Have you ever seen a photo taken of you at a party and thought, “That’s what I looked like!?”
Chances are, it wasn’t really. Party photos commonly break the rules of good portrait photography by using dim indoor light with harsh flash and less-than-ideal camera angles.
While you don’t have a lot of control over these factors (no one wants to be that person who makes a big fuss about where they’re standing or how the camera is being held)… there are few really big things you can do yourself to ensure better party pics.
1. The trick to posing in a flattering way
You don’t have to memorize a bunch of poses to look better in front of the camera. (You also can, if you want to, but it’s not a requirement.) Just remember this rule:
Whatever is closest to the camera is biggest.
When your arm is smooshed up against your side and the closest thing to the camera, it’s going to look out of proportion. Likewise if your torso or thigh is the closest thing to the camera.
For a more flattering look, try leaning slightly forward so that your head is closest to the lens.
2. What to do with your hands
Cameras have a way of making us hyper-aware of what our extremities are doing. And not always for the best.
One of the best strategies for this is to give your hands something to do.
Hold onto your chair, table, your friend’s shoulder, or a glass. Chances are, this will make you feel instantly more comfortable, and it will show in your face as well as your body.
Additionally, it can be helpful to take a seat. This can make you feel overall less exposed and make it even easier to find something to do with your hands or arms — be it holding your own leg or resting your elbow on the back of your chair.
3. Avoid try-hard expressions by letting your face relax
For a lot of us, when we’re nervous, our instinct is to “make faces” for the camera. A goofy or exaggerated expression can work like a mask that we put on when we feel vulnerable.
Unfortunately, because this is so common, these expressions generally read as less confident and sincere.
Instead, you really want to let your face relax and let a genuine expression surface. Take one deep, slow breath if that helps you to get in the right mental space.
If you’re not feeling smiley whatsoever, you might imagine yourself giving the person taking your picture the same sort of “hi, friend” look that you’d give them if you passed on the street.
Well that concludes our best quick tips for more flattering — less awkward — party photos. Go get ’em this holiday season and beyond! We’ll see you back on Photofeeler with your latest and greatest shots.
Photofeeler is a tool for testing profile pics, as seen in Time, Forbes, The Today Show, and more. Know for certain how you’re coming across in your business, social, and dating pictures. It’s free to use here.