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7 tips for looking great in photos

Updated: Apr 28, 2019

Have you ever had to untag a photo on Facebook? Did a friend capture you at the wrong angle? Here's one of my favorites:

Two women talking
How NOT to look good in photographs!

What makes this photo so bad? First, I'm sitting in a very comfy couch and leaning back. That brings my belly (my least favorite part) forward, toward the camera, making it appear larger than it is. Also, my thighs and upper arms are squished, making them look bigger as well. It doesn't have anything to do with the photographer's skill, she just wanted to show us talking and having a good time. (Also, this isn't the worst photo I've ever seen of myself, but I couldn't find the worse ones. Thank goodness!!!)

This reminds me of trying and trying to get a good picture using my tripod and timer. I call this piece "Evolution of the Selfie."

Several images taken with a timer, all bad until the last one which is great
Whew, I'm a little tired from all that running back and forth!

Don't I look fabulous? It took a lot of trial and error to get just the right exposure, timing, zoom, angle, pose, and expression. This is SOOC (straight out of camera), too. No Photoshop!

OK, here are a few "rules" for looking good in front of the camera.

1. Know your colors! If you need help determining what looks best on you, there are loads of articles on the internet. Google, "What colors look good on me?" Then try on the recommended colors. See which ones you like best!

Paint and fabric samples in rust, orange, yellow, and gray
Make sure you're wearing your best colors!

2. Clothes that fit! If it's too large or too small, please don't! Either one can make you look bigger than you are.

Woman in oversized shirt
This shirt may be good for comfort, but it's definitely not great for photos!

3. No sparkly makeup. It can reflect back into the camera and emphasize any fine lines on your face. You might want to have a professional makeup artist help you.

4. Trouble areas away from the camera. For me, with a larger mid-section, that means putting my weight on my back foot and tilting a little toward the camera.

5. If it bends, bend it. Knees, elbows, hips, wrists, and fingers all look better with a bend. Stiff joints look awkward.

6. Chin forward (and down). Most women look best with their chin forward (like a turtle) and down a bit. Only forward if you have a smaller chin or a longer nose. Men tend to look better chin forward, possibly up a little. Try it in the mirror and with your camera's timer!

7. Camera angle is super-important! Only very lean bodies, like models can handle a low camera angle. Other body types benefit from the camera either at eye level or slightly above.

Woman with pearl earrings, standing with head tilted back
Watch your camera angles, if you don't want people to see up your nose!

And here’s a bonus tip directly from Tyra Banks:

Smize! Smile through your eyes. No fake, phony, cheeze-y smiles. Genuine smiles look great!

For more information on branding photography, go to

What tips do you have for looking good in photographs?

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