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If you Want to Take a Photo of me, you better have a Stepladder in your Pocket!

December 15, 2011

This photo has been making the rounds on Facebook – Look closely, it’s not what you think. While it’s pretty funny, I bet the lady wished she wore sleeves to the office party.

A group of friends and I took a picture at a holiday luncheon last week and only afterwards did they all explain to me their secrets to looking good in photos.  I.e. 3/4 angle pose with one foot slightly forward and hand on hip. So after seeing the photo – they all did look great in their perfect poses and I needed to insist that the photographer NEVER post it on Facebook.

I have a new rule – If you Want to Take a Photo of me, you better have a Stepladder in your Pocket! It’s been scientifically proven that if you take a picture from above that you look thinner, younger and less risk of the double-chin.  (OK It was on Wikipedia, but my kids do all of their science research there! But also my friend LB also taught me this secret a few years ago – which somehow I’ve forgotten until now.)

My only problem is convincing others to take a picture from above, even slightly above will make a big difference.  Someone was taking a photo of Spinner and I last week at a function and knowing that this person has an uncanny ability to take unflattering pictures, I asked this person to make sure she take it from a higher angle.  I just asked her to extend her arms a bit, not actually get on a step-ladder – but she pretended not to hear me.  Even though Spinner and I were frantically repeating ourselves 10 times, more loudly each time – our demands fell on deaf ears.  I then raised my hands to visually demonstrate how to unbend their arms.  Flash, Snap! So we now have a picture of me with my arms in the air – thankfully wearing sleeves!

A few days ago I went out to lunch with some sorority sisters to celebrate a friend’s 50th birthday – I did start college when I was 9, so I’m MUCH younger than the rest of them!  We had a great time catching up, but I’m very jealous and not sure how everyone else is still a size 4.  (Alright, maybe I was never a size 4, but there was a day I was in the single digits!)  So time for some group photos and I explain my demands for a tall photographer.

Fortunately, I spied a 7′ bus boy and convinced him to take the photos, but sadly he couldn’t figure out how to work the camera.  C’mon, hardly a new fangled piece of equipment, just push the button man! (Dear Maggiano’s, can you please require your taller bus boys to learn photography – I think it would be a good selling feature.) Then the other end of the table found a waiter with more intelligence to work the camera, but he was about 5’6″ – this won’t be good I thought.  So I explained the trick to take the shot from above, again demonstrating the unbending the arm secret to get more height on the angle.  You guessed it, another shot with my hands in the air and my mouth open and everyone else perfectly posed!  (Funnily, it turns out he wasn’t a waiter, but another guest from the next table – I was wondering why he wasn’t too pleased with my posing instructions, even when I told him I’m a big tipper.)

So a friend took a picture of me and a couple of friends at our end of the table – she still looking beautiful in her sized 4 skinny jeans – I reiterated my demands that she at least stand up.  Baffled by this request, I then proceed to explain that it alleviates the photo double-chin while also feeling the need to exaggerating and demonstrating the double-chin.  Flash! Snap! A photo of me with my hand pointing to my chin.  (Mental note – stop talking with my hands!)

While researching this blog, I also learned several other pose secrets.  (Did I miss this lesson in college?) Another biggie that I always seem to do is to keep my arms against my body, creating an appearance of an even wider body, rather than creating a gap between body and arms.  I noticed this problem in another photograph at a function this weekend with a friend that is one of Smashing’s models – she already having the benefit of being a size small knew to create this space.  I on the other hand did not know this secret.

So here are the tips that I discovered online:1

  • Determine your best angle. Finding the right angle for your face can be challenging. Experiment using a digital camera so you see the results of each pose immediately. It will very quickly become obvious which angles are most flattering for you. Once you’re aware of this, use the best angles as much as possible in the future.
  • The classic model’s pose is to arrange your body three quarters toward the camera with one foot in front of the other and one shoulder closer to the camera than the other. Women tend to do this naturally, but it’s harder for men, who tend to present a square angle front-on to the camera. If you turn your head slightly to the side and look straight ahead, you will appear to be looking straight at the viewer of the photo no matter the viewing angle (like George Washington on the US one dollar bill). Making it appear too like a model isn’t the best pose for everybody, however, and it can look a little overdone when used in a family photo right next to your Uncle Wilbur.
  • If sitting, slightly angle yourself.
  • Try looking slightly above the camera when the picture is taken. If the photographer is at a lower level look more or less directly forward, not at the camera, so your eyes aren’t mostly closed. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis always used this technique for photographs and portraits. Additionally, it helps reduce the “red eye” effect.
  • Lean slightly toward the camera; it adds interest, improves facial definition and helps to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and flabby skin. Just keep your chin tucked down.
  • Tilt your head up slightly and try to position yourself so that the camera is above your eye level. This will hide a double chin effectively. You can also put one hand under your chin as though you’re resting your head on your hand (keep the thumb side of your hand out of the camera’s view, if possible). Don’t actually rest any weight on the hand, however, or you will push the skin into an unflattering position. Also, try resting your tongue against the roof of your mouth.

Wondering, if these trick make you look better in photos, will they work in real life?  So rather than my usual diet and exercise resolution in January (this has been an unusually fattening few months), I think I’ll just walk around at a 3/4 angle, arm slighty akimbo and ensure that I only hang around with tall people.

Have a Smashing day.

Don’t Forget – 10% of our sales in December go to Juvenille Diabetes Research.  Use codeJDR15 to get an extra 15% off as our holiday gift to you.  We’ve also added Free Priority Shipping until 12/31 – so order those last minute gifts for the Smashing girls on your list.

2011 Copyright Smashing LLC 2011 Copyright


3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2011 8:46 am

    Hahaha… hilarious post. Snap. Flash! I have one good picture of myself and I use it for everything. I have never changed my Facebook profile pic once. Vanity? I’m calling it “personal branding”.

    • December 15, 2011 8:56 am

      Thanks….I think I’m just going to have a life-sized cutout professionally shot of me that makes me look like a model and just insert it into any group photo opportunities in the future.

  2. Max (the Max in the blog) permalink*
    December 17, 2011 5:14 pm

    That photo is weird

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