How To Look Amazing In Photos

Like hearing your own voice on tape, seeing a photo of yourself can be a bit...jarring. Both pixels and film have a way of amplifying any miniscule imperfections on even the most flawless face. So, how come some annoyingly perfect creatures look better than Beyoncé or RyGos in every pic?
Here's the secret: Those models and selfie queens who look incredible in photos aren't necessarily the most beautiful. What they are is skilled. Anyone can learn to look better in pictures — it's a matter of knowing what light to stand in, what angles to work, and how to relax in front of the lens. To help you out, we asked our favorite photographers to give us their most foolproof tips for how to look incredible in pictures. Is your Instagram ready? Your perfect selfie (or, you know, pics taken by actual, other humans) is right this way...
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Photo: Courtesy of Ysa Pérez.
Know your light.
"I use an analog camera and depend on natural light, so I am partial to certain times of day and certain types of light. Natural light is always your friend. I like it to be soft and diffused, like from a skylight. I avoid harsh, hard lighting, which can create unflattering shadows."

Ysa Perez, photographer
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Photo: Courtesy of Ysa Pérez.
Comfort is key.
"The best portrait is when someone is relaxed and themselves, so just be yourself. Typically I start off by talking for a bit and explaining that what I’m aiming for is a candid and honest portrait, nothing too posed. My shooting style is real laid-back, and over time I’ve learned how to get people to relax naturally and settle into themselves."

Ysa Perez, photographer
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Photo: Courtesy of Ysa Pérez.
Get to know your photog.
"True portraiture is an involving process that requires an understanding for people. I understand it can be an anxious situation to be in, so I try extremely hard to have my subjects be comfortable with me and trust what I’m doing. If I can get people laughing, it usually goes super smooth."

Ysa Perez, photographer
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Photo: Courtesy of Ysa Pérez.
Know how to hide the not-so-great...and learn from the best.
"If someone has bad skin, great light can sometimes blow that out. If someone has large features, ears or something, pull the camera back a bit to de-emphasize or use a wider angle lens."

If you could give someone one tip for shooting a better selfie, what would it be?
"Check out BadgalRiri’s Instagram account first."

Ysa Perez, photographer
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Photo: Courtesy of Dana Boulos.
Shoot at sunset.
"I've always loved Magic Hour light. It's so soft; it's always been my personal favorite making anyone look timeless."

Dana Boulos, photographer
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Photo: Courtesy of Dana Boulos.
Don't be afraid to go low.
"I always shoot pics at a super-low angle — it makes models look way taller then they are."

Dana Boulos, photographer
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Photo: Courtesy of Dana Boulos.
Get chatty.
"If a subject is uncomfortable in front of the camera, I usually start a conversation while we're shooting, to get to know them and have them open up to me and what the camera will capture."

Dana Boulos, photographer
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Photo: Courtesy of Dana Boulos.
Fake the body you want.
"If I want the model go look taller, I have them elongate their legs — I basically have them pose like a ballerina. To make a model look curvy, I just ask them to arch their backs."

Dana Boulos, photographer
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Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Perlstein.
Be bright-eyed.
"If someone’s uncomfortable, I’ll have them close their eyes for a few seconds and then open them right before I take the photo. It gives an air of calm, and the person tends to look more natural and less stiff after having just opened their eyes."

Lauren Perlstein, photographer
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Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Perlstein.
The secret to the perfect selfie is...?
"Work your angles. Good models know their best angles, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t as well! If all else fails: Valencia."

Lauren Perlstein, photographer
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Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Perlstein.
Your mama was right.
"Be confident! It sounds super corny, but the better you feel about yourself, the better you’ll look."

Lauren Perlstein, photographer
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Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Perlstein.
Keep it natural.
"Diffused, natural light is always my go-to (for both selfies and professional shooting), because it’s so soft and devoid of harsh shadows. Definitely avoid the phone flash at all costs."

It doesn't always have to be super-posed.
"Just have fun! Whimsical, dynamic photos are so much more interesting than super-posed ones. Catching those spontaneous smiles and in-between moments is key."

Lauren Perlstein, photographer