Beware restaurant and bar lightingiStock/massimofusaro
Although these are great places to grab a drink with the girls, they're not the the ideal setting for your group shot. Overhead lighting (like the kind in most rooms) adds to the appearance of uneven skin and under-eye circles. For better results, point your face toward the light source in your photo. Better yet, head outside around sunset for some natural lighting. "The lighting [at dusk] is really flattering," photographer Jack Guy told InStyle. "The sun casts less shadow downward, so you don't end up with bags under your eyes in the photo. Instead, it lights up the area under the eyes and you look younger."
Take a cue from the celebsiStock/EdStock
For a classic, no-fail pose, turn your body three quarters of the way toward the camera, with one foot in front of the other and one shoulder closer to the photographer. When you face the camera head on, your body tends to look wider. This pose ensures the camera catches you at your best angle. Correct your posture: belly in, buttocks tight, shoulders back, spine straight.
Put your best face forwardiStock/skynesher
When it comes to makeup, it's best to tread lightly—especially with foundation. A face masked in any kind of monotone base will look flat and pasty in photos, Morgen Schick, a beauty expert and author of Your Makeover, told Real Simple. For a more natural look, Schick suggests using concealer only on red spots, imperfections, and shadowy areas. To find your facial shadows, Real Simple advises tilting your chin down an inch or two while looking in a mirror. Notice where the shadows appear (likely around your eye sockets, under your lip line, and on your chin). Add a warm blush to your cheeks and a berry shade to your lips. A nude lip could get washed out my the camera's flash. Brighter tones will photograph best. Or try one of these makeup artists' tips to look younger.
Refresh your hair like thisiStock/Redrockschool
To give your hair a quick touch of volume, flip it upside down and shake through your strands with your fingers. When you flip it back, you'll be left with an imperfect and tousled look that will appear textured in photos. For even more dimension, pull your hair into a loose topknot in the moments leading up to your photo. Take it out and give it a quick spritz of dry shampoo.
Show your left sideiStock/Petar Chernaev
In one Wake Forest University study, researchers found that the left side of the human face is generally more appealing to others than the right side. For the study, participants were asked to rate photos of 10 male and 10 female faces, in both their original and mirror image form, reports the Huffington Post. Photos showing the left side were rated more "pleasant" than those of the right sides. Researchers said their results suggest that peoples' left cheeks tend to exhibit a greater intensity of emotion, which others find more aesthetically pleasing.
Get your angles rightiStock/andresr
If you're taking your photo in a seated position, ask the photographer to take the photo from above. When you tilt your face up to meet the camera, your jaw will appear more defined. For a standing photo, ask for it to be taken from a lower angle. This trick will make you look long and lean, fashion blogger Chriselle Lim told WhoWhatWear.
Style yourself appropriately
For a camera-ready outfit, stay away from patterns and aim for long lines and a cinched waist. To get the look, try belting your outfit with a thin belt, or rocking a vertical strip or A-line skirt. If you're holding a bag in the shot, keep it proportionate (not oversized) or leave it out of the frame. If you'd like to add height, stick to a thin heel instead of a wedge, which can add weight to your feet in photographs. If all else fails, a tailored blazer and stiletto heels always look polished and chic. Don't miss these styling tips to look 10 pounds thinner.
Stay in line for the group shotiStock/vgajic
The ideal group shot will have people staggered on different levels and depths. If you can help it though, don't be the person closest to the camera. That member of the group will always look more magnified than the others.
Study a favorite photo of yourselfiStock/SIphotography
To improve the quality of future photos, look closely at snaps from the past in which you think you looked best. What was your best angle? How were you styled? You’ll probably see that you were laughing or having a good time. Capturing someone when they’re relaxed or most animated usually makes for the best results.
Do this when you smileiStock/pixdeluxe
For a more natural look, replace the word "cheese" with "money." The hard "ey" sound will force the corners of your mouth up and give the you a crinkle around your eye, both of which give you a more realistic grin. Even better, think of a happy memory and give the camera a laugh. When you do this, the photo will showcase a more animated smile. You can also put your your tongue against your teeth and smile, which will relax your face. For more captivating eyes, try closing them and then opening them slowly just before the photo is taken.