probably 100+ more on their phone waiting to be deleted, where they've gone 'ugh, I look terrible...try again' and secondly, they've filtered and 'massaged' the hell out of that one image so there's a good chance it barely resembles the original person in it.
Don't believe everything you see.
But, importantly, they also know how to pose themselves. Here are a few useful tips and tricks I tell all my subjects (ssh they're a trade secret) so that they will never more feel conscious in front of the camera.
First - get yourself in front of a full-length mirror so you can see what you're doing! Put on something you feel fabulous in - it will totally change your attitude.
Taking a selfie? Always be in the centre of the frame. Anyone around the edge of a selfie always looks stretched - have you noticed?
Get your face as far away from the phone as possible. Smartphone cameras have such wide angle lenses that the closer you get to it, the more your features get distorted.....huge forehead? Massive nose? Anything closer to the camera will look bigger and this will be massively magnified on smartphones. Selfie sticks may be naf but they work.
Anything closer to the camera will look bigger. So get hands, feet, knees back in line with the rest of your body so they're not magnified on camera.
Same goes for bums and hips. If you're standing - push your hips backwards to make them look slimmer.
Chin down. Chin down. Chin down.
Yes, really. It's so tempting to try to elongate our necks to hide any spare chins, but trust me it's not a flattering look. Try it in the mirror and see. Your eyes look small (suspicious), your nostrils look flared (haughty) and your chin looks massive.
It's all about body language....chin up - you look unapproachable. Chin down, you look more engaged and sincere. Your eyes are bigger (window to the soul?) and when you look at the camera, it's much more expressive.
But, it's not quite that simple....there's a knack to the chin down.
It's not chin-to-chest via shortest route possible. That would give even a stick insect several chins. Instead imagine you are holding a pencil under your chin and you just have to pop your chin 'over' it. So over and down. It needs to be a really small & subtle movement, but look in the mirror and you'll see suddenly it creates distance between your chin and your neck and contours along your jawline. Drop your front shoulder a bit, towards the camera, and then suddenly that makes the chin-down manoeuvre slightly easier.
See? Voila. Simples.
Oh and last thing on the chin....squeeze your tongue to the roof of your mouth and it instantly lifts under the chin. Look in the mirror if you don't believe me.
Then all you've got to do is master the tongue trick with smiling openly and you've nailed it.
Never look or stand square-on to the camera. It's the most uninteresting angle. We want to create shape and curve.
Position yourself slightly at an angle to the camera, and stand with your weight mostly on your back leg. Pop your hip out. Pop your opposite shoulder out the other way - so they're pointing in opposite directions and twist your top half a little bit...and there you have some shape.
Having your bottom half and top half point/twist in opposite directions is flattering.
Same goes if you're sitting. Never sit square on in a chair - 'drape' yourself into the corner, along the arms and cross your ankles - it just looks more attractive.
Arms...... never weight bear on them. It flattens the top of your arm making it look twice the size. Hold your arms slightly away from your body (slightly! Not so you look like you're airing your pits!) - that distance will slim them too.
Same goes for pointing your elbows back and away from the camera. Try it - I promise it works.
Hands. Always tricky to pose as in real life they're usually doing something and they're the first place to show tension when we're going through the purgatory of having our photo taken.
So give them something to do. And no, not picking your nose.
Hook them in a pocket, tuck hair behind an ear, fiddle with a cuff or lapel, or simply gently hold one hand in the other.
Just keep your fingers loosely together and thumbs not out like you're hitching a ride and then you won't look like you've got claws. Think 'ballet hands' - a little poise and elegance looks great. And relax.
Mouth. Again - a trouble spot for showing tension and we have no clue we're doing it. Breathe with your mouth slightly open and it stops you holding tension in your lips. Smile with your mouth open as nothing says 'insincere' more than a smile with your lips clamped shut. Just like when you force a smile for the person at the supermarket you really didn't want to bump into.
And most important of all - RELAX.
Do a little mental check. Drop your shoulders, relax your fingers, breathe deeply and think happy thoughts. Honestly, they do show on your face.
Nothing looks as awkward in photo as a person who is clearly a stiff as a board trying to smile.
Think of something funny or, awks, make yourself laugh and the sheer awkwardness of doing that will bring out a real smile - the real you. That's the you we want to see!
I appreciate there's a LOT to remember. This modelling lark is harder than it looks.
But when I photograph you, I will gently guide you the whole way - directing and moving you into the most flattering poses that you've probably never imagined would look good. That's my job xxx