Over my career as a portrait photographer, one thing I have heard way too often by women is, “don’t photograph me; just photos of the kids will be great”.
They feel they aren’t skinny enough, beautiful enough or worthy of owning photos of themselves.
Whether you are a mum, sister, grandma, aunty or best friend, you should exist in as many photos as you can. It will be a record of your life, a keepsake for your children and grandchildren and a celebration of you.
To help you get started, I wanted to share these five great steps that I use myself when I am being photographed. These are also just a few that I teach my clients during their portrait session.
I recommend you spend some time practising in the mirror so you can see for yourself what works and what doesn’t. I will warn you now, some of these poses won’t feel natural, but you will look friendly, welcoming and more natural.
STEP ONE – YOUR POSITION
Standing straight on, with your arms down by your sides, will make you look wider than you actually are. Your arms become a part of your torso, showing no waist.
TIP Turn your body on a 45° angle. Straight away, it slims you down and gives you more shape in your body.
STEP TWO – SHIFTING YOUR WEIGHT
A lot of people are unsure of how to stand, where to place their feet or which foot to rest on when standing in front of the camera. Placing your weight on the leg closest to the camera, will make you look bottom heavy.
TIP Put your weight on your back foot (the foot furthest away from the camera). This moves your body away from the camera, slims your bottom half down and also gives you more shape in your body.
Whatever is closest to the camera will appear larger; moving it away from the camera will make it smaller.
STEP THREE – YOUR ARM PLACEMENT
Keeping your arms down by your side and close to your body will, again, make you look wider than you actually are. This gives you no shape….showing your curves is a good thing.
TIP Slide the arm closest to the camera up your body to provide space between your arm and body. This gives you more shape in your body.
Placing your hand on your hip also works well.
This is also good for upper arms, as moving them slightly away from the body, stops them from pushing down and becoming wider. And hey, who doesn’t want slimmer arms!
STEP FOUR – LENGTHEN YOUR NECK
A common trait with women when they are about to be photographed is they tend to pull their heads back and away from the camera. This can create double chins as well as looking stiff.
TIP Push your chin forward (not your neck) then drop your chin down slightly. This lengthens your neck and widens your eyes.
Practise this in the mirror. You don’t want to bring your chin down too far otherwise your eyes will become smaller.
STEP FIVE – YOUR SMILE
When people are nervous they tend to smile either on one side of their mouth only, or without showing their teeth. This shows tension in your mouth.
TIP For a great smile, pretend you are holding a 20-cent piece between your teeth or place the tip of your tongue behind your top teeth. This will give you a little space between your teeth and bottom lip and you will look like you’re having fun.
Also smile through your eyes – this livens you up.
Words + Images Charmaine Marinkovich
Model Caroline Martelli
Portrait photographer for women and a brand coach. Charmaine loves helping women come into focus in their business through imagery that blends self-expression and warm professionalism and illustrates their brand story.
Mobile: 027 666 1705