Not many people enjoy having their photo taken, with smiles forced and makeup faded. How many of us have gasped in horror at images of ourselves, wishing we had thought to sit up a little straighter or worn a different colour to the occasion in question.

But if you stop to think about it, that photo is just a frozen moment of how you really looked that day. If the sleeveless top you had on showed a little more of your pale arms than you are comfortable with or the pants accentuated a bulge you would rather keep hidden, it is more than likely that it was not the photographer or your pose that was the culprit, but your actual outfit.

Luckily, as with most things of a styling nature, with just a little forward thinking you can lessen the shock and increase the smiles the next time the photos are passed around. And if you happen to be on a group or family outing and have actually planned to have a few photos taken to commemorate the occasion (which in the digital age is becoming more and more likely) then that is even more reason to be prepared. The following may seem obvious, but how many times have you seen photos of yourself and wished you had thought of these things earlier?

  • Think about whether you are standing or sitting for the shot – don’t wear anything too tight as the lens will invariably zoom in on any lumps or bumps
  • Avoid wearing anything that exposes whatever you perceive to be your worst bits – in a photo there is nowhere for anything to hide
  • Colours should not overwhelm your skin tone – photos or no, this should be always be your aim
  • And if the shots are going to be in black and white then wear some different textures (knits, tweeds, lace for example) to break up the monotones – this is a little more specific but it is a good tip for general dressing anyway, as mixing fabrics adds a lot to an outfit, especially if you are wearing one overall colour tone

If you are having a more formal ie. planned photo session then these tips may come in handy as well:

  • If you are having shots outdoors or at the beach, then bringing games to play and swimmers to splash in will help everyone relax and forget about the camera
  • Kids look good in printed tees and hats to create some interest and introduce different shapes
  • For black and white photos dark or light colours work best; shades in skin-coloured and pastel tones are too washed out
  • And if you are in danger of getting dirty or wet on your photo shoot, bring a change of clothes for later, along with some extra layers in case of unexpected changes in temperatures

Now let the candid cameras roll!


*With special thanks to the style bar’s resident wedding and portrait photographer Kim Welinski from asterisk photography* for his invaluable input into what can make or break a photo session from the other side of the lens…