I've been a photographer, specializing in portraits, for more than a decade, so I can tell you: most people freeze in front of a camera. But there's no reason to be camera shy! Here are a few tips for looking even more gorgeous than you normally do on picture day.
1 Find the Light/Hide in the Shade
Have you ever noticed that when you're taking photos in the middle of the day, you never look your best? That's because the mid-day sun is so bright, it makes harsh shadows and squinty eyes. When possible, shoot during the "golden hour," around sunset, or in the shade. And no matter where you're shooting, indoors or out, turn your eyes toward the light - it's so flattering! Your eyes will shine!
2 Find Your Good Side
Everyone has a "good" side, usually the side they part their hair on. If you part your hair in the middle, though, take a few quick selfies from both sides and choose which side you think is your best.
3 Don't Go Overboard
The hair, the make-up, the wardrobe, the accessories! It can be way overwhelming to get ready for a shoot, but it's okay! Unless you're doing a stylized, special shoot, your regular hair and makeup are fine, truly! A quick note about accessories: try to keep them to a minimum, so nothing will distract from your pretty face!
4 Bend It, Baby!
No one looks their best just standing there, dead on, with their arms hanging at their sides. Turn so your good side is facing the camera, then pop one hip and bend your "front" arm. There! If it can bend, bend it! You might want to tilt your head a little, too, toward everyone else in the photo.
5 Go for the Details
Still not feeling camera ready? Ask the photographer for some detail shots then, like a close up of your hands while you're knitting or the dreamy look you get when you've got your headphones on.
6 Warm Cookies
If you're not comfortable showing your teeth when you smile, rather than struggling with that closed-mouth, awkward grimace, close your eyes, and imagine the smells and taste of warm cookies. That relaxed smile you get? That's the "warm cookies" smile. Try it!
7 What's Your Hue?
I've never met anyone who didn't look beautiful in either coral or blue, so if you're not sure what color to wear to really bring out your sparkling eyes, try one of those!
8 Don't Fret!
Ahh! My hair's not perfect! Eek, I have a pimple! It's okay! These minor flaws are no biggie, and after all, isn't that what PhotoShop is for?
9 Shoot from above
I loathe my neck (I can't even tell you why), so when I'm going to be in a photo, I ask for it to be shot from just a little above, so I'm looking up a bit. This hides my neck, and it also works to conceal a multitude of other issues.
10 Don't Be so Hard on Yourself!
Speaking of "issues," can I just say how heartbreaking it is to take a photo with a friend, then hear a her say how fat/awful/chunky she looks? Stop it! You look great - you're smiling and happy with your friends and family. Isn't that what matters most? And if you're not being hard on yourself, worried about your weight or whatever, you'll be much more relaxed, and all anyone will notice in your photos is how happy you look!
So the next time someone whips out a camera for a quick group shot, remember the warm cookies! And don't forget: you're gorgeous! Do you have any other tips to share?