How to Look Great in Every Photo

With the popularity of photo sharing sites, like Flickr, Facebook and Instagram, you feel that you have to be camera-ready 24/7. But that's no reason to hide from snap-happy friends and family. Here's how to help them capture your best self.

1. Think happy thoughts. Nothing looks worse in a picture than a fake smile and nothing looks better than a real one. Think of something that makes you laugh, or if you prefer a more serious look, think of someone you admire, your favorite peaceful spot or a subject you're really interested in. Avoid thinking about things that worry or frighten you or make you feel sad.

2. Don't look straight at the camera. Staring into the camera lens might give you red-eye as the light from the flash or glare off the lens reflects off your retina. Instead, look just to the side or slightly above the camera or at the photographer's face.

3. Watch your angles. Experts say the left side of the face shows more emotion than the right and tends to be more photogenic so give your photographer an off center—to the right glance. Also, avoid the dreaded double-chin look by jutting your chin slightly out and up and make sure the camera is at or above eye level. To look your slimmest, put one foot in front of the other and turn one shoulder closer to the camera.

4. Wear the right colors. Choose bright, solid colors—they look great on everyone. Busy clothing patterns are unflattering because cameras tend to exaggerate images. White clothing doesn't photograph well either and might make you look washed out.

5. Play with the lights. If you're having professional shots taken, professional lighting will most likely be used. Amateur photogs should choose softer, more natural lighting (and avoid midday sun). Bright, artificial or harsh lighting can accentuate facial shadows, wrinkles, and blemishes.

6. Choose natural makeup. Concealer and matte foundation can help cover imperfections but avoid makeup that's mineral based or "illuminating." These will reflect light and make you look ghostly. Don't overdue it by using too many makeup colors. Neutral colors and subtle makeup application photograph better than bright colors and heavy makeup. Play up your best feature and stay as natural as possible on the rest of the face.

7. Relax. Think about it. When you look at your favorite pictures of yourself you'll see yourself laughing, smiling, having a good time or, in a shot that shows you were unaware of the camera. When you're relaxed and unconcerned about what the camera might capture, your photographer is more likely to catch you looking your best.