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Recently took a trip down memory lane and checked out your old photos? While some perfectly depict the happy memories you fondly remembered, there may be other images of you that are just terribly awkward.

By now, you’re most likely thinking about what you did wrong that prevented you from looking good in photos. Fortunately, with the right tips and tricks, you can learn how to properly pose in front of the camera. Here is a complete guide on how to be photogenic.

But before taking a look at the essential tips, take a look at these common mistakes you commit that can lead to badly-taken images of yourself.



1. Your Face Looks Pale

Looking pale during a photoshoot is the instant formula to achieve awkward-looking images of yourself. For instance, not putting any lipstick or lip balm makes your lips (and overall face!) appear unhealthy. Using the wrong shade of foundation can also contribute to the dreaded washed-out look.

2. Your Face is Blank

If you’re not showing any signs of emotion towards the camera, this can translate badly in the camera. It ultimately shows that you are either bored or uninterested to have your photos taken.

And while some people can fake a smile for the camera to convey atleast one emotion, it can look forced and ungenuine.

3. Your Eyes are Closed

Squinted and closed eyes due to a strong flash of light never looks good on camera. However, you should know that some people naturally blink just before the shutter clicks. To avoid accidental closing of your eyes, opt to have your photo taken numerous times.

On the other hand, opening your eyes widely during a shoot can actually make you look like a deer caught in the headlights or worse, slightly crazy. This ultimately results in an unattractive appearance in images.

4. Your Body Position is Wrong

If you don’t know the right angles that flatter your body, expect to look immensely awkward (and even slimmer or fatter than you already are!) in photos.

For instance, posing your body straight-on in front of the camera makes your photo look a lot like a mugshot. This angle is also not flattering at all as it makes you appear heavier in camera. Do also know that whatever is closest to the camera appears bigger. When posing for your next photo, remember not to cross your arms or cock a hip towards the camera as they give you the optical illusion that they are larger.

5. Your Clothes Are Not Flattering

Your fashion style also contributes to awkward-looking photos. Be aware that while some clothing (billowy tops and tunics) can look chic in real life, they often don’t translate that well on camera.

6. Your Hair is Dull

You probably think more about your facial expression and body position than your hair on photoshoots. However, when not properly styled, they can look flat or messy and frizzy, leading to a bad photograph of yourself.

That’s why it’s a must to place importance on them, too. After all, your hair is your crowning glory and it symbolizes your inner beauty, health, and personality among other things.

7. You are Not Ready

Probably the most common reason why you have an awkward-looking photo of yourself is the fact that you’re not ready when the photographer clicked the shutter button. This can lead to all sorts of things in your images from closed eyes to an open mouth or just simply an angle that doesn’t quite look as good in the mirror.


Now that you have an idea of what you did wrong that resulted in badly-taken photos, you’re probably curious about how to correct them. Read on to learn how to become more photogenic in photos.

1. Tilt Your Head

Posing straight-on towards the camera never yields favorable results. Always remember that your face is naturally asymmetrical. As such, it’s best to tilt your head at an angle that you know is your “good side.”

Doing so instantly gives your features depth and make them significantly better-looking in photos. By tilting your head, you’re also giving off a very relaxed and friendly vibe compared to the stiffness and formality you often find when posing straight-on. Lastly, don’t be afraid to look slightly above or below to emphasize a facial feature that you like.

Tip: Want to achieve a stronger jawline or minimize the appearance of a double chin? Try elongating your neck forward and tilting your chin down.

2. Strike a Natural Smile

A fake smile, while for a good purpose, can still look bad in images as they look ultimately forced. Make sure to smile naturally in front of the camera to achieve natural-looking photos.

However, this can be quite tricky especially if you’re feeling particularly down during that day. If such happened, just think about a happy memory such as eating your favorite meal or cracking the biggest joke. This can help set the mood.

You can also try smiling with your eyes (or “smizing” as supermodel Tyra Banks said) to get a genuine-looking smile for your photographs. If it doesn’t work, you can always put the tip of your tongue on the back of your teeth in order to smile naturally while avoiding the unflattering wide grin.

3. Enhance Your Features

For women, using makeup products can help them enhance their natural facial features and make them look better on photos.


