I Was Unphotogenic, Until I Learned This

Updated 04/04/19

On most days, I feel completely confident. I’m happy with my wild curls, pale skin, and big eyebrows—funnily enough, attributes I used to think were flaws have become my best assets. But, every once in a while, I get caught in a spiral of I’m not good enough–type feelings. There have been several think pieces about the damage social media has done to our psyche—how it breeds jealousy and negative thoughts. I don’t really feel that way. I love Instagram, I love sharing parts of my life with those who care to look (and, hopefully, to like).

But there is one thing I realized through all of it—I’m unfortunately, and for a time, hopelessly, unphotogenic.

When I posted a picture, it was after several (that’s being generous) failed attempts. I thought I was smizing when I was scowling and standing up straight when I was slumped over. I just didn’t know how to hold myself for photos. So, in order to keep my passion for a pretty feed and lots o’ likes going strong, I came up with a few rules to live by each time the camera clicks. Previously, we talked a lot about finding your light. But these have less to do with outside circumstances and more to do with you.

To say they’re easy to follow is an understatement—I’m not a model after all. And, who needs more hardships in life? Keep scrolling to get schooled on how to be more photogenic, the easy way.

Play with Poses

Standing in front of the camera is inherently awkward—because of course it is. It feels unnatural most of the time. But, there are ways to look less uncomfortable than you feel. Move around a bit, play with your sunglasses, etc. It’ll make for a more interesting photograph and it’ll put you at ease. Posing will get less difficult and you’ll come up with a few familiar go-tos over time. Some can take unabashed, sultry-eyed selfies and look genuinely great—I am not one of those people. So instead, I’ve had to come up with a way to look (and feel) like myself in every picture.

Know Your Angles 

It’s hard to look good straight on. Or at least, it’s hard for me. Instead, I’ve started to get a knack for how to position my face in a way that shows off my bone structure. My "side" is my left. So, when posing for pictures, I make sure to keep my eyes on the lens but turn my face a bit to highlight that side. I also began to notice photographers would consistently tell me to "lower my chin." Raising it, I realized, had become a reflex in order to ward off phantom fear of a double chin—but that’s just my own insecurity.

Now, I keep my chin down while I pose and it’s made a huge difference.

Go With Awkward Feelings

There's no reason to pretend you're someone you're not in front of the camera. I posed for 20 to 30 pictures before landing on the above Boomerang. I just wasn’t feeling it—until I decided to get a little weird. Posing for photographs doesn't have to be a serious, stressful thing. Letting your personality and quirks shine through can make a picture. Do I look ungraceful? Sure, but, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Try Doing Something

Some of my favorite pictures are a far cry from the traditional composition. Instead of standing, popping a hip out, and flashing a smile, I feel more comfortable mid-move. Sipping a drink, flipping my hair, laughing over the ridiculousness of posing in general—It’s all fodder for natural-looking pictures. It’ll keep them interesting for your friends to look at and easier for you to pull off.

Experiment with a Different Look

I have a go-to beauty look and very rarely deviate from that. I found that after a while, I got sick of it. My pictures all looked the same and my likes started to trail off. I upped the ante a bit with a look that was really different than my usual no-makeup makeup. I slicked my hair back, applied a bright orange-y, red lipstick and really loved the results. It's the easiest and most fun way to boost your confidence while you pose.

Consider Your Posture 

A huge reason I was unhappy with most of my pictures was because I had such bad posture. I slump my shoulders habitually and it can absolutely ruin a photo. Now, when I pose, even if I’m looking down or away from the camera, I always think about my shoulders first. I stand tall, put my shoulders back, and get ready for a really great photograph.

This post was originally published on September 22, 2016.

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