En ung kvinne lener seg mot et seil på en båt.

20 Tips to Be More Photogenic (Works for Anyone!)

We're all secretly jealous of naturally photogenic people, but what if I told you that you can learn to be more photogenic? Here are some tips to get started.

It’s no surprise that everyone wants to look more photogenic in pictures.

However, what you might not know is that there’s no such thing as an un-photogenic person.

And the biggest secret? You can actually learn how to be more photogenic!

Learning how to smile naturally, why you look bigger in pictures than in mirrors,  why the camera isn’t accurate

…all the pro tips and tricks taught to top models can actually be copied by anyone.

As a portrait photographer, I know these secrets to be photogenic.

The most flattering poses for any body shape, the natural lighting to highlight your best features, the best angles for all faces…

I use all these tips to direct my subjects to help them look their best in photos.

And now I’ll explain them all to you.

Photogenic Tips Summary

  • Practice
  • Acknowledge your strong points
  • Use the right clothing
  • Smile naturally
  • Look towards the top of the lens
  • Don’t press your lips together
  • Keep the shoulders away from the ears
  • Push the chin out
  • Have fun

How to Be More Photogenic: Tips & Tricks

1. Perform an action instead of a pose

woman playing by a lake

If my subjects ask me how to be more photogenic, instead of sticking to a single pose, I often ask them to perform a full action.

Walk from point A to point B. Open up a big smile, take a deep breath, relax, repeat. Look away from the camera then look at the camera.

When doing this, the photos become more natural than posed and allow for beautiful in-between moments to be captured.

2. Let your natural emotions show

woman laughing in sunflower field

It’s incredible how much a camera captures emotion. So let yourself be yourself.

If you are feeling a specific way, allow yourself to be true to how you are feeling.

Allow for a range of facial expressions such as laughing, being goofy, or however you are feeling.

Telling a funny joke between photos might help everyone at the shoot relax.

Learning how to be more photogenic doesn’t always have to be serious!

3. Give your hands something to do

girl holding flower to dog

If you don’t know what to do, or where to place your hands, it may cause your photos to feel awkward.

The easy fix here is to give your hands something to do.

Either put them in your pocket or lean them on your leg, use your phone, or play the guitar.

This will make your photo look more natural.

4. Learn how to relax your lips

portrait of woman by lake

We are often tense when we are being photographed.

What I ask my subjects to do every now and then is to take a deep breath in and a deep breath out.

The secret here is to not close your mouth at the end of your breathing out. Let your lips relax where they rested at the end of breathing out.

This will make a huge difference and your photos will feel more relaxed.

Photogenic people, if in fact, they exist, don’t necessarily have a perfectly symmetrical face or beautiful features – it may be something as simple as knowing how to relax.

5. Use natural lighting and avoid harsh shadows

woman adjusting her hair

Sometimes, being photogenic in pictures has nothing to do with us and everything to do with lighting.

Try making use of soft or golden natural light and avoid harsh shadows, especially the ones projected by your own body, such as your nose or belly.

If you can smile naturally under soft light, that’s a good first step to looking great in pictures.

6. Study yourself

En kvinne ser på seg selv i et speil.

Look at a series of photographs of you and give yourself time to understand what is it you like about your own photos, and what you don’t like.

Do you look too stiff, do you have a too-wide grin?

Looking at how your body feels and understanding how you like to portray yourself is how you look better in photos.

Photogenic people know what looks best for them, and make sure they highlight those features in photos. This comes from examining yourself in real life (in the mirror) or in photos – a good chance to stop being so camera shy, too.

Photogenic Poses for Women & Men

1. Lean your shoulders back

woman leaning her shoulder back

One of the best poses to feel confident, relaxed and cool.

2. Lean your head on your hand

En kvinne ler mens hun sitter på en sofa.

How often do we do this on our every day? Leaning your head on your hand will make you look relaxed as if contemplating or immersed in your own thoughts.

3. Use props

woman playing a guitar

Try using props to make your photos feel natural. Do something you love, be either a sport you love playing, cooking, reading a book, or listening to music.

Not only your photo will tell a more compelling story, but by doing something you love, you will look good in pictures.

4. Pose your head and body facing different directions

En kvinne i blå jakke som står foran fjell.

Try walking or moving one way and then turning your head to look the opposite way. This will make you look cool and on the move, allowing for more photogenic pictures.

5. Pose your hair

woman adjusting her hair

Try casually moving your hair. Not only this will give you something to do with your hands, this will make you look casual and fun – it’s one of my favorite photogenic tips.

6. Practice your facial expression

En ung kvinne lener seg mot et seil på en båt.

Try looking at yourself in the mirror or in casual photos and understand how we look with different facial expressions.

Nailing a natural smile is your greatest friend on how to be more photogenic.

How to Have a Photogenic Smile

1. Smile with your eyes

En mann med briller og slips.

Instead of putting on a big smile, try smiling with your eyes and complementing that with a soft natural smile. This will make you honest and likable in your photos.

Try smiling with and without showing your teeth and see what looks better.

2. Have fun while shooting

Woman laughing.

If you are shooting with a friend or professional photographer, try exchanging a couple of jokes with each other. By laughing and having fun, your smile will be authentic and natural.

