Recently, someone wrote to me asking for suggestions for some tips to get some great photos for herself. Flattered by the inquiry and always ready to help, I stared at my screen. I started to type, stopped, deleted and just came up blank. What do I know about taking great pictures? Truly, I had to admit I didn't know very much. And so began the process of this post.
I reached out to my friend Melisa of Glamourazzi Photography for help. If I knew someone who could tell a lady how to look good in a photo, it was her! A few weeks later I found myself in her studio hamming it up for her camera and I have to say, I learned a lot! Here were my biggest take-aways:
Be yourselfTempting though it might be to glam up and pour on the sex appeal, that's not who I am. If that's you, then awesome! Revel is your goddess like sex appeal. Me? I'm casual and silly and laugh a lot. When I look at all the photos she took, those are the ones I liked best.
|For a loooooong time I hated my too-big smile. Now, I know it's just part of who I am.|
No Camera Angle Will Turn You SkinnyI'm fat. The secret is out! So why would I think a photographer's "magic camera" would make me look otherwise? And even if it could, it wouldn't be a picture of "me".
|Rather than trying to hide and give a "take the damn picture I hate this" face (left), try to relax and just be you (right)|
Enhance Those CurvesTurns out, standing straight on at the camera looking uncomfotable isn't cute. Who knew?!? A little shift to a slight profile. a shoulder drop and relaxing the body does wonders!
You can't disappear, spread your wings!As we were working (okay, we were playing) I found that I kept putting my arms behind my back, raising up my shoulders and sometimes actually trying to drop to the ground in a ball (playfully of course). When I thought about it, it occurred to me that maybe I was (on some level) trying to make myself appear smaller. Now, I am a confident woman who embraces her body, but I have also had the very same struggles many of you have had about being in front of a camera. Okay this isn't a tip, but it was a heck of an "a-ha" moment for me.
|(far left) Hair up, arms hidden and details missed (middle) What went wrong? (right) Tousled hair, I have arms and my necklace is fixed! So pretty!|
Have FUN!!!!Ladies, this isn't 1905 when taking a photograph was a somber event. We have the luxury of all this amazing technology that gives us the ability to capture our most joyous moments and most authentic selves. Once we turned on some music, took a few really, really bad shots (on purpose) and I felt trust for the woman with the camera magic began to happen.
|Yeah. I did this. On purpose. Because, after this, how much worse could it possibly get?|
Find Your Signature PoseMany of us have that go-to pose that we feel our prettiest/best in. I haven't found mine yet, so I channelled four of my favorite bloggers to try what works so very well for them.
|I love how Marie (The Curvy Fashionista) often seems to be in the most remarkably beautiful stretching posture.|
|Trying to emulate three of my faves! (left to right)Doing my best Ragini far off stare, Nicolette's shy violet pose and Marcy's fun and flirty feel.|
Things to Avoid:
|(clockwise) 1) It's not a mugshot! 2) Everyone knows you have boobs, you don't have to be so obvious, 3) Lipstick on the teeth (or other missed details) can ruin a great shot, 4) Duckface is just stupid!|
|(clockwise) 1) SMILE!!!, 2) Show of your curves without blatant groping, 3) quick mirror check and you're good to go, 4) You can look sultry/sexy without channelling Donald/Daffy/(insert duck name of your choice here)|
A Note From the Photographer
As a photographer, I am often asked what I recommend during a photo shoot to make photos "pop". The answer is actually pretty easy! My standard, go to answer is always, "be yourself". No matter what type of photo shoot you are a part of, the best way to make them stand out is to add a piece of yourself somehow into the photos. If you are a fun spirited person, acting sexy and pouty will most likely make you feel a little bit ridiculous. And on the opposite side of that spectrum, if you are lucky enough to be a sultry siren, photos of you laughing and being cute probably aren't going to cut it for you. Don't be afraid to let your photographer know the type of person you are. If they are a good photographer, they will roll with the punches and work with you to create something that you will be able to ROCK!
My second (and hardest) tip is to pretend like the camera isn't there. Some of the best photos I've ever taken are when people are just talking to me one on one, having fun and relaxing. When someone is trying to constantly "make love" to the camera, they will undoubtedly forget to make the experience fun and exciting. I realize that it can be difficult to avoid eye contact with a large item in front of your photographers face, but the more you can pretend that it isn't there, the better your photos will turn out. Talk to your photographer during your photo shoot. Find something you can connect over, and it will make it seem like you are there with a friend.
Bring some music that makes you get into your groove. You know how you feel when you are driving in your car, and your favorite song comes on? You turn from a driving zombie into a dancing fool! Bring that song with you on cd or on your iPod, and crank it up! Go crazy, dance around, move around, and go with it! You'll be surprised at what kind of shots you will get JUST from dancing around!
You don't always have to look at a camera during the photo shoot. This is quite possibly the hardest trick to master. Don't STARE at something in the distance, instead, pretend that someone you are attracted to is sitting off camera, and you are just going to give them a flirtatious glance. As a photographer, I've had many moments where I am talking with my client, and they quickly look away- only to hear me say, "STOP RIGHT THERE!! Keep looking right there!" However, most often, that moment is gone once my client keeps trying to stare in the exact same spot. Nothing makes a photo look funnier than a person staring. Hard.
If you have longer hair, ask your photographer to use a fan during your shoot. There is nothing in the world that will make you feel sexier or more Victoria's Secret-esque than a little wind blowing in your hair. Trust me. And as a photographer, I especially LOVE the feel of movement in photos. It adds a dimension that would perhaps be lacking! Imagine the entire Victoria's Secret campaign without models and wind blowing in their hair... a bunch of women standing around in underwear and bras and FLAT hair. Ew.
Last, but certainly not least, don't forget to COMMUNICATE with your photographer! Let them know what you are thinking. Ask for direction (although, if they are a good photographer, you will receive direction from them). LISTEN to that direction, and don't be afraid to add a little flair of your own to it! Make that photo shoot your own. In the end, you will receive photos that are unique, special, and most importantly, YOU!!
**Melisa Tennies is the owner/photographer of Glamourazzi, a full-service boudoir photography studio located right outside of Palm Springs, CA. She started Glamourazzi almost two years ago when she realized there was a need for photographers for the every day woman. Glamourazzi's mission is to make ALL women feel beautiful, no matter their shape, size, or age. Visit her page on facebook at www.facebook.com/
glamourazzigirls for more information or to book your session.
Outfit Details:Shirt: Target
Earrings/Necklace: Betsy Johnson