5 Reasons Why You Don’t Look Good in Pictures

Let’s face it — we’re all guilty of being hypercritical of ourselves in pictures. We judge a group photo by how “good” we look in it, we snap a million nearly-identical selfies to get just the right one, and we curate our social media shots with the critical eye of an artist. If you’ve taken one too many pictures that you simply cannot stand, you may be guilty of one (or more) of these reasons why you’re not looking your personal best in front of the camera. After all, photos can be deceiving. So, just make sure that the deception is working in your favor and that you look good in pictures — #NoFilter needed.

1. You aren’t smizing

Supergirl

Smize and you’ll be a Supergirl in photos. | CBS

Supermodel Tyra Banks really does have a point when it comes to the power of smizing, but you don’t have to be America’s Next Top Model to win the benefits of smiling with your eyes. It may take some practice to perfect it, but once you start smizing, you’ll never want to stop — especially since it will automatically boost any photo. Yes, it’s that powerful — smize correctly, and your look will be happy and playful while also conveying a sultry and smoldering effect.

It’s best to use a mirror when you’re first learning to smize so you can effectively see what look you’re achieving. It’s all about exuding warmth and gleaming vibrancy from the eyes with just the hint of a squint. Sometimes it’s also helpful to close your eyes for a few seconds, then open them. It helps to refresh your gaze while giving an air of natural brightness to the eyes.

2. You’re not working your angles

Find your best angles for the best photographs

Find your best angles for the best photographs. | Mireya Acierto/Getty Images

From celebrities on the red carpet to supermodels strutting the catwalk, they all know the secret to getting the shot. And, it has a lot to do with working the right angles. Everyone has a unique facial structure and the camera is there to make sure you’re aware of it — for better or for worse. If you’re not sure how to make sure you flaunt your good side, spend some time taking a few selfies to understand how the light hits your face.

When it comes to your body, a few general rules can set you on the right path. A hand placed lightly on the hip can help create definition at the waist while standing with one leg in front of the other can narrow hips. Arch your back into a C shape to look a bit more curvaceous — and always make sure to stand up straight.

3. You’re such a poser

Street Style Milan Fashion Week

Candid, un-posed pics can be some of the most successful. | Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

You have to stop being such a poser — literally — when it comes to photos. When you pose too much or overthink how you’re standing or what face you’re making, the camera picks up a stiffness that often seems artificial. There is a reason why those candid and spontaneous pics convey a stronger, more interesting effect; the emotion is raw, the smiles are real, and the mood is genuine. A smile can also come off as fake if you’ve been smiling for too long. The facial muscles get fatigued, and the smile takes a bit of a forced turn.

So, first of all, take a break from the photo opps if you need one. Then, make sure to have fun with your pics by letting a sense of dynamic whimsy come out to play. If you are posing for a group shot, encourage the person taking the photo to take multiples and try to capture some of those in-between moments where everyone is more relaxed. After all, they may end up being some of the best shots in the bunch.

4. You’ve been cast in a bad light

smiling young woman in park

Good lighting is everything when it comes to taking good pics. | iStock.com

The lighting of a photograph can really make a night-and-day difference in how good (or bad) it looks — from travel and art, to food and faces. Diffused, natural light is always the best, whether you’re in a group shot or taking a selfie because it is soft and devoid of harsh, unflattering shadows. The phone flash should be avoided, if possible, as a general rule. Just remember: Even the most photogenic of faces can be put in a bad light, and there is really no filter that can improve the effects of unforgiving fluorescents or a dark, ambient environment.

5. You aren’t confident

still of a television show from HBO

Girls: Inner confidence will translate to outer beauty. | HBO

Not to resort to cheesiness, but confidence really is everything when it comes to saying “cheese.” Beauty starts from within, and if you’re not feeling good about yourself, that lack of confidence will often manifest itself on the outside. A hint of uncertainty can be translated in closed-off body language and a forced facial expression — all of which the camera will unforgivingly capture. So, relax and show yourself some love.

Follow Rachel on Twitter @rachellw and Instagram @rachellwatkins

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