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Photography Tips & Tricks

First we need to admit that some people naturally look good. But even if you are not naturally good looking you still can be photogenic. You are not looking good in photos because either you don’t know the technique or you are being critical of yourself. Model agencies send scouts to find out attractive photogenic faces, experienced model scouts consider following features as photogenic

  • Square face but oval or round will also do.
  • Big eyes set far apart or deep set eyes, big lips, and big forehead.
  • Strong, sharp angles like sharp nose, strong jawline, high or sharp cheekbones. High cheekbone or some other strong angles catch and reflect the light differently. Many pretty people look flat in photograph because the light hitting bounces back uniformly as there are few angles and therefore looks flat. Far East Asian people have flat faces that are cute but don’t very photogenic so they have little presence in international modeling arena.
  • Sharp big nose gives confident, attractive look in real life but average nose is preferred by photographers; shadow from the big nose is time consuming to eliminate.
  • Wide smile, small chin, long neck.
  • Symmetry is always attractive, slight asymmetry like beauty mark on the face, one dimple bigger than another, slightly deviated smile can make face even more attractive.
  • Healthy skin tone. If Skin and hair color match, photograph looks wash out. So contrast between skin, hair and eye color are important.
  • Height (>5′7′’), weight (between 115–140lbs), BMI (18–24), waist hip ratio (less than 0.7), hour glass shape body measurements (32–34 for the bust, 24–26 for the waist, 34–36 for the hips defined by British Association of Model Agents) are required for certain types of modeling like ramp, glamour modeling etc. For plus size, product, or part modeling figure isn’t that important.

If you have any of these features, congratulation, you have decreased the workload of the photographer, and your photogenicity will increase with the increase in the number of above mentioned features. If you don’t have don’t worry, modern technology is such that anyone can look beautiful (hot, cute, sexy, attractive, photogenic) if s/he can manage a good photographer. Good photographers know how to hide deficiencies, highlight strong points, and portray desired emotion. How do photographers do that?

  1. Makeup. Makeup artists know how to create the illusion of shape to the facial structure through the use of darker foundation and highlighter, this is called contouring. Some other frequently used techniques are multi-masking, baking , cut crease for adding depth and enhancing eye shape, over-lining for fuller lips, root stamping for thicker lashes, stippling to disguise discoloration, bumps and scars, tight-lining for brighter eyes, water-lining for bigger eyes etc.

Before and after makeup photo

  • Lighting. The direction and angle(front, side, back, high, low), quality (hard or soft), method and intensity of light determine how you look in a photograph.

  • Telephoto lens, nice background, contrasting color and tone, various poses, and composition principles (like balance, proportion, movement, rhythm, unity, emphasis, harmony, rule or third, rule of right third, golden ratio, pattern, leading lines) are used to create desired effect.

Same woman in three different poses in three different attires.

  • Notice three different positions of the torso.
  • On the left picture her right hand is away from the torso to reveal her waist line to appear more slim.
  • Again notice how she used lumbar curvature to make her appear more hot.
  • Feet are in different positions, shifting the body weight to the back foot.
  • In the middle picture her collarbone, chin and eyes, all three facing camera, thus increasing engagement with audience; on the right and left picture collarbone facing away from camera.
  • Notice the contrast between her dress and hair color.

Why she (Kangana Ranaut, an Indian actress) looks average on the left but stunning on the right?

  • On the left her collarbone, chin and eyes (3 point check combination to determine engagement) are facing away from camera thus decreasing viewer engagement; on the right collarbone is facing away but chin and eyes are facing camera thus more engaging.
  • Hard front light on the left and soft light on the right.
  • Compare dresses. Cool color dress on the left, on the right notice the contrast between dark blue T-shirt and skin tone.
  • Thick necklace is hiding the neck, usually long stretched neck looks elegant in photographs.
  • Compare hairstyles. Look how black hair is accentuating facial tone; on the left bad hairstyle exposed the right ear which is distracting.
  • Notice different backgrounds(environment).
  • Yes, makeup and Photoshop are also responsible.

Capturing images in camera RAW format then doing extensive editing with Photoshop like software is another way to improve appearance.

Before and after editing images.

So some people are naturally photogenic, a beautiful person can look average and an average person can look stunning depending on the way they are photographed and edited. Ultimate lesson is don’t fall in love by seeing someone’s profile picture.

**All the images are freely available on the internet.



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