You don’t have to be a model to take great photos. You also don’t need to spend a lot of time trying to get “the right” shot. With the right poses and the right attitude, women over 40 can look good in pictures, too.
You can take it from me, I was in front of the camera as an International FORD model for nearly two decades and made a living from what I looked like. It’s not as easy as it looks. For the past 17 years, I’ve been on the other side of the lens, photographing and guiding clients on how to strike a pose and feel confident in front of the camera and I’ll tell you the single most important piece of advice I have and totally believe in is that pictures don’t have to be perfect. In other words, YOU don’t have to be perfect. I do think that what makes a great photo is your energy that people feel and see.
How To Strike A Pose
Whether you have a big event coming up or you’re getting professional headshots taken, or you just want to look good in your holiday pictures, these simple tips I share with my clients will help guide you.
This sounds silly, but most people won’t do big smiles in photos because they are worried about their wrinkles or teeth. This can result in not-so-flattering images that don’t really capture YOU. It is all about energy, not perfection. A genuine smile that reaches your eyes will always look good!
Point Your Chin Down
98% of people put their chins up for photos and think they are hiding their chin. This is actually the absolute opposite of what you should be doing. It is much more flattering to elongate your neck and tilt your chin down by one or two inches. This will help to avoid the dreaded double chin. Try it in the mirror. It might feel funny at first, but before long it will be second nature to do this when you pose.
Show your good side! We all have one, so make sure you highlight yours in photos. Make sure this is the side you are favouring when the camera is clicking. It is best to position your body at an angle because it is more flattering for your figure. Starting with your good side, angle yourself at about 20 to 30 degrees and then turn your head in the direction of the camera. Also, try to put your weight on your back leg, as it is a very slimming pose. And last but not least, try to avoid putting your hands on your hips. This pose is fine for the twenty-somethings, but not us. It isn’t the most flattering.
Practice all of these angles and poses in the mirror so that you get comfortable with the positions and you can see what looks good. To find the best angle, try shifting your weight between your hips and moving your shoulders in different positions. Nothing looks more awkward than being too stiff and formal in photos. We don’t want to resemble a wax figure!
Highlight Your Favorite Features
Think about what you like most about yourself physically, is it your eyes or your smile or your shoulders? Figure out what you want to feature ahead of time and this way, you’ll be much more confident once the camera starts clicking. Conversely, it is helpful to think about any features you want to downplay so that you can make sure to avoid photos that will not be flattering.
Adding that extra charm
Think About Your Clothing
Your clothing plays such a big part in how you will come across on camera. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or fancy, you just have to play up your best features. You know what you feel comfortable in, so choose something that you love and that you’ve been complimented on before. That way, when you’re posing you won’t feel self-conscious which could put a damper on the end result.
Wear solid colours that complement your skin tone to look your best in photos. You’ll want to avoid patterns because they are distracting and can make you look larger. Think about what you want to accentuate and anything you want to minimize. Some examples would be, if you want to create a leaner silhouette or to add some height, try adding heels to complete your outfit. Or if you want to add more of a figure to your look, try adding a belt around the smallest part of your waist. And if you don’t like your arms, pick something with sleeves.
And Don’t Forget About Your Makeup
The flash from the camera tends to make your makeup look different than in real life, so you will have to make some adjustments. It may take some trial and error to get it right. If you are over 40, try some practice photos in natural light to really get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. If you don’t already do this, wear matte face powder to reduce shine in photos. But be sure to stay away from any power with any type of shimmer in it because in photos it will translate to being shiny. And don’t forget a swipe of lipstick. Bare lips tend to get washed out in photos. Wearing lipstick will make your lips pop in the picture and help define your smile. And what woman doesn’t feel a tad bit more put together and confident with a good lipstick on.
Getting ready for the shooting
Look Back at Photos You Love
I’m a big believer that you can never have too many photos of all your loved ones in your home and you never know when you’ll get that perfect picture to add to your gallery wall. From the big moments to the small everyday ones, there are so many great “photo opp’s”. Some of my very favourite ones weren’t planned but were spontaneous moments. The key to being camera-ready is to practice and learn how to look great and feel confident in photos.
Go back through pictures of yourself and identify which ones are your favourite and try to pinpoint why. You may find that you’re wearing a similar colour in all of them, or that you had the same smile in each one. You can also look at the ones you dislike and try to figure out why so that you can avoid the pose or angle in photos going forward. This is an easy way to see what works and what doesn’t in your quest to take the best pictures. Ones that you won’t mind popping up on social media!
Camera Phone Photo Tips
Learning how to take photos will also help with being in front of the camera. Cameras on phones have come a long way and take great pictures. They are also much more convenient to use because you most likely always have a phone nearby. Now is the perfect time to start taking more pictures and with the hope that it might lead to actually enjoying being in them.
Here are a few of my favourite tips for shooting on phone to get you started in midlife.
- Shoot pictures in landscape format because they are easier to crop and much more flattering
- Use your phone camera flash almost all the time, both indoors and outdoors, for a better result
- Have whoever is taking the photo take it from as high up as possible for the best angle
- Pay attention to what is in the background of your photos, the simpler the better
- Instead of using the “zoom” feature, if you want to take a closer shot, take a few steps closer to what you are taking a photo of
- Don’t forget to start with a clean phone. Use a phone wipe or something non-abrasive to clean the lens on your camera phone before you start taking pictures
Last but not least, relax and have fun. Being comfortable and at ease goes a long way, just as much so as knowing your angles and what looks good on you. The more photos you take and are in, the easier and more assured you will be any time there is a photo opportunity. The saying “practice makes perfect” rings true for taking cool pictures that you will cherish forever!