The holiday season means endless photo ops to slay–or bomb. Have you ever wondered how your favorite celebs and models always seem to nail striking a pose? No double chins, no arm fat, no shine? Well, they don't do it alone. While we regular folk might not have an arsenal of beauty gurus and stylists at our fingertips or digital media rescuers to "finesse" our photos, there are some tips and tricks to help us get our photo A-game on.
1. The pre-photo touch-up
So you know you're going to be photographed going into an event. With that in mind, pay attention to your hair (behind the shoulders, in front, half and half, up or down), makeup and clothing choice for the night. We tend to photograph best when we feel comfortable, so make sure your outfit and accessories are items that feel to you as good as they look.
Are you taking the photo as a group or solo? Is it formal, informal, professional or just a snap by a photo-loving friend? All of these factors are considerations when it comes to staging the photo, just like you'd stage a table for dinner. Although staging is usually reserved for professional photographers and photoshoots, you can still apply some of the basics to an informal photo, like arranging elements by height, color and complimentary aesthetics before snapping away.
Yes, we do look different from different sides, different angles and head-on. For most of us, one side of our face definitely photographs better than the other. That side is the one you will want to always angle (when possible) toward the camera. How do you find your best side? Try this simple trick: Hold a piece of paper vertically over one side of your face, then hold it over the other. Your better side is the one with more upturned features—for example, the corners of your eyes and lips.
4. Strike a pose
As Madonna said, it's easy, right? "Strike a pose, there's nothing to it" ... except, well, there actually is something to it. Some simple guidelines to try:
Angle your face (using your best side, as explained above).
Cross your ankles.
Practice good posture.
Smile (simple, but a lot of us forget to do it!)
Learn the twist and arm placement combo–you know the one you see on almost every red carpet (below, Kendall Jenner demonstrates).
Consider the proportion of everything in the photo with you.
You tried all of the above and still aren't happy with the outcome, and snapping another pic is not an option. Have no fear: That's why there are so many "cheat" apps and photo filters available at your fingertips. Remember not to go too crazy with them, though–people do know what you actually look like! Still, everyone could benefit from a little filter love.