How to Look Your Best in Every Photo
22 top experts in the worlds of fashion, fitness, and beauty share their their tried-and-true tips
Tired of being tagged when you look your worst? In today's world of social media, those super unflattering shots we used to hide in our desk drawers are now being broadcast online in epic proportions for all to see. Looking awesome in photos can definitely be a tough thing to master, but we promise there's hope. We went to some of Hollywood's top experts to steal their secrets on how to take profile-worthy pictures all the time. Get ready to say cheese!
Imagine Eating Something Delicious
Imagine for a second a beautiful piece of chocolate in your mouth, just melting over your tongue. Now you're already smiling with your eyes. There's the picture. Going through some kind of mental process, even if it's just to ask yourself a question or tickle the person next to you, creates a slight distraction that will capture your face in a naturally beautiful way.
Bonus tip to avoid the dreaded double chin: Right before you're about to take a photo, look up at the ceiling for a few seconds. It will stretch the muscles under your chin and suck in that excess skin-just long enough to snap a photo. You've got be ready to take that picture because the effect only lasts about five seconds!
-Nigel Barker, internationally renowned celebrity and fashion photographer
Pretend a Thread is Attached to Your Nose
When we smile naturally, we tend to pull our chin in toward the neck. This translates into a double chin in photos, which won't make you look like your most fabulous self. Pretend that there is a tiny thread attached to the tip of your nose being pulled toward the lens of the camera. It might feel funny, but it'll make you look your best every time! Also, always take your photo from eye level or higher. It's the most flattering perspective, and it's an easy way to go from a gross to gorgeous pic!
-Bradford Rogne, celebrity photographer
Contour to Slim Facial Features
Contouring helps define and thin out the face as well as warm up skin tone. To do it, apply a matte bronzer (just a couple shades deeper than your natural skin tone is best) along the hairline, hollows of the cheeks, and along the jawline. Smashbox Bronze Lights in Suntan Matte ($29; smashbox.com) is a great option for contour and adding warmth because it's buildable. Use it with a medium-sized blush brush and blend into the skin. Remember that anything that is lighter than the skin tone will make an area more prominent, whereas anything darker will give the area depth, providing more of a sculpted look. Finish off your look with a bit of highlighter on your cheekbones to bring them out and give a subtle glow to the face, just make sure the t-zone stays matte for the prettiest finish.
-Mario Dedivanovic, celebrity and editorial makeup artist
Pump Up Before You Primp
Before my clients (like Jessica Alba) reveal their body parts in a photo shoot, they like to do last-minute pushups to define shoulders and arms, lunges for shapely legs, and double crunches for the abs. Even if you're not exposing a little skin, this is a great confidence builder!"
-Ramona Braganza, celebrity trainer and creator of the Ramona321 app
It's All in the Angle
This red carpet go-to move sounds a little technical at first, but practice makes perfect! Lift your chin slightly by 10 degrees and turn your whole body 10 degrees to the side. Keeping your feet there, turn the right side of your body 20 degrees back. Finish by crossing your left leg in front. No slouching! This elongates the body and brings it to life in a photo. You can also put your arm on your hip and pull the elbow back slightly to thin out your waist and trim your arms. It looks just as awesome in a group photo at your office Christmas party as it does on Charlize Theron at the Oscars!
-Rachel Murray Framingheddu, Getty Images photographer
Bring Light to Your Face
This is an old Marilyn Monroe trick. If you look at her photos, she usually had something bright near her face. In addition to the famous platinum hair, she usually had a pair of diamond stud earrings, a white collar on a black dress, or a white stole bringing the light and therefore the attention to her face. Try some highlights, fun jewelry, or accessories!
-Holly Madison, reality TV star
Extend Your Eyeliner
A makeup artist once told me to extend eyeliner on both the top and lower lash lines just a smidge beyond the outer corner of your eyes to really open them up like a double cat eye, but more subtle. Then line your waterline with a peach or pale pink liner to make you look more awake. I love Tarte's EmphasEYES ($18; tartecosmetics.com) because it's soft and natural-looking.
Another piece of advice: Red lipstick, no matter how much you love it in person, often translates as too dark or vampy in photos. Instead, opt for a rosy pink hue that brings out your natural lip color.
-Elizabeth Dehn, founder of Beauty Bets
Groom Your Brows
When it comes to eyebrows, round faces look better with fuller brows that are angled or more arched, rather than round. You don't want round on round, otherwise everything just looks like a big circle. For heart-shaped faces, a low and soft brow arch will diminish the look of a pointy chin. If you have an oval face, a softly angled eyebrow shape will keep the harmony of the face shape. And as for square faces, more of a round brow will soften the features a bit. You don't want brows on a square face to have a heavy arch because it can look too harsh. Thicker, fuller brows create a soft aesthetic as well.
-Kelley Baker, celebrity brow stylistp
Learn to Use This One Makeup Sponge
Jimmy Scott Jr.
Beauty Blender (that teardrop-shaped sponge applicator) is great for applying liquid and cream foundation, and it also works wonders on those hard-to-cover undereye circles. The secret is to dampen your sponge before applying your product. And make sure to always use a "stipple" or bounce motion when blending. This keeps foundation and concealer looking fresh and also helps with a more even application and creating an airbrush-like finish.
-Becca Dahmen, pageant photo expert
Squeeze a Lemon Between Your Shoulder Blades
Whenever I take photos, especially selfies, I make a conscious effort to tighten the area between my shoulder blades and almost lift or shrug up my shoulders to lengthen my silhouette. It may feel strange and unnatural, but try taking a photo of yourself just naturally standing there, then do this trick and take another photo. You will see the difference! It squares off your shoulders and helps lift your torso so that you look more elongated.
