Top Ten Ways To Look Better In Pictures – As Seen On “San Antonio Living”

For years I have been participating in magazine photo shoots, helping clients with family photos not to mention the hundreds of blog pictures I have posed for and/or coached clients to pose for. Whenever I take a picture of someone, inevitably I not only style them…I also help them pose for the picture.

After MANY requests for my photo taking secrets, I’ve finally put them together to share with you.

These simple tips and tricks are guaranteed to make you look younger, skinnier and prettier in all of your photos.


Want to look skinner and shave off ten pounds? Twist your torso or your whole body. It’s soooo simple and makes a huge difference. On the left, you can see I am squared off and completely facing the camera. On the right, I twisted by whole body including my torso and look much slimmer! Posing with someone? Turn your body completely towards the person and then slightly turn head towards camera.

Twist Your Torso


I don’t care how svelte your arms are, put that hand on your hip! When your arm is pressed against your body, it doubles in size. I’ve been working on my arms for 200+ days and they still look big when resting against my body (see pic on left)! If you don’t want to put your hand on your hip, you can always cheat your arm out a little so it’s about two inches away from your body. If you have a special occasion and want your arms to look super, duper amazing, use the old “Britney Spears” airbrush your muscles routine”. Simply apply bronzer, or sunless tanner along the muscle lines (whether you have them or not) and that will either enhance existing muscles or create the illusion you have some. (Note: I did not bronze up for this photo.)


Hand on Hip lrg


The oldest trick in the book. Have the person taking your picture put the camera above you so the camera is pointing down at you. If the photographer is shorter than you, sit down and have them remain standing. You can even sit down on the ground or floor if you have to. This will make you look MUCH skinnier and create a stronger jawline. The eyes also pop a whole lot more with this angle.

Look Up - SA Living


This will feel weird, I know. Almost like you are a turtle popping its head out the shell, but it will eliminate the possibility of a double or triple chin. It will also create a stronger jawline. You will look skinner and sexier! The last picture shows you what it looks like from the side so you really understand how to do this.

Stick out your head, SA Living lrg


I can’t take credit for this one. I learned this VERY important, game changing trick from a famous headshot photographer in NYC named Peter Hurley. Click HERE to see his YouTube video showing you exactly how to do this technique. I had a session with Peter’s assistant at the time, Bryan Bowden and Bryan told me about the secret squint or “squinch” as he calls it. Once you understand this, you will see every celebrity in every magazine photo doing this. All you do is raise your lower eyelid just a touch so you don’t see any of the white under your eyes. You don’t want to squint too much, just raise that lower lid (see photo). This will make you look sexier, warmer, friendlier, more approachable and MUCH more confident. Try it!! You will see…  (This is an essential technique if you have big googly eyes like me!!)

Squint Your Eyes - SA Living - lrg


Lighting is everything when it comes to a great photo. If you are outside, the best times to take a picture are sunrise and sunset. Regardless of the time of day, have the photographer or person taking the picture stand with their back towards the sun.  You can also find a spot where your face is shaded, and the sunlight dusts the back of your hair or head. That can look really pretty and act as a hair light. If you are indoors, have the photographer stand with their back to the window. You are facing the window. This natural light will produce a gorgeous shot. In the photo below, I’m taking a selfie. On the left, the shade is pulled down. On the right, the shade is up. Standing or sitting facing a window will create flattering selfies every time. SMALL effort, BIG difference!


Find The Light, SA Living, lrg


If you wear light colors or prints, you will tend to look larger. Darker, solid colors will keep you looking slimmer and it will keep all of the attention on your beautiful face! I would also avoid wearing something too billowy, especially if you are busty because that can make you look bigger all over. Stick with more fitted garments, especially on the arms. If you have a darker skin tone, you may want to opt for navy or some lighter shade of blue instead of black.


Wear Dark Color - Lrg - SA Living


This is a subtle distinction, but in the photo on the left, you can see my nose is pretty rosy, kind of “Rudolph-like.” This redness makes it stand out more and compete with my eyes. In the photo on the right, I powdered my nose so the first thing you see are my eyes, which is really what you want. Powder will also cover the oil/shine that often frequents your t-zone. No one wants to look like sweaty Betty in their pics!


Powder Your Nose - SA Living Lrg


I know you’ve got a great smile and you want to seem super happy in all your photos, but the truth of the matter is, when you smile, you look older. If you want to look younger and less wrinkly, try a more subtle smile. You can even try smiling with your eyes, which Tyra Banks refers to as the “smize.”  This is another one you’ll start to notice more and more. Celebrities often do the subtle smile on red carpets and for magazine shoots. Again, your face looks younger, more relaxed, prettier.

subtle smile, larg


I think this before and after is pretty shocking (below). On the left, I purposely channeled someone who hates getting their picture taken. How many times have you heard or said things like, “I’m not photogenic,” “I look terrible in pictures,” or here in Texas they say, “I don’t like getting my picture made.” (Yes, I know, that’s weird.) That tension or uneasiness with the process will negatively affect the outcome of the picture. I mean, just look at my neck on the left. Yuk!

I have also worked on many photo shoots with beautiful models. The model is standing before you and she is stunning, but you start to notice something is off in the shots. It’s her face. Her mouth and lips are so tense. This tension ruins the entire photo. Seriously, it’s not usable.

The more relaxed you are, the better, younger, more confident, (insert any positive, picture-related, adjective here)… you will look!!! Soooo, remember to think happy thoughts and RELAX!!

Relax Your Face - SA Living Lrg


Even if you have Michelle Obama arms, it’s tricky to sport bare arms in photos. I would avoid sleeveless tops, if you want to look more polished, professional and slimmer. On the left, notice I not only look more casual, but your eye is also drawn to my bare arm. On the right, you automatically look at my face and that’s the way it should be. If you are doing something special and have a sleeveless dress, make sure you bronze up your arms and add some extra makeup or sunless tanner along the muscle lines to add or fake definition. It will make a big difference in the photos.

  Wear sleeves

Join the Conversation

4 thoughts on “Top Ten Ways To Look Better In Pictures – As Seen On “San Antonio Living”

  1. Hi Erin, we just returned from our trip to Florida! Every time photos were being taken I had your tips ready! Finally, I was able to take a decent picture! :). Just had to tell you. Have a great day.

  2. Thank you for sharing your invaluable experience with how to look your best in a photo. I appreciate that you were the model in your photo examples. I am definitely going to utilize your tips. Thanks!

    1. Thanks so much, Susanne! I loved putting this one together because I DO think it can make a huge difference in the way we look in photos. :)) And, great photos make us smile!!

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