Is your idea of hell having your every move documented on camera? Do you flinch when a friend suggests snapping a group pic after brunch? Would you rather retake the SATs than look at your tagged Instagram photos? For lots of people, being in front of a camera is just plain uncomfortable. Luckily, there are a bunch of ways you can make the whole experience a lot less anxiety-inducing—including finding the right outfit. It might take a little practice, sure, but here are 20 of our favorite tips and tricks that will teach you how to pose for pictures…without dying a little on the inside.
How to Pose for Pictures, Because Who Has Time to Untag Unflattering Instagrams?
20 Tips For Posing In Photos
1. Perch Against Something
How is this different from leaning against a wall, you might wonder? The subtle perch allows you to extend and angle your legs out further (which, in turn, makes them appear longer).
5. Swing Your Bag
It gives your hands something to do, which, as you know, is always the most awkward part about taking a photo.
6. Walk Slowly
The inherent problem with posing is that it feels unnatural to just stand there and have your photo taken. And this is precisely why the mid-stride snap is genius.
7. Lean Against A Colorful Wall
It makes for a pretty backdrop and instantly makes you look more relaxed.
8. Try To Get In The Middle Of Group Shots
Group photos present a conundrum. Everyone wants to look good and no one wants to be on the outside of the group (where you typically look the largest). We’re not advocating bodychecking your way into the middle (where you’ll look narrower), but we’re also not advocating not.
9. Put Your Hands In Your Pockets
Here’s the key: Smile and look away when you do this, so the effect is cute and charming (and not like you’re hiding a deadly secret).
10. Play Around With Your Dress Or Skirt
Like you used to when you were a little kid. Again, it helps to find a bright background (like the colorful wall above).
12. Look Away From The Camera
Remember Chandler’s frozen smile every time his picture was taken in Friends? You can avoid that situation altogether by just averting your gaze away from the lens.
13. Learn How To ‘squinch’
You know you should smile with your eyes…but what does that actually mean? Start with squinching. Basically, you tighten your eyes slightly—like you’re squinting—while subtly relaxing your top lids and letting the lower ones do more of the work (where the “pinching” motion comes into play). Here’s a video how-to if you’re a more of a visual learner.
14. Adjust Your Sunglasses
As if they were just slipping down your nose and the camera happened to catch you mid-movement.
15. Don’t Say ‘cheese’
Hate to burst your bubble, but the old “Say cheese!” thing is a farce. And it makes your smile look kind of forced and unnatural. If you have to say something, we suggest "money," which allows your mouth to stay slightly open and come across as much more genuine.
16. Learn From Photos You *don’t* Really Like
As much as you don’t want to focus on pictures where you don’t love the way you look, it’s a good learning experience. Go through your camera roll and your tagged photos to pinpoint what it is about the photo you don’t like (say, your smile looks semi-deranged) and try to fix the issue moving forward (say, by saying "money" instead of "cheese").
17. Practice, Practice, Practice
We’re not above a few dozen shameless mirror selfies, especially if it means looking amazing when a real photo happens. Find your best pose, stick to it and don’t let anyone make fun of you for always doing the same thing with your face in group shots.
19. Don’t Be Ashamed To Try A Filter
Now, we’re certainly not advocating for Photoshop or anything that would make you unrecognizable in person, but there’s a reason Instagram filters exist—they’re your friends. The right filter choice can take a mediocre photo to the next level. “Whoa, is that Gisele Bündchen?” your friend asks. “Nope, just me in ‘rise.’” Consult this handy guide before posting your next snap.
20. Have Some Fun With It
Ask whoever’s taking the pictures to keep snapping. The best photos are often found in between, when you’re genuinely smiling and laughing about the absurdity of all of this.
Plus, 7 Photogenic Pieces Of Clothing To Add To Your Wardrobe
6. Off-the-shoulder Shirts And Dresses
This style is also supremely flattering because it shows off your shoulders and collarbones while keeping your upper arms (aka the widest part of your arm) covered. If you have a larger bust, look for something that's more fitted than loose (which can make things appear bigger) and opt for darker colors like black or navy.