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A couple of weeks ago I had met up with a dear friend Jules for lunch in NYC. I was super excited as I hadn’t seen her for a while and was looking forward to catching up.

I remembered she had just told me she was feeling great as she had lost some weight. She wasn’t heavy by any means, but as girls know, sometimes you just feel better when you hit the gym for a bit, eat better, see results and go down a size in your wardrobe, with the latter being the BIGGEST BONUS.

The funny thing was, I expected Jules to be super psyched at lunch and she wasn’t. In fact, she was pretty down. I knew at that point I had better order another “lunch” cucumber martini and encouraged her to do the same.

And of course in a 2-martini fashion, she confessed.

She had recently had some professional pictures taken and was so excited to update her social media and possibly even sign up for some dating apps. She felt as if she was finally ready to do online dating again.


She HATED how she looked in the pictures. And she was DEFLATED.

Her newfound excitement was zapped as a result of those pictures.  And I knew how she felt. I had been there too and she needed to know she wasn’t alone.

You see, when I first started my coaching business in 2007 it was necessary for me to get headshots for my website and marketing material.

I had hired a professional photographer and I too ended up hating my pictures.

It was if I was seeing myself for the first time and I didn’t like it.

Did I really look like that in real life surprised?

I had to ask someone I trusted because I was never going to let anyone else see my pictures.

At the time I reached out to my sister, Nat. She thought I was nuts and couldn’t wait to see them. I’m sure she was wondering whether I was being overly dramatic but luckily she realized I wasn’t..

“Oh yeah”, she said. “I see what you mean?”

You see, the pictures were (obviously) of me BUT during the photoshoot, I felt awkward and uncomfortable and that’s what the camera captured. It wasn’t the true me and it was OBVIOUS.

It’s one thing to take a picture playing around with friends and an iPhone. But when you need to “pose” for the camera with a stranger holding the camera it is very different and it takes PRACTICE. LOTS OF IT.

And trust me that is what I did.

And that’s what I am going to share with you as I fast forward years later where now I have my own TV show and take pics ALL the time.

So many people will ask me and my best friend/co-host Chrissy “How do you always take great pics”? And the answer is you don’t. Yes, we’ve practiced over time so it’s much easier now to get many more good shots, BUT there are also plenty of pics we take that aren’t good. And guess what? We don’t post those!

And plus when you do headshots, personal ones anyway, it is totally normal to take 100’s of pictures just to find one good pic. That’s right. Hard to believe, but true.

So I want you to know, if you hate how you look in pics, you are totally NOT alone. And at some point, every girl has felt that way. So below I want to share some simple things I have learned along the way between my business and TV show on how to take better pics.

Now if you are posing for a photoshoot or playing around with an iPhone most rules still apply.

Practice taking pics of yourself, BY YOURSELF 

(or with someone you trust, but I still feel by yourself is better because you want to eliminate any feeling of awkwardness). You can use your iPhone and a selfie stick although I don’t recommend in the beginning because perfecting a selfie (with the angles and all, as you hold the phone) is a bit different.

For this post, we ideally want you to get a pic that you can actually use as a headshot which should be a better quality pic, so using a better camera is key. But, don’t fret if you don’t have a better camera as your iPhone is totally fine and has a timer. The below set-up is what I used because I wanted a better quality pic and happened to have a digital camera at home.

The Set-up:

Don’t stress about the camera. 

For me, when I was practicing I used an older digital camera that I happened to have in my draw that I hardly ever used. It was a Kodak and I figured out pretty quickly how to do the timer so I can set it up and run into position. The camera doesn’t need to be expensive, so don’t go nuts and waste your money unless you will use for other purposes. Again, if you just have your phone camera, that is totally fine.

In the beginning you want to feel as comfortable as possible as that will translate into the picture. So I recommend you sit down for your pics because standing requires posing (and all that jazz) and we just want you to get comfortable with taking pictures of yourself and mainly your pretty face 😉 When sitting, be sure to sit up straight in a comfortable manner and place your hands on your hips. This may sound weird but trust me it isn’t. It will allow you more control of your posture and your shoulders. Be sure to drop your chin a bit too which I will explain in a bit.

Some people fold their arms in front. I AM NOT A FAN OF THIS AT ALL. It may feel comfortable in the moment, but it makes you appear very closed off. Some people thinks it’s a power pose…BUT I say use your smile for all that jazz…you want to appear open, friendly AND FUN. You want your open personality to shine!

