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Friday, 02 September 2016


All those things your mother told you to do when you were a kid, "sit up straight!", "throw that gum away!", things like that, do them for photos. They don't matter the rest of the time, but for that one minute, they're vitally important.

Oh, gawd, how right you are. A friend of mine posted a candid picture of me on Facebook sitting slouched on a ferry boat to Toronto Island with my pack and camera gear. What a wake up call about posture for a picture! I was depressed for days: is that really how I look, old and slumped over?

I always do this. I noticed long ago that many people tilt their head forwards, perhaps out of shyness, but then look up at the camera. I resolved not to do this. As the tilted head but eyes up at the camera pose is generated by the fact of being photographed, it's not as if I'm giving a false impression.

In more recent times I've been improving my posture (head up, shoulders back) and this doesn't alter when my photo is taken.

"pull your head back a bit"

I was under the impression you need to do the opposite. I pull it forward. Turtle head as they say, extremely. It must look strange as a profile, but for a front photo Im never bad. It eliminates the double chin always. Besides obviously the posture, and trying to elongate the spine and neck as much as possible.
Also, as Im a bit (hehehe, a bit more than a bit) fat, and depending on the people around me, y try to pull my shoulders forward a bit (I have big shoulders too) so in proportion, the shoulders look bigger than the rest of the body, giving me a better V shape.
Finally, depending on where I am, if Im at a club, or Im dressed up to go out at night, I do a bit of the squinch, but thats only on special occasions.

[On second thought I removed that bit. I think you're right, it's just a bit confusing when written. I could show you what I mean but easier done than said. --Mike]

I'll add a corollary rule: if the photo calls for smiles, laugh. Laughter always makes for the most genuine-looking smiles, even if it feels weird at the time!

I'll add a second corollary: don't think about what to do with your hands. Don't do anything with your hands. The more you think about it, the weirder your hands will feel, and the weirder your hands feel the weirder they will look in the picture. No one ever looked weird with their hands straight down their sides, or resting comfortably in their lap.

Also stick you bum back a fraction and lift your chin the corresponding smidget, this puts paid to double chins. Neither move should be obvious or call for chiropraction.

Another tip I learned the hard way is when photographing 2 or more people make sure there no gap between each person. Shoulder to shoulder if standing. If there is any gap the camera will see it as a mile wide Grand Canyon.

That's a nice one, Upstate Dave.

And never hold a glass when being photographed,

You're right! It did make me look younger.

Smile when you say that!

My observation is that posing for photographs comes with many recommendations, but they all revolve around one central theme - that muscles throughout the body should be engaged and not relaxed.

My theory is that while this feels unnatural when still, it is closer to the normal state when we are in motion so it lends the subject a more dynamic look and helps to fill out the missing dimension of time in the still photograph.


My advice would be to just find yourself something to lean on to, grab a smoke and just generally look cool. Works like a charm ;-)


Another easy trick:
Usually, we tend to look "best" when there is some tension on our muscles. For that, balance your weight to your tiptoes while standing straight: it will help you straighten your posture and tighten the waist area.

BIGGEST tip -- know which is your best side. Very few of us are symmetrical beauties (and very few beauties are not symmetrical). Now -- stand with your feet and shoulders at 45 degrees (if no protractor is available, your best guess will do) to the camera, then turn your head more or less directly to the camera. You generally want the wider side of your face towards the camera. Smile with teeth with your eyes looking directly into the camera. CLICK.

In PP, transplant a tooth into the gap at the front you have had to 53 years and filled with a false tooth for the first 40+ of those years 9having now decided that for all except high level photographic portraits, you are old enough and ugly enough not to bother further with the expensive prosthesis). Then lift yourself out of a nondescript background and paste yourself in front of the best performing volcano in uour vicinity, in my case, Tavurvur in Rabaul, that you photographed in 2014. Distribute. All your own work! LOL.

I would like to insert a photograph but I don't know how. :(

Three amazing ways to look much better in photos by Peter Hurley.
1) https://youtu.be/Qe3oJnFtA_k
2) https://youtu.be/lXbOx36YXrU
3) https://youtu.be/ff7nltdBCHs

I was chatting to an award-winning film and TV director here in Australia on the sidelines of our sons' soccer game recently, and we were laughing about how terrible his red carpet photos look.

He said the best bit of advice a famous actor gave him was to "peer over the fence" – stand on the balls of your feet, and push your chin up and a bit forwards – when being photographed.

Something to try to remember the next time I'm on the wrong side of the camera.

I hate being photographed. I always look terrible. I tried for a while to do what Eric Clapton did once when Linda Eastman took his picture, which is cover my face with my hands. I feel stupid and people gets pissed off. Maybe I just need a new face.

Point your ear lobes at the camera

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