Monday, August 13, 2007

How to Look Fabulous in Pictures

Do you hate the way you look in pictures? Well this series is for you. I'm going to tell you how to look fabulous in pictures, and I'll also provide you with a little bit of insight as to why you like the pictures that you like.

Everyone knows that in order to look great in photos, you just have to be yourself and say Mozzarella, right? Wrong. In fact, as a former model, I'm here to tell you that I've been in your shoes and they hurt. A lot.

Go look at yourself in the mirror. Go on, go. I'll wait. As you're looking at yourselves in the mirror, look in your own eyes without moving your face. Is your head straight or turned? I'll bet that your head is at an angle. Most of the time, when we look in the mirror, we look from the side, with one eye or the other forward. We are making a triangle for ourselves, so that we look more interesting to ourselves.

In pictures, as in life, any part of you that makes a horizontal line looks less interesting, even something as small as your head being straight up, causing your eyes to lead the viewer straight across the page and off, enables the viewer to turn the page, which leads me to the most important part of a photograph: The Triangle.

In order to look great in a picture, in addition to the right clothes, makeup, lighting, framing, and body positioning, all of which I'll talk about at another time, it's a good idea to make as many triangles as possible. Check out this shot, which has pretty much won every award in the civilized world: It's a nice shot, at the height of
the action, I think it was my first assignment for the LA Times, and I just turned around and it was there, so I shot it, and my mentor, the incomparable Rick Corrales, looked at me and said, "Oh my gosh, you just took a great shot!" Well that was in the days before digital, so I couldn't believe that he would know that, but he was right, and I didn't know why, so he drew me a picture:

Tons of triangles. They lead your eye around and around and simply don't allow your eye to leave the picture. How does this apply to you? Tilt, bend, twist, cross, dip, pretty much anything that keeps you from being in a straight line. Consider a picture of my beautiful friend JB,
Now this shot is, of course, before makeup... Even if you are "nature girl," do not allow yourselves to be photographed without makeup, preferably a professional makeup artist, as regular "day makeup" doesn't transfer to makeup for photography. JB is posing like most people do, face straight forward, shoulders straight, a kind of half smile because having your picture taken makes you uncomfortable. Now here's a shot after makeup and making triangles with her head and shoulders:
She turned her shoulders to the side, and dipped her head to the side, and as an extra, added bonus, there's a twinkle in her eyes and a kind of Mona Lisa smile on her face that shows the viewer that she knows exactly how hot she is. Even her neckline and collar form little triangles that point back to her face, so if your eye accidentally slips off of her face, the neckline and collar point you right back into the action. Even taking it farther, if you add an elbow to make the triangle that keeps swirling around and around, encircling her face, and a super confident smile, make it into a painting:
Her eyes are at different levels, and the tilt from our left to right angles up to her shoulder, her back is making a triangle with her shoulder, the couch that she's leaning on is a triangle, which moves around to her arm, forming a triangle with her elbow, shoulder and face that's hard to leave. And she loved the shot! Of Course!