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I'm Angela Higgins and I'm a Perth based wedding and family photographer with a love for the simple things in life.  

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How to look great in photos

October 24, 2017

I know you’re here for those tips on how to look great in photos so I am just going to get straight to it because I am here to deliver for you, my friend! Some of these tips require a bit of preparation which are great for those people who are planning on spending the whole day in front of the camera for their wedding and others are perfect for those selfies you’ll take with your friends at drinks tonight so let’s get to it!

1) TRUST YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER

This is the biggest tip if you are having your photo taken by a professional photographer – please trust them! Have faith that they know what they’re doing and that they have your back. I tell my clients that I’ll take quite a few photos of them but I just want them enjoy the moment and trust me! I will only share the best photos that I take and I am not laughing at them behind the camera or judging them. I am here to cheer them on and guide them and this trust is essential.

My clients always say they love my photographs because people look natural and this is something I work hard to bring out of every person but it starts with trust. If my client is too concerned with looking or posing a certain way, I won’t get a beautiful laughing photo or genuine emotion so just be yourself and work with your photographer.

2) LOOKING GREAT STARTS ON THE INSIDE

Brides, this is for you! You’ve had your wedding date on the calendar for a while so there is no excuse not to start working on your bridal glow months in advance. You can have as many facials and peels as you want but I truly believe that eating whole foods and drinking lots of water will be your best friend to look the best on your wedding day.

My tips are to reduce foods that cause inflammation and breakouts such as sugar, dairy and wheat (and yes this includes alcohol and caffeine) and focus on increasing the good stuff in your diet such as leafy greens, healthy fats such as avocado, nuts and salmon and to drink at least 2 litres of water each day. Start doing this at least 3 months before your wedding and to reduce bloating start taking a probiotic at least 2 months before your wedding and watch your salt intake the week of your wedding.

3) TURN SIDE ON TO THE CAMERA

Anyone who has been in front of my camera knows that I will ask them to turn their body away from the camera while turning their upper body a little more toward the camera. This “twist” creates curves in all the right places while also slimming you down. Take it one step further and put your weight on one leg and place your hand on your hip with your elbow a little behind your hip line and voila! If you want to really see what I mean, look at any celebrity posing on the red carpet and you will see this time, after time, after time.  

4) PUSH YOUR CHIN OUTWARDS

It feels ridiculous when you’re doing it but this is one of my favourite tips; push your shoulders back and down slightly while pushing your chin forward. This creates a length in your neck and dramatically reduces double chins. Also turning your face slightly away from the camera, rather than facing it straight on will likely be a little more flattering and slimming on your face.

Another tip that is big is to put your tongue behind your teeth or against the roof of your mouth which tighten those muscles around your jawline. This is a great little demonstration of how this small movement affects your chin (go to 1.54 mark).

5) PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

There is nothing wrong with getting familiar with your best smile, your best angle and your best pose. For me I feel that my right side of my face photographs better than my left so in a selfie I will often go with this angle, my neck lifted, face tilted and chin slightly down – and I also prefer a toothless smile. I don’t take many selfies (in fact I had to go back to 2015 to find an example of this!) but I soon found that this is my preference and you can easily test out your angles with the magic of your iPhone to see which side is your best. Don’t over complicate it – just find a natural smile that would work in any situation.

THAT SAID … trust your photographer again. I have had many clients who were specific about their preferred side but I saw something else and would ask them to trust me and let me try some things out with great success!

6) RELAX

I will often stop my brides for a moment and just ask her to roll her shoulders backwards, relax and take a deep breath before taking her photo. Its easy to see when someone is tensed up and this doesn’t make for a great photo so next time you feel that you are smiling too strongly, close your eyes, take a deep breath, roll your shoulders backwards before opening your eyes and smiling.

7) SMILE FROM WITHIN

Remember when Tyra Banks was all about the smizing? It is totally a thing and it totally transforms a portrait from meh to wow! When you smile with just your mouth it is not as powerful as smiling with your eyes and your entire face. It is a little hard to explain verbally so I’ll let Tyra explain it visually.

Of course she is doing a supermodel smize without actually smiling with her mouth but when you smile at the camera first soften your eyes, pull back your ears a little (where they meet your jaw) and then feel the muscles around your eyes flex and then relax as you smile. Try a few selfies and see if you see a difference. I don’t actually ask my clients to “smize” but instead ask them to look at someone else for a moment like someone in the bridal party or their new husband or wife which immediately relaxes their face and they smile with their whole being, before getting their attention again to look at the camera. 

So there you go!! I hope this has been helpful and can’t wait to hear what you think!

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