How to ...

How to Pose for a Photograph

“You look your most attractive when you have a strong jawline,” says Peter Hurley, a portrait photographer in New York City who has taken head shots for some 30,000 people, including the likes of Mikhail Baryshnikov and Ariana Grande. To accentuate and define your jaw, elongate your body and neck by imagining you’re being pulled up by a string attached to the top of your head. Once you’ve giraffed yourself to the best of your ability, jut your forehead and chin toward the camera.

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Illustration by Radio

More symmetrical faces might look good straight on, but you’ll probably want to turn your head slightly to highlight a particular side. Hurley finds that most people have a more attractive “good side,” which tends to correspond with where they part their hair. To find yours, shoot a series of three selfies: First look straight at the camera, nose at 12 o’clock; turn to the right, nose at 1 o’clock; then to the left, at 11 o’clock. “Everyone has a sweet spot,” Hurley says.

Don’t say “cheese” or open your lips unless you’re genuinely laughing. “A majority of the population can’t smile with their teeth and look real,” Hurley says. Opt for closed lips with just the hint of a smile. A compelling portrait contains a slight narrative tension that makes the viewer want to know more. Avoid opening your eyes wide, which will make you look blank and thoughtless. Instead, raise your lower eyelid up toward your pupil, an action Hurley calls “squinch” (“squint” plus “pinch”). Men especially might consider narrowing the space between the brows, which intensifies the gaze. Sometimes Hurley tells a client to look sneaky, “a little devious even.” Be cautious, though; go overboard with these techniques and you can easily end up in comically come-hither terrain. If that’s not what you’re going for, look directly at the camera and imagine a real person on the other side — your mom, your child, a customer. Practicing in the mirror ahead of time helps, too.

New clients often arrive at Hurley’s studio listing the things they want to obscure with a pose: moles, a snaggletooth, a scar, a large nose, a double chin. Don’t position yourself around your perceived flaws. Find a posture that makes you feel confident, even radiant. “We’re in these bodies for life,” Hurley says. “We have to figure out what we like about ourselves.”

via NY Times

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