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Say cheese! 5 simple tricks to look better in family photos and selfies

Nothing can crush a good mood faster than a terrible photo. One minute, you’re at a party, laughing and posing with friends. Then, someone pulls out a smartphone, so you smile for the flashing camera … only to see the final outcome looks super unflattering.

There are a few photo-editing tricks that could make you look a little bit better. Tap or click here for five photo apps that make your pics better without any Photoshop skills. But this can only do so much — and sometimes people who take your picture aren’t willing to edit anything before they share it on social media.

If you look better in person than in pictures, don’t fret. We know of a few photography secrets you can use to appear better on camera. Without further ado, here are five tricks to look better in photos.

1. Push your face forward to minimize neck fat

Have you ever wondered, “Why do I look horrible in pictures?” Cameras have a unique way of distorting the world. They can exaggerate certain features and give you a totally different appearance.

That’s why you need to be strategic when you pose. Since a picture is two-dimensional, think about what is closest and farthest away from the camera. Say you jut your foot out and lean back: Your foot is going to look larger since it’s closer to the camera.

You can use this to your advantage. For example, double chins are an issue for many of us. To minimize that, jut your head forward so it’s closer to the camera. It will look awkward in real life, but it works well on camera.

While you’re pushing your face forward, make sure to also elongate your neck and tip your chin down a little bit. In person, it looks strange. But on camera, it looks great. Anything that can minimize neck fat is a win in our book.

2. Determine your best selfie angle

If you spend a lot of time on the internet, you probably know that kids love to make fun of baby boomers for all sorts of things. One common joke is that boomers can’t take selfies.

If you’re struggling to take flattering selfies, take advice from the pros. Instagram influencer Vi Luong says you should take a series of nine selfies from different angles.

Hold up your smartphone and get ready for some head tilting. First, keep your face straight forward, facing the camera. Then, take three pictures: one with the camera right in front of your face, one above and one below. As an example, here’s what her photos look like:

Basically, you’re going to look at the camera head-on and move your camera above your face, below your face and at face level. To make sure you’re following her advice to the letter, tap or click here to watch the steps in action.

Now it’s time to angle your face. For your next three pictures, turn to the right and keep your head still. Now, take one picture of yourself with the camera at face level, one where the camera is high and one where the camera is low.

Lastly, it’s time to tilt your face to the left. Now that you’re pointed in a brand new direction, keep your head still and snap three pictures at this new angle.

Follow the same formula as before. Here is Vi Luong’s example:

Once you get these nine photos, compare them to one another to see which angle suits you best. Now, you can make sure you’re taking flattering selfies. Maybe you think this sounds like a lot work, but a few minutes of smiling seems worth it to take pictures the family won’t poke fun at you for.

3. Want sparkling eyes? Look toward the light

Lighting has a huge impact on what you look like in pictures. Good lighting lets you put your best foot forward. On the other hand, bad lighting can make even the best-looking person look like a villain in a horror movie. Here’s a handy guide to understanding how lighting changes what you look like.

When taking photos, you want to avoid standing directly under a light. Direct light can create harsh shadows that make your skin look bad. Instead, try to get soft, natural light instead. It hides blemishes and other issues, which makes you look much better in pictures.

Another way lighting can help you is by bringing attention to your eyes

They’re the windows to the soul, after all. When posing for photos, you should face a light source so it illuminates your features and draws attention to your peepers.

If there’s a light fixture nearby, point your eyes towards it and try to widen your eyes just a bit. Say you’re standing indoors and there’s a chandelier nearby. Point your eyes towards it to get a flattering twinkle in your eyes.

If that’s not possible and you’re outside, make sure you’re facing the sun and taking advantage of the natural light. If the bright sun is casting dark shadows, turn away from it so it’s behind you. Lighting can be a pretty complex subject, but luckily there are a ton of guides online to help you out.

Tap or click here to learn more about natural light — specifically, how it can improve your selfies.

4. This easy trick improves your standing pose

Standing straight up with no pose or angles at all isn’t flattering. A subtle change in position can make a world of difference. Say someone is taking a full body picture of you. In this case, the last thing you want to do is face the camera head-on, with your feet far apart and your hands on your hips.

Take it from the expert — model, actress and photographer Parmita Katkar. She says you should tilt your body so you’re standing in a three-quarters position. Angle your torso away from the camera to add dimension and look slimmer in pictures.

She also has an extra tip for women: Put your weight on the back hip. This makes the front leg, which is closest to the camera, look leaner.

She says it’s a good way to create a feminine posture. You don’t have to stick to that position, though: Feel free to move your leg around to create a variety of poses. Tap or click here for Parmita’s advice on looking better in full-body photos.

5. Don’t force a smile

We all feel the pressure to look as happy as possible. Sometimes, that leads to us smiling so widely it can look borderline goofy. When it comes to taking photos, a mysterious Mona Lisa smile can do you a world of good.

There are a ton of classic tips you can follow. For example, The Sun says you should push your tongue up against the back of your teeth so you look more relaxed. Apparently, this can also slim your face by tightening the chin.

You can also follow the timeless advice of Tyra Banks, who coined the term “smizing.” In other words, she wants you to smile with your eyes. Learn how to smize in this short video:

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