“A picture is worth a thousand words” is a quote credited to Napoleon Bonaparte. And someone taking a bad one and posting it on Facebook needs a little time with Monsieur Guillotine.
Plain and simple, I love taking and sharing candid pictures of people, but not just any old kind of photo. A friend once labeled my photography style as the kind photographer and I think that’s what my business card would say if I did this for a living. In my PR profession, I submit photos for various projects, but I’m not the fancy pants professional photographer with tons of lighting. I like to take headshots and party pics. And I do have several important rules in making my friends, family and clients look their best. So if I come off a little bossy, well you just may have spinach in your teeth, so listen up.
1. Smile for Pete’s Sake!
A big smile takes 10 years off your age! Nothing drives me nuttier than when someone doesn’t smile. So give us one of those sweet, toothy grins. unless you are missing a front tooth. And, don’t worry that your teeth aren’t as freakishly white as Jessica Simpson’s cause that just looks crazy.
Nashville artist and Gallery Owner Ron York could win a contest for best smile!
2. Don’t Line Up Like A Prom Picture!
For some reason, when four people are gathered into a shot, everybody starts reverting to their high school prom poses, turning sideways. You don’t have to perfectly line-up. Be the one in the group that grabs a different pose. Show some sass.
My first reaction was" lovely grandma, give me a smile." She owned her pose & ended up with the prettiest pic of the day.Bethlehem Fish Fry 2011
3. Put Down The Drink!
Didn’t your momma teach you that you don’t want to show up in print looking all liquored up? This is just a pet peeve of mine, but stash the drink, even if it is coke, and especially if you are at an event involving a children’s charity.
Actually overheard award-winning playwright Nate Eppler say to his lovely friend, "you might want to put that cup down. It'll make your momma happy." Reason #999 we love Nate.
4. Stop Clutching Your Purse For Dear Life!
Women with shoulder straps probably don’t even realize they are doing this. But for some reason when someone says, “can I snap your pic,” that seems to be a human response. Unless you are standing in the Paris train station, drop it girls and any of you boys traveling with a murse. (man-purse)
Before Pic. Sweet Smile But Don't Steal My Purse!
After Pic. Adorable!
5. Grab Your Beau’s Arm.
One of my favorite techniques for frontally fortified folks is to grab your beau’s arm. First of all, nobody needs to be spreading their arms wide and be grabbing on to each other past the age of 40. (You aren’t at a frat party, and if you are, what are you doing there - you are over 40?!!) This goes for women and men and I love it when the girl kinda of cocks her head with a coy smile.
Who doesn't love a happy, handsome guy in a Hawaiian shirt? But when sports announcer Pete Weber's wife told him to get his arms down, she knew everybody would look even cuter! (Story shared with permission & aren't they an adorable pic. Claudia Weber, Patricia Casa Santa, Pete Weber, Chris Casa Santa)
6. Paris Hilton Pose?
I kind of can’t decide on this one. My gut says, if you are under 29, go for it and put your hand on your hip. It looks adorable, sassy and always makes me smile. If you are over 40, I’m not quite so sure about it. In the end, it is someone else’s signature pose. Why not try to find the one that suits you best.
Just a moment past 29, see her arm pose still works. You really have to decide in the moment. (And, when in doubt, see if the photographer is frowning at you.)
7. Society Page Worthy
I’m not one to try to get in the paper but it is always fun when it happens. The first people photographed on these benefit evenings are the hosts and then the muckity mucks. If you are new to town and trying to get your name out, I’d say dress interestingly and colorfully with a big smile on your face. I always gravitate to these types of people. And I know it sounds silly, but I love it when a couple’s outfits are color complimenting. It looks yummy to me.
Saw this couple at Chair-ish The Kids Benefit for Kids On The Block. Their striking colors continued to capture my eye all night. Looking sharp!
Wear An Adorable Hat!
8. Facebook Tips
First of all, go into your security settings and lock your photos into “friends only” especially if you are under the age of 21. It makes me very uncomfortable for my kiddos to have their pics available to the world. Next, upload cute pics only. Tagging someone and the pic is their backside or someone scratching something is just weird. You can untag yourself from that photo immediately. This forum is becoming a world of simply regurgitating photos. Be selective and your friends will enjoy them more. And, I am very sensitive to someone hating a pic and am always glad to take it down. Don’t be afraid to ask nicely.
9. Frontally Fortified Females
Although I’ve alluded to this under Prom Pics and Grab Your Beau’s Arm, let’s be clear. It doesn’t look the greatest to turn sideways if you fall into this category. Stand straight-on. Cuddle up to the person next to you. Put your arm on the next person’s arm or shoulder. But don’t feel forced into being in the middle of the shot with your arms spread wide especially if you are petite. (This really goes for guys with tummies too.).
Not sure this girl carries it off, but she got the grab a guy's arm memo and the sassy head move. (Pictured NewsChannel 5's Lelan Statom with his college bud Nancy McNulty)
In the end, try to express the joy of who you are in the moment in which you are captured. We all wish we were skinnier, had a better nose or our roots recently done, etc. Embrace and love that someone wants to take your picture! My mother in her later years wouldn’t smile and was basically very difficult to photograph. One Thanksgiving, I had to finally break the news to her. These photos are for us not you. Word.
If you have some of your own favorite tips for capturing the best in your friends and loved ones, be sure and share them!