How to be Photogenic (but don't take my word for it...)


In the times of selfies and Facetune and VSCO cam and Instagram filters and a zillion ways to try and make yourself look good (or better) in a photo, there are still those select few who seem to need none of them. They seem to never be caught off guard or mid-chew in front of the camera, the lighting is always immaculate, and their hair is always in place. Just to be clear, I am not one of those people and I really wanted to know if those photogenic gifts are inherent or can they be learned?

I went to some experts on the subject - my friends, model Oxana Voinarevitch and photographer Wanda Koch. They had some really wonderful advice!

My question: Can you teach yourself, train yourself, and practice enough to become photogenic?

Their answers:

1. Try and create interesting angles, by try to never face the camera straight on. The twist doesn't have to be huge or exaggerated, but enough to break up the plane of flatness... When you are creating "interesting angles", try not to think top to bottom, but front to back.

2. Try and position your chin forward and slightly down... or even better, have a tall photographer and have them shoot from slightly above!

3. When at all possible, have something in your hands- if not, try and keep them natural and relaxed, both hands in shot.

4. To avoid the "cheeeeeese" smile, touch your tongue to the back of your teeth. Think pleasant happy thoughts or try to naturally laugh! Have fun with it! The more that you try and force it, the more it will look forced. Let your personality shine through!

5. Lighting is key! Try and find a soft natural light that is slightly diffused.

Examples of rules #1 and #5 ... ... how to be photogenic Examples of rules #1 and #5 ... ... how to be photogenic

Here are some examples that I got when I crashed their sportswear photoshoot (Love the Track & Field gear, by the way!):

In this first picture, Oxana is adhering to rule number 1. While I am looking straight ahead and giving the camera a flat shot from the side, Oxana turned her face slightly towards the camera. The slight twist made everything look better, and it had the added bonus of hitting number 5. When she turned her face towards the light, it created further interest by giving depth. So, by that small move, she avoided what I did wrong, which was to give the camera a boring flat profile that was washed out and over-saturated because it had no shadows.

how to be photogenic - example of rule #2 - chin down!  how to be photogenic - example of rule #2 - chin down!

In this next photo, you'll see why rule number 2 is important... my chin is lifted (I wasn't even aware that I did that in photos!). I think that lines are very important when photographing... having a chin tilted up breaks the natural line of the body. Tilting your chin down will give the same flattering effect of being photographed from a slightly downwards angle.

The headshot that Wanda Koch took for my HSM profile.  The headshot that Wanda Koch took for my HSM profile.

I have been trying to remember all of these things anytime there is a camera around! I'm hoping for some more consistency in taking good photos (versus what I do now- which is sort through 10 thousand pictures for one that looks good!) and I think their tips are helping!!

Hopefully they help you, too! Thank you Oxana and Wanda!!!