The Secrets to Looking Great in Every Photo

Have you ever downloaded a fresh batch of photos onto your computer, only to be mortified by how terrible you look in almost every single one? You quickly hit the delete button before anyone else has a chance to see, remorseful at the fact that they would have all been great pictures, "if only..."

Every person has the potential to either look great or terrible in a photo, regardless of whether they are chubby or thin, young or old. The trick is knowing how to maximize your best features while downplaying the less than perfect ones. Here are a few secrets that will help you look fabulous in every photograph!

The Dreaded Double Chin:

Even a thin person can be victim of a double chin in a photo if they're caught at the wrong angle. The best way to avoid it is to stretch your head and neck up as though you were trying to touch the ceiling with your head, and push your shoulders down and back. Tilt your chin up until you feel the skin pulling tight without any "slack."

The Flabby Arm Fiasco:

Many people, especially women, hate the way their arms look in photographs. Upper arms can appear flabby, untone and with "flattened" loose skin. The way to avoid this photo-ruiner is to be sure to never press your arms flat against your body when having your photo taken.

Lean forward just slightly, leading with your collar bone. Place your hands on your hips and tilt so you're facing the camera at an angle. Remember, the camera makes everything closest to it appear larger and that in the background look much smaller. So if you are leaning forward a bit, your arms and tummy will look smaller in the picture.

Also, the camera has a tendency to "flatten" things, so tilting at a slight angle towards the camera helps give your arms a much more tone, shapely appearance. Flex a little bit (without being too obvious) right before the flash goes off. This will tighten everything up!

The Frump Factor:

Lose 10 pounds instantly (or at least look like it) by simply standing up straight. Many people think they have good posture, but don't. If you are shy, it's probably even worse.

Stand up as tall as you can, push your heels through the floor and your head through the ceiling. Your tailbone should be pulling downward, while your collarbone is lifting up and out. Imagine a pole going straight through your head, down through your back and hips, and out your feet.

One of the most important things...make sure you have your tummy stretched as far as you can, and your shoulders back. Stand in front of a mirror and practice...you won't believe the difference.

Washed-Out Woes:

Light pink lip gloss and white eye shadow may look great on the runway models, but it doesn't go over so well on most people in a photo. Makeup tends to look much lighter and washed out than it actually is, and most makeup artists will tell you to wear much more makeup and darker colors than usual for taking photos.

This doesn't mean you have to pile it on three inches thick, but it does mean that using a bit more eyeliner and a brighter shade of lipstick can do wonders.

Count on your makeup looking about three times less vibrant in photos than in real life. Overcompensate as needed. Don't forget that the T-zone gets shiny...keep oil-blotting papers with you at all times.

Daylight Dilemma:

Taking photos when the sun is shining at its strongest in midday is almost never a good idea. I'm sure you're familiar with the dreadful "raccoon eyes" situation...a bright, washed out face with two dark, cavernous circles where the eyes are hiding.

This kind of lighting casts harsh shadows, and also makes one squint which isn't very flattering either. Also, this kind of light can wash out all of the subtle skin tones and make wrinkles look deeper due to the harsh shadow it creates. If a picture must be taken during this time, at least try to find a tree or a building that provides some shade so your photos come out great.

A Squishy Situation:

Of course, no one wants to look expressionless or dull in a photo, but be aware that if you smile too big, you are at risk of the "squishy face" result. Look in the mirror and try smiling to varying degrees...a small grin, one showing just a bit of teeth, and a full on half moon.

See how each one affects the other features of your face...does it bring out your eye wrinkles, show too much gums or make your cheeks look chubby? Of course you want to express your true joy in the form of a big smile, but it's good to at least be aware of which smile makes you look your very best, to use for those special times when you really want to look nice for the camera.

It is helpful to stand in front of a full length mirror and practice these techniques a few times so you can see the difference...then try snapping a few photos of yourself using the timer feature, until you are able to get it right each time. If you're going to hire a professional studio photographer, then it's good to know what's your best angle and what's best to highlight as everyone is different.

It's amazing what a difference these small hints can make. Put them into practice the next time you find yourself in the presence of a camera, and you'll be looking great in every photo.