10 Secrets to Looking Great in Photos

Are you photogenic or are you always hiding behind the camera (like I used to do)?  Do you want to know the secrets to looking great in pictures?  Of course you do!  Want to look younger, slimmer, more natural?  Then you’ve come to the right place, baby! (OMG – I sound like an Infomercial!)

My 10 Secrets to Looking Great in Photos will make you red-carpet worthy! Or at least ready to post those kissy face bathroom shots all over the web! Just kidding!

I’ll be the first to confess that I do not like having my picture taken and I’m usually the one hiding out once the camera appears, unless I’m being directed by my photographer daughter.  She always makes me look presentable.  OK, sometimes she has to take a few shots to get me to relax before she snaps that magical one that makes me look a tad bit younger.  Ah, it’s miraculous!

And just to let you know, I have one simple Facebook rule:  No one in the family is allowed to put pics up of me without my approval.  And they all know it.  I’m serious.  I changed my Facebook settings eons ago so that no one can tag me in a picture without my A-OK. Yep, I have to click that tag to approve it. That way, it may show up on their timeline, but it won’t show up on mine.

Two of my daughters and all of my grands are so photogenic, all I have to do is say the word camera and they are posed and ready for a photo shoot.  Me, not so much.

So, I consulted with my daughter – actually, as she was walking by my home office (aka the corner of the family room) on her way out the door, I hollered at her and asked for her very best photography tips.  She rattled them off with no hesitation whatsoever, while I scrambled for a pen to write them all down.  So, being the trusting mom that I am, I did a little recon (my detective speak for research) on the web and lo and behold, her tips were almost exactly the same tips that I found from a famous photographer.  My daughter’s got it going on!  🙂  But I already knew that.

And I have to give a shout out to my daughter for patiently posing for me, a pretend photographer!

Are you ready for the 10 secrets?  (Hint:  Read the entire list:  Number 10 is really the number one secret). The next time you have your picture taken, you can do so with confidence!  And you can thank me later.

1.  If it will bend, bend it – arm, leg, etc – but keep it natural looking. You’ll learn more as you read the tips.great photos

2.  Think posture – Shoulders back and down (do a shoulder roll right before that camera snaps the pic) and straight back.  Works wonders!


3.  Tilt your chin slightly down, not up!  Most people that have a double chin think that if they tilt their head up, it will go away.  Au contraire!  It’s more noticeable that way! Tilting the chin down just a bit eliminates it!  Note:  My daughter doesn’t have a double chin, but for those that do, here’s the way to pose!

Daughter #3

Daughter #3

4.  Angle your body – Do you ever look at a picture and think, “OMG, I gained 20 lbs. overnight!  You really didn’t!  It’s all about the angle.  Turn your body 45 degrees to the right or left.  Slightly bend that knee (see secret #1) closest to the camera, put your weight on the hip furthest from the camera and position your body so that the bust and up is facing the camera.  (This is the classic red carpet pose that most celebrities have down pat).10steps

5.  Placing your weight on the front leg or facing the camera directly will make legs and thighs look heavy.  Just say no and do #4.

6.  After you’ve done #4, turn the toe of your bent knee back toward the camera.  (The more you practice this stance, it will be less awkward and will eventually become second nature the moment someone vaguely mentions taking your pic.)

7.  Smile – naturally.  A tip I’ve learned (from trial and error) is that when I smile, the parenthesis around my mouth go away!  It’s pure magic!  When I don’t smile, it ages me . . . a lot.  Smile!

8.  Indirect light is always best!  It softens wrinkles and lines.  Not that we have any, of course.10steps1

9.  What do we do with those arms and hands? I never knew what to do with my hands!  If it bends, bend it (# 1)!  Place the hand closest to the camera on your hip, then shift that entire arm backwards and the face a tad bit forward.  When we just stand with our arms next to our body, it makes us look wide.  We don’t want wide. whatnottodo

10.  This is it!  When I asked my daughter to tell me her number one tip, she said this:  Make sure the camera is positioned a little higher than your head and pointing slightly down at you!  I can attest that this one works!  I actually try to get my daughter to stand on a ladder or maybe on the 15th floor of a building and look down on me.  🙂  As the camera looks down at you, drop your chin a little, look slightly up and lean forward a bit (but keep good posture). This pic is flattering to everyone!10steps2

Bonus Tip:  To get great shots of your children, get down on their eye level.  Awesomeness!  You twisted my arm into showing off my very favorite pic of my grand kids.  Again.

4th of July

What tricks do you use to look great in photos?

You can find some of my daughter’s photography work here!



About Alli

Southern, Morning Person, Jesus Girl, Frugal Party Planner, Writer/Blogger, Mom, Nana, Wife, Beach Bum Wannabe - Let's Have a Party!


  1. Love the tips! On a recent family vacation to Hawaii, I kept putting my hand on my hip and was made fun of…a little…it was the “super model pose”. But, the pictures I did that in are my favorite ones. And I do not typically like pictures of myself!!

    • The hand on the hip feels weird, I know. But it works! I have always hated my pictures and thought I looked half dead in them. Wish I had known these tips years ago! 🙂

  2. Thank you for the tips on taking better photo’s. I have never liked photo’s of myself. I will definitely keep these things in mind in the future & hopefully the person taking my pic will know to guide me.

  3. Great tips. Who knew? My tips, run and hide, but maybe not anymore! Thanks for sharing. BTW, beautiful daughters and adorable grandkids!

    • I used to run and hide, too! Then I realized that I wasn’t in very many pics with my children! 🙂 Thanks for your sweet comment on my daughter and grandkids.

  4. Great tips and pics!

  5. I always look AWFUL in pictures, so I’m going to have to try some of these tips!

  6. These really are great tips! I fully agree with #10! I recently had headshots done (for the first time ever) and some of things she had me do worked, and some didn’t! And it showed in the pics! Additionally, I felt really awkward doing some of it, but it made such a difference in the end result! I will definitely be keeping these in mind when I do photos for my blog! Thank you!

  7. I needed this. I’ve very recently gone on a mention to be IN the pictures, rather than always taking them. But, as a postpartum mama not looking how I want to, it is hard to get over myself and take the leap. I’m going to be bending and angling up a storm. Thank you! Pinned it. 🙂

  8. Love the tips Alli – and your example photos too! I’m not a fan of having my photo taken, so will definitely try to remember these next time someone decides to snap me – bend it, look down not up, and smile! I’ll start with those! 🙂

  9. Thanks for the great tips. When I was a kid I liked the way I looked in photos but since I haven’t gotten older I have always hated the way I look.

  10. Thanks for the great tips. When I was a kid I liked the way I looked in photos but since I have gotten older I have always hated the way I look.

  11. omg! I am the one that hates taking pictures and never knew how to angle myself and such. I never looked good and always wondered how my friends or acquaintances look decent/good. Definately good tips and time for me to practice!!!

  12. What a great collection of photography tips. I use to say “cheese”(English food mostly), “tempe” (Indonesian food), and Kimchi (Korean food) to get well shaped mouth. I love the #10 tip and the bonus ones a lot. Look so beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  13. I am going to work on pose number 3 tomorrow. Also love your bonus tip, I always get great shots of my kids when I’m at their level. It took me awhile to learn that one, lol.

    • It took me a while, too. Of course, I’m still learning. Now, if I could get my food to pose all by themselves when I take pics for my blog, I would be so thrilled!

  14. I am so not photogenic it’s ridiculous. I hate duck-face selfies and hand on hip posing, but I’ll try the tips and see how it works for me! Thanks for the list.

  15. Hi Alli,

    First off, you have a very beautiful family!

    These are such great tips and since I was afraid that I would forget them I went ahead and printed them off, thanks! I always try to hide from the camera because I am not photogenic at all, but like you, my kids and grandkids are. Hopefully, now I will start looking better in photos, especially in my upcoming wedding photos. Thanks for all of the great tips.

  16. Great tips! I love your website! I’m always one who avoids the camera so I think I will bookmark this and study these tips so I will remember them! Thanks!

  17. HA HA I love it. You sound just like me. All pictures must be approved by me. You have some AWESOME tips. I naturally place my chin down in pictures. bonus for me. BUT I LOVE the don’t look fat if you have to poses. LOL. Totally bookmark this post. I need a quick reference card. Thanks for sharing.

  18. I am soooo going to try some of these…I’m a little confused by some…but I bet as soon as I play around with it I will understand 🙂 I agree with the eye level for kids thing! I have to say that we got some of the best pictures I have ever seen by giving my then 2 year old a camera and letting her have fun. The images she found where awesome!! The angles amazing! Just try it!

  19. This is a FABULOUS post! Thank you, thank you!! I’m a new follower for sure – seen you around our groups, but I haven’t had a chance to appreciate your wonderful blog 🙂 My biggest secret to a good photo is to angle my face to my Best Side! I definitely have a good side & a bad side… ~ Renee

  20. So was I! I think I broke them all!

  21. Wow! Your daughter is quite the resource 😀
    I agree with every one of them, although the arm positioning in number 9 seems less flattering to me than straight arms<–It could just be my bias though lol!
    Your grand kids are adorable! That's my favorite tip, I get so much better pictures of the kids if I kneel down.

    I am so intrigued by the "if it bends, bend it" rule. I blog about flexibility and fitness so this is right up my alley 😀

    • She’s been a professional photographer for a few years, now. Usually, when the arm is straight by the side, it tends to make a person look wider (like the last pic). At least that is what I’m told. I’m certainly not an expert! 🙂 Of course, these are just suggestions and there is always exceptions to the rule. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  22. Wow! These are some great tips! I’m actually comfortable having my picture taken, but have friends who aren’t. It’s nice to have these thoughts in mind so the next time I want to take a group shot I can throw out some advice!

  23. Such a great topic! Who doesn’t like to have the picture taken but if they only knew how to look great in them. I will definitely be keeping these tips for future.

  24. This is a very comprehensive list! I do not have a double chin, but boy have I had some terrible photos that would tell me different. I’ll keep working on the tilt of my head and hopefully one day get a good one!

    • Excellent point! Sometimes it takes a few shots to get a good one! Believe me, I know. It’s so hard for me to be natural in photos. But I’m working on these tips, too! 🙂

  25. What fantastic tips. I’m going to use them ALL when I head out for vacation later this month. This post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

    Thank you and your daughter!

  26. Great tips! Especially since everyone is taking their own photos these days. Nice blog!

  27. Such awesome tips! I am totally pinning! Thanks!

  28. Great photo tips, I will definitely try these tips, I gained a few pounds and will try these tips when taking photos! Thanx! 😀

  29. This is really useful! I’m so frustrated with the pictures I have of myself! haha! I never get to have good shots of myself. I think I only have one or two good photos. thank you for this!

  30. I am so excited and can’t wait to try them out. Hiding behind the camera has been my favorite pose in the past then I get upset there are no pics of me or at least one that I like.

  31. Fantastic information. With everyone taking their own pictures now a days, this is very helpful.

  32. This is great! With blogging comes photography. I love photographing landscapes, but haven’t done much with portraits. I’ll have to keep these tips in mind 🙂

  33. Love these tips, especially the first one–‘if it bends, bend it’ lol. Also, the tip about trying to have the camera above your head so that it’s tilted down to take a picture of you–one of my favorite tricks! Thanks for the fun info!

  34. Oh I agree with positioning the camera higher than your head & then pointing it down toward your face – it works wonders! (Especially when you’ve got some chin action going on…lol!) Thanks for the tips! 🙂

  35. You know you have great tips when all the celebrities use them! Its crazy how one slight adjustment of your body or the light can make you look so different. I am going to start trying some of these to see if I notice a difference in how I look in the pics. Thanks for the information

    • It’s true! Seems every red carpet celebrity has that hand on the hip thing going on. It feels a little weird at first, but I’ve noticed it does make a difference. Even if the hand is not on the hip, just bending it and not holding it straight by the side helps, too. Glad you stopped by!

  36. Oh, I needed these tips! I can’t stand probably 90% of the pictures I’m in. I’ll remember, “If it will bend, bend it!” I’m off to practice my photo stance now.

  37. Thank you so much for these amazing tips! I would always much rather be behind the camera than in front of it! I’ll have to put some of these tips into action the next time someone wants to take a picture of me 🙂

  38. Love this, indirect lighting is KEY!!!

  39. Alli,
    Thank you for these tips, I love them. I will be remembering them too! Pinning!
    Your grandchildren are very cute!
    Wanda Ann @ Memories by the Mile

  40. These really are great tips Alli! I’m thinking back on some of my favorite and least favorite pictures of myself, and in one of my least favorite pics I am directly facing the camera (rather than angling) and bending nothing, and in one of my favorites I have my hand on my hip. Now that I know what I should be aiming for maybe I’ll end up liking a higher percentage of photos of me. And am I getting this right, you had all daughters and your grand kids are all boys? Funny! Beautiful family, by the way.

    • Actually we have two boys and three girls and all grand boys so far! I’ve got my fingers crossed for a grand daughter! When I face the camera directly and have my hands straight by my side, I look like a wide receiver! 🙂

  41. I keep thinking I need to spend about an hour in the bathroom looking at myself and getting the pose down so when its time, I am ready to go. lol.

  42. Great tips! I have been bending my arm for years! But the one about the weight on the back leg is super helpful!

  43. Thank you! I’m super awkward in pictures too so this’ll come in handy. Although there is no way that I would be able to remember all 10 of these at once, I think I’d look even goofier. I guess I’ll have to practice in front of the mirror or something…

  44. Good tips. I also prefer natural lighting. Another tip is to avoid anything that can appear as though it is protruding from your head (no need for antlers on a human). I am not a fan of fake poses. I prefer people in natural poses (with a little adjustment, such as your tips).

    • I don’t like fake, either. But I always seemed to look fake! 🙂 I’m getting better with these tips, as well. Maybe by the time I’m 90 . . . 🙂

  45. I love these tips i have never thought of them, i just fix the pictures on Instagram. Beatiful pictures. Thank you so much for sharing this post. Love it!

  46. Well, thank you!! I have asked people I know who take pictures professionally—no help! Those who have their pictures taken professionally—models—no help! You look fine is always the response—please! These ruels are simple, easy to understand, and I can tell from your pictures work fabulously!

  47. I am completely clueless when it comes to what to do with my body when taking pictures and this has helped a BUNCH! Thanks so much for this, now I won’t look as awkward 🙂

    • I know I’ve said this before, but I never knew what to do with my hands – clasp them in front, dangle by the side (equals wide) – but now I know. Thanks for stopping by!

  48. Thanks so much for sharing these tips. I hate to have my picture taken and hate almost all pictures of myself! I’m going to practice some of the things you suggested (because I imagine they feel pretty awkward at first) and then try taking some better pictures.

    • They do feel awkward at first! But since my daughter shared her tips, I’ve been paying closer attention to photos of celebrities, etc. and they all do the classic red carpet pose. 🙂 Who knew?

  49. Beautiful grand-kids and daughters you have. I am very shy when it comes to getting my pics taken. I don’t enjoy it at all. I don’t mind taking the pictures though of other people 🙂 Great tips u listed. I will definitely have to try them out.

  50. Thanks for the tips! I’m always super critical of the way I look in pictures, so these will help me out!

    • The one thing I’ve learned since writing this post is that we are all so critical of ourselves. LOL I pick myself apart and notice things that I’m sure no one else notices. I guess we are our own worst critics and here I was thinking it was just me. Thanks for stopping by!

  51. I don’t have any tips, thus the reason I think most of my photos (of myself) are horrible!! These tips rock — now I want to grab the camera and start taking some awesome shots! Thanks!

  52. I just LOVED this post!! I need all the help I can get when it comes to taking good pictures!! I need to print it out and try that “red carpet” pose!!! 🙂

  53. I insist on having the camera above. It really gets rid of any double chins and gives a perfect angle! Great tips!

  54. Wow! What a difference your tips make!

  55. These are great tips, Alli! One of my favorite pics of myself was taken before a friend’s wedding and the photographer took the photo from slightly above. It felt a little awkward to lean forward and look up BUT the pic turned out great! 🙂

    • I know – pics from above look awesome! That’s why I try to get my daughter to stand on a skyscraper and take my pic – I would look so, so skinny! 🙂

  56. Hi Alli! Thank you so much for sharing your fantastic tips at Best of the Weekend! I absolutely loved this and am featuring it at tomorrow’s party! Hope you have a happy Friday and hope to see you at the party!

  57. Alli,

    What a great post. I really wished I’d used these when my son got married. I looked so bad that I untagged everyone’s photos that I was in and I made the folder on FB private. How sad is that. Yes, I have a few pounds to lose, so I hate getting my pic taken. The photo I used on my blog, my husband was standing up and I was crouching down. That’s how I want all my photos taken!!! Great tips. Thanks. Now everyone run along and check out my photo on the blog and while you are there sign up to get my posts emailed to you, why don’t ya? 🙂

  58. Ooo, you tempted me here with your teasing comment on your throwback party! I’m glad you did, great tips, I always think everyone else looks great it pictures and I look shocking, hopefully this will help. As long as I don’t half close my eyes, that’s a common problem for me and I end up just looking drunk!

  59. thanks for the great tips! I’m such a critic of my own photos, deleting and re-taking constantly. This will help!

  60. Thanks for these great tips. I need to print this and carry it around with me until I get it all memorized.

  61. Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this site.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very difficult
    to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness
    and appearance. I must say that you’ve done a fantastic
    job with this. Additionally, the blog loads super fast for me on Safari.
    Excellent Blog!

    michael kors handbags outlet

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.