  • · Define Your Brows – Apply a darker shade than you would normally use as colors typically appear lighter on camera. Defining your brows is also perfect for those lazy days as they instantly frame your face for a wide-awake look.

  • · Skip the Heavy Foundation – Heavy foundation can look cakey and thick on photos. Stick to a lightweight concealer to hide trouble spots such as redness and dark circles.

  • · Use EyelinerYour eyes are believed to be the window to your soul. Don’t let them disappear in your photo! By lining your lids with eyeliner, you can make your eyes appear bigger. Opt to use a lighter shade such as brown if you’re going for casual and candid portraits.

  • · Put on Mascara– After using eyeliner on your lids, you can now coat your lashes with mascara to open them up even more. The more open they are, the more likely the light can enter. This leads to that “twinkle” look in your eyes which ultimately draws people to the photo.

  • · Apply Blush and Contour Powder – If you want to define your features and make them look less flat, apply blush on the apples of your cheeks and contour powder on your cheekbones and jawline.

Tip: Don’t have a blush with you? Pinch your cheeks right before you take photos. This would instantly give color to your face that translates well on camera.


  • · Don’t Forget the Lipstick! – Lastly, don’t forget to put on lipstick! However, do avoid darker shades as they can make your lips look small. Likewise, dark matte lipstick finishes result in a dry, dull, and overall unflattering appearance.

4. Angle Your Body

Instead of posing for the camera full-on, you should angle your body atleast 45 degrees away from it. This helps you achieve a slimmer body that looks better in photos.

  • · Try the “Red Carpet” Pose – The “Red Carpet” pose simply refers to putting your hand on your hips (for a more toned arm), turning the body to the side (for a slender appearance) and turning your head toward the camera (for the iconic pose that ultimately says “confidence”).

Tip: While extremely flattering, the “hand-on-your-hips” stance found on the “Red Carpet” pose can appear quite stiff on some angles. For a natural look, put the arm back with your elbow facing behind you instead of perpendicular to your body.


  • Turn Away from the Camera – Found the “Red Carpet” pose is too extra? Know that simply turning your torso away from the camera has the same slimming benefit. However, if you don’t want to emphasize some parts of your body, don’t put them close to the camera as it can appear bigger than it actually is.

  • Pose with a Good Posture – Before posing for the camera, make sure to pull your shoulders back and straighten your spine. This makes you look more confident and prepared to take photos, leading to great images of yourself.

5. Wear the Right Clothes

During the photoshoot, it’s a must to wear clothes that flatter your unique body shape. This ensures you look great when you pose in front of the camera.


  • · Apple Body Shape – People with this figure has a heavier, bigger-looking upper body compared to the lower part of their bodies.It’s best to take attention away from the midriff by adding layers such as a jacket or cardigan. You can then wear wide-leg trousers or bellbottoms to balance out your body shape.

  • Hourglass Body Shape – This enviable body shape has a wide bust, a narrow waist, and wide hips similar to the measurement of the bust—ultimately shaped like an hourglass. Since you have a perfectly balanced figure, you can fit into any clothing you like while still looking great. If you want to emphasize your upper body, go for V or sweetheart necklines. On the other hand, wear A-line skirts or dresses if you want to highlight your lower body.


Tip: Even though almost anything looks perfect on this body shape, avoid wearing loose tops and pants as they cause an unflattering look.


  • · Pear Body Shape – A pear-shaped body is characterized by a wider hip and bigger backside area than the upper part of the body. If styled correctly, you can create the illusion of an hourglass figure with this particular body shape. Choose wide-legged pants and A-line skirts or dresses to complement your silhouette. To add more definition to your upper body, try wearing crop tops and clothing with scoop or boat neckline

  • · Rectangle Body Shape – This body shape is generally balanced from shoulders to the hips. But unlike the hourglass body shape, there are no defined waist and significant curves. When dressing up for this silhouette, focus on enhancing your arms and legs as they are your assets. Pick ruffled and layered tops as they add definition to your upper body. You can also rock sleeveless and strapless clothing.

  • · Inverted Triangle Body Shape – This particular figure is often regarded as the most “athletic-looking” body type of all others. It’s partially because of the size and shape of your shoulders are much broader than your hips. As such, it’s best to wear bottoms that would flatter your lower body. Choose pencil skirts, skinny jeans, and the like and partner it with any top you like. In particular, shirts with V-neck lines create the illusion of narrow shoulders.

