As we travel along the emotional roller-coaster that Covid-19 has put us on, people are spending more time online than ever before.  They are sharing what they are going through, how they’re coping, starting businesses and of course reminiscing the BC (Before Covid) days in photos and videos.

Moments in Time

Since the invention of the camera, we have captured memorable moments of families, important events and just for the fun of it images to be looked back on and fondly remembered.  Before the camera, artists were commissioned for the same reasons, although this took a little longer than striking a pose, clicking a button and voila.

How do you show up?

Whether it’s a selfie, a professional photo shoot, or chief photographer, Sharon with a cell phone how you appear in the photos depends on what the photographer must work with. Photoshop can only do so much.

When you see photos on social pages, you see two types of people.  Those that look fabulous in every picture no matter what they are doing, and others who you just know, wish they did not exist.  Most people are not naturally all that photogenic, but you can learn tricks to take you from drab to fab.

There is nothing random about looking good online.  

Depending the way you stand, how the light hits your face, whether your hair is back or forward, even down to which side your fringe falls, can make the difference between hitting the delete button and something you want as your profile picture for the world to see.

My home office overlooks the garden and the other day as I was gazing out of the window my daughter Ashleigh, who is a professional photographer and owns Ashleigh K Photography, was busy with her siblings and a friend dragging a mini plastic pool into the centre of the garden and filling it with water.  At the ready was an assortment of blue organza fabric, lemon slices and rose petals. Then a friend who is staying with us at this time walked out in a bikini. I was intrigued.

I always see the finished product of Ashleigh’s work which is awe inspiring, but I never get to watch the process. I had not really thought about what goes into those amazing images until I watched it unfold in front of me.

Ashleigh skirted around the pool giving directions to her brother and sister to move a petal, or the fabric.  She called for the mini step ladder and so she could take a shot from a higher angle, all the time directing her model into the most interesting and uncomfortable looking positions you can imagine. At one stage she had her sister holding the brave model’s legs so she could be at the perfect angle.

Everything is staged. Make-up, hair, and clothing are the obvious.  What is not obvious is the slight angle and tilt of the head, which way your body faces in relation to your shoulders and the camera, even the relaxed hand you see, is not that relaxed. Most of the times models must be virtual contortionists but have the relaxed face of an angel for the shot.

The next day, Ashleigh shared the photos with me, and I was blown away.  You would never have believed that those images were taken in a mini plastic pool in the middle of my garden on a sunny afternoon during lockdown with a friend in a bikini.

Here are Ashleigh’s top 5 tips for looking great in photos:

The Goose Neck
Avoid a double chin by elongating your neck and pushing your face forward, tilting your chin down slightly.  You will be amazed the difference it makes.  It feels uncomfortable and weird as anything, but the result is great.  No double chin.

Set up your cell phone and take practice shots to see what works best for you.  Remember what it feels like and next time someone takes a photo, strike your pose, and look fabulous.

Every Inch Counts
When taking a full body photo, make sure the photographer holds their camera at the level of your chest height.  If they are taller than you, you will appear shorter, and we cannot have that.

Looking Slimmer
The most flattering and slimming set up is a head shot while seated, with the photographer slightly higher than you.  This will make your facial features appear slimmer. This shot is commonly used for corporate profile pictures.

The Best Angle
Whether sitting or standing, do not directly face the camera with your whole body.  Position your yourself with your hips and legs at a 45% angle from the photographer, twisting your upper body to face the photographer.  This helps hide that tummy bulge.  Finish off with your head slightly tilted as opposed to straight up.

The Outfit
Fitted (not skin-tight) clothing makes you look slimmer.  Baggy clothes make you look bigger.  This I discovered personally.  I could not understand why I always looked bigger in photos and to my horror Ash said I should wear more fitting clothes.  I thought I would look bigger because then you could see just how big.  Well, it is not the case.  Fitted clothes do make you look slimmer.  Wearing heels also improves your posture and the way you carry yourself.  They give your butt a better shape and you feel like a million dollars.

By following these tips and knowing you are going to look great in photos you will feel more confident, relaxed and enjoy yourself more not worrying about what will find its way online.

Watching Ashleigh’s shoot in the garden was very entertaining and the result was spectacular.  I hope you enjoy the behind the scenes and the finished images as much as I do.

Check out her inspiring work HERE


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