Simple tricks to wow the social media world with your profile pic
Hire a Pro, Just Once
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Great hair and makeup are key to a flawless presentation, says Holly Ernst, pageant queen-turned-coach and owner of Sparkle!. "If you never really learned how to do it, hire a respected makeup artist for a lesson—you’ll be glad you did. Most will charge around $100 for a one-hour lesson, and it's money well spent." Just make sure to take notes and pics so you can recreate the look yourself.
Find Your Good Side
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Everyone has a good side, Ernst says. "Take some time to look through old photos of yourself. Note ones where you really like how you look and figure out which side of your face is to the camera and how your body is angled."
For most people, a 45-degree angle (or 3/4 turn) is flattering, unless you have a larger nose, in which case you should face the camera straight on. "If you tilt your head away from the camera, make sure your eyes are still looking at it."
Don't Be a Poser
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Put your best foot forward, literally. There's a reason that most red-carpet pics looks the same—starlets with their hands on their hips, one leg slightly forward, and the lower body angled away. That said, Ernst cautions against using the same pose too often.
"Don't do the hands-on-hips thing all the time! It looks affected. You need to mix it up." She advises taking practice shots of yourself, either with a friend or a self-timer, and seeing what looks most natural and flattering for you. A few pointers to get you started: Keep your arms away from your body to improve your posture and make them and your waist look smaller, slightly arch your back (think Victoria's Secret models), and remember that whatever is closest to the camera will look the biggest.
Think Happy Thoughts
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To avoid that awkward ack-don't-take-my-picture smile, thinking happy thoughts can go a long way. Pro portrait photographer Allison Temple swears by this trick with her clients. "It sounds kind of silly, but when people are thinking about someone or something they love, you can see it in their eyes and expression. So I tell people to remember a really happy memory or think of a funny story." Plus, it can help you relax and feel more natural in front of the camera.
Posture Makes Perfect
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You don't have to be ballerina-perfect to look great in a picture, but you do need to be conscious of your body. If you don't consciously fix your posture, you'll likely look like you're slumping, even if you don't feel like you are, Ernst says. Bring your shoulders up toward your ears, then back, and then down. It looks more natural than just pushing them back and sticking your chest out.
"It takes practice to look 'natural'" Ernst adds. Elongate your neck and slightly push your forehead towards the camera. It will feel a little strange but it will keep you from getting the dreaded double-chin and make your eyes look bigger. (Want proof? It works!)
Wardrobe on Set!
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You may not have a personal stylist like many of Ernst's clients, but you can still put together an outfit that brings out your best features. Keep clothing basic but well-tailored. "An outfit that fits you perfectly can take off five to 10 pounds!" Ernst says.
Pick one or two colors that make you feel really confident and pretty, and then find a simple, classic top in that shade. "I actually tell people to avoid black or white right next to their face, as they can be very harsh." Ernst also suggests staying away from loud patterns that can turn into magic-eye tricks on camera.
Cut the Background Noise
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Beautiful scenery is nice, but simple is better if you want the focus to be on your lovely face. A plain, light-colored or lightly-patterned (think bricks) wall works well for most people. Avoid having a window or mirror in the picture at all but especially not behind you—any light from behind will shadow your face.
Make Lipstick Actually Stick
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The key to luscious lips? A good base. "First, apply foundation and translucent powder to bare lips. Next, create definition by drawing just outside the lines with a flesh-toned concealer pencil. Outline your lips with a neutral-colored lip liner and fill it in on your whole lip before adding lipstick on top. A dab of gloss placed on the center of the lower lip (not the whole lip—it looks gloppy) offers a dewy, delectable finish.”
Eyes on the Prize
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If eyes are the windows to the soul, eyelashes are the curtains! And nothing frames your eyes better than false lashes (hello, Zoey Deschanel)! You don't have to spend a lot of money to look chic. "There are some great, inexpensive ones out there, like Ardell, that really make your eyes pop. Find them at your local drugstore or even grocery store," Ernst says. "If you are wearing them during the day, use a natural looking lash that blends with your own lashes. Save the thicker, longer ones for evening or a night out."
As for application, it just takes a little practice. There are some great YouTube tutorials that can help you get the hang of it.
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The key to a beautiful, candid profile picture is in yourself, not in a computer. These days it's all too easy to brighten teeth, erase birthmarks, and even shave off a few pounds with a click of the mouse. Unfortunately it's just as easy to take it too far. It's okay to use basic photo-editing software like Picasa or Photoshop to crop, fix poor lighting, or even zap a couple of zits, but the more you use the fancy filters, funny borders, and cleavage-boosters (we've seen it!), the less you look like yourself. You don't want to be that girl who people don't recognize in real life when they finally meet you! You're beautiful for who you are so be proud of what makes you unique!