Looking good in photos isn’t really about looks. It’s a confidence thing. And the good thing about confidence? You can fake it until you make it.
I used to photograph fashion and models. There was a model I loved working with. She wasn’t blow your socks off beautiful. But something extraordinary happened when she started working. She transformed, using her body and her face she would become another character. It was all about her confidence.
I tell often clients there’s 4 main areas where people carry awkwardness and fear in photos. Overcome these trouble spots and you’re on your way to looking more confident in all your photos.
Hands are the number one source of awkwardness in photos. So light a cigarette and hold it. No that’s a terrible idea! It took me about 20 years to give up smoking. Do not recommend. A better fix for awkward hands is to put them in your pockets or fold your arms across your chest.
Be careful about your facial expression with this pose though. It can read as defensive or aggressive so watch for that. The amazing Anna above doesn’t look aggressive though she just looks confident and awesome. Also, watch for tightly clenched fists. Keep your hands loose and elegant.
My other go-to pose to look confident in photos is hands in pockets. Some clients baulk at it because they think it comes off as too casual. I get that. But then I show them that their headshot is usually cropped from just above their jacket middle button and they relax. Like below:
The general corporate vibe is getting more casual so I reckon hands in pockets works. But I get that it’s not everyone’s thing. The photo above also demonstrates the 3/4 pose. His left shoulder is turned slightly away from the camera. The 3/4 pose is another classic, flattering pose.
I’ve only shown you 2 poses with your hands to look more confident. Of course there’s a million more things you can do with your hands. And I know you are thinking dirty thoughts now of things to do with your hands. Don’t be gross, this is a family space.
If you want to find different things to do with your hands to look good in photos, jump over to Pinterest or Google and do some research. If your photos are for a business setting or a personal brand though, I recommend keeping the posing simple. Anything too over the top and it can look contrived or fake.
We often carry fear in our eyes without being aware of it. There’s truth in the cliche – “the eyes are the window to the soul.” Luckily there’s a workaround for scary eyes.
Tyra Banks coined the phrase – smize. Which means: smile with your eyes. Smizing is a way to reduce the anxiety or fear your eyes might be showing. How? Give your eyes a gentle squeeze. Not too much mind. Too much and you’ll look like you’re straining for um… a poo. Sorry. And as you squeeze, keep a nice warm expression to your face. Imagine someone you love. You can do a bit of a mouth smile too, just not too much.
That’s all I’m going to talk about with smizing though. Because lucky for you I have a whole blog post on it:
Another good way to get the fear out of your eyes is to fake a laugh. Like a really loud, honking fake laugh. What usually happens is you feel like a goose, a natural laugh follows and your eyes will be nice and relaxed. And then you’ll look great in photos.
Pursed lips sink ships. No hang on that’s loose lips. Anyways, a clenched mouth is not a good look in a photo.
One easy way to get around that is to breathe through your mouth. It’s an old modeling photography trick. It leaves a little gap in your mouth leaving your face looking inviting. Don’t open your mouth too much or you’ll look silly. It’s unlikely you’d use the open mouth look for a corporate photo. This look would be more for a serious or sensual pose. Mouth open is a pose an influencer or model might use.
The closest example I found to show you is a photo of the incredible Maddie. It’s from a model folio I photographed:
You can also get rid of tension in your mouth by stretching your mouth and making noises. Like acting or singing exercises to loosen up. Like this:
I’m so so sorry to subject you to that terrible GIF of me. But I had to show you mouth relaxing somehow! Do this and all the tension in your mouth will be released and you’ll look more confident in photos.
This is for full length or 3/4 body photos. A lot of photography (fashion photography in particular) is about creating shapes with your body. Try crossing one leg over the other just above your feet. You could also try extending one leg out a to the left or right.
Another trick is to shift the weight a bit from one foot to the other. Lifting one leg up just slightly. Like in the pose below at left. There’s many different poses you can try with your legs. Just avoid standing straight up and down with arms awkwardly hanging at your sides, like in the middle example below.
FYI, all the posing infographics here were generated in Bing’s new AI image creator. Don’t look too closely at her face though it’s a bit bonkers, haha. Her booobs are a bit wonky too.
I’ll be doing a deep dive into playing with AI and headshots in a blog post coming soon.
Another good way to feel more relaxed and confident in photos is to lean against a wall. You can then raise one foot. Like a sassy hooker. Omg did I just say the quiet part out loud?
Now you’ve got some hot tips for looking more confident in photos, get out and practice. And tag me @photoform_gram on Insta with any photos you come up with. I’ll be your number one cheerleader.
Oh and another way to look great in photos is to hire me as your photographer. 😜 If you’re in Melbourne and need fresh pics or headshots, jump over to the Photoform* mothership and we’ll sort you out. Click the photo below to visit our cosy website.
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