Tip: Avoid any layered tops as your upper body doesn’t need defining anymore.

Aside from your body shape, you should also consider your complexion and what colors look best for you. As a general rule, solid-colored clothes look better compared to those with patterns. For one, patterns can wrongly highlight body features you’re trying to hide. They can also look confusing, exaggerated and overall unappealing.

6. Give Life to Your Hair

Dull, flat hair never looks good on camera which makes you appear awkward in photos. To give your locks instant volume, flip your head over and part your hair to the opposite side. You can also try back-brushing or teasing your hair to create soft volumes. However, do not be aggressive as this can damage your locks.

If you find flyaways a problem, you can put some pomade or oil to control frizz. Still, avoid putting on generous amounts of styling products as excessively wet and slick hair looks tacky on photos.

Tip: Don’t forget to pose with your hair! You can try putting your locks behind one ear, both ears, over your shoulder or even tie them up to achieve your desired look.

7. Find the Light Source

Knowing the light sources used by your photographer helps tremendously in capturing great photos of you.

For instance, stand closer to a window and turn towards the sunlight to naturally illuminate your face. Lamps, streetlights, and even doorways are also good light sources when there’s no camera flash.

In order to get the best lighting for your photos, opt to take them during the golden hour (one hour before sunset). By this time, the sun produces softer light leading to more flattering images of yourself.

Did you know? After the golden hour, it’s not completely lights out. In fact, after this period comes the “blue hour” or early night at twilight when the skies turn cooler hues.

As for the light sources you should avoid, don’t stand directly under a light as it casts harsh shadows on your face.

8. Consider Using Props

Sometimes the reason why you look awkward in photos is because of the fact that you feel exactly the same when posing for the camera—awkward.

To solve this problem, consider using props for your next photoshoot. Holding on to a flower, a book, a cup of coffee, or just any other item, can help you feel relaxed in front of the camera. Aside from minimizing your awkwardness, these items can also help you express yourself better by adding personality to your images.

9. Take Lots of Photos

For some people, posing in front of the camera is really dreadful—a task they want to be quickly done and over with. However, ending your shoot earlier leads to higher chances of ‘missed’ and badly taken photos.

Make sure to ask the photographer to take lots of pictures. The more frames your photographer capture, the better probability that you’d be happy with the photos.

10. Show Emotion

In order to look good in photos, you need to convey at least one character and emotion. And while thinking about the word “Cheese” helps you strike a smile for the camera, it can look fake. Always remember that a natural, genuine smile wins over a fake one every time.

Tip: It’s best to plan your shoot at a familiar and comfortable place. This helps you ease up, resulting in showing genuine emotions.

11. Be Confident

When you feel confident about yourself, the more likely you’d be able to pose freely in front of the camera. This feeling of confidence can even radiate in your photos, leading to overall better images of yourself.

Stop thinking about any faults or flaws you might have and focus instead on the features you like best about yourself. Remember that everyone is unique and beautiful in their own way.

12.Listen to Your Photographer

Some people like to be in charge of their every pose and movement in front of the camera without ever listening to the photographer.

This would be a big mistake though. For one, your photographer is actually the one behind the camera—he can instantly see the results of your images. He’s also equipped with the right knowledge of the best angles, lighting, and composition that are all essential in giving you great photographs.

That’s why it’s best to listen carefully to his instructions. He’ll be able to direct your pose so you look good in your images. And if you want to achieve a certain look or peg, you can always consult him first and let the power of collaboration happen.

Being photogenic isn’t as easy as it seems. Fortunately, with these right tricks and tips in mind, you can learn how to properly pose in front of the camera just in time for the new year.

However, arming yourself with this guide isn’t enough to look good in photos, you have to find the right photographer who can capture high-quality images of yourself. I am Abi, a fine arts photography studio in the Philippines, offer solo portrait shoots that can bring out your vision and emotions. You can also opt to have fine art portraits that depicts you as a work of art. Book a session with us today!

Check our blog for more informative articles about fine art portraits, wedding photography, and photography in general.

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