How To Look Good In Photos

Prefer to read? You can find the article that accompanies this video below.

We’ve all seen a photo of ourselves and LOVED it, and probably seen plenty that we don’t want anyone else to see!

Chances are though, that we’re not sure why we look great in one and not in another.

If you’re planning a photo shoot for your family, a maternity session or would love to have some photographs taken with your new baby you may feel concerned about how you’ll look in the photographs. After all, if you’re investing in gorgeous new photographs you’ll want to feel proud to have them displayed at home, and to share them with your friends and family. You don’t want to make an investment that you later regret.

So how can you be sure that you’ll look fantastic in your family photographs?

The good news is that a little preparation, and some professional guidance you can look great in photographs – whether you’re having a professional photo shoot or snapping a selfie.  The things to consider are:

  • choosing a photographer that you trust and feel relaxed with
  • looking great in photographs is all about mindset
  • choosing clothes that make you feel confident
  • hair and makeup
  • posing techniques

In this article I’ll cover each of these in detail so that you can prepare for your shoot, feel confident on the day, and walk away with photographs you love.

Choose a photographer that you trust and feel relaxed with

If you want to be sure that you’ll walk away with family photographs you’ll love, start by choosing the right photographer.

There are so many options out there when you first start looking for a photographer that it can feel overwhelming – you could choose one who shoots exclusively in a studio, or one who will photograph you on location. You could choose the one who is cheapest, or the one who is most expensive.

Making the right choice matters though – find a photographer whose style you love, who you have good chemistry with and who you trust, and you’re much more likely to love your photos.

I recommend doing your research, and spending time talking to potential photographers on the phone or in person before deciding whether to book. Give yourself time and space to consider the different photographers you’ve spoken to, and what each offers before you make your decision.

how to look good in photos

Looking Great In Photos Is All About Mindset

There are lots of things you can do to feel good about your appearance in photographs, but the most important thing is to feel good about yourself. If you are feeling awkward or uncomfortable it really will show in the photographs.

So what can you do to change this?

Assuming that you’ve chosen a photographer who you trust and feel relaxed with, the next step is to think about what makes you feel like you can take on the world – perhaps it’s a particular song, reading a motivational book, wearing a particular item of clothing, or your favourite lipstick. Whatever it is, make sure you have time before your session to do that thing and get into a mindset where you feel fabulous!

It can also help to practice being in front of the camera beforehand. If (like me) you’re a little camera shy, you probably avoid being in front of the camera most of the time. But like anything in life, being in front of the camera becomes easier with practice so do it as often as you can before your session.

Choose Clothes That Make You Feel Confident

Choosing what you wear for a photo shoot is probably one of the most important things you can plan beforehand. Choosing clothes that complement the environment that you’re in, and the outfits that everyone else in your family is wearing can really bring your photographs together.

However, what’s most important is choosing clothes that fit well and that you feel confident in. What this means for you will be different to other people, but I recommend planning your outfit in good time, and seeing how it appears in the mirror when you are in different positions – for example sitting, standing or kneeling down. This way you can feel confident that it will look great no matter what you are doing on the shoot.

how to look good in photos

How to Do Your Hair And Makeup for Photographs

Giving some extra time to your hair and make-up before the session can give your photographs a wonderful edge. If I think about those times in my life when I’ve spent more time on my hair and makeup, or had someone do it for me – such as for my wedding – I have loved the photos afterwards. And that’s how I hope you’ll feel about your new photographs!

Generally speaking, the makeup you wear every day won’t show up as well in photographs as you might think. It’s better to wear a bit more makeup than you normally would when you’re having photos taken.

You may prefer to have your makeup done professionally before a shoot, and many photographers can help you to arrange this. If you have a shoot booked with me and would like to arrange to have a professional makeup artist do your makeup please do get in touch.

When it comes to hair, there are a couple of ‘rules’ too:

  • If you have colour on your hair and are worried about your roots do get them touched up before your photo shoot as it’s not the kind of thing that can easily be fixed afterwards.
  • If you’re planning a new hairstyle, book your appointment for a couple of weeks before the session so you have time to get used to it and feel comfortable.

Find Your Favourite Side for Photographs

If you have a favourite side that you prefer to be photographed on you, are definitely not alone. It’s surprisingly common; many of my clients have a favourite side, and apparently there’s even a science to it.

As a photographer, it is incredibly helpful when clients tell me about their favourite side, or if they’re worried about a particular feature that they have. If I understand their worries, I can work with them to  avoid photographing or emphasising those things.

To prepare for your shoot, study those past photos of yourself that you love. Chances are there’s something consistent about them. Share whatever you’ve found with your photographer – so that they can work with your best side and create photographs you love.

Richmond Newborn Photography - Clare Murthy Photography-1

How to pose for your photographs

Prefer to read? You can find these tips, and the rest of this article below this video.

After all of this preparation, I hope that you’ll be feeling confident on the day of your shoot.

When you work with an experienced photographer, they will give you lots of guidance on the day to make sure that you look your absolute best in the photographs. Some of the things they may ask you to do are:

  • Angle your body. Standing face-on to the camera is the least flattering way to pose, as you’re showing off the widest parts of your body. Angle your body about 45 degrees one way or the other, and look back towards the camera. For an extra-flattering pose when you’re standing up, push your weight into your back leg. If you’re sitting down make sure you’re sitting up straight.
  • Stick your neck out. You don’t have a double chin in real life, so why does it always seem to be that you have 2 (or more chins) in photos?! There is a secret to it. Just before the photo is taken stick your head out away from your body and angle your chin ever so slightly downwards. It doesn’t feel natural at all, but makes for a much more flattering photo.
  • Relax. With all this angling your body and sticking your neck out you’re most likely not feeling very relaxed! Just before the photo is taken take a deep breath in, relax your shoulders downwards, and….
  • Smile. If you find it difficult to smile naturally on demand (and let’s face it, most of us do) there are a few things you can do to help. First of all, don’t say cheese! Nobody looks natural when they say it. A better idea is to fake a laugh – it won’t feel natural at first, but chances are you won’t be able to help but smile naturally right afterwards.



Over to You

I hope that this guide has helped you to feel confident that you will feel great about your new photographs when you see them after your shoot.

Although I’m a photographer, I’m also a mum and invest in regular family photo shoots for my family so that I can be in the photographs. I understand just how nervous parents can feel before a photoshoot! However, I also know that with preparation and practice being in front of the camera does get easier. With the right photographer, who helps you to feel confident and relaxed you might even start to enjoy it!

I’d love to hear how you get on putting the recommendations from this article into practise. How did you feel at your shoot? You can send me a message here, or let me know in the comments below.


Related articles

You may also find these articles helpful as you prepare for your photo shoot:

How to choose a family photographer

How to find a good newborn photographer | a buyer’s guide

What to do if you’re camera shy

What to wear for your newborn baby’s photo shoot

The Best clothes to wear for an outdoor family photo shoot

The best clothes to wear for a family photo shoot at home

How to do your own makeup for photo shoots

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Picture of Clare Murthy

Clare Murthy

I’m a newborn, baby and family photographer working with families from South West London and Surrey. I specialise in timeless, natural photography with no props or unnatural posing. I photograph babies at my studio, and families in beautiful outdoor locations. I'm based on the Surrey / London border, close to Hampton Court.
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