I will be the first to admit that in no way am I an expert, but I take enough photos to know what works and what doesn’t.
The confidence I need to pull all of these off is still something I’m working on, but I figured if I can help you out so long, why not?! Anyway, these tips can work whether or not you plan on being “Insta-Famous” they could just help to make your pictures look better.
To start off I want to address the condifence “factor”. I’m going to be brutally honest here and say that I am probably the least confident person in front of the camera, in fact, I have been known to cry when put under “picture pressure”. Then once the time and place passes and the initial stress reaction that I had fades, I always regret not taking the picture. So suck it up, and take the picture.
Now I know it’s easier said than done, truuuuust me on this one, I should be the last person preaching. Whenever I feel scared or too embarrassed to take the shot a run through a number of ideas that always push me to take the shot anyway. You may say, “but you don’t understand, I don’t want people laughing or mocking me”. I have had people do all those things, and well, I’m still here, and posted the pictures to Instagram. In fact, the shot below, we literally had to chase a group of guys out of the picture because they thought they were being funny by trying to photobomb my shot. SO original of them. I got the shot regardless and it performed really well on my Instagram.
So a couple of things you need to remember when you’re too nervous or overwhelmed to get the shot:
- Are you ever going to see these people again? Probably not, and besides, their opinion doesn’t matter anyway. You need to understand that it’s likely that if you don’t have the courage to take the shot someone else will, or maybe someone already has, so what are you worried about?
- You’ll most likely regret the shot you didn’t take. This happens to me every single time without fail, and anyway, is there such thing as too much content? I always wish I could go back, usually I can’t. So don’t worry too much about your outfit, or the weather, just do the best you can with what you’ve been given.
- See it as a business. This is for all you bloggers out there, stop seeing it as something you want to do and force yourself to take the shot, it’s a business after all. Support yourself! This always makes me want to put my ego aside and do it for something I love, to share the pictures with you, put myself aside and create something.
Cool, so now that we have got the confidence issue out of the way (or at least we have begun to deal with it) we can move on to the actual poses.
First thing is first, know your angles. I’m actually still learning this myself, but all it takes is practice, practice with different shots, in the mirror, pull faces make yourself laugh and don’t take yourself too seriously. What makes your shots interesting is not only the picture itself, but the way that you portray the picture, so try keep your viewers on their toes, make your angles something different, unusual. Something to make people stop on your picture and think for a bit. Create interesting angles and lines. Obviously, this can be tough after you’ve taken over 1000 pictures, but try to think outside the box. Don’t be discouraged if sometimes you have the same pose, it’s bound to happen.
Never ever push your arms to your side, it creates the illusion of fat arms. I learnt this the hard way, rather keep them slightly away from your body. In fact this works with legs too, if you’re sitting on a chair slightly lift your legs so that they aren’t so squished. Welcome to the land of make believe. It’s pretty fake, but it works. Pulling your shoulders back is also something that immediately gives you more space and the appearance of confidence and self respect, you don’t want to look shy or timid. So pull those shoulders back.
Remember to keep your chin out and down, of course this doesn’t always apply, especially if you are going for a particular look. It will seem uncomfortable in person, but it gets rid of any unwanted double chin situations which is always a win, right?!
As someone who is not known to be particularly tall, it’s always a bonus when you learn a trick to make your legs look longer. The trick being that if your legs are facing the camera they appear elongated and slimmer than if they are to the side or at a different angle. another trick is to always always point your toes, that helps too.
Try not to make yourself look smaller in pictures, if anything you want to look comfortable in front of the camera, because whatever you’re feeling on the other side of the lens is normally what is portrayed in the picture. So the more confident you are in being “seen”, the better the shot looks. For example, on a beach don’t curl up and hug your legs, rather spread out and pretend your at home next to your own private pool. The pictures convey a completely different vibe.
Although I don’t take many portrait shots, when I do I have learnt that in order to not look vacant when taking a close up, the trick is to try and look through the camera, rather than at it. It gives off a sort of eye contact vibe in the shot, which is always a win. You want to look engaged, not vacant.
So those are my tips, I’m still learning myself, and obviously I’ve got a lot more pictures to take and a lot more to learn, but I promise to keep sharing the tips I learn along the way!