By Pierra Calasanz-Labrador for Yahoo! Southeast Asia
No holiday gathering is complete without the requisite group shot. And you know those photos are going to appear on everyone’s Facebook news feed, right? So you better look fab! Gain some confidence in front of the camera with these tips from professional photographers, fashion editors, and models.
Location, location, location
When planning a get-together (and inevitable photo session), choose a place with flattering natural light if possible, like an outdoor café, destination restaurant, or even your garden patio. Photographer Lilen Uy shares, “Go with natural light and environment. If there is an access to nature—garden, trees, beach, mountains—take advantage of it. Everything else will follow... Easy poses, lighter disposition.” Not to mention, a beautiful background sure beats a crowded resto with photobombing strangers.
Practice your pose
Photographer Patrick Martires, who has been shooting Candy Magazine covers for years, says: “Practice in front of a mirror to find your good angle.” Photographer Kai Huang agrees: “It pays to know your best side. Any girl that will take time out to figure that out will always look better than the rest!”
Model Jessica Yang, who seems to know instinctively what will look best on camera, shares: “It comes from practice. Know your face, so you will know what facial expressions look best on you. Know your body, so you will know what clothes suit your body type best, and which angle will make you look taller and thinner. At shoots, I study my outfit and try to pose in front of the mirror first before being photographed.”
Get into a flattering position
According to Martires, “Being shot from a high angle works for most, and try not to be on either end of a group shot, that’s where the lens distorts a bit and you may look odd.”
Eunice Lucero, managing editor at stylebibleph, elaborates: “Standing at the edge of the photo makes arms and the torso look wider than usual.” (No wonder all my girl friends dive for the center!) Also, when you’re in a restaurant and you do that thing where you ask the waiter to take a group shot: try not to be in the foreground, or else you’ll appear bigger than everyone else.
Strike a pose
Model and writer Raya Mananquil says, “It's almost always more flattering to turn your face at a slight angle, rather than looking straight towards the camera. With that said, most of us have a more flattering angle... Next, relax your body! Don't stand too straight with your feet together and arms on your side—you're not in the army. Lean your weight on one side, stick out your hip and slightly bend the opposite knee. Bend your elbows just ever so slightly for a more natural posture. If you're feeling a bit more confident, go ahead and place that hand on your hip! Some people tend to lean in towards the center, which can sometimes make you hunch over. If you're doing a less formal group shot and everyone is crouching close together, just bend your knees slightly, and keep your chest open [throw your shoulders back].”
The best tip to looking great in photos? “Be confident, and just enjoy, so your smile comes naturally,” shares Yang.
Lucero adds, “Always work your angle, dab some extra shimmer in the corner of eyes, and smile, smile, smile!"