Taking good pictures of oneself is a challenge most bloggers face. Even if you don’t have to do it often, a good profile picture is a must on our digital driven world. Good pictures are not always defined by naturally beautiful pictures of yourself but pictures that says something behind the eyes. The best pictures emote feelings. Connects with the story been told.
To take a good picture of yourself you need to feel confident behind the camera, so today I am sharing a few tips based on my personal experience.
The best advice I can give before having a picture taken is to relax.
That’s a big one. If you are not relaxed it will always translate over your pictures. I know… how can one relax as it’s so awkward standing in front of a camera and having multiple pictures taken ( in public is even worst) but learning what are the tell tales of “feeling tense” can help you control them. If you don’t feel relaxed than fake it!
Cameras can pick up thoughts going throughout your head. Most people do it involuntary. Think about something sad and the person next to you will ask if you are alright. Remember the days you felt the happiest and how many compliments you received.
Eyes: Most obvious one. “ has the camera taken my picture eyes” “I don’t know if this position works eyes” “I feel stupid standing like this eyes”
You got the message right? If you are thinking, we probably can read it…
Mouth: When we are tense our mouths close, our lips purse, we lock our jaws. Learning to have a “loose” relax face is learning to control your mouth. That is why most smiling pictures tend to be more successful as even if the smile is a little over the top.
Shoulders: When we feel tense we involuntary raise our shoulders.
Breath: We hold our breath when we are feeling tense.
I once taken a photography workshop that resulted on each student taking portraits of each other using the techniques learned. My light was working well, my background was good but my subject was standing there and I couldn’t get a good picture. I asked my model to get up and move, sing, do anything very silly. Ok, first I got a look of “are you crazy?” but I said: Trust me…
I took one of the best pictures of someone else. It wasn’t posed or extra smiley. It was actually pretty thoughtful.
By being awkward and silly, by doing something that breaks the pattern of self consciousness you will not feel the same shyness by just sitting for a picture.
Move your face in front of a mirror: frown, purse of your lips, pretend to shout, notice how your face change when you vocalise each vowel separately “A” “E” “I” “O” “U”( Tip from Coco’s Rocha). Be over the top! If you say “HEY” while smiling it will give you a natural happy expression.
Move your body: Jump, dance like a lunatic, sing out loud.
Find your feet: In the mirror try different ways of standing. Pick 3 and use them as base of your poses. Having a familiar stand will help you relax. You need to lengthen your body as much as you can. Think there is a rope pulling the top of your head up while keeping your shoulders low. Cheat: Squish an imaginary tennis ball by your shoulder blades. That’s it! Breath!
Create shape. When the arms are next to the body you loose the contours making a “square”. Fluid body shapes look relaxed.
Now take”test pictures” while doing those exercises. That will desensitise the timer and the act of taking pictures while posing. A lot of my exercises prior photos get posted into the blog because they have so much fun and energy.
When I hold my stomach for pictures I exhale instead of inhaling and holding. That way I avoid looking like I am holding my stomach or tense.
These trick I learn during one of my physiotherapy session to strength the core muscles of my back. It was actually pretty cool. With an ultrasound machine over my stomach she asked me to contract my muscles. I did what everyone does, sucked in my stomach as hard as I could, my body complete tensed. While in that position she shown that the core muscles behind the stomach were not getting contracted. The ones that were important. It took a few tries for me to find them but the realisation that I was contracting my stomach but my body actually relaxed hit me. I can use that same method to contract all my stomach muscles. Because explaining “how to” do a physical exercise can be misunderstood so easily, If you want to learn this ask a qualified Pilates instructor. They will show you how to activate/ control your core muscles while breathing. Than apply that to your stomach.
Don’t try to make very shot perfect. Enjoy yourself.
Keep your hand occupied: position them or use props.
Respect your mood. Some days I don’t feel like taking pictures of myself but the weather is perfect, or is the only day I have free etc, the result generally ok-ish. The days I’m in the right frame of mind the pictures turn so amazing that I struggle to pick the best ones.
Feeling confidence in from of a camera is like training for a marathon. It takes time, commitment and will power. The more you practice the better you get. You learn a lot about yourself.