How to Be More Photogenic

Discover how to look good in pictures with our tips on becoming more photogenic. Includes: Makeup, hair, and posing tips.

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The following is a post by Kaitlyn, a student at Binghamton University. She is currently getting her Masters in adolescent education and English.

How to be more photogenic - students taking a selfie

Everyone knows that feeling. You wake up Sunday morning …err afternoon after a long night out with your friends. You immediately log in to Facebook and there they are waiting for you in the news feed… pictures of you looking heavy, with your eyes partly closed, awkward facial expressions, frizzy hair, and smudged eyeliner. Ugh. Even better, you realize that the shirt you just bought was completely see-through!

How is it that celebrities always look great in photographs even when they are just running errands? What can you do when it seems that you have as many bad pictures as Courtney Love?

Here are some tips on how to be more photogenic. It’s not as hard as you might think to look good in pictures!


First of all, dress confidently! If you don’t look good, you will not feel good.

Make sure that clothes aren’t see-through by having someone photograph you beforehand. To avoid your bra showing through, always wear dark underwear with dark clothing and flesh colored underwear with white clothing. A white bra with a white shirt equals disaster!

Another tip is to emphasize your best features and downplay aspects of your body that you aren’t so happy with. Heels for example are an easy way to elongate your legs. Or if your tummy area bothers you, wear empire waist shirts and dresses that flow away from your torso and emphasize your chest and arms. If you are wearing a skirt, make sure you cross you legs so you don’t have any pictures that are reminiscent of Britney Spears. Also, Spanx are great for giving you an overall slimmed-down appearance.

Most importantly, wear what you feel comfortable and confident in! It will show in your photos.


Accessories can enhance your look, but they can sometimes overwhelm you in a picture too. Always make sure that you wear accessories that complement your outfit and features. But don’t go overboard – you don’t want to look like a little girl playing dress-up. First and foremost you want the attention to be on you.


If you are going out for a night on the town with your girls, finding the right balance of make-up is crucial. You don’t want to wear so much that you look like a scary Barbie doll but you don’t want to wear too little and look washed out. Mascara, eyeliner, light foundation, rosy cheeks, and lip gloss for a kissable pout will have you looking great!

A few more makeup tips:

  • To decrease a pimple’s redness, dab some Visine on it.
  • Make sure you blend your foundation in with your jaw line and neck or you will be two-toned.
  • Carry tissues and a mirror with you to take care off any smudged lipstick or eyeliner.
  • A great fake tan will make your complexion glow and make you look slimmer at the same time. I recommend Jergens Natural Glow and Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs (the second isn’t a tanner – it’s a wonder makeup to give you the legs of Beyonce). See also: Our favorite self tanners of all time.


Hair should look flirty and natural, but make sure your hair isn’t covering your entire face! If you are having a bad hair day, wear your hair back and tame flyways with a spritz of hairspray. I like to use TRESemme Smooth No Frizz Shine Spray to make my hair super shiny. I also always carry Frizz Ease Secret Weapon Creme in my bag for a silky finish and to combat frizz.


Posture can make or break you looking spectacular in a picture. Here are some tips for that perfect photo pose.

  • Whatever you do, don’t slouch! Stand up straight and be proud! Also, don’t suck in your tummy so much that it looks like you’re in pain!
  • Gracefully arch your shoulders back and slightly tilt your chin forward to eliminate any double chin action. Have the person take the picture at eye-level and look a little above the camera lens for the best results.
  • Move your arms away from your body and place them on your hips to make them look more toned and to avoid them looking flabby!
  • A trick that many celebrities use is placing one foot slightly behind you and turning your body at an angle. Being photographed straight on can make you look heavier than you actually are.

Whatever you do, aim to be relaxed and not rigid. Most of all, act natural! If you’re too posed, it will show in the pic.


Your face says it all in a photo, so always smile! Like Tyra Banks says, “smile with your eyes” – open your eyes really big then squint slightly for a sexy look that won’t make them look small or squinty. Your mouth will then form a natural, sexy smile.

Another tip is to envision how you want to come across. I like to think of a celebrity such as Scarlett Johansson or Evangeline Lilly while I am smiling with my eyes for inspiration. It’s easy to do and it really works.

A few more tips..

  • Don’t pucker up to the camera – the duck face has been done to death. Ditto for Lindsay Lohan’s silly signature peace sign pose. Also, don’t pose looking over you shoulder. It may look like you think you’re too important to stop and pose for the picture.
  • Practice posing to find out what works for you. Celebrities are photographed in the same poses over and over again because they know what is flattering. Practice in front of a mirror or grab a friend to snap some shots of you. You might actually have a side that you look better from! Practicing poses will decrease chances of you being caught in an unflattering moment.
  • Most importantly have fun, act natural, and be happy. Being yourself will ensure the best picture that’s most reflective of you. Study celebrity poses, and practice, practice, practice. All these steps will ensure that you will have your own red carpet moments every Saturday night!

Your Thoughts?

Now that you’ve heard Kaitlyn’s tips on how to look great in photos, let’s hear yours. How do you pose for pictures? Do you have any camera-ready makeup tricks? Leave a comment!

11 thoughts on “How to Be More Photogenic”

  1. A tip I picked up from a magazine about getting the perfect smile: when you smile, gently press your tongue to the back of your front teeth. It’s supposed to help your smile be more genuine. The article (sorry – I don’t remember the magazine) said Reese Witherspoon uses this technique.

  2. Hey CF! I love this article! Can’t wait to read your article about Evernote — when do you plan on publishing it? I use it for art class and I loovveee ittttt. Would love to hear new and exciting uses for it!!!

  3. Its true about smiling. It really does make you look more photogenic if you’re smiling.
    I always have make up on me, just in case I need to re-do it, and fix any smudges.

  4. here are a few tips from a photographer…

    Try not to look at the camera directly – can make your face more masculine than it is. Girls should never take pictures directly facing the camera – always angle your body!

    Crossing the leg closest to the camera over the back leg makes you look slimmer (as mentioned before but it is a good one).

    using the flash when it is sunny can actually work wonders, but you should avoid flash when you can – nobody looks good with direct flash!

  5. I just ran across your blog and I’m in <3 with it!! Thanks so much for these tips, I am definitely one of those awkward people where pictures do my no justice, lol. I tried the tyra banks tip and it worked!! 🙂 I’ve been reading your articles and I agree with so many of them!

  6. WEAR BRONZER!!! It keeps the flash from washing out your face. In all my pictures I used to have a nicely tanned body and a stark white face. Bronzer will help your face match your body in pictures and give you a healthy looking glow. I also put some moisturizer on my neck and then apply bronzer so it will stick and my face will blend naturally with the rest of my body.

  7. Okay, I love this post. I believe that I am the worst photogentic person in the world, mainly with my face expressions. Body wise with the poses I tend to do okay.

    Despite all of that, I do have a really good “Posing” tip for taking photo’s. I see celebrities do this alot and you may have mentioned this already.

    But if you stand up straight with your legs crossed. Slightly turned, and leaning just a little bit on the leg in front, it makes you look longer and slimmer.
    Then let one arm hang to your side and the other arm on the hip of the leg in the back.

    I have tried this in photos and it really looks glamorous…of course until you get to my face and see one eye closed and twitched lips like I had some sort of seizer.


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