Things to Consider for Portrait Photographs
Are you considering getting your portrait taken by a Las Vegas professional? If you’re going to pay for quality photos, you want to make sure you look your best. There is a lot that can go wrong in portrait photography and it’s easy to take a bad picture. If you’re the kind of person who is uncomfortable in front of the camera or often find yourself surprised by how bad you look in photographs, the idea of getting your portrait taken can be anxiety provoking. But it doesn’t have to be. There are some surefire ways to ensure that your portraits look like the best version of you.
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First, it is important to take a moment to think about what kind of statement you want to make with these photos. Are you getting your senior portrait taken? Will you be using them as professional career photos? You will want to dress appropriately for your objective. Regardless, you will want to be sure and avoid anything trendy; hair, clothes, and jewelry can look dated or even ridiculous in a short amount of time. Instead, you want to aim for “Classic You;” a look that will stand the test of time.
Looking natural seems impossible for some people once a camera is nearby. Luckily, there are ways to look natural and comfortable, even when you don’t feel that way. Start by getting to know your face and facial expressions. It can be helpful to look at photographs of yourself to see what expressions seem to be the most flattering for you. Looking straight on at the camera should be avoided. Instead, angle your face in the direction of the camera and tilt your head slightly down and to the side. Don’t tuck your chin under. Instead, to make your face look slim, move your forehead towards the camera, elongate your neck at a slight angle, and tip your chin down slightly. This makes your face look slimmer and avoids a double chin.
Put your best face forward. Everyone has one side of their face that is more symmetrical than the other. To find your good side, look in the mirror and compare your features on either side of your face. People often part their hair on their good side and don’t even realize it.
Open your mouth a little bit. Having pursed lips is often the result of feeling uncomfortable or being too conscious of the muscles in your face. Try relaxing your muscles and breathe in through your mouth. Putting your tongue behind your teeth can help you create a pretty smile and putting it on the roof of your mouth can make your face appear thinner.
Get rid of shine. If you have oily skin or tend to sweat, use oil blotting papers or a damp cloth to blot off your face and give it a more matte look. For women, a powder finish on your makeup can also make skin less shiny.
Wear the right clothes. Avoid any type of bold pattern, horizontal stripes, or anything too tight or uncomfortable. Opt for solid-colored, muted, or rich jewel tones and minimal jewelry. Choose colors that complement your skin tone and eye color and wear longer sleeves, pants, or skirts as they will make your arms or legs look longer.
To make your body appear thinner, turn your body slightly to the side (toward the camera) with one foot in front of the other. Place your weight on your back foot and point your big toe towards the camera. Place your arm that is facing the camera on your hip to avoid squashing it against your body and making it look bigger.
Say no to flash. The right lighting can make or break a photo. Flash can flatten your face and make you look washed out. Ask your photographer to use natural light, specifically morning and late in the afternoon, when the lighting is most complementary. A soft, flattering light can hide blemishes, make you look younger, and really enhance your best features. Besides flash, it is best to avoid direct sunlight. Being in direct sunlight can cause you to squint, making your eyes appear smaller and your jawline appear thicker.
Apply bronzer or get a (subtle) fake tan. Photos tend to make your skin look lighter and your features less prominent. Not only do you want your eyes to be a focal point, you also don’t want to look like a ghost. Too much bronzer or an intense tan won’t do you any favors, however. Keep in mind that the camera will only intensify orange or shiny-looking skin.
Remember, The biggest difference between people who are photogenic and those who aren’t isn’t usually their actual appearance. Instead, it is based on the person’s knowledge of, and ability to flaunt their best assets. To really look your best, try to emphasize your best features while minimizing your least favorite ones.
10 Tips for Looking Fierce in Portrait Photos
Some people are just naturally photogenic. All that means is their facial features translate well onto a still, two-dimensional plane. Whether or not you were born with a face that light hits at the perfect angle, all you need to be photogenic is a little time, the right lighting, and a good photographer. Here a 10 tips for looking beautiful portrait photos:
Before the Shoot
Analyze Your Favorite Photos
Look through some of the best photos of you and try to discern a pattern. What is it that you like about them? Is it the angle? Does it highlight your best feature? Are you smiling? Take what you’ve learned to the next task.
Practice Makes Perfect
Now that you know some of tricks that make you look your best, practice in the mirror. You’ll be able to watch yourself replicating the angles and smiles you pinpointed in the last exercise. While you’re practicing, be aware of how your face feels in each pose. That way, you’ll be able to repeat it at the shoot.
Look and Feel your Best
Dress yourself in clothes you feel comfortable and confident in. Do your make-up and hair in colors and styles you know look good. Any unease will come through in the camera and having your photo taken is already a lot of pressure. Make yourself happy with what you can control: looking and feeling fierce.
Other Portrait Photo Tips
Work Your Angles
Remember that the closest thing to the lens is going to look the largest in the photo. Tilt your head up (just a touch!) to make your forehead look smaller while elongating the neck. Try the Seven-Eighths View—from this angle you see both ears but slightly more of one side of the face.
Real Smile on Cue
Smiling in photographs warms the photo, but people have a hard time “faking” a “real” smile. That real smile is called the Duchenne smile, which raises the corners of the mouth and cheeks, resulting in crinkling around the eyes. Researchers have found that people are very skilled at recognizing when people are fake smiling, so the trick is: don’t fake it! Close your eyes, think of a funny story or pleasant memory, open your eyes and smile. That should give you a gorgeous Duchenne that lights up your face.
Keep Your Eyes in Line With Your Nose
If you want that ephemeral, “looking off into the distance” look in your photo, you don’t want to have too much of the whites of your eyes showing. Follow the line of your nose to keep your sight central and avoid that zombie look of over-rotating your eyes.
“Squinch” or “Smize”
Supermodel and entrepreneur Tyra Banks calls it “smizing” while photographer Peter Hurley calls it “squinching” the eyes. By tightening your lower eyelid and letting the top one drop slightly, you’ll avoid looking like you’re staring blankly into space. It conveys confidence while giving your face a bit more definition.
At the Shoot
Build Rapport with the Photographer
Have a talk with the photographer beforehand. Let him or her know what you would like to get out of the shoot and whether there are any features you would like highlighted (e.g. Love your cheekbones? Fan of your long legs? Share it with your photog!). A good photographer will make an effort to make you feel relaxed and give you some direction, so have a laugh before you get started.
While a photograph is a static representation of you, it doesn’t mean you have be still while taking them. Movement is flattering and makes photos dynamic. Try walking towards the photo or dancing a little bit. That way, your arms and legs are in action and you’re not focusing too hard on your face.
Most of all the experience should be fun. Ask the photographer to play your favorite music, tell him or her a funny story—anything that will allow you to let loose and your personality shine through. That is what makes for the best portrait photos: it’s a representation of you at your best.
Las Vegas Photographers 7575 W. Washington Blvd., Ste 127., Las Vegas, NV, 89128
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