My article in Self Magazine about how to take a great profile picture.

How To Look Great In A Photo

Just in time for holiday party pic season, I have an article in the December issue of Self about How To Love Your New Profile Pic, featuring a ton of great tips on how to pose like a natural-born pro. You’ll find some great recommendations on which makeup colors are best to play up your features and some posing tips, but here are a few more tips from my interviews on how to look great in a photo:

Lean Into Your Best Feature. To nail your most flattering pose, lean in to the feature you want to play up the most. Feel more confident about your lips? “Lean into the camera while slightly sticking your chin up so your lips are the focus,” says Davis Factor, a Los Angeles based celebrity photographer and founder of Smashbox Cosmetics. Prefer to play up your eyes? “Move your chin down slightly to make your eyes more prominent,” he says.

Shine On! No matter what kind of hairstyle you’re wearing—long, short, wavy, straight, up or down—crazy shine is a must to pop in a party pic. “Dull hair is usually a sign of excess residue, so use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner that’ll get your hair clean without stripping it,” says Mark Townsend, Los Angeles based Dove celebrity hairstylist. His pick: Dove Daily Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner, $7 each. Also, make sure your hair cuticle is lying smooth so it reflects as much light as possible. “Use the nozzle attachment on your blow dryer and aim it downward while you dry,” he says. Finally, a few spritzes of shine spray will knock it out of the park. “Hold the bottle 12 inches away from your hair or spray it into your hands first, then rake your fingers through your hair,” he adds.

Must-Have Products To Look Good In A Photo

Leverage Your Brows. Gorgeously groomed brows can add more definition to a natural makeup look, enhance the shape of your eyes and even play up your hair color. “Use a brow pencil that matches the lightest highlight in your hair for the most natural results,” advises Matin Maulawizada, a New York City based celebrity makeup artist and Global Artistry Director for Laura Mercier.  His pick: Laura Mercier Brow Pencil in Ash Blonde, $22, works on most hair colors except platinum blonde or mink black. First, remove strays with a tweezer, keeping your brows as thick as possible and just defining the natural arch. “Then use the pencil to define their shape, starting at the arch area, then lightly do the inner corners. Don’t press too hard so they won’t look awkwardly penciled in,” he says.

Werk Your Bone Structure. Make your cheekbones pop by massaging a face oil or serum on to them before applying your foundation. “You’ll see a little glimmer peep through your foundation that really enhances the natural contours of your face without having to wear a lot of makeup,” says Maulawizada. His pick: Patyka Huile Absolue, $70. “On top of foundation I’ll layer Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Repair Eye Serum, $82. I tap it on to the tops of the cheekbones. It has a very light golden shimmer and makes your skin look really healthy,” he adds. Final step: blend a sheer cream bronzer just under your cheekbones into the hallows of your cheeks, like Laura Mercier Bonne Mine, $48. “This really defines your cheeks and has a flattering slimming effect,” he adds. P.S. Here’s how I use the entire Bonne Mine palette to make my face look thinner.

Don’t get deflated.  A mid-party hair meltdown is a surefire party pic wrecker. “Hair can go flat pretty quickly. When that happens on a photo shoot, I ask my client to flip her head upside down, then I spray dry shampoo into her roots and massage it with my fingertips, then flip her hair back. Dry shampoo has starches in it that will literally build on top of each other and create amazing long-lasting volume in seconds,” says Townsend. His pick: Dove Refresh+Care Invigorating Dry Shampoo, $4. Do this at home right before you leave or stash a travel size in your purse.

Art direct your shot. First, scan the background for potential photo-bombs, like any weirdos, stupid signs or horrible scenery. Second, use a flash. “Straight on light, like the flash on your camera or phone, is most flattering because you’re less likely wind up with any awkward shadows,” says Factor. Finally, make sure the camera is pointed straight on at you. “It shouldn’t be higher or lower than you to also prevent unflattering shadows or angles,” adds Factor.

Say—don’t scream—cheese! Mastering the perfect smile actually takes a lot of practice. “Don’t think celebrities don’t spend a lot of time working on their smile and poses,” says Factor. Avoid a big gummy grin. “Most people think they look awkward when they see a lot of their gums. If it’s caught naturally, it might be ok. But when you’re smiling really big on purpose, it can look really fake,” cautions Factor. But that doesn’t mean you should stay tight lipped. “Just be natural and strike that good balance between warm and having fun,” says Factor. Also, cool toned lip colors will make your teeth look whiter. I’ve been loving the new Maybelline New York Color Elixir by Color Sensational, $9, which is a hybrid between a shiny lip gloss and a moisturizing lipstick formula.

Do a 360° Hair Test. “When I’m working with an actress for a red carpet event, once I’m done styling her hair I take pictures of it from the sides and back. This way we can see it from all angles and how it’ll look in a photograph,” says Townsend. Do the same, paying close attention to small details like spraying down flyways or fixing a messy bobby pin that’s sticking out.

Do you have any great tip on how to look great in a photo? Please share!


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