Photographers’ Tips on Finding Your Best Angle

Wonder how some people just magically look perfect in every photo, while you always end up looking like a dork? In this digital age where our every move is captured, uploaded, and splashed across social media, it’s time to get used to posing for the camera, instead of untagging yourself in every unflattering photo. Better yet, take matters into your own hands and be a master of the selfie shot!

Four female photographers share these tips on how to find your best angle so you always look great in photos.

1. Study yourself in the mirror!
There is a reason why models (and some of your friends, no doubt) know automatically to tilt their head to their better side, thrust their chin up or down, put their hands on their hips in the classic arm-slimming move, or even pop one knee out whenever a camera is pointed in their direction. Says photographer and former Seventeen magazine staffer Monica Barretto Savellano: “Practice when no one is looking! Keep it real, the best way to find your angle is to practice [posing] in front of the mirror.” It may sound contrived, but as they say, practice makes perfect, and showing your best angle will eventually come naturally.

2. Focus on your assets
“Look for symmetry—like where your eyes look the same size, your jawline has the most balance. But don’t fret if your face isn’t symmetrical, most people’s faces aren’t! Bright eyes and a genuine smile will go a long way in making a great photograph,” says Sara Black, a model-turned-photographer who loves shooting portraits of people. Incidentally, her first book “When I Look in The Mirror” featured extreme close-ups of women, celebrating the raw, compelling beauty of facial imperfections.

3. Smile!
Speaking of smiles, decide which suits you best—smiling “with teeth,” showing no teeth, lips slightly parted in a smile, or as if you’re laughing out loud (it helps to throw your head slightly back and actually say “Ha ha ha”). Don’t forget to let that smile reach your eyes—or as Tyra Banks says, “Smize!”

4. Practice with selfies
Tricia Gosingtian, blogging phenomenon, model, photographer, and selfie master, shares, “People usually have preferred angles of their faces, but for those who don't know it yet, take photos in different angles—or gather existing ones from your albums—and try to spot which ones look best. More often than not, those photos were taken in the same angle. Try to ask a friend or a family member for their opinion as well!”

5. Be camera-ready
Always make sure you look picture-perfect before stepping out. Shiny, shampoo-worthy locks? Check! Clothes neatly pressed and oozing with personal style? Check! Fresh, glowing face? Check! Tricia dishes: “Make up works wonders! A little goes a long way. You don't have to put on so much gunk to necessarily look good, but it also wouldn't hurt to put on some lip gloss, blush or mascara for a natural-looking glow.”

6. Mind your lighting

Ready for your close-up? Before taking that shot, remember… “Good lighting is key! Even the prettiest person can look unfortunate if her picture was taken with unflattering lighting that emphasizes eyebags and blemishes instead of highlighting the best parts of the face. Natural sunlight works best, but you can also improvise by finding different light sources such as lamps,” advises Tricia. Tip: the “magic hour” around 5 PM when the late afternoon sun taints everything golden makes a perfect Instagram moment!

7. Let’s take it from the top…
Literally! Says Owee Salva-Yulo, who specializes in lifestyle, documentary-style family photos, shares this selfie tip: “Hold the camphone overhead. One is always thinner from a higher angle.

” Monica seconds the motion: “Raising the camera to take the photo from a higher angle is a surefire way to make you look slimmer.”

8. Add some drama
For a lovely, wistful effect (bonus points if you have long lashes), Owee likes shooting people looking downward. “Everybody, as in everybody looks pretty looking down. Emo effect.”

9. Selfie tricks
Posting just one angle of yourself all the time can get boring. Try out these classic selfie moves we picked up from the Sunsilk Set Card Creator:

•    The Candid Face: Turn toward the camera and smile like you didn’t know it was there!
•    The Tilt: Move your chin to one side and let your hair flow free.
•    The Toss: Turn away, then suddenly face the camera, letting your hair move as quickly as your head.

Ready, set, smize!