Styling Tips: How to make the perfect photograph

6 Dec , 2013  

One thing I get asked a lot, is how to look good in photos. This I would agree is an art form which can take years of practice, but one that is certainly worth the trouble. Think how often a bad holiday snap can trigger major issues with self image. So many women are unhappy with their weight and general appearance, frustrated about diets that don’t work and exercise they have no time to do. What I try to encourage is ways of giving the appearance of a slimmer/taller/curvier/petite figure (depending of course on what the client wants) and achieve this through clever clothes and accessory choices.

So let’s start with some simple styling basics so you can strike a confident pose and learn how to always take a good picture. The following tips are not just for looking good on camera but also for looking good in life.

  • Choose tailored clothes made of quality structured fabrics, if your clothes do not fit you properly then get them tailored to fit your shape exactly. A photograph is a split second moment in time; make sure your silhouette is sharp.
  • If you are a plus size, don’t choose voluminous or floaty clothes to hide your shape, stay with fitted tailored pieces that skim rather than hug your curves. Same for petites don’t drown your shape with baggy or loose fitted clothes.
  • Trouser length is important, I see so many women with jeans and trousers wafting around the ankles, to give the illusion of length your trousers should not cut you off.  Light coloured jeans will expose flaws while dark will hide them. Muffin top’ is not a desirable in photos so choose high-waisted styles which will also make your legs look longer.
  • Posture is everything in photographs, high heels may be comfortable for many but they improve posture and force you to stand tall. Ballet flats while comfortable will never give you the posture and skinny outline you desire in front of the camera, mostly because they cut off the fluid lines we are trying to achieve.
  • ‘Wear your clothes, don’t let them wear you’ avoid crazy patterns and inspid colours which distract from your face. Black is the most slimming colour in photos but can also wash you out. If you do like to wear colour then keep it block and not head to toe.

So now let’s talk about posing…

  • Work out, are you a smiler or a pouter, I think we established I fall into the latter category, but I’m in good company Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham are both well known non-smilers. The truth is that smiling on camera is a lot harder to master than a good old pursed lip and what these famous women worked out (most likely after seeing a million photos of themselves) is that they have certain features, cheekbones and lips that are accentuated by a pout and other features they prefer to hide, I.e. Teeth.
  • Look back at photos of you and write a ‘post it’ note on each one with exactly what it is you don’t like, after a while you should notice a common thread. As we’ve discussed in styling 101 the dressing part is just as important as your face, otherwise your post-its will start to read….great smile but look at my stomach….
  • On that note, always suck in the stomach and core, shoulders back and stand tall.  Posture is key to a good photo. One of the most flattering angles is the one adopted by Victoria Beckham who you will notice always poses with her left foot slightly in front, her body angled to the side, left shoulder forward, jaw line tilted.
  • Remember to always catch the light, we women are under the mistaken belief that bright sunlight shows off every line and crease, it’s actually the opposite the sun will bleach your skin and illuminate your features, whether you’re indoors or out, find the light and tilt your face to it.

It will take practice and a lot of ‘learning to love’ the camera, but in the end you’ll be the one your friends call ‘most photogenic’ and better still you’ll have the kind of photos that you want to put in a frame and not throw in the bin…