What Makes a Face Photogenic?

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Model Naomi Campbell once confided to models.com that she started posing in front of a mirror at age 16, already knowing the importance of discovering the best angles and lighting. You can see that being photogenic doesn't always come naturally, no matter how beautiful somebody is. With some practice and techniques, however, you can always look great in front of the camera.

Features

Generally, the more symmetrical a person's face is, the more photogenic she is. Beyond that, everything is negotiable.

Significance

People are three-dimensional, but a photograph provides only an illusion of depth. Our brains process this two-dimensional image and automatically imagine it in 3-D. Angular faces tend to be more photogenic because they appear to have more depth in pictures.

Expert Insight

Professional photographers work with lighting to create depth and to provide the most flattering appearance possible. If you can have photos of yourself taken during certain times of day or with certain types of artificial light, this will go a long way toward being photogenic. The "golden hour" occurs around an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset, and it's often a photographer's favorite time of day. This type of light makes a person's skin appear soft and smooth, and there are no shadows to exaggerate unusual features.

Types

The best makeup to create a more photogenic face is eye makeup. Mascara and a touch of eyeliner create depth and help conceal eyelids to make eyes seem larger. Also, learn what colors of fabric you look best in, then wear clothing of those colors when you know you'll be having your picture taken.

Considerations

Avoid looking straight-on into the camera lens, as this pose will exaggerate every asymmetry in facial features, such as two slightly different sizes of eyes or a large nose. Facing a slight angle away while looking back at the camera will add to your photogenic quality. Also, tilt your head down a little, because this makes eyes seem bigger. Be careful not to tilt too low, however, because you don't want to create or accentuate a double chin effect. With some practice, this can all start to come very naturally.

Potential

Attitude is important. Many people look good in photos because they don't mind having their picture taken, and so they don't feel uncomfortable, irritated or nervous. You'll also want a genuine smile rather than a fake one. Some of the most flattering pictures occur when a person is laughing naturally. Think of something happy or funny and laugh just a little bit; that will help make your smile natural.

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