I practiced in my home office, but you can set up anywhere you have a table and a chair. Don’t forget you ideally want to get a good pic so make sure the background of your photo is a blank canvas, or wall and not the microwave (LOL). Lighting is key too, but that is a bit of practice so you will need to play around once you have your camera set up. But keep in mind, don’t take your pic with a window behind you as that will suck all the lighting away from your face.

For me, I stacked up books on my desk to get the desired height, placed the camera on top of the books, then checked the view finder of the camera to ensure it would capture the chair I would be sitting in. Be sure to take some test shots of yourself first using the timer to ensure the placement of you in the pic. Add books or take books away to get the desired height for your camera and you in the pic. If you have a tripod at home, big bonus for you, as you can just use that and avoid my book stack recommendation. This was years ago, so at the time I had to improvise with having no tripod 😉

Now you are ready to start practicing…

Set the timer.

Sit there in pose, wait for the pic to flash.

Get up, review the picture and make the necessary changes in your smile, pose, etc…for the next pic.

Once you have an idea of the simple tips below, you will take a bunch a pics without reviewing each time. This will allow you to get into the flow of posing and taking the pictures.

Remember take as many pictures as you can. I do at least 60-100, because as I mentioned before, you may only find 1 good one out of 100. It all depends.

5 Simple Tips to Look Great in Photos:

  1. Which is your better side? Most everyone has a “better photographic” side when it comes to taking pictures, whether it be the left or right side of your face. I had no clue about this until I started analyzing my pictures realizing I looked better when I was looking to the right versus left. Who knew? This is important because it will help you avoid taking crappy pics, because once you determine what side is best for you, you will almost always angle your face in that direction when taking a pic.
  2. Tuck in that chin. Once you determine your better side and you angle your face accordingly, you will also tilt your chin down (just a bit!) at the same time. It will also help if your shoulders are back first because it will allow your chin to naturally drop a bit as you face the camera. Try this out with your test shots so you learn to “feel” what it’s like when you find the perfect tilt position for all your future pictures when you won’t have the luxury of test shots.
  3. Practice your smile. Not all smiles are created equal 😉 That means you will need to determine what smile looks best on you. Is it a full smile with lots of teeth or a smaller smile with minimum teeth showing. Either way is totally fine and up to you. I know some people who have purposely perfected a smaller smile because they felt their upper gums showed too much. Only you will know what you feel comfortable with. Again, the goal is to find the smile you love, then remember what it “feels” like when there is no mirror around so you can replicate it on a “camera notice”!
  4. The tongue trick. This is great for people who prefer a smile with no teeth or minimal teeth. This is also helpful for people who don’t love their teeth 🙂 So right before you smile, place your tongue on the roof of your mouth right behind  your front teeth. This will allow you to tighten your face muscles and allow for a natural looking smile as opposed to a forced-looking smile. This I would suggest practicing in the mirror as to the right tongue placement for your ideal smile.
  5. Feel confident. Your picture is more than a screenshot of your face. Meaning (similar to what I lacked in my original photo shoot and my friend Jules) it is very important for the camera to capture your “essence”. I believe it was Tyra Banks that coined the phrase “smize”, smiling with your eyes. This is something that is very hard to do if you feel uncomfortable, so this is where the practice comes in. How you “feel” shows up in your picture, so do your best to feel confident while the picture is being taken. One easy trick is to think of your favorite celebrity or any person you may admire. Then once you get ready to pose, pretend that you are that person in your mind. So for example, if you were Kim Kardashian, how would you be posing? You certainly wouldn’t be meek or uncomfortable. Of course not! You would feel super sexy and confident with that dead pan face. Okay, minus the dead pan face, because this isn’t the red carpet, but you know exactly what I mean. Your essence is everything when it comes to taking good pictures.
  6. BONUS: Pay attention to other people, how they smile and pose for pictures. The internet really is your best friend when it comes to images of red carpet poses or celebrity photo shoots. Find the style you like, then go practice in the mirror to find the style that works for you!  Remember once you find your style. Practice the “feeling” of it so you can quickly be camera ready without skipping a beat!

Remember, looking good in pictures is an art. And something you must practice. And no matter what you do, please, please, don’t be down on yourself if you don’t love how you look in pics. It doesn’t mean you are not attractive or not photogenic at all. It just means you have to practice and find the perfect style of taking pictures for you.

Would LOVE to hear other tips that you may have on how to take great pictures. Be sure to comment below, as we all love great tips on how to look our best!



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