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Kim's column

How to look better in selfies and group photos

When’s the last time you looked at a photo of yourself and thought, “Dang, I am so incredibly good-looking!” You’re not alone. Let me help.

Get rid of your “turkey neck”

It’s not just you. Cameras can exaggerate certain features and give you a different appearance than what you see in the mirror. That’s why you need to be strategic when you pose.

Think about what is closest and farthest away from the camera. Say you put your foot out and lean back: Your foot is going to look larger since it’s closer to the camera.

You can use this know-how to your advantage. To minimize neck fat and extra skin, jut your head forward slightly, so it’s closer to the camera. At the same time, elongate your neck and tip your chin down a little bit.

In-person, it looks strange, but to the camera, it looks great. If you feel silly, practice with your front-facing camera. You can permanently delete the pictures.

PHOTO EDITING: Who has the time to learn Photoshop? Here are five photo apps that make your pics better without any Photoshop skills.

Determine your best selfie angle

First, let me be the one to say it: Taking a photo of your face with the camera below you is very rarely flattering.

So, how do you determine the best angle for you? Instagram influencer Vi Luong says you should take a series of nine selfies from different angles.

Hold your smartphone and look at it head-on. Then, take three pictures: one with the camera right in front of your face, one above and one below.

Now it’s time to angle your face. Turn to the right for the following three pictures and keep your head still. Now, take one photo of yourself with the camera at face level, one where the camera is high, and one is lower.

Then tilt your face to the left. Keep your head still and snap three pictures (face level, above and below) at this new angle.

Once you get these nine photos, compare them to one another to see which angle suits you best. Ask a friend or family member you trust if you can’t decide.

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Make your eyes twinkle

Bad lighting can make even the best-looking person look like a villain in a horror movie. Here are a few simple rules of thumb to remember.

  • Avoid standing directly under a light. Direct light can create harsh shadows that make your skin look bad.
  • Find soft, natural light instead whenever possible. It hides blemishes and smooths out imperfections.
  • Face a light source so it illuminates your features and draws attention to your eyes. If there’s a light fixture nearby, point your eyes toward it and widen them just a bit.
  • If you’re outside, face the sun to take advantage of the natural light.
  • If the bright sun is casting dark shadows or causing you to squint, turn away or find a patch of shade.

Pro lighting tip: Make sure you have the proper lighting for video calls. I tried a bunch and love the Lume Cube Broadcast Lighting Kit. It comes with a suction cup for your monitor, a tripod, the light, and a soft diffuser so your face looks amazing.

Look better in full-body photos, too

After decades of posing for professional photos and broadcasting on TV, I can tell you this: Standing straight toward the camera isn’t flattering.

Instead of facing the camera with your feet planted under your hips, slightly tilt your body to one side. Angle your torso away from the camera to look slimmer, too.

Here’s a trick especially for ladies from model, actress and photographer Parmita Katkar: Put your weight on your back hip. This makes your front leg, closest to the camera, look leaner.

Wondering what to do with your arms? There’s a reason putting a hand on your hip is a classic: It makes your arm look slimmer than keeping it pressed against your body.

PHOTOS 101: Best ways to save your phone’s photos before it’s too late

Smile, even if you don’t want to

We all feel pressure to look as happy as possible in pictures, which can look unnatural.

One way to combat this is to make sure your smile is genuine. Tell a joke or think about something that always makes you laugh. There’s a reason “Say cheese!” is a classic. It relaxes us and encourages us to have a little fun.

Other times, a mysterious Mona Lisa smile is the way to go. Think about turning up the corners of your mouth — or even one side — without doing a full smile. Part your lips just a bit to avoid grimacing.

An odd trick that works: Push your tongue against the back of your teeth. This relaxes your face and can slim your chin.

Bonus Tip: Tech’s impact on our bodies

Neck pain, muscle strain and even “smartphone pinky syndrome” are just some of the ways tech can hurt your health. I talked with technology writer Nicolas Carr on the unforeseen impacts of technology on our bodies — and ways to protect ourselves.

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Explains” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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