FREE BUDGET WORKSHEET DOWNLOAD!
We all want to look our best when it comes to the camera. Here are 5 tips on how to look better in pictures. SUPER easy!
5 Ways for How to Look Better in Pictures
I'm so stinkin' excited about this post!
Several years ago the entire PPP team was able to meet for a few days in San Diego at a conference, and oh my goodness, I just love these girls! We all work virtually across the country, so at the time, I hadn't met a few in real life before, and we had NEVER all been in one place at the same time.
Jamie, Nicole, Laurie, Cheryl and Shannon
While we were meeting of course we had to have a picture, and my sweet friend Jamie told us she knew some secrets to making us look cute in pictures. (As you can imagine, we were ALL up for that.) So of course we decided she needed to give you and me both a lesson. 🙂
How to Look Better in Pictures
These first pics were taken at the airport in San Diego at 5:30 AM before flying out. Just sayin'. 😉
We all want to look our best when it comes to the camera – a bad picture of yourself can make you feel crummy, while a good one can help boost your self confidence. Plus – sometimes you just plain want to downplay your trouble areas. (I have several) Here are some of my favorite tips on how to look better in pictures!
1 . Move the Camera Up, Up, Up!
This is one of my favorite ways to look instantly slimmer! Whatever the camera is closest to will look the largest.
By moving the camera from torso or chest level to forehead level – the focus shifts to your face and shoulders, and the rest of your body appears smaller. (Accentuate the positive, right?). It also decreases the chance of shadows on your face.
As a bonus, you tend to look up at the camera rather than down. Which leads us to #2 ...
(This picture shows how a lower camera focus widens you visually)
2 . Ditch the Double Chin
I personally give myself a double chin just taking a sip of coffee. (They sneak up on me way too easily these days)
No one wants the dreaded double or triple chin in a photo – and looking down can do just that. Since the camera is already nice and high it makes sense to tilt your head just slightly upwards and watch the double chin elongate and disappear. This will have you feeling confident in photos too!
3 . Position Your Arms to Flatter Your Waist
Resist the urge to hold your arms straight at your side because visually it makes you wider. I would add that any pose that smooshes them flat against you makes them looks sort of… larger, right?
Instead, bend your elbows and rest your hands towards the front of your hip area. (Pretend your hands are in you front pockets – that's where you want 'em!). Now push both your shoulders and your elbows back slightly for good posture and a slimmer silhouette.
If it feels awkward at first – you're doing it right. Laurie totally laughed through this one 🙂
4 . Angle Your Body Slightly
Turning your body just a tad to the side makes your hips look slimmer. (Think about 45 degrees)
5 . Put One Foot in Front of the Other
Point one leg out toward the camera and then crossing it over the other at the ankle or calf area. This move makes your legs look longer and in fact, lengthens your whole silhouette.
6 . Group Picture Tip!
If you're taking a group photo – the best place to be is in the middle with your body angled slightly! It makes a huge difference, and you'll instantly look smaller.
Bonus Tip: My friend Shannon is TINY (seriously, so teeny), but her shirt in the wind did not cooperate in our group photo up top. So a bonus tip is…. If you're wearing a billowy clothing item make sure you have it pinned to your body with your arm so it doesn't add visual bulk.
Here she is on the way to an 80's themed gathering at the conference, looking quite a bit less “billowy” 😉
We'd love to hear what other tips you have for how to look better in pictures. Goodness, this is one we all struggle with, right? Leave your comments to share ~ we love hearing from you!
FREE BUDGET WORKSHEET!
Download your FREE worksheet now!
I won't send you any spam, ever. Promise.
Summer Palmberg says
Thank you. You have no idea how I look in pics. My husband says I get so awkward and try so hard that every time it turns out so bad. Haha. I’m definitely going to try these tips.
Madison ~ PPP Team says
We’re so glad that this could help you, Summer!
Liz Fergus says
Great article. I learned a lot. Dismiss the dismissive!
I think we should all take a step back and read again what Brenda said ! Why can’t both opinions be OK? Why do those who want to look their best in a photo have to be insulted by those who see that preference as some kind of political statement? It’s human nature to want to project your best physical self. Everything isn’t political !
I love this post and I loved Gina’s suggestion and description of her family “Smash your tongue ladies.” These are great and Laurie has such a kind loving heart.
I actually really enjoyed your tips. However I did find it concerning that you had to prove
the one lady was skinnier than it appeared in your group picture. She was beautiful in both and pretty superficial.
