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How to look good on Camera without Photoshop!

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

Full confession here, I hate having my picture taken, however, being a stylist it is expected I’ll be comfortable with that to demonstrate my skill. Not easy!

Before I became aware of all the tricks you can use to improve how you look on camera, I had an acquaintance who looked absolutely stunning in photo’s…. and I mean stunning! She wasn’t someone I saw often, therefore when I did see her it made me wonder how she could look so different in person to how she looked in photo’s! Fast forward to now and it’s safe to say, I know all of those tricks, having worked on many photo-shoots with some fabulous photographers and my own shoots.

Now, I don’t advocate changing yourself to look unrecognisable, however there are certain things that can help you to look more like the best version of you on camera without using photo-editing apps. Here are my top tips, I hope you enjoy.

Wear the best colours for you!

Wearing your most flattering colours near the face will help you to look great on camera. Your best colours will give you a natural glow, and in most cases can make you look 10 years younger. (No face lift needed here!) A word of warning, if black isn’t one of your best colours, don’t wear it for a photo shoot, especially not a head shot, or if you do, break it up with a scarf or statement necklace in one of your best colours, this can help to have the same effect.

Be aware of your angles

This one used to make me laugh, who cares about ‘angles’ well it turns out it is definitely a thing! If you’re taking a selfie, angling the camera from above so that you’re looking slightly up tends to have the most flattering effect. Not everyone’s features are symmetrical therefore, playing around a little with the angle of the phone or camera and using the straightening features can help to give the best effect. When working with a photographer you would hope that they know how to capture your best features, however, some ‘lifestyle photographers’ can be all about point and click, where the background of the picture is more important than how you look in the picture. In general full body shots taken while the photographer is kneeling with the camera angled upwards tend to be the most flattering, conversely shots with the camera angled down can make you look squat. So, don’t be afraid to make suggestions if you want a different effect.

Makeup – it’s not just about wearing more!

If I had a pound for every time someone has said to me that ‘photographic makeup is just about ‘wearing heavier makeup’ I’d definitely be rich. It’s a huge topic but one of my main tips would be to ensure you are using face makeup (foundation, bronzer, powder) that doesn’t have SPF in the formula. SPF creates flashback (repels the light) which will give you a shiny or even blurred picture which isn’t flattering. My other tip would be eyelashes, even a light pair of false lashes will ensure that your eyes look as visible on camera as they do in person. No amount of mascara will give you the same effect and often with heavier eye makeup it can look like you have no lashes, which will make your eyes appear smaller. Finally, lipstick, don’t just slap on the darkest colour you can find, this can make your lips look thinner. Wearing lipstick that is a similar colour to your lips with more depth is the best option and don’t forget to use a lip liner that is the same colour as the lipstick and a tiny dot of gloss in the middle of the lip will create an illusion of lips being more plump.

Lighting isn’t just for fashion shoots!

Generally bright natural daylight makes for the best photo of your face so when possible have the light behind the camera, (face the light.) The ‘golden hour’ that time just after sun rise and also just before sunset makes everything look magical, generally this is the best time for outdoor photo-shoots because it’s still bright but not full on sunshine. I always use a ring light when doing clients makeup indoors, this ensures that the look you see in the light will be the same as you get on camera, for your selfies you can even buy a small, selfie ring-light to attach to the phone.

If you feel happy… look happy!

This was a tip I was given on one of my own shoots with a great photographer, she told me to think of something or someone that made me smile and imagine that is what you are looking at. For someone who isn’t comfortable in front of the camera this is something that got me through and I actually didn’t look scared stiff in the shots!

So there you have it, a couple of simple tips that will help you look your most natural best in photo’s, I hope you’ve enjoyed them.

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