3. Consider using lipstick

En kvinne med krøllete hår ler med åpen munn.

Proper use of lipstick can enhance your lips and smile. While wearing bright lipstick will make your lips pop and make your smile look bigger and brighter, wearing dark lipstick can make your lips look smaller and more discreet.

Watch out when using bright lipstick for it can also make your photo feel more produced and less casual, so use it intentionally.

4. Hide your tongue behind your teeth

En kvinne som smiler foran palmer.

Try hiding your tongue behind your teeth. Even though this can feel awkward when first doing it, smiling and showing nothing but teeth will make your smile look more photogenic.

How to Make Your Face Look Good in Photos

Based on my years as a professional portrait photographer, here is what I’ve learned about making your face look good in photos:

  • Be sure to be making the best use of natural light and avoid awkward shadows across your face.
  • Avoid low angles looking upward for they will enhance your chin and nose.
  • Consider using a 50mm or 85mm lens for the often provide a flattering perspective for portraits.
  • Make sure your face is relaxed, including your lips and forehead.
  • Try shooting at eye level. This will enhance connection through your eyes.

4 Poses for Non-Photogenic Faces

I still believe there isn’t such a thing as a non-photogenic person, since everyone can learn to look good in pictures.

However, if you lack confidence in your appearance, or simply don’t want to show your face in photos, here are some

‘non-photogenic’ poses.

1. Shoot facing away from the camera

En kvinne sitter på en trebrygge nær vannet.

A lot of great photographs don’t have the subject looking into the camera. Try walking away from the camera or place yourself being part of a landscape. This will avoid having your face in a photograph, but also convey a story.

2. Try silhouetting

En silhuett av en kvinne som danser i sanden.

You don’t need to be fully in detail. Try under-exposing your photographs to create beautiful silhouettes where you are still the subject, but without showing any details.

3. Slow shutter everything

portrait of woman in motion blur

Trying moving around using a slow shutter. Not only this will blur your face in the photographs, but this will convey movement and make a very interesting photograph.

4. Be out of focus

En kvinne står på toppen av et fjell med utsikt over en by.

One of the easiest ways how to be more photogenic is to simply place yourself out of focus.

Focus on the landscape behind you, placing you out of focus.

This will be captivating and may help convey a story.

FAQs about how to be more photogenic

What does being photogenic mean?

Being photogenic means that a person looks attractive in photographs. This doesn’t necessarily relate to how attractive someone is in real life; some people who are generally considered attractive may not be as photogenic, while others who might not stand out in person could be very photogenic.

How can I become more photogenic?

Becoming more photogenic is often a matter of understanding how to present yourself in front of the camera. This could involve knowing your best angles, practicing your smile, finding good lighting, and dressing in a way that complements your features.

What are some techniques to find my best angles?

You can find your best angles by practicing in front of a mirror or taking selfies from different perspectives. You might notice that you prefer how you look from one side or the other, or that certain angles emphasize features that you like. Once you’ve found angles that you like, you can aim to replicate them when you’re being photographed.

Does good lighting matter when trying to look photogenic?

Yes, good lighting is essential when trying to look photogenic. Natural, soft light is usually the most flattering. Avoid harsh overhead light, which can cast unflattering shadows. Try to position yourself so that the light is hitting your face from slightly above eye level.

What should I do with my smile?

A natural, relaxed smile is typically the most photogenic. Practice smiling in front of a mirror to find a smile that you’re comfortable with and that feels genuine. Smiling with your eyes, also known as “smizing”, can make your expression seem more authentic and warm.

How should I pose to be more photogenic?

One popular tip is to push your forehead slightly towards the camera, which can help define your jawline. Also, try not to stand completely square to the camera. Turning your body slightly to one side can make your shape look less flat and more dynamic. Relax your shoulders and try to maintain good posture.

What should I wear if I want to look more photogenic?

Choosing the right clothes can help you look more photogenic. Wear colors that complement your skin tone and avoid patterns that are too busy, as they can distract from your face. Also, consider how your outfit will look in the context of the setting where you’ll be photographed.

Does makeup help in looking more photogenic?

Yes, makeup can definitely help you look more photogenic by emphasizing your best features and downplaying any areas you’re self-conscious about. However, it’s important to apply makeup with a light hand and to use it to enhance your natural features, rather than trying to create features you don’t have. Keep in mind that heavy makeup can sometimes look less natural in photos.

Can professional photographers make me look more photogenic?

Professional photographers often have a good understanding of lighting, angles, and how to make people feel comfortable in front of the camera, all of which can help you look more photogenic. They can provide guidance and direction to help you look your best. However, being photogenic is ultimately about your own comfort and confidence in front of the camera.

How does confidence relate to being photogenic?

Confidence plays a huge role in how photogenic you appear. If you’re comfortable and confident, it’ll come through in your photos as a natural attractiveness. Confidence can often be boosted through practice and by adopting a positive mindset towards taking photos.

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Hello, my name is Leo Cavazzana, I’m a professional photographer and film director. As a photographer, I’ve been photographing our natural world for the past 8 years and worked on assignments with NatGeo, BBC, and UN on all 5 continents. As a film director, I’ve been directing commercials and campaigns for brands for the past 4 years. I’m passionate about sharing about the world and photography with others.

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