8 Secrets Photogenic People Use To Look Good In Pictures

If you habitually make these mistakes with a camera, you may never know how good you could look.

woman posing for photo Pexels via Canva

Do you hate having a camera pointed at you? Are you fairly certain you look better in person? You know you are attractive, so why do you not take great photos?

There are a few possibilities as to why your photos may not live up to your mental self-image. And it really has a lot to do with being photogenic.

What does it mean to be photogenic?

Being photogenic is really just a fancy way of saying you take great pictures with little effort. Photogenic people have a natural ability to appear attractive in photographs.


There is no true science as to why some people are more photogenic than others, but it may have to do with possessing certain physical features, expressions, or poses that translate well onto the camera.

Those who are deemed photogenic often tend to convey confidence, charm, and an engaging presence when put in front of the camera with seemingly little to no effort. They have a unique quality that captivates viewers and makes them stand out in photographs.

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What many people don't know is that being photogenic is a thing that can be taught and learned. Just abide by these simple rules.

How to Be More Photogenic in 8 Steps

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.


3. Surround yourself with 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.

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4. Wear the right clothes for your complexion.

Wearing certain clothes and colors enhances your photogenic qualities. Pick clothes that complement your skin tone and eye color; these are usually complementary colors that are opposites on the color wheel.

For example, if you have warm-toned skin (yellow or olive undertones), wearing cool colors like blues or purples will make your features stand out. Test out what colors work best for you.

Solid colors tend to be more flattering in photographs compared to busy patterns or prints. Simple and clean lines draw attention to your face and features, allowing the camera to capture your expressions effectively.

Research what clothing suits your body shape. Understanding your proportions and choosing clothing styles that highlight your best features, while minimizing areas you're less confident about, makes a noticeable difference in how you appear in photos. Above all, wear clothing you feel confident in because it will translate through the lens.


5. Learn your angles.

It's experiment time. Grab your phone and head outside into natural light. Now, take selfies from all kinds of different angles and keep track of which ones make your face look the best.

Take one from the right side, take one from the left side, tilt and turn your head every which way. What you are doing is trying to get your face to look symmetrical. Since most people's faces are asymmetrical, this will be the faster and best way to make yourself look appealing in photographs.

Also, never, ever look straight into the camera. Trust me, you won't like the outcome.

6. Figure out poses you feel comfortable in.

Posing in front of a camera can be hard to do. Practice different poses in front of a mirror to see which ones you look best in and keep a few in the vault for your go-to poses.


When posing, remember to do something with your hands. Give them a task to do; otherwise, they'll make you look big if left at your sides. You could wave to the camera, put a hand on your hip, or fix your hair with them.

Nerves can get the best of us, so if you feel the makings of a mini panic attack, just take a deep breath and lean your shoulders back. Tensing up will do nothing but make you look stiff and unnatural in your photo.

Another way to avoid nerves is to turn away from the camera. Instead of facing it straight on, turn your shoulders so you get a side shot of your body. If you pose and it feels uncomfortable or awkward, the camera will show it.

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7. Find your smile.

Smiling is not easy to do in front of a camera. It sounds silly, but it's the truth. Many people feel awkward and the smile they use will convey that through the lens. The saying goes, "You can't hide from the camera."

Before you take any photos, you have to find your smile. The one that showcases your true beauty and your personality. You want your smile to seem and feel natural to you. Close your eyes and imagine something nice, and when you feel yourself starting to smile open your eyes and snap the pic.

Another trick is to get yourself to laugh. Laughter is great because it's a natural response and your body will take control over your brain. This gets a natural, happy, and joyful picture — not just from your smile but also from your eyes which will have lit up from it.


8. Be careful about your makeup.

Makeup is almost always mandatory when taking photos (even for photogenic people). Flash photography washes people out if makeup isn't used. To become more photogenic, make sure your makeup is flattering.

That means checking that your foundation matches your skin. You don't want a horrific makeup line, either, so don't go too heavy on the makeup. This can cause creasing and enhance wrinkles and blemishes.

Translucent setting powder will be your best friend to become photogenic. Use this on your T-zone and spots where you wish to stop from looking greasy. This goes for everyone: men, women, non-binary, and so on.

The truth is that anyone can be photogenic, it just takes some skills and practice. The only question is: do you have the discipline and determination to get there?


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Maria Izaurralde is a writer and the founder of Right Swipe Pics, a photography company that specializes in lifestyle photos for dating profiles and social media. She specializes in body image, body language, dating/single support, empowering men and women, online dating, and self-esteem.