Pro tip #1: stop saying “cheese”
Between taking 80 selfies before deciding on the “good” one, always winding up looking uncomfortable in group pictures and getting discouraged because the camera really does add 10 pounds, posing for photos can feel a little like a hit or miss.
Luckily, getting the hang of nailing a flattering shot of yourself is as simple as learning from those who already have this stuff down pat. And who better to take cues from than somebody who does it for a living? One instant takeaway though: it’s not about sitting on “pretty”; it’s a matter of strategy.
For Wonder’s Posing 101 crash course, we invited professional model Shannice Bishop to give us an instructional rundown of posing do's and don’ts. Having appeared in a number of catalogues, campaigns and commercials since her head start in the industry at just 13 years old, projecting well in front of a camera has become second nature to this blue-eyed babe. The best part? The tricks of the trade she shared with us are definitely doable in real life, too.
Figure out your angle.
It’s time to whip out that camera phone and go to town with those selfies. You might want to do this one in private (unless you’re cool with onlookers). Start with a full-frontal smile and start making subtle changes in the angles of your face as you click. Review your camera roll and find out which angle flatters your face shape and features the most.
And hey, there’s no shame in admitting you have a preferred angle; at least this way, you know what works for you. It’s the reason Ariana Grande and Shay Mitchell both favor the left side of their faces or the way Dua Lipa loves a good chin tilt. If you find the angle that flatters you, by all means, stick to it.
Find the light.
Anything that creates a shadow creates the potential for an unflattering photo. On that note, beware of the two extremes: lighting directly overhead and light sources underneath your face. Before the photographer clicks away, follow the light source (somewhere within your natural line of sight is best), and then angle your face accordingly. This way, the light diffuses, filters or cancels out any lines or discolorations on your face.
Remember: posture, posture, posture.
Sometimes the difference between a good photo and a bad one is posture. Excellent posture translates into appearing tall, exuding grace and looking confident. Terrible posture makes you look stubby, tired and shriveled up like you’d rather blend in with the background.
Push those shoulders down and back and relax them, straighten your back and keep your chin parallel to the floor. One way to get this all in one go is to imagine that there’s an invisible string tied to the top of your head and pulling you up towards the ceiling.
Tilt one shoulder.
Straight-to-the-cam often looks stiff and rigid. Unevening your shoulders (shifting a little weight to one side of your body in the process) is a simple technique to counteract this. It lets you show off those collarbones, accentuate your body’s natural curves and instantly slims down your frame.
Think: away from the body.
When you have your limbs pressed against the rest of your body, they tend to look wider than they really are. This, of course, is not an ideal scenario. Widening your stance and putting your hand on your waist are some easy ways to remedy this.
Think: away from the camera, too. The closer a body part is to the camera lens, the larger it appears in photos.
Push your neck out like a turtle coming out of its shell.
This one is a posing trick international fashion photographer Nigel Barker swears by. It feels a little awkward to execute but pays off big time in photos. By pushing your neck out towards the camera, you create a more noticeable space between your jaw and your neck, giving the two clear distinction and that jawline, some definition (huh? What double chin?)
Don’t neglect your neck.
In other words, don’t hide behind it. It’s the reason some people still manage to look tall in photos that don’t even feature the rest of their bodies. Who knew “think tall” applies to the neck, too?
These pointers are no good if they aren’t put into practice! Try these out the next time someone calls for a photo.
Art Alexandra Lara
Model Shannice Bishop
Makeup Rochelle Lacuna