I’m the opposite of photogenic. The camera hates me, which is upsetting cause I love her very much, pfffff tough love, I’m telling you.
No, no, no, shhhhsh, don’t go telling me I’m wrong. I didn’t say I’m ugly. I’m not talking about that at all. I’m just saying I’m not photogenic.
It’s just how it is. Some people capture the light just right, others don’t.
That’s why a girl could look amazing in a photo and then just so-so in real life, or the opposite. Ugly in photos, sublime in day to day life. Okay, some are beautiful in both, but we knew that already. It’s because there is no justice in the world. But we knew that too.
When you’re a photographer, it becomes even more clear… Taking a photo of someone photogenic takes about three minutes.
On the other hand, taking a photo of a non-photogenic person requires you to take your time. Learn their face, wait for the right light, put them at ease (non-photogenic people are so used to being ugly in pitctures that whenever they see a camera, they start to get nervous which is very bad… For the photo. Vicious circle.)
The thing is that we live in such a visual world that even if you’re totally fine with how you look, it’s tough to resign yourself to not liking yourself in every picture.
When you look bad on your passport, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Google, etc, in the end it gets a liiiiiiiiittle depressing.
Since I’m an ugly duckling in photos but Gisele in life (Bahahahaha! Of course Garance, yep, definitely), I thought today I’d share some of the tricks I’ve been forced to figure out (being tired of looking at pictures and thinking oh, look, I look like my grandma here! Oh and here, I look like the Big Lebowski! Oh, and here! I look like I am Tom Waits wearing a dress!) on how to be prepared when a camera is around. I used to think that looking bad in photos was just a fact of life… But there are some things you can do to change.
Okay, enough with the ramblings, HERE’S MY ADVICE.
All my advice here is predicated on the fact that the person taking your picture probably isn’t Scott Schuman or Peter Lindbergh or Bruce Weber. If one of them is taking your picture, let them do it all for you. You’ll be fine. Don’t even bother asking questions.
1/ Photoshop yourself.
Light used well is like natural photoshop.
When you’re inside, always stand facing wherever the light is coming from (the window) it will erase everything from your wrinkles to bags under your eyes.
Inside or outside, don’t go in direct sunlight.
It will cast intense shadows. Unless, of course, it’s very early morning or sunset, in which case the light is amazing, soft, and makes everything and everyone beautiful.
If none of these apply, find a spot where the light is a little more moderate (or wait for for an overcast day).
At night, it’s war because it all depends on your camera (and on the flash, the setup, and the ISO settings) so just try to control the other stuff, and by that I mean my other six other tips here.
2/ Powder your nose
Pat McGrath is the only one who can make shiny skin turn up good in pictures and it takes her hours. If you have shiny skin, grab a tissue and tap it on your T zone. It’s simple and works great.
Red or dark lipstick isn’t very photogenic, it can make your lips look thinner and give a pinched look. Transparent lip gloss, on the other hand, is perfect.
Smoky eye is a miracle as well and works 100% of the time in photos. It gives an interesting contrast and a touch of mystery.
Oh, I was about to forget : moisturize ! Legs, arms, hands, feet…
It’s a big thing on shootings and changes everything. My favorite lotion for the perfect voluptuous shine is the Crème de Corps, from Kiehl’s.
3/ Be a poser.
It hit me the other day when I was reading Bazaar and look at an article about Ulyana Sergeenko who, walks around to the shows as if the entire world is her catwalk.
She’ll take the same pose for hours, working on the perfect pose for each outfit (Have you seen the photo with the overalls and stripped sweater? Try and find me a photo of that outfit where she doesn’t have her back to the camera) and honestly sometimes, it gets close to ridiculous.
Yes, but. All the photos of her are perfect.
I’m not saying to follow her example, but it doesn’t hurt to figure out and master a few poses that make you look good.
Okay okay, I’ll give you mine.
For close-ups, looking over my shoulder is cute. Or something a little more simple, chin down, big smile, open eyes.
Whenever I try to give the camera a “sexy look,” I end up looking ridiculous.
For a full body shot, I try to face the camera, because I have boobs, a profile shot can make you gain 20 pounds right there. What. It’s true! I swear!!!
4/ Figure out your best profile.
We all have one. It’s usually the left one.
Know which one is which and it changes EVERYTHING.
You can ask a friend to take a few pictures to figure it out because it’s hard to do it with a mirror.
Once you’ve found it, use and abuse it.
Celebrities do that all the time. If I am ever interviewing one, she’ll say to me, “Do you mind if I sit on this side instead? It’s my good side!” and they should – it’s their job to look good. I, on the other hand, have to say ok ! and sit on my bad profile side. Oh well ;)
5/ Ask yourself : where is the camera?
If you’re standing and the camera is above you, you’re gonna get squished and lose 5 good inches, so not fair.
It’s best to have the camera at chest height to avoid any deformations.
If you’re seated, however, a shot from above is a Godsend.
Lift your head toward the camera which is usually where the light is coming from (remember the light Photoshop effect) and it hits all the right angles, defines your jaw which and can thin you up a bit (and seeing as the goal in life of the modern woman is to look thin, you know…).
This is also my number one advice for selfies : look up!
Learn to love yourself. Have fun. It’s hard to do but to be beautiful in photos you have to play with the camera a little. Move, laugh, do something silly, make a sexy face.
Don’t keep the same overly frozen smile for five minutes while photos are being taken. Try to find different emotions within you, crack yourself up, chat it up, have someone tell you a story, move.
So, play the game, BUT….
7/ Say no
Sometimes, conditions are perfect for a horrible photo.
You’ve just spent the whole night out, you’re exhausted, the light is shitty, you’re wearing the Big Lebowski clothes (it happens to everyone), you’re sweating, your hair looks like it just spent three days at Katz, oh, well, it’s just not your day.
Say no to the photo. Simple as that.
It’s tough, I know. I could never say no to a photo at first. We all want to please others and end up saying to ourselves “Oh pffff, who cares if I look ugly in photos?!” but when you can, saying no is sometimes the best solution.
Ok, if you really can’t say no, do what the fashion editors do : put on the biggest sunglasses you can find. Yes, even at night. So what?
Ok, I think that’s everything I know. Have I forgotten anything? Any questions you want to ask?
Oh, and, just a little survey… Do you consider yourself to be photogenic?