MY tips for taking the best photos

April 20, 2016 • By

Let me preface this by saying I don’t consider myself a picture taking expert but I’ve been asked about 20 times in the last month about how I get such good photos on social media so I thought I’d post about this.  I love helping others so why not help other people put their best self out there.  That’s what we do after all when posting a pic.  (You never zoom in on your husband first)!

So some of you are also social media peeps who blog and take exercise and fashion photos on a consistent basis.  You probably have figured out your best angles and poses, though we all see photos of ourselves sometimes and think “I don’t look like that!”  Or, “crap, if I do, it’s time to buckle down,” but we hope the photographer was just at a bad angle, haha.  When someone else is taking the photo, unfortunately we are S.O.L. but when we are in control, I thought I’d share some tips I’ve learned over the years for those of you who maybe don’t take tons of photos and haven’t gotten it down.  This way you aren’t trying to figure out how to “fix” your photos or have to ask some stranger to retake them.  Or, more power to you if you have self acceptance and don’t care.  Rock on!!!  But let’s be honest, that’s not most of us.

1.Unless you are holding something (always good so it gives your outer arm something to do), putting your hand on your hip is a dead giveaway that you’re trying to make your arm look less fat. (Unless you are actually at an event or are actually famous).  If you do the arm on hip thing too often it looks posed and often, you want your pictures to reflect moments rather than created moments (although that’s what most of them are).  Relax your outside arm, make sure your shoulders are relaxed and think “US Weekly,” kind of drop that outer shoulder and hip.  In the top picture, it’s not awful, I just look posed, which I suppose I am.  In the bottom one I look so much more relaxed.



2. Chin out slightly and down, unless it’s candid and you’re laughing and then a double chin is ok. (see the rest of my pics to see how my chin is).

3. Which brings me to candids.  These will likely be imperfect photos (hello side boob) but will also capture the best emotion.  Just be natural like Brandi (of RHOD) and I are below.


4. You may want to keep this one a secret.  If you struggle with weight, or just want to look thinner, stand slightly behind the person next to you in the photo.  From the photo perspective, part of your body will basically be cut off, making you appear slimmer.  The first photo I’m hiding a bit behind Dustin and the second I have no one to hide behind.  I’m not the best person to show how this works because I don’t struggle with weight but this works great if you have large hips or a large lower body.

hidingno hiding

5. Take photos from a slight downward angle. You will avoid a double chin and appear slightly thinner.  Are your race photos always bad?  Race photographers are notorious for squatting down or setting their tripods super low to take their pics.  Great for the runners of the world that are 100 lbs.  Not so great for the rest of us.  Makes us look squattier.  I always think “objects in the photo are smaller than they appear” LOL.

upward angle

upward angle 2

6. Dress YOUR figure.  If you have a small waist, do not wear empire waist dresses.  (dresses like this maroon one do not compliment me but do look great on women with thicker waists or problem areas in their midsection).  Know what looks good on you and don’t be afraid to buy several similar dresses in that silhouette.  I love the fit and flare silhouette but it has to be more of an A line silhouette and very fitted like the orange one in family pic below.  I know the brands that work for me and literally by the same dress in different patterns.


7. There seems to be an idea out there that standing sideways makes you look thinner.  Not true!!! Unless you have an small flat waist, don’t do it!  All it does is draw attention to the fact that you don’t have one.

side ways

8. Here’s my best tip on how to stand (when posing in a group or as a selfie or couple).  Stand straight on to the camera.  This disguises a big booty, too if you have one and if you follow all my suggestions can help your midsection, too!  Look how fab my sis looks!

straight on

9. If you have thicker legs like me, put one foot in front of the other (my 1″ thigh gap isn’t going to look as good as my slim(mer) appearing thighs because of the allusion created with one on top of the other in the photo.  Push your butt out (don’t make it awkward, trust me, when you try this in front of a mirror, it comes together).  Your chest will stick out as your butt pops back, creating a slimmer waist silhouette and making you stand taller as a result.  Don’t forget to relax your arms and shoulders!

cross legs

10. Lighting!  Lighting makes a world of difference in how good your wrinkles and skin look.  Or just take a photo with my friend Stephanie (also of RHOD).  She knows everything about taking a good picture!  And makes you look good just standing by her.  And muscles look way different in different lighting and shadows!  You can have a six pack in one photo and cellulite in another.  The stomach pic is the same day, just different lighting in my backyard.  The more overhead sun, the better because shadows are your friend for muscle definition.


11. Active selfies: even if you don’t have a go pro, set your camera on video mode selfie side, and press play and take about a one minute clip running back and forth in front of it (where you can see your whole body).  Run slowly so you aren’t blurry and be close enough that you aren’t a tiny blip.  Be aware that if you set the camera on the ground and run toward it, your lower body will appear larger than it really is because of the angle (just like how taking photos from above makes you look smaller).  For best results, set your phone on a park bench or something about waist level and give it a try.  Then when looking back at the camera video, grab a still photo from it.  Then you can pick which photo you want to take from the video.  Active photos are tough because when the body is in motion,  stuff moves and it can be ugly.  Totally normal.  This pic was pre go pro from my cell phone’s video function (and I used a color pop app).  Not bad!

cell phone

Ok, well there you go!  Got all of it??? Ha!  It definitely takes practice.  Good luck and I hope this helps!  Would love to hear what you think or if you have any suggestions, as well!