Have there been days that you've seamlessly snapped one good selfie after another, after another, after another, and thought, "Damn! I should be a model!" Surely a good lot of you have been curious about the world of modeling. How could you not be, too? Getting paid to be really, really, really ridiculously good looking and going to lavish parties or exotic places just for the views sounds like a life I'd try out if I had eight-pack abs. For the common folk though, myself included, there's a lot of intricacies to being a successful model that we don't understand. I can barely look natural for the annual Christmas card, and these people are doing it for a living? There would be plenty of reasons why my photoshoots don't look good, and I'm sure if you scheduled one with a professional photographer or your hobbyist friend, you'd find that it's not as easy as it looks. Not everyone knows how to do a photo shoot from start to finish, but with these tips, at least you'll have a fighting chance.
You're not following the rule of thirds.
A common photography tip for getting good photos is following the rule of thirds. Theory dictates that you should divide your shot into three equal segments, both on the horizontal and vertical plans (totaling nine equal segments), and then that the important compositional elements of your photo should follow those lines and intersecting points. These guidelines create energy and tension within your photo, bringing out all the best elements that your image should have.
You're using terrible angles.
If you think about it, you can identify at least two or three primary ways people take selfies. Those people have, whether it be consciously or not, figured out the best angle to snap a good photo of their face. Well, a good portrait photographers knows how to work angles that highlight your curves without making you look like you have rolls. If all else fails, try switching to the best camera angle techniques for some of your photos if it seems like you have a double chin in every shot.
You're utilizing poor lighting.
Listen to me: Not every photo looks good in black and white. I'm glad we could clear that up before we continued. Light is probably one of the biggest contributors to the quality of a photo. Natural light is obviously the best option, photographs taken during the golden hour are rarely a disappointment, but it really depends on the setting of your photoshoot. Having too much shade or too much direct sunlight can ruin the composition of your picture in ways that are unfixable, while just the right amount of light can make a staged photo look like the most natural thing in the world.
Your equipment is awful.
This might be more of a problem that your friend who takes bomb social media photos has if they offer to shoot your photoshoot, but if your portrait photographer is using the flashlight on their phone to try and get a good shot, you're going to have a bad time. Unfortunately, good equipment does have an impact on photography. There's only a finite amount of time you can utilize the golden hour, so lights in a studio are pretty important. Different lens have different effects, drawing the eyes to the most important areas of your photo naturally. That crusty white backdrop you've been using since the 90s is starting to show in the background, and not in a complimentary way. A little investment goes a long way when it comes to capturing the perfect shot.
You're being too experimental.
You may have this concept in your mind of riding off into the sunset riding a white stallion, but the reality of that picture coming out relies heavily on a number of different factors. Just because you have access to a horse, doesn't mean it's going to cooperate when you are trying to make it look good in pictures. Then, if the animal hits uneven terrain, there's always the chance that your mouth will shape into a scream as you're sliding off the saddle. Maybe you should just save this shot for big name producers and movie stars.
You're not being experimental enough.
On the opposite side of this coin, a sky-blue backdrop duct tapped to the wall can only be utilized so effectively, despite your best efforts. Finding an even ground between these tips is an important element to looking good in pictures. Tried and true methods are fine, but the difference between looking good and looking really good in your photo might be as simple as heading down to the beach or into the woods for a day of experimental shots.
You're not taking advantage of makeup.
Whether you're a guy, a girl, or anything in between, if you're not using makeup for a professional photograph, you're not going to get the return you're expecting on your photos. Applying contour gives you the ability to structure your face, highlighting your best features in a way that looks natural. By changing your skin tone up with varying forms of makeup, you have full control of how you look in your photos.
You're not posing well.
The culmination of all these great tips won't mean diddly if you can't pose worth a damn. If your portrait photographer isn't telling you to "stop making that same face" or to "arch your back a little more," you're probably not going to get enough out of your photos.
Your colors are clashing.
All photos require a certain amount of contrast, which is the predominant reason light is so important in all of your photos. If you are wearing too many light colored or darker articles of clothing in a photo that is already leaning to one side of the other, the complimented features may lose tension compared to what some contrast would provide for the photo. For your next photoshoot, bring an array of clothing options so you can always change up your photo in this subtlest of ways. If nothing else, look into these composition techniques that will improve your photography before you get started.
Ok, I'm sorry, I didn't mean that. It is a fact, though, that your photoshoots don't look good when you're doing things to hinder your appearance. Something as simple as closing your eyes in a shot or one person in your group shot looking off to the side of a photo will drastically change your photo. It's also common knowledge that the camera adds ten pounds, so be conscious about that accidental double chin. This tip can easily be managed by feigning confidence or being aware of your posture; so relax, count to three, and say, "Cheese!"