8 Tricks to Look Better in Photos, According to a Model

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A long time ago I was a child model. I loved it. I did pageants, posed for magazines, and lived an extremely lavish life where I got to eat PB&J every day, slept in pin curls, and got new pageant outfits. I was cute AF and incredibly photogenic. A natural, if you will.

Then I became awkward, uncomfortable and self-conscious (middle school, amirite?) and my intrinsic talent and ease in front of the camera dwindled to nothing. As an adult, it’s basically impossible to stay away from photos. Coupled with a love of sharing my makeup selfies with the world and working in media, I can no longer avoid the camera.

I enlisted the help of one of our favorite people here at The Everygirl. If you consistently read our site or just follow us on IG, you have seen photos of the beautiful and talented Cassandra Senior. She shines no matter where she goes and she is spunky and a joy to be around too! Cassandra has been modeling for The Everygirl since last spring, but she’s dominating our Insta feeds with gorgeous photos that show off her confidence and style.

I asked Cassandra and some of our editors for their top tips on taking Instagram photos and feeling comfortable in front of the camera. Remember that you don’t have to be a professional model with thousands of Instagram followers to want to take good photos. Whether you’re preparing for a wedding or graduation photo shoot, getting professional headshots done, or just want to add some cute new photos to your feed, these tips will help!

1. Practice

Cassandra recommends practicing in front of a self-timer mirror if you’re trying to get into the flow of photography without first booking a photographer. “That way you can see in real time what angles you like, what poses you make and how they translate on camera. Once you know what works for you, you can mimic that during a shoot and build on that with small movements that will give you a variety of good shots,” said Cassandra.

2. Get used to taking photos first

Doing your first photoshoot in the heart of downtown, however intimidating it may be. It’s awkward to pose and feel yourself when tons of people are watching – even for the pros! Before you embark on your big photo adventure, try to shoot in an area with less foot traffic first, Cassandra recommends. “When you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to gain confidence and really master a shoot when there’s a lot of people watching you. Once you’ve gotten a few shots, you’ll get a feel for what works for you and the confidence will start to grow organically. From there it just gets easier to own the camera.”

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3. Get moving

Instead of staying in one place all the time while someone takes photos of you (or you take a selfie – no shame), keep moving. Our editors Maddie and Josie both said their top advice is to move and laugh. “[The] In-between shots often look better than just standing and smiling,” Maddie said.

Josie said to slowly walk in circles while the photographer takes the shot – while it feels awkward, the photos look natural and honest (which is whatever the look we’re aiming for).

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4. Don’t stop at a smile

Social media editor Abigail suggested trying facial expressions other than just a smile. Whether you’re laughing, putting on a small gentle smile, or just having fun with it, your face tends to clench after showing the same smile over and over again. Cassandra suggests opening your mouth slightly to look more natural. You can’t go wrong with a laugh photo either – bring a friend who can make you laugh!

Don’t let your smile do the same. “Not to sound Tyra Banks, but it really helps when you smile with your eyes. It really makes you look more natural and in the moment,” Cassandra said.

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5. Change your positions

Aside from moving, don’t stay in one pose for the entire shoot. This is a waste of your photographer’s time and looks uncomfortable and unnatural. “Nothing looks more embarrassing than being so stiff you look like a mannequin,” Cassandra said. Instead, she shifts weight between both hips, moves her shoulders into different positions, and changes the direction and way she holds her neck.

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6. Use props

No one (and I repeat: no one) knows what the heck to do with their dangling arms and hands when taking pictures. Props eliminate that awkwardness by giving you something to do. According to Cassandra, they “provide an anchor for your hands” and “make the recordings feel fresh and dynamic”. It could be as simple as a purse, a drink (Starbucks or Alcoholic, both are cute), or a pair of sunglasses in your hands.

One prop our editors love when shooting is our hair! Touching your hair is a natural movement we all do, hence it looks airy and open in a photo. Applying a bit of root fuzz, playing with the ends, or even adding a playful bang are easy ways to give your hands some work and help you look better in the moment.

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7. Mark the features you like

As our social media goddess, Abigail knows a thing or two about getting comfortable in front of the camera. (And she’s so good at it!) Her biggest tip was to highlight the qualities about yourself that you like and find ways to hide or downplay those you don’t like. “I like my butt, so I’m always ready to strike a backwards pose or a side angle.” Do that exercise thing we talked about above to find the angles that let your best features shine.

And since we’re all going to take a few (or a hundred) mirror selfies in our lifetime, Abigail gave us a great tip: “I find my smile weird, so I cover it up with my phone when I take a mirror selfie!” It works , if the good lighting is going to desert you but you haven’t put on your make-up yet – awesome.

Josie also suggested having the photographer shoot from the chest angle to elongate the body. This way you stand more upright and appear even more self-confident and powerful. #Love!

8. Talk to the photographer

Don’t be afraid to speak to the person taking your photo to make sure you get exactly what you want. Even if it feels uncomfortable at first, you have to remember that you know your body best. If it feels uncomfortable, it probably looks uncomfortable too. Senior Graphic Designer Kelly says that while it feels high-maintenance, it’s always begging to look at the photos. Then you can ask your photographer to adjust the camera height to get different angles if desired.

Additionally, Kelly recommends knowing your body and being confident in saying when something doesn’t feel or look right. Just because a photographer suggests a pose doesn’t mean it will work for you. Speak up if something feels uncomfortable and try something else.

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