Hi Sue! I apologize for sounding that way – she is absolutely beautiful inside and out! I should have thought my phrasing through a little better. Thank you for understanding!
Michelle LaBrie says
I don’t see anything wrong with what Laurie said in her comment about her friend. Some woman are so sensitive and analyze ever word people say in comments. I just don’t understand, I guess some people are just so insecure! These ladies are all lovely!
Karolyn Mielke says
I agree with you. As I was reading the tips and even the personal comments, I just took it that the point of the whole post was teaching us what she learned. And BTW, the comment regarding her friend who is “teeny” was another tip! If someone teeny looks bigger by not using the tips, then how much more for me, who isn’t teeny. Ladies…this is a very helpful post. Take whatever learning you can and don’t be so critical toward another woman. We are all in this together!!!
If you are reading this “5 tips for looking thinner in photos “ that is why she is stating exactly that. She is not insulting anyone,
She didnt try to “prove” it. If you read the advice she was explaining how the photo of all of them that had tips to look smaller works. That her photo only appeared bigger because of the wind. She was in no way saying anything inappropriate
This is so helpful! Thank you!!
Great article and very useful tips! Here is another great double chin tip a photographer taught me while I did some modeling MANY years ago…. Press your toung flat against the roof of your mouth and then smile. It totally pulls up the double chin area! Go ahead try it and look in the mirror! Yep, Amazing! I learned this as a 22 year old thin and petite but sometimes double chinned model. Now that I am past my mid 40’s it is a trick I use EVERY Photo and I have shown all my girlfriends and family members. All the ladies in my crazy Italian family now yell out “smash your toung ladies” instead of “smile or cheese”. I give you permission to use this this too!
Thank you. I tried it without the camera and could feel it instantly. Hope I can rememeber next shot!
Would of been a great post, but got lost in the comments! And the moral of the story is it should of been the joy of the “Say Cheese” enjoying who your taking the picture with! Hello! I wouldn’t care if my leg was over my head! I never want to miss taking a picture with the ones I LOVE! Rant done!
Thank you so much Laurie for the post!! My husband is a fisherman, and he holds his fish a certain way so they look better in a photo ….it applies to humans too!!! I love all the positive comments because your posts are coming from a kind place….if someone sees it in a different way, maybe they should move on to someone that is “their cup of tea”….no need to scold you. Absolutely not necessary.
Love the post, I’m a big girl, and don’t photograph well. There is a whole difference in seeing a good picture of yourself and a bad one.
I just have to say, with a the negative comments, there are many who will appreciate this! My mom used to hate taking pictures bc she hated the way they made her look. Think about it, you’re capturing a moment in time, you want to look your best, right? Anyway, after showing my mom a few tips, she became a picture taking queen! It definitely helped her feel more confident! I’m so glad there will be pictures of her for her grandchildren, great grandchildren, of course years and years from now! Lol
That’s just the sweetest Kayla! Love that! 🙂
Love this. What a sweet daughter you are!
Love this post…good info.
Chris R B says
I found this post helpful. Everyone wants to look their best in a photo. Why not take advantage of tips that help do that. I didn’t find this offensive in any way. I’m not looking to be skinny, just the best version of me….Thanks
Chris R B
I’m going to use these tips! A friend actually told me recently that I didn’t look anything in real life like I do in a photo. I guess that was her nice was of saying I take bad pics It might be true because in real like my hair might look fluffled and my skin dewy and my outfit on point but then I see the picture and it looks like I’ve slathered canola oil on my skin and I have a uniboob and my hair looks like bed head♀️. Standing for a posed photo always makes me feel awkward and for most of my life I’ve hunkered down with friends or kids in photos because @5’8” I felt a little too tall with my petite friends.
Thank you! This information will save many of us from feeling awkward when in front of a camera, and taking embarrassing pictures of our friends and family. I feel empowered!
What’s funny, is that this was written 1.5 years ago it seems and I just asked myself how I could look better in pictures. Here’s where I have some from, I have worked out for the last 1.5 years and I have lost weight and feel great. I want to be in pictures for once and like what I see in the mirror. However those pictures don’t seem to reflect how I feel about myself and small changes are worth me loving pictures of me and family/friends instead or deleting them. Thank you.
