Pull the Chin Forward
When someone stands in their normal relaxed stand, or even stands up straight to have nice posture, there is a little bit of flab right underneath their chin. No matter how skinny they are, you will see this. If you tell people to bring their chin forward, which sounds like the sensible thing to do, they will point their chin at you, which brings their face up and ends with you shooting up their nostrils. (Not attractive.) Instead, tell your model to bring their ears forward.
Twist your body and position your arms
Ever wonder why every celebrity poses with her camera-facing arm on her hip? It’s because that move ensures her upper arm isn’t smashed against her body making it look flattened. If you find the hand-on-hip pose to be a bit forced, try holding your arms out from your sides ever so slightly. Position your body 45 degrees and put the arm closest to the camera on your hip. Then plant one foot slightly in front of the other, point your toe to the camera and place your weight on your back leg.
Occupy Your Hands
Hands are the hardest, because they quickly convey the nervousness at…well, hand. A selfie is an easy out because you literally have to hold the phone, therefore utilizing at least one hand. Props, like a cup of coffee or a handbag, also relieve you of hand-awkwardness. A peace sign is a tried-and-true option, although it feels a little stale to me. I love a good Rocky-esque thrown-up V, but very few situations warrant it. If you find yourself in front of the Sydney Opera House or on a yacht in Cannes, by all means, go for it.
Use a natural smile. Nothing can ruin a photo faster than a fake smile. Forced emotion will make the photo look just that – forced. Ignore your possible insecurities and smile naturally.
- Always smile with your teeth. People with crooked, yellowed, or somehow imperfect teeth can have the tendency to want to try to smile with their mouths closed to cover them up. Don’t do this – natural smiles always show teeth. For your portrait to look real, bare your teeth a bit, even if only through parted lips.
- When possible, have someone make you laugh. Real laughter produces some of the most beautiful photos and keeps you from having to think about your smile.
- Wet your lips before smiling, either by licking them or applying lip balm. This will prevent any unsightly cracks and will add a little more light to your face.