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Ask Avery: Picture perfect

Photo courtesy of Flickr / mbtrama

blog by Avery Hartmans  • 

Dear Avery,
How can I look better in pictures? I always hate photos of myself and immediately un-tag when they go on Facebook. Help! I’m sick of feeling depressed when I get photo notifications.

If there was ever the right time to use the Twitter hashtag “first world problems,” the time is now. But in reality, this is an issue that plagues many a girl in the social media age: how can we look hot in every uploaded picture? How do we ensure we look so good, our ex-boyfriends are slapping themselves for letting us get away? And how do we ensure that everyone who Facebook stalks us is green with envy about how pretty and carefree we are? It’s hard being a girl.

But beyond the more trivial aspects of the need to look like a total babe in photos, there are times when this comes in handy. In the digital age, it’s important to create an image for ourselves, because you know potential employers are going to be all up in your business as soon as they receive your resume. Just a heads up: it’s time to start being a real person and change your Twitter profile picture from one of you funneling Keystone to you looking professional in a tasteful headshot.

So how do you turn a mug shot into a glamour shot? Just for you, I studied up on it. And with a few simple tricks, your photos will be the envy of all of Facebook.

Step one: Shine, shine go away

Unless you were born without pores, you, like every other human, are susceptible to a little shininess. But you, like every other human, don’t have to live with it, especially not in photos. Start packing a compact of pressed powder for your nights out or events you know will be photographed, because you never know when you might need to discreetly de-shine yourself on a moment’s notice. If you look hot enough in a picture, no one will even notice your shiny forehead, but let’s just play it safe and dust on the powder.

Step two: It’s all about the angles

Remember the good old days of tasteful selfies taken from above with pouty lips and deuces thrown up for good measure? Oh, how I miss the Myspace years. OK, OK, I’m kidding. If you were lucky enough not to be 14 in 2005 like I was, then you probably don’t know what I’m talking about. I envy you. But the point of all this is that angles matter, and the Myspace-obsessed self-portrait-takers of my generation knew this, sort of. Don’t allow photos to be taken from a low angle, but don’t do the overhead shot, either. The photograph shouldn’t look like it was taken from a helicopter. Basically, this can all be remedied if you get someone a little taller than you to take the photo — you’ll be looking up just slightly, elongating your neck and making you appear skinnier.

Step three: Suck it in, girl
While we’re on the subject of skinny, I may as well put it bluntly: suck it in. I’m not trying to be rude here, I’m just trying to help you out. You could have the body of a Victoria’s Secret Angel and if you neglect to suck in, you won’t like how the picture turns out. So straighten up, pull back your shoulders, tighten your abs and turn just slightly to the side if you can. Not only will you look more like Megan Fox, you’ll also look more confident. While you’re at it, you can put a hand on the hip, too. When your upper arm is all squished against your side, it looks rather flabby, even you have guns Michelle Obama would be envious of.

Step four: Don’t forget the head tilt

I get a lot of flak for this, even from my own mother, but do not underestimate the power of the tilt. I’m not saying you should tilt your head at a right angle — you don’t want people to think you need medical attention. That’s an awkward conversation to have. But a subtle tilt of the head to the left or right will work wonders. I firmly believe a slight tilt makes you look friendlier and more inviting, and works especially well for people who don’t really like one side of their face. Angle your bad side inward, tilt your good side outward, and voila! You’ve literally put your best face forward.

Step five: Say cheese

After all that preparation, it’s finally time to smile. Now, before you judge me for what I’m about to say, hear me out: take all your pictures like they’re laughing pictures. I don’t mean you should purposely have a spontaneous laughing fit before every photo to make it seem like your constantly having the time of your life. That’s overkill — no one laughs that much. But a little self-induced giggle never hurt anyone, and it will make your smiles look more genuine. It’s hard to force a lovely smile on command, so give yourself a little help.

But at the end of the day, don’t forget to just loosen up and enjoy yourself — the sole purpose of your social life isn’t to get photographed. You’re supposed to be having fun, remember?

Photo courtesy of Flickr / mbtrama

TAGGED: facebook, photos, pictures, selfies, social media, tagging, twitter

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