-Lindsay Albanese, fashion expert and celebrity stylist
Choose Your Undergarments Wisely
Domain Los Angeles
Choose your outfit wisely. Make sure you wear the right undergarments (seamless underwear) and a bra with no texture (unless the outfit purposely call for that.) In pictures, what you wear underneath is just as important as the actual piece you are wearing.
Use a Semi-Matte Foundation
Excessive shine is not pretty in pictures and a luminizing foundation can look greasy in a matter of hours. Use a semi-matte foundation and add highlighter in key places-along the bridge of the nose and along the tops of the cheekbones. Blotting papers are a life saver too, but it's best to start with the right foundation. They call it foundation for a reason. I recommend mark Powder Buff Natural Skin Foundation ($14; mark.com) for the best base.
-Fiona Stiles, mark. celebrity makeup artist
Fake a Good Night's Sleep with Makeup
This is one of my favorite tricks for photos: Dab a little bit of a pale shimmery shadow (my favorite is a rose gold tone) at the inner corners of your eyes as well as the highest points of your eyelids, directly in the center and just above your lash line. When these two spots catch light, it brightens up your eyes beautifully! Nylon by MAC ($15; maccosmetics.com) is a great shimmery eyeshadow to check out.
-Teni Panosian, beauty expert and founder of MissMaven.com
Just Add Oil (in the Right Places)
To hydrate the sensitive skin around my eyes, l use natural vitamin E oil at night. A single drop is enough for both eyes and feels so good! I also use a little bit of organic Jojoba oil on my face. If an unwelcome pimple appears, I use a small amount of 100% tea tree oil on top and in a matter of hours, I can see a huge improvement-sometimes the pimple completely vanishes.
-Rebecca Da Costa, actress/international model
Make Lipstick Last
Top 5 Management
To make your lipstick last all day, fill in your lips with a lip liner of the same tone, then add the lip color. This will allow the lipstick to last all night. I love Nars lip pencils ($25; nars.com)-Mysterious Red is by far my favorite. It looks amazing on every skin tone. I recommend using a clear lip liner like Make Up Forever Lip Perfector ($19; sephora.com) since it's a wax texture. It will seal the lipstick and make it last for hours. Another trick I use is to place concealer underneath my eyes from the inner corner to the outer corner with my fingertips, then I'll keep applying the concealer down the center of the face and stop right above the lip. This will instantly soften the makeup and brighten your face, perfect for pictures.
-Jackie Gomez, celebrity makeup artist
Chin Up (But Not too High!)
This is a tip that works great for my celebrity clients when they hit the red carpet. When getting your picture taken, never raise your chin too high or too low. A chin lifted too high can cause what we call an 'ET' or 'alien neck,' and too low can cause an earthworm or wrinkled neck and double chin effect.
-Siri Garber, celebrity publicist
Breathe Through Your Mouth
People tend to hold a lot of tension in their mouth when they are nervous in front of the camera. If you find that your mouth looks tense in photos or you want a more natural smile, breathe through your mouth! Instead of a tight smile or trying to close your lips completely, slightly open your mouth and remember to breath through it and smile! It will look so much more natural and relaxed, rather than a forced smile or tense smirk.
-Chriselle Lim, fashion wardrobe stylist and personal style blogger
Eliminate Shine with Free Blotting Papers
A camera flash exposes all kinds of evil, especially shiny skin. Balance skin with blotting papers pre-photo and then strategically apply highlighting formulas for a radiant glow. The best blotting papers? I swear by the brown recyclable napkins from Starbucks, Panera Bread, and the like, as well as toilet seat covers! When those options aren't available, I use blotting papers from Paula's Choice ($3; paulaschoice.com), which are just as effective (and cheaper) than the ones offered in drugstores.
For highlighters, It Cosmetics' Hello Light Illuminator ($24; itcosmetics.com) is a veritable ally. I brush the highlighter above my cheekbones, down the bridge of my nose, and in an inverted triangle in the center of my forehead.
-Ashley Weatherford, beauty blogger at August Skin
Wear Structured, Form-Fitting Clothing
If you're not feeling your skinniest, don't cloak yourself in a billowy muumuu! Instead, opt for structured, form-fitting pieces that create a shape for you, like an architectural blazer or a tulip skirt. And if you choose the ever-slimming black ensemble, add a pop of color to your look with a bright, bold accessory. Color always lights up a photograph and adds great depth. Statement necklaces, fabulous deco earrings, or a chunky cocktail ring are great ways to introduce color with jewelry.
-Anita Patrickson, celebrity stylist
Stare directly into the lens and say to yourself, "I'm beautiful and happy." It sounds silly, but trust me, your eyes will light up when you say positive things to yourself. If you say negative things like "I hate taking photos," it will show!
-Carmindy, celebrity makeup artist of TLC's What Not to Wear
Match Your Hairstyle with Your Outfit
It's important to coordinate your hairstyle with the outfit you choose. If I'm wearing a long-sleeved cocktail dress, I'll opt for a sleek ponytail. For a preppy day look, I might go for loose curls, half-up in bobby pins. Be conscious of every aspect that goes into your outfit, from head to toe." –Olivia Culpo, Miss Universe 2012
Spritz Water for a Fresh, Dewy Look
One trick I learned long ago from my modeling career is to spritz a little water on your face to give it a fresh, beautiful dewy look. Sometimes I'll also shake my hair upside down and give it a toss before a photo shoot to make it look more fluffed and fresh.
-Kathy Ireland, CEO and chief designer of kathy ireland Worldwide®