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10 Ways to Become More Photogenic

A former model dishes out ways to become more photogenic.

Back when I was in my 20s, I made a living as as model. I was thinner back then, but realistically, I wasn't the best-looking person around. Rather, I knew something that many people are only beginning to realize thanks to the photography on Instagram.

Being photogenic is a skill.

If you want to be one of the best portrait photographers on Instagram, or if you just want to try your hand at modeling, it's a good idea to know how to become more photogenic. Speaking as someone who made a living off it, here's what I have to say about the subject.

Lose weight if you want to become more photogenic over the long run.

As much as it may not be nice for me to say this, it's the truth. When you are slimmer, posing in photos is easier. This is actually one of the biggest reasons why plus-sized models are paid more; they have to be way more skilled to get the same kind of jobs.

Photography adds another 15 pounds to your frame, and frankly, it's hard to actually get the right expression and appearance when you have to think about every little curve.

Practice posing in the mirror.

Another long-term tip that will help you become more photogenic is to practice posing. Believe it or not, this is actually something that paid models learn to do when they are being scouted by agencies, or when they first start getting their portfolio together.

The more that you pose, the more you understand the way your body looks best. The better you understand your body, the better your shots will come out.

Wear flattering clothing.

Believe it or not, there's a lot of truth to the power of good clothing. A model who makes a lot of money is a model who knows how to dress for their frame. Wearing the right clothes can easily make you look 10 to 20 pounds thinner, and also can help even out proportions.

Seriously. Take time to learn your body type. Dress for your body type, and you can become more photogenic almost instantly.

Master the art of your makeup.

Male or female, makeup is the easiest way to become more photogenic. It adds contour where there's no contour, covers up imperfections beautifully, and just does a lot of good for everyone who's working on posing behind a camera.

With most shoots, the key thing to do is appear natural. Makeup tutorials for beginners, combined with some good skincare products, will do wonders for your shoots.

Work with good photographers.

It's weird to say this, but it's true. Working with one of the best fashion photographers or a top-rated wedding photographer is a great way to become more photogenic. Crazy? A bit, but crazy works here.

The reasons why are manifold. First, they will have better lighting setups and great lighting really works to flatter your appearance regardless of who you are. Second, they can coach you on how to pose.

If your goal is to become a great photographer, hanging out with other photographers while they work is an easy way to improve your understanding of how to coach models.

Don't forget your hands, elbows, and feet.

Most casual models will have a great body pose, but then botch their hands and feet. You'll see models who have their hands splayed out in a "chicken foot" pose, or models that forget to point their toes in pinup, or models that over-straighten their arms, giving their arms a "backwards bent" look.

One of the easiest ways to become more photogenic is to avoid these gaffes. By consciously working to avoid these mistakes, you'll ensure your photos will be less likely to require a retake.

Master blinking in shots.

This was the hardest thing for me to learn. A common issue people have is blinking during photos, and you can actually avoid this by counting with your photographer.

Have your photographer count to three before each shot. Keep your eyes closed at one and two. Then, when you hear, "Three," snap open your eyes. This gives you a fresh-faced, wide-eyed look in every shot.

Remember that it's okay to "cheat" angles.

I want to point out that a lot of "cheats" people use to become more photogenic are totally okay. It's alright to suck in your gut. It's absolutely fine to wear flattering clothes. It's also okay to use flattering camera angles or to switch to a wide-angle lens.

This is the whole deal about photography; it's about creating an illusion of perfection. What's in front of the camera will not be what people should expect in front of their eyes!

Learn how to smile like a pro.

Ever wonder how people who are professional models manage to seem so genuinely happy in shots? If you try to smile a fake smile, it'll look fake. Here's how to do things in a more genuine way.

They don't really care about the stock photography, they just know the technique known as being able to "smile with your eyes."

A lot of models swear by this technique: 

  1. Put your tongue close to the roof of your mouth. This reduces double chins in photos.
  2. Think of something funny. This will give you a naturally wide grin and the micro-movments around the corners of your eyes that show true happiness.
  3. Turn your head slightly. This once again, reduces double chins.

Finally, remember where the camera is.

This sounds so simple, but it's actually not. The easiest way to become more photogenic is to remember where the camera is placed relative to you. A photo that will be taken from the bottom looking up will have different results than a photo that's shot from the top down.

As a model, you will need to play to the camera angles that are being used on you. It will take time to figure out how to do that, and to a point, it's different for every person you'll meet. However, this is one of the most priceless modeling tips I've ever received. Master it, and you'll do well.

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