15 Tips for Looking More Photogenic, According to Reddit

We all have that one friend who never seems to take a bad photo. No half-shut eyes, strained smiles or double chins in sight. Just pure ease and flattering angles at all times. Then, there’s us, with our stilted poses and frozen expressions that haven’t changed much since the days of taking yearbook photos. Thankfully, we have plenty of resources available to us now via the internet. To get you started, we mined the Reddit threads to find 15 helpful tips for looking more photogenic, which we’ll share with you now.

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How to Look More Photogenic smiling: a woman smiling broadly
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Tips for Smiling

  • "In a smiling photo, keep your tongue on the roof of your mouth." — user @ask-about-my-dog from /IWantToLearn
  • Think happy thoughts to inspire a genuine smile. Just make sure the photo is taken within ten seconds because the longer a smile is forced, the more fake it looks.
  • "When you smile, make sure your whole face smiles. A face lights up in so many ways when that happens. The eyes have a smile of their own."— user @whoops53 from /Photography
  • Saying "cheese" at the camera is actually a terrible idea because it produces an unnatural, strained grin, not a smile.
How to Look More Photogenic posing: two friends posing for a photo
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Tips for Posing/Angling

  • Stand on your tippy toes to lengthen out your body.
  • "Put your weight on your back leg, not the front." — user @ask-about-my-dog from /IWantToLearn
  • "Stick your chin out but not upwards." — user @peachzncream from /LifeProTips
  • Angle your face slightly towards the camera. It helps if you're taking a picture with a person to turn into them.
  • After every photo is taken, shift your body and face slightly into a different position. Hands by your side? Put one on your hip. Face straight at the camera? Turn it slightly left. Now slightly right. Now play with your hair with the hand that isn't on your hip. Most people have a habit of going to a go-to pose when photos are taken, so force yourself to shift slightly. Eventually you will start to notice which poses look better.
  • Look directly above the camera.
How to Look More Photogenic lighting: two friends taking a selfie together
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Tips for Lighting and Coloring

  • "Figure out if you have warmer or cooler undertones and wear colors that complement your skin tone. I love blues and greens but realized I look less washed out in reds and yellows and adjusted my wardrobe a bit." — user @JudithButlr from /TheGirlSurvivalGuide [Note: One way of finding out if you have warmer or cooler undertones is to grab a piece of white paper and hold it up to your face. If your skin looks a bit rosy next to it, you're likely cool toned. If it looks more yellow, you have warm undertones.]
  • "Good natural light that isn’t too strong or straight on is the best. One time, I watched my friend take a selfie and she checked the lighting by doing a quick 360 with the camera on. It was genius." — user @69poop420 from /LifeProTips
  • In general, it’s better to have the light in front of you, not behind you.
How to Look More Photogenic practicing: a woman smiling into a mirror
Ekaterina Demidova/Getty Images

Things You Might Not Have Considered

  • Remember to breathe. A lot of people, when faced with a camera, will smile and hold their breath or breathe shallowly, which makes you look more strained and anxious. Take a deep breath before the shot to relax your facial expressions and body.
  • Practice in the mirror. "Experiment with different facial expressions. For example, I love laughing and smiling, but in photos it makes my cheeks look weird, so I dial it way back and usually have a closed-mouth smile. I try to smile more with my eyes than my teeth. Would not have learned to do that without lots of practice." — user @hipopper from /TheGirlSurvivalGuide

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Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...