In my family, I am the archivist. Not only do I keep baby clothes and favourite stuffed animals, but I also have twelve years worth of school projects and report cards for both of my kids all neatly packed away. I’m also the photographer, and like other persons responsible with taking the family photos, I have found that I am in very few of them myself. This is partly due to the fact that I love to have creative control over photos and enjoy getting wonderful candids of the people that I love. It’s also because I hate having my picture taken. Sadly, this leads to very little photographic evidence of the self proclaimed hottie that I used to be in my younger days. If I were to die tomorrow, I pity the person in charge of putting together my memorial because they would be scrounging for evidence that would prove that I actually existed.
School photos were always a disaster. When I was young and my mom was responsible for my look, I was sent to school wearing a dress with hair nicely put in barrettes in such a way that my ears didn’t show. Hopefully the photographer of the year could be counted on to not tuck my hair behind my ears because then my mom would have to painstakingly colour over them in each and every picture. You would think the photographer would realize that if you had ears that looked like a taxi cab with the doors left open that you wouldn’t want them showing. No matter how nice I may have looked leaving the house, by the time the photo was snapped, it looked like I had spent the last few hours wrestling a bear. I was always leaning at some crazy angle and my hair was usually sticking up. When I was in highschool, I was perpetually tired. My yearbook photos are no one’s fault but my own. Sleep trumped getting up early to do my hair and put on make up. And let’s face it, even if I did, I would still be doing something strange in the picture. Without aging myself too much, I’m also admitting that we didn’t have cell phones. Say what you want about taking selfies, but people who take their own photos on the regular know how to pose. After all, practice makes perfect!
So, in the interest of learning how to be in front of the camera rather than behind, I am going to practice what I preach. Here are some of my favourite tips that will have you giving good face like a pro.
- Avoid the double chin. Do not look down while a photo is being taken or you will look like Jabba the Hutt. Even in a natural pose, you will have a little bit of a double chin no matter how slim and fit you are. Think of pushing your face towards the photographer. You will feel like an ass, but you will be amazed at how chiseled your face has just become.
- Unless you’re lucky enough to be Kelly Ripa, don’t face the camera straight on or you will suddenly have the shoulders of a linebacker. Angle your shoulders and don’t leave your arm laying flat against your torso. Lift your arm an inch or two so it’s not flattening against your side and looking larger than it is.
- Never turn down a photo opportunity when the natural light is just right. If anyone whips out a camera during the Golden Hour, just smile and let your face soak up the glow.
- Get in front of a mirror and figure out your good side/angle. Once you know what it is, practice it until muscle memory takes over. Then, hopefully you will be able to dredge it to the surface when you’re not feeling so photogenic.
- HAVE FUN! The few photos that I do like, I have noticed that I’m usually having fun. The candid shots that don’t feel forced. Bring that energy to your next family photo shoot and you’ll be sure to end up with some that you love.