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Being Photogenic – Anyone Can Do It!

Being Photogenic – Anyone Can Do It!

Here is a very common scenario that I encounter so often in my studio.

Someone comes in ready for a photoshoot, and the first thing they tell me is that they are not photogenic, or that they always look terrible in pictures. We then go through the photoshoot, and at the end of the session the client will look through the images and be amazed at how I managed to make them look so good. Now before you think I am just being self indulgent and celebrating myself as a fantastic photographer, let me tell you how this comes to happen.

Of course there are key things that I as the photographer have to fulfill, such as proper lighting and crisp imagery, but in all honesty, the bulk of the work is down to you, the subject. The truth is, that in order be ‘photogenic’ or to ‘look good’ in photographs, all you need is to feel confident and relaxed for at least 1/100th of a second while someone activates a shutter, and the job is done.  Of course not so easy when there is a camera shoved in your face, a great big light is shining down on you, and memories of school day photographers are contorting your face into an uncomfortable forced grin.


Here are four things to remember the next time you enter a photo studio, or even when your best friend pulls out their iPhone to take a picture of you. They’ll help both you and the photographer to make a great portrait.

1. Be Natural

The first thing to do, is to do nothing… just remain as natural as you might be in any every day scenario. Feeling the need to pose instantly puts the pressure on you to do something, and you’ll immediately question yourself it is the right or wrong thing to do, and put yourself into a conundrum. If you have a posing idea in advance, then by all means go for it, but if you are not a natural ‘poser’ then just chill out, and act the same way if you were having tea with your best friend, or talking on the phone to someone. Don’t feel there is a need to act out something unnatural, because if you do that, then you’ll have a picture of you trying to do something unnatural, which is guaranteed to reassure your sense of being un photogenic.



2. Work Your Assets

Not such an easy one to realise, but we all have physical attributes that make us uniquely beautiful. Remind yourself of the things you like about yourself, and bring them to attention. What are your most attractive physical attributes? Do you have a defined chin? long eyelashes? shapely shoulders? It is very easy to forget about our best attributes by focusing on the parts you don’t like about yourself. Who cares if your great granny gave you a big nose, it’s beautiful! She also gave you gorgeous jet black hair too, so think about what you like about yourself and ‘give it some polish’.



3. Show some Emotion

Trying to hide your emotions is literally like putting on a mask.  Unless you have practiced and mastered one that you feel is perfect and photogenic, then you’re face is going to tell a different story than your mood, and that conflict will make a bad picture. Being honest and straightforward with your emotions allows the photographer to connect with you, and that will make a great photo. The face has over 40 muscles in it, and letting your emotions run freely will guide them all to work harmoniously. If you are nervous, and have a furled brow, yet, put a smile on your mouth, you’ll only create a mixed and contorted display of emotion and the result will be a bad photo. If you are anxious, then just be anxious and tell the photographer. Most likely, you’ll be able to laugh about it, which will relax you for a brief moment, and then a good picture will be the result.



4. Just Enjoy It

Alot of people have a portrait done out of need for a profile image, or for family, which can make it feel like a duty.  How about doing it just for the sake of doing it, and not worrying about the consequence?  Most people that consider themselves un-photogenic, are that way for fear of having their photo taken, and avoid it. But what if you turned that idea around? Embrace the fear of being photographed and do it more often. In this digital age, we can always erase bad photos, and we can no longer ‘waste film’, so get out there and start taking more digital selfies, for no reason at all. Be playful with the camera, and do it just for the fun of it. Eventually you’ll lose the fear of the camera, you’ll start seeing good photos of yourself, and bingo, you’ll realise you are a photogenic person! You can even book a session with a photographer just for the enjoyment of it, not just ending up with great image of yourself, but also a tool to a great self image.

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