Thank You so much for the great tips, I am never in any of our family pictures because I just hate how I look in pictures. When I was younger I didn’t mind them as much, except then I always thought I looked to thin, I am raising 2 grandchildren (we have adopted them) and my gorgeous 14 year old granddaughter told me recently that she wants a lot of pictures with me to always keep and I said I just hate how I look. She told me I was really pretty and she wants lots of pictures of herself and her grandma and her family. I had never thought before that it is not all about me or how I feel, I have cheated her out of keeping her memories alive through pictures of her growing up years and some awesome family vacations. So I am going to practice your tips and point my toe forward, angle my body and look up. Thank you so much for ALL that you do quite graciously for all of us, just to make OUR day better. God bless you as he has so richly blessed me.
Oh Debbie – I so understand hating pictures (I HATE taking them too!) but how precious that your sweet granddaughter knows exactly how beautiful you are and wants you to be with her in pictures – I just love that! Thank you for sharing and for your sweet words – praying a beautiful day for you!
Cynthia Sandoval says
You said that better than everyone else put together. It isn’t always about how you feel, what about those you are leaving that will have no photos of you. I lost my mother a couple years ago and have to search high and low to find any photo where she isn’t turning her head or hiding or holding up her hand instead of me seeing that smile I loved, or those loving blue eyes.
Erin Lowmaster says
Great post and suggestions! This will help even my significant other get better shots when I am promoting clothes and things on my blog!
I’m not an overweight person but the angles of the camera can make me look so squished and weird sometimes. lol
Any suggestions for head shot pictures and selfies?
Hi Erin – selfies are the worst and I haven’t figured those out either (except to use a selfie stick and take picture from above -it helps! 🙂 Thanks so much for commenting!
Stacy Miller says
Well i was hopeing to learn and hear more tips from commits however i guess no ones got any to help well heres one for ya all then if u wear glasses and hate glass glare dont take off ur glasses to avoid it there who u are instead tilt ur chin down now if ur also worryed about double chin tip ur glasses up off ur ear in the back just a little tilting ur glasses down bit not so much ur chin u can also lean ur chin in a little to help everyone with double chines glasses or not if u don’t nessesarly always want to look up. Been a studio photogerper for years try it out love all
Hi Laurie! I loved the post! I’ve never felt been very photogenic and these tips will help! ( hopefully lol) Ignore negativity we all want to look our best in pictures. I don’t think you were telling anyone not to take a picture if your not skinny for Pete’s sake. keep doing you lady!!!
Thanks so much for your kind words Heather! I struggle with taking good pictures and have realized lately so much of it is my lack of confidence comign through on the camera, so I’m working to follow these rules and pretend I’m cuter than I think I am – ha! And your sweet comment reminded me today that I needed to do that! 🙂
I’m getting ready to be in a million pictures at a high school graduation! I usually hate my pictures as most said before me…especially when I’m heavier. Thanks for these tips…I had to research back to find this article to review!
Another tip I have read that seems to work for me: Touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth when smiling at the camera…it helps bring up any double chin.
I’m sooooo trying that Michelle, such a great tip! 🙂 Thank you!!!! 🙂
So helpful! And all your poses looked so natural
Charlotte Cline says
Thank you, Laurie. I always look my worst in pictures. People don’t even recognize me in them. I am grateful to hear these tips. Thanks a million!!! cc
Charlotte – you’re soooo not alone, pictures are hard and can be so discouraging, but I’m amazed at what these tips can do to help! Ultimately our insides give us value, but feeling pretty on the outside is just nice too 🙂
I love this post. We all have those pics we hate, no matter whether we are thin or heavy, young or old, plain or gorgeous, male or female. Anytime we can share tips that make us look and feel better it’s a win win in my book!
I likes the post and wanted to share another tip. If you are sitting in a photo you want to move to the edge of the seat. This causes you to sit up and have better posture. You should also turn your body slightly in to the photo. You should also move one foot out in front of the other. The person will probable be stand above you do look up at them to get rid of the double chin. I hope this is helpful.
Such good tips Faith – thank you so much for sharing!
Thanks for the informative post! I’ve been a bit surprised (and disconcerted) by how ‘big’ I look in some photos, because I don’t feel big in real life. knowing that the way I stand can make a difference will help me to feel more confident about letting people take my picture.
I’m so grateful for this post- it most certainly IS disappointing to catch yourself looking frumpy in a photo. It isn’t the end of the world, no- but looking good makes us feel good. Thank you!
So hope it helps Shelley – like your said it doesn’t feel good not to feel great in pictures, and the tricks really do help! Thanks so much for commenting!
