New Blogger Portraits + Posing Tips!

This afternoon I’m sharing something a little different (and I feel a bit shy about it, since the subject is me!). As a blogger, I sometimes get asked to contribute to other online or print media, so it’s important to have some professional pics to hand, and I thought it was about time I updated the ones I use (since, for example, I have actually been brunette again for a while). As I am in Durban for the summer, I took the opportunity to work with the fabulous Fiona Clair, whose work I have been stalking for ages, and capture a bit of my own SouthBound style. We had such a fun time! I tracked down some sequins (of course) and proteas (ditto) and we headed for the Durban beachfront (after a bit of hair & makeup pampering from the talented Laura Halgreen – thanks Laura!). It was stinking hot and more than a little windy, but we had such a giggle playing and posing that I almost forgot that the camera was there. Fiona is just that kind of photographer – she’s super relaxed and nice, and so it’s a bit easier to lose that initial awkwardness that so many of us feel!

That’s actually one of the reasons I think the trend towards engagement shoots is such a good idea, because if your wedding day is the first time you’ve been in front of a professional photographer, it’s going to take you a bit longer to get into the ‘vibe’ (and learn to relax your face a bit). We all have our photo faces – you know what I mean, the ones that you pull the second someone gets a camera out, the tried and tested ones where you know you’re going to look half decent. For me, that’s big smile, head to one side (I didn’t even know I had a camera face until an ex once told me I looked the same in all my photos, but hey, if it works…) That’s fine for happy snaps, but it just doesn’t fly with the pros. For one thing, you will get face cramp. And face cramp-face ain’t pretty.

BY NO MEANS am I going to pretend I am some kind of model – I love how these pics turned out, but that’s entirely due to both Laura and Fiona’s talents! But over the last couple of years I have picked up a few little posing tips for non-models that can help you look and feel your best in front of the camera, and I thought now would be the perfect time to share them.

  • First and most importantly, be comfortable in what you choose to wear. If something is cute but doesn’t fit properly, or you’re forever going to be tugging at it, the strain will start to show. When you pick your outfit, also make sure you think about how it will photograph. Black may be slimming in life, but it can be very dull on film – make sure that any colours you choose, on the other hand, suit your skin tone and aren’t going to be too overwhelming. I wanted to mix sheer and sparkly textures for my pictures, because I knew they would photograph well, and that was the key reasons I picked the outfit I did.
  • Think about your hair. Not just the general style, but if you’re wearing it down and it’s long especially, you’re going to need to be aware of it in the moments before the shutter clicks. Hair sitting on your shoulders looks weird and messy. Try having it all front, all back, or to one side (generally with the parting side facing the camera). If you do the one side thing though, make sure you still have some softness on the other side. We had to redo a couple of shots because it looked like I was bald on one side of my head – not a good look.
  • Make ‘eye contact’ with the camera. For some shots your photographer will tell you to look away, but when he or she asks you to look at them, try to look into the lens as if it’s a person’s face, if that makes sense. In other words, focus on the person behind the camera (through the camera), rather than on the lens or camera itself.
  • Put your chin forward. Not, like, waaaaaay forward – you don’t want to look strange – but this is a simple way to help perspective make your face look thinner and eliminate double chins. I’ve also heard that you should push your tongue against the top of your mouth (against the teeth) when you smile to eliminate double chins – I don’t know if this works, but I do it in some pics and it makes me feel like I’m doing a beauty queen smile.
  • Speaking of smiles, don’t feel like you have to smile in every shot. It’s okay to just let your face relax, and to go with the mood of the image. But don’t forget to laugh too – and the only way to make a laugh look genuine in a photo is to actually laugh. Fake it if you must, and you’ll soon find yourself giggling for real.
  • Be aware of the shape your body makes. If you’ve ever seen a pro in action, you’ll know that one of the things that makes models good at their job is the way that they move their bodies so that they are in the most flattering (if not the most natural) shape. Create space by the waist, lift your arm, turn your shoulders toward the camera with your body facing away, put one foot in front of the other. Your photographer will totally help you with this – let them guide you and remember that they can see the result, so just do what they suggest! They’re the artist, after all.
  • If you have to sit down, never sit square on. Cross your legs and put your weight on one bum cheek. Yep, I kid you not. This means you sit forward, and is the most flattering position.
  • Relax! Have a glass of wine before you start if you must, but try to chill and enjoy your photo shoot. It can be a lot of fun! Also, be confident – no matter how you feel and what you think your flaws are, confidence is what really shows through. That’s one reason why wedding pics are so gorgeous I think, because people are at their most relaxed and confident, and of course, it’s genuine happiness shining through.

Hope that helps you all out a little, and hope you like the new pics of lil’ ol’ me. A HUGE thank you to Fiona (who by the way, has just moved to Cape Town and you should TOTALLY hire her for your wedding because she’s awesome), to Laura, and to the staff at the Oyster Box who made us feel welcome.


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