Fashion, Featured, Thoughts

how to look good on camera without really trying

When I shot my first Trashy Diva dress with the lovely Kaitlyn of Say Hello Story, we managed to squeeze in a second location/outfit! After a quick change in the front seat of her car, we explored the green expanse (and stylish lawn bowling green…) of Lake Park. Since I already reviewed my Society+ tutu in a previous post, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to talk about one of the topics that I constantly get questions about: how to take good outfit photos and be confident on camera. I’m certainly no expert, but I’ve been taking OOTD photos for more than a year now, and I’ve watched a lot of America’s Next Top Model, so I’m happy to share whatever I know.

Disclaimer: Obviously, having a great photographer to shoot and help direct you is going to make taking photos a lot easier. But I take my daily OOTD photos on my own with a tripod…although they aren’t as high quality as photos taken by an experienced photographer with a high-quailty camera, the same tips apply whether you’re snapping your own pics or out with photog.

#1: Mind the details

I spend a lot of time thinking about my feet when I take pictures. In the attempt to make sure you’re not making a dumb face or anything, it’s easy to forget other parts of your body, but a wonky hand or weird twist to your ankle can stand out like a flashing light in the final shot. Any time I pose, I try to remind myself to point my toes, cross my ankles if seated, and generally make my big crazy clown feet look as delicate and pretty as possible. Feet are just an example – I also call on my ANTM training to remember not to hide/cut off my limbs with my poses and to keep my hands soft/graceful.

#2 Mix it up

We all have go-to poses and expressions that feel comfortable, but it stinks to look back through your photos and realize that they all look the same. Especially if you’re taking the trouble of taking pictures with multiple backdrops, try to cycle through multiple poses in each location.

#3 You don’t have to look at the camera

Outfit photos are not your family Christmas card. You don’t have to look at the camera! Personally, I’m a big fan of pointing my attention slightly off-camera…I feel like it helps create a sense of realness, drawing the viewer into a scene that extends beyond the frame of the photo. Mixing in some off-camera glances with your photos also helps make the ones where you do make direct eye contact with the camera/viewer more impactful.

#4 Interact with your environment

Don’t be in front of the scenery…be in it! Personally, I find having something to interact with helps me take better photos. Even when I’m taking an outfit pic in my living room, I have a tendency to grab props from around the room to pose with. It gives you something to do, other than just try to look nice. If you’re at a location, be bold and experiment with levels. When I saw these stone benches, I immediately said, “I gotta Sound of Music these.” Sit on things. Climb on top of them. Lean against them. Any piece of the environment that you can find some way to interact with is a new, potentially interesting photograph.

#5 Have fun!

All that said, the looser you are, the better your photos are going to be. This is supposed to be fun! You can take some of the awkwardness that comes with taking photos, maybe feeling a little shy about it, and turn it into good energy. Don’t be afraid to try a silly pose or make a weird face. It may just help you stay loose/relaxed so you can capture that “pretty” photo, but you never know…a lot of the photos where I’m caught laughing or making a face end up being my favorites! I always insist on getting my photo taken with any funny signs I see.

I hope these tips helped you feel a little more comfortable with taking photos! Honestly, the best thing you can do is practice. The more pictures you take, the more familiar you get with poses, how your face and body looks when you do certain things to it, and how to capture a great shot. Thanks again to Kaitlyn for taking all these photos with me – I highly recommend doing a mini-shoot with someone that you know/trust/are comfortable with if you’re just starting out with taking more photos. The best photoshoots, in my experience, are the ones where you laugh a lot!

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2 Comment

  1. Reply
    Alida Sharp
    August 15, 2017 at 10:02 am

    You make it look so simple! I’m always stressed at photo shoots and when I’m performing. I need to relax, have fun, and remember these tips!

    1. Reply
      Penny Snark
      August 15, 2017 at 11:39 am

      It definitely took a lot of practice and uncomfortable pictures to get to this point! Taking a lot of photos of myself at home with a tripod & a timer helped me get used to posing so that it’s easier to whip out a few options when I’m actually with a photographer 🙂

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