Thank you for this post-I always look frumpy in pics-somehow- my outfit is billowy and i have the dreaded double chin!! I am looking forward to trying these tips-I have 3 beautiful daughters who always want to take photos and i never join in!!
Hope they help Anne! I think you’ll be amazed once you play with it – I have noticed just changing my lighting and the way I stand can really help (and like you, I want to have pictures my kids can look back and be so glad they have me in them with them!) Let me know how it goes! 🙂
Lisa email@example.com says
I love your comment! It brought tear’s to my eye’s…I’m very sentimental and it’s beautiful what you said…Have a great week! ❤
I’m ready to practice. Thank you the tips.
Stacy Adkins says
Loved this post- thanks!
Thank you for the tips! These will help in making myself and others look our best in pictures
I really appreciated this post! It is very timely for me as a “middle aged” woman and a soon to be mother-of-the-groom. I feel very frumpy in pictures and after having tried on several dresses for the wedding yesterday (with my future DIL taking pictures) I was beginning to dread the whole picture part of the upcoming wedding. I am hoping that incorporating some of these ideas (when I can) will make me feel less self-conscious. (and I know this wedding is NOT about me but I do want to look my best and most comfortable for the big day in my son’s life).
I really like your site, but this post really disappointed me. I feel like there is so much pressure out there for women to look a certain way and any way other than super skinny and cute is just not acceptable. I have read your other posts on the topic and I feel like focusing on how to make yourself look skinnier is pictures isn’t really good for your self esteem (or your daughters). Just my opinion, but you look beautiful and healthy in the first picture you posted 🙂
Thank you for your comment Zoe (I just sent you an email!)
I should have thought more through the title (more like “how to look BETTER in pics”) because that really was the point of the post and we’ve all had those days where we just don’t feel like we look confident.
My daughter and I never talked at all about looking skinner when we were taking the pictures, we’ve just both had those awful moments where we have felt like we just look bad in pictures, so talked about ways to look better (trust me, she’s watching other girls on Instagram and even though I hate it, it’s important to her to try to look her best too – I wish there was a way around it!)
Anyways, I should have thought that through more ~ honestly when we started thinking about the post we just talked about how all of us have taken that one picture and felt awful about ourselves, and knew there were tips that might help us just feel more confident.
Thank you for taking the time to comment – I’m updating the post title right now!
Anyone who knows you from watching your FB live videos and from the posts you normally share would know your heart and where you were coming from. You responded very graciously to the negative comments as I already expected you would! I appreciate how transparent you are! Keep up the good work.
While it is wonderful to be supportive and empathetic to everyone, it is nice to have tips on how to pose for a more flattering picture. For anyone, any size. Thank you, Laurie!
No matter how big you are everyone wants to look thinner! I am a tiny person myself and sometimes in pictures I catch myself having a super “fat” arm or the example like your friends shirt. I like the tips and I don’t think the topic is at all controversial! But anyway! Thanks for your help! Love this
Thank you for posting, Zoe. I felt the very same way you did. You said it better than I could.
Thank you, too, Laurie for changing the title at least. For those of us who are going to look like a plain old human no matter where we put our leg in a photo… oh, well.
Thank you for commenting Sharon – I appreciate your honesty and you taking the time to share. I’ll definitely think my wording through more carefully in the future!
Lisa firstname.lastname@example.org says
I totally disagree…I don’t know when it happened but people can’t say anything anymore without somebody waiting to attack it! Like simply braiding my hair..or make sure my spray tan isnt to dark..The one that really drives me crazy is..oh no no never speak about your weight! I took your advice and I loved my photo’s! Thank you! I think people should really watch what they say and shaming people for every tiny thing they can find to judge..Total strangers telling people how to raise their children..it is getting out of control! I’m a woman and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look cute or take a beautiful photo! I love what you’re doing and what you have to say so please don’t stop…You and your daughter are gorgeous and she looks very happy and well adjusted! My friend’s think you’re amazing too! I look forward to reading more! Hugs from Indiana! xo
Come down ladies. She didn’t post an article about having plastic surg to look thinner. It’s no different than changing the style of your makeup application to look or feel better. Let people feel good about themselves how ever they want, without criticism.
Lisa email@example.com says
Thank you..very well said! I absolutely agree with you one hundred percent!
There is nothing wrong with wanting to look the best you can in life and in pictures as there is nothing wrong with not caring about it. There are a lot of people that want this information and a lot that don’t. Both are acceptable. What is not acceptable is to tell either person they are wrong.