How to Look Good in Photos | Part 1: Posing

How are you when it comes to standing in front of a camera?  Would you give Elle McPhearson a run for her money – or are you more likely to run a mile at the sight of a photographer?  If you chose the latter option, join the club!  As it happens, most people feel a bit awkward in front of the camera and this discomfort becomes very obvious in photographs.

Thankfully however, the good news is that you can indeed conquer ‘Photo Fear’.   Outlined below are a few tricks that I’ve picked up from working with professional photographers and models which might be helpful to you if you feel anyway nervous about posing for the camera.

Natural Facial Expression

Practice:  The trick to looking great in a photograph is look as natural and comfortable as possible.  This takes practice.  Take some time to study your face in a mirror (you may feel a bit silly at first but don’t worry, no-one’s watching).  Have you features that you really like, or features that you are less comfortable with?  The trick is to angle your face so that it highlights your best features.  For example, turning your head slightly sideways will camouflage a wide nose & draw attention to great cheekbones.  A slack jaw/neckline can be magically erased by tilting your chin up slightly.  Try out a number of poses and see what works for you.

Celebrity Secret:  Tilting your chin downwards slightly can enhance facial definition (not suitable for anyone with a slack jaw-line).

Victoria Beckham Pose

Victoria Beckham has perfected the “chin tiled downwards for better facial definition” look!

You’re never fully dressed without a smile:  You want a nice, relaxed, warm smile, preferably showing your teeth.  Avoid cheesy grins, grimaces, clenched jaws etc.  Don’t forget to ‘smile with your eyes’ too – think of something or someone that you love, which will soften your gaze.

Comfortable Pose

Confident body language:  Once you have your facial expression nailed, it’s time to talk body language.  Nothing screams lack of confidence quite like slumped or hunched shoulders so good posture is vital – relax those shoulders and don’t forget to breathe.

Body position:  For formal shots, I suggest that you take inspiration from Limerick’s doyenne of modeling, Celia Holman Lee (pictured below), who knows how to work a camera!  If required to stand for a full-length shot, avoid standing straight-on in front of the camera.  Instead, twist your body so that it’s facing slightly sideways and place outer hand on your waist or thigh.  This will make your figure look very slim, and your arm long and lean.  If you’re sitting down, again I suggest that you angle your body sideways slightly, cross your ankles and keep your knees together.   Most importantly, give your hands something to do e.g. rest your hand on your hip, hold a clutch bag, cross one hand over the other etc.

Celia Holman Lee Pose

Photo from

In my next post, I’ll cover style and make-up for photography shoots.

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