3 Reasons You're Not Photogenic (And What To Do About It)

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3 Reasons You're Not Photogenic (And What To Do About Them)

Do you hate having a camera pointed at you?

Are you fairly certain you look better in person?

There are 3 possibilities as to why your photos may not live up to your mental self-image. How to be more photogenic is simple. Just abide by these 3 simple rules:

1. Make sure you have the right lighting.

In photography, lighting is everything. But you don't need fancy equipment to get it right. Be aware of your light sources. What direction is the light coming from and how do the shadows fall on your face?

One of the most common mistakes to avoid is light coming directly from the top; it emphasizes your nose and cheeks and casts shadows in your eyes, the windows to your soul.

Light from the side creates fullness and texture which can be great if you want to define a well-sculpted body, but you’ll want to avoid it if your face is puffy, wrinkled or blemished. Most people look best with diffuse light directed straight at the face or from a slightly high angle.

This is perhaps why car selfies are so popular; the sunlight bouncing into your car from the front windshield illuminates the eyes nicely and flattens most lines and wrinkles. But everyone is different; you’ll have to experiment to find the best light for you.

2. Think about how you feel at that moment.

You are what you think. If having a camera pointed at you makes you anxious, it's going to show up on your face and body. It's not a problem you can think your way out of, but there are some simple fixes you can try.

We know that different emotions are associated with their own distinct breathing pattern. Negative emotions such as anxiety and fear arise from shallow, quick, arrhythmic breathing.

So next time you need to relax in front of a camera, observe your breath and make sure it's deep, slow, and rhythmic. Another quick, effective way to transform your psychological state is to listen to music. Bass heavy tunes are known to boost confidence — a state closely associated with attraction, magnetism, and charisma.

Think of the emotion you want to convey and come up with a bass-heavy theme song or soundtrack that will help you prep your mind.

3. Surround yourself with the best people who know how to work a camera.

If you belong to the category of people who never take selfies and you believe you’re not photogenic, it may have something to do with who you surround yourself with. That's not to say you don't have good friends, but they may not be the best people to trust with taking your picture.

Next time you hand your phone or camera over to someone, observe how much time and thought that person spends on capturing the image. If they seem to care little or are simply unskilled at taking pictures, you may never know what a truly inspired image of you looks like.

Ask different people to take your photo. Ideally, you will want someone who finds you attractive and is skilled in the art of portraiture.

The belief that you’re not photogenic may be just that — a belief. Hiding from the camera will only serve to reinforce it.

A more useful approach is to have a fresh perspective. Whether it’s something technical or a more elusive reason for your photo woes, you will find that it just takes an open mind to discover endless possibilities in the art of photography.

Maria Izaurralde is the Founder of, a photography company that specializes in lifestyle photos for dating profiles and social media. Tested and shown to *more than double* matches on Tinder and vastly improve response rates. currently serves South Florida, Houston, Austin, and San Francisco. 

Watch this video from Buzzfeed of various women learning how to take proper selfies from professional model Tess Holliday.