5 Quick Tips to Look Good in Pictures

Getting ready to take family portraits? I know, I know. It can be a struggle.

The kids are easy. They're cute. Done. 

Grownups? Not so simple. So many of us (too many of us) are overly self-conscious. I get it. You don't like something about your face, this dress makes you look like a whale, you always look awful in pictures. This is why you hire a professional to take your portraits. We are trained in posing and angles and proper lens use when photographing various subjects. 

So that's my #1 tip: Hire a pro.

Here are some other quick tips to make preparing for your portrait session a little easier....

2. Wear comfortable clothing that flatters. If you are at ease in your clothes you will be a better subject and it will come through in the photos. This is not the time to try some crazy new style* or squeeze into a dress from before you had kids. Trust me. Not only will it not fit quite right, you will be fidgeting the entire time. Plus, I don't want you fainting because you can't breathe! 

Instead, choose a favorite outfit or a beloved shirt or even just choose a color you know you look good in. 

Another thing - you may not like to hear it but it's true: fitted clothing photographs best. That doesn't mean it has to be tight. But baggy clothing will add pounds. If your clothes fit you properly and are not too loose, they will flatter you.

This family knows what colors look good on them! They were all comfortable, coordinated and looking good. Way to go, Espinosa family!

This family knows what colors look good on them! They were all comfortable, coordinated and looking good. Way to go, Espinosa family!

3. Focus on your hair. Again, this is not the time to do something so extreme that you don't look like YOU.* Go with your usual hairstyle, but maybe amped up a bit. In this case, we want to add 10 pounds to your hair! 

I was reading the December 2014 Shape Magazine (that's just funny on so many levels) and they suggested two products that I thought would be worth a shot (haha, get it?):

Also, try shaking your head upside down and spray some hairspray while you're there. That will add volume. (Oh my, you should only see ME do this... CURL EXPLOSION! Perhaps this tip is not for everyone?)

Sam has naturally straight hair, but for her senior portraits she added curls and volume.

Sam has naturally straight hair, but for her senior portraits she added curls and volume.

4. Makeup rules. I believe you don't need a ton of makeup to look good. But when you're in pictures, you do want to at least add a little more than usual.

  • A little powder goes a long way to ward off the infamous and ever-present nose-cheek-and-forehead shine.
  • When applying eyeshadow, just add a little more to deepen the color and shimmer.
  • Your kisser. Get that lipstick out. Use it. Blot. And then use it again. While you're at it, add some gloss on top. Don't use lipstick? Try a bit of clear or lightly tinted gloss.
Kenzie's makeup colors are all very natural. For this session, she chose to add some foundation and powder to even out her skin. Notice her eye makeup - it's very clean - mostly mascara was used to accentuate her - omg! - beautiful blue eyes.

Kenzie's makeup colors are all very natural. For this session, she chose to add some foundation and powder to even out her skin. Notice her eye makeup - it's very clean - mostly mascara was used to accentuate her - omg! - beautiful blue eyes.

5. RELAX. Have fun. We are taking pictures, not doing surgery or taxes. You hired me (see tip #1 above) and my primary job is to make you look awesome. If - and that's a big IF - there are any unflattering photos of you, they will never see the light of day. I promise. I want you to be happy with your family portraits. I want you to cherish them. I want you to be proud of how you look. So while we're in the midst of it, let's enjoy it! 

This lovely couple was relaxed and happy - and it shows! That's a real, genuine smile.

This lovely couple was relaxed and happy - and it shows! That's a real, genuine smile.

Now, take five deep breaths and look into my camera.... 


*For a stylized or high-fashion photo shoot, none of these rules apply. Do crazy. Do wild. Do different. Nothing